Autumn is a great time to travel as most destinations will be much less crowded then during the busy summer months. In addition, prices will be much lower nearly everywhere starting from mid-September.
There are many fantastic places around Europe that are best visited in autumn from the major cities to smaller towns and the countryside.
However, if you fancy a place that still offers almost summer-like conditions, the good news is there are quite a few that will fulfil that promise.
Some of them are directly in Europe, some are a bit farther away but still within a reasonable couple of hours flight time.
So if you are chasing the autumn sun, read on to find out about the best places to visit for a continued summer feeling in easy reach from most European destinations.
Best places to visit in autumn for summer sun that can be easily reached from most European cities
Andalucía – Moorish heritage, picture perfect whitewashed historic towns and tapas bars
Incredibly hot during the summer and still in the high 20s °C through September, autumn is the perfect time to travel to Andalusia in the South of Spain. Temperatures will remain in the mid 20s °C in October and around 20°C in November.
If you are looking for a break involving some beach time, Malaga, Cadiz or Huelva are likely your best bets though only Malaga has a direct airport connection.
Otherwise, Andalucía is full of amazing places like Seville, Cordoba, Jerez de La Frontera or Grenada boasting the mighty Alhambra.
Indeed, autumn is likely the best time for a road trip as both the summer heat and the large crowds will have left.
Aside from the main cities and small rural towns, there are lots of hiking trails in the vast countryside and autumn also means olive harvest which you can see in many places.
And speaking of food, don’t forget you are in one of the best places for tapas. Savour them with a glass of wine or maybe an excellent local sherry.
Tenerife – Mild weather, black sandy beaches and the third-highest volcano in the world
A long time favourite year-round destination for travellers in Europe, Tenerife is indeed a terrific destination in autumn.
It is the time of the year when the summer crowds have left whilst those wanting to escape the European winter during December and January have not yet arrived.
Tenerife, the largest of the Canaries Islands, is located just off the West Coast of Northern Africa, boasting an average temperature of low to mid 20s °C in October and November. Sea temperatures are actually the highest in September and October at around 24°C and only dropping off a bit in November.
Beyond the beach, definitely make an excursion to Mount Teide, the third highest volcano in the world. In addition, Tenerife boasts a large number of hiking trails or you can join a whale watching cruise along the coast.
Perhaps unknown to most, Tenerife produces some excellent wines too. Indeed, the island has some of the highest vineyards in Europe; reaching around 1,200 metres high on the slopes of the Trevejo volcano.
Sicily – Ancient sites, Mount Etna and an Italian food
Italy’s largest island and the largest in the Mediterranean boasts temperatures that will reach into the high 20s °C in October and still reach the mid 20s °C in November. With several airports boasting connections to a high number of European cities, it’s thus one of the most ideal places for a short trip into the summer during the autumn months.
This means, it’s still weather for the beach and there are plenty around the island.
Away from the beach, there are likely more cities worth exploring than you might think. Taormina, Ragusa, Cefalu, Palermo, Agrigento, Trapani and Marsala all boast exciting ancient architecture, winding small alleys lined by cute little shops, cafes and restaurants.
Then of course there are the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites Vale dei Templi, Villa Romana del Casale, and Necropolis of Pantalica that you should put on your list.
An excursion up Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, is a fantastic experience too. Just keep in mind, temperatures at the top will be cool even in summer and can get really freezing in autumn. Thus make sure to bring a warm jacket and boots.
Another reason in favour for Sicily? You are off course still in Italy, so expect all the excellent Italian food accompanied by excellent wines from the island.
Madeira – Europe’s highest cliff, natural saltwater pools and Madeira wine
Located off the north-west coast of Africa, temperatures during October and November promise to say into the low to mid 20s °C and there is typically still plenty of sunshine during this time of the year.
Thus autumn is still perfect for exploring the natural saltwater pools in Porto Moniz or to take a boat trip and do some whale and dolphin watching.
Funchal, the islands capital city is full with interesting sights including the lively town market and the cable car up to the hilltop neighbourhood of Monte and Monte Palace Gardens.
Otherwise, hiking along the rugged coastline you can get some amazing views over the island and sea below you. Definitely include Cabo Girao cliffs, which are the highest in Europe and Cabo Girao skywalk, a suspended glass platform 580 metres above sea level.
The island is perhaps most famous for its namesake wine, a fortified wine that is produced in various styles.
Malta – ancient sites, salt pans and the Maltese cross
The tiny island of Malta has just recently landed on the international travel hotlist. Though this means the island is now almost overcrowded in summer when large numbers of tourists squeeze into the small capital city of Valletta, autumn is still much quieter.
Located another two hours of flight time south of Sicily, Malta is one of the destinations in Europe with the highest number of sunny days during the year. Temperatures typically remain in the mid 20s °C in October and drop to an average 20°C in November.
Despite the small size, Malta is home to a number of stunning ancient sites including the Rotunda of Mosta, the megalithic temple complexes of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, and of course many sites around La Valletta, the islands capital city.
A day trip to the smaller island of Gozo which also belongs to Malta is definitely a good idea too. Head to the amazing Xwejni Salt Pans dating back to the Phoenician and Roman times (though they are still in use today!).
Wherever you go, one sight will follow you around the island: the famous eight-pointed Maltese cross the islands inheritance from the Knights of St John. The history of the order, who ruled the island for centuries, is still very evident today and can be explored through various excursions around the island.
Cyprus – Stunning beaches, ancient sites and local seafood
A European destination, Cyprus is nevertheless located to the far eastern part, south of Turkey and close to the coast of Lebanon, thus spotting a climate that is more aligned with the Middle-East.
That means, Cyprus is actually a great holiday destination year round though winter months can be a bit frickle and the rainy season starts in November.
Temperatures will still reach into the high 20s in October and the sea will be still warm from the hot summer. November is typically mild too with temperatures around 20-23°C but chances of rain are getting significantly higher.
If you get tired of the beach, there are several interesting places to seek out including the cities of Nicosia, Larnaca or the seaside town of Paphos, the ancient Tomb of the Kings or even the Troodos Mountains (though you might need some warmer clothes in that case).
Morocco – Beachside locations, Marrakesh and Atlas Mountains
Just across the Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco is a destination with temperatures in October and November in the low to mid 20s °C along the coast whilst temperatures will reach into the high 20s °C in Marrakesh in October, dropping to low 20s °C in November.
What to do away from the beach will depend where you are but places like Casablanca, Rabat, Essaouira or Agadir offer a lot of rich ancient history whilst Marrakesh with the famous Medina, Jemaa el-Fnaa square, Bahia Palace or the huge two and half acre botanical and artist’s Majorelle Garden offers a wealth of inspiring places too.
Marrakesh is also a great starting point for tours into the amazing Atlas Mountains. Just keep in mind that visiting in autumn means temperatures hear can get fairly cool with the highest peaks even likely to experience snow from November onwards.
United Arab Emirates – Souks, skyscrapers and desert tours
OK, it is not exactly around the corner. But with travel times from Europe on average around six hours and various connections per day, the UAE is perfect if you grave continued summer feeling.
Temperatures will be still into the high 20°C so it’s the perfect destination for a great time at the beach. And there are plenty of fantastic beach locations throughout the region from the famous Jumairah Beach and The Palm Dubai in Dubai to Corniche Beach, Saadiyat Beach or Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and lots of great beaches in the lesser known emirates too.
On the other hand, temperatures will be now pleasant enough (meaning down from the often more than 40°C during summer when life is mostly taking place in air conditioned indoor spaces) to get around exploring historic sites or undertake excursions into the desert.
Chasing the sun? Let me know about your favourite destinations in autumn to enjoy a continued summer feeling.