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For those working within the tourism sector like me, summer is usually the busiest period of the year, but now we start to have a great time, made of low-cost autumn getaways, chasing the summer off-season.

Over the years, I got used to organizing warm holidays between late October and early December when here in Liguria, laying in the sun begins to be not so obvious.

The options are many, but these are the five Mediterranean destinations I prefer for a long weekend or a week, without spending too much and without long flights.

5 Mediterranean destinations for an autumn getaway

The Aeolian islands

The Sicilian archipelago of the Aeolian Islands consists of seven volcanic islands, one more beautiful than the other! The largest island is Lipari offering greater comfort, but my favorite in this season is Panarea, a posh visitors paradise during summer, but a quiet little gem out of season.

Then there are the romantic Salina, the most touristy Stromboli with constant volcanic activity, Vulcano, and the tiny, peaceful Filicudi and Alicudi.

The Aeolian Islands in the fall seem to doze and offer warm sunny days, crystal clear water, silences, paths overlooking the sea, archeology, and excellent seafood. You can choose to do nothing on the lava beaches, swinging off on a typical boat, or enjoy the many onsite activity options.

You get there by landing in Catania and driving or getting a bus to Milazzo, from where several hydrofoils leave daily. If you choose Alicudi or Filicudi, I suggest land in Palermo and take the hydrofoil from there. Palermo also has the best sailing holiday charters!

* as always, when visiting islands, do not exclude a possible snag in shifts due to bad weather conditions!

Canary islands

The Canary Islands are seven too, and just like the Aeolian have volcanic origins. They are located a few miles from the African coast and the Tropic of Cancer. Still, They are a Spanish province. Their individual qualities offer everything you could want from a beach holiday: beaches, water sports, historic towns, entertainment, nightlife, food, wine, and tranquility.

My favorite one is Lanzarote, which some time ago I defined as an Eden of lava. It was probably the quietest and certainly the one with the least beautiful beaches, but it was able to win me over with its unique charm.

Fuerteventura and La Palma are the best equipped and are therefore more commercial but very beautiful. Gran Canaria is the most varied, both from a climatic point of view and from vegetation, beaches, and the specificity of the individual municipalities. Between autumn and winter, I recommend the south of the island, where it seldom rains.

El Hierro is the smallest, greener, and most mountainous of all, and it is beautiful. Perfect for hiking and relaxing. La Gomera is special and is the less touristy of all, characterized by an impressive fossil forest and the basalt columns that descend into the sea.

The last one is Tenerife, the most modern and convenient from the point of view of the infrastructure. It was my grandfather’s favorite island, where he spent long winter weeks in the sun thanks to the excellent services for dialysis. Beaten by constant winds and rich in history and various attractions is complete from every perspective, but it saddens me a little…

You can easily reach the Canary islands with Iberia flights or almost any leading low-cost airline from major European cities, and internal flights and ferries connect them all. You can visit them by public transport, but I advise you to rent a car before arriving, greater freedom, and spending less and not wasting time at the airport.

They have an impressive tourist offer and are really very cheap compared to other Mediterranean destinations. The Canary Islands are also perfect for a holiday on a sailing boat, and I’m actually planning to go back sailing in Lanzarote

Morocco

I love it. Morocco is enveloping, spicy, warm, and so beautiful. The main cities are linked to major European towns by cheap flights, and the tourist offer is well thought out and distributed.

If you only have a weekend, you should dedicate it to a city at a time because they deserve time and slowness. I suggest you start with the imperial cities: Marrakech, Fes, Meknes and Rabat and then Casablanca. If, however, you have more time, don’t miss the surroundings of each city, from the Atlas of Morocco to the desert, to the little pearls of the coast as Essaouira, Safi, and Chefchaouen, the beautiful blue city.

Morocco is a perfect Mediterranean destination for those who want to discover the beauty and many facets of the Maghreb, a succulent cuisine, a passion for lengthy negotiations – that goes along with that for mint tea and hospitality – and then a difficult nature, but so generous… Let yourself be transported by the lifestyle and local traditions, and you’ll fall in love with it.

My favorite autumn getaway: Andalusia

Andalusia is the heart of Spain, suspended between the Maghreb and the Western world, telling the history and beauty of this vast country.

Since my brother moved there, it became my favorite autumn getaway, but not only. I was there in March, and I am going back in November with the girls who work with me at the hotel and then again in December for a Spain-Morocco itinerary.

If all you have is a weekend, you will be spoiled with towns that are one more beautiful than the other, all with international airports, all warm and welcoming, all with flamenco soundtrack, tapas at any time, architectures that take your breath away and unfortunately also all with corrida and bullfighters (I’ve never sobbed as much as during the corrida I had to attend years ago in Valencia, but that’s another sad story).

The Andalusian Queen is undoubtedly Seville, but the Moorish palaces and mosques of Granada are not far behind, not to mention the legendary Alhambra in Granada, the relaxing Malaga, the coast full of beaches, unique villages like El Rocio and Ronda, then Palos, Cadiz and the Sierra Nevada, that I never visited.

From November 13th to 20th, I will be visiting all of them, starting from Seville, with an extra two days stay in Conil de la Frontera to do nothing on the beach with my brother.

Barbagia, the earth of Sardinia

Autumn in Barbagia is not necessarily warm, especially around Fonni or Supramunte, where it’s quite chilly. Still, the colors, flavors, and scents of this land out of season truly surprised me. I now consider it one of the best autumn getaways among the classic Mediterranean destinations.

Autumn in Barbagia – Cortes Apertas is also an annual event that allows you to discover the history, culture, and traditions of this corner of Sardinia.

At this time of the year, I fell in love with touching Orgosolo, discovered the spectacular archaic carnival of Mamoiada, the Nuragic culture in Bitti. I cried for the terrible history of ancient forests around Fonni and the beauty of its park, and the strong artistic lifestyle of Nuoro struck me, the creeks of the Orosei Gulf, I enjoyed the beautiful historic center of Oliena and that of Galtellì, the San Teodoro Lagoon and above all I met proud and great people.

Flights and ferries to Sardinia are not really cheap, especially if booked last second, but with a bit of organization, you’ll be able to find good deals.

Oh, if your budget allows it, in Barbagia you really should stay at the Su Gologone, my favorite experience hotel.

A good option for an autumn getaway would also be Malta, with neighboring Gozo, but the last two times I have been there, I didn’t really enjoy my stay.

Until a few years ago, I would also have recommended Turkey, but personally, I decided not to go back until Erdogan is ruling on it…

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.