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European Autumn Sunspots

The first of the autumn storms is bound to make many of us think about catching some final rays of European summer sun. Moreover, this time of year can be perfect for a holiday. With schools back, the crowds have lessened and, better still, many hotels and airlines reduce their prices in the hope of tempting last-minute sun-seekers. So, where are some of the best places to go? Here are three suggestions to get you thinking.

Andalucia, Spain

If autumn have you reaching for anoraks, sweaters and umbrellas, Andalucia will have you thinking again. With temperatures still reaching the high 20s or low 30s, you’ll need to remember sun cream and loose cotton clothing. Andalucia’s beaches are perfect at this time of year: relatively quiet and with seas that still retain much of the summer’s heat. It’s also a great time of year to explore the hills: try the Sierra de Aracena for miles of hiking trails, quiet villages, not to mention a new improved road to Seville.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Increasingly busy in high summer, September and October mark a change in tempo in this vibrant port city. There are fewer cruise ships, the streets are less crowded, the humidity drops, the sea remains an ideal temperature for swimming, and hoteliers reduce their prices. One of the best beaches in the region is on Lopud island, easily reachable from Dubrovnik.

Île de Ré, France

Perennially popular with French tourists, this west coast island is crowded during the summer months of June, July and August. By September, however, the majority of holidaymakers have returned home to school and work, and the autumn sunseeker can enjoy the place in relative solitude. True, the autumn temperatures are noticeably lower than those in the summer but the September average of 23 degrees is ideal for exploring the island’s many cycle tracks, while also taking in vineyards, oyster farms, sandy beaches and shady pine forests.

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