Early Autumn is a great time to get away for that final blast of sunshine not too far from home. Not only have the temperatures mellowed but the crowds have thinned and prices are much more appealing too.
Sardinia in autumn averages in the mid 20’s, the perfect temperature to just kick back on one of the island’s near-empty beaches and soak up some rays. Discover one of the island’s best-kept secrets: Autunno in Barbagia (Autumn in Barbagia). Running from September to December, a series of festivals take place across 27 villages in Barbagia, a mountainous area of inland. Sardinia Streets are transformed into markets, local craftsmen hold workshops, locals throw open their doors – and dining rooms – to visitors and walks are held through the hills.
Autumn brings out the best of Dubrovnik; it takes on a tranquil, laid back atmosphere, the weather is less humid, the sea is still warm enough for swimming and accommodation and ferry prices drop considerably. Hop on a 50-minute ferry to the tiny, car-free island of Lopud; it’s renowned for having one of the best beaches in the Dubrovnik region, Sunj in summer everyone in the region with a boat heads there for a swim. Come autumn it’s the Adriatic at its best.
By late September, the temperatures have dropped to the low 30s and evenings are not too cool. Located 100km north of its more commercial neighbour, Sharm el-Sheikh, it has a chilled backpacker vibe. Thanks to the diversity of its reefs Dahab is a hotspot for divers and windsurfers with almost 270 days of wind per year. Now’s also the time to visit stunning locations nearby – doable as day trips – such as the Coloured Canyon, with its dramatic rock formations, and St Catherine’s Monastery, situated at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Whichever Greek island you choose in autumn you’re likely to find warm sunshine perfect for lazing on the beach, crystal clear waters and few crowds. Rhodes is particularly lovely this time of year with the narrow alleyways in its medieval Old Town nicely empty. September is also the best time to visit Petaloudes (Butterfly Valley), the island’s most popular tourist attraction; out of season, this lovely green dell in the middle of the island is tourist-free, so it’s the best time to spot the thousands of brightly coloured insects and just 8kms south head to hot medicinal springs of Kalithea.
Summer playground of the rich and famous since the 1950’s, this resort in the Côte d’Azur takes on a whole new identity come autumn. While temperatures can still reach the mid-20s, most of the crowds are long gone, leaving behind a more laid-back town. Beaches such as Plage de Pampelonne and Plage des Salins – are blissfully quiet, as are its upmarket boutiques and restaurants. You are still likely to be wowed by the super yachts, but meander through the cobbled lanes or walk the coastal path to enjoy the mesmerising beauty of this quaint resort on the French Riviera.