If you’ve not yet escaped our grey nation but are still keen to catch some rays before the onset of autumn, there are plenty of destinations within four hours of most UK airports where the sun continues to shine in October for much of the day.
Granted, it may not be warm enough to spend hours baking on the beach, but if you’re after clear skies, fresh air and t-shirt temperatures you won’t go wrong with these five stunning destinations.
Marbella / Spain
Average September temperature: 22 degrees
Average daily sunshine: 10 hours
While many northern European resorts give in to the autumn chill, Marbella in the southern Andalusia region of Spain, hangs on to its summer warmth right through September. The continent’s capital of sun, sand and late night shenanigans, ‘Marbs’ has long been a favoured destination for the glitterati of Hollywood and Essex alike. Gawp at the rich and famous on Puerto Banus, sunbathe and party on Nikki Beach, go clubbing at Olivia Valere and recover from your hangover with a bit of tapas in the Old Town.
Paphos / Cyprus
Average September temperature: 24 degrees
Average daily sunshine: 12 hours
Picturesque views, glorious weather, beautiful beaches and sunshine…it’s little wonder that flights to Cyprus are so popular with tourists. While the hordes head for the beaches in the southeast of the island, it is to Paphos in the southwest that those with more cultural interests tend to gravitate. The Sanctuary of the goddess Aphrodite, the area has catered for tourists for nearly forty years and is perfect for a quiet week of rest and recuperation. There are a whole host of Greek and Roman archaeological sites and medieval ruins at the disposal of those who hire a car, while local wineries and tavernas are always on hand for a little food and drink. An area with more than 50 km of coast, including 27 beaches in the district open to the public, and more than 12 blue flag awarded beaches, Paphos is also perfect for swimming, diving and snorkelling all year round.
Barcelona / Spain
Average September temperature: 21 degrees
Average daily sunshine: 9 hours
There’s not much that Barcelona doesn’t have going for it. A city of architectural gems, wonderful art galleries, great food, the best football club in the world and sprawling beaches, the Catalan capital has something for everyone. Get inside the head of Antoni Gaudi by visiting Parc Guell and his other-worldly Sagrada Familia, marvel at the magic fountain of Montjuic, admire the 3,500 works at the Picasso Museum or just take a wander down Las Ramblas, the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard linking Placa de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus monument in Port Vell. If you fancy having a lie down, there’s 4.2 kilometres of sand waiting for you on shoreline, just 10 minutes walk from the centre of town.
Nice / France
Average September temperature: 20 degrees
Average daily sunshine: 11 hours
With 300 days of sunshine a year, boulevards lined with palm trees, golden beaches and celebrity residents, Nice could, at first glance, be confused for Los Angeles. Thankfully, it’s better than LA. While the joie de vivre of the French Riviera is a draw in itself, there’s so much more to Nice than mere appearances. The vast Matisse Museum and Nice Archaeology Museum and Roman Ruins are a must visit for culture vultures, gastronomes will adore the local cuisine in the Old Town, while shoppers will find everything from haute couture to hip local brands. For the best view, a climb up Castle Hill presents a breath-taking panorama of the local coastline.
Corfu / Greece
Average September temperature: 23 degrees
Average daily sunshine: 12 hours
Arguably the most famous of the Ionian Islands, Corfu’s reputation precedes it. A well know destination for 20-somethings in search of late nights and perfect sun-bathing weather (albeit less so in September), it also caters to the other end of the market with its coastline pocked by the huge villa and yachts of the mega-rich. Whatever your budget, the crystal clear blue water is there for all to enjoy, while those with an eye for history will appreciate the influence of the island’s former rulers on its architecture. The streets of Corfu’s Old Town, which date back to the 8th century B.C, make for a fascinating place to spend a day, the Venetian Fort offers wonderful views, while fans of James Bond can follow in 007’s footsteps by trekking a route to Mt. Pantokrator which appears in “For Your Eyes Only.”
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