If even the return of Downton Abbey isn’t enough to get you enthused about the British autumn – a season which is more about grey skies and drizzle than crisp mornings and glorious colours – now’s a great time to be planning your escape.
Whether you decide to go on a family beach holiday over half term or a romantic city couple break, holidays in Spain continue to offer spectacular value and variety.
There’s more to this gorgeous country than meets the eye, so prepare yourself for some surprises.
Gran Canaria is a classic example. The third largest of the Canary Islands punches well above its weight. With soft sands in the south, verdant northern forests, a huge central mountainous area, and amazing weather wherever and whenever you go, it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s been such a big hit with holidaymakers for so long. This destination really does have all bases covered.
Go in October half term and look forward to balmy temperatures in the mid to high-70s. Gran Canaria may be just a few hours away from the UK, but you could be forgiven for thinking you were on Miami Beach!
If you’re after sun, sea and sand on your holidays to Gran Canaria, Playa del Ingles is a popular hotspot, with nearly 3km of golden beach and shops, restaurants and bars galore.
Puerto Rico is another magnet for families, and claims to have Spain’s best sunshine record – in a country where there’s some stiff competition! The horseshoe bay, sleek marina and local waterpark all add to the experience.
For an idyllically chilled-out pace of life, Maspalomas on Gran Canaria’s southern tip could be ideal. It offers miles of Saharan-style sand dunes, and a strip of open-air eateries and chic hotels. If cocktails at sunset are more your style than big nights out, you’ll feel right at home here. What’s more, there’s been a rise in upscale hotel accommodation in this part of the island.
As an alternative, holidays to Malta also have a great deal to offer, whether you’re holidaying with family or friends, or you and your partner want to enjoy some quality time together on a romantic escape.
Expect year-round balmy temperatures, an equally warm welcome, and, since Malta was once under British rule, a distinctly familiar feel, from driving on the left to widely spoken English and red postboxes.
Accommodation is varied, from converted country farmhouses to villas with private pools and sea views, apartments and hotels.
If you’re travelling with young children in tow, consider making a beeline for the child-friendly Mellieha Bay, with its gloriously wide, safe and sandy stretch of coastline.
The island has plenty of other beaches and coves, though, both rocky and sandy, so you’ll soon find your favourite spot.
If you can prise yourself away from your sunlounger (and we know it can be hard), take a ferry to Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island, visit the Blue Grotto caves and take in the colourful, bobbing fishing boats.
Malta’s imposing fortress capital, Valetta, is another gem. Early evening is the perfect time for a stroll, or passiagata as the locals call it, down the city’s narrow main street. Don’t forget to look out over the Grand Harbour from its battlements. The white stoned citadel of Mdina in Malta’s centre is another must-see.
With all this and more waiting for you this autumn, and all at affordable prices, why would you stay in rainy Britain a minute longer than you need to? Choose a base that best suits your needs and jet off - it’s all just a few clicks away!