September will be here quicker than you think, and is traditionally the start of bargain season, with kids going back to school and lower demand leading to discounted packages.
When travellers’ thoughts start to turn to more exotic, faraway destinations, it’s worth remembering that many of the destinations we flock to in southern Europe still benefit from long sunshine hours and temperatures well into the twenties throughout September and October, possibly even November. The advantages of a late summer break aren’t limited to great weather and low prices.
The end of high season also means that those seeking a relaxing or cultural break will be able to do so without having to battle through hordes of travellers, fight for beach space or be surrounded by noisy children.
There’s a bumper crop of late deals and offers for the savvy holidaymaker to take advantage of, so start planning and get booking with our guide to the ten best Mediterranean destinations for late summer sun this year.
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
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A spectacular jagged coastline dotted with beautiful offshore islands has made the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. Many will find it hard to leave Dubrovnik after flying in to the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, a jaw-droppingly beautiful city with its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture surrounded by a remarkable medieval wall. The shady plazas, museums, monasteries and churches – not mention a scintillating nightlife scene and some of the finest restaurants in Croatia – can keep visitors entertained for weeks.
Looking further afield, you’ll find secluded coves and sandy beaches on Korčula, an island that boasts a medieval old town that’s like a miniature Dubrovnik. On the ferry route between the two is Mljet, a long, narrow island that boasts a national park of lush green pine forests and lakes along with excellent olives, wine and goats’ cheese, while the Elaphite Islands are an even shorter hop from Dubrovnik.
Majorca, Balearics, Spain
With temperatures remaining above 20C well into October, Majorca is a great choice for topping up your tan before winter. The soaring Serra de Tramuntana Mountains dominate the north-west coast, forming an impressive backdrop to a region of pine forests, olive groves and traditional villages. This is a great area for hiking and cycling – especially in the autumn when temperatures are less fierce.
For the best beaches, head to the north and east of the island. The tiny coastal resort of Puerto de Soller offers seclusion and tranquillity in a traditional fishing village, while those after a vibrant nightlife scene should consider Cala Millor.
A kaleidoscope of Greek and Turkish, East and West, Cyprus is a mix of cultural influences and traditions. Whether you’re after the end of season clubbing in Ayia Napa, or looking to take a jeep high into the lofty Troodos Mountains that dominate the island’s interior, you’ll find something for you here.
Medieval castles, ancient Greco-Roman amphitheatres, the Paphos Mosaics and the Roman ruins of Ancient Salamis are just some of the fascinating historical sites worth a visit. For a taste of traditional Cypriot life, hire a car and explore the small villages of the Akamas Peninsula and the stunning golden beaches of the Karpas Peninsula.
The ‘football’ on the end of the boot of Italy, Sicily is a rugged and picturesque island that sees fantastically warm weather well into October. The stunning baroque architecture of Catania, smouldering might of Mt Etna, rolling green countryside and national parks (don’t miss the shady Alcantara Gorge), stunning beaches and beautiful Aeolian Islands are just some of the attractions to enjoy.
While in Sicily be sure to soak up the history – the island features countless Ancient Greek and Roman antiquities including the temple and hilltop amphitheatre at Segesta, while film buffs may want to visit the church in Savoca where scenes from The Godfather were filmed. And, of course, make the most of the cuisine while you’re here – it’s considered some of the best in Italy.
Ibiza, Balearics, Spain
September is a great time for avid clubbers to visit Ibiza, with world-renowned venues such as Space and Es Paradis hosting epic closing parties to see out the season. San Antonio, Playa d’En Bossa and Ibiza Town are the obvious choices for clubbing holidays.
Families looking for a less hectic break should consider the smaller bays and resorts of the north-east, or the larger, family-orientated Santa Eularia. If you tire of soaking up the September sun, there are popular boat trips to nearby Formentera on offer, as well as to Es Vedra (a mystical rock off the west coast) and the hidden cove of Atlantis.
Crete has a wealth of ancient history and a diversity which is virtually unparalleled anywhere else in Greece. Encompassing Byzantine monasteries, old mosques, the ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, Rethymo’s Venetian fortresses and the cave where Zeus is said to have been born, there is enough to keep the avid sightseer busy for a year.
While the peak summer months may be too hot for exploring these fascinating sites, the cooler September and October temperatures are perfect for walking around comfortably. Combine this with beautiful beaches, soaring mountain ranges and epic plateaus and you have the perfect destination for adventurers to explore.
For such a small island (smaller even than the Isle of Wight), Malta certainly packs a punch. From some of the world’s oldest Neolithic temples, to ancient fortresses, and the baroque splendour of the capital Valetta, there is a wealth of history to explore.
Malta has a fantastically quirky character – something in the rambunctious festivals, brightly-coloured fishing boats and rattling buses that sets it apart from other destinations in the Med. Explore the secluded coves of the Golden Bay area, catch a ferry to Comino, go horse-riding through the shady national park nearby or navigate your way along the coastline by speedboat.
Costa del Sol, Spain
Spain’s Costa del Sol makes for a fantastic late summer sun destination. Choose to stay in lively beach resorts such as Torremolinos or Marbella for vibrant nightlife and a busy atmosphere, or opt for a smaller resort such as Nerja or Mijas for peace and relaxation.
Malaga combines amazing beaches, cultural attractions such as a Roman amphitheatre and Moorish castle and wide selection of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. From here it’s only an hour-and-a-half’s drive inland to Andalucia’s most astonishing sight, the breathtakingly beautiful Alhambra palace in the city of Granada. While in the city wander the mazy streets of the Moorish Albayzin or venture out into stunning countryside backed by the Sierra Nevada.
Corfu is one of the greenest and most beautiful of the Ionian Islands – think ancient olive groves, meadows of wildflowers and shady Cypress forests. September is the perfect time for walking around the island’s lush interior, when temperatures are not too hot.
Those looking for a beach holiday in one of the larger resorts should consider Sidari or Kassiopi, while the rugged north east coast of the island makes for excellent exploring; hire a boat and hop between the small secluded bays dotted along the coastline.
The Dalaman region in Turkey really does have something for everyone – miles of beautiful sandy beaches, stunning scenery, cities bursting with culture and more ancient ruins than you could shake a stick at. Spend a day at the spectacular lagoon of Olu Deniz and, if you’re feeling brave, try your hand at paragliding. Elsewhere why not walk part of the Lycian way between Fethiye and Antalya through beautiful coastal scenery, or relax and unwind in Dalyan’s soothing mud baths.
Those interested in the fascinating ancient history found in the area should visit the ruins of the ancient town of Hippokome, 30km from Dalaman, the stone tombs in Gökdağ, and the ancient city of Oktapolis in Bozbel.