Where are the best places to visit in October for sunshine? Fly to these fuss-free hideaways in four hours or less from the UK: more than half are under £100 per night and all have availability before the sun sets on your summer.
1 Marrakech, Morocco
Flying time: 3 hours 40 mins Average October high: 28°C
Meander around the medina without the baking heat of summer: it’s an altogether more enjoyable experience. Marrakech has a myriad of colours, handicrafts, foods and smells to offer, but don’t forget the glorious Atlas Mountains are only an hour away by car for a day’s hike.
Stay here: This calm, intimate riad only has four rooms in the northern reaches of the medina. Borrow a pre-loaded Moroccan mobile phone from the team for when you get lost in the markets – we hear the ride back on Hassan’s motorbike was the highlight of one guest’s trip. October prices from £79.
2 Lanzarote, Canaries
Flying time: 3 hours 45 mins Average October high: 26°C
Want to feel like you’re on Mars while less than four hours from home? There are roughly 300 volcanic craters and a lava lake to explore in Lanzarote’s Parque Nacional de Timanfaya. Soak up burnt amber and charcoal landscapes under a sapphire sky on foot or by bike in autumn’s cooler climes.
Stay here: Rustic Canarian meets bold colour inside this cluster of 10 rooms and suites. They’re perched on the edge of whitewashed sugar-cube village Yaiza. Volcanic vineyards and the superb Papagayo beach are short hop by car. October prices from £47.
3 Bodrum, Turkey
Flying time: 4 hours Average October high: 26°C
Bodrum can feel pretty hectic in summer but its museums, mud baths, and hammam are extremely pleasant to explore in October. Head to its beaches that stretch out into the Aegean – Vass is ideal for windsurfing and the whole family can dig their toes into soft sand at Bitez.
Stay here: Less than 20 minutes from the airport (yet minus the noise) is this laid-back beach escape that kids and adults will adore. Hire a gulet and explore Bodrum’s peninsula islets: Rabbit, Orak and Black islands are scuba hot-spots with quiet shorelines. October prices from £129.
4 Seville, Spain
Flying time: 2 hours 55 mins Average October high: 26°C
Al fresco lunches are still order of the day in Seville by October. Think melt-in-the-mouth secreto Ibérico pork and a glass of sherry after a busy morning wandering around labyrinthine streets. Night owls should stop by La Carbonería for a free flamenco show – just buy a drink at the bar and feel the heat.
Stay here: Tucked away from the touristy spots and with its own courtyard plunge pool is this collection of historic apartments. Each one is adorned with tapestries and antique furniture from the Bucarelli family, who called this 17th-century mansion home for four centuries. October prices from £160.
Flying time: 3 hours 10 mins Average October high: 25°C
Everything is within easy reach on Malta, so you can explore the catacombs of Rabat, hilltop town Mdina, the Dingli cliffs and Valletta’s maritime history without breaking a sweat (well, nearly). Gozo’s turquoise Comino lagoon will hypnotise you without crowd distraction; it’s only a short boat trip away. Plus, the ocean is warm enough in October to swim, snorkel and scuba dive.
Stay here: High ceilings, sandstone walls and floors, large windows and international artefacts give this excellent value B&B in Naxxar an altogether more regal feel. Though tucked away in a quieter locals’ town, you’re still only 15 mins’ from the beach and Valletta. October prices from £114.
6 Crete, Greece
Flying time: 3 hours 52 mins Average October high: 23°C
Autumn days are warm and uncrowded, plus you’re just in time for local harvests of grapes, olive oil and raki. Crete might be the largest Greek island but it still conceals quiet coves, reachable only by foot or boat, backed by soaring mountains. Plus, there are Minoan palaces, crumbling Byzantine chapels, picturesque fishing villages and citrus groves to amble around.
Stay here: The Greek government reckons this hillside hideaway (with dreamy sea views) is of ‘significant cultural importance’ – and we couldn’t agree more. It once produced olive oil for a peaceful Cretan monastery, but today you can lounge by the pool or on sun-drenched terraces while lemon and lavender pervade the air. October prices from £95.
Flying time: 4 hours Average October high: 23°C
Azure waters, emerald cliff faces and black volcanic sands mean Madeira’s mountainous landscape could be mistaken for Middle-Earth. For the botanists among you, its sub-tropical climate and isolation in the Atlantic means that prehistoric species of plant which thrive here can only be found as fossils elsewhere in northern Europe.
Stay here: These eco-conscious casitas are tucked into the foothills of the rugged west. They’re in prime position for starting the land’s best hikes – or simply laze by the infinity pool while the kids tend to the farm animals and wander around the orchards. October prices from £73.
8 Rhodes, Greece
Flying time: 4 hours Average October high: 23°C
Rhodes is a Greek island worthy of worship: its origins can be traced back to a divine myth involving Zeus and Helios (the sun god) plus there are more than 300 days of sun each year to soak up. Away from the crowds of Rhodes New Town and busier northern coastline, the island has plenty of deserted beaches, waterfalls and ruins to conquer. The evenings can feel a little cooler in October, so bring something to snuggle up in.
Stay here: These suites in Lindos lap up an unrivalled view of the Acropolis – head straight for the Skybar rooftop terrace and sink a cocktail or two in awe. St Paul’s Bay is only a 10-min walk away, plus there are plenty of harbour beaches nearby to spend your day. October prices from £79.
9 Santorini, Greece
Flying time: 3 hours 55 mins Average October high: 22°C
As Santorini’s sun-splashed autumn days draw to a close, Oia’s iconic clifftops fill with people eager to get that sunset snap. Head to Finikia instead and ask around for the best spots for the money shot. Finikia also happens to celebrate the feast day of Agia Matrona on October 20 with dancing and a wine-tasting contest. Where can we sign up?
Stay here: This trio of B&B villas each have their own private plunge pool to cool off between sun sessions. Set in a peaceful vineyard, it’s the ideal distance from bustling Oia, so you can dip in to its hubbub of blue-domed churches as and when you like. October prices from £173.
Flying time: 3 hours Average October high: 22°C
Sicily’s seas are still warm enough to slink into until the beginning of November. Yet cooler daytime temperatures also mean you can comfortably explore the island’s ancient Greek and Roman city remains. Likewise, Palermo, Noto and Modica await your adventures with calmer streets (or you could tackle a bearable hike up Mount Etna!)
Stay here: This great-value hotel in Ortigia enjoys unbroken views of the Ionian Sea. Head to the rooftop terrace for an Aperol spritz sundowner, or simply throw open your blue shutters and taste that sea air. October prices from £82.