So, you’re looking for the best places to sail in October? We can only discern that you’re putting together a seafaring adventure in the fall months. Great choice! It’s actually one of the best times for it, what with Europe’s southern jewels offering uncrowded beaches and some more tropical spots also coming into their own.
This guide will highlight just seven places that we think all would-be skippers should consider when it’s time to wave goodbye to the summer. They’re places that promise clement climates, fine sailing conditions, and a whole load more.
The good news is that there are plenty of contenders for the best places to sail in October. You’ve got distant Pacific paradises for the honeymoon sailors and traditional Greek island groups, but also famous stretches of Italian coastline and Balkan archipelagos where you can toast your journeys with a shot of homemade rakija.
The Saronic Gulf, Greece
Shh! Don’t tell anyone but Greece stays pretty darn warm until late into the year. October can see regular thermometer readings of 77 F (25 C) at midday in the home of the dancing Zorba. What’s more, all the summer crowds seem to pack up and leave for home by the end of August, rendering many of the beaches and islands nice and peaceful and quiet.
That also translates to fewer boats in the water, which means you can come to make the most of what’s arguably the finest sailing region in the whole of Greece: The Saronic Gulf. Spreading out to meet the Peloponnese and the top of the Aegean Sea from the side of Athens, this region is both accessible but rich with sailing heritage.
There’s a ready-made set of islands to visit as you leave behind the shadow of the Acropolis. First, pull into Aegina to devour grilled octopus in olive oil and lemon juice. Then, sail to Poros to see the sunset over a charming harbor. Finally, end up in Hydra or Spetses. They are both rugged, rocky islands with some of the clearest snorkeling waters this side of the Maldives.
We’d pick out Dalmatia as one of the best places to sail in October in Europe if you’re planning on pulling up the anchor towards the start of the month. Why? Well, this one’s just a touch too far north to be able to guarantee the most clement conditions for swimming and sailing late into the fall.
It can guarantee one of the world’s top sailing regions, though. Cue Dalmatia. Spread between countless islands in the Adriatic Sea and the mountain-carved mainland, it’s the home of legendary yachter pitstops like Hvar (which will be winding down from its summer hedonism in October) and beach havens like Brac (which should be way emptier than in August).
Probably the best start point for a sailing trip to Dalmatia is the UNESCO-tagged town of Split. Sightseeing there in the early fall will mean you get to see the ancient Roman center without the hordes of photo takers. It’s also conveniently placed near some of the top islands and the lovely Makarska Riviera.
The Turquoise Coast, Turkey
As with Greece, highs of 77+ are normal along the stunning shores of southern Turkey well into the fall. October also boasts an average of 11 hours of sunshine each day and the sea temperature is riding high at 73.4 F (23 C) – that’s half a hot tub, don’t you know? So, you’ll have the climate, but what about the sailing?
Well…it’s fantastic, that’s what. In fact, there’s an argument to say that Turkey is the sailing mecca of the whole Mediterranean. Still, we’d actually recommend steering clear of the bigger towns of Bodrum and Marmaris in favor of the idyllic Turquoise Coast. It’s a bend in the Aegean shoreline that runs between Fethiye and Antalya and it’s downright wonderful…
It’s where the eye-watering lagoon beaches of Oludeniz combine with the ancient trekking paths of the Lycian Way, historic ruins in Kas town meet the picture-perfect snorkel coves of Koyu. Basically, you’ll never get bored cruising here if you like the vibes of south Europe. Perhaps do it all on a traditional Turkish Gulet for added character?
The Granitic Seychelles, Seychelles
October is a perfect time to whiz across the waters of the Indian Ocean between the idyllic isles of the Seychelles. Average rainfall might be on an uptrend in this part of the world, but temperatures are still an uber-pleasant 82 F (28 C) for much of the month. On top of that, this mid-fall period is widely considered the best for snorkeling and diving, since it’s got the best underwater visibility.
There are actually four separate groups of Seychelles islands spread across nearly 600 miles of saltwater. However, the vast majority of the sailing here happens in what’s known as the Granitic Seychelles. They’re the northernmost group, and by far the most appealing if you ask us.
The central clutch of Granitic Seychelles includes uber-famous paradise islands like Mahe and Grand Anse. They’re all 30-40 miles apart, which makes them a doozy for sailing itineraries. Highlights would include the snorkel and palm-threaded haven of Cote d’Or Beach and the boulder-dotted sands of La Digue.
The Whitsundays, Australia
The jewel of the Queensland coast is a patchwork of sugar-white sandbars and tropical lagoons that pokes out from the Conway Forest and into the glistening coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef. Welcome to the Whitsundays – a land that really has to be seen to be believed.
The good news is that October is considered the best time of year to sail in this amazing clutch of 74 rocks at the end of the Coral Sea. Temperatures climb steadily to a neat 80 F (around 27 C) and there are reliable trade winds that can get you skimming and cruising at up to 15 knots.
It’s worth knowing about the major islands so you can track down the most common anchorage points. They include Hamilton, which actually hosts one of Oz’s premier yachting festivals in August, and Whitsunday Island, which has the most famous beach of the bunch: Whitehaven.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
There’s as much consistency to the trade winds that breeze across these exotic isles in the Pacific as you could ask for. They come easterly and billow in to allow speeds of 15-20 knots, combining with a good shoulder-season climate that has lots of sun and just some rain. Thing is, it’s not the peak, peak season, and that means lower rates for everything from flights to boat charters.
Tahiti’s capital of Papeete is the main place to sort your ride. Then, the whole island is your playground. Sail its circumference to find yourself gawping up at the jagged tops of Mount ‘Orohena, whizzing by black-sand beaches like Taharuu, and skimming reef-ringed paradises like Plage Vaiava.
Of course, Tahiti could just be the beginning of your sailing adventure in this part of the world. It’s but one island among many that make up French Polynesia. At least one of the others, you might just have heard of: Bora Bora, which plenty say is the most beautiful spot on the globe!
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Amalfi is a place that’s sure to take the breath away. It’s a montage of lush, green mountains that lurch straight out of the Tyrrhenian Sea, sometimes terraced with ancient citrus groves, other times glinting with the reds, yellows, and ochres of handsome port towns. Many travelers opt to drive, but the real jet-setter way to take it all in is on the water.
October is also a doozy for escaping the crowds. You see, Amalfi can be heaving with bodies in the midsummer, and it costs a whole load more. The downside? The weather isn’t 100% guaranteed – there are some downpours and some days where sailing is off the menu. Perhaps use them to devour your way through Naples’s famous pizzas?
We like an Amalfi Coast itinerary that moves north to south from Sorrento, through Positano and Laurito, and then onto the finisher of Amalfi itself. Make a detour to Capri along the way. It’s got villas built by Roman emperors and trattoria serving up some of the best seafood in all of Italy.
Best places to sail in October – our conclusion
From the stunning Amalfi Coast of southern Italy to the taverna-dotted shores of the Greek islands, all the way to the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, this guide to the best places to sail in October has you covered for those fall-time water adventures. We recommend these spots on account of their prime sailing conditions, but also for their climates and the abundance of anchorages and things to see when you take to the H2O.