August 15, 2016

The Cap-d’Ail in France is the perfect place for some last minute sun

Time can sometimes feel like it’s running away from you when summer is about to end. Where did the sunshine go? It’s at this time of year when I decide to go on the hunt for some last minute sunshine, to places where temperatures are still warm and I can enjoy the end of summer surrounded by beautiful scenery. From France, to Spain and Portugal, here are my inspirations for where to go, to get the last of the summer sun.

Cap-d’Ail – France

When you think of late summer sun, your mind might immediately jump to the south of France, specifically the glamourous French Riviera in the south east. While much of this part of the coast is a bustling hub of stylish locals and bikini-clad tourists, the Cap-d’Ail commune is a little different. It’s a short journey from Monaco, but boasts a much more secluded ambience.

The Cap-d’Ail is a modern, trendy part of the French coast with its own shopping district and a handful of stunning beaches. One of my favourite sandy spots is Plage Mala, where you’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful swim and sunbathe in the late summer sun.

The Dordogne – France

I love travelling by car because it gives me a lot of freedom, and I often make the most of this by visiting France’s famous Dordogne region. Boasting sunny weather throughout the month of September, Dordogne is home to holds many of the sites that France is known for. Visiting at this time of year also gives you the advantage of being able to enjoy the grape harvest, which takes place in September. This is certainly one of the main reasons I visit at this time of year!

To me, a visit to Dordogne feels so quintessentially French due to the scenic countryside, historic villages and the many proud-looking châteaux. Perhaps the most famous sites in this region are the Lascaux prehistoric caves, which can be found amongst the forest of Périgord Noir, in the beautiful centre of the Dordogne region.

 The Dordogne region of France is arguably it’s most charming.
The Dordogne region of France is arguably it’s most charming.

Cassis – France

Another gem on the southern coast of France, Cassis is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, green mountain peaks and boasts a stunning fishing port. It’s the perfect place to take a scenic drive and even take a boat tour to the surrounding calanques (hidden inlets along the coast). Taking a boat trip to these secretive coves will make you forget about the end of summer, and you’ll see amazing rocky limestone cliffs emerging from the crystal clear water.

Visiting Cassis after the peak season is a great time to see the port when it’s at its best. It’s hailed as one of the prettiest towns in the Provence region, so in the height of summer it can get a little busy. In early September however, you’ll have fewer crowds and more of a the chance to appreciate the area’s allure and charm.

 A calanque near Cassis, in France.
A calanque near Cassis, in France.

The Algarve – Portugal

Another region to visit if you’re looking for some late summer sun is the Algarve in southern Portugal. I’m always happy to take a longer drive to visit the Algarve, as the pace of the summer rush has slowed right down, while temperatures are still at a balmy 25 degrees (or more). Be sure to visit the area’s most famously-stunning beach, Praia da Marinha, or take the car and discover any of the 150 beaches that the area has to offer, and find your own spot of paradise.

I often travel west to appreciate the Algarve’s natural beauty, as there are fewer holiday resorts in these parts, and it’s possible to spot some dolphins off the coast. Much of the west coast is protected by a natural park (Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina) so it’s a great place to go hiking, too.

 An empty beach in the Algarve.
An empty beach in the Algarve.

Nerja – Spain

The last destination on my list has to be Nerja, in southern Spain. A beautiful part of the Spanish coast, Nerja is known for maintaining a small-town charm amongst the more bustling destinations, such as Marbella. Sitting neatly on the Spanish cliff tops, Nerja has been called ‘the jewel of the Costa del Sol’ and I have to agree that it’s something special.

I recommend taking a stroll in the sun around one of Nerja’s many plazas, and embracing local life by relaxing with a drink while people watching. When hunger strikes, you can visit one of the town’s 300 different restaurants and bars. With so many local charms to choose from, you’ll want to make plenty of time to explore everything that Nerja has to offer.

 The white buildings of Nerja, Spain
The white buildings of Nerja, Spain

Inspired to seek some last minute sunshine?

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, so it’s not too late to plan your end of summer getaway.

Photo Credits:
The Dordogne region of France is arguably it’s most charming – Stephane Mignon
A calanque near Cassis, in France - Anna & Michal
An empty beach in the Algarve - Miguel Vieira
The white buildings of Nerja, Spain - Anna & Michal
The Cap-d’Ail in France is the perfect place for some last minute sun - acebal

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