It’s beginning to feel like Autumn: the leaves are turning rusty gold colours, the mornings have a crisp bite and that coffee before work has become more of a warm necessity than a choice.
As the months get cooler, we take a look at the 10 hottest travel destinations for sun seekers to escape the winter chill. From the dramatic mountainous bays of Budva in Montenegro to kite surfing on the glass-like Aegean Sea in Paros, there’s something for everyone’s travel taste. Be warned: this gallery will make you want to book flights, stat!
- The Algarve, Portugal
Boasting breathtaking cliffs and achingly beautiful stretches of sand, The Algarve in Portugal is an unbeatable summer escape. This southernmost region of mainland Portugal is a holidaymaker’s paradise. Relax on a gold sand beach, sip on cocktails at one of the many beach bars or try your hand at watersports.
- Budva, Montenegro
Ever since Australian travel blogger Jessica Stein (aka Tuula Vintage) uploaded snaps in Budva, Montenegro we’ve added this stop to our bucket list! Located below Croatia in Southeast Europe, Montenegro boasts jaw-dropping dramatic mountain peaks and stunning crystal clear water.
It’s much more than just a resort town though. Head inland to the rugged mountains and forests for a hike or hire a kayak and explore Montenegro from the water.
- Komiza, Croatia
Croatia is often featured on travel hit lists for its jewels Dubrovnik and Hvar. This summer, explore one of the lesser-known towns in Croatia, Komiza. This quaint fishing village sits on the western coast of the island of Vis.
Organised tours such as The Yacht Week do make stops to this Adriatic paradise, but you’ll easily find secluded beaches and quiet lookouts unrivaled by other Croatian towns.
- Paros, Greece
Imagine winding cobblestone alleys, exquisite seafood restaurants and azure beaches, and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of Paros. This Greek island sits in the central Aegean Sea, a hydrofoil ride from Athens.
Paros is the ultimate destination for sun seekers who want the restaurants of Mykonos without the crowds. The old town centre contains white washed boutiques and bougainvillea covered balconies. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, then quad bike across the island to try your hand at kite surfing or paddleboarding.
- Santa Barbara, USA
Dubbed as the ‘American Riviera’ by local Californians, Santa Barbara is the perfect coastal escape for families or loved-up couples. If it’s your first time exploring the West Coast of the United States, take the time to hire a Mustang and drive from San Francisco down the coast, stopping for slow sunsets with the top down!
When you reach Santa Barbara, drop the car off and explore the 20 square miles of boutiques and restaurants by foot. Stop for a wine and take in the surrounding mountains and beach – perfection!
- Palma De Mallorca, Spain
This slice of heaven is situated just off the coast of Spain, a short plane ride from Barcelona or Ibiza. Unlike its other famous Spanish counterparts, Mallorca operates on a slower pace.
Famous for its world-class resorts and white sand, turquoise beaches, Mallorca is truly the stuff of dreams. Be sure to book ahead and also hire a car – the island might be small but its transport system is basic and the best beaches are off the bus line.
- Upper Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Perfect for Australians fleeing the cooler months, Fiji is only a four-hour flight from Sydney. Don’t get caught in the usual tourist trap – book a boat transfer from Port Denarau to the Yasawa Islands. The upper islands take up to five hours to reach, but believe us, it’s worth it.
Choosing an island will be the hardest decision you’ll make on the trip. Accommodation ranges from locally run huts on the beach to five star resorts with jacuzzis and private beach access. Don’t miss a snorkeling trip to the Blue Lagoon and day trip to the floating bar with a cult Instagram following, Cloud 9.
- Positano, Italy
A list of iconic beach destinations wouldn’t be complete without the Italian coastal town of Positano. Nestled between Amalfi and Sorrento, you might recognize Positano’s famous beachfront of pastel-hued houses built at impossible angles into the mountainside. If you can’t get enough of the European boutiques and turquoise water, catch a boat to Capri and visit the legendary Blue Grotto.
- Budapest, Hungary
Budapest might seem like an odd addition to a sun seeker hit list, but this European gem boasts some of the best outdoor pools and thermal spas in the world. In summer, temperatures soar to 30 degrees Celsius and there’s no better way to enjoy the heat than to don a bikini and head straight to the thermal baths.
Unlike our concept of ‘spas’ or ‘baths,’ Budapest’s thermal baths consist of indoor and ourdoor heated pools infused with thermal waters that boast healing qualities. Our top pick is the Szechenyi Baths and Pool. Stay after dark for their world famous night Sparty, a giant club held in the baths!
- Port Douglas
Just because it’s winter in Australia doesn’t mean you need to jet set out of the country for a tropical escape. The best time to visit Northern Queensland to swim is between April and October, when the infamous Box Jellyfish doesn’t rule the water.
Soak up Australia’s most famous destinations with a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or Daintree Rainforest and repeat after me: there’s no place like home.
Images via Wikipedia, Tuula Vintage, Greece Tourism, Santa Barbara Home and Lifestyle, Let’s Go Spain, Get Your Guide, Typischich, Szechenyifurdo Info, Diving Port Douglas