If you can't bid farewell to the summertime just yet, why not extend your sunshine-filled months by escaping to some of Europe's best warm-weather destinations?
Did you know that autumn is the best season for beach holidays? In resorts and travel agencies, the period from the beginning of September to the middle of October is called the "golden season" and is especially recommended for those who want to relax, because in autumn there are not only fewer people on many popular beaches, but also much more favorable prices.
It's no secret that in September, autumn begins in most European resorts with all its consequences - rain showers, gusts of wind and cooler air masses. But that doesn't mean you have to give up on swimming in turquoise waters and sunbathing on white sand beaches.
If you choose your destination carefully, autumn is an excellent time to plan a trip, extending the summer a bit.
In Europe are several countries and regions with the perfect climate for beach holidays in September-October. We invite you to discover new horizons and go to less popular Greek islands - Corfu and Kefalonia.
Or maybe take a step towards Italian romance and spend September in romantic Sicily?
If you are more attracted to exotic destinations, then wonderful Tunisia attracts you with its heat, vast Sahara desert and interesting history. And what would an autumn vacation be without Portuguese and Spanish rhythms? Madeira and Canary islands have a mild climate throughout the year, also perfect for autumn holidays. Choose your golden autumn direction!
Put away coats, pack those swimsuits and get ready - here is a list of sunny spots where you can turn back time and make memories that will last forever.
1. Sicily, Italy
A particularly suitable destination for autumn holidays is Italy's Sicily - one of the most beautiful and interesting Mediterranean islands, which is also known as the birthplace of the legendary Italian mafia.
The climate of the island is one of the mildest in Europe. The swimming season in Sicily lasts from May to November. It was not for nothing that the ancient Greeks called Sicily the island of the sun.
When you go on a beach holiday to Sicily, you will be captivated by the island's snow-white beaches, magnificent cliffs in small, quiet bays, majestic mountains and the warm hospitality of the Sicilians.
A truly unique Sicilian natural object is the Mount Etna volcano, which constantly spews smoke and fire. Be sure to make time to enjoy the traditional Sicilian dishes and the lovely eateries, which are famous all over the world for their diversity of taste, naturalness and uniqueness.
This island is also the key to exploring Italy. Strolling leisurely through the streets surrounded by a romantic aura, you will be able to get to know and learn about the impressive cities of Sicily with their ancient history, their culture, nature and art.
One of the most popular and charming cities in Sicily is Taormina, built on a rocky plateau at an altitude of 250 meters. Thanks to its location, the city's streets offer great views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna, but the best vantage points are from the IX Aprile Palace and la Chiesa Madonna della Rocca.
Sicily offers many opportunities to get to know the island from different points of view, by renting a car, going on bike tours or walking hand in hand along picturesque paths where breathtaking landscapes open up around every next bend.
No matter where you go in Sicily, your travel photo album will be filled in an instant, because every next step invites you to capture a gorgeous photo.
Read also: 20 Best Places to Visit in Sicily
2. Corfu, Greece
Why choose the island of Corfu in the north-east of Greece for a beach holiday, instead of, for example, Crete, which is popular among tourists, in the south? Because Corfu is one of the greenest Greek islands - thousands of olive trees can be found here, which cover the landscape of the island like a green carpet.
Corfu is also less known and imbued with a special charm that many know from Gerald Durrell's books, which tell about his childhood on the island with intense humor and colorful characters. The island's history, ancient culture and generous natural gifts also inspired Gerald's brother Lawrence Darrell to write a book - "Prospero's Cell" is a real guide to the island of Corfu, telling about its people and customs and life in sunny Corfu or Kerkyra, as the locals call it. “Each landscape is framed by cypresses, olives and gleaming roofs.
Already in ancient times, the Romans used Corfu for recreation, so it can be said that there are deep historical roots of the tourism industry here. It is difficult to judge what the level was at that time, but today offers are available for all wishes and "wallets".
There are villas, there are hotels and guest houses, as well as many ancillary industries created to satisfy the various whims of the large number of tourists.
So, for example, the southern part of the island mostly offers noisy recreation opportunities for young people, while in its middle and northern mountains, you can still see Greek villages and natural landscapes that have not been touched by tourists.
Although Corfu's busiest tourist season is from May to September, the island is an excellent holiday destination until October, when you can get cheaper accommodation with good service and pleasant weather.
The sun really seems brighter in Corfu and the sea, although much saltier, brighter in color and clearer. There are many beaches in Corfu - those on the west coast are among the most beautiful in all of Greece, with such fine sand that even spoiled Californians and Australians will be satisfied.
An important warning is to watch out for sea urchins, because if you step on one with your bare feet, the summer fun can be over for a long time.
The specific souvenirs of the island are local wines and olive tree products - both the olives themselves and dishes made from olive wood.
Read also: 20 Best Things to do in Malta
3. Madeira, Portugal
Thanks to its unique climate, Madeira is known as the island of eternal spring - green all year round, with a wonderful landscape and a subtropical climate perfect for beach holidays.
The spring weather in Madeira lasts all year round - it is not particularly hot, but it does not get cold either. The average annual temperature is around +22°C, and even in the coldest months it does not drop below +16°C, and the warm Gulf Stream guarantees a pleasant water temperature throughout the year.
This island is also known as the "floating garden of paradise". And not for nothing! Magnificent natural parks, impressive mountains and valleys, reserves with rare animals and plants, a pleasant climate, delicious wine, tropical fruits and the hospitality of local residents - all this awaits travelers in Madeira.
Two-thirds of the island is a nature reserve, the largest area of which is occupied by laurel forests, rich in various plants and animals. Madeira is recommended for lovers of active recreation who want to enjoy the seemingly untouched beauty of nature and embark on new adventures.
In Madeira, it is recommended to visit the island's capital and largest city, Funchal. It is a port city with regular cruise ships, so its coastline is rich with excellent restaurants and hotels.
The capital of the island offers guests not only to get acquainted with the historical heritage, but also to try many water activities - surfing, diving, swimming in mountain streams and even watching dolphins and whales.
To get to know the island better, it is worth renting a car and going on a trip to the west coast of Madeira, which is rich in spectacular viewpoints, traditional fishing villages and natural wonders.
A particularly picturesque place is the rock of Cabo Girao, where a transparent glass observation deck offers an unforgettable view of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the foot of the rocky mountains, as well as a wonderful panorama of Funchal and tens of kilometers of blue Atlantic.
When getting to know the island, it is recommended to go hiking along levadas - channels of the irrigation system. Through these channels, water is transported from the wettest to the driest parts of the island. Trails have been built next to the irrigation canals, providing access to areas that are difficult to reach by means of transport.
Read also: Best Tourist Attractions in Portugal
4. Tunisia, North Africa
Tunisia is one of the most accessible and famous African countries. This is due not only to the convenient geographical position on the Mediterranean coast, but also to excellent service, cultural and natural originality.
The sound of minarets and imams' calls to prayer, old men smoking hookahs and playing dominoes, historical places that still remember Roman gladiators and rich Phoenician merchants, the fantastically delicious and varied food of the Mediterranean coast - this is Tunisia, which awaits visitors and surprises with its rich culture and entertainment options.
Tunisians have made their country the cleanest in Africa. Nature is carefully protected - here you can admire ancient mountains or go as far as the Sahara, relaxing in one of the picturesque oases. It is also worth visiting Carthage and the local Coliseum and of course relaxing on the local beaches.
One of the greatest treasures of Tunisia is the transparent, clean Mediterranean coast full of fish and great beaches, as well as the abundance of sunlight throughout the year.
In the hottest summer months, it is not so comfortable to relax in Tunisia, but in autumn it is a great place to swim, enjoy the warmth of the sun, water sports activities and get to know the country.
As you know, one of the best experiences when visiting a new country is getting to know the world of local food and drink, and this is especially true in Tunisia.
As a result of centuries of culinary influences ranging from Roman and Turkish to French and Italian, Tunisia's national dish is a fascinating carousel of flavors made all the more memorable by the gorgeous vessels in which it is served, made by local artisans.
Read also: 13 Best Places to Visit on Comino Island, Malta
5. Kefalonia, Greece
Belonging to Greece, Kefalonia is the largest of the seven Ionian islands. All the Greek islands are amaze with their extraordinary beauty, and Kefalonia is no exception - it attracts travelers with excellent beaches, fresh mountain air, wonderful nature, ancient architecture, holy places and unique rock caves.
Kefalonia's terrain is mountainous, so behind every next serpentine bend, breathtaking views open to the eyes: azure sea, majestic cliffs, as well as green, small islands of seaside villages. The landscape is complemented by olive and myrtle groves with leaves swaying in the wind, vineyards and colorful coastal towns, in the docks of which the snow-white yachts and fishing boats moored add a special charm to the features of Kefalonia.
The capital of the island is the city of Argostoli. An international airport is located just 10 km from this settlement. The main resorts of Kefalonia - Skala, Lixouri, Lassi - are famous for their lively nightlife and golden beaches. Here you can find beaches for every taste - from secluded and wild to very noisy and full of entertainment.
So, for example, Myrtos beach is considered not only the calling card of the island of Kefalonia, but also of the whole of Greece, as it was once ranked among the world's 10 most beautiful beaches.
On the other hand, the beach with the unusual name Xi (a letter in the Greek alphabet) is covered with amazing red-orange colored sand.
During the day, many beaches offer the opportunity to engage in various water sports, fishing, renting a yacht or boat, as well as diving in the coastal waters, but in the evening, when the bars, taverns and restaurants open their doors, Kefalonia resorts have a real party atmosphere.
The hottest time in this region is observed in August - around 35ºC, when most of the day is too hot to enjoy sunbathing, so in general, Kefalonia is a great place to plan a beach holiday right in the fall - until mid-October.
Read also: Travel to the Dream Island of Kefalonia, Greece
6. Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Spain, are a popular vacation destination known for their warm climate and crystal clear waters. With some islands sprinkled in history, outdoor activities like volcano hikes and sailing excursions, other's offering lively nightclubs and local markets – there is something for everyone!
Boasting year-round sunsets alongside an array of culture, this archipelago won't disappoint travelers seeking a Mediterranean getaway.
Be sure to sample traditional Spanish cuisine as you make your way around the lush island scenery with breathtaking views from all sides.
From hiking mountains in Tenerife to lazy beach days in Fuerteventura – you're sure to have the perfect stay!
Read also: Travel to Canary Islands, Spain
Conclusion: So, there you have it! Six amazing destinations to travel to in autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are changing color. No matter what your budget is or what kind of trip you're looking for, one of these locations is sure to be perfect for you. So start planning your autumn getaway today!