Winning tip: wild shores and exotic plants, Lanzarote
The north of the island of Lanzarote is a hidden idyll where sunsets burn golden orange and surf pounds the wild shores.
Beaches near Porto
Porto is rarely considered as a beach destination but it has lovely long autumn days for sunbathing and swimming 20 minutes from the city, with beaches such as Matosinhos and at Espinho to the south that are easy to get to on public transport. Unlike in the Algarve, you will find plenty of space on the sands and the west-facing bays means the sun lingers longer. The little known Costa Verde to the north is a rocky coastline full of golden beaches, natural headlands and lovely scenery. You can eat outside in the city in September and October. A superb day trip would be a boat trip on the canals of Aveiro 70km to the south.
Perfect peninsula, Mallorca
Aucanada peninsula (also called Alcanada) between Alcúdia and Pollença has a beauty that comes into its own in the lazy days of autumn. The sea is warm, even on a rainy day and the beaches as mesmerising as ever, with their backdrop of pine trees and mountains. Snorkelling is good here too: you may see an octopus along with plenty of fish. I’ve found that if the Med is choppy on one side, it is usually sedate on the other. It’s a lovely 15-minute cycle between the northern and southern side. Try the favourite beach of the locals –
Island of pines, Croatia
Scenic and secluded, the island of Mljet in Croatia is a wonderful place for enjoying a peaceful, extended summer. Reached from Dubrovnik by ferry, this unspoilt island is two-thirds forest. Take a relaxing bike ride through the national park in the north, swim or kayak in one of two saltwater lakes, Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero or, if you are feeling more adventurous, hike or take a boat to the cave of Odysseus on the stunning south coastline. Though the island has only one hotel, options for private accommodation, including camping, are plentiful.
E-bike to the bay, Gozo
My partner and I recently rented e-bikes to get around the island of Gozo, Malta. It’s a great way to power up the hills, wind through the cute towns and pootle to the coves and caves. You can visit the likes of Dwejra Bay for views of the Fungus Rock and the valley of Wied-il Ghasri with its secluded beach, all on two wheels. We
Laurel forest and a tranquil finca, La Gomera
The green oasis of La Gomera is not as touristy as its Canaries sister islands and a true walkers’ paradise. Traipse through the enchanting laurel forest of the
Satisfy your soul, Crete
North-west Crete’s Akrotiri peninsula is a wonderful place to visit in September and October. Whether you are seeking the golden beaches of Stavros or Marathi, the serenity of the 16th-century Gouverneto monastery and 11th-century Katholiko or the lively nightlife of downtown Chania with its Venetian seafront, this corner of the island satisfies the soul. Good food abounds in the numerous tavernas offering traditional fare, local produce, mamma’s kitchens and hearty portions. At
Serene shores, North Macedonia
The(doubles from £39 for two nights) in Lagadin on the shores of Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia, welcomes visitors with bowls of cucumber, tomato and feta salad known as shopska. Home-cooked suppers, washed down with the local Zlaten Dab beer, are shared around trestle tables as the sun sets over the peaks of neighbouring Albania. Kayaks are available for a leisurely 5km paddle in the crystal clear waters of Lake Ohrid to the photogenic – a reconstructed prehistoric settlement built on stilts over the lake.
Turn left at Lisbon
October or November are perfect months to visit Cascais, 30km west of Lisbon. The crowds have left, the weather is warm and sunny, the air crisply clear. Push the boat out and stay at the
Late summer Bonaparte bonus, Elba
My tip for a late summer getaway would be to the island of Elba. Although it’s most famous for Napoleon’s absence without leave, there’s lots more to it when you begin to scratch below its Napoleonic surface. The Romans loved it and left lots of fabulous architecture for the historian to fathom. The sea is a delicious salty, clear and a sapphire and turquoise mix – perfect for late-afternoon snorkelling. Unlike Napoleon, escape is the last thing you’d really want to do. Instead, dance in the moonlight, swim under the stars, lose yourself. You’ll never want to leave.