From surfing in Morocco to trekking in the Galapagos Islands, here's a look at the best places to travel this Autumn
Where to go when: Autumn 2017
The small harbour-side city of Paphos is a delight to visit in October, when most summer visitors have returned home. As the temperatures dip closer to 25°C rather than 30°C, it is possible to explore the ancient architecture and rich landscape without overheating, while it remains warm enough to enjoy swimming at its many beaches.
This year there is the added bonus that the city has been awarded the joint European Capital of Culture for 2017 (a title shared with Denmark’s Aarhus). The entire city has been scrubbed up in a bid to create an “open-air factory of culture” and a bustling programme of art, theatre, photography and lectures is scheduled throughout October. This includes performances from the pioneering Rimini Protokoll theatre group and a street art festival, in which street artists from all around the world gather to create their works on the walls of Paphos. Stay at Almyra, a member of Design Hotels; rooms cost from Dh350 per night including taxes.
Etihad flies to Larnaca from Abu Dhabi return from Dh3,110, including taxes and Emirates flies from Dubai return from Dh2,070, including taxes
Known as the “Wind City of Africa”, Essaouira in Morocco is a must-do in October for surfing, kite-surfing and wind-surfing enthusiasts. There’s also a Unesco-listed 18th-century medina, art galleries and boutiques.
This relaxed vibe, mixed with the local boast that Jimi Hendrix is said to have written Castles Made of Sand about the city, has helped incubate its currently hip reputation.
Cementing this image, between October 12 and 15, the electronic music festival MOGA returns to the city after debuting in 2016. A three-day ticket costs £92 (Dh437), or you can book through festicket.com to secure your tickets and a stay at the on-site five-star villas at the Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa from Dh,6990), booking fee not included.
For surfing, the new Amouage by Surf Maroc costs from Dh2,800 for a week including accommodation, transfers from Rabat, lessons and some meals. Essaouira is also just 170km from Marrakech, a couple of hour’s drive.
Etihad flies direct from Abu Dhabi to Rabat from Dh2,810 return, including taxes
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Perfect weather with average daily highs of around 25°C s is almost guaranteed in October as the island emerges from its slightly cool winter and is the country’s driest month.
As it’s springtime, the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens should be visited to see the array of flowers coming into bloom as well as the giant tortoises, deer and birds that emerge.
Most of the island’s 330km of coastline is open to the public, and there are plenty of safe, shallow waters suitable for families, including Blue Bay Marine Park.
While the legendary One&Only Le Saint Géran resort will be open by the end of the year after a full refurbishment, for the ultimate indulgence try the new Shanti Sleep Package at the Shanti Maurice, from Dh13,000 for five nights including accommodation and a host of treatments.
Mauritius is a 6.5 hour flight from the UAE. Emirates and Air Mauritius fly direct from Dubai to Mauritius from Dh3,820, including taxes. Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi via the Seychelles from Dh3,530, including taxes
If you’re looking for something memorable, Pushkar’s camel fair in early November will certainly fit the bill. There’s a camel beauty contest and a race, as well as snake charmers, fortune-tellers, dancers, musicians, magicians and a chance to browse the market stalls.
An important sacred area, there are hundreds of temples to visit; the most famous and one of the most beautiful is the colourful Brahma Temple located near the lake. A must-see during your visit, the Man Mahal palace is a magnificent example of the Rajasthani architecture. Entry is free.
In Jaipur rooms at the 300-year-old Samode Haveli cost from Dh900 per night.
Etihad flies direct from Abu Dhabi to Jaipur Dh974 return, including taxes
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The land that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands really are like nowhere else.
Trekking across the islands, you’ll encounter lava formations, cactus forests, white beaches, clear waters and, of course, a plethora of different wild animals. Land and sea mammals are at their most active in November, which is just before the peak season takes off.
The weather is calmer than in the previous months and reservations on boats and tours aren’t as likely to be booked up months in advance. This is important because the only way to visit the island is by arriving by a live-on boat, the most luxurious of which is the MV Origin with Pura Aventura; from Dh25,000 per person for a week.
The islands’ first luxury hotel is the Pikaia Lodge Galapagos; rooms cost from Dh7,500 per night.
Emirates flies to Quito via New York from Dh6,680 return, including taxes
Spring time brings temperatures of around 18 degrees. The North Island offers thermal hotspots, beaches and volcanos, while the larger South offers mountains, lakes, fiords and more opportunities to see wildlife.
Lord of the Rings fan or not, a trip to Hobbiton Film Set is recommended while in New Zealand. The iconic round-door houses teamed with the charming bluebells of spring make for some great photos.
Spring is known as ‘waterfall season’ in New Zealand, which makes it imperative for tourists to visit Milford Sound, which was described by Rudyard Kipling as the “eighth wonder of the world”.
Sports fans will be able to book tickets for the quarter finals of the Rugby League World Cup 2017 which New Zealand is co-hosting. It will be held on November 18 in Wellington, known for its lively urban vibe.
Emirates flies direct to Auckland from Dh6,510 return, including taxes