Where to go in Europe: Seven 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 of 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 within easy reach of the coast.
Mallorca welcomes spring with the heady scent of orange blossom, and celebrates with festivals 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 Crèche & Kids' Clubs and enjoy some grown up time off too, while our expert team look after children from the age of 6 months and over.
Couples can enjoy a little extra luxury in May by booking one of our Adult Only Exclusive Suites at the Bella Mare Hotel in Corfu or one of our smaller villas on Paxos, like The Artist's House or Thanelli.
In Italy, May is a great month to explore the spectacular hilltop villages and renaissance towns of Tuscany and Umbria, while further south in Puglia the glittering coastline beckons and temperatures are really on the rise.
Best for: young families, explorers, a cheeky extra week’s holiday
It’s definitely beach weather all around the Mediterranean by now and Ionian islands like Ithaca remain greener than their more southerly counterparts, perfect for sunny exploration. And 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.
June is also a wonderful month to explore France, with the lavender fields in Provence at their most vibrant towards the end of the month and the chic resorts, golden beaches and cycling trails of the Aquitaine Coast significantly quieter than in the peak weeks of July and August.
Luxury villas in Turkey are exceptional value at this time of year and the bigger you go, the better it gets. 4-bedroom Villa Zaffre is more affordable in early summer, so if you’re planning a honeymoon, milestone birthday or a get together with friends, this is the best month to make the budget go a little further.
Best for: hikes, honeymoons, more affordable luxury
July in the Mediterranean means hot days, and warm evenings and the lure of the sea is irresistible. There's no place like Greece for messing about in the water and we'll be happy to arrange boat hire for you in all our Greek destinations. Or head for Corsica and beat the heat by donning a wetsuit and canyoning in the deep gorges beneath Bavella, or try sailing, windsurfing or paddle-boarding at one of the beaches around Porto Vecchio & Bonifacio.
Best for: boat hire, thrill-seekers, beating the August peak
Once school’s out, it’s time to give older children some space. Kalkan has bags of teen appeal and our legendary Kalkan Regency hotel welcomes families at this time of year, whilst our Beach Life programmes at the Bella Mare Hotel in Corfu and GK Beach Hotel in Crete are perfect for children aged 5 to 11. Or, if you’re in that magical sweet spot between toddlers and teens, why not keep it simple with a family villa in North East Zakynthos, a perfect destination for families.
Footloose and child-free? Try an Adult Only Simpson Hotel for blissful seclusion even in the height of summer.
Best for: teens and tweens, sun lovers, a hedonistic high-summer vibe
September is sweet and golden; perfect for couples, families with pre-schoolers and sophisticated celebrations with friends. Warm seas and peaceful beaches call for gentle exploration of smaller Greek islands like Paxos and Meganissi or lazy days on the golden sands in Mallorca.
Best for: celebrations, 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 houses like Trulli Rosalinda to the magnificent Masseria Le Torri hotel.
Best for: foodies, photographers, a shot of vitamin D before winter