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Where to get the last of the summer sun in Europe

Going away in late summer has its advantages. Kids go back to school so resorts are quieter and prices tend to drop. Luckily, if you're hoping to go away in or September or October , you can still find plenty of places just a short hop away where sunny days are the rule rather than the exception, and temperatures are clement or even hot. Here are 10 ideas – all in Europe – for your next late summer sun getaway!

  1. Tenerife
  2. Marbella
  3. Malta
  4. French Riviera
  5. Sicily 
  6. Algarve
  7. Crete
  8. Croatia
  9. Majorca
  10. Azores

1. Tenerife

In Tenerife, you can expect temperatures in the high 20s throughout the summer, even in September. It’s still warm enough to take a dip in the sea and sunbathe on one of the island's many glorious beaches. What's more, even popular beaches like Playa de la Tejita and those in resorts such as Playa de las Américas are not as busy as at the height of summer. September and October are also ideal times to explore the island as the temperatures aren’t unbearably hot. This is the perfect time to hike the Masca Gorge, explore the volcanic landscape of Teide National Park or take a whale watching trip in search of pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins and, if you're really lucky, sperm whales! 

Weather in September: average high: 27°C / low: 21°C.

Weather in October: average high: 26°C / low: 20°C.

2. Marbella

Tucked in front of the Sierra Blanca mountains, Marbella's beaches, palm-fringed promenades and quaint Old Town are picture-perfect. Exploring the Old Town, with its Moorish roots, is a must, and the Plaza de los Naranjos is the ideal starting point. On hot days, try a stroll in the 18th-century Paseo de La Alameda park near the seafront. Then, of course, there are the beaches: Playa de la Fontanilla is the closest to the Old Town. If you prefer golf to lounging on a beach, you're in luck: try Marbella Golf Country Club for a picturesque spot with some challenging golf. Finally, if you hanker after the jet-set lifestyle – or at least want to dine in some of the same restaurants, head for the marina of Puerto Banús. 

Weather in September: average high: 28°C / low: 19°C.

Weather in October: average high: 24°C / low: 15°C.

3. Malta

Malta is an island that is best explored on foot, and late summer is the perfect time to do just that. Not only is it a little cooler but flowers are starting to bloom again. Marfa Ridge, in the north, with its breathtaking views across Mellieħa Bay is a popular walk, although you'll need sturdy footwear. Alternatively, in the south west, there's Siġġiewi, a walk that takes in a natural swimming hole at Għar Lapsi. Even the capital, Valletta, is a rewarding place for a ramble. However, make time for a visit to Mdina, the island's former capital and its highest point. And, if you can, take a boat trip to nearby Gozo, known for its lush vegetation and beautiful beaches.

Weather in September: average high: 28°C / low: 20°C.

Weather in October: average high: 25°C / low: 17°C.

4. French Riviera

For some old-fashioned glamour, nothing beats a trip to the French Riviera or, as the French call it, the Côte d’Azur. There's Nice, with its excellent shopping and dining facilities, the famous Promenade des Anglais, and plenty of lively nightlife. Then there's Cannes, now a far cry from its origins as a tranquil fishing village, Antibes (don't miss the Musée Picasso), and the cobbled streets, beach clubs and yachts of St. Tropez. Keen drivers may want to test themselves on the hairpin bends of the very scenic Corniche de l'Estérel on the Golden Coast (Corniche d’Or), which runs for 20 miles between Fréjus and Mandelieu-La Napoule. Finally, there's Monaco, famous for its casinos and yachts. Head to the port for a drink  –  this is the perfect place for people-watching and taking in the true luxury of this city-state.

Weather in September: average high: 26°C / low: 15°C.

Weather in October: average high: 21°C / low: 11°C.

5. Sicily

The slightly cooler temperatures of September and October in Sicily are just right for hiking some of the trails on Mount Etna. Alternatively, if you're not feeling up for that, take a cable car up the volcano's slopes to enjoy the panoramic views. Closer to sea level, the Valley of the Temples, which includes the Temple of Concordia that inspired the UNESCO symbol, and Villa Romana del Casale, with its mosaics of women exercising, are both well worth visiting. Of course, you'll also want to spend time on the sandy beaches. Try Cefalù, famous for the filming of ‘Cinema Paradiso’  or the WWF reserve at Mazzarò Bay. And no Sicilian holiday could be complete without enjoying some granita, the most refreshing ice dessert.

Weather in September: average high: 21°C / low: 15°C.

Weather in October: average high: 17°C / low: 12°C.

6. Algarve

Experienced surfers really rate the Algarve at this time of year. If that's you, surfing beaches to check out include Faro and Arrifana. And, if you're a beginner, you should also be able to find surf schools happy to teach you the basics. Golf is another popular activity, and Monte Rei and Penina are just two of the many excellent courses. If you're a hiker, the Vicentine Route is a great way to enjoy the seascape and get some exercise. After a good workout, the thermal baths in the Serra de Monchique are a must to relax tired muscles. And don't forget to enjoy time on one of the many beaches. Praia da Falésia is hard to beat, especially at sunset.

Weather in September: average high: 26°C / low: 19°C.

Weather in October: average high: 24°C / low: 18°C.

7. Crete

If you want beaches, Crete has a lot of options. Elafonissi, renowned for its pink and white sands, is perhaps the best known, but other gems include Preveli on the south coast and Vai on the north coast. As appealing as its beaches are, Crete's Minoan heritage also deserves a share of your attention: the Palace of Knossos, reputed to have been King Minos' palace, is the top attraction. The nearby island of Spinalonga – once a leper colony – represents more recent history. Then there's Kritsa, a hillside village that's known for its skilled artisans. Here you can buy traditional crafts, including ceramics and leather goods.

Weather in September: average high: 29°C / low: 20°C.

Weather in October: average high: 23°C / low: 17°C.

8. Croatia

Whether you want a city break or something more outdoorsy, Croatia offers both. If you're leaning towards a city break, there's Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast, with its impressive city walls and medieval old town. As a bonus, you're likely to find that the sea is still warm enough for a dip. Alternatively, what about the capital, Zagreb, with its splendid neoclassical architecture? A visit to Zagreb also combines well with a trip to Krka National Park, which offers excellent hiking and some impressive waterfalls. Pula, at the south of the Istrian peninsula, has a 1st century Roman amphitheatre, a nearby national park (Brijuni) and beautiful sandy beaches. Offshore, Pula is also a great spot for snorkelling and diving, especially if you fancy doing so among several shipwrecks.

Weather in September: average high: 26°C / low: 19°C.

Weather in October: average high: 21°C / low: 14°C.

9. Majorca

Late summer is a wonderful time to visit Majorca. The restaurants and other amenities in popular spots like Puerto Pollensa are still open, the sea retains its summer warmth and the slightly lower temperatures make exploring the island a real pleasure. Perhaps you’ll want to visit the tiny village of Deia, the one-time home of Robert Graves, or take the tram to Port de Sóller. Maybe you’ll decide to visit Palma, with its grand seafront cathedral and excellent shopping. Or maybe you’re a cyclist eager to tackle challenging cycling routes in Majorca like Sa Colobra or the road to Cap de Formentor. If you’re after a good beach, try Cala Deià or D'Albercuix Beach.

Weather in September: average high: 28°C / low: 17°C.

Weather in October: average high: 24°C / low: 14°C.

10. Azores

Late summer in the Azores is perfect for whale-watching. Tours run from all the larger islands, including São Jorge and Terceira, and offer an excellent chance to spot some of the 24 or so species that frequent this part of the Atlantic. If you're a diver, the Azores also offers some of the world's best dive sites, like Princess Alice Bank off Pico island. Back on dry land, you'll also have plenty of dramatic landscapes to explore. Sete Cidades on São Miguel is particularly scenic, with a pair of lakes sitting in the middle of a vast caldera. And, with its hot springs and geysers, the Furnas Valley, also on São Miguel, is a great place to explore the volcanic landscape more closely.

Weather in September: average high: 24°C / low: 18°C.

Weather in October: average high: 22°C / low: 16°C.


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