Where to go for your autumn adventure
Autumn travel is for colour, culture and smaller crowds – as these six destinations prove.
When Britain’s summertime ebbs away to autumn, the nights draw in, leaves turn golden and there’s a nip in the air. Meanwhile, a number of eclectic destinations around the world are just coming into their own.
Perhaps you wish to extend your summer, explore desert wonders without the scorching heat, delight in the autumnal palette of a remote landscape or simply escape with the family over the half-term break. Whatever your reasons, the following six destinations promise an autumn holiday to remember...
You can explore further destination options with Cox & Kings’ month-by-month travel planner.
Few are unfamiliar with Italy’s appeal as a holiday destination – it is the world’s fifth most visited country, after all. This Mediterranean nation is a cultural mecca thanks to its Renaissance masterpieces, ancient Roman ruins and tantalising cuisine. Every region has its own character, with distinctive traditions, delicacies, landscapes and dialects. Beyond Italy’s vibrant cities lie secluded medieval hamlets, idyllic coastal towns, soaring mountains and rolling countryside.
Visiting Italy in autumn allows you to avoid summer’s larger crowds and higher prices, whilst still enjoying warm, dry weather across much of the country. Rural regions such as Tuscany don their colourful autumn coat, and coastal areas remain sunny and temperate. September is harvest time, marked by food and wine festivals. It is also the month when Venice hosts its international film festival, as well as the famous Regata Storica boat race.
Since gaining independence in 1991, North Macedonia has remained largely under the tourist radar. That means you’ll find few crowds and ample availability when visiting its attractions. This small nation in southeast Europe is an intriguing mix of Balkan and Mediterranean influences. It has a long history, with roots stretching back through the Romans and Ancient Greeks to the Persians and beyond. Picturesque Lake Ohrid and the capital, Skopje, are musts, but be sure to explore some of the hiking trails wending through dramatic mountain and national park scenery.
Autumn is a particularly pretty time for visiting North Macedonia, with great conditions for exploration; it’s after the high heat of summer, and before the mountains are buried in winter snow. Skopje’s Jazz Festival and the Kavadarci Wine Carnival take place at this time of year, while Independence Day is marked with gusto on 8 September. We recommend pairing your journey to North Macedonia with visits to neighbouring Albania and Kosovo, for an insightful and comprehensive experience of the Balkan peninsula.
The ‘land of the pharaohs’ is a perennial favourite for good reason. Its ancient archaeological sites are world-class, its cities – including the famous capital, Cairo – are as energetic as they are atmospheric, and there really is nothing quite like cruising between temples on the fabled Nile (especially aboard a romantic felucca).
By visiting in late October, you precede the peak tourist season while avoiding the severe heat of summer. That means more tolerable conditions in which to explore, and less jostling to see celebrated sights including Abu Simbel, the Pyramids of Giza and the Karnak temples. In October, you can also participate in the Abu Simbel Sun Festival, during which people gather to watch the rising sun illuminate the inner chamber of Abu Simbel’s rock-hewn Great Temple.
Jordan brims with history. Its semi-arid landscape is dotted with ancient Roman ruins, sacred Biblical sites, Nabataean relics and Crusader castles. Yet it’s also home to a number of unmissable natural attractions, from otherworldly Wadi Rum and nature reserves such as the Dana Biosphere, to the mineral-rich Dead Sea.
Although a year-round destination, Jordan’s parched landscape is vivified by autumnal showers, adding lush greenery and flowers to your hikes in the wilds. Walks in the mountains are especially enjoyable between October and November, as temperatures are comfortable and rainfall is infrequent compared to the winter months. October is also a great time for snorkelling in Aqaba, where you can witness a menagerie of marine wildlife, including turtles and rays, in balmy waters of around 26°C.
From the cloud-skimming peaks of the Atlas mountains, to the Saharan dunes, down to the alluring Atlantic coast: Morocco is North Africa at its most geographically diverse. That’s without mentioning the country’s myriad cultural attractions, including its famous medinas, buzzing souks, old ports and traditional Berber settlements. All this contributes to Morocco’s enduring appeal as a holiday destination.
The country is best appreciated during the liminal seasons of spring and autumn. If you wish to hike up the spectacular Atlas mountains, or visit the attractive coast, October is ideal, offering pleasant temperatures after the high heat of summer and before the chill of winter. During autumn, there is also the three-day Date Festival, rounding off the harvest in Erfoud.
India is surely one of the most rewarding and exciting destinations in the world. Here you’ll find vast cities effervescing with energy, tranquil hill stations, wildlife-rich wilderness, astounding palaces in the desert and a menu of delicacies to set your mouth watering.
The climate varies throughout the country, especially between the north and south, with autumn offering great conditions for journeys northward. In November, northern India is dry, yet without the heat and humidity of summer that can render an active itinerary uncomfortable. In Pushkar, there is the five-day annual camel fair – one of the largest in the world, and quite the cultural spectacle. In atmospheric Varanasi – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – locals and Hindu pilgrims celebrate Ganga Mahotsav, and you can join the festivities.