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6 of the best places for late-summer sun

Sunny escapes without the crowds

Now is the best time to book a late-summer escape. Not only will you avoid the sweltering temperatures and busy tourist crowds that mark the high season, but travelling towards the end of summer is also easier on your wallet. Here, we’ve rounded up six of the best destinations to soak up some late-summer sun.

Harbour town on the island of Vis, Croatia © Dreamstime.com/Xbrchx
1.

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Best for: island-hopping

With over 1,000 islands and islets sprinkled across the Adriatic Sea, the Dalmatian Coast is ideal for an island-hopping holiday. And while the surge in the country’s popularity has also meant an increase in summer prices, visiting slightly out of season means you can soak up Croatia’s Adriatic beauty without a hefty price tag.

Each of the islands that pepper the coast offers something different. Picture-postcard Korčula, home to 15th-century medieval ramparts and towers, is perfect for history buffs, while Hvar’s buzzing clubs and beachside bars are great for night owls.

Found to the west of Roman-influenced Pula, Rab is ideal for those who want to get active. The island is criss-crossed with cycling and walking routes, but also offers gorgeous sandy beaches – something of a rarity in Croatia.

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, set sail for Vis. Croatia’s most remote island offers some beautiful scenery, including hidden coves, craggy cliffs and pebble beaches. Visit before the cinephiles descend – this pretty island was the filming location for the Mamma Mia! sequel.

Mountain biking by the sea on Rab © Dreamstime.com/Blasbike
2.

Crete, Greece

Best for: ancient history

Greece’s largest island boasts temperatures well over 20°C (70°F) in late August and September, making it the ideal destination for some end-of-summer sunshine.

Avoid the resort-lined east of the island, basing yourself instead in the quieter west. Pretty port towns such as Réthymno, with its waterfront restaurants, interesting old quarter and 16th-century Venetian Fortétsa, have plenty to offer beyond days in the sun.

For magnificent mountain scenery, and the best of the island’s historic sites, you’ll need to head inland. The ancient Minoan ruins Knosós and Phaestos are particular highlights.

Réthymno, Crete © Dreamstime.com/Windujedi
3.

The Loire Valley, France

Best for: wine

Few of France’s wine regions are as enjoyable to visit as the Loire. This bucolic part of the country is made for late summer exploration, when you can potter between the picturesque towns and hillside vineyards without encountering huge crowds.

Some of the most beautiful spots are found along the river Loire itself. Saumur, home of the orange liqueur triple sec and producer of some beautiful crémants (sparkling wines), is one of the most peaceful towns, while Amboise is the epitome of French riverside charm.

Make time, too, for visiting the Loire’s magnificent châteaux – Chenonceau and Chambord are perhaps the finest.

Chateau de Chambord © Dreamstime.com/Stevanzz
4.

The Algarve, Portugal

Best for: beaches

If hot and sunny days are top of your wish list, head to the Algarve in Portugal’s far south where the mercury can still hit 30°C (86°F) in September.

You’ll find some delightful fishing villages and peaceful retreats alongside the bigger resort towns. Carvoeiro, its pretty houses tumbling gently down towards a pocket-sized beach, is one of the best.

Another great stretch of coastline runs east of Faro, where barrier-island beaches protect lagoons within Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. Or try the wild and beautiful Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. Covering most of the Algarve’s untamed west coast, it's home to a wealth of beautiful, and often deserted, beaches.

If you want to mix sunbathing with getting active, why not go surfing at Praia do Amado or try windsurfing at Meia Praia? The secluded caves and hidden grottoes of Praia da Dona Ana, easily explored by boat, are another reason to leave the beach.

Inland, the feel of the Algarve becomes more rural with plenty of bustling market towns, whitewashed villages and gentle walks to discover.

Carvoeiro village and beach, Algarve, Portugal © Dreamstime.com/Malajscy
5.

Seville, Spain

Best for: culture

Andalucía’s capital is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular cities, thanks to its rich history, diverse neighbourhoods and delicious tapas.

Most visitors start by exploring the cobbled streets of Santa Cruz, once the city’s Jewish quarter. Here, alongside hidden plazas, colourful houses and tiny tapas bars, you’ll find Seville’s monumental cathedral – the final resting place of Columbus. Don't miss the breathtaking Real Alcázar, a Moorish-inspired palace complex.

The tree-lined paths of Parque María Luisa, the city’s biggest park, are perfect for an afternoon stroll. Here you can also admire the extravagant Plaza de España, a crescent-shaped square dotted with Venetian-style canals and bridges.

Remember to explore some of Seville’s less-visited neighbourhoods, too. Former gypsy quarter Triana, famous for its flamenco and mosaic-covered houses, is a great place to buy ceramics, while artsy La Macarena is filled with vintage clothes shops and quirky art galleries.

End your trip at the Metropol Parasol, affectionately dubbed “Las Setas” (The Mushrooms) by locals – its walkway affords awe-inspiring views over the city.

Plaza de España, Seville © Dreamstime.com/Gbruev
6.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Best for: exploring beyond Europe

Late summer is a great time to visit Tel Aviv. Temperatures remain balmy, and you’ll avoid the inflated prices and busy crowds that mark the summer months.

The city has 10 km (6 miles) of sandy shoreline, so you can take your pick of the beaches. Blanketed with sun-loungers and beach bums alike, Gordon, Bograshov and Frishman are among the city’s most popular – and busiest – beaches. Try Alma or Jaffa for a more relaxed atmosphere.

If you get tired of lounging by the sea, make a beeline for Old Jaffa. This ancient city-port was the birthplace of modern Tel Aviv, and its narrow alleyways, lined with stylish galleries and trendy restaurants, are well worth exploring. From here, make your way to Florentin. This graffiti-covered, hipster neighbourhood contains many of the city’s coolest bars, eateries and underground nightclubs.

Have an extra day or two to burn? Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest cities, is less than an hour away by car. The city’s main sights – the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre – are all within walking distance of each other, and can be visited in a day.

View over the waterfront and beaches of Tel Aviv, Israel © Dreamstime.com/Dance60