If there wasn't time to book a summer holiday this year, there's still time to visit one of these ten amazing places. Some are near, some are far, but they all put their best foot forward in autumn.
High temperatures and huge crowds are a turn-off for many holiday makers in Greece, but Thassos offers something different. Situated in Northern Greece, the whitewashed homes of stereotypical Grecian islands are replaced by rocky pine forest hills and secluded beaches. The holy mountain of Mount Athos watches over the rugged scenery dotted with olive groves and ancient temples. Hikes through the woods with beautiful views of the ocean are perfect in the slightly cooler September weather. After a day at the beach, visit some of the temples on the island, or the shallow pools of the Roman marble quarry in the shimmering early autumn sun.
Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Acadia National Park changes dramatically with the seasons, but early autumn is probably one of the best to witness. Maine rarely gets terribly hot even in the height of summer, but in September it's a perfect 20 degrees celsius, dropping lower in the evening. Hike along Maine's spectacular coastline and if weather permits, climb the Beehive. This medium to difficult trail takes you all the way up a spectacular peak with sweeping views of the park. Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the United States' North Atlantic coast, is also located in the park, and it can be hiked or driven.
In early to mid-September, you can have your cake and eat it too in the Algarve. The weather is almost exactly the same as in August, but the number of tourists has dropped dramatically. With temperatures between 23 and 30 degrees celsius, it's the perfect place for the beach holiday you couldn't make time for in August. Visit Praia de Benagil for some limestone rock formations jutting out of the fine sand. These intricate caves and grottos were created by erosion over thousands of years.
Switzerland is a year-round destination, but in September prices drop and space opens up. Be prepared for occasional rain and temperatures in the 20s, but for the most part the normally unpredictable weather is on its best behavior this time of year. From Zurich, you'll have easy access to all that this tiny, bountiful country has to offer including mountains, lakes and forests. The leaves will have also started to turn so you'll most likely get a glimpse of the autumn colours. If you're planning a longer stay in the capital, visit the Thermalbad and Spa for a day of pampering and a sublime view of the city.
The southern coast of this Balkan country has become so popular that it's almost lost its status as a hidden gem. In August, the normally wild beaches are full of tourists not only from elsewhere in Albania but from Italy and France as well. But on the first of September it's like a switch is flipped and everyone disappears back to work and school across the continent, leaving the beaches free and the water pristine.
Although there are other perfectly good beaches up and down Albania's short coast, the southern stretch is the most dramatic. Gjipe Beach, nestled in the shadow of a canyon of the same name, is a relatively easy hike through delightful olive groves. The water is so clear that you can see right down to the bottom of the sea.