9 European beach spots for late summer sun

Updated August 19, 2021
(Published August 19, 2019)

By Clare Walsh

With the weather still warm in destinations around the Mediterranean and beyond, September is a great time to fly away for a relaxing beach break. We’ve picked out nine of the best spots in Europe where temperatures remain high enough for you to laze about comfortably on the sand – while everyone back home starts wrapping up.

Please note: The destinations below are currently on either the green or amber list, but this may change. Remember to check the FCDO website for the latest travel advice for your destination both before your book a holiday and in the lead up to your trip.

1. Tenerife, Spain

Average September temperature: 23C

With temperatures still sizzling well into September, Tenerife makes an ideal getaway. Sixteen of its beaches have Blue Flag status – just pipping its neighbour, Gran Canaria – with a combination of wide sweeping stretches and smaller, more intimate volcanic sand beaches.

Those looking for vibrant nightlife after a hard day’s basking probably won't find it in droves this winter but will still enjoy resorts such as Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, while the gorgeous Las Teresitas beach features fine yellow sand that was imported from the Sahara desert, making it one of the few beaches on Tenerife where you won’t see the usual black, volcanic sand.

2. The Algarve, Portugal

Average September temperature: 23C

With an abundance of exceptional beaches, the Algarve is superb sunbathing territory for balmy September days. With a 30km coastline, Albufeira is one of the destination’s most popular resorts. Away from its glorious stretches of sand, you can get lost in its atmospheric old town or head to one of the many restaurants and bars in the bustling new town.

Lagos offers great surfing and a more laidback vibe, while the sleepy fishing village of Alvor features great restaurants, shops and sheltered sandy nooks.

3. Ibiza, Spain

Average September temperature: 24C

There’s far more to the White Isle than neon lights and pounding beats, and the northern side of the island boasts some of the most picturesque beaches in the Balearics. Portinatx and Puerto San Michael sit amid pine-clad hills and are popular with families and couples, while Santa Eulalia on Ibiza’s south-eastern coast boasts a vibrant marina, galleries and two spotless beaches.

And, of course, for a little more nightlife, Playa d’en Bossa and San Antonio offer beach-basking by day and a multitude of venues by night.

4. Madeira and Porto Santo

Average September temperature: 23C

Unlike the other destinations on this list, Madeira isn’t fringed with swathes of sand – but you probably won’t mind. Beaches include Praia da Calheta or Praia do Porto do Seixal, but this tranquil Portuguese island is really about getting back to nature, whether that’s on a dolphin and whale-watching trip or a scuba diving adventure.

Scenic walks along the island’s ancient irrigation channels (known as levadas) is a popular activity, or as are the thrills of an urban toboggan ride in Funchal.

Neighbouring island Porto Santo is ideal day trip material. The journey is long (two-and-a-half-hours each way by ferry) but there’s 9km of beautiful golden sand at the end of it. Golfers will enjoy the views at Porto Santo Golfe, too.

5. Croatia

Average September temperature: 22C

Croatia is blessed with several outstanding islands which offer a perfect escape for late summer sun, most of which can be visited by taking a ferry from cities on the mainland, such as Split or Dubrovnik.

Stiniva, on the beautiful island of Vis, is within easy reach by ferry from Split. Accessible by hiking a steep path or by taxi boat from the nearby Rukavac Cove, this exquisite patch of coastline is well worth the effort. Hvar is the place to visit for glamourous, sun-drenched stretches and trendy bars, while the gorgeous island of Mljet features protected forests, olive groves and two stunning saltwater lakes.

6. Malta

Average September temperature: 25C

Malta’s main coastal resorts and the larger sandy beaches are located in the north, including Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay. More secluded spots can be found on the island’s tip, such as Paradise Bay and Armier, or you can head to nearby Gozo which is separated from the mainland by a five kilometre stretch of sea.

Minimal development has enabled the beauty of Gozo to remain intact with one of the most striking beaches being Ramla il-Hamra – a large stretch of red sand which contrasts the verdant green countryside surrounding it.

7. Greek islands

Average September temperature: 22C

The Greek islands always deliver on superb beaches, balmy waters and lush scenery. Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with pure white pebbles that glisten against the lush green mountainside – it’s reachable by a long winding road.

Zante is another popular choice, with Navagio Beach or ‘Smugglers Bay’ the most famous due to the shipwreck on its shores – a boat and BBQ trip is one of the best ways to experience the gorgeous bay. Over in Crete, the lagoon of Balos is famous for its turquoise waters and white sands. You can reach it by venturing down a dirt track or by taking a boat from Kissamos.

8. Cyprus

Average September temperature: 24C

From the hidden and remote to exuberant and loud, Cyprus has a resort for everyone. Party-seekers can’t go wrong with buzzing Ayia Napa, where beaches such as Konnos and Nissi are offset by beach bars and watersports. Coral Bay in Paphos is a great family choice, with a gorgeous sandy beach and shallow waters, while those in search of something a little more remote could venture to Lara Bay.

Hidden amid the striking Akamas Peninsula Nature Reserve, it’s best reached by safari or by hiring a 4x4. It’s home to loggerhead turtles, beautiful sandy stretches and panoramic views, so is well worth the journey.

9. Corsica, France

Average September temperature: 20C

Featuring a diverse landscape of forest, vineyards and sandy beaches, photogenic Corsica is another great choice for September sunshine, offering crystal clear waters and horseshoe bays of white sand.

With its hilltop position affording fantastic views of the bay, Porto Vecchio boasts a beautiful beach and is a popular choice – its historic old town features vibrant pavement cafes, restaurants and designer boutiques. Calvi is another superb resort which features a lofty citadel and five mile beach. Claimed by the locals to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, its marina is usually full of impressive yacht and is ideal for people-watching.

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