Fall Travel

The 10 Best Places to Travel This October

There’s never a bad time to travel in our opinion, but with cooler temperatures, splashy hotel openings, and art biennials aplenty, October makes a strong case for itself. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway from NYC or you’re after a far-flung, two-week escape somewhere in South America, we’ve got ideas on where to head this month.

Bedroom at Il Palazzo Experimentale
Bar at Il Palazzo Experimentale
Restaurant at Il Palazzo Experimentale
A gondolier paddles towards the sunset in Venice's Grand Canal.
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Venice, Italy

This summer, our Instagram feed felt like an endless ode to Ischia and its secluded Tyrrhenian beaches, hole-in-the-wall seafood joints, and volcanic thermal baths. Now, with the sunny season in our rearview, we’d like to nominate Venice as Italy’s face of fall. October marks one of your last chances to catch the city’s Art Biennale, which has been held every other year since 1895. This year’s exhibition, titled “May You Live in Interesting Times,” shares work from 79 international artists and offers commentary on issues like climate change and wealth disparity. Before you get swept up by the Biennale’s envelope-pushing galleries, though, be sure to get your reservation in at the newly opened, canal-side Il Palazzo Experimental hotel—the latest in the Experimental Group’s roster of sought-after properties where jewel tones, velvet brocade, and Art Deco details collide.

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Bedroom at Eastwind Hotel
Bar at the Eastwind Hotel
"Afternoon sun on sunset rock in the Autumn, overlooking North-South Lake in the Catskills Mountains of New York.
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Catskills, New York

If you live in New York City, you know how essential it is to get out every once in a while. Luckily, there are plenty of pastoral escapes within easy driving distance. The Catskill mountains, for instance, are just two hours north of Manhattan. Set your GPS for Windham’s Eastwind Hotel & Bar, a Scandi-chic property with just a handful of rooms, three A-frame cabins, a wood-barrel sauna, and a former 1920s bunkhouse turned main lodge where buttery leather chairs, antique hutches, and bright Turkish rugs keep things warm and homey. October is apple season, so when you’re ready to explore, hit the Taste of the Catskills Festival to sample Awestruck Hard Ciders, Gravity Cider, Yankee Folly Cidery, and other players in the region’s burgeoning craft beverage scene. If your trip lands before or after the festival, set aside time for the Wayside Cider & Taproom, a small-batch cidery just off Main Street in Andes.

RELATED: How to Plan a Romantic Weekend Away in the Catskills

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Adelaide city centre across the River Torrens
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Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide has long been overshadowed by Sydney and Melbourne, but the city has recently undergone a culinary metamorphosis, opening some of Australia’s best kitchens. Gastronomes will want to stop by Orana, an acclaimed restaurant from Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo whose 20-course tasting menu spotlights indigenous ingredients. If you’ve already been there, done that, Adelaide also has a host of cheeky newcomers including two designed by Sans-Arc Studio. The first, Part Time Lover, is a light-filled, all-day bistro in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD that borrows its name from a Moldy Peaches song. The menu is split into three categories: plant-based, seafood, and meat, but chef Stewart Wesson says it’s really all about the fish—like barramundi wrapped in banana leaves. The second is Stem, a Mediterranean-leaning spot in the West End whose imported oven fires up jackfruit and tahini pizzas. Once you’ve had your fill, head back to the sleek Mayfair Hotel for a post-meal nap on a bespoke, Adelaide-made bed.

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

In October, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta transforms New Mexico’s largest city into a desert kaleidoscope. This year, more than 500 hot air balloons will take off over ABQ in a series of themed flights and competitions. While you’ll want to spend plenty time at the festival itself (there’s also skydiving shows and chainsaw carving competitions), you won't want to miss out on the city’s booming craft brewery scene. First, drop your bags at Hotel Chaco in the Sawmill District—a luxe stay that mixes ultra-modern design with stacked stone masonry, wool rugs sourced from Navajo weavers, and views of the arresting Sandia Mountains. Then, after making sure your phone has enough battery to call an Uber home at the end of the night, head out on a brewery crawl through Marble Brewery, La Cumbre Brewing Company, and High and Dry Brewing.

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Exterior of Trunk House in Tokyo
Bedroom at Trunk House in Tokyo
Bar at Trunk House in Tokyo
Row of yellow ginkgo tree in autumn. Autumn park in Tokyo, Japan.
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Tokyo, Japan

With 230 Michelin-starred venues, Tokyo continues to carry the torch for the most celebrated restaurants in the world—and is the perfect choice for a food-centric fall getaway. Ginza-based French spot L’Osier picked up its third star this year while sushi joint Kobikicho Tomoki, tucked behind the neighborhood’s Kabukiza theater, earned its first. Between bites, check out Tokyo’s most talked-about interactive art exhibit: the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless. Using more than 500 projectors to create multi-sensory renderings (think butterflies in flight and floating lanterns), the exhibit has welcomed 2.3 million international guests in just one year of operation. The Kagurazaka neighborhood also recently unveiled Trunk House, a former geisha training center that now functions as a one-suite micro-hotel with a karaoke-disco-bar, private chef, and classic Sento-style bathroom. If the hefty price tag is a little out of range, try out the newly refurbished Okura Tokyo. Fresh off a three-year, $1 billion (yes, billion) renovation, the property has been restored to its 60s modernist roots.

RELATED: The 10 Best Hotels in Tokyo Right Now

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Ferry ships sail up and down the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey.
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Istanbul, Turkey

October is a great time to touch down in Istanbul, when crowds thin out, room rates drop, and temperatures are pleasantly mild. This month sees the opening of The Clock House, a traditional Turkish home featuring two spacious bedrooms, marble ensuite bathrooms, bespoke art from Kubilay Şenses, and access to all the facilities at its five-star sibling the Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmetall within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, and Basilica Cistern. Istanbul’s art scene is also having a transformative moment. This October, the Istanbul Biennial is showing work from 57 different artists and collectives while Arter, the city’s first major contemporary art museum, opened to much fanfare in mid-September. Istanbul’s investment in art will continue through 2021 as a Renzo Piano-designed addition to Istanbul Modern is currently being constructed and the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University is undergoing renovation. Pop by now for a preview and then start saving so you can check them out at the city’s next biennial.

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Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater including the hotels and buildings in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu island, Hawaii. Waikiki Beach in the center of Honolulu has the largest number of visitors in Hawaii
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Oahu, Hawaii

If your main travel priority is having a lavish place to rest your head, get your reservation in at Oahu’s recently opened Espacio The Jewel of Waikiki. Full disclosure: the nine-suite property is more than a slight splurge at $5,000 per night, but in its first few months of operation, the hotel is offering a deeply discounted rate of $2,500. Each suite occupies its own floor and offers approximately 2,250 square feet of living space which includes two to three rooms, spa-inspired bathrooms with an in-suite jacuzzi and dry sauna, butler service, and access to a fleet complimentary luxury cars. Onsite Japanese-French restaurant Mugen comes from chef Jason Yamaguchi (nephew of famed Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi), but you’ll have no trouble finding stellar meals offsite, either. This summer, chef Vikram Garg, formerly of Halekulani, debuted his new project titled TBD… The popup is slated for just an 18-month run as its home base, the Lotus Honolulu, is scheduled for a 2021 renovation, so snatch up tamarind-braised lamb shank and tandoori fried chicken with green mango chutney while you can. Foodies will also want to hit the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (October 5–27), which showcases food and drink from more than 150 internationally renowned chefs, winemakers, and culinary creatives.

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Loch Quoich in the Western Highlands of Scotland with its autumn colour and first snows.
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The Scottish Highlands

Some hotels merit an entire vacation, and this fall, The Fife Arms has us Scotland bound. The 19th-century Victorian property originally built by the Duke of Fife has its roots in Braemar, a bucolic village in the heart of Cairngorms National Park. While the settlement is famous for its annual Highland Games every September, October visits mean you don’t have to compete for accommodations. Here, all 46 guest rooms are kitted out with period wallpaper, freestanding copper bathtubs, carved four poster beds, and a bespoke house tartan and tweed inspired by Braemar’s local landscape and courtesy of luxe Scottish textile brand Araminta Campbell. We could while away hours pouring over the inn’s 14,000 antiques, but executive chef Timothy Kensett presents another enticing option: two onsite restaurants that showcase local produce and game. When you are ready for an offsite excursion, call on Fife’s ghillie (activities coordinator) for trips to ancient castles, whisky distilleries, and nearby estates for horseback rides.

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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

If you have lots of PTO left this year, pencil in a trip to Bolivia's Kachi Lodge, an otherworldly lodging experience with six dome-shaped suites planted on the edge of the world’s largest salt flat. Come fall, Bolivia’s dry season, the sun-soaked expanse crystallizes into a tract of remote, Mars-like earth and the collection of geodesic domes—built for optimal stargazing—are the only sign of life. Inside, bespoke furniture is crafted from regional materials, artwork comes courtesy of Gastón Ugalde (the Bolivian Andy Warhol), and hand-woven bedding is made from dyed llama and alpaca wool. Of course, a stay here is mostly about the excursions, and Kachi's expert guides are on hand to lead expeditions to the dormant Tunupa volcano and nearby archaeological sites. Given its noticeable lack of water and crops, Uyuni hasn’t exactly earned accolades for its cuisine, but Kachi features an offshoot of La Paz-based Gustu—considered one of South America’s best restaurants.

RELATED: 11 Hot Hotels We're Currently Obsessed With

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Exterior of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Lobby at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Exterior spa at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The road 93 beautiful "Icefield Parkway" in Autumn Jasper National park,Canada
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Alberta, Canada

Jonesing for crisp air, rugged landscapes, and maybe even a little snow? Rather than pick a single city, rent a car for a Canadian road trip through autumnal Alberta so you can experience it all—Calgary's diverse culinary scene, Edmonton's contemporary landmarks including the Royal Alberta Museum (which just added a new building late last year), and the province’s crown jewel that is Banff National Park. Deciding on a home base isn’t easy when you have the historic Fairmont Château Lake Louise and Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with either. The first hugs the eastern shore of its namesake lake while the latter is surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks. If you just can’t choose, it's easy to split your stay between the two—they’re less than an hour's drive apart.

Check Prices for Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Lake Louise, Canada

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What to Wear this Fall

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