The best autumn holidays: top destinations for late summer sun

Need some late summer sun before winter properly sets in? In September and October, these destinations make for the best sunny autumn holidays.

A spot of late summer sun can see you through those grim winter months once the bad weather finally sets in. Throughout much of southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa you’ll find autumn sunshine abounds. Head to these top destinations for an autumn holiday.

Crete, Greece

This gorgeous Greek island is warm right through to the end of October, so makes for a perfect autumn sunshine holiday. Come here for your fix of late summer sun and you’ll avoid the crowds of summer and find the resorts, beaches and main attractions far quieter. We love Abaton Island Resort and Spa on the north coast.

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Rooms are seriously stylish, with individual artworks in each, and the infinity pool overlooks a gorgeous ocean view. It’s safe to say, this place might not be paradise, but it’s close enough for us.

Cyprus

With an average temperature of 22°C throughout October and highs of 26°C, autumn is an ideal time to visit Cyprus for some late summer sun. There’s a wonderful coastline here, with wide sandy beaches and warm seas for swimming. Book into the Grecian Bay Hotel in Aiya Napa for an ocean-front location, a huge pool and beautifully clean, minimalist seaview rooms.

Alternatively, if beach holidays aren’t your thing, book onto a an organised tour. Newmarket Holidays are running this excellent Discover Cyprus tour in October 2019, which offers the perfect mix of relaxation and sightseeing. You’ll visit Limassol’s historic castle, see the ruins of ancient Pano Paphos and – of course – get plenty of autumn sunshine.

Turkey

For an excellent value autumn holiday head to Turkey. The pound has remained strong against the lira for a while now, so embrace the bargains and get yourself on a sunny city break in Istanbul. Just be sure to leave room in your suitcase for all the shopping you’ll to at the Grand Bazaar. (Check out these brilliant suitcases tested by our travel editor).

Alternatively, embark on a Turkish gulet cruise with Newmarket Holidays. Their traditional wooden schooner will sail the azure oceans on Turkey’s south coast, from Bodrum right along to Marmaris, then out to islands like Sedir and Orak. There’s lots of time for swimming, snorkelling and sunning yourself on deck.

Tunisia

Recently named one of the top family destinations for Brits by Thomas Cook, Tunisia is still sweltering during autumn, with highs of 28°C even in October. This is why it’s an ideal destination for late summer sun, and with hundreds of reliable resorts there’s somewhere for families and couples.

We love the Seabel Alhambra Beach Golf & Spa. Its low-rise, perfectly white-washed architecture leaves plenty of space for that blue sky and for the sun to shine down on its enormous pools (there’s six in total). There’s a spa and golf course on site, and seven different restaurants to eat – one for every night of the week.

The Algarve, Portugal

Portugal’s sandy south coast is a glorious place for a beach break – especially in autumn when the sun is still shining but it’s not scorching hot. There are plenty of beach resorts to settle into for a week or so, but if you really want to explore and enjoy the sun then why not try a walking holiday?

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Riviera Travel run this exciting walking trip through Andalucia and the Algarve, with moderate hikes and delightful hotels along the route (all your luggage is transported for you, too). You’ll visit spectacular cities like Seville, and amble through vineyards and olive groves on daily walks.

India

Unless you’re going to the Himalayas, it’s almost always warm in India. Rajasthan is an arid, desert state, while Kerala and Goa are lush, humid destinations. No matter the landscape or climate you’re after, you’ll find it in India.

With this Newmarket Holidays tour you’ll find yourself among some of India’s most exciting attractions, from tigers to the Taj Mahal. It visits some of Rajasthan’s best cities, including Jaipur – known as The Pink City for its peach-hued buildings – to Delhi, the country’s chaotic capital.

The trip also visits Amritsar, home to the stunning Golden Temple – a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus. Alternatively, for something completely different, head to Mumbai for a spectacular city break. The new Soho House Mumbai is right on Juhu Beach, where locals play cricket at sunset, and is in one of the city’s coolest, most exclusive neighbourhoods.

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Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE

This little-known state in the United Arab Emirates is where Dubai’s residents go to relax. A far more sedate city, Ras Al Khaimah (or RAK for short) offers enforced relaxation. There’s never too much to do here, so if you really need to switch off and chill out, book into the Waldorf Astoria here and spend some time by the pool.

The hotel is huge, with its own golf course and a mall nearby, and has an adults-only pool, a good sized family pool and its own private beach with loungers and cocktail service. If you do want to get out and about, you can head to the UAE’s highest mountain – Jebel Jais – which has a lookout you can drive to. Or you could try a via ferrata or zipline if you’re feeling more adventurous.