While many families have decided against going abroad this summer, there are still lots of reasons to get excited about what’s in store for October half term. With a number of tour operators offering special discounts and some countries even promising to subsidise travel, there are more than enough excuses to hop overseas and make up for those lost days of sunshine later in the year. Here are our top picks of where to go this October half term
Everyone knows that Spain is the top choice for a family holiday in the summer, but as the cooler weather begins to creep in during the autumn months, it becomes markedly quieter. That's not to say that it's any less appealing. In fact, fewer tourists usually mean more space at hotels, less crowded beaches and booking-free tables at restaurants. It offers a more authentic experience, where you are more likely to brush shoulders with a friendly local than you are a fellow holidaymaker, and staff are considerably more relaxed.
For year-round sunshine, gorgeous beaches and bags of culture, the city of Málaga on the fabled Costa del Sol is a must. Not only is it home to some of the country's most attractive stretches of coastline, warm azure waters and powdery white sand, it is also the birthplace of Spain's most revered artist - Pablo Picasso - to whom homage is paid at the hugely impressive Museo Picasso featuring more than 4,000 pieces of his work.
Average temperature in October: 23 degrees Celsius
Steeped in history, blessed with sunshine and spoiled when it comes to food, Greece has long been a firm family favourite. Like all of Europe, temperatures drop as summer turns to autumn, but miraculously the sea retains its heat, making days on the beach a joy - the only difference being that there are fewer people to contend with for a spot on the sand. As a country that prides itself on its water sports, October is also a great month to visit to guarantee the availability equipment, whether paddleboarding, snorkelling or sea kayaking.
The island of Crete is a top choice for families looking to enjoy a range of activities without the stifling heat that comes with summer. Its collection of luscious green hills provide the perfect environment for a mountain biking adventure, while hiking in the cavernous Samaria Gorge is the ultimate opportunity to discover Greece's raw beauty.
Average temperature in October: 22 degrees Celsius
In Europe, you'd be hardpressed to find a more idyllic island than Malta. And in October, you'll have it pretty much all to yourself, as its typically packed beaches suddenly become bereft of tourists and the usual hubbub of holidaymakers is replaced by the gentle sound of gin-clear water lapping golden shores. Yet Malta's appeal isn't solely focused on its coastline; the island boasts a rich and intriguing history, visible in its hilltop towns, crumbling forts and striking architecture.
Just a stone's throw away from Malta is the equally impressive island of Gozo, perhaps most well-known for its immaculately-restored heritage farmhouses that have been converted into family self-catering villas and made even more attractive by their year-round availability. Prices plummet following the end of summer.
Average temperature in October: 25 degrees Celsius
Despite covering an area of just 800 square kilometres, Lanzarote manages to pack in a startling amount of things to see and do for families. Upbeat towns full of smiling locals provide the base for a holiday filled with scrumptious meals out, informative trips around museums and sun-soaked days on the beach. More recently, it has put itself on the map as a destination for art lovers, in no small part thanks to the influence of Cesar Manrique, a local artist of international renown who has left his mark on the island through a series of beguiling sculptures.
Unfortunately, it's no secret that Lanzarote is a year-round destination, which means tourist numbers remain consistently high during the colder months. However, if anything it gives an island that has a population little over 150,000 a more interesting and buzzy vibe than it would otherwise have, making for a fun family holiday.
Average temperature in October: 26 degrees Celsius
Turkey is an enchanting world of water parks, street markets, exquisite food and glistening beaches. It is a melting pot of different cultures and boasts a history as colourful as the spices used in its delectable array of dishes. While you can be forgiven for wanting nothing more than to while away your days lounging on the pearlescent white sand and swimming in the warm sapphire water, there is so much to explore in Turkey, from ancient sunken ruins to stalagmite-filled caves.
Dalaman is the jewel in the crown for winter sun thanks to its clement weather, child-friendly resorts and bustling town centre. It hugs a glorious stretch of coastline, yet is perhaps most famous for its rejuvenating mud baths, which offer a fun-filled family day out.
Average temperature in October: 25 degrees Celsius
Despite being separated from Spain by just a short stretch of water, Morocco is a completely different world, with a distinct and beguiling culture, a rich history and a set of traditions as old as its golden shores. Its coastline is 1,000 miles long and is littered with gorgeous beaches, charming little fishing towns and spotless family-friendly resorts.
By October, the stifling summer temperatures have long passed, ushering in a far more bearable climate that allows for top-to-bottom exploration of the country and days spent reclining on the sandy beaches.
Average temperature in October: 28 degrees Celsius