Looking to get the last bit of sun before summer ends? Here’s our list of 6 tried and tested late summer sun in Europe destinations which combine a buzzing city or town with beach vibes.
Where in the Balkans is best for romance and late summer sun?
Dubrovnik is popular for a reason. A stunning city of historical significance surrounded by crystal clear water. It’s perfect for late summer sun in Europe, particularly for couples looking for an escape.
Best for: Romance
Getting there: EasyJet and BA fly direct from London Gatwick.
Activities: The Old Town provides hours of entertainment as you meander your way around the city walls, spotting famous scenes from Game of Thrones or soaking up the history. Cafe culture galore, as well as Churches and Cathedrals. Hike or take the cable car up Mount Srd for the best views of Dubrovnik.
Beaches: Divine swimming spots pop out of nowhere behind the city walls, or there are beautiful coves like Sulic Beach within walking distance. For quieter beaches head East to Cavtat or West to Zaton or Slano. Expect calm, clear sea and rocky or shingle coast.
Food and Drink: Croatian wine, beer or Raika are on the menu. But anything is available for a price in this cosmopolitan city. Gourmet restaurants are everywhere, but pizza and burgers are also available. Local cuisine includes Dalmatian ham and fresh fish, as well as oysters from Ston.
Weather: September highs of 26C and lows of 19C. October highs of 22C and lows of 16C.
If you’re looking to head to Dubrovnik on a budget, check this out.
Where is the Balkans is best for late summer sun?
Kotor is not a big city, but it’s got a beautiful old town and a lovely beach in one tiny package. The mountain backdrop is incomparable and the ambience uniquely Montenegrin. Kotor is ideal if you’d rather an easy and relaxing late summer sun in Europe desitination.
Best For: Ease
Getting there: EasyJet flies to Tivat, Wizz Air or Ryanair to Podgorica. Or you could also fly into Dubrovnik and cross the border.
Activities: A compact old town complete with medieval city walls, a fort and many churches to wander. The walls are free to explore. Hike the ladder of Kotor or kayak if you want something more active.
Beaches: Two small town beaches or walk further towards Dobrota where you’ll find numerous jetties with more private swimming spots. Or try Mandrac or Little Bay bars, both have direct access to the sea.
Food and drink: Italian influence is clear, with pizza and pasta on most menus. Traditional Montenegrin cuisine is also available, try Cevapi or squid ink risotto. Wine and beer are mainly local or sometimes from neighbouring Croatia or Serbia. There are also lots of street food options.
Weather: September highs of 26C and lows of 14C. October highs of 22C and lows of 10C.
Where is best for food and late summer sun?
Bari is an oft overlooked city in Puglia in Southern Italy. Here you’ll find laid back vibes, a good value restaurant and bar scene and layers of Italian tradition baked together like a jolly lasagne. If you’re looking for a spot of late summer sun in Europe, combined with some excellent food, then Bari is the one.
Best for: Food
Getting there: EasyJet has regular flights from London Gatwick to Bari.
Activities: Bari Vecchia (the old town) is a highlight, with 29 churches, a castle, pasta making grannies and plazas surrounded by bars and restaurants.
Beaches: Despite being surrounded by sea, the beach in Bari is relatively small but its clean and sandy. The best beaches (in our opinion) are to be found south of Bari, head to either Monopoli or Polignano A Mare.
Food and drink: This is Italian food at it’s best. Pizza, foccacia, handmade pasta and fresh seafood for days. Street food in Bari is mega fun and there are some fantastic restaurants to dine out in too to suit any budget.
Weather: September highs of 26C lows of 16C. October highs 22C lows of 13C.
Read more about Puglia here.
Where is best for summer escapism?
Lisbon has my heart, and my stomach! And in sure after only one visit it will become a special place for you too. Terracotta roofs, warm and friendly locals and custard tarts are all ready to welcome you. If you are looking for late summer sun in Europe, with a dash of escapism, then Lisbon could be the best option for you.
Best for: Awakening your spirit
Getting there: Easyjet has very regular flights from London Gatwick to Lisbon.
Activities: Ride trams, visit the San Jorge castle or nearby Sintra. But most of all, what the restaurant scene and nightlife has to offer. Whether you like traditional Fado music or techno beats, you can find it all here. Try the famous Ponte Final restaurant for epic views. The timeout market is also well worth a visit.
Beaches: Ok, technically Lisbon does not have a beach. But the nearest one is 20 minutes away and the city does have a waterfront. The stunning wide sandy beaches of Casais are only 40 mins on the train too.
Food and drink: Lisbon is one for foodies, particularly those with a taste for the modern cuisine. Multiple Michelin stars available but local eateries in the old town also hold their own. Look out for fresh sardines. Those with a sweet tooth will also have a field day in Lisbon too, prepare your lonely mouth for Pastel de Nata (custard tart), rice pudding and specialist chocolate shops.
Weather: September highs of 26C and lows of 17C. October highs of 23C and lows of 15C.
Where is best for guaranteed sun?
Most travellers looking for a city break in Andalucia will naturally head for Seville, which of course is stunning, but Malaga is a really great alternative. Jacaranda trees tinge the plazas in a beautiful shade of purple in October too. If you like your late summer sun in Europe to be hot hot hot, then Malaga may be best for you.
Best For: Guaranteed Sun
Getting there: Easyjet has very regular flights to Malaga. As do a number of other airlines from London and regional airports.
Activities: Theres more than enough to keep you entertained in the city for a few days. The Picasso Musuem is a must see as is the beautiful Cathedral. If you’re up for trying something different? Then the Hammam treatment is highly recommended. Otherwise, meander around and enjoy the tapas culture.
Beaches: In Malaga you’ll find a generous city beach with dark sand and palm trees. They are perhaps not the most “quaint”, but with restaurants and bars lining the beach, it’s a fun day out. You can of course head out of the city to nearby Marbella.
Food and drink: Churros and chocolate are a must in Malaga, try Casa Aranda. A super welcoming spot with cheery waiters. For Tapas, there are so many choices in Malaga but Casa Lola (pictured) comes highly recommended for inexpensive food and efficient service.
Weather: September 28C highs and 19C lows. October highs of 24C and lows of 15C.
Where is best in summer for something different?
Santander is a jewel in the crown of Northern Spain, and yet, it’s not as popular for city breaks as its neighbours San Sebastian and Bilbao. Not as likely to be hot hot, but it’s a great place to go out out. If you are looking for late summer sun in Europe, but not overwhelming heat then Santander could be great for you.
Best For: Value for money
Getting there: Ryanair fly direct from Stansted to Santander.
Activities: Plaza de Canadio is a great hangout of an evening, as are the many tapas filled streets and markets. Swim or surf at the beach. Make sure you visit the Cathedral too.
Beaches: Hurrah, Santander has an excellent city beach, El Sardinero. Its sandy and wide and makes for a great place to while away a few hours. Playa de Somo is also a short boat ride away, and well worth the trip. Its stunning. If the weather isnt quite up to par for sunbathing, Somo is great for a walk.
Food and drink: Enjoy tapas in one of the many restaurant lined streets. You can get the more traditional Spanish tapas here, Tortilla, Cheese and Ham. But theres also a gastro influence meaning you can find more avant garde bites. Theres an indoor market, Mercado Este, which is also fun.
Weather: September highs of 22C and lows of 15C. October highs of 19C and lows of 13C.
You can read more about Santander and Somo here.