You fancy a well-deserved holiday but still, you’re unsure about where to go this summer? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve rounded up our 50 favourite sun destinations with some classics like the Algarve or Marbella and some more daring destinations on the other side of the world – so whether you’re an adventurer or a beach bum, more short-haul than long, prefer a beach villa or a resort, looking for your honeymoon destination or a trip with the girls; you will find the perfect holiday destination that suits your holiday style right here!
Secluded coves, sandy beaches, authentic islands, beautiful weather… from Spain to Turkey, the Med offers the perfect summer holiday for a lot of Brits. Low fares, close proximity and sun almost guaranteed from May to October; here are our top destinations to soak up the Mediterranean sun:
As one of the largest and greenest of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is far more than it’s glistening cobalt-hued waters and tawny coastline. Continuing to welcome travellers each summer with its enticing rural landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage status and blankets of history, it makes a special escape away from touristic honeypots. Throw in scattered ruins, delicious delicacies and sleepy villages and you’re on the way to a well-rounded summer vacay.
Best for: Travellers looking to get off the beaten track.
Must see: Take a break from Corfu’s good-looking beaches and visit Mount Pantokrator. Overlooking the islands’ northeast region and standing at 906 metres tall, Corfu’s highest mountain is a must.
Must eat: The Corfiot diet predominantly consists of seafood. So, head to Maistro Resturant which has a riveting beachfront location and a menu to match. If it were me, I’d go for the mussels cooked in white wine with garlic and crumbly feta cheese – because cheese is life.
Where to stay: Villa Piedra Barbati.
The island of Crete is the kind of place to make all your dreams of a holiday in Greece come true. Crystal-clear blue waters, postcard-worthy seafront towns, history in spades and jaw-dropping landscape, Greece’s largest island has everything you could wish for. Whether you want to trek the Samaria Gorge or wander the atmospheric winding alleyways of Chania, boat-trip to deserted beaches or learn the art of Cretan cooking there’s no Greek island that offers more variety.
Best for: Wanderers.
Must see: Tropic like it’s hot on Elafonissi Beach, which didn’t earn its nickname, the Caribbean in Crete, for nothing. White and pink sand swirl around warm, clear waters, making it one of the nicest beaches in Crete.
Must eat: With an atmospheric al fresco dining area overlooking Chania’s old harbour, Palazzo Almare is as popular for its position as it is for its food.
Where to stay: Sea Queen Villa.
Looking for a destination with a party-hard culture, cashed-up A-listers and hip new everything, Mykonos ticks all three. It was one of the first of the Greek islands to be considered a holiday destination and has been popular since the 60s. There are over 25 beaches on Mykonos, all but a handful are well-organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, water sports, beach bars, restaurants and markets. The golden sand and shallow, clear water make them ideal for pretty much everyone.
Best for: Trendy travellers.
Must see: The iconic 16th-century windmills that dominate the landscape of Mykonos town. Until recently they were used to provide wheat and bread for the locals, but nowadays are emblematic of the beauty of the island.
Must eat: Buddha Bar Beach offers a delicious selection of Pacific Rim cuisine; ceviche, sushi, dumplings, noodles and more – get ready for a refined feast.
Where to stay: Villa Phi 1
The supermodel of the Greek islands, Santorini. The volcanic nature of the island contributes greatly to its drama; the towns sit perched on top of steep cliffs and boasts white-washed houses peppered with blue church domes with bright pops of candy colours. Swoon.
Best for: Romantics.
Must see: Take in the sunset from Oia. Often donned one of the prettiest towns in Santorini, you’ll fall in love the maze of cobblestones and most famously the blue-domed church. It’s the one and only way to get your Grecian sunset fix.
Must eat: To Psaraki offers quite possibly the best seafood (and value for money). The restaurant’s location enjoys views over the island’s main fishing port. The menu includes sea urchin, pork “souvlaki” and traditional filo pastry desserts.
Where to stay: Villa Sophia.
Paros sleeps in the shadow of the limelight and yet it continues to welcome a steady stream of summer travellers. The island shares the same qualities as many of the other Cyclades Islands – whitewashed villages, fishing harbours, a flurry of tavernas and golden beaches – our favourite being Kolymbithres. The granite rock formations on the beach will transport you back to your fav sci-fi movie. Paros lacks the same glitzy appeal as Mykonos and Santorini, but in our eyes, it’s a star.
Best for: Live like a local.
Must see: To truly gauge what Paros is all about, walk along the white-washed alleys of Old Town which leads to its picturesque port.
Must eat: Siparos is on the Santa Maria Beach and you can trust us when I say it’s a good ‘un. The location and the food are gorgeous.
Where to stay: Mr & Mrs White is a blend of simplicity and laid-back luxury. This new style hotel offers premium amenities with traditional hospitality.
The largest and most popular of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes stuns with its romantic medieval Old Town, glistening beach resorts and 300 days of sunshine. It’s most touristy by the town, but don’t worry you can still find secluded spots in and around the island. If anything, it’s worth taking a car and taking unconventional detours, passing beaches and pretty coastal villages on the way. Sun worshippers can exhale, the island has a vast collection of beaches, all unique in their own right. Among the best beaches are Tsambika, Ladiko and Kallithea. And in the southern coast, Prassonisi is ideal for kitesurfing, if you’re after that sort of thing.
Best for: Rhodes is a great fit for pretty much everybody: culture vultures, beach bums – you name it.
Must see: The citadel of Rhodes is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so safe to say it should sit high up your must-visit list!
Must eat: Founded in 1933, Mavrikos a family-run restaurant is one of the oldest in the area. It has become something of an institution over the years and there you’ll come to eat traditional dishes revisited and modernised.
Where to stay: Marco Polo Mansion is a boutique b&b situated in the old city of Rhodes. It has a bohemian and effortlessly cool vibe to it, enough said!
Sweltering 30°C temperatures, humming Ferraris, glitzy resorts and sexy all-night parties on the beach, a summer in the French Riviera will make you say shell yeah. From Canne’s illustrious promenade, La Croisette and the yachts stacked upon stacks in St Tropez to Nice’s sunset beach walks, a summer in the south is wild.
Best for: Sunseekers and high rollers.
Must see: Eze, the prettiest medieval village in the Cote d’Azur. You can visit the quaint but old world church, the beautiful Jardin Exotique and the local perfume factory.
Must eat: Lunch or dinner, Miramar Plage will exceed your expectations. Located on Cannes’ mythical Croisette, you’ll encounter only the best service and some of the souths most delicious food. From oysters to creamy gnocchi with burrata and truffle oil, it’ll be love at first bite.
Where to stay: Villa Emeraude.
Good things come in small packages. And as the second smallest country in the world, Monaco makes a cracking summer destination. What they don’t tell you about Monaco is how colourful and captivating it is when you see it with your own two eyes. Of course, not forgetting the amazing history filled with barbarians, kings, supercars, movie stars and bags of money. Francois Grimaldi, you did well.
Best for: Splashing the cash.
Must see: Get to the palace for 11:55am for the changing of the guard. It can get a bit dull after 10 minutes, but that’s saved by the surrounding views of Monaco.
Must eat: One of Monaco’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants is Le Louis XV. With a celebrity clientele as tall as the Eiffel Tower and a menu that oozes fine dining, it’s a must – even if just once.
Where to stay: Embrace the glitz at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, which just happens to overlook the Circuit de Monaco.
Visit Corsica, France’s isle of beauty. This miniature continent lies 200 kilometres from the French Riviera and yet it feels very rugged, old-world and spectacular all at once. The Corsican way of life is simple and unplanned, tourists are left in peace to enjoy the dense forests, the time-forgotten villages, national parks and not forgetting the GR20 trail. If you’re ever short on fun, seek the Corsican holy trilogy, food, wine and music.
Best for: Fans of great outdoors and active holidays.
Must see: Les Calanches de Piana in the North-West of the island are a great example of extraordinary scenery: red cliffs plunging into the sea. You can go there by car or if you want to avoid the crowds and experience the grandeur of these cliffs from the sea, you can make it by boat.
Must eat: L’Auberge de la Restonica provides great food made with local produce in the beautiful valley of Restonica in the centre of the island. This is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy your meal surrounded by nature!
Where to stay: Villa Grand Sperone
The gorgeous island of Sicily can only best be described as an incredible open-air museum of archaeological sites, with a smattering of medieval villages and lashings of good food. Mount Etna looms over a coast of twinkling bays, sandy beaches and offshore islets where the water is vodka-clear, while the island’s interior is packed with soaring mountains, lush vineyards and intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Best for: Culture vultures.
Must see: Cefalu is one of Sicily’s summer hotspots. The town is full of narrow and windy roads, with a wealth of eateries and boutiques overlooking the beach. We’ll sea you there.
Must eat: More modest, but intensely flavourful food awaits you at restaurant Locanda del Colonnello. Their ever-changing menu is a testament to the chef’s dedication to using only the freshest local produce. Their Ibleo pig with smoked potatoes and broccoli sounds like a spoonful of dreams.
Where to stay: Casa Victoria
The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most piercing regions. In between the pastel coloured boutiques, plunging mountains and sun-kissed sunbathers – the coast has an irresistible appeal. Until the 1950’s, this coastline was largely undiscovered and relatively poor, with its economy almost solely reliant on fishing and the growing of lemon trees. And now? Well, it’s become a major summer destination attracting travellers from all around the world.
Best for: Topping up your tan.
Must see: Timeless and well-loved, Sorrento is the perfect place to escape mainstream tourism. This coastal town combines extraordinary landscapes, where sea and mountains meet and beautiful citrusy groves pepper the town.
Must eat: Eolo Restaurant can accommodate 32 guests, so if you manage a reservation count yourself lucky.
Where to stay: Villa Sirenusa.
Both a tourist destination for Italians and foreigners, Capri’s beauty and refined hedonism has charmed just about everyone. The island is a speckled fusion of grottoes, caves, Roman ruins, overgrown vegetable plots and rich wildlife. Once you’ve seen your fair share of sights, including the Blue Grotto, the Gardens of Augustus and the Port of Marina Grande to name a few, you can also decide to explore the other treasures on the other islands of the Bay of Naples. Day trips to Pompeii, Ischia (the green island), and the Amalfi Coast are totally recommended.
Best for: Foodies and romantics.
Must see: Grotta Azzura (the Blue Grotto) has to be Capri’s most famous site. It is a sea cave with light shining through an underwater cavity creating a fabulous kaleidoscope of blues and azure colours in the grotto which makes for a very atmospheric boat trip.
Where to stay: Casa Mari on the Sorrento coast has direct views onto Capri and is just a short boat ride away. So you get to admire Capri from your swimming pool away from the crowds. The best of both worlds!
Scenic hikes, coastal trails and some of the loveliest beaches off European shores, Sardinia is a sight for sore eyes. It may be the largest Italian island, but a visit will make you feel as though you have the whole island entirely to yourself. You’ll quickly realise that Sardinia isn’t just a pretty face, but that every nook and cranny has its own story to tell. You’ll find the traditionalists in Barbagia, the high-life in Costa Smeralda and ancient history in Nora.
Best for: Beach babes.
Must see: Costa Smeralda. Yes, the sand really is white and the sea the bluest blue. Stretching across 10km, it’s perhaps the best-known corner of Sardinia.
Must eat: The restaurant at the Sa Mandra farm has the most divine charcuterie, homemade ricotta and pecorino – but the real showstopper is their nine-hour roasted suckling pig.
Where to stay: Villa Lapunga.
Good things come in small packages, right? Right! Montenegro is small but mighty: from the wilderness of Durmitor and Skadar Lake National Parks inland to the jaw-dropping Bay of Kotor surrounded by truly impressive canyons on the coast- Montenegro is a place of wonders and beautiful sceneries. There, you’ll see small fishing islets turned into 5* hotels, monasteries carved into vertical cliffs or built in the middle of the sea and one of the deepest canyon in the world (Nevidio Canyon)! If all this doesn’t put Montenegro on the map of the next ‘it’ destination we don’t know what will!
Best for: The bon viveurs who like good food and wine and are the life of the party!
What to see: A beautiful boat trip in the Bay of Kotor to stop at Our-Lady-Of-The-Rocks for truly breath-taking views and old legends. For the pious, the dramatic setting of the Ostrog Monastery is a difficult climb that is well worth it!
Where to eat: On the Montenegrin coast, it’s all about the freshest fish and seafood you can get; we recommend Catovica Mlini in Morinj for a beautiful meal set in a rustic old mill and if you’re in Budva, you won’t find a better place than Jadran Kod Krsta for fish and seafood: feet (almost) in the sand, views on the old town and live music playing from a moored boat, it doesn’t get any more Montenegrin than this!
Where to stay: For effortless luxury, book yourself at the Regent Porto Montenegro.
Home to Love Island, Mediterranean weather and a staggering 262 beaches, Mallorca is paradise for all things, sand and sea. While beach holidays have traditionally been Mallorca’s stock-in-trade, its capital Palma has been carving out a niche as an up-and-coming city destination. From its boujee shopping scene, cultural attractions, pedestrianised old town and buzzing harbour – tis the sea-sun to be in Mallorca.
Best for: Island admirers.
Must see: Pollença’s Calvari Steps, they’ll give your calves a hell of a workout – all 365 of them.
Must eat: Opposite the steps, you’ll find Clivia. The restaurants exterior is centuries-old and yet it seemingly contrasts with its modern white interior decor. If you go, the lobster paella is to die for. Period.
Where to stay: Porto Pintoresco.
Whether you’re the sort to enjoy clubbing or not, the island’s reputation as a hedonistic haven is well-deserved – but spending the daylight hours sleeping off a hangover is a bit like visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant and only ordering tap water. Ibiza is roughly ten times the size of Manhattan and in that area, you’ll find a huge diversity of landscapes, activities and cultural curiosities to enjoy. You just need to know where to look!
Best for: Boozy sundowners.
Must see: Sandy toes, sun-kissed nose, get in on the good vibes at the Sunday sunset drumming ritual at Benirras beach.
Must eat: El Chiringuito is found in the coastal town of Es Cavallet – in fact, it’s found right on the beach! If you want to chill with an impressive array of the freshest seafood on offer, this really is the only place you need to go.
Where to stay: Bella Forada.
Often forgotten by British holidaymakers is the Costa Brava, which funnily enough happens to be one of the most beguiling of Spain’s main holiday coasts. Running north from Barcelona to the Spanish-French border, the Costa Brava is gloriously wild in parts and manicured in others. With a flurry of Blue Flag beaches, pink rocks, hidden caves, outdoor activities and some of the finest gastronomy in the whole of Spain – what’s there not to love?
Best for: Daydreamers.
Must see: Begur, one of the prettiest medieval villages in Costa Brava. Colourful and full of life, it’s a joy to see that Begur has long managed to escape mainstream tourism.
Must eat: In between your day trip to Begur, stop for a bite to eat Hostal Sa Rascassa. This boutique hotel boasts one of the most regarded restaurants in the region. Munch on typical Catalan food including grilled cuttlefish, goats cheese salad and chicken croquettes.
Where to stay: La Perica.
Known as the crown jewel of the Costa Del Sol, Marbella is the Spanish playground of the rich and famous. But long before it started alluring A-listers, it was home to Romans and Moors, so it makes plenty of sense to seek out nods to the past and present during your holiday.
Best for: Re-enacting The Only Way is Marbs.
Must see: The Puerto Banus street Market is on every Saturday between 9am and 2pm. With over 100 stalls to visit, you won’t know where to start. Fruits, furniture, clothes and much more awaits.
Must eat: Paco Jiménez is aptly named after its owner and chef, who also happened to win won a gold medal at the World Gastronomic Meeting. So yes, you can expect a happy and full belly. The menu includes sea bass, Jamon Iberico and tarta de queso – the best.
Where to stay: Villa Choli
The island of natural beauty also happens to be one of the sunniest spots in Croatia. Boasting 2724 hours of sunshine each year, it’s glaringly obvious to recognise Hvar as a summer destination. A firm favourite with posh yachties and young partygoers, there’s no rest for the wicked. But besides dancing till dawn, Hvar Town, the island’s capital is also known for its top-notch restaurants and overly priced swanky hotels.
Best for: Young partygoers.
Must see: The island is famous for its lavender and the early summer will see swathes of land engulfed in purple and fragrant riots. The best way to get an authentic lavender experience is to visit Velo Grablje Lavender Festival, which takes place every June and includes stalls, workshops performances and more.
Must eat: Bringing NYC flavours to Dalmatia is 50 Hvar. The original burger and champagne bar serves up local octopus burgers, eggplant salad, and a side of moreish truffle fries. Obviously washed down with a chilled glass of champagne.
Where to stay: Old Town Villa Hvar.
Dubrovnik, the city that’s sure to leave any seasoned traveller lost for words. Whether you’re keen to experience the urban culture, reenact your favourite scene from Game of Thrones, or see the Adriatic’s famous waters with your own two eyes, Dubrovnik is the place for it all. A summer of impassioned culture, outstanding beauty and unmistakable architecture, this city will you in awe.
Best for: History buffs.
Must see: See the sights from Dubrovnik’s Cable Car which first opened in 1969. Both a tourist attraction and a piece of history it will complete your trip to the city.
Must eat: Set within the great walls of Dubrovnik, Restaurant 360 merges its historical setting with a progressive, forward-thinking menu. The starters include scallops and sweetbreads, the mains include octopus and beef and the deserts are perfectly sweet and decadent.
Where to stay: Villa Adrijana.
I wouldn’t blame you for flinching at the mere thought of Paphos. Rightly and wrongly, it has a reputation for Brits and booze. However, this mystical city is far more interesting than it’s depicted to be. Experience true Cypriot hospitality, where old and new intertwine effortlessly. Catacombs, medieval baths, UNESCO World Heritage sites, dynamic nightlife, beaches for days and a celebration of love and beauty – Paphos is a treasure trove just waiting to be explored.
Best for: Adventurers.
Must see: Paphos Wine Tours will take you on a journey of well…wine discovery. From visiting the wineries and vineyards to enjoying a picnic and sampling wines, you’ll only be treated to the best of the best.
Must eat: The Pelican on Apostolou Pavlou Ave has the most advantageous setting, right by the beautiful waterside and serves up a helping of good food to boot. Tuck into moreish seafood, from soft-shell crabs to freshly caught lobster and prawns.
Where to stay: Villa Oceania.
Malta might not top your list of summer destinations (because it’s too small for you to remember it actually exists), and yet when thinking about it, you realise that overlooking Malta is a huge mistake: it has got it all! Beautiful beaches? Check! History and archaeological sites? Check! Year-round beautiful weather? Check! Exciting nightlife? Check! We could go on but the list of reasons to visit Malta is too long.
Best for: Divers, families and culture vultures.
Must see: Caravaggio’s ‘Beheading of St John the Baptist’ on display in the Oratory of the Co-Cathedral of St John in Malta’s capital Valetta.
Must eat: If you want to experience true Maltese hospitality and beautiful local food head to Ta Marija in the centre of Mosta.
Where to stay: Orchidea.
Stretching from Turkey’s southwest Coast into the Aegean Sea, the city of Bodrum features twin bays with mighty views of Bodrum Castle. Each summer Bodrum welcomes a million travellers and yet it never rests on its laurels. From flower-filled cafes, growing clubs and boutique hotels, even in the most hectic days, you’ll still find solace in the nooks and crannies of the town. And yet, if there comes a point during your stay where you want to explore further afield, the city is also a great gateway for nearby beach towns and resorts.
Best for: Seaside getaways
Must see: Ozzlife Boat Tours are regarded as the best attraction in Bodrum. Relish the terrain, food, drinks and knowledge of the crew.
Must eat: Satisfy your sweet tooth at Penguen. Their candied almond ice cream is the best dessert for any occasion.
Where to stay: Kempinkski is a chain you might not recognise, but once you step foot in the hidden Barbaros Bay, you’ll never look back.
A summer in Antalya is like opening a goodie bag – you don’t know what you’re getting. For one, it’s often referred to as the Turkish Riviera, with nature supplying pristine beaches and a verdant interior and the boom in tourism bringing the glamorous hotels and a yacht-filled marina. When you have a canvas like Antalya, it’s easy to recognise that good looks are second nature to the region. Boasting 400-miles of white-sand beaches and a classically beguiling coastline backed by olive groves and the pine-clad Taurus Mountains, it’s hard to resist a getaway to turkey.
Best for: Sightseeing!
Must see: Hadrian’s gate is a standing reminder of Antalya’s rich history. The gate was erected to honour Roman Emperor Hadrian and is the only remaining entrance gate in the walls of the city.
Must eat: Seraser Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Antalya that serves Turkish food in an innovative way. Dining on the open-air terrace is a real treat.
Where to stay: Tuvana Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel in the centre of Antalya’s old town that is sitting above… Seraser Restaurant!
The Atlantic Coast of Europe from Cornwall to Lanzarote is not your classic lazing-on-the-beach type of holiday. Rugged coastline, winds coming from the ocean and stronger water currents mean this is the perfect type of destinations for active holidays being surfing, windsurfing or just jumping in the waves!
Brittany is Great Britain’s little sister that’s just a short ferry ride away. Cool weather, fresh waters and green pastures make Brittany a home away from home and the perfect summer destination for a lot of Brits: the temperate summer and cool ocean mean that the coast is a little less crowded than in other parts of France during the school holidays. Brittany is also a foodie heaven…Crepes, buckwheat galettes, salted butter caramel, kouign amann, seafood and cider are just a few examples of a long list of to-die-for specialities from the region!
Best for: Families with young kids.
Must see: The Musee Memoires 39-45 is a must-see for history buffs and everyone else. It is set in a WW2 5-story bunker and retraces the history of war and beautiful testimonies of the time.
Must eat: Going to Brittany and not eating buckwheat galettes with a bowl (yes, a bowl!) of cider would be a sacrilege! There are plenty of good creperies throughout Brittany, but for a lovely setting go to Au Goûter Breton.
Where to stay: Chateau Lignol
Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve is certainly a destination to check off your bucket list. Escape the resorts and head towards the unspoiled coastline that’s well worth writing home about. Or perhaps venture inland, where you’ll unearth white-walled market towns, Roman ruins and lush verdant woodland. The Algarve’s variation is what sets it apart from the rest.
Best for: Family fun.
Must see: The beach at Odeceixe offers something for kids of various ages. Though it’s not the largest beach on the Algarve by a long chalk, it’s actually situated next to the mouth of the river which can make the waters more gentle.
Must eat: The famous Portuguese Piri Piri chicken is yours to salivate over – trust us, it leaves Nando’s in the dust. And speaking of meat, a firm favourite with carnivores is Gourmet Natural in Almancil. Their speciality is parrilla, Uruguayan-style barbecue and the steaks are a dish that you’ll remember long after you’ve flown home.
Where to stay: Villa Ardwick
OK, let’s get real for a hot second. If you’re looking for a dose of vitamin sea – the UK won’t spring to mind. But when the weather is just right, there’s no contesting the British summer. The best summer staycation is none other than Cornwall. With long stretches of sandy beach and jaw-dropping scenery, Cornwall feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, yet it’s easily accessible by car and train.
Best for: Coastal connoisseurs.
Must see: The Eden Project, the world’s largest indoor rainforest. It can get intensely busy in the summer, but even the crowds can’t scare you away. They also host outside exhibits and rock concerts in the summer.
Must eat: For an authentic bite, Philips famous pasties will set pulses racing. The steak pasty is tender, succulent and seasoned to perfection.
Where to stay: Pebbleline House
With a plethora of white-sand beaches, authentic taperias and next to no traffic, Lanzarote is a surprising delight, especially if you’re accustomed to the city scene. Balanced with good weather and welcoming locals is its otherworldly aesthetics that makes the island so unforgettable. If you needed any more persuading, dining out is as cheap as chips – and yes, the food is seriously delicious.
Best for: Memorable landscapes.
Must see: Timanfaya National Park. This part of the island is a real treat thanks to its martian landscape and rare plant species.
Must eat: La Cantina is a laidback bar and restaurant – ideal for a couple of tapas with a glass of vino, or a slice of cake with a cortado. Housed in a historic building in the heart of Teguise, this gem attracts tourists far and wide. Start off with a sharing board of Lanzarote specialities, then followed by port ribs with chimichurri. Plenty of vegetarian dishes too.
Where to stay: Casa Palmera.
Biarritz is an elegant seaside resort nestled in the Basque Country. Long favoured by European royals (this is where Empress Eugenie got her summer palace built) the town retains the essence of its old glamourous days, even though it is now the stage to a very different crowd: surfers! Biarritz is a great coastal base to visit the Basque Country: head to Hendaye for a family-friendly beach day, St-Jean-Pied-de-Port -inland- to visit the beautiful old capital of the Basque country, take the little train up to the Rhune or visit Espelette and its world-famous peppers covered houses; you could even venture on the other side of the border, in San Sebastian for tapas! The options for family outings are endless…
Best for: Families and surfers.
What to see: The Rocher de la Vierge is a must when strolling around Biarritz; on windy days, be prepared to fill your lungs with the choppy Atlantic Ocean’s spray!
Where to eat: L’Entre Deux is a tiny restaurant opened by 2 friends where the food made from local produce is exquisite. Go for the tasting menu, you will not regret it! If you are just looking for an afternoon treat, then try a ‘Beret Basque’ at Miremont.
Where to stay: Experience true Basque houses with beautiful Atlantic views in Villa Bidart.
American holidays might not come first to mind when looking for a beach holiday destination, but from Hawaii to Rio you can find your spot of sand year-round: for winter sun, favour the Caribbean Islands or South America and for year-round (almost guaranteed) sun California and Hawaii!
Welcome to paradise beaches where life in Hawaii is celebrated and lived outdoors. Whether it’s hiking across ancient lava flows, surfing or camping out on the beach to catch the most spectacular sunrise, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is a strong summer destination. All that’s left is to muster your adventurous spirit and your good to go.
Best for: Outdoor pursuits.
Must see: Give the beaches a break, in return for a hiking expedition to the Hawaiian Islands. Each presents their own challenges, but no matter your skill level or stamina, there’s a hiking opportunity for just about everyone.
Must eat: Senia is the most hyped Honolulu restaurant maybe ever, but it’s rightly earned its place. Run by Chris Kajiok and Anthony Rush, the pair have built Senia on friendship, hospitality and aloha. Their Senia cake slice is a morsel of sugary deliciousness.
Where to stay: The Surfjack Hotel in Honolulu has got a blend of modern interiors with a blend of nostalgic surf culture.
If you’re yet to hear about Varadero, let me introduce you. Key to Cuba’s tourism, Varadero is the largest resort in the Caribbean. Home to over 60 hotels and growing, shops and ever-evolving water activities, it’s a dream position to be in. That said, what it makes up for in all-inclusives, it lacks in unique Cuban experiences.
Best for: Stress-free beach life.
Must see: Lifes a beach, enjoy the waves has never rung truer than it does to Varadero. You see, it’s trump card is its beach. An uninterrupted 20km stretch of sand that could be argued to be one of the Carribean’s best.
Must eat: Salsa Suárez never misses a beat. From its first-class service to its eclectic international menu. Spanish tapas, Cuban fare, Italian risotto, sushi and more – you’ll have a terrible pickle ordering from the menu.
Where to stay: If you dream of pure white sands there’s nowhere better than the Royalton Hicacos Resort & Spa.
If you like your holidays full of adrenaline and adventure, the huge swathes of beautiful natural parks are ideal for exploration and the lively waters are perfect for surfing. Better yet, there’s some varied and spectacular food on offer – everything from tasty street food to high-end dining. The capital of Bridgetown and the island’s many towns love to party, so if you’re after a fun-filled holiday in the Caribbean sun or a honeymoon that’s all about the nightlife, you can’t pick a better spot.
Best for: Partying.
Must see: If you’re there at the end of July/August, get ready for Carnival. Costumes, food and good energy all await.
Must eat: Fisherman’s Pub serves up fish from the boats floating off the side of the deck. The scene gets more Bajan as the evening goes on, so go expecting excellent fare.
Where to stay: Coco.
Ah Cancun, this vivacious city exceeds all your wildest expectations and then some. Through song, dance and regrettable amounts of tequila, Mexicans know how to celebrate and they’ll do their utmost to ensure you have the summer of your life. Painted with spring break culture, there’s more to this Mexican paradise than meets the eye. Mystical Mayan ruins, gentle Caribbean Sea, supple sands and a line of all-inclusive resorts, Cancun is a dream you won’t want to wake up from.
Best for: Relaxation.
Must see: Isla Mujeres (known as the island of women). The island is a 30-minute journey from the strip. Once there you can discover natural reefs, take part in zip lining and snorkelling and take in the view from breathtaking cliffs.
Must eat: It’s not a restaurant but more of an experience, Xoximilco. It’s honestly the best way to experience the cuisine (grasshoppers included, but optional), music and traditions as you float on a Mexican gondola known as a trajinera. Having already done it twice, I can say it was even more amazing the second time around.
Where to stay: Live like a rock star at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Cancun.
I’m in Miami, beach! And any step on Hispanic soil is a recipe for adventure. You see, Miami is heavily influenced by Cuba, something you’ll notice in the cafes and cigar shops that line Calle Ocho in Little Havana. In fact, still to this day, Miami boasts one of the most diverse population – but knowing a lil Spanish goes down a treat with the homebodies. Planted on Florida’s southeastern tip, Miami’s sun-kissed beaches, arts scene and glittering city skyline makes for an impressive backdrop.
Best for: Splashing the dollar.
Must see: You’ve already heard of Miami Beach, so we scrapped the cliche, and chosen Sunny Isles Beach. This two-mile long white sand beach is a firm favourite with snorkelers, divers and fisherman that use the Newport Fishing Pier as their hub.
Must eat: StripSteak has some of Miami’s best, well… steak. Run by acclaimed San Francisco Michael Mina you can already bet on a good meal. Found inside the famous Fontainebleau hotel, you can wine and dine on caviar and a seafood tower to start, before biting into prime boneless rib eye.
Where to stay: Hang out with celebs at Fontainebleau.
Big on food and big on flavour, Jamaica’s full of music, life and rhythm. Great if you’re looking for a resort-style holiday and want to spend your holiday in the thick of the action, living life to the fullest. As the home of reggae and jerk seasoning, you know everything in Jamaica is going to be big and bold, from the beautiful beaches to the Blue Mountain national park, where you’ll find waterfalls and walking trails straight out of some tropical dream. It’s also your ideal island pick if golf is your holiday recreation of choice, with plenty of courses to keep golfers of all abilities happy.
Best for: Sipping coconuts under palm trees.
Must see: Re-create your favourite scenes from Cool Runnings at Rainforest Adventures. Bobsled away…
Must eat: Miss T’s Resturant offers a relaxed casual dining experience. The islands tropical backdrop is perfect to sample honey-fried chicken, fresh seafood and other vegan/vegetarian dishes.
Where to stay: Sea Haven on Discovery Bay.
Whether you’re looking for a honeymoon that pulls out all the stops or the kind of holiday where your every whim is catered for, St Lucia has the facilities (not to mention the villa accommodation!) to make it happen. If you’re looking for adventure, try climbing the iconic Pitons, heading into the Chassin rain forest or enjoying some of the world’s best diving. The island’s musical pedigree means there is loads to choose from if you fancy a night on the tiles. Just mind your bank balance…
Best for: Picture-postcard scenery.
Must see: Party with the locals. Every Friday night, head to Cros Islet and get stuck into the lively street party. Rum for all, spirited locals and BBQ chicken – what more do you want?
Must eat: Visiting during October, during the St Lucia Food and Rum Festival.
Where to stay: Pepperpoint.
It’s not a party unless you’re in Rio. Be it lust for life, Cariocas have the most uplifting spirit. Join the many impromptu street parties, where the one thing that connects you is the rhythm of samba; catch a local game of footie and try to spot the next Ronaldinho, or plop your towel up on Copacabana Beach and let time pass you by.
Best for: Life in colour.
Must see: Brazil’s most iconic monument, Christ the Redeemer.
Must eat: Aprazivel is a treat for those seeking authentic Brazilian cuisine. Using some of the best ingredients from the Nordeste region, you’ll be able to tuck into grilled fish in orange sauce, baked bananas and grilled pam hearts.
Where to stay: Fasano has revamped the city’s hotel scene and now it’s the place to see and be seen.
Fitness fanatics, sun-kissed babes, fresh produce and conservationist state parks, Don’t be fooled by the typical Californian Stereotypes. It’s a mighty big state, so one size doesn’t fit all. Costal buffs with love LA, San Diego and Santa Barbara, others will enjoy biking over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and animal enthusiasts will love whale watching at Monterey.
Best for: Laid-back lifestyle and fitness buffs.
Must see: Yosemite National Park – home to some of the worlds best hiking trails, waterfalls and breathtaking views.
Must eat: In-N-Out. Californian’s might not be as obsessed with fast food as we are, but trust us In-N-Out is life on a plate. The burgers are cheap and tasty, the Neopolitan shakes (secret menu hack) are divine and the chips are the perfect hangover fix.
Where to stay: Nothing beats an Airbnb by Joshua Tree.
The diversity of climates and landscapes mean that the continent of Africa is a real gem for beach holidays. Whether you’re off on a long weekend in Morocco, on a trip of a lifetime in the Seychelles or surfing in Cape Town. The large continent will offer you a plethora of options for your next sun destination!
Dubai is a one-stop-shop for extravagant shopping, acclaimed water parks, mysterious deserts, opulent high-rise buildings and some of the worlds classiest beaches. As summer destinations goe, Dubai has a crafty mix of just about everything so that shopping enthusiasts, budding foodies and sun seekers can enjoy the city without a problem in sight.
Best for: Revolutionary travel.
Must see: With a winning combination of beach and desert, it only seems fair to see Dubai from up above. One word, skydive. Take the plunge over Palm Jumeirah and you’ll never live to regret it.
Must eat: Barasti is a beach club and restaurant at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi. The vibe is friendly and relaxed with a sprawling of TV screens, live music and pool tables. They say the fish and chips are legendary, but I doubt they’ll compare with a northern chippie. Who knows, give it a go.
Where to stay: Atlantis – because where else in the world can you combine a 5-star luxury hotel with a first-class waterpark.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of those destinations that you’ll come back to time and time again. Maybe it’s the alluring in-your-face beauty of the mountainscapes or spotting a wildebeest grazing on the slopes of Table Mountain (the National Park that dominates the city), or its hip edge that draws generations of all ages. Even if you don’t already know much about Cape Town, you know it’s land of good wine, food and a celebration of all cultures.
Best for: Wildlife.
Must see: White Sharks. Travel over 100 miles to Gansbaii, the white shark capital of the world and take the plunge into fin infested waters. Shark cage diving is big here but call around until you find something that suits you.
Must eat: IYO Burgers! One of the tastiest patties you’ll ever eat and the produce is extremely fresh. If that wasn’t enough, the curly fries are badass.
Where to stay: Located in Table Mountain National Park is Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel. It’s by the beaches, offers top-notch views and first class service.
115 islands make up the Seychelles, so it’s fair to say you’ll be swooningly be spoilt rotten with choice. Aspirational as a honeymoon destination, bucket list item or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the dreams of tropical paradise are a reality here. The islands are your oyster, take your pick from pearlescent beaches, wildlife watching (sea turtles are a must), or learning how to snorkel. The water is your playground; swimming amongst
Best for: Romantic holidays.
Must see: For snorkelling aficionados, the translucent waters of Shark Bank are a must: with its rich fauna of tropical fish and aquatic life. If you’re lucky you will swim with stingrays and the odd whale shark – they’re big but they don’t bite (often)!
Must eat: Seychelles are the most vegetarian-friendly country in the world with many vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Les Rochers is a great example of that: the location is divine, seafood is as fresh as it gets and there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
Where to stay: If you want to have an unforgettable stay and don’t mind splashing out a bit then Frégate Island is the place to be, it is private and secluded and it’s like you are owning your little slice of paradise on earth at least for a while!
Far from the melting-pot of Marrakesh, Essaouira is the easygoing alternative to experience Morrocco. The only downside is that it tends to get pretty windy, so while you might want to be sunbathing on the beach shielding the sand in your eyes, it’s a cracking destination for windsurfers and water enthusiasts alike. The town’s name means “little picture” in Arabic, and it’s a painter’s dream location, with a vibrant blue-and-white “medina” (inner walled city), enclosed by fairy-tale, sand-coloured ramparts and imposing stone gates (“Babs”). Beyond the colourful port, rolling waves and a wide buttery beach stretching for miles complete the canvas.
Best for: Picturesque views.
Must see: The fishing port and market are a must. They both truly encapsulate the essence of Essaouira.
Must eat: Zahra’s Grill operate on the notion of from the sea to the table – so trust us when we say it’ll be the best lobster you ever have.
Where to stay: Quirky interiors, sea views and within walking distance of the beach, Dar Adul is the place to be.
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Although the pesky UK government put a pan on direct flights, it certainly hasn’t stopped us Brits travelling to Sharm el Sheikh, here here. The Egyptian resort is a one-stop-shop for sun, sea and sand. Afterall, it didn’t earn its nickname the land of perpetual sunshine for nothing. Aswell as the next to nothing rain, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the Red Sea which famed for its crystal waters and world-class marine life. the Ras Mohammed Marine National Park and the diving here is classed as some of the best in the world, with reefs and fish that wouldn’t look amiss in the film ‘Finding Nemo’.
Best for: Underwater exploration.
Must see: Ras Muhamad National Park – Red Sea nature area offering protected coral reefs for diving & snorkelling, beaches & mangroves.
Must eat: On Deck, Sharm El Sheikh’s only floating restaurant, offers a truly unique dining experience with a stunning view of the city’s Naama Bay and amazing insights into the underwater world of the Red Sea.
Where to stay: Concorde El Salam Hotel.
South-East Asia and Oceania are perfect long-haul, winter sun destinations. Not only will you find heavenly beaches and clear waters in these parts of the world but you will also immerse yourself in new cultures, new foods and one in a lifetime experiences on the other side of the world, quite literally!
Peppered with fine white beaches, swaying palm trees, vivacious nightlife and home to a plethora of attractions including the celebrated Phi Phi Islands, Phuket has something to accommodate all tastes and budgets. Our villas in Phuket are no doubt the perfect starting base and our concierge team are on hand to help find you the right one.
Best for: Culturally enriching experiences.
Must see: Phang Nga Bay – a day here is unforgettable. The bays limestone cliffs and emerald green waters are enchantingly special.
Must eat: Joe’s Downstairs is one of Phuket’s best restaurants. Overlooking the Andaman Sea, it’s the most relaxing for a cocktail, a plate of crab cakes and an epic sundowner.
Where to stay: Stay at the enchanting Villa Kanda in Koh Samui.
A day’s worth of travelling isn’t for the faint-hearted, but god is it worth it for 2-weeks basking in the Australian sun. Sydney, in particular, makes a deserving choice thanks to its wildly grand skyscrapers, national parks and exquisite harbour. Visually, there’s nowhere as blinding as Sydney. Scratch the surface and it only gets better.
Best for: Long-haul.
Must see: One of the world’s most infamous beaches, Bondi Beach. It is crowded, but it’s great for a rough and ready swim.
Must eat: Unless you’ve done your research, a bite to eat can be pretty pricey. At J’s Kitchen Steak House, you can stuff your face for $13. The bistro chain serves T-bone steak with a mountain of chips, plus many more value options. It makes a great pit stop if you’re on the go.
Where to stay: Spicers Potts Point is the prettiest boutique hotel in Sydney. Impeccably styled, private and homely, it’s the perfect spot to explore the city.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
It takes a one-of-a-kind destination to knock the wind beneath our feet. And no place does it better than Bora Bora. Swaying palm trees, starry nights and stunning palette of sapphire, indigo and turquoise, the island thrives off its dreamlike setting. Just don’t go expecting nightlife, this is one quiet island that doesn’t like to be disturbed.
Best for: Once in a lifetime.
Must see: Swim with sharks. I know, it might sound totally bonkers but the tour providers wouldn’t dangle tourists to sharks if it wasn’t totally safe. Cue Couples Retreat shark scene.
Must eat: It would be fair to assume that’ll be tucking into the many restaurants on offer at your chosen resort. But if there’s one thing you need to request is Poisson Cru is a favourite Polynesian dish of tuna marinated in lime and coconut. It’s delicious and healthy.
Where to stay: The Bora Bora dream is yours for the taking at the Four Seasons.
Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali’s initial appeal is one of natural splendour. From its looming volcanoes and tropical beaches, rugged cliff tops and dynamic patty fields to Bali’s exciting nightlife, every new nook and cranny is just waiting to be explored. But if you look beyond the aesthetics and the to-die-for sundowners, you’ll be enchanted by the country’s spiritual culture and ever-smiling locals. The Balinese have essence money can’t buy, full of joy and peace – something you and your family will fall in love with.
Best for: Kindred spirits.
Must see: Watch a beachside movie at Karma Beach.
Must eat: Grab a bite to eat and watch the sunset on Jimbaran Bay.
Where to stay: Kalani Residence.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Synonymous with being the adventure capital of the world (punchy statement but read on), this lively NZ town is the ultimate place for adrenaline junkies. Commercial bungy jumping was invented by Kiwi AJ Hackett in 1986 and you can try the famous jump for yourself where it all started at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown. If jumping head first off a bridge isn’t your thing there are many other options…zip lining, river surfing, whitewater rafting, paragliding, heli-skiing and you can even swing from a canyon on a chair or off a slide!
Best for: Adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers
Must see: Trek up Bob’s Peak or travel up the Skyline Gondola to see a panoramic view of the town, lake and mountains. Breathtaking!
Must eat: Fergburger – join the queue as it is well worth it for the biggest, juiciest, lip-smacking burger you’ll ever eat. Also, make sure you don’t leave NZ without trying a pie from a bakery and a Tip Top scoop ice-cream (Jelly Tip or Hokey Pokey are delicious) from one of the many Dairy’s (corner shops)
Where to stay: Take in the mountain and lake views from your Airbnb.
A kaleidoscopic mix of Indian and Portuguese cultures, with lashings of sun, spices and spirituality, there’s nowhere else in India like Goa. You can top up your zen and tan at the same time; sunrise meditation, yoga on the beach and other stress relievers are practised openly and without restriction. Summers in Goa are nothing without its uninterrupted string of beaches. Building a reputation since the sixties, each beach has a character of their own. Anjuna is ideal for backpackers; Arambol is a hippie haven, and Benaulim is peacefully quiet with dolphin sightseeing on offer.
Best for: Infinite excursions
Must see: The sights from up above and we mean one thing – hot air ballooning.
Must eat: Mum’s Kitchen Started by Goan couple Ronny and Suzzete Martins, is the restaurant to taste authentic dishes from Goa.
A tropical nation where smiles are wider, the sand is whiter and the waters of the Indian Ocean are as warm as can be. The Maldives is as heavenly and as pretty as postcards depict and yet once you’re there, its everything you thought it would be and more. The islands in the Maldives feel desolate and yet have many castaway qualities: swaying coconut palms, clear lagoons and empty beaches.
Best for: Being one with the ocean.
Must see: It’s estimated that almost 50% of holidaymakers intended on snorkelling or diving. And once you catch glimpse of those inducing clear waters, you won’t resist giving it a go. Almost everyone can give it a white, even children as young as ten can scuba dive.
Must eat: At the Hurawalhi, an aquarium-style restaurant. Set over five metres below the water’s surface, the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant is a must. The views of the technicolour coral reefs alone are knockout, but pair that with an Angus steak and pina coladas and you have a match made in aquatic heaven.
Where to stay: Just like in the movies, stay at COMO Cocoa Island in your very own lush water villa. It’s the stuff of dreams.