With the crisper mornings and cooler nights, there is no denying that summer is coming to a close - but if you're still looking for sizzling heat and a top up for your tan, you don't have to travel that far. Going on holiday in September or October can be absolutely ideal for weather, peace and budget.
Great holiday ideas for last-minute summer sun include the Italian isle of Sardinia or the Greek island of Santorini, both of which are stunningly beautiful and still basking in balmy temperatures.
The historical towns of Dubrovnik and Marrakech are also popular choices at this time of year - and, wherever you decide to go, you'll get the added bonus of lower prices and relatively crowd-free resorts now that peak season has ended..
We got together with luxury holiday company CV Villas to find the ten best destinations in and around Europe for autumn sunshine - all of these boast temperatures highs of 25C+ in the autumn months.
Autumn sunshine in Europe
Where is warm and sunny in September/October?
Hot weather aside, there are plenty of reasons to put Dubrovnik on your autumn holiday wish list: it’s the perfect time of year for Croatian pancakes filled with Dubrovnik’s bitter orange jam, the Botanical Garden on Lokrum celebrates its birthday on the 23rd October and the ferry prices (and tourist crowds) are slashed when you visit the stunning car-free island of Lopud, home to one of Croatia’s best beaches, the Sunj.
For lazy days at the beach combined with buzzing city life, Costa Azul is ideal. Base yourself across the River Tagus in a Costa Azul villa for easy access to the long golden beaches of Portugal’s west coast, with the cosmopolitan lure of Lisbon just an hour’s drive away. In Lisbon, jump on tram no. 28 to explore the cobbled streets of the Alfama neighbourhood or hop on to the Santa Justa lift for views over the Baixa towards St. George’s Castle.
Marrakech is brilliant for an exotic short haul holiday. Even in the autumn months temperatures can reach the low 30s, and as well as plenty of sunshine, the city offers an exciting new culture to explore - all under a four-hour flight away. Stay in Marrakech’s stunning riad hotels - these gorgeous hideaways are right in the hustle and bustle of it all.
La Gomera is one of the lesser known Canary Islands: without an airport (visitors need to take a ferry) this gem has missed out on the tourist developments that have overwhelmed neighbouring Lanzarote and Tenerife, despite its constant warm Saharan winds. Its eco-system is unique, with volcanic black sand beaches around the coast and tropical jungle at the centre. As La Gomera is relatively untouched by mass tourism, there are few hotels; try staying a privately owned villa, like Parque Mirador, for a truly peaceful and immersive Spanish holiday.
This Italian island has a very different feel to the mainland, with a slower pace of life and an independent character. The beaches are dazzling and the food and wine is world famous. Even in October, the island boasts a lovely climate for walking the white sand beaches in Palau. Explore the natural wonder of the stalagmites in Neptune’s Cave before relaxing over wonderfully fresh Catalan inspired seafood dishes in the town of Alghero.
Thanks to Aiya Napa, Cyprus has inherited a reputation for being a party island, but once the off-peak season rolls in the Mediterranean island is a gorgeous retreat, filled with historical and cultural wonders. Even in the heart of party town Aiya Napa you’ll find a 15th century chapel carved from a sandstone cave as well as the Thalassa Museum of the Sea.
Autumn visitors to Mallorca will see the island at its best. With the summer tourists gone, visitors have the chance to see just how beautiful it really is. From quiet villages such as Deia tucked into the hills through to the cultural and lively towns, this Mediterranean island is full of surprises. Art lovers should check out the capital, Palma, with its ancient Arabic architecture as well as its collection of contemporary museums.
Sitting in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, the coastal town of Kas has some of the most dramatic scenery in all of Turkey. As well as enjoying wonderful beach weather in the autumn months, Kas has plenty of cultural attractions to explore: visit the Old Amphitheatre at night to see it beautifully lit up, take a trip to the ruins of Xanthos and Patara beach and even visit a new country in a day with a 20-minute boat trip to the Greek Island of Meis.
Autumn is one of the best times of year to visit the flatlands of Puglia. Temperatures have cooled down enough to make it ideal for exploring the region's different landscapes, from the last surviving woods of the Foresta Umbra in the north, to the conical stone houses of Trulli Country in the south. For a proper Italian holiday, stay in the traditional Trullo dell’Anfora complete with private pool and trullo-style shower room.
A classic choice for couples, Santorini is one of the most appealing Greek Islands, due to its deep azure seas, stark white dome villages and its glorious weather. The cliff top town of Thira commands one of the best views over the lagoon and its winding whitewashed houses and chapels beg to be explored.
September is dry season in most of Brazil, making it prime time for wildlife spotting as well as relaxing on the beach. It's also the cheapest and least crowded time to visit the country. Try this: This September, relax on a Bahia beach break. Bespoke Brazil offers a 10-day Brazil holiday (from £3,490 per person), perfect for those looking for a mix of city and beach luxury in the wonderful state of Bahia. You will arrive in Salvador and get a tour of the city before being transferred to Porto Seguro in the south of Bahia. Here, you will be free to enjoy the super chic beach town of Trancoso.
Lobster season in West Sweden starts on 21 September. Set out to sea on a lobster safari to haul up pots of black gold with the help of local expert fishermen. Head back to shore to learn how to cook the delicacies, then tuck into a lobster feast. The scenery is sublime: the incredibly unspoilt and naturally beautiful Bohuslän region of Sweden’s west coast is lined with smooth, sculptural granite rocks, quaint fishing villages and an archipelago of 8,000 islands. Try this:WestSweden.com offers a Lobster safari package for 2665 SEK (£208) per person. The package includes a three hour lobster safari (including use of equipment, coffee and refreshments), five-course lobster supper and accommodation at the Grand Hotel Marstrand.
Catch the end of Bali's dry season in September, when the average temperature is 27C (the wet season starts in October). September means fewer crowds and the prices are a lower than the peak summer months. Try this: i-escape offers a stay in a one-bedroom pavilion at The Bale from £253 per room per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. i-escape guests receive a 30-minute welcome massage plus a two-course set lunch for two (minimum stay three nights). The Bale is a modernist gem with 26 individual pavilions set on a hillside in the upmarket enclave of Nusa Dua (flights not included).
Catch the Great Migration in Kenya, when more than 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make the 1,800 mile journey from the Kenyan Maasai Mara to the Serengeti. Africa’s Great Migration is undoubtedly one of the wildlife 'wonders of the world' and a must-see if you're looking for an epic wildlife holiday this autumn. Explore offers a 13-day East African Explorer trip (from £2,395 per person including return flights). You will travel through Kenya's beautiful Rift Valley discovering Lake Naivasha, Crescent Island Nature Reserve and the shores of Lake Victoria and explore the vast gamelands of the Masai Mara. You will also cross into Tanzania and discover the wildlife-rich Ngorongoro Crater and meet Masai warriors and Hadzabi bushmen.
With 160km of coastline, the Isle of Man (part of the British Isles, not the UK) is breathtaking at any time of year, but with the colours of autumn the island comes to life in a way that the summer hides. In September, it is still warm enough to enjoy walks and bike rides. Try this: Stay at The Claremont Hotel from £135 per night, including breakfast, set along the main promenade in Douglas and just a stone’s throw from the beach. The restaurant sources local Manx produce and serves up traditional Manx cuisine.
Marrakech starts to cool down in September, so it's the perfect time to shop and explore the souks and do some trekking in the Atlas Mountains. Try this:Tourdust offers a seven-day holiday split between the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech with a three-day guided trek and boutique accommodation from £472 per person including a stay in a riad (flights not included). Or this: If you're looking for the perfect escape from the bustling centre without being too far from the Old Medina, Les Cinq Djellabas is a collection of eco-lodges nestled in the lush Palmeraie, an oasis with meticulously manicured gardens and Marrakech's most exclusive hotels.
This Italian island is a marvellous spot for late-summer sun. September in Sicily is great for foodies too, with festivals of ice cream, couscous and sausage taking place.Try this: If you’re looking for a place to stay with incredible views, SoloSicily has two lovely apartments, Lilla (€1,625 per week in late September/sleeps 2) and Viola (€1,875 per week in late September/sleeps 3), which overlook the tiny island of Isola Bella in the exclusive coastal resort of Taormina.
Experience the outback, tall forests and clifftops carpeted in wildflowers during Australia's spring in September. Temperatures are warm and it's the middle of whale watching season. The South West of Australia is one of the world's great botanical hotspots and in September you can see over 12,000 species of wildflowers spring into bloom. On the coast, over 30,000 Humpback whales can be seen close to the beaches until the end of November as they return from calving in the warm Kimberley waters. Try this: Trailfinders offers a 16-day Kimberley, Kakadu & Arnhem Land Explorer holiday from £5,995 per person including most meals, accommodation, guided tours and transfers (flights not included).Etihad Airways offers flights to Perth from London, Manchester and Edinburgh via Abu Dhabi from £607 return.
Florida is an excellent destination for a family holiday - but if you want a child-free getaway, September is the ideal month to visit. With the kids back at school, there are shorter queues at Orlando's best theme parks. Adults can sample the world's best wines and savour the treasures of celebrated chefs at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from 25 September. This month brings lower prices and great deals throughout Florida too. Head for the Florida Keys for a late-summer beach fix when temperatures are around 30C. Don't miss: In northwest Florida, Panama City Beach hosts its Lobster Festival & Tournament, with live music on the beach and the amazing Schooners Sand Sculpting Contest.
Tuscany in September is a bit like Tuscany in August but without the crowds and scorching sun. Whether you're visiting the cities of Florence and Siena, the beaches of Maremma and Versilia or the countryside of Orcia and Chianti, this is the perfect month to visit. Try this:Il Salviatino is a gorgeous Florentine villa set among the sloping hills of Fiesole and just moments from Florence for a rural escape. Classic Rooms for two people cost from £285 per night in September. Or this: See the region by bike with G Adventures (from £899 for seven days), taking in the hills, villages, flavourful wines and local food.
September is the perfect month to explore the Namibian landscape; it's not too hot, but the chill in the mornings has lessened. It is dry and the skies are clear, with game viewing at a peak. Explore the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon and Dead Pan on the edge of Namib Naukluft Park, enjoy a dolphin cruise off the Namibian Coastline from Walvis Bay and browse ancient rock engravings and bushman paintings in the heart of Damaraland. Full Circle Travel offers a two to three-week self-drive tour which highlights some of what Namibia has to offer from £2,600 per person, including flights, accommodation, car hire and some meals.
September sees the start of Istria's truffle season which extends over a seven-week period filled with local festivals and truffle-laden menus in restaurants. Activities and events focus around the Motovun forest where the fabulous white truffle is harvested - an event that is not to be missed. Croatian Villa Holidays has a selection of self-catering properties in central Istria, including Casa Celestina, a pretty cottage overlooking the surrounding hilltop towns and villages. A week in September starts at £750 (sleeps two).