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The modernist Visitors Centre building in Palm Springs

Where to go in October

Discover autumn’s best events, including an alternative Halloween, a keenly awaited museum opening and a stunning under-the-radar food scene


In some ways, October offers up even more travel potential than summer. With your search for sun now (hopefully) satiated, autumn brings adventure and lesser-travelled-to spots back to the fore, whether you need a recharging mini-break, or still have enough holiday days to invest in a long-haul trip. Fact is, everyone feels better with a break in the diary to look forward to. So, consider this your inspiration for the coming season’s coolest global happenings.

Ruins of the Hell Fire Club’s hunting lodge, Dublin (Alamy)

Experience an alternative Halloween: Dublin

The Irish capital has a certain spooky quality whatever the month – from the Hell Fire Club, an ominous-sounding hunting lodge (now in ruins) that’s allegedly been visited by the devil, to Glasnevin Cemetery, Ireland’s largest burial site, where the ghost of a Newfoundland dog has been spotted since 1861. Whether you scoff or scare easily, one thing’s for certain: Irish author Bram Stoker certainly had no shortage of local inspiration when writing his 1897 masterpiece, Dracula. Today, an annual four-day event from 27-30 October celebrates Stoker’s life – featuring immersive theatre productions, tours around (supposedly) haunted locations, eerie musical performances by renowned composers, light shows and, naturally, all manner of vampire-themed events. If you’re bored of the usual Halloween pumpkin malarkey, it’s time to polish off your plastic fangs.

Delight in Dublin’s spooky side

Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky by Frida Kahlo, 1937 

Support pioneering female creators: Washington, D.C.

The first museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women artists, such as Frida Kahlo, Rosa Bonheur and Louise Bourgeois, reopens on 21 October after a three-year and $67.5m reno. Until now, much of the 6,000-piece collection belonging to Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts has never actually been seen. That’s about to change in October, when expanded galleries, a library and a research centre finally have the physical space to give the pieces the airtime they warrant. The opening exhibition, titled The Sky’s The Limit, will feature ceiling-suspended sculptures and large-scale works by artists including Cornelia Parker, Shinique Smith, Joana Vasconcelos and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Elsewhere in the city, a site will soon be finalised for the creation of the highly awaited American Women’s History Museum – one to note for the future. 

Admire visionary art in Washington, D.C.

Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse in Sagres, Portugal (Adobe Stock)

Spot migratory nature like Attenborough: Algarve

An hour’s drive from Faro airport, the Algarve gets wild. Sagres, on the southwestern tip, is renowned for its unrestrained waters (catnip to experienced surfers), rugged cliffside trails and, in October, migratory birds. From 5-8 October, the largest birdwatching event in Portugal syncs with the moment that many species fly overhead en route to their final destination in Africa. The festival presents the opportunity to spot around 170 bird varieties, including rarities such as the lanner falcon, Rüppell’s vulture and red-breasted flycatcher. Sagres is also the only place in the world where white storks nest on cliff faces. As well as twitching, there will be more than 200 other activities, such as boat trips to view dolphins, guided tours and talks on archaeology and geology. Registration opens on 1 August.

Get twitching in the Algarve

Limestone statue of Ramses II at the new Grand Egyptian Museum (Shutterstock)

Be first inside a cultural icon: Cairo

Bringing a literal translation to the phrase ‘travel gem’, this GEM – the Grand Egyptian Museum – is finally expected to fully open in late October following almost two decades of construction and a wondrous amount of investment (rumoured to top $1bn). From March, pre-launch visitors got a peek at what will become the world’s largest archaeological museum dedicated to a single civilisation – but access was limited to the Grand Hall and its 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II, plus the gift shop. The full reveal will be on a more mind-expanding scale: around 100,000 artefacts. Of those, more than 4,500 hail from Tutankhamun’s tomb and will be displayed together for the first time since the burial site’s discovery in 1922. The museum’s location is also much improved on earlier iterations. It’s just over a mile from the Pyramids, with the metro expanded to reach it.

Discover ancient Egyptian treasures

Szechuan pepper choux, white barley butter and hay praline, rowan berry gummy, goat’s milk and cacao tempeh at Hiša Franko

Enjoy fine dining on the cheap: Slovenia

Being home to the world’s 32nd best restaurant – Hiša Franko by chef Ana Roš – is no small accomplishment for a country with only two million inhabitants. Slovenia is gaining ever more traction for its culinary kudos: 58 restaurants are now recommended by the Michelin Guide (nine with stars), and October’s Restaurant Week cheerleads that creativity. Over ten days, 108 Slovenian eateries offer three-course menus for no more than €28 – luring in a younger demographic and giving chefs freedom to take their dishes one notch wilder. You won’t find a tastier time to visit – particularly as October coincides with a month-long celebration of traditional Karst cuisine, from the region spanning southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy that’s famed for cured hams (such as pršut), cheese, and red wine made from Teran grapes.

Sate your appetite in Slovenia

Sunnylands, Palm Springs, has welcomed eight US presidents (Sunnylands). Opening image: Palm Springs Visitor Center (Getty)

Get a personal home tour: Palm Springs

From 19-22 October, mid-century addresses across Palm Springs (around 100 miles’ drive from LA) open their doors to architecture aficionados who love a good snoop. Called Modernism Week, its focus is Desert Modernism – the movement, beginning in the 1930s, typified by all-glass walls, flat shed roofs, breezeblock walls, and windows that fling open to outdoor living spaces immersed in the desert lifestyle. Events include a double-decker bus tour with a higher-than-usual vantage point of buildings, such as William Krisel’s House of Tomorrow and Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House. You can even visit E Stewart Williams’ Twin Palms estate, whose former resident was Frank Sinatra, and Frey House II by Albert Frey. There are also architectural walking and cycling tours, expert talks, and access to art dealers. Tickets on sale from 1 August.

Discover design in California

Rising Australian star Milku plays at South by Southwest Sydney’s launch party

Attend the world’s most forward-thinking festival: Sydney

For the first time in South by Southwest festival’s (SXSW) 36-year history, it leaves its base in Austin, Texas, to go on tour. Destination: Sydney. Promising innovator-driven tech and gaming events, showcases of up-and-coming music acts, film screenings and the potential for attendees to network among career-changing disruptors, more than 1,000 events are planned from 15-22 October. Speakers include Saudi activist and cyber security specialist Manal al-Sharif, futurist Amy Webb, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki (formerly of Apple); and Netflix ANZ’s content director Que Minh Luu. SXSW Sydney hype has snowballed launches around the city: Australia’s first Soho House is now slated for Sydney’s Darlinghurst neighbourhood, W Sydney opens at Darling Harbour in October, while the Opera House just welcomed a new restaurant, Midden, by esteemed Indigenous chef Mark Olive. 

Spark your inner innovator in Sydney