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There are plenty of places a short hop away where summertime lingers, from Tenerife and Mallorca to South Africa and Jordan
Average high: October 24C, November 21C
If Tenerife conjures up images of 18-30 package holidays and high-rise hotels, you haven’t been for a while. The seedier side of the island does still exist, but a new wave of ecotourism is attracting a more discerning visitor, and it’s a great place for whale-watching, hiking, and trips to the rugged island of La Gomera.
The Green Traveller website has just launched an online guide to sustainable tourism in Tenerife (greentraveller.co.uk/sustainable-tourism-tenerife), highlighting organic restaurants, nature-based activities and cultural sites. Best of all, the guide has a great selection of rural hotels and holiday lets, such as Casa Las Pérez, a two-bedroom cottage in the southern Granadilla de Abona district, where temperatures seldom dip below 20C, even in the depths of winter. Surrounded by ravines and well off the beaten track, it costs from around £68 a night, minimum stay three nights.
In the less developed north-west, Hotel El Patio in Garachico (i-escape.com/hotel-el-patio) is a rambling coastal estate where doubles cost from €74 a night (minimum four-night stay). It has a pool and 26 simple, cheery rooms with terracotta floors and views of a banana plantation or a lush courtyard.
Or splash out on Abama (+34 902 105600, abamahotelresort.com, doubles from €275 a night), one of the island’s flashest hotels, with a funicular train that transports guests down to its private cliff-backed beach.
• Monarch (08719 405040, monarch.co.uk) flies to Tenerife from Birmingham, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester from £110 return
Average high: October 22C, November 19C
A bit like with Tenerife, the accommodation available in the Algarve may surprise you. Muxima (+351 91 601 2830, muxima-montesferreiros.com) is an African-accented, family-friendly eco retreat where guesthouses are encircled by a cork forest and the beach is close by. The rooms have porches or terraces for soaking up the autumn sun. There is 20% off breaks in October, taking the cost for a week to £244pp.
• Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to Faro from 11 British airports from £146 in October
Costa del Sol, Spain
Average high: October 23C, November 19C
The heatwave may be over in Britain, but it has been a great autumn so far in southern Europe: temperatures were approaching 30C this week on the Costa del Sol. In Málaga, you could stay in the city with its old town and art galleries – try the stylish Hotel Palacio Blanco (+34 952 549174, palacioblanco.com, doubles from €75 a night) – or 15 minutes out of town in Alhaurín de la Torre. Here you’ll find Rancho del Ingles (+34 699 414544, ranchodelingles.com), a self-contained retreat with pool and a choice of characterful villas. Villas cost from €62 a night, minimum two nights, and are full of quirky reclaimed furniture. The area may be overdeveloped, but you’ll be blissfully unaware of that, holed up in your stylish garden. You can rent the whole complex (five villas) or individual buildings. Another delightful property, next door Finca Cardo (holiday-rentals.co.uk/p832968, from £700 a week), sleeps four.
Alternatively, autumn is perfect for walking in the Alpujarras, an hour-and-a-half from Málaga by car. Responsible Travel (01273 600030, responsibletravel.com) has £50 off short walking holidays in Andalucía in November. The group hikes pass through pine forests and narrow gorges and are fuelled by plenty of regional food and wine. With the discount a five-day trip costs from £349, including traditional accommodation, all meals and activities, but not flights, departing 3 and 24 November.
• Thomson (Thomsonfly.com) flies to Málaga from nine British airports from £135 return
Average high: October 23C, November 18C
Mallorca is now a serious rival to Ibiza for its gastronomic restaurants, hip bar scene and fashionable crowd. L’Avenida (+34 971 634075, avenida-hotel.com), a super-stylish townhouse hotel in Sóller, north-west Mallorca, is offering winter sun mini-breaks from about £114pp a night for a three-night break in November. The building is a temple to contemporary luxury, especially the bathrooms: Philippe Starck details and roll-top baths. It is two minutes from the town square and 20 minutes by taxi from Palma.
• Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies from nine British airports to Palma, Mallorca, from £71 in November
Average high: October 25C, November 21C
If you wait until next month to go to Gozo, a small island off Malta, you may lose a few degrees in heat but you’ll save more than a few quid. HomeAway.co.uk (holiday-rentals.co.uk) has a cosy 300-year-old farmhouse sleeping five that is much cheaper in November than October (about £354 a week). The weather will be mild, so you’ll still be able to make the most of your private pool and roof terrace. There is a wealth of history on your doorstep, from caves where the first inhabitants of Gozo settled to what’s said to be the oldest freestanding temple in the world. For those with more mundane concerns, there’s a bakery selling freshly baked Gozitan bread within walking distance and the restaurants and bars of the capital, Victoria, are just 2km away.
• Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to Malta from six British airports from £82 return
Average high: October 28C, November 22C
For a short, sunny adventure, north Africa (the peaceful bits) is a great choice. Marrakech is popular, as is the fun coastal town of Essaouira, but some say the city of Fez is more authentically Moroccan. Riad Le Calife (+212 535 762608, riadlecalife.com) is an atmospheric riad in the medina, with a very good restaurant. For a gang or large family, you could rent Dar Tamazerte (01948 770509, marrakechholidayvilla.com) from £250 a night including breakfast and maid service (minimum three nights). This private villa with pool in the Ourika valley near Marrakech sleeps eight.
• Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to Marrakech from Bristol, East Midlands, Luton and Stansted from £62 return
Average high: October 27C, November 20C
Unlike its neighbours, Jordan experienced very little unrest during the Arab spring. It’s a stunningly beautiful and historically fascinating country, quiet and small and easy to travel around, and still very warm and sunny at this time of year.
Those seeking a last-minute family half-term break could book one of a few remaining places on Explore’s (0845 867 9434, explore.co.uk) group family trip there, departing on 22 October. It’s educational but exciting, featuring Petra, crusader castles and Biblical settings. Children will love floating in the Dead Sea and camping out in the desert in a goat-hair tent. The trip costs £1,185 for children and £1,250 for adults, including flights, accommodation in modern mid-range hotels and a desert camp, breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner.
• BMI (flybmi.com) flies to Amman from Heathrow from £200 return in October
Average high: October 26C, November 21C
It’s 27C in coastal resorts in Tunisia right now! Whether you want to collapse on a beach, explore historic sites such as Carthage, or shop and stuff your face in a souk, now is a great time for a trip. Lots of companies offer package deals. Seven nights half board at the small Vincci Flora Park in Enfidha, costs £307pp including flights from Doncaster on 19 October through Direct Holidays (directholidays.co.uk).
Or set up your own trip: try Dar Fatma (+216 71 981284, darfatma.com) is a charmingly simple guesthouse in lovely Sidi Bou Said, 20 minutes up the coast from Tunis. All-white rooms, grouped round a blue-and-white patio, cost from €96 a night B&B.
• British Airways flies from Gatwick to Tunis from £195 return in October
Average high: October and November 24C
Now is a great time to go on a South African safari: autumn here is spring there, which means warm weather, reasonable prices and, most importantly, baby animals! If you’re lucky you’ll spot newborn elephants, hippos, buffalo and impala. Fleewinter (020-7112 0019, fleewinter.com) has a week in October or November in the Kruger region, from £1,180pp including flights, car hire, safaris and three nights in a four-star guesthouse near the Kruger national park, three nights in a lodge near the north of the park, and one night in Tzaneen, Limpopo.
• Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) flies from Heathrow to Johannesburg from £498 return in November