the perfect summer holiday destination is no mean feat.
The ideal location will strike a balance between a relaxing break
and enough activity that you don’t melt into your sun lounger.
Local culture should reign over tourist tat, while it goes without
saying that food and wine must be exceptional. Nightlife should be
an option should the urge dance until sunrise take hold, but we
don’t want a strip full of vomit. Good weather must be a given. It
must also not break the bank entirely. Feeling stumped? These
summer holiday destinations tick all the boxes.
Sun-soaked and blissfully void of package holidays, this
French island south-east of the Côte d’Azur weaves together the
best parts of Italy and France. An incredible food and wine
offering is a testimony to its mixed heritage. Catering to those
seeking a golden glow is five miles of sandy stretch in upmarket
Calvi, while the rugged scenery of Scandola Nature Reserve gives
thrill-seekers the chance to dive off the red rocks and kayak
through sparkling lagoons. Move away from expensive beachfront
restaurants and follow winding country lanes to U
Cantonu, just outside of the cliff-side town of Porto Vecchio.
The rustic farmhouse is heavy on tradition, plating up hearty
portions of Corsican lamb and cheese paired with velvety, local
reds. Savour the tranquillity as you’ll dine largely undisturbed –
bar the soundtrack of grazing cows.
Shaking off its cheap and not-so-cheerful image,
Lanzarote is undergoing a transformation that is seeing a surge
of sustainable, chic lodgings and health-centric nirvanas sprouting
up across the volcanic isle. Wild, lush landscapes and independent
wineries debunk the stereotype previously associated with this
Canary Island. Artist and environmentalist César Manrique is
largely responsible for its change in reputation, restoring its
unique geological beauty with a string of impressive architectural
projects. The ambitious Jameos Del Agua is a subterranean
lair housed in natural caves that is unlike any other cultural
centre on the planet; DJs spin out tunes from rock-hewn booths
while goldfish-bowl skylights offer a peephole into the layer
below. It also features a volcano research centre, three bars and a
swimming pool reserved solely for the King of Spain.
People are quick to disregard the largest island in the Balearics,
complaining of its crowded beaches and over-developed tourist
towns. Sun-and-fun seekers should consider hiring a boat to uncover
a treasure chest of emerald-green waters and hidden beaches. Become
experts in the art of siesta as you float lazily from cove to cove,
before stopping off in the trendy town of
Deià. Established as an artist colony in the early 19th
century, hoards of bougainvillea concealing ochre-coloured
galleries and pilates studios have become a poster child for the
“other Majorca”. Next, head south to Sant Elm where the balance
between curious holidaymakers and animated locals has reached an
enviable harmony. With no fast-food chains or franchises, expect a
lot of traditional Spanish cuisine mixed in with a few modern
offerings. Es Moli serves up just-caught monkfish beside towering
cacti beneath a canopy of fairy lights.
Avoid the glitterati in Costa Smeralda and visit the archipelago
of La Maddalena. Most of the uninhabited islands are only
accessible by boat so use La Maddalena as your launch point to seek
out a sea captain. From there, discover the turquoise lagoons and
undisturbed beaches of Santa Maria. It’s less castaway than some of
the neighbouring islands as it boasts ample bars and restaurants,
plus a smattering of extortionately priced houses nestled into the
pink, granite rockscapes. Home to Italy’s most famous beach, make a
short trip to the blush-coloured sands of Spiaggia Rosa in the isle
of Budelli. Finish your Sardinian sojourn with a stop at the
strikingly attractive beach of Porto Giunco.
Benefitting from more than 300 days of sunshine a year, this
Mediterranean archipelago combines a rich, ancient history with
sandy beaches and warm waters. Senglea, on the southeastern part of
the island, is an ideal base for those seeking a culture-rich
holiday. Also known as “Isla”, it’s the smallest of the three
cities in the Grand Harbour with a population of less than three
thousand. With a backdrop of historic fortresses, Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour
offers discreet luxury in the midst of the ancient land with
bespoke Scandinavian furniture, heavenly Italian beds and surfaces
carved from Carrara marble. Start the day with a rooftop yoga
session, then idly wander the narrow streets before heading to
Gnien il-Gardjola (the look-out garden) for a commanding view of
the modern-day capital
A less obvious choice for summer escapades, The Azores
suit those who want something more than beaches and booze. Sâo
Miguel is the easiest to access of the nine islands and fondly
referred to as the “green island”. Discover the wild landscapes
brimming with unique wildlife, looming volcanoes and pools of
kaleidoscopic lakes. Take a break from the breathtaking scenery and
relax at the design-centric Furnas Boutique hotel, where the
world-class spa with geothermal waters will ease any explorer
ailments. Visit neighbouring Terceira where locals estimate they
spend 10 months a year celebrating various festivities.
Undoubtedly the most fashionable beach holiday for 2018, steer
clear of the OTT yachts and flashy beach clubs in Budhva and choose
instead to travel north to
Herceg Novi, located at the entrance to the
Bay of Kotor and at the foot of the towering Mount Orjen.
Fondly called “the city of the sun” thanks to its abundance of
ray-filled days, it is filled with bohemian, artist workshops and
family-run kitchens serving up fresh octopus salads and carafes of
icy white wine. For a slice of the Adriatic that is overflowing
with beaches but absent of crowds opt to visit Ulcinj.
This seaside, medieval town is as known for its adrenaline-pumping
watersports as it is its craggy coastline.