Missed out on a summer holiday this year? Well, you’re in luck. Plenty of beachside hotspots still boast sunny days over the October half-term break.
From Portugal to Turkey, we did some digging to find the top destinations for an affordable family break – no matter where you’re flying from.
If 20C October days sound like your cup of tea, the Algarve is for you. Spectacular beaches, quieter now the summer crowds have abated, outdo the promises painted on postcards: think sun loungers dotted along golden sands set against ochre cliffs and the clearest blue skies.
A classic sunshine break for Brits, the Algarve caters to all tastes but families will be treated especially well here, even into October. Resorts are of the all-inclusive kind with extensive kids’ clubs to keep the little ones entertained.
Try Albufeira for particularly cheap deals, or up-and-comer Ferragudo for a luxe-for-less package holiday.
Impossibly clear waters and blindingly white sands are Majorca’s crown jewels (check out Es Trenc beach – you’ll thank us later). But even the most devoted of sun-worshippers won’t regret taking a step back from the beach and toward the city.
We’re talking about Palma, of course. It’s a big call to make, but the Majorcan capital is one of the prettiest in Spain – even the Spanish royal family are fans. For an activity the whole family will enjoy, take the vintage train to Soller for an afternoon.
Nestled between orange tree-flecked mountains and the sea, it’s almost as if the town was designed to charm. Magnífico!
Waterparks may have shut up shop by the October half term break, but the Costa del Sol is hardly quiet this time of year.
Outdoorsy kids will be in their element in this chunk of Spain. The otherworldly Nerja Caves will send young imaginations wild, while animal lovers will have their pick of Fuengirola’s BioParc, the Crocodile Park in Torremolinos and the impressive Jardin de las Aguilas, a birds of prey show, in Benalmadena.
The beaches here are among some of the friendliest for families: Playa del Bajondillo in Torremolinos is a hot favourite but if you prefer somewhere trendier, consider Playa Nagüeles in Marbella.
If your holiday won’t be complete without some theme park action, head straight to Spain’s Costa Dorada. It’s home to PortAventura World, a trilogy of parks in Salou and one of the few still open this late in the year. Relative newcomer, Ferarri World, joins the original PortAventura Park and Caribe Aquatic Park; you can tick off all three with affordable combo tickets.
Quieter than its neighbouring costas, the Costa Dorada also has kid-friendly beaches characterised by endless golden sands and a laidback restaurant scene – it’s a world away from the lively bars of the Costa Blanca.
That Corfu brings its A-game when it comes to beaches is hardly a secret. But you won’t be dazzled by sparkling waters alone: a verdant interior, dotted with charming straight-from-a-movie villages, is one of the island’s main drawcards.
The fact you can hightail its length in two hours means you can tick off a lot in a day, but why would you want to? Take your October break at a leisurely pace, stopping in villages such as Skripero and Lakones before whiling away the evening at your resort.
Hotels in and around Sidari often offer all-inclusive deals and cater to families.
We might feel perfectly at home in made-for-Brits Benidorm, but the Costa Blanca is much more than pubs by the beach.
Visit Villajoyosa (it translates to the Joyful Town) for quieter sands, colourful architecture and a chocolate factory, Valor, to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or, pop in on Calpe for calm waters and white-washed houses worthy of any teens’ Instagram feed.
If you want to splash out, consider Denia. At just over an hour away from Alicante airport, the swanky destination is brimming with five-star hotels and Blue Flag beaches – perfect for 24C (average highs) weather, then.
The Turquoise Coast certainly lives up to its moniker. Unbelievably blue waters are the order of the day here, and nowhere more so than in the Dalaman district.
Marmaris, Sarigerme, Fethiye and Ölüdeniz are the heroes of the area, each offering a range of kid-friendly resorts and spectacular beaches. For early half-termers, Ölüdeniz plays host to a five-day paragliding event, Ölüdeniz Air Games, from October 15 – 20.
Otherwise, Marmaris and Icmeler are two of the cheaper resorts this October half-term. The former boasts high-octane thrills (such as quad biking) and horse trekking safaris.
Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.
Shimmering sands fringe a lush interior packed with thousands of years of history on Crete, so it would be shame to stick to the beaches.
Check out the impressive ruins of Knossos to be transported back to the height of Minoan civilisation or hike into the jaw-dropping Samaria Gorge – one of the longest in Europe – to feel dwarfed by nature.
Of course, if you’re more heat than history, Crete enjoys 23C days and little rain well into October and November so its beaches are still pleasant enough to flop on. With pink sands giving way to shallow turquoise waters, Elafonisi Beach is a must-see.
Low 20s not warm enough for you? Look to Cyprus – it enjoys average highs of 27C in October.
Over 60 of its beaches have earnt Blue Flag status in 2019, especially those along its west coast. Near Paphos, one of the cheapest resorts this October, are Pachyammos, Faros, Geroskipou and the Municipal Baths beaches.
Inland, the Troodos Mountains and the Paphos Forest are perfect for hikers – they’re much more pleasant to tackle in late October than in the peak of summer.
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