Bears, birds, fetlocks, volcanoes – October is the month to get wild on your trips
Be with the bears
Why go? No, it’s not your typical last-minute jaunt, but do hotfoot it to Churchill, Manitoba if you can! In October the town’s abuzz with polar bears, which are moving from their summer home on the tundra back to icy Hudson Bay. The so-called Polar Bear Capital of the World, Churchill is one of the few human settlements where bears can be viewed in the wild.
Where to stay: Built on mobile platforms, the Tundra Lodge (greatwhitebeartours.com) is close by the shore of Hudson Bay. Its polar bear day tours cost C$400 (£250) pp.
Getting there: Air Canada flies London-Winnipeg from around £850rtn. Internal flights connect to Churchill.
Why go? A bird watcher’s paradise, Hortobagy National Park in eastern Hungary hosts 100,000 migrating cranes at the end of October: around 5,000 common cranes flock to the park each day before continuing their journey to North Africa. The best time to catch the cranes is at dusk – settle on a grassy mound and watch as the birds fly in to roost. For park entry times and prices, see www.hnp.hu.
Where to stay: Club Hotel Hortobagy sits in the heart of the park; doubles from €83 (£71).
Take the ultimate ride
Why go? Saddle up to see 1,000 free-running Icelandic horses being herded from the highland moors to the lowland valleys, at the annual horse round-up in Víðidalur in early October. The tradition, which dates back to Viking times, only takes place in the country’s north-west. Fly to Iceland with WOW Air: the airline has launched a guide detailing where to sit on the plane to get the best aerial views.
Where to stay: Immerse yourself completely and stay on a local farm. The Farmers Association of Iceland publishes info about participating venues (www.bondi.is/english). Many include riding tours and food in the price.
Getting there: WOW Air flies London to Reykjavík from around £143rtn.
Hike an active volcano
Why go? Pull on your trekking boots and take advantage of new flights to the little-known
area of Clark, 80km north of the Philippines’ capital Manila. The city’s a great base for exploring Mount Pinatubo, one of the Philippines’ biggest volcanoes. Take a guided trek through the eruption-ravaged terrain to the lip of the crater and its views of the sparkling blue sulphur lake. In Clark itself, there are plenty of historical buildings reflecting the town’s US military history.
Where to stay: The Dollhouse Hotel, just outside Clark, offers comfy if-bright doubles from £51pn.
Getting there: Emirates fly London to Clark via Dubai from 1 Oct. Prices from £497rtn.