INSPIRATION • October 2018
The end of the busy summer signals the start of getaways that are both cost-effective and wonderfully tranquil, says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Alicia Miller
In summer, holiday makers fly in droves to Faro, popping open beach umbrellas along Portugal’s southern Algarve coast. Come the cooler, wetter autumn, the city is comparatively deserted, yet November is a great time to snorkel or dive, with calm, safe waters. Spot knobbly corals, shipwrecks and slinking octopuses, then retreat to a sleepy hotel (prices tumble this time of year), and warm up with slow-cooked pig and fluffy cheese bread.
Dream flight: BA2692 leaves Gatwick at 13:10 on Friday, arriving into Faro at 16:05.
Heady wines, craggy hills with walking trails, time-warp, cobbled towns – Madeira is always lovely. Even in November the orange-roofed jumble of Funchal welcomes you into its wine lodges (try Blandy’s), for cream-cakey afternoon teas on sun-splashed terraces (try Reid’s Palace hotel), or for walks through manicured gardens (try the Botanical Gardens).
Dream flight: BA2780 leaves Gatwick at 7:20 on Friday, arriving into Funchal at 11:15.
Costa del Sol isn’t just for summer – the port city of Málaga has more than just golden beaches. Start with Alcazaba, the country’s best-preserved Moorish fortress, then head to the sweeping Botanical Gardens and finish with the colourful Museo Picasso, packed with works by the iconic artist. Or just park yourself at a café – even in November, days comfortably hit 20˚C.
Dream flight: BA2714 leaves Gatwick at 15:35 on Friday, arriving into Málaga at 19:30.
One of Europe’s sunniest isles, Malta is still drenched in rays throughout November. It’s often warm enough to laze on the fluffy sand – at aptly named Golden Bay, or Sliema Beach – but even if temperatures cool, there’s plenty to entertain. Take an atmospheric walk through Caravaggio-adorned Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, bob across Valletta’s harbour in a traditional painted dgħajsa, or spend a windswept afternoon exploring prehistoric stone temples at Mnajdra.
Dream flight: BA2644 leaves Gatwick at 8:05 on Friday, arriving into Malta at 12:15.
In high summer, Paphos is too hot for anything except dips in the Listerine-blue Mediterranean Sea, but its cultural side revs up in autumn, when falling temperatures make exploring this Cypriot coast a joy. Historical sights are your priority: take in mosaic floors in restored Roman villas, explore a limestone ancient odeon, and wander through the remains of a seaside acropolis. Then feast on grilled halloumi, tossed salads and sweet loukoumia (Turkish delight) – that’s right, beach-bod season is over.
Dream flight: BA 2676 leaves Gatwick at 11:50 on Thursday, arriving into Paphos at 18:15.
The volcanic landscapes of this Canary Island look otherworldly, especially when you have them to yourself, so it’s a good thing Timanfaya National Park and Charco de los Clicos (Green Lagoon) aren’t usually busy in November. Follow up with a glass of minerally malvasia wine or catch rays on endless beaches of night-black sand.
Dream flight: BA2732 leaves Gatwick at 7:30 on Friday, arriving into Lanzarote at 11:50.
There’s so much more to South Korea than Seoul. Get out of the capital to see what local life was like before the country became synonymous with Gangnam Style: a train ride away in historic Jeonju, you’ll find slate-roofed, traditional hanok homes, narrow alleyways, buzzy street markets – and the best-ever bibimbap (a mixed rice dish said to have been invented here). And just outside of the city, a blaze of autumn leaves awaits in the craggy peaks of Naejangsan and Maisan mountains, both perfect for hiking.
Dream flight: BA flight 0017 departs Heathrow on Fridays for Seoul (a two-hour train ride from Jeonju).