October is an excellent time for visiting North Africa and the Middle East. In Jordan, temperatures become more comfortable – ideal for discovering the abundant historic sites and relaxing on the Red Sea coast. The same goes for Egypt, where slightly lower temperatures allow for comfortable exploration of the pharaonic ruins before peak tourist season starts in December. It’s also shoulder season in Israel and the OPT, promising more relaxed, affordable touring of the hallowed sites. Turkey marks Republic Day, and visitors can explore the Ottoman legacy and Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys amid mild weather. Or, for something different, consider the wild, lemur-swung isle of Madagascar during its warm, dry shoulder season.
Best destinations to visit in October
Egypt’s desert landscapes start to cool in late October, making this an ideal time for Nile cruising and cultural immersion. As well as enjoying pleasant weather, you’ll avoid the peak tourist crowds of December and January at ancient sites including Karnak, Abu Simbel and the Pyramids of Giza. In October, you’ll also have the opportunity to join the celebrations at the bi-annual Abu Simbel Sun Festival, witnessing the rising sun cutting through the chamber of Ramses II like a scene from Indiana Jones.
Madagascar is comfortably warm in October, with average highs between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, and low rainfall: ideal for excursions into the rainforests. This wild island off continental Africa is the singular home to some 60 species of lemur, and October is one of the best times to spot baby lemurs as they cling to their mothers or take tentative first-swings in the canopy. It’s also a great time for visiting the sun-washed coast and its golden beaches. As it’s the shoulder season, you can expect to see fewer tourists compared to a visit in July, August or December.
The ancient lands of Israel and the OPT are blessed with warm, comfortable weather come October, after summer’s high heat and humidity has eased. It’s the shoulder season, making for a more relaxed, affordable touring experience, as you visit hallowed sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and Old Jerusalem. October is the month of the Sukkot festival, when Israel’s Jewish community gravitates towards holy sites for feasts and prayers.
While Jordan is a year-round destination, October ushers in cooler temperatures and the first rains, helping the greenery and flowers colour the parched countryside. This is the best time to walk through the mountains as it’s not too hot or too wet and the vistas are even more beautiful after rainfall. It’s prime time for snorkelling in Aqaba, where you’ve the chance to spot an abundance of marine wildlife including eagle rays and turtles, while enjoying warm waters of around 26 degrees Celsius.
Every 29 October, Turkey marks Republic Day with a national holiday and displays of patriotism. It’s a good month to explore the legacy of the Ottomans – and pleasant, mild weather for doing so. Famed for its fairy chimneys and cave dwellings, the region of Cappadocia is quieter at this time of year compared to sights such as the Greek ruins of Ephesus. If it’s the coast that calls, conditions are ideal for visiting the white-sand beaches and glittering waters along Turkey’s Mediterranean shoreline.