Where to go in Europe: 7 months of sunshine
It’s all about latitude of course, so you don’t need us to tell you that Crete is likely to be considerably sunnier than Cambridge in April! However, with so many options to choose from, knowing what to expect throughout the season can be more of a challenge. To help you get started, we quizzed our destination specialists and came up with this month-by-month guide to where to stay and when.
Fresh, green and full of promise, April is glorious in the Mediterranean. This is the best time to explore Crete, where the White Mountains are still dusted in snow and the countryside is alive with wild flowers. Base yourself at the Arosmari Village Hotel for a delightfully authentic Cretan experience, especially if you can visit over Greek Easter.
Mallorca welcomes spring with the heady scent of orange blossom, and celebrates with festival in the middle of April. Make the most of the gentle sunshine with a stroll along the Pine Walk in Puerto Pollença, or pack your walking boots and tackle a stage or two of the 167km-long GR221 that runs all the way from Port d’Andratx to Pollença town
Best for: walking, spring blooms, shaking off the winter blues
By May, the days are becoming balmy but not too hot, kinder to young skins and more relaxing for parents. With no ferries to deal with and a nice short transfer, Lefkada is one of the easiest of the Greek islands for a first big trip with little ones. Treat yourselves to a proper family holiday at Mousses Villas, complete with a crèche & children’s club.
If the water has to be warm to tempt you in, try a heated pool. Many of our Aquitaine Coast villas offer this brilliant extra, and if you’ve got older children looking for some half-term fun, the surfing mecca of Hossegor ticks all the right boxes. Family-friendly Corsica is another favourite half-term destination, with beaches to rival the Caribbean just a short flight away.
Best for: young families, explorers, a cheeky extra week’s holiday
It’s definitely beach weather all around the Mediterranean by now, though the Ionian islands like Kefalonia remain greener than their more southerly counterparts, perfect for sunny exploration. If you start early, it’s still cool enough to tackle some of the great Mediterranean paths, such as the Corfu Trail or Turkey’s Lycian Way.
Luxury villas in Turkey are exceptional value at this time of year and the bigger you go, the better it gets. Even the most extravagant properties like Villa Canim are more affordable in early summer, so if you’re planning a honeymoon, milestone birthday or a get together with friends, consider a private villa for the ultimate in pampering and seclusion.
Best for: hikes, honeymoons, more affordable luxury
July in the Mediterranean means hot days, and life by the sea feels all the more inviting. Northeast Corfu is our favourite place for messing about in the water; we'll be happy to arrange boat hire for you in San Stephanos or Avlaki Bay. Corsica’s dramatic landscapes offer another great way to beat the heat: don a wetsuit and try canyoning in the deep gorges beneath Bavella, or try sailing, windsurfing or paddle-boarding just a short walk from the all-suite Alto di Pinarello hotel.
Best for: boat hire, thrill-seekers, beating the August peak
Once school’s out, it’s time to give older children some space. France’s Aquitaine coast has bags of teen appeal around the surfing hot spots of Hossegor and Biarritz, while the Bella Mare Hotel in Corfu lets 8 to 17-year olds find their own groove with a choice of activities both on and off the water. If you’re in that magical sweet spot between toddlers and tweens, keep it simple with a family villa in Mallorca, still the ultimate destination for younger families.
Footloose and child-free? Try an Adult Only Simpson Hotel for blissful seclusion even in August. With just four private suites, the idyllic Keromoussi hotel on Meganissi provides the ultimate high summer escape for couples or friends.
Best for: teens and tweens, sun lovers, a hedonistic high-summer vibe
September is sweet and golden. Warm seas and peaceful beaches call for gentle exploration of the Ionians on a bespoke Wandering holiday, with luxury accommodation and first-class service included at hotels such as our own unique Purple Apricot on Paxos. Greece is perfect for pre-schoolers now too, and to make sure everyone gets a proper break, we recommend a holiday with childcare at Periyali Villas in Zakynthos.
Best for: active breaks, pre-schoolers, pampering Adult Only time
Tuscany’s landscapes are at their most inspiring In October, wreathed in dawn mists that vanish as the sun climbs high over gilded vineyards and medieval hill towns. First-pressed olive oil, earthy truffles and roasted chestnuts deliver a feast for all the senses; stay at La Casa dei Mandorli and discover it all at the abundant seasonal markets and food festivals.
Nestling in the sunny south, Puglia’s beach weather stretches into October. The accommodation is as bewitching as the landscapes, from fairy-tale trulli houses to the magnificent Masseria Le Torri and if you'd like to venture further south, our Puglian Wandering programme is perfect.
Best for: foodies, photographers, a shot of vitamin D before winter