Late summer is our favourite time of year for European sunshine. The crowds have dispersed, the prices have come down and – if you know where to look – you can still find almost guaranteed sunshine. Here are 4 of the best corners of Europe for making the most of warm seas and late summer sunshine.
If your kids are pre-school age you are in the fortunate position of being able to travel during term-time. We defy anyone of any age to not enjoy Almyra – every detail is geared towards family relaxation. There are 4 excellent restaurants and 4 pools to choose from, lawned grounds for sunbathing or playing, and a kids club to look after little ones while you’re pummelled in the superb spa.
Apokryfo means ‘hidden’ and this tucked away gem is quite simply our favourite guesthouse in Cyprus. Renovated by Cypriot architect Vakis Hadjikyriajou and his British wife Diana, a talented interior designer, this collection of suites and houses are enchanting. There’s a bijou turquoise pool, a candlelit restaurant serving superb Cypriot dinners and a rooftop bar with bird’s eye village views.
Jorge and Sofia’ colourful eco-retreat, wrapped within 28-hectares of cork and eucalyptus forest, is as serene and bucolic a setting as you could hope to find, yet it’s still an easy drive from wonderful beaches. We love how Muxima eschews hotel-like uniformity in favour of the homespun and the organic. The wild swimming pool, for example, comes complete with dragonflies, lily pads and lots of frogs.
There are few Portuguese hideaways that have been so masterfully crafted, inside and out, as Monte da Vilarinha. Set in a tranquil natural park – only a short drive from some of the Atlantic coast’s most stunning beaches – each living unit combines clean-cut, contemporary design with the traditional Alentejano materials of slate, terracotta and bamboo. Costa Vicentina is home to some of Europe’s best breaks and, even if you’re not a surfer, it’s great fun just to watch.
These delightfully restored cottages, in the leafy hill town of Sirince, are within striking distance of Ephesus – the eastern Mediterranean’s most impressive ancient city. Their proximity to Ephesus is reason alone to visit Sirince, but you’ll also be charmed by the town’s stately crumbling townhouses, cool footpaths, and welcoming townsfolk. The cottages themselves are gorgeous. We loved the claw-footed tubs, vast sleigh beds and snuggly sleeping lofts.
Alacati was a sleepy backwater until the gusty bays nearby were discovered by windsurfers in the 1990s. Now, it’s one of Turkey’s best-preserved towns – largely thanks to the charismatic Zeynep Ozis, who converted Tas Otel from century-old mansion into bijou guesthouse. Tas – the first hotel in Alacati when it opened in 2001 – has spawned dozens of copycats, but still remains the most popular. Beautiful sandy beaches are 2km away with great watersports centres for windsurfing and diving.
On Captain Corelli’s mystical island, 3 stylish villas sit in the hills surrounded by vineyards, facing the turquoise Ionian Sea. The villas are impeccable inside and out, and just a 5-minute drive from a perfect little cove. All have sofa-strewn terraces for chasing shade or sun, and gorgeous private pools. The kitchens are immaculate and a welcome hamper is provided. Each villa has both an indoor and outdoor dining area, plus there are barbecues.
From this spot on the northern tip of Kefalonia, exquisite sea views stretch across to the islands of Lefkada and Ithaca. The hotel’s rooms and apartments are spread throughout colour-washed houses with soft yellow walls, manicured rose gardens and watery views. All have terraces or balconies that look the right way. Wander around and you’ll find sofas that look out to sea and an enormous infinity pool.