The return of warmer weather to many parts of the UK is welcome, but what about when the mercury drops and rain returns? Happily, this is still less of an issue in many parts of Europe and Africa for a good few weeks, meaning you don’t have to take a long-haul flight to chase the sun.
We have found seven places that are each less than five hours’ flight away from the UK and have averaged temperatures upwards of 21°C in October and into early November in the past two years.
The Portuguese territory of Madeira counts as Europe despite – together with its smaller sibling, Porto Santo – lying much closer to Africa and further south than Cairo or Casablanca. Such geography explains why the past two Octobers have averaged 22°C in its south-coast capital.
Spilling memorably down a mountain bowl and suddenly, stunningly, revealed as you arrive from the airport, Funchal centres on a compact, cobbled old town.
Carefully managed dolphin-watching cruises set off nearby, while a series of stellar tropical gardens are another pull for visitors. Further inland, there are scenic, easy walks following the levada irrigation streams that score Madeira’s lush peaks; for sandy shores, board the two-and-a-half hour ferry to Porto Santo.
Aided by a cocktail bar, outdoor pool and Portuguese-Mediterranean restaurant, the Quinta Bela São Tiago Hotel makes a fine base. It is a 64-room manor house located five minutes’ walk from the centre, with sea views from its mango orchards and banana plantation.
How to do it: Seven nights’ B&B from £1,325pp, including flights and transfers, sunvil.co.uk
The Bodrum peninsula has a winning all-round appeal: as well as powdery shores, there are fishing villages, hiking areas and, around its eponymous resort town, ample history in the form of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – and a 15th-century castle. You can also expect warmth: in the last couple of Octobers and Novembers, temperatures averaged 21.25°C.
Bodrum also throws in a cosmopolitan, palm-lined promenade replete with restaurants. In the back streets are old, white-blue stone houses flanked by flower-filled pots.
Many hotels around the peninsula have a waterfront location, but the 4reasons boutique’s slightly inland position affords other perks. Facing the sea towards green hillsides from its elevated spot, the large outdoor pool has an air of tranquillity. That is encouraged by the provision of just 20 spacious rooms or suites, an over-12s age limit, yoga sessions in the gardens and outdoor Mediterranean dining.
How to do it: Seven nights’ B&B from £1,125pp, including flights and private transfers, fleewinter.com
It requires the longest flight of anywhere suggested here – direct services from London airports take about four hours, 35 minutes – yet Cyprus’s premier west-coast resort city is worth it for sun-seekers. Even November’s first weekend brought temperatures of up to 26°C in the past two years.
Nearly everyone speaks perfect English here, not least around Paphos’s harbour, where the boardwalk curves around to conclude under an Ottoman-era fort. Close by, boat trips set off toward the Blue Lagoon. Just to the north is a sprawling archaeological park hosting remains of an ancient Roman city, including intricate mosaics and a well-preserved Odeon theatre.
Barely five minutes’ amble from the theatre is the Annabelle, an upmarket, slickly designed resort hotel that rolls down to the waterfront via a multi-level pool, swim-up bars and restaurants. Ther is also a sleek rooftop spa and tennis courts at an adjacent, sister property.
How to do it: Seven nights’ B&B from £735pp, including flights and transfers, olympicholidays.com
Another traumatic Moroccan earthquake, back in 1960, destroyed this Moroccan port and forced a massive rebuild. Agadir 2.0 is thus distinct in Morocco – while arguably less soulful than other cities, it is leafy, spacious and free of the hurly-burly encountered in, say, Marrakech. The earthquake in September this year had next to no effect here.
And then there’s Agadir’s trump card: a wide beach with golden sand lined by restaurants and sunbed-renting cafés. It is swept each morning and coloured flags communicate the safety of swimming conditions.
With even early November hitting 30°C last year, you may prefer slumber. Step forward Riad Villa Blanche: about 400m from Agadir’s beach, this hotel pairs convenience with an outdoor pool, a spa and a restaurant that fuses Moroccan and southern Mediterranean cuisine.
How to do it: Four nights’ B&B from £849pp, including flights, lounge access and transfers, classic-collection.co.uk
This popular tourist island – the largest in North Africa – was recently added to Unesco’s World Heritage List for its ancient, self-sustainable but connected neighbourhood settlement.
Today, its whitewashed towns display Berber, Arab and Jewish influence, while Erriadh has been transformed into an open-air museum by more than 150 words of eye-popping street art.
In the past five years, late October temperatures here have regularly hit the high 20°Cs, making Djerba’s turquoise waters and soft, sandy beaches all the more appealing as the mercury falls in the UK.
It’s a six-hour drive south from the capital Tunis to Djerba, but the island has an international airport with domestic connections to the capital as well as Paris and Lyon (meaning you’re less likely to hear many English-speaking holidaymakers here than in resorts further north such as Hammamet and Sousse). Another bonus is being close to the Sahara, Jebil National Park (with its gazelle and addax) and oasis of Ksar Ghilane.
How to do it: Iberostar Mehari Djerba on Plage de Sidi Mahrez has double rooms from £81 per night half board in early November, iberostar.com
Gran Canaria, Spain
If noisy families are as welcome as sleet or snow, opt for the five-star Hotel Riu Palace Maspalomas on the southern extremity of another of Spain’s Canary Islands, Gran Canaria. With no one younger than 18 permitted here, you are likely to find peace. You can also expect a glitzy aesthetic: Canarian architect César Manrique was behind the resort’s fortress-style buildings.
Facilities-wise, there are two outdoor pools, first-class restaurants and a spa. The complete refurbishment that took place in 2021 guarantees airy, modern bedrooms. Many of the rooms look across the adjacent Maspalomas Dunes – rolling yellow sand straight out of a Saharan fantasy – to a slender lighthouse. More sophisticated than its neighbouring resort of Playa del Inglés, the Maspalomas area also has designer boutiques, golf courses and a three-mile Blue Flag beach.
According to the website Time & Date, nowhere on this list has a higher average temperature over the past two Octobers and Novembers than Maspalomas’s 22.25°C.
How to do it: Seven nights’ half-board from £949pp, including flights and transfers, tui.co.uk
This North African heavyweight combines thrilling desert scenery with history, extravagant architecture and shopping souks. Yet Algeria receives far fewer tourists than its smaller neighbour.
That is partly due to an absence of fly-and-flop resorts. Touring itineraries are more common; accordingly, the operator Wild Frontiers has availability on a 12-person group tour departing on 26 October – a date when temperatures reached 31°C in 2022.
After exploring the engrossing capital Algiers and its whitewashed Casbah citadel, you will journey to Djemila, a superbly preserved Roman mountain village, and Constantine, the picturesque “City of Bridges”. Next comes the vast Sahara Desert, including giant dunes and abandoned mud-brick villages, before a stop in the French-flavoured seaside city of Oran. The pace is gentle, and high-quality hotels with swimming pools are the norm.
How to do it: 10 nights’ full-board from £3,350pp, including all transfers and entry fees but not flights, wildfrontierstravel.com