They’re not traditionally recognised as common months for travel – but September, October and November are great months to get away and escape the child-packed beaches of the school summer holidays. Not only will beaches be emptier, but you might grab some great bargains at hotels as the temperature drops. So get your passport out and indulge in one of these brilliant ideas for an autumn holiday.
Culture, nightlife, history and warm weather, Portugal offers October temperatures which still hit the low 20s, with little rainfall. From the megacities of Lisbon to the splendid beaches of Praia Da Luz and the Azores, there is something for people of all ages. The historic centres of Oporto and Guimaraes are among 15 locations on the UNESCO world heritage list for the country, which also includes the Alto Douro Wine Region, the University of Coimbra and various monasteries and garrisons. It’s a testament to the country that holidaymakers often become so smitten that they decide to purchase a property from sellers such as Portugalproperty.com
The romantic image of New England in the fall endures for anyone who has ever swept along roads embroidered with millions of gold and crimson trees. A seven-hour flight to Boston, on the east coast, is one of the shorter ones to America and hence one of the cheapest. You’ll love the great food and craft beers (it’s the home of clam chowder and Samuel Adams beer), the historical journey along the Freedom Trail telling the story for the battle for independence, great sports at Fenway Park with the Red Sox, and the magnificent grounds and museums of Harvard University. Once there, rent a car and drive on to Maine for succulent lobster or Salem – home of the infamous witch trials of 1692 – for some Halloween hi-jinks.
A book on hidden autumn jewels in Italy would be thousands of pages on its own, but Sardinia’s autumn secret lasts until Christmas. From the start of September the Autunno in Barbagia exhibition sees 26 mountain villages reveal their lives to visitors. Each village opens on a different weekend, so the whimsical traveller could spend three months meandering through this glorious island sampling the finest Italian fare, and purchasing the most skilfully-crafted gifts in shops, orchards and even houses – check the schedule to create a perfect itinerary.
Dubrovnik and Split are stunning towns on the Adriatic Coast, dotted with idyllic islands just a short boat ride away. It’s cheaper and slightly less busy, but the water is still warm enough for swimming. The blend of ancient Roman ruins such as Diocletian’s Palace, with happening nightclubs such as Carpe Diem in Hvar (which has hosted the likes of Jay-Z and Prince Harry) makes this Eastern European nation one to consider.
If anywhere is going to be hot in Britain in autumn a holidaymaker’s best bet is probably the south-west, and Devon and Cornwall in particular. Beautiful beaches including Kynance Cove, Perranporth, Teignmouth and Dawlish are one attraction, but there’s also a bevy of high-quality events such as September’s International Agatha Christie Festival, this year held in Torre Abbey in Torquay, and the three-day Budleigh Salterton Literary festival featuring speakers such as Charles Spencer, Lord Ashdown and Mark Watson.
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