As soon as autumn rolls around, things can feel like they’re taking a turn for the worse. Grey skies, perpetual drizzle and shorter days have us dreaming of places in the world that are far warmer than what we have to do deal with at home, and many of us find ourselves considering where to go on holiday for some sun before the build up to Christmas begins. If you’d like a little bit of inspiration, here are five places to go if you want to beat those post-summer blues.
Let’s kick things off with a destination that’s very close to home – Spain. This is a country that’s only a 2.5 hour flight at the maximum, which makes it an excellent choice if one of your priorities is spending as little time travelling as possible (leaving plenty of hours for sunning yourself by the pool). It’s a strong contender if you’re travelling with children as much of the country is geared-up for entertaining and accommodating kids – especially resorts such as the Costa Brava, the Costa del Sol or the Costa de la Luz.
Coastal resorts are your best bet if you fancy warm temperatures with a cool ocean breeze, as even beside the sea, temperatures can reach around 25°C in the early autumn. Further inland you’ll find that temperatures are higher, so do consider exploring cities such as Seville and Madrid if you’d like a dose of history, fashion and culture with your sunshine.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit Croatia. Not only have the majority of the tourists left, but you’ll also find that holiday deals begin to get considerably cheaper too as the year slips into the quiet season for Croatian businesses that make their money from tourism. Dubrovnik is a beautiful place to explore for some sunshine, with temperatures typically hovering in the mid-twenties: warm enough to sit in the sun without an extra layer, but not so hot that you’ll be hiding in the shade at midday.
The Old Town in Dubrovnik is breath-taking (and features heavily in the TV series Game of Thrones), so be sure to pay it a visit. But, Croatia has plenty of other lesser-known locations that are well worth exploring too. For example, the Hrvatsko Zagorje region is full of woodland and Medieval castles, and Varazdin is lovely too – it’s a small town that used to be Croatia’s former capital, and it’s the perfect spot if you fancy exploring beautiful baroque architecture with an ice cream in hand.
Average temperatures in Portugal are more than pleasant during the autumn. In fact, you can expect to enjoy temperatures that hover in the low twenties well into October, so you’ll feel the sun gently warming your skin beneath a clear blue sky. And, it’s particularly beautiful at this time of year too – the rugged coastline is covered in a blanket of greenery and wild flowers as the scorching summer sun has passed, making it the right time to go if you like to get outside among nature. Wine fans will love the fact that September marks the beginning of wine harvests across the country too, so be sure to book yourself onto harvesting session at a vineyard if you’d like to try your hand at the process. But even if you just fancy lounging by the pool or spending long days on the beach, that’s perfectly possible too. Regions such as the Algarve offer some of the most picturesque sandy beaches (and best restaurants) in the country, and the golfing is excellent too.
The Canary Islands
If there’s one place that offers everything for the autumn sun seeker, it’s the Canary Islands. Further away from home (and just off the coast of West Africa), the Canary Islands are lovely and warm in autumn. Well into September, temperatures can peak at 27°C with sea temperatures still hovering around 25°C, which is more than warm enough for a paddle. And if you love hot temperatures, you might get lucky with a ‘calima’. This is when a trade wind blows directly from the east, passing over the Sahara Desert and bringing temperatures that warm the average air temperature by as much as an additional 10°C. But weather aside, what’s there to do in the Canary Islands? Well, it depends which one you go to. There are five main islands that are popular with tourists, and each is renowned for its own attraction.
- Tenerife: the largest of the Canary Islands, you’ll find everything you need here for some autumn sun. It’s bursting with restaurants, shops, hotels and entertainment options (including water parks and zoos), so it’s a great all-rounder.
- Gran Canaria: an excellent choice for families, this island has a little bit of everything. Miles of sandy beaches (and picture-perfect sand dunes), family-friendly resorts and lively nightlife make Playas de Ingles ideal, but nearby Maspalomas is just as much fun if you prefer your holiday to be a little calmer.
- Fuerteventura: ideal if you like sporty adventure holidays, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Fuerteventura. The strong winds on the island make it the perfect place to try your hand at windsurfing, and you can go deep sea diving too if you fancy it.
- Lanzarote: another great choice if you love staying active on holiday, Lanzarote has some great cycling and hike trails. And, Timafaya National Park is exceptional if you want to see nature at her finest: the volcanic landscape is still very hot and is worth exploring with a tour guide who knows their way around it.
- La Palma: best for culture vultures who love history. It’s full of old towns and villages with cobble stone streets and churches, and it’s also a mecca for nature-lovers too as the whole island has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Finally, if you’re a real sun seeker and think that hotter is better, why not opt for a long-haul flight and head to Dubai? This glamorous destination is hot all year round because of its desert location, with average highs in September still reaching as much as 38°C. Temperatures aren’t much cooler in October, and there’s practically no rainfall either – perfect if you’re escaping the drizzle of rainy old Ireland or the UK. But, if you find it gets too hot, you can always explore the air-conditioned malls the city has to offer. It’s a major shopping destination, and you could always go and explore places like the Burj Khalifa and Ski Dubai for some respite from the sun.