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looking for a slow travel 2 weeks in Europe Oct/Nov. Beach weather a plus

My April travel plans are toast and non repeatable, so have to look at a substantial flight to use up a flight credit (one use only) by end of year.
I am working in a hospital Microbiology lab, then my regular summer and early Fall work demands happen, so my next time that might allow travel is October or November. I am looking for slow travel. Either one city with easy access to day trips, or at most 2 locations. The Med has appeal for ocean access, but I also like natural green space, or at least significant parkland.

Don't want to drive, good public transport, no need to be on the go every day. Very close to major airport.
I had considered Malta for 2 weeks as still swimmable even in early November, but I read it is quite congested and there doesn't appear to be much in the way of green space ...or at least trees.
Other thought was 4-5 days Athens, then rest of time in Crete. Perhaps Chania over Heraklion.

Is there an alternative in the Peloponnese that doesn't require a car?
Spain was my last big Europe trip, so don't want to repeat that.
Alternatively, I was thinking Italy for some small contribution to normalcy.
As a Canadian, perhaps my return to travel timeline is different to my American travel friends, but I feel confident thinking that Autumn travel to Europe can happen. But as most of the current time my brain is in COVID mode, I seem to have lost my imagination. I always have numerous plans pencilled onto a spreadsheet, but none for Europe really lean towards a slow travel, stay put sort of trip. Maybe I need to just stick a pin into a map and make it work, but I would appreciate suggestions of some easy going place with sea and green for some R&R and interest.
Thanks

Posted by
1093 posts

I'm not going to guess how the virus situation develops. But assuming you can travel in October or November, you might need to go pretty far south to find what most people would consider swimmable waters outdoors. Although as a Canadian you might be brave enough to head north as well :) e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as7tMBzpRzQ

But Greece doesn't sound like a bad option.

Posted by
2681 posts

Badger, I actually have Swedish roots, but I think I'll pass on the Arctic plunge. Given our winter temps, I can do that here....and don't ;-) But the Tree Hotel concept and those cabins are certainly restful looking places. Thanks for sharing the video.

Posted by
5634 posts

Chania was the first placeI thought of to meet your requirements. Napflion on the Pelopnneasean Peninsula is beautiful but may not be as warm.
The southern coast of Crete has warmer water so you may want to spend a few days down there near Luotro.

Posted by
1862 posts

I see that you have just been to Spain, but for true beach weather in late Oct/Nov, I think a great option would be the Canary Islands, consider it a completely separate destination/experience than mainland Spain.

Las Canarias have much to offer, even outside of its famous beaches, for example the island of Gran Canaria is nicknamed the "Miniature Continent" because of the diversity of landscapes, from sand dunes to green ravines. It's a paradise if you are into hiking and nature. Gran Canaria also has quite a few picturesque towns like Arucas or Firgas that are worth checking out.

From a cultural standpoint, the island of Tenerife should also do the trick, its home to the second largest carnival in the world, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. The charming town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO Heritage site, makes for a nice day trip too. And one can also check out Teide National Park, another World Heritage Site, which is home to Mount Teide, the third highest volcano in the world. Not to mention all the unique and fascinating history and culture of the local Guanche people.

Posted by
115 posts

Sea for swimming and greenery in November? Any northern hemisphere country will be in Southern Europe or North Africa and at that time of year will be just recovering from the long hot summer.

Crete could be a good choice. I have swum there during the first two weeks in October. Friends who lived there report having swum into November. Western Crete has some lovely beaches so I would look at the area around Chania. Crete has a reasonable bus system so you are not stuck in one place and I understand there are a number of tour companies in Chania who can arrange trips for you. Parkland and trees not so much but lots of trees of the olive variety.

You could look at Australia, New Zealand or South Africa......they will just be heading into late spring/early summer then.

Hawaii might be possible by then, also. Look at some of the smaller towns on Maui and other Islands.

Posted by
3978 posts

The only place I would head for the best chance of decent weather as late as November would be the Canary Islands. You are taking quite a risk anywhere in mainland Europe for decent weather from mid October, although no doubt some places will be ok, but it’s a risk. I have had lots of miserable weather in the Greek islands, Mallorca and the Algarve in mid/late October, along with a few reasonable days.

If you head to the Canaries, Fuerteventura has the best sandy beaches, but it’s arid and more brown than green! It’s a fascinating landscape. Tenerife and Gran Canaria are greener but busier.

I am not planning my usual November trip to the Canary Islands as I am not sure flights etc will be back to normal.

Posted by
2681 posts

Thanks all.
I am more than open to 'beach' meaning t-shirt weather and long sits over a coffee or glass of wine 'by the beach', if it comes to that. If it has ocean, that works too.
I spent several port visits in the Canary Islands Dec 2018. They are a lovely set of islands and can see why they are popular for Europeans. I did enjoy the old cities, particularly Las Palmas de Grand Canaria.
My thought is that when the days are nice, then I head out and explore, or wander, or sit by/on the beach. If it goes to grey and rain, then museums, churches, or a good book in the living room. I tend to rent apartments, so if I don't leave the place for a day or two, I'm okay with that.
I scoured the forum for 'Malta', and it does seem to be the warmest of the Med Islands into November. Ideally, I would go for October, but as my birthday is Nov 10, it is fun to be somewhere exotic for a change.

Posted by
2681 posts

Not averse to Morocco - maybe Casablanca (as that is the prime airport from Canada) and Marrakesh for the gardens.

Posted by
338 posts

I spent three days in Tenerife in the Canary Islands in October 2018. Not only was it much too cool to swim, almost all the big tourist hotels were completely shut down. From that fact, I deduced that it was out of season rather than unseasonably cold.

On that trip, we were often really cold in hotels in France and Spain because there were governmental regulations in effect that hotels COULD NOT turn on their heat until November 1, regardless of the outdoor (or indoor) temperature. We decided that if we ever went back to Europe in that time period, we would invest in our own portable heater we could plug in in the hotel room.

Posted by
3978 posts

Cyprus could be an option - a fair way south and many Ancient Greek and Roman temples/ruins to visit, see the Troodos Mountains, wineries and many beaches.

Posted by
2681 posts

Jennifer, Cyprus is a thought. Can I do it by local transport? Or does it drive like in Britain or North America if I want to rent a car for rural interests? Do I want the Greek or Turkish side? or can I do both without problems? It looks like there are forests, or green bits....that is a plus as I am a bird watcher.
Good to get realistic temperature experiences...thanks.

Posted by
2681 posts

@Marcia, good points. I am not much of a tourist hotel type of gal. When we stopped in the cities over Christmas, there were plenty of tourists, as it is a common Christmas escape. I like renting apartments, as they don't have the same seasons, put me in the towns, which don't close down when the weather cools off. Certainly, some attractions have shorter hours off season, and it gets dark sooner.
Part of the reason I was looking Med islands was because of the November 1 heating situation and why I was being flexible on dates. I would be looking for a fireplace, or ensuring apartment host would provide a space heater.

Posted by
10892 posts

My newest love is Montenegro. In expensive and a beautiful coast line. Might be cool as most of Europe will be at that time; but interesting and unique and inexpensive. Inexpensive enough to hire a guide with a car if you want to travel around.

Posted by
6128 posts

If you are looking for beach weather and using up a large flight voucher, does a tropical Pacific island trip work?

Posted by
627 posts

Hi Maria

If you are into hiking, you should have a look at the island of Madeira, the beaches are not like the Canary Islands, but the weather is around low 20’s, good cheap food and you can walk or bus pretty much anywhere.
Lots of organized daytrips to do great hikes.
Apartment rental is always very cheap.
Hope this help!

Posted by
5817 posts

The public transport in Cyprus is pretty good. My parents used to visit regularly and only used public transport to get around. It’s definitely an island where you stand a chance of getting decent beach weather for at least some of the day at that time of the year.

Posted by
2681 posts

Coming from Ottawa, closer to the Atlantic than the Pacific, I might manage Hawaii for flight price and air time, but anything further, at least with this airline, is out of my budget. Also, the travel time invested will be when I retire in 2 or 3 years.
The Balkans? Maybe James E.
Martine, Maderia certainly suits the garden and green aspect...and ocean. I ma not a hiker, however. I only saw Funchal. Is there anything flat?
Suki, thanks for the Casablanca comment. I'll keep it in mind.

Posted by
1803 posts

I'd do French Polynesia in a heartbeat. In fact, I was planning to be there in 10 days on a cruise, before it got cancelled. I did a lot of research on Bora Bora, Raiatea, Moorea, Tahiti. Absolutely gorgeous beaches and amazing snorkeling if you're into that. Several islands are fairly close to each other so you can island hop.

Edit: I just saw your note so this may not work for this trip but it is a worthy bucket list place. Of the other places mentioned so far, I'd recommend Greece, with most of your time on Crete.

Posted by
2681 posts

Thanks Charlene. Sorry your trip was cancelled. That would be a lovely area to do by water.
Definitely some day. A bucket list item since watching South Pacific, the musical movie....though I know the reality is something different.
Also, thanks for another vote for Crete. I want a few days in Athens for the National Museum and the Agora. It doesn't look like the Parthanon has changed in 43 years since I sawmit, but heard the museum is good. Otherwise, I would spend the rest of the time in City B.

Posted by
1803 posts

I always find Greece to be good for my soul. It’s so scenic, and the food is amazing. The people are kind and welcoming. And it’s budget friendly. I would schedule the trip as early in October as possible. Fly to Crete a couple of hours after arriving in Athens, and save your Athens time for the end of your trip.

My husband and I are considering an October Crete trip ourselves so maybe we’ll run into you!

Posted by
2681 posts

Thanks for the further recommendations Charlene. I had the similar thought - of flying directly there from Athens airport. I did not Rick's comment in his video to start in Athens to visit museums and locales to get a handle on the history, but Crete has enough difference with the Minoan civilization, I can work around it.

One challenge will to not want to see the entire island, and it is too big to do that as slow travel. Maybe I'll hire a local bird guide for a few days to get me out into the country as a taste of things natural. It's also a great way to chat with locals and understand their life - when we aren't talking birds, of course.
I have a conference in Vancouver late September. I have to come back to Ottawa to settle up things after that, but hopefully I can get away in October to take advantage of better weather.
I hope your October trip comes to fruition, and who knows who we will run into while there :-)

Posted by
16763 posts

There are many lovely walks on Madeira along the levadas (small irrigation ditches). Those are flat once you get to the starting point. I haven't been to Madeira in decades but did some casual online research a couple of years ago and found at least one company doing levada walks. The advantage of going with a small group would be having transportation to and from the levada. Although some hikes would be accessible via public bus, others would probably require a taxi if you didn't take a tour. Amazon has a number of walking guides to the island.

Madeira is beyond gorgeous. However, it is not one of those islands that is sunny nearly all the time. It has frequent cloud cover, and rain is not rare. Thus the gorgeous greenery and flowers. (And the levadas.) The island has no natural sandy beaches. Some people head over to Porto Santo (about 45 miles away); others settle or imported-sand beaches on Madeira Island itself.

Posted by
2681 posts

Thanks acraven for the further information about Madeira. It is lovely. I particlarly liked the gondola ride up to Monte to visit that botanical garden. From the aerial vantage point, one can peek into the gardens and back yard lives of the locals. Not that they might like that, but it was interesting to see all the terracing they used for gardening in a precipitous landscape.

For this trip, I think I am leaning to the Athens/Crete combo if this virus allows.