The i-escape blog / October half term planner 2019 / Nadine Mellor

By Nadine Mellor, i-escape Kids Collection Editor

As the glorious summer holidays come to an end, the canny amongst you will already have your October half-term sorted. For those yet to decide where to go, here are five great suggestions for a brilliant autumn family holiday abroad.

1  Cyprus 

I-escape blog / October half-term holiday planner / Cyprus

Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, and with a long, wrinkled coastline and a cool mountainous interior, the Med’s third-largest island is a great spot for an easy family holiday. The food is delicious, the sea is still warm, and it’s good value to boot.

Resort: Columbia Beach Resort – Superb all-suite spa resort with vast swimming pools, a free kids club, excellent service and watersports galore.

Rental: Modus Vivendi – A collection of well-priced rustic-chic self-catering suites around a sun-drenched swimming pool.

Boutique hotel: Casale Panayiotis – This unique hotel is created across village houses in a historic small town in the Troodos foothills, giving an insight into local Cypriot life.

2  Languedoc

I-escape blog / October half-term holiday planner / Languedoc-Roussillon

Harvest time is a perfect opportunity to explore this beautiful, gourmet-focused countryside, with its wineries, dramatic castles and historic market towns.

Country estate: Villas St Pierre de Serjac – Elegant family villas on a stunning estate with private pools, a bar and restaurant, infinity pool (heated until October), tennis and bikes to borrow.

Mini-resort: Imagine Roussillon – A friendly small resort close to beaches and designed for families, with trampolines, a sand pit, a zip wire, a games barn, 2 heated pools and a free drop-in kids’ club.

Rental: Languedoc Hideaways – Rustic cottages in restored barns overlooking a vineyard valley, with chickens to feed, sociable communal spaces, hammocks for snoozing, and meals on request.

  European city breaks

I-escape blog / October half-term holiday planner / European city breaks

October half-term is a great time for urban adventures. The major European cities are not too sticky nor overcrowded, and they always provide plenty of indoor options if the weather isn’t perfect. Our three current favourites? Barcelona, Florence and Brussels.

Barcelona: Boutique Apartments Barcelona – These chic family apartments are centrally located in a range of locations in Spain’s most dynamic city. You have a great city beach close by, plus lots of museums on your doorstep, including the Museu Picasso which boasts the most extensive collection of Picasso’s works under one roof. The tapas bars are sensational, the shopping is eclectic, and the architecture is awe-inspiring, none more so than Gaudi’s marvellous La Sagrada Familia. 

Florence: Granduomo – A 17th-century townhouse with 6 mini-apartments (or serviced suites) for 2-5, set right on the Piazza del Duomo, and steps from the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Book a horse-drawn carriage for you to explore the birthplace of the Renaissance as it should be explored. We recommend booking tickets in advance for the Uffizi and Accademia.

Brussels: Made in Louise – This boutique hotel in a neoclassical building is a 30-minute walk (or short bus ride) from the superlative Grand Place, considered Europe’s most beautiful city square. Little ones will also love the famous Manneken Pis statue. Don’t miss the Comic Strip Centre (think Tintin), the Magritte museum and the city’s playgrounds. There’s another reason why kids love Brussels: the Belgian specialities of crepes, waffles, meatballs and moules-frites. Plus, the best chocolate in the world!


I-escape blog / October half-term holiday planner / Algarve

Ideal for October half-term, Portugal’s southern shores are blessed with wonderful sandy beaches, charming towns, gorgeous national parks (plus a golf course or two) and a wild, rugged Atlantic coastline to explore – without the busy summer throngs.

Resort: Villas Martinhal Sagres – A chic family-focused resort and spa set above a splendid beach on mainland Europe’s south-westerly tip. There are kids’ clubs for all ages and a creche, plus endless activities including a football academy.

Rural hideaway: Quinta dos Perfumes – A former farm turned tranquil retreat hidden in orange groves near Tavira, with a roof terrace overlooking large gardens, bikes to borrow and a (unheated) saltwater pool.

Country hotel: Octant Vila Monte – This stylish retreat, 30 minutes east of Faro, has family suites, a relaxed farmhouse vibe, lovely landscaped gardens and a heated kids’ pool. There’s a private beach 25 minutes away.


i-escape blog / October half-term holiday planner / Morocco

Sunny and warm but not oppressive, October half term is a popular month in Morocco. This compelling North African country feels delightfully different for Europeans, yet is just a few hours away. If you can, aim for a triple-centre trip comprising vibrant Marrakech, the majestic Atlas Mountains and the easy-going Atlantic coast.

Marrakech: Jnane Tamsna – This luxurious country retreat in the tranquil Palmeraie district is just outside the hustle and bustle of the red city. After marvelling at the souks and snake-charmers in the Djemaa el Fna, take a caleche around the city, ride a camel or visit the stylish oasis of Yves Saint Laurent’s garden. Return to top-notch food, a heated swimming pool and amazing gardens.

Atlas: Kasbah du Toubkal – This sustainably-run hilltop fort has a superlative setting with views over a long valley, from which you can ride donkeys, meet local Berber people in their villages, and trek among the peaks. Family treks are easily arranged.

Atlantic coast: Paradis Plage – We love this surf, spa and yoga all-suite resort set on golden shimmering sands an hour north of Agadir. There’s a terrific surf shack offering beginner lessons, a cool playground and playboat, a free kids’ club, and heated pools. You can ride camels on the beach, and kids’ yoga classes are available. End your active day around the firepit, gazing up at the starry night skies.

For UK suggestions for October half-term see here

Or explore all available options for the half-term week 2022