Last of the summer sun

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By Nick Trend, a Travel Professional

Read more on Costa Blanca.

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It's autumn – but there are still places close to home with reliable sunshine, a low risk of rain and temperatures of up to 29C. From the Costa Blanca to Sicily, Crete and Sorrento, we pick the best

Missed out on your summer holiday? Dreading the thought of the grey days of winter? You might be tempted to grab one of the many late deals now on offer and catch one of the last few weeks of sunshine on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

But think carefully before you book. From late September onwards, the summer weather can break suddenly in many parts of the Med. You could find that, instead of spending a few golden days by the beach, you end up playing Scrabble in a chilly, marble-floored hotel room watching the rain lash across the sea front.

To avoid such a bleak end to you summer, here is my guide to the best places to enjoy the last of this year’s sun; places where the weather tends not to break until late in October and where autumn temperatures hold up particularly well.

Weather statistics below are averages for September – the peak daily temperature, the number of sunshine hours per day, the number of days with some rain (which could be just a short shower), and the sea temperature. October tends to be three or four degrees cooler on average, and slightly wetter, with perhaps an hour or two less sunshine.

Costa Blanca

Spain’s Costa Blanca has the most reliable micro-climate: you can find warm weather well into October, with the added bonus that this is a destination within easy reach of the UK. Benidorm has fantastic beaches and a spectacular night life, but you may prefer the smaller prettier resorts such as Javea and Denia, a little to the north.

Heat: 28C
Sunshine: 8 hours
Sea: 24C
Rain risk: 6 days
Flight time from the UK: 2.5 hours
Simonseeks guides: Katie Wood shares her love of Denia and Javea: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/welcome-real-costa-blanca__111631

Costa del Sol

Another safe Spanish bet, with a choice of differing styles of holiday – from the mega resorts of Fuengirola and Torremolinos to smaller, more visually attractive options such as Nerja or Marbella.

Heat: 27C
Sunshine: 8 hours
Sea: 22C
Rain risk: 5 days
Flight time from the UK: 3 hours
Simonseeks guides: Louise Baty discovers Nerja: www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/nerja-costa-del-sols-hidden-gem__110855

Sicily

A wonderful touring destination, especially when milder autumn temperatures make sightseeing among the Ancient Greek ruins (especially Agrigento and Selinunte) far more pleasant than during the scorching summer. If you want to relax at the end of your tour, the hilltop resort of Taormina is stunning in September or October.

Heat: 26C
Sunshine: 8 hours
Sea: 25C
Rain risk: 6 days
Flight time from the UK: 3 hours
Simonseeks guides: Mari Nicholson explores Taormina, Mount Etna and Syracuse: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/sicilian-splendours__111137
Lee Marshall explores the island’s vineyards: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/wine-touring-sicily’s-deep...

Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento, too, has a long golden autumn – and there are excellent sights nearby in Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s not really a beach destination, however. Come here to relax by the hotel pool and to enjoy the sightseeing.

Heat: 26C
Sunshine: 8 hours
Rain risk: 9 days
Sea: 25C
Flight time from the UK: 3 hours
Simonseeks guides: Chris Stokel- Walker’s insider guide to Naples http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/get-away-it-all-sorrento__112268

Puglia, Italy

On the opposite coast to Sorrento, down on the heel of Italy and fast growing in popularity, is Puglia. There are few sights here, and not much in the way of resorts. However, the local cooking is outstanding – and the area boasts some of Italy’s most stylish hotels. In short, if you take a flight into Bari or Brindisi, you can enjoy an excellent gastronomic long weekend.

Heat: 26C
Sunshine: 8 hours
Rain risk: 8 days
Sea: 23C
Flight time from the UK: 3 hours
Simonseeks guides: Lee Marshall guides you round some of the culinary highlights of Apulia: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/undiscovered-puglia__111753
Jane Anderson shares her passion for the region: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/passion-puglia__110991

Crete, Greece

Crete clings on to summer longer than almost anywhere else in the Med. Most people head for the bigger resorts of the north coast such as Aghios Nikolaos – but the small resorts of the south coast have a particularly warm autumn, with the sun shining for an amazing 80 per cent of daylight hours.

Heat: 26C
Sunshine: 10 hours
Rain risk: 3 days
Sea: 24C
Flight time from the UK: 3.5 hours
Simonseeks guides: Robin Gauldie’s selection of the best of the south coast of Crete: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/secret-crete__111489

Cyprus

Cyprus is Crete’s closest rival for a long hot autumn, though it has to be said that Cypriot resorts are not among the most beautiful in the Med. Paphos is an exception, however, and easily the best of the bunch. If you prefer things quieter and more unspoilt, head for the Akamas peninsula in the west. You’ll find some stunning scenery, good beaches and some much smaller and less developed seaside villages.

Heat: 29C
Sunshine: 10 hours
Rain risk: 1 day
Sea: 26C
Flight time from the UK: 4 hours
Simonseeks guides: Robin McKelvie shares his tips for a late season holiday in Paphos and the west of the island: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/cyprus-perfect-family-escape__11...

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More information on Last of the summer sun :

Author:
Nick Trend
Traveller type:
Travel Professional
Guide rating:
4.5
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
Total views:
1647
First uploaded:
9 September 2009
Last updated:
4 years 25 weeks 4 days 12 hours 55 min 18 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Beach, Food and Drink, Short Break
Budget level:
Budget, Mid-range, Expensive

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Community comments (2)

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I found this guide very interesting and the information will be very useful. As my husband and I are now retired it means we can holiday at any time of the year so it is good to have information about where we can soak up the last dregs of sunshine!!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I been to alot of places in the med between sept and dec, and one of the destinations you didn't mention and its still nice up to christmas is the small islands of malta and gozo. gozo can be more rainier then malta, but still warm and very peacefull. Malta is more busy and hotter. up to late october you can still swim and sunbath without being burned. i love it there so much i just booked for 3wks leaving next friday. thought i let you know about this little gem. thank you and have a great day

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