My boyfriend and I have a week of vacation this October, and we want to go somewhere where we can experience a lot of beautiful nature and outdoor adventures, but we would rather not have too much rain or cold! We were thinking about Iceland, but I've heard weather tends to be quite unstable there in this period, and we want to see the place at its best :) Anyone have any recommendations? We live in Scandinavia, and can't travel too far from Europe in this short week!
I HIGHLY recommend Iceland, weather there is always a tid bit unpredictable but it won't yet be to cold in October. I went in January was outdoor all the time, you'll be fine :)
Other options North to South:
Bavaria. Indeed it will be Octoberfest season (an adventure in itself ;) but there is excellent hiking around Munich and excellent small rural towns to explore. Try the areas around Lakes Starnberg and Tegern or, for real stunning seclusion, Königssee i
Turkey. A bit of a different option but may be worth looking at the outdoor activities (including hiking, horseback ridding, balooning, etc) in Cappadocia.
Croatia. The Dalmatia Coast will still be warm but much less prone to tourists in October. Croatia holds a tone of options for nature lovers, from the Plitvice Lakes National Park to Dubrovnik and the Elaphit Islands.
The Dalmatian coast has the added advantages of great winneries to visit on your downtime and very easy access to Montenegro, another great outdoor destination.
Italy is a surprisingly great country for outdoor adventure type activities. Sicily leads the way on my list, with excellent hiking, sea and sun...plus the added fun of a volcano. I recently discovered Matera and Murcia canyon hiking in the southern province of Basilicata. In the North, the Dolomiti mountain range is a great option and Lake Garda near Milan offers both water sports, hiking and other adrenaline filled activities.
I just returned from the Ardeche in France and cannot recommend it more highly. This area is famous for beautiful gorges where kayaking, rafting rock climbing and hiking are widely available. The province is next to Provence in the south of the country so also very picturesque and warm. I stayed in Vals le Bains at the Pavillon Kalensa, highly recommend it... albeit you need a car to get around.
Portugal is also a great country to look for warm outdoor activities in the Autumn. The Alentejo is one of my favourite regions in Europe but you can also visit the mid-Atlantic coast near Aveiro, Obidos and the Berlengas Island. The place I would most recommend the most though is Madeira, an amazing volcanic island with incredible hiking and water sports. It is sure to still be sunny there too!
Good luck planning, I hope you find the perfect break spot!
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Have you thought about Scotland? I really love the Highlands because the nature is beautiful. You can do quite a lot of hiking and biking and mushroom picking around that time of the year. Unfortunately there is not good weather guarantee in October but I've had warm and sunny days in fall in Scotland.
If you can go a bit further south, France and the Bretagne are awesome too. You can visit Mont Saint-Michel, eat lots of cheese and have good wine and do beautiful walks at the coast.
One of my favorite country to visit in Europe is Italy and I am pretty sure that you will have some warm and sunny days there in October. Tuscany is awesome and one of the most romantic places in Europe. You can do wine tasting tours, cooking courses and driving from village to village in a convertible. But I also really enjoyed Sicily and Capri, Italy which are great for some relaxed atmosphere, good food and nice beaches.
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Consider Pau in the French Pyrenees. Great skiing, hiking. And lots of wild places that our never too far from rustic civilization.