The 10 short hop islands where you can soak up the last of the summer sunshine before winter sets in

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It won’t be long before the cold temperatures set in and winter takes hold.

But there is still time for a short island break to soak up the last of the summer sunshine.

Here The Mail on Sunday picks its top 10 islands spots for a short-haul getaway….

1. Capri  


The Marina Grande in Capri, which is best known for old-fashioned glamour and has long been a favoured haunt of the Italian super-rich

The Marina Grande in Capri, which is best known for old-fashioned glamour and has long been a favoured haunt of the Italian super-rich

The Marina Grande in Capri, which is best known for old-fashioned glamour and has long been a favoured haunt of the Italian super-rich

Flight time: 2hrs 30mins to Naples, then ferry for 1hr. 

Average October temp: 22C.  

Best for: Old-fashioned glamour. 

A long-favoured haunt of the Italian super-rich, Capri is in a class of its own. There’s a timeless elegance to the bougainvillea-draped villas, chic beach clubs and picturesque streets of Capri town and its quieter sibling, Anacapri. 

Where to eat: Reserve a table on the terrace for dinner at L’Olivo, the only two Michelin-star restaurant in Capri, at the Capri Palace hotel. For lunch, try Arcate in Anacapri. 

Day trip: It’s a 60-minute boat hop to Ischia to see Castello Aragonese, a tiny fort-city on its own islet. 

Where to stay: Modern art and classic Italianate architecture make for a wonderful mix at the beautiful Capri Palace. There is an incredible spa and it’s just a ten-minute hop to the Riccio Beach Club (shuttles available), to immerse yourself in Capri’s legendary ice-blue waters. 

Book it: Six nights’ B&B from £1,749pp, including flights from Gatwick and transfers to Capri, classic-collection.co.uk, 0800 047 1064.  

2. Hvar 

Croatia’s hippest island, Hvar is a jumble of terracotta-roofed houses that tumble down the hillside to the marble-flagged main square

Croatia’s hippest island, Hvar is a jumble of terracotta-roofed houses that tumble down the hillside to the marble-flagged main square

Croatia’s hippest island, Hvar is a jumble of terracotta-roofed houses that tumble down the hillside to the marble-flagged main square

Flight time: 2hrs 20mins to Split, then ferry for 1hr 40mins 

Average October temp: 22C 

Best for: Shop and stroll. 

Croatia’s hippest island, Hvar is a jumble of terracotta-roofed houses that tumble down the hillside to the marble-flagged main square and a palm-lined promenade. October, when the island is still drenched in sun, is the perfect time to explore the tangle of lanes and the pinebacked coves. Local artists sell their wares at Made In Hvar, a store and art gallery. 

Where to eat: Tucked away down a side street in Hvar Town, Giaxa (giaxa.com) serves traditional Dalmatian recipes in a 15th Century palace – the brodeto (fish stew) is not to be missed. 

Day trip: Hop on a boat taxi to the nearby Pakleni islands, a gorgeous chain of wooded isles with sandy beaches and tranquil lagoons. 

Where to stay: Check in to Little Green Bay. French couple Julie and Mathieu have carefully restored a beautiful old farmhouse, creating 15 stylish bedrooms and an outdoor spa. They also serve classic French dishes in the bistro. 

Book it: Doubles from £347 a night B&B, littlegreenbay.com, 00385 99603 4693.  

3. Corsica 

Wild, dramatic and unlike anywhere on mainland France, Corsica is a bewitching island, particularly when the forests are ablaze with autumn colours

Wild, dramatic and unlike anywhere on mainland France, Corsica is a bewitching island, particularly when the forests are ablaze with autumn colours

Wild, dramatic and unlike anywhere on mainland France, Corsica is a bewitching island, particularly when the forests are ablaze with autumn colours

Flight time: 2hrs 15mins to Bastia. 

Average October temp: 21C. 

Best for: A sense of escape. 

Wild, dramatic and unlike anywhere on mainland France, Corsica is a bewitching island, particularly when the forests are ablaze with autumn colours. The island offers wonderful hiking, boating and cycling. Stroll through the alleyways of Bastia Old Town and explore the impressive 15th Century citadel. 

Where to eat: Seafood-lovers should head to Chez Huguette in Bastia’s old port for legendary bouillabaisse, locally caught lobster, and excellent wines. 

Day trip: Horse-riding excursions set off from the village of Tizzano and lead you along the beaches, coves and bays of Roccapina, Conca, Murtoli and Campomoro.

Where to stay: Immerse yourself in Corsica’s natural beauty with a stay at Domaine Misincu, a stylish all-white boutique hotel, in wild Cap Corse. The accent here is on outdoor living; spa treatments in the gardens, hiking paths, and yoga and Pilates on the nearby riverbank. The surrounding sea provides crab, lobster and octopus for dinners at the Tra di Noi restaurant, and rooms are reassuringly luxurious. 

Book it: Double rooms from £275 a night B&B, slh.com, 0808 273 8964.  

4. Ibiza 

Ibiza is full of unspoilt villages. October is a time for lazy lunches in beachfront restaurants, sunset yoga classes and gentle rambles through shady olive groves

Ibiza is full of unspoilt villages. October is a time for lazy lunches in beachfront restaurants, sunset yoga classes and gentle rambles through shady olive groves

Ibiza is full of unspoilt villages. October is a time for lazy lunches in beachfront restaurants, sunset yoga classes and gentle rambles through shady olive groves

Flight time: 2hrs 30mins.  

Average October temp: 23C. 

Best for: Unspoilt villages. 

The White Island takes on a different feel in the autumn – the club scene cools and Ibiza’s natural beauty comes to the fore. Away from Ibiza Town, the island quietens into a mix of unspoilt villages, wooded hills and stretches of sandy beach. October is a time for lazy lunches in beachfront restaurants, sunset yoga classes and gentle rambles through shady olive groves. 

Where to eat: Elements in Cala Benirras is a beach club by day and restaurant by night, serving classic Mediterranean dishes.

Day trip: Head to Benirras beach, famous for the ‘Hand of God’ rock formation that sits out at sea, and excellent snorkelling. 

Where to stay: With just five suites, The Giri Residence is impossible to get into in summer, but autumn offers the chance to experience this ultra-stylish bolthole in the north of the island. The design ethic focuses on natural materials – exposed brick, gleaming wooden floors, freestanding stone bathtubs, and sumptuous linens and fabrics. The chef will cater for your every whim, meals can be taken anywhere in the beautifully manicured grounds, and the Ayurvedic therapists in the spa will tailor their treatments to your individual needs. 

Book it: Double rooms from £263 a night B&B, thegiri.com, 0034 97133 4409 

5. Sardinia 

Rugged, mountainous and fragrant with wild herbs, Sardinia glows in the golden light of autumn, a beautiful temptation for walkers and cyclists

Rugged, mountainous and fragrant with wild herbs, Sardinia glows in the golden light of autumn, a beautiful temptation for walkers and cyclists

Rugged, mountainous and fragrant with wild herbs, Sardinia glows in the golden light of autumn, a beautiful temptation for walkers and cyclists

Flight time: 2hrs 20mins. 

Average October temp: 22C. 

Best for: Natural beauty. 

Rugged, mountainous and fragrant with wild herbs, Sardinia glows in the golden light of autumn, a beautiful temptation for walkers and cyclists. With 1,250 miles of coastline, the Italian island is paradise for beachlovers, too. There’s the sublime Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) in the northeast, so named for the astounding colour of the sea. It is renowned as Sardinia’s millionaires’ playground but there are affordable hotels and flights from the UK. 

Where to eat: Paramare in Porto Rotondo serves succulent seafood and Italian cuisine. 

Day trip: Hire a boat from Porto Rotondo marina and drop anchor in your own secret cove. 

Where to stay: The five-star Hotel Abi d’Oru, or Golden Bee, three miles from Porto Rotondo, has modern, minimalist furnishings and an expensive air. The hotel has its own section of pristine beach. There’s also a big pool, restaurants, tennis courts, fitness room and a spa, and the Bee Happy Kids’ Club for four to 12-year-olds.

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £856pp, including flights from Bristol, Luton, Manchester or Gatwick, sardinianplaces.co.uk, 01489 866959 

6. Sicily 

Stunning Taormina in Sicily - the Med’s largest island is blessed with glorious countryside and a rugged coastline dotted with hidden coves

Stunning Taormina in Sicily - the Med’s largest island is blessed with glorious countryside and a rugged coastline dotted with hidden coves

Stunning Taormina in Sicily – the Med’s largest island is blessed with glorious countryside and a rugged coastline dotted with hidden coves

Flight time: 3hrs. 

Average October temp: 22C. 

Best for: Italian elegance. 

The Med’s largest island is blessed with glorious countryside and a rugged coastline dotted with hidden coves. Its fascinating towns are etched with the multi-faceted history of many invasions, and for modern visitors the list of attractions now includes golf and spas. 

Day trip: Get up close to Mount Etna with a hike. 

Where to eat: Timoleone Cafe, in the hilltop town of Taormina on the east coast, is an inexpensive restaurant/bar serving local dishes. 

Where to stay: Italian elegance at best envelops you as you step inside the apricot-coloured walls of the Hotel Excelsior Palace in Taormina. Stroll into the thriving gardens for amazing views and float in the spectacular freshwater pool. Visit Taormina’s impressive Greek theatre, and afterwards go in search of a refreshing watermelon granita. 

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £995pp, including one free night and flights from Gatwick, citalia.com, 01293 831 970.  

7. Malta 

Malta, the main island in a sparkling archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean. The capital, Valletta has grand domed and spired honeycoloured monuments

Malta, the main island in a sparkling archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean. The capital, Valletta has grand domed and spired honeycoloured monuments

Malta, the main island in a sparkling archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean. The capital, Valletta has grand domed and spired honeycoloured monuments

Flight time: 3hrs.

Average October temp: 25C.

Best for: Easy sightseeing. 

Malta, the main island in a sparkling archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean, is familiar yet excitingly exotic, with plenty of history. Grand domed and spired honeycoloured monuments in the walled capital, Valletta, speak of crusades and invaders. But as the island was a British colony for 160 years, the vibe is reassuringly familiar and English is widely spoken, making it perfect for non-adventurous travellers (there’s even a branch of Marks & Spencer). Check out the Caravaggio in St John’s Cathedral, then enjoy an ice cream in Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking the harbour. Even in winter, Malta basks in six hours of glorious sunshine each day. 

Where to eat: On the balcony at Panorama Restaurant – a modern take on Mediterranean food. Stunning views of Valletta harbour.

Day trip: Pick up a sightseeing cruise around the island. 

Where to stay: With high ceilings, tasteful artefacts and pristine furnishings, the glamorous Art Deco five-star Hotel Phoenicia is surrounding by seven acres of lush gardens. Bombed in the war and later rebuilt, the hotel has hosted a number of high-profile visitors including the Queen. 

Nibbling on finger sandwiches, scones and a perfect slice from the cake trolley during afternoon tea in the airy Palm Court Lounge feels quintessentially English. Alternatively, slip into the brand new swimming pool and take in the views of the impressive harbour. Later, take a five-minute stroll into Valletta’s elegant heart for a history lesson. 

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £1,159pp, including flights from Stansted, prestigeholidays.co.uk, 01425 480 400.  

8. Majorca 

A hilltop tower in Majorca, which is alsotranquil, unspoilt and naturally beautiful, with a dramatic mountainous interior and a coastline that’s laced with pristine beaches

A hilltop tower in Majorca, which is alsotranquil, unspoilt and naturally beautiful, with a dramatic mountainous interior and a coastline that’s laced with pristine beaches

A hilltop tower in Majorca, which is alsotranquil, unspoilt and naturally beautiful, with a dramatic mountainous interior and a coastline that’s laced with pristine beaches

Flight time: 2hrs 30mins. 

Average October temp: 24C. 

Best for: Fishing villages Majorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is famous for its sun and sand resorts but it can also be tranquil, unspoilt and naturally beautiful, with a dramatic mountainous interior and a coastline that’s laced with pristine beaches. Relish the stunning landscapes or bracing outdoor activities, from simple hiking to heart-pumping paragliding or even a hot-air balloon flight. 

Where to eat: Ca’s Patro March in Deia is an excellent seafood restaurant. Look out for cafes serving a dish called tombet – it’s a mix of fried aubergines, potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. The recipe dates back to the 16th Century. 

Day trip: Take the tram and train on a scenic ride into Palma to stroll around the old town. 

Where to stay: Just a short walk from the pretty fishing village of Port Soller in the north-west of the island is the low-level five-star Jumeirah Hotel & Spa, which blends into the rugged, weathered cliffs and complements the stunning seascape. Instead of a beach, there are three outdoor pools to slip into and the gorgeous Talise spa for some me-time (why not try the Mediterranean body wrap with orange essence). Relax with cocktails in the Sunset Lounge for an awesome golden light show as the autumn sun slips from the sky. 

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £1,099pp, including flights from Heathrow,  bestattravel.co.uk, 020 3553 3702.  

9. Cyprus 

The area of Larnaca in Cyprus, which has green-cloaked mountains full of picture-postcard villages, seaside towns with striking fortifications and white-sand beaches licked by turquoise waves

The area of Larnaca in Cyprus, which has green-cloaked mountains full of picture-postcard villages, seaside towns with striking fortifications and white-sand beaches licked by turquoise waves

The area of Larnaca in Cyprus, which has green-cloaked mountains full of picture-postcard villages, seaside towns with striking fortifications and white-sand beaches licked by turquoise waves

Flight time: 4hrs 25mins. 

Average October temp: 25C. 

Best for: Watersports. 

Green-cloaked mountains full of picture-postcard villages, seaside towns with striking fortifications, white-sand beaches licked by turquoise waves – Cyprus is very beautiful. The atmosphere is calm and welcoming, with enough sunshine to toast your skin and warm the bones but nothing too ferocious for sun-starved Britons at this time of year. A shared history also means you’ll feel right at home. 

What to eat: In Plakota, the old area of Lanarca, is Art Cafe 1900, a family-run restaurant serving Greek specialities.

Day trip: Take a picnic and drive into the Troodos Mountains for pretty villages and plenty of clear, fresh, mountain air. 

Where to stay: Smart, pristine and beautifully refurbished, the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows resort on the outskirts of Larnaka on the south coast is situated on a private beach. Here you can go windsurfing, waterskiing, paragliding and scuba-diving, take speedboat trips, or hire pedalos and canoes. The kids’ club (for those aged between four and 12) runs until the end of October, so grown-ups can get a break, too. 

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £744pp, including flights from Stansted, or half board from £887pp, jet2holidays.com, 0800 408 0778 

10. Gozo 

The modern, fivestar Kempinski San Lawrenz hotel on Gozo, sister island of Malta, which is only 8½ miles long and 4½ miles wide, but it’s a little gem for sporty holidaymakers

The modern, fivestar Kempinski San Lawrenz hotel on Gozo, sister island of Malta, which is only 8½ miles long and 4½ miles wide, but it’s a little gem for sporty holidaymakers

The modern, fivestar Kempinski San Lawrenz hotel on Gozo, sister island of Malta, which is only 8½ miles long and 4½ miles wide, but it’s a little gem for sporty holidaymakers

Flight time: 3hrs to Malta, then a 25min ferry ride. 

Average October temp: 25C. 

Best for: Active holidaymakers. 

Sparkling Gozo, sister island of Malta, is only 8½ miles long and 4½ miles wide, but it’s a little gem for sporty holidaymakers, with clean beaches, bracing sea-cliff walks, awesome diving and beautiful boat trips on which to turn your face to the sun and breathe in the sea air. Huge domed churches dominate tiny villages, and in Victoria, the capital, the citadel is worth a clamber to the top for the views. 

Where to eat: The Boat House in Xlendi Bay has tables overlooking the shallow water and serves delicious fresh fish (huge portions), but try its fenek (rabbit) stew, a hearty Gozitan dish.

Day trip: Pick up a pea or ricotta pastizzi (rather like a pasty) from a harbourside stall and take a boat from Mgarr Harbour over to Comino island, home to one hotel and three residents. Great for walking, swimming and snorkelling. 

Where to stay: The modern, fivestar Kempinski San Lawrenz hotel lies close to Dwejra Bay, one of the most beautiful natural sites on the island and great for snorkelling and scuba-diving. Facilities include squash and tennis courts, a fitness studio, three large pools (one adults-only) and an ‘oasis of rejuvenation’ no less, where the full-body Dhara massage with herbal oil will soothe you.

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B from £875pp, including flights from Gatwick and the ferry from Malta, thehealthyholidaycompany.com, 020 8968 0501. 



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