Travelling through Spain in October is always such a special experience. In October, the air smells like autumn leaves, mornings feel really fresh, and the days are shorter. Swallows and swifts have left their eaves and cities, leaving space for starlings. They paint in the air, and their song reminds us that the season has changed. October welcomes autumn in the loveliest ways.
These days where the sun warms us softly, and the dew wakes up early, our hands and feet sometimes feel too cold, just like the memories of the summer days, which seem to have faded in a gentle breeze. Many travellers keep their suitcase in the cellar because they think there is no room for trips anymore.
However, that is certainly not true. Autumn casts a beautiful spell on many places throughout Spain, making room for endless possibilities. One must only have a look at the calendar, pick the date, and pack. Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Andalusia… The possibilities are infinite and an autumn trip in October can easily turn into an unforgettable experience.
In October, this town on the coast of Barcelona becomes a mecca for those who love fantasy films. Hence, one can attend a series of galas and premieres there, or just go for a stroll and walk by the different screening points scattered through the town centre. There is even one dedicated to children, which comes in handy if the traveller should make a family trip with kids.
From October 6th to 16th, we can smell a celluloid scent in Sitges. Nevertheless, the cameras will not stop rolling. Walking along the Mediterranean Sea, and enjoying the atmosphere of this lovely coastal town, is only the beginning. The next scene will perhaps take us to the sculpture of the mermaid or the parish of Sant Bartolomeu i Santa Tecla. After that, we shall visit the old town until we reach the square of the town hall; alternatively, we can visit the Cau Ferrat Museum. The sunset awaits us in the closing scene, bordering the seafront promenade up to the gardens of Terramar. Over the beach of La Barra or La Ribera, we shall see written on the stars: “To be continued”.
Autumn dyes Zaragoza, highlighting the beauty of its streets, squares, and gardens. The capital of Aragon gets dressed in russet days, crunchy leaves and golden evenings. The month of October brings music and festivities to the city, honouring the patron saint of Zaragoza: Our Lady of the Pillar. From the 8th to the 16th October, its streets get crowded with lively sounds. Concerts, cultural activities, flower offerings… All these events can be the perfect incentive for planning a nice escapade and visiting a place that has so many great things to offer, including a rich historical heritage and a natural setting where the Ebro plays the leading role. Zaragoza’s wonderful gastronomy also deserves to be praised.
We will start our route through the city by visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, a unique baroque jewel. Not far from there, the Cathedral of the Savior and, next to it, the building called Casa del Deán, will take us on a journey to the Middle Ages. The old town invites us to explore its fascinating history, full of traces from different time periods. The church of Magdalena, the tower of La Zuda, and the palace of La Real Maestranza de Caballería are some of the most interesting spots there. However, we will want to keep walking, and fall under the spell of the dome of the basilica over the Ebro.
Increasingly more people embark on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in autumn. This is perhaps the best time of the year to do so, considering the weather is not too cold yet, and the ways are not that crowded. The Camino de Santiago provides a unique serenity during these days before winter breaks in. The landscape on the way meets an outstanding beauty under the lights of autumn. The rivers and creeks sing louder, playing their enchanting music in front of the colourful forests. The skies are stained with shades of blue and crimson, shapeshifting every few hours. Meanwhile, autumn showers lit up the square of Obradoiro and the beautiful cathedral.
All the ways to Santiago, including the French Way, the Portuguese Way and the Silver Way, are fantastic for visiting in autumn. Our senses will delight at the scent of the moist soil, or the pleasant sound of a crackling fireplace. We will also be able to enjoy the typical gastronomy of the season, full of fresh seasonal ingredients. This time of the year, the tables welcome a variety of warm soups and stews, mushrooms and chestnuts. If there is some time left, we might want to stop by the seafood fair of Fiesta del Marisco that is held in O Grove, Pontevedra, on the first days of October.
In Formentera, October means rest and relaxation. There is a ferry departing from Ibiza which will take us to this natural paradise where autumn brings peace and quiet. The beaches are empty, although the water is still nice and warm, and the sunlight feels just perfect. Moreover, the roads have little traffic and the traveller will be able to calmly explore all paths and routes. The outlines of this island are made of soft beaches and crystalline water, sometimes only inhabited by seagulls. The gorgeous beach of Ses Illetes in the north sneaks in the bright Mediterranean Sea, near Es Pujols and the harbour of La Savina.
The sea beds surrounding Formentera, upholstered by Posidonia oceanica, are an undeniable treasure of the island. In fact, its depths are home to countless species, 8 kilometres between Ses Salines in Ibiza and Es Freus in Formentera which have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Some say that diving into these waters can feel like crossing the gate that separates reality from the land of the dreams.
On the other hand, in the outside world await us wonderful natural landscapes, full of life, history, and the special light of autumn. The cherry on top of this trip might be attending a charity event of the Save Posidonia Project, held from the 7th to the 9th October: music, gastronomy and ecology to raise awareness about the importance of the Posidonia oceanica and sustainable tourism.
In October, Madrid invites us to go for a walk. To stop at a terrace and grab a coffee. To step down the corridors of a museums, stretching the morning till midday. After that, it would be nice to have lunch at the Market of San Miguel before we go to the Buen Retiro Park. There we shall walk for a while, stepping on the brown leaves and admiring the view. We might have some time left for a little sail on the pond boats. Under the gaze of the birds and squirrels, the evening calm will conquer trees and bushes, fountains and trails.
At the end of October, the streets of Madrid become an artistic canvas. Every year, Madrid welcomes the Festival Internacional de la Luz (the “International Festival of the Lights”), where the city becomes an interactive piece of art. From 8pm to 1am, walking through the city turns into the most unique experience. This way, one can admire Madrid’s most emblematic sites through a different lens.
Before that, in the first half of October, Madrid dresses up for the National Day of Spain—or Día de la Hispanidad. The main event is the famous parade of the 12th October, held in Paseo de la Castellana. It is always a good idea to look at the many cultural and literary events happening the week before.
In October, the map of Spain comes alive. Festivals, seasonal gastronomy… Old ways changing their colours, empty beaches, gentle temperatures… Spain is different in October, covered in a new, delicate russet skin. Its lands keep endless possibilities. In Pamplona (Iruña/Iruñea in Basque), they celebrate the week of the Cacuelica and the grape harvests. It is a great opportunity to enjoy the food of the region, like in the Ham Fair of Aracena, Huelva. In contrast to the festive atmosphere of these events, we will find infinite peace in Cabo de Gata, a place surrounded by beaches, trails and reefs, where we might even hear the mermaids sing.
This list could simply go on forever. Countless marks on the map and wonderful destinations adding up to a never-ending wish list. Walking down every path, flying over the islands… Following the streams while the season refuses to change. All in all, a trip in October will always be such a special experience.
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