1 Eagles Palace, Halkidiki
Near to Mount Athos and overlooking the island of Ammouliani, this luxury hotel has been picked in the past as the best resort in Greece. It offers airy, elegant rooms, a chic pool area and a private beach, plus dining and entertainment options including five restaurants and three bars. At the end of August, Greek holidaymakers return to work, meaning that September prices plummet — and there’s a complimentary half-board
Details B&B doubles start from €221 a night (00 30 23770 31101,eaglespalace.gr)
2 The Romanos, Messinia
There was a time when people visited this part of the Peloponnese only to bathe at Voidokilia beach, an almost perfect crescent of sand. That was until the Costa Navarino resort was developed in 2010. There are now three hotels perched on the edge of the Ionian and based around the ancient Greek concept of an agora market with boutiques, restaurants, cafés and an amphitheatre. The Romanos has plush rooms with cream marble and dark wood accents, plus there’s a spa and an “outdoor academy” with stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and hiking.
Details Seven nights’ B&B costs from £755pp, including flights and transfers (0844 5566060, dialaflight.com)
3 Marbella, Corfu
Aerial yoga — for which you are suspended in a harness — is one of the many activities on offer at this innovative hotel on Corfu’s east coast. Meditate on the September prices that give almost £1,000 off week-long breaks. Airy rooms and suites have garden or sea views and balconies, and there are ten restaurants and bars, including a modern take on a traditional taverna.
Details Seven nights’ half-board is from £799pp, including flights (0800 2949318; classic-collection.co.uk)
4 Hotel Belvedere, Mykonos
Super-stylish Mykonos is packed in August,sending prices sky high. Head there a few weeks later and you can do so for half the price and still bask in temperatures in the mid-20s. This hip hotel overlooking Mykonos town is home to a Nobu sushi restaurant and close enough to the action to let you enjoy a late night in one of the many clubs, but far enough away to allow a good night’s sleep.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £770pp, excluding flights (i-escape.com). British Airways (ba.com) has return flights from London from £133
5 Cap Rocat, Majorca
Palma, the colonial capital of Majorca, bristles with activity. This luxury hotel allows you to sample all this from a discreet distance. Set in a former fortress on a peninsula overlooking the town, the rooms are packed with original features — such as exposed stone walls — with high-end touches including freestanding baths. A pool is set on one of the castle walls, and paths lead to swimming decks on the rocks. In September, prices are almost £500pp off the peak-season price.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £1,450pp, including flights (020 8682 5080K, scottdunn.com)
6 Asia Gardens, Alicante
Alicante’s microclimate — temperatures average 24C in September — comes with a stamp of approval from the World Health Organisation, which says it is one of the best in the world. Enjoy it from this plush hotel overlooking the beach from the hills of the Sierra Cortina. As you might expect from the name, the decor is influenced by Indian and Thai palaces. Exotic pools crown the lush gardens.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £953pp, including flights (01306 747008, kuoni.co.uk)
7 Marbella Club, Marbella
Spend September like royalty on a budget — rooms at this hotel, which was once the residence of Sixties playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, drop in price by £150 a night after schools reopen. A favourite of the actresses Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn, it retains a glamorous air in its rooms, suites and Andalusian villas, all set in subtropical gardens. It’s also home to ten tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course, or you can relax around two open-air pools.
Details B&B doubles are from £455 per night in September (00 34 952 822 211, marbellaclub.com)
8 Hotel Quinta da Auga, Santiago de Compostela
If the costas still feel busy in late summer, head to this northern stronghold to combine culture, chic stays and temperatures that are still well into the mid-20s. Housed in an 18th-century paper mill and on a 2.5-acre estate beside the Sar river, it has sun-filled rooms and suites with antique furniture, gardens, a pool and a fine spa. A member of Relais & Châteaux, its restaurant is pretty good, too. Santiago de Compostela’s Unesco World Heritage Site is a short drive away.
Details B&B doubles start from €108 per night (020 3735 5033,chiccollection.com). Easyjet.com has return flights to Santiago de Compostela from £54.98
9 Le Ginestre, Sardinia
Lop off £1,000 a person when you stay at this polished hideaway north of Porto Cervo in September. Set in private parkland with tennis courts, terraces and flower-filled pathways, there’s understated decor in the bright rooms, all of which come with balconies or terraces. An outdoor pool is home to a cocktail bar, or there’s a private beach a minute’s walk away.
Details Seven nights’ half-board is from £719pp, including flights (01293 731735, citalia.com)
10 Locanda delle Donne Monache, Tyrrhenian Coast
Maratea in the Basilicata is a classic Italian hill town in an area little visited by Brits. A classic Italian hill town with winding alleys and small piazzas, it sits above a coast road every bit as gorgeous as the Amalfi Coast. La Locanda delle Donne Monache is a restored 18th-century convent in the heart of town with cloistered corridors, stylish bedrooms and a garden pool. If it sounds idyllic, it is, and there are savings of £800pp on peak-summer prices.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £1,369pp including flights to Naples and car rental (020 7520 3100, expertoitaly.com)
11 Masseria Trapana, Puglia
Opening this week (August 24), Masseria Trapana is set to become Puglia’s hottest boutique hotel. It has nine chic suites set in fruit-filled gardens. The conversion of the 16th-century building led to the discovery of original frescoes, which have been incorporated into a design that blends in Balinese influences. Set around a courtyard with a chapel, the hotel also has a pool and runs complimentary transfers for nights out in Lecce.
Details B&B doubles are from €420 per night (00 39 340 186 3924,trapana.com). Easyjet.com flies to Brindisi from £76.98 return
12 Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, Provence
Located in 740 acres of spectacular countryside, this elegant hotel in the Provençal hills offers a country retreat that’s still close enough to sample the glamour of the Côte d’Azur, Nice, Monaco and St Tropez. Accommodation is in the form of suites and villas with elegant gold and terracotta colour schemes, while there are two championship golf courses and a spa.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £2,150pp including flights (020 8682 5080, scottdunn.com)
13 Hotel 202, Hossegor
There’s a pop art feel to this surf-influenced hotel by Hossegor’s golf course, just a short walk from the beach. Bright rooms, most with balconies, have canvas art above the beds with legends such as “Surf’s up”, and bathrooms have chequerboard tiles. Breakfast includes smoothies served on a deck. September savings run to €70 per night.
Details B&B doubles are from €180 per night (00 33 558 432 202,sawdays.co.uk). Ryanair.com has return flights to Biarritz from £45.98
14 Casa Theodora, Corsica
Named after 18th-century explorer Theodore von Neuhoff who proclaimed himself King of Corsica in 1736, this hotel is in a converted 16th-century palazzo in the hilltop village of Muro. Packed with original charm, including barrel-vaulted gilded ceilings and lavish frescoes, it has seven suites, an indoor pool tucked away in the wine cellar, and superb opportunities for walking, riding and mountain biking in the late summer.
Details Seven nights’ B&B costs from £876pp, including flights and car hire (020 8003 6557, simpsontravel.com)
15 Korsan Suites, Kalkan
There are incredible views of Kalkan Bay at this aparthotel that’s a great choice for groups of friends thanks to its two and three-bedroom suites. All come with airy decor and balconies with private hot tubs, as well as open-plan living/kitchen areas. There’s a restaurant for those nights when you don’t want to cook — and arrive before 9pm on your first night to get a welcome dinner included. Kalkan is a ten-minute walk away.
Details Seven nights’ self-catering is from £1,268pp, including flights and car hire (020 8003 6557, simpsontravel.com)
16 Grand Yazici Hotel & Spa, Bodrum
Set on top of a hill overlooking Bodrum, this new boutique hotel lets you head to Turkey off-season (it’s an average of 26C in September) for less than £500. Slick, spacious rooms have contemporary minimalist decor and balconies, plus there’s a large spa, two eateries, and a pool area with Balinese-style beds.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £419pp, including flights from London (020 8705 0107, awayholidays.co.uk)
17 Palmizana, Sveti Klement Island, Hvar
This car-free island, just off Hvar in the Adriatic, is covered with botanical gardens. Once barren, it was acquired by Professor Eugenio Meneghello in 1906 who filled it with palms, exotic plants and peacocks. His descendants have added a rustic, boutique retreat with vibrantly painted bungalows and villas, and a pair of restaurants. The only downside is that the water-taxi timetable means that stays have to be for seven days — not that you’ll be in a rush to leave.
Details Seven nights’ room-only is from £220pp, excluding flights (i-escape.com). British Airways (ba.com) offers return flights to Split from £118
18 Grand Hotel Palazzo, Porec
Slip into a life of luxury with a September stay for just £600 at this waterfront hotel, once frequented by Austrian nobility. Built in 1910 and fully refurbished in 2009, it has a Venetian feel with glittering chandeliers, bold art and opulent furnishings. Porec’s best restaurant, Sveti Nikola, is a minute’s walk away.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £614pp, including flights from London (01425 480400, prestigeholidays.co.uk)
19 Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, Lisbon
Lisbon is one of the few European capitals that can combine a city break with a beach stay — and in September the water is just warm enough to do both. This urban retreat, just off Avenida da Liberdade, is in four 18th-century buildings centred around a soaring atrium with a restaurant, bar and lounges. Rooms are designed on feng shui principles, and you can even book rooms based on your birth sign. The beaches in Oeiras are about 20 minutes away.
Details B&B doubles are from €122 per night (00 351 210 440 900,inspirahotels.com)
20 Vila Vita Parc, Algarve
A 30-minute drive from Faro, this luxury clifftop resort has opened an adults-only wing that includes its renowned two-Michelin starred Ocean restaurant and a number of refurbished rooms. Luxurious touches abound: butler service, a private beach, and access to the hotel’s own organic wine farm in the Alentejo. Get extra value in September when the room prices drop by some £140 per night.
Details B&B doubles start from £285 per night (00 351 282 310 161,vilavitaparc.com)