Go polar bear watching in Canada this November

Fancy something a bit different this November? How about going on a king crab safari in Norway or hitting the beach in Albania? We’ve picked out six incredible experiences to spice up your November bucket list.

For beach bums…

Short haul: Ksamil Beach, Albania

That’s it, snigger away at the term Albanian Riviera, everyone else will. But once your grins and giggles dwindle, you’re looking at a run of 610km (370 miles) of beaches and islands, plus the last drops of orange Adriatic sunshine.

Few have heard of Ksamil Beach, Albania's hidden gemFew have heard of Ksamil Beach, Albania's hidden gem
Creative Commons / Artur Malinowski

While the temperatures don’t soar in November (they pitch in around 20°C/68°F), the prices drop, so you’re even more likely to get the gems of the Ksamil coast to yourself. Explore its golden coves and Barbadian blues, and make the most of the heavenly tangerines, lemons and olives that grow here in abundance.

If you want to get more adventurous, head inland to the bright Blue Eye spring near Saranda for some incredible wild swimming and copious Instagram opportunities.

Long haul: Cocos Keeling Islands, Australia

Before you believe that all the best desert islands have been bought up by business barons intent on filling soft sandy shores with spas, signature chefs and suspicious cotton slacks, consider Cocos Keeling Islands in Australia.

Cocos Keeling Islands: paradise personifiedCocos Keeling Islands: paradise personified
Cocos Keeling Islands

This quaint coral atoll, some 2,750km (1,708 miles) from Perth, Australia is paradise personified with uninhabited islands, gleaming turquoise tides, soft swooshing shoreline and hammocks hidden between palm trees.

If bathing, bronzing and book reading aren’t your beach bag, its diving and snorkelling take in everything from reefs to wrecks. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are among the aqua adrenaline activities on offer too, but frankly, the splendour and serenity should be enough.


For city slickers…

Short haul: Berlin, Germany

Famous for its thriving art scene and racy nightlife, Berlin is a cool city any time of year, but a visit this November is guaranteed to feel extra special, as the city marks the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Visit Berlin this November to see the symbolic lights wallVisit Berlin this November to see this symbolic lights wall
Kulturprojekte Berlin WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder

A symbolic ‘Lichtgrenze’ light installation made of some 8,000 illuminated balloons will be the poignant highlight over the weekend of 7-9 November, tracing a 15km (9.5-mile) segment of the former course of the Wall that once divided the city in two.

Round off your weekend with a rooftop drink at new locals’ favourite Monkey Bar, on top of the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin (Budapester Strasse 40) in newly hip West Berlin.

Long haul: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Heading to Southeast Asia this November? Whatever your plans, don’t miss Chiang Mai’s spectacular Yi Peng Lantern Festival on the evening of the full moon (6 November). One of the best spots to watch the spectacle unfold is on the banks of the River Ping where thousands of people cast their fortunes by releasing paper lanterns into the night sky.

If you hang around after crowds have dispersed, you’ll get to see the monks release their own lanterns.

Throw in fireworks, parades, music, street entertainment and delicious street food, and you’ve got one truly unforgettable experience everyone should add to their bucket list.


For thrillseekers…

Short haul: Finnmark, Norway

Have a taste for the unusual? Don’t mind working for your supper? Then try slipping beneath the subarctic waters of Norway in the middle of November, when daring divers will be rewarded for their bravery with an abundance of delicious king crabs.

Catch, cook and quaff delicious king crabs in FinnmarkCatch, cook and quaff delicious king crabs in Finnmark
Terje Rakke / Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

These enormous crustaceans were introduced to neighbouring Russia by the Soviets in the 1960s and have since spread like wildfire along the coast of Finnmark in northeast Norway.

Weighing up to 15kg, the crabs are the star attraction in this Norwegian outpost, where certified scuba divers can join professionals in catching, cooking and quaffing them aboard the tourist boats that ply these waters.

Long haul: Churchill, Canada

The “polar bear capital of the world” certainly has the goods to back up its claims. The small, subarctic town in northern Canada attracts wildlife enthusiasts from around the world come November, when the local bears emerge from their summer slumber and wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over.

Mums and cubs can be spotted frolicking in the snowMums and cubs can be spotted frolicking in the snow
iStock / Thinkstock

The best time to spot these magnificent beasts is late October and early November, when mums and cubs can be spotted frolicking in the snow and young adults can be seen sparring in preparation for the hunting season.

The arrival of the snow also signals the start of dog sledding season, which tourists can experience on the frozen tundra surrounding Churchill.


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Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.