Where to go this summer


Eloise Barker for British Airways

Title photography by Preto_perola

Skip to Navigation

Being on holiday is easy. But deciding where to go – that’s tricky. Don’t resort to a blindfold, wall map, and a handful of darts. We’ve rounded up the best destinations for your summer holidays. Whether you’re sticking to short haul or are willing to cross an ocean or two, make your next summer trip your best yet.

Close to home

Pick from our list of great short-haul trips for summer. Find the perfect city break or beach holiday.

Majorca

Majorca has something for everyone. There are hill towns under limestone precipices, plates of pinchos – and Magaluf’s sticky clubbing scene. Historic Palma sizzles in summer heat but there are enough gorgeous churches and museums to offer shady respite. Hire a car and set off in search of charming Deia or quaint Valldemossa.

Where to stay

Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa is a five-star hotel in a unique clifftop setting. Its show-stopping infinity pool looks west across the Mediterranean, so you can soak up an uninterrupted sunset view.

Book a stay at Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa

Greece cries out like a siren to island hoppers and lovers of all-inclusive luxury.

Tenerife

Tenerife is no longer associated with tired retirees. Cyclists have got wind of the fantastic high-altitude training in Mount Teide national park. The hotels are becoming fancier and fancier and the beaches continue to be warm and sunny, blessed by the fresh Atlantic breeze. Enjoy all things Canarian once you’re there: try the spicy cuisine and rarely exported wine. Plus, this isolated island’s dark night sky is perfect for amateur astronomers.

Where to stay

On one side of the Ritz-Carlton Abama is a clifftop view of the ocean. On the other sits a stunning championship golf course. Clamber into the hotel’s private funicular to reach the beach – a golden slice of heaven hidden beneath the cliff.

Book the Ritz-Carlton Abama

  • Check out the attractive streets of Burgau, a small village in the Algarve. ©Benoit BACOU.

    Town squares and square meals

    The towns in the Algarve are great places to try out Portuguese cuisine – or even to practise your Portuguese.£279 pp

    Book an Algarve holiday
  • Views over the Ionian from Cape Arilla near Afionas, Corfu. ©Westend61.

    Rugged charm

    Corfu's rambling green hills have people returning year after year. Its wildlife inspired British naturalist Gerald Durrell to write My Family and Other Animals in 1956.£318 pp

    Holidays in Corfu
  • Enjoy a lobster dinner by the coast in Mykonos. ©Tetra Images.

    A cracking time

    It's not all about the party in Mykonos. There are some beautiful seafood restaurants, too. Watch the sun go down on one of the freshest dinners of your life.£415 pp

    Book Mykonos holidays

Corfu

Greece cries out like a siren to island hoppers and lovers of all-inclusive luxury. Head to Corfu and experience Greece at its greenest. This big, beautiful island is the perfect summer destination (from September, the reason for Corfu’s greenness becomes apparent: intermittent winter rainstorms). Brits will feel right at home – there are cricket matches and a spicy Corfiot version of our beloved ginger beer.

Where to stay

Ikos resorts are considered among the best all-inclusive resorts in the world and Ikos Dassia, with its eight restaurants and abundant amenities, lives up to this reputation. You’ll have access to a 600m long Blue Flag Beach and be within easy reach of Corfu town. Plus, there are extensive and expert childcare facilities.

Book a stay at Ikos Dassia

Thessaloniki

British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow and Gatwick to Thessaloniki. Many visitors go straight on from the city to the coast but Thessaloniki itself is also worth a short stay. Like Athens, there’s plenty of archaeological treasure. Seek out the ancient Roman Agora, the Byzantine city wall and one of the first ever Christian buildings.

Where to stay

Sani Club in nearby Halkidiki is perfect for families. A series of white, elegant bungalows offer space, privacy and peace. Children are well cared for in the kids’ clubs. Adults can unwind at the spa or clink cocktail glasses by candlelight at a beachfront bar. For something different, how about a family course at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy?

Book a stay at Sani Club

Mykonos

Visit Mykonos in high summer at your own risk. You’ll be reeled into the island’s notorious clubbing scene before you can say ‘how much for a beer?’ It’s expensive – just look at all the Instagram models sporting designer trainers – but if you’re looking for an Ibiza alternative, it’s right here.

Where to stay

From the front, it looks like a Greek village – there’s even a quintessential Grecian chapel on site – but the individual apartments of the Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort offer utter luxury. Pool, hotel, umbrellas and sea create a symphony of blue and white, plus you can do Pilates in the resort’s open-air amphitheatre.

Book a stay at the Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort

Santorini

There’s one Greek island that’s a little full of itself: step forward, Santorini. Those pictures you’ve seen of sugar cube houses crowding a sun-struck hillside? They were taken right here, in Santorini’s magical town of Imerovigli. Santorini knows it’s got some of the best scenery in Greece. Like an overconfident Lothario, the Cycladic isle is made for romance – let it seduce you.

Where to stay

Santo Pure Oia Suites & Villas is a tumble of whitewashed Cycladic buildings on the cliffs next to Oia. Your suite will come with a jacuzzi or a private pool. When you’re not lounging in your luxe suite or exploring local beaches and wineries, you can make the most of the exquisite spa – book the Greek Heritage treatment to feel the benefits of an ancient Greek massage technique.

Book a stay at Santo Pure Oia Suites & Villas

  • The dramatic landscape of Cactus Valley in Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife. ©Evgeni Dinev Photography.

    Mountainous majesty

    Tenerife's rugged, rocky landscape is a walker's delight. Explore Anaga Rural Park, with its cave houses and laurel forest. Just steer clear of that cactus patch.

    Book Tenerife holidays

Algarve

Portugal boasts sunshine and shimmering shores. Touch down in Faro airport and experience the excellence of the Algarve. This longstanding favourite holiday destination is a famously beautiful section of southern Portugal’s Atlantic coastline. It’s green and fertile, with vineyards cropping up at every corner. Golf courses are plentiful too.

Where to stay

Tivoli Marina Vilamoura sits between fashionable Vilamoura Marina and a sandy beach, so you’ll get the best of both worlds during your stay. Spend the day sunbathing on golden sands before heading out to the marina for a sophisticated evening of fine dining.

Book a stay at Tivoli Marina Vilamoura

Lisbon

If you’re seeking a city break in Portugal, you can always visit the capital: rattle along the cobbled streets of Lisbon in an egg-yolk-yellow tram, stopping off to poke around grand white churches and elegant galleries. Eat late, and eat well, as the city spills onto the cooled-down streets come evening. For a breath of fresh air, just hop on a train to visit the string of beaches nearby.

Where to stay

With its fancy facade, PortoBay Liberdade slots nicely into Lisbon’s swankiest area – the boutique hotel is centrally located near Avenida da Liberdade. After a day on the baking pavements of the city, cool off with a few lazy lengths of the indoor pool or treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa ritual.

Book a stay at PortoBay Liberdade

Madeira

Madeira is a sight for sore eyes. The remote Portuguese island is full of quirks. There are ancient cloud forests, hydrangea-lined footpaths, tropical gardens complete with peacocks, and deep, whale-friendly waters. Perhaps the oddest of its features is the 16th Century high-altitude canal system. The ‘levadas’ are now 2,000km of walkable footpaths. Hikers can follow them into the island’s massive laurel forests.

Where to stay

The suites at Belmond Reid's Palace look like they belong in a fancy British country house. This gorgeous and elegant hotel has seen its fair share of famous guests – Winston Churchill even stayed here while writing his memoirs. The two pools have amazing sea views and there’s a fantastic Michelin star restaurant.

Book a stay at Belmond Reid's Palace

  • The futuristic skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. ©John Harper.

    The way forward

    Sheikh Zayed Road is the longest road in the Emirates, stretching from Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah, and passing through the gleaming skycrapers of Dubai.£529 pp

    Book your Dubai holiday
  • One of the many islands off the coast of Croatia. ©calm_eyes.

    A drop in the ocean

    There are over 1,000 islands off Croatia's coast. You can visit a handful by boat from Dubrovnik.£220 pp

    Book a Dubrovnik holiday
  • Overlooking the Djemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech. ©Buena Vista Images.

    Sunset snaps

    The main square of Marrakech sizzles as the sun goes down. Steam from the clusters of food stalls suffuses everything in an atmospheric haze. Your camera will love it.£279 pp

    Book a Marrakech holiday

Turkey

Tourism to Turkey is on the up. This inexpensive Med destination comes with the added attractions of hammams and mezze. Plus, the average temperatures hover between 26 and 29 degrees in summer – perfect holiday weather. On the so-called Turkish Riviera you can visit Dalaman and its surrounding turquoise coastline. Dalaman itself is only a small town, but you’ll find yourself dreaming big as you take in the vast sweep of beach at Olu Deniz, where the water is said to be cleaner than the contents of your pipes back home.

Where to stay

Hillside Beach Club has three beaches. One is family friendly, with umbrellas and sunbeds waiting for sunseekers to set up shop for the day. The other two, Silent Beach and Serenity Beach, are for adults only. At Silent Beach you’re encouraged to switch off electronics and tune into nature. Serenity Beach is further away – you can walk through the pine forest or take a complimentary boat to get there – and has its own bar serving light lunches and cocktails.

Hillside Beach Club

Cyprus

It’s soporifically hot in Cyprus in August – this baking eastern Med island gets a solid 300 days of sun a year. Paphos is the main resort town, but still manages to remain both magical and historic – you can wander through a necropolis or visit miraculously preserved mosaics in the house of Dionysus. Alternatively, you can dedicate your days to relaxation and just enjoy the pillow-soft sand at Coral Bay.

Where to stay

Surround yourself with tropical gardens at Annabelle Hotel. Families will love the spacious and interconnecting accommodation options as well as the kids’ clubs. Meanwhile, adults will love the rooftop floor which features an indoor pool with bay views, a restaurant and a spa.

Book a stay at Annabelle Hotel

Croatia

They call it the Adriatic Riviera, but Croatia’s coast has got something the original French Riviera hasn’t – a sense of the undiscovered. The Dalmatian Coast is still somewhat off the beaten track. Its villages and towns aren’t overflowing with souvenir shops – you’re more likely to find traditional kitchen cooking and quiet harbours. The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel in the country’s crown. Its spectacularly steep fortifications have standout views down to the sea. It’s no wonder that HBO filmed Games of Thrones here.

Where to stay

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik has beautiful views over the romantic Elafiti Islands. It also has three freshwater pools and a natural pebble beach. When you want to venture beyond the property, step on a shuttle boat to Dubrovnik Old Town or a nearby island. Return for a restorative treatment at the award-winning spa.

Book a stay at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik

Marrakech

Marrakech is the kind of city where your eyes never rest – there’s always some new subject to look upon. Bushels of mint, tumbling pyramids of oranges, perfect cones of spices rising from souk stalls, exquisite geometric tiles... there's a lot of beauty to take in. When you want to take a step back from the hustle and bustle, find peace in the beautiful Majorelle Gardens – once owned by Yves Saint Laurent. Go early in the summer or in September to avoid the fiercest heat.

Where to stay

You’d be forgiven for seeking some peace after the market melee. Four Seasons Resort Marrakech offers just that while being only three miles away from the medina. Amble among Moorish gardens, cool off in a pool and then seek out hammam heaven at the massive spa.

Book a stay at Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

Further afield

Take a long-haul flight somewhere new this summer. Discover far-flung cities and Caribbean idylls.

Jamaica

Lively Jamaica has an infectious spirit. The coffee is delicious and the all-inclusive resorts are plentiful. The enormous resorts in Ochos Rios can’t quell the area’s natural beauty spots. Such spots include blindingly white beaches, an impressive waterfall and a magical swimming spot: the Irie Blue Hole. Head inland to hike in the Blue Mountains and you'll see there's more than coffee beans brewing in the island's attractive interior.

Where to stay

Set in Ochos Rios, Moon Palace Jamaica is an all-inclusive resort with access to a huge private beach. Indulge in gloriously lazy pool and beach days or explore nearby waterfalls and reefs before returning to unwind in Jamaica’s largest spa.

Book a stay at Moon Palace Jamaica

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic makes for an inexpensive, but experience-rich holiday. You can tell the nation is a former Spanish colony from the gorgeous colonial architecture in its capital. The national music owes a lot to the Dominican Republic’s African roots. Learn to dance the tantalising Merengue in Punta Cana, the resort-laden eastern tip of the country. Then explore the abundant natural beauty – the jungle interior hides some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean.

Where to stay

Secrets Royal Beach is a fabulous all-inclusive, adults-only resort on the Dominican Republic’s beautiful east coast. Spend blissful days luxuriating poolside and enjoy romantic dinners on the beachfront. When you want to liven things up, there are plenty of activities and entertainment options to choose from.

Book a stay at Secrets Royal Beach

Cancun

Dip your toes into Mexico with a trip to Cancun. This resort city is well used to holidaymakers – the Hotel Zone has miles and miles of beautiful shoreline, blessed by trade winds and gentle surf. Sample the flavours of this complex country from the Riviera Maya’s sizzling shores. It’s a beach holiday where you can eat as many tacos as you want.

Where to stay

Lie on the beach or cool off at the swim-up bar at Oleo Playa Cancun. This modern, ice-white hotel feels fresh and classy – and you can eat everything from nachos to nori at the restaurants.

Book a stay at Oleo Playa Cancun

  • The coastline of Souillac, Mauritius. ©Adil Mohit / EyeEm.

    Extraordinary island

    Mauritius has 150km of beaches and the world's third largest coral reef. That's quite the coastline. Why not book a two week holiday in paradise?£1074 pp

    Book a holiday

New York

Let’s face it, there’s never a bad time to visit New York. There’s always something amazing to see in The Big Apple. The city is quiet in summer – as anyone who’s anyone retreats to their pad in the Hamptons. This leaves you with near-empty art galleries and attractions. Governor’s Island is lovely in the warm months, and so is Central Park. Head to OddFellows, a New York ice cream chain with all the best flavours. A rooftop cinema and a classic Hollywood flick round off your perfect day in the city.

Where to stay

For the classic New York experience, stay right in the centre of town at Riu Plaza New York Times Square. Floor-to-ceiling windows in every room let you drink up the sparkling skyscraper views. Then you can have a drink or two at nearby ‘restaurant row’ – a parade of restaurants right on your doorstep.

Book a stay at Riu Plaza New York Times Square

Las Vegas

Las Vegas knows how to look after its visitors – even in 40 degree heat. You can go from cool casino to shaded poolside lounger when the heat gets a bit too much. You can even take a trip to a wedding chapel if the mood strikes. Las Vegas is a full-on mecca of entertainment and bright lights. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never be at a loss for something to do in Neon City.

Where to stay

Find the party at MGM Grand. This humungous hotel’s combination of casino, world-famous nightclub and theatre means you’ll be endlessly entertained. When it’s time to unwind, bob up and down the lazy river on a tube or go all out and book a poolside cabana.

Book a stay at MGM Grand

Dubai

Dubai is another destination that’s sweltering in summer – or so you might think. In fact, the city is well prepared for the heat. Pools are shaded, hotel staff pass around cool towels at the perfect moment and the city is quieter in summer than the rest of the year. Flash the cash at Dubai Summer Surprises. At this tempting shopping festival, you’ll find bargains of up to 75% off designer brands in the malls.

Where to stay

Atlantis The Palm is the ultimate hotel. A stunning vision backing onto the Arabian Gulf, this huge hotel has something for everyone – including its own adjacent waterpark. After an activity-packed day, enjoy a delicious meal at a celebrity chef restaurant.

Book a stay at Atlantis The Palm

Seychelles

The exquisite islands of the Indian Ocean cry out for a longer summer break. You’ll want to spend the rest of your days in the Seychelles: the islands are mostly unspoilt, reef-ringed and teeming with birdlife. From May to September, the area experiences a steady breeze – meaning there are great surfing conditions throughout summer, especially on La Digue.

Where to stay

Constance Ephelia is a massive resort, sprawled across two beaches on the main island Mahe. Spend downtime lazing by one of the five pools or being pampered at the village spa surrounded by tropical gardens. Then get active with the likes of ziplining, kayaking and small catamaran sailing.

Book a stay at Constance Ephelia

Mauritius

You’ll find great summer rates and family-friendly luxury in delicious Mauritius. This multicultural island is full of beauty and fun. Visit for temples, rum tastings or to spot lumbering Aldabra tortoises. Get to know the local patois as you order one of the best curries you’ve ever tasted. See crystalline water shimmer under a persistent sun as you dig your feet into sugar-white sand. There’s only one word for it: paradise.

Where to stay

A beautiful all-inclusive resort, Maritim Resort & Spa is full to bursting with fun activities. Tee off at the nine-hole golf course, take to the island’s glorious water on a glass-bottom boat or have a go at windsurfing. Relax to the tune of tropical birds singing at the spa, which is set in the hotel's 25-hectare garden, or plunge into one of the two pools.

Book a stay at Maritim Resort & Spa