Taking a trip away when the days have cooled off and are shortening here in the UK, is the perfect way to stock up on vitamin D and get you through to the winter months.
Although the temptation is to look further afield, the seasons in many European destinations are getting longer and more hotels and resorts are staying open right through until the end of October/beginning of November. The other advantage is that the waters of the Mediterranean sea have had the whole summer to warm up, but air temperatures are only just starting to drop.
Sicily is a perfect example; being dominated by the mighty Mount Etna and so offering wonderful volcanic beaches means perfect gin-clear water. We believe the best place to sample this is on the Aeolian islands, a collection of volcanic islets lying off the North-East coast of Sicily. The islands range considerably in size and offerings, from Vulcano, equipped with hot mud baths, to lush Salina island famed for it’s sweet wine and capers right through to exclusive Panarea with it’s small winding lanes and no cars (too wide!). There is though still the entirety of Sicily left to explore, an ideal destination for anyone with a keen interest in history, littered with fascinating ancient sites, Sicily has played a hugely strategic and crucial part in years gone by due to it’s position in the Mediterranean. Let’s not forget the selection of world-class boutique hotels and villas, both inland clinging to hillsides in charming local villages through to coastal idylls and rural escapes which will all be guaranteed to offer outstanding cuisine and wine – something all Sicilians are extremely proud of – and rightly so!
Looking beyond Europe but still within 8 hours of the UK, a real favourite is Oman, an “entry level” experience of the Middle East. A unique country with close ties to the UK, offering extraordinary scenery combined with fascinating culture, extremely warm welcomes, beautiful beaches and fantastic hotels. The options are wonderfully varied; you could either laze by the beach, or if you’re feeling more intrepid then head up into the Jabal Akhdar mountains for some extraordinary scenery and high octane hikes. Let’s not forget the wide expanses of desert, with exhilarating activities such as dune bashing and sand boarding and where nights are spent under the stars in a choice of opulent desert camps.
If it’s a far flung adventure on tropical shores that you’re after then Indonesia can offer just that. Home to over 17,000 islands, this is the largest archipelago in the world and even exploring a few of them will no doubt leave you wanting more! The jumping off point for most destinations within the country is Bali; often bypassed for being too much of a ‘tourist trap’ we would always recommend spending just a small amount of your holiday here as it really is an enchanting island. Steer clear of the backpacker haven of Kuta and instead head for the more peaceful coastlines of either Eastern Bali, or the very southern tip of Uluwatu; for something different the North Western corner is home to the Menjangan National Park, not well known this is a true paradise escape.
From Bali the choices are endless: Private “liveaboard” cruises through the Komodo National Park or Raja Ampat in search of extraordinary marine life, trekking up volcanoes in Java or through rainforests in Sumatra, beach-hopping in Lombok or tribal immersion in Flores. The dry season in Indonesia will see you through until early November, making it an ideal destination for that Autumn getaway combined with the fact that being low season, prices are that much more affordable and availability plentiful.