Some might say that retirement is one big holiday (and why not!) however when I look at those who are retired around me they just don’t stop. Whether they’re helping out in the local community, looking after grandchildren, working on the house and garden or taking part in hobbies their days of retirement it seems are pretty full. And, whilst not so craved or so desperately needed as was the case during the days of 9-5, holidays it seems are just as important as ever.

A chance to explore new cultures, enjoy new experiences, spend time alone and get away from the norm, the ability to fund holidays in retirement comes pretty high up on the retirement wish list. And, for those lucky enough not to be part of the back-to-school, back-to-work, back-to-reality gang September is the perfect time to pack up and head off for a crowd free adventure.

So, bearing in mind that us Brits always prefer a bit of sunshine, where looks good for an early autumn break? Here are 5 of the top places we’ve found to visit this September, in no particular order. 

1. Croatia

With summer temperatures typically stretching out well into September and often beyond, why not head over to Croatia for an early autumn break. No need to pack your cardi, the climate is described as very pleasant with beautifully sunny skies and warm seas.

In terms of accommodation, you will find prices cheaper than in July and August however as a popular September destination we’re not talking absolute bargains here.

In terms of things to do you’ll be spoilt for choice! Of course you have the wonderful beaches to relax on and the stunningly clear waters to bask in and great places to eat and drink so, if it’s relaxation you are after this might well be enough. If however you like a gentle cruise then this is a great way to visit and admire the beautiful beaches, pretty ports and Venetian architecture of the Adriatic islands. And there’s plenty going on in terms of festivals, with something for pretty much everyone. Visit the Korkyra Baroque Festival (5th-12th) on the beautiful island of Korcula, which celebrates local and international music and cultural heritage. If you’re a bit of a film buff you might want to check out The Split Film Festival (12-19th). Like to combine your films with food? Hop over to Zagreb for The Food Film Festival (11th-20th) and enjoy films with a gastronomic focus. Historians might prefer a bit of an 18th Century style celebration in the form of The Giostra Festival in Porec (9th-11th). And for those of you that like a bit of lycra why not head to Istria for the Parenzana Bike Race (25th-27th), a World Cycling Federation event. And, if you’re feeling left out and want to work off all those lazy lunches you can even take part in the recreational race!

2. Scilly Isles, UK

For those wishing to leave the passport behind, avoid those lengthy security queues and stay a bit closer to home you can’t go far wrong with a hop across to the Scilly Isles.

Described as offering “a certain quality of life – simpler, kinder and more peaceful”, blessed with glorious white sandy beaches and surrounded by fabulous turquoise waters you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d left home much further behind.

With 5 inhabited Isles – St. Mary’s, Tresco, St. Martin’s, Bryher and St. Agnes plus countless uninhabited ones to explore you’ll find plenty to occupy your time; choose from bike trails, kayaking, boat trips, walking and even snorkelling with seals. Each island boasts it’s own character and all offer fabulous ancient history and archaeology, stunning sea views and rugged unspoilt coasts. Venture off shore and out to sea and you’ll find incredible shipwrecks and stunning wildlife. 

Located just off the tip of Cornwall, you’ve got the warm winds of the Gulf Stream to thank for the warm and dry September weather, allowing you to enjoy all that Scilly has to offer in comfort and without the summer crowds.

If you’re a foodie then September offers another great reason to visit in the form of the month long Taste of Scilly festival, “a delicious and distinctive celebration of the islands’ fayre, so local you can often point to the fisherman or farmer that’s hooked it or grown it”. Tuck into various foodie focussed events including island-hopping supper safaris, masterclasses, farm tours and tastings. The starter for this month long gastronomic celebration is the low tide event – join at low tide to walk from Tresco or Bryer to the party in the sea in Tresco channel where you will enjoy local food, stomp across the sandbank and then watch the tide swallow it all up.

Any wild swimmers out there can take take part in the Scilly Swim Challenge – swimming across each inhabited island and then walking the length and breadth of each, something that is sure to work off all that local fayre!

Of course, for a more sedate stay there’s always the cafes and restaurants to sit back and enjoy.

3. Maldives

If a dose of far flung paradise is what you’re after then the Maldives should tick this box nicely. With the rainy season clearing temperatures should be in the balmy high twenties with just the odd patchy rainfall. And it’s these occasional showers that you can thank for the possibility of a bargain.

Look froward to being greeted with the warmth and hospitality so typical of the Maldavians and refreshed by a traditional welcome drink of fresh coconut. And if this isn’t enough to make the long journey worthwhile you’ve also got the seriously Instagram worthy beaches (so good I’ve just got to take a picture and show everyone what they’re missing!) of pure white sand and crystal blue waters to ease your tired eyes.

And, whether you’ve come for relaxation, romance, spirituality, thrills, culture or sports you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Choose from a laid back life of beach, food, sleep, opt for a jam packed itinerary of water sports, trips and treatments or take each day as it comes and combine the two.

However you choose to spend your time it will no doubt be beautiful!

4. Pompeii, Italy

When you think food and culture, Italy is always pretty high up on the list.  And, what better time to visit than when the summer crowds have dissipated and the blazing heat has gone with them. This is especially true when you’re looking to explore the beauty and history of ancient Pompeii and it’s surrounding region.

This perfectly preserved slice of Ancient Italy is the perfect place to explore on these cooler, quieter September days. From Rome, Pompeii can be reached in a day however most visitors to Pompeii choose to stay in nearby Naples or Sorrento, combining their visit to the ancient site with a visit to Mount Vesuvius. To get the most out of your visit it is worth booking a guided tour, using an audio guide or at least taking with you a detailed and trusted guide book, there is little information at the site itself that details what you are viewing.

Of course the surrounding area offers much in the way of food and culture to easily fill your time and you wouldn’t be in Italy if you didn’t make time for a fair few coffees and a good dose of cafe culture (sitting, chatting and watching the world go by).

5. Corfu, Greece

Anyone who watched ‘The Durrells’ will be familiar with the natural beauty of Corfu and, if you’re anything like me, be longing to explore it’s rugged coastline and pretty villages.

With the sizzling heat of summer more bearable and the crowds departed now is the time to enjoy this island in all it’s rugged splendour.

With its museums, 39 churches and twin peaks each capped with a huge fortress, historic Corfu Town is not to be missed. Sorry to hark on about ‘The Durrells’ but for fans like me you can even take a tour of the east coast village of Danilla, modelled on a Corfiot village from the 1930s, where much of the second series was filmed. And, just in case Gerald Durrell can’t persuade you maybe 007 will? This village was also used in the James Bond classic ‘For Your Eyes Only’.

Of course a trip to Corfu wouldn’t be complete without a relaxing boat trip and what better place to visit than the little island of Paxos. Without its own airport, Paxos remains unspoilt by heavy tourism and in place of large developments boasts endless olive groves, charming villages and a pace of life that remains unhurried and traditionally hospitable. 

For many of our customers enjoying retirement to the full means the ability to take holidays whenever they want to, without having to scrimp on luxuries.

“We’ve worked hard all our lives and have spent many years focussing on the family. Now it’s our turn to enjoy what we’ve worked so hard for and we want to enjoy as many holidays together as possible. Equity Release is enabling us to do just that and we don’t have to sell or move house, which is a big bonus.”

If you are considering Equity Release as a way to fund those dream holidays, I am sure you have many questions. Please get in touch and lets see how we can help.

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Photo by Linh Nguyen on Unsplash