Where to go this summer


Eloise Barker for British Airways

Title photography by Preto_perola

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June 2018

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 this year’s 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.

Mallorca

Thanks to increased capacity on several short-haul routes, it’s now even easier to fly to the Med with British Airways. Mallorca has something for everyone. There are hill towns under limestone precipices, plates of pinchos – and Magaluf’s sticky clubbing scene. Historic Palma sizzles with the heat in summer, but there are enough museums and sights to offer shady respite – and unexpectedly great art. The whole island is navigable by car. Set off in search of the hidden towns of Deira or monastic Valldemossa.

Where to stay

Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa is a five-star hotel with a unique clifftop setting. It’s 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

There’s one big reason why you should stay in Corfu this summer, and that’s the newly-opened Ikos Dassia resort

Tenerife

Tenerife is no longer associated with tired retirees. The island is set to be a hot destination in 2018. 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, sunny – but, thanks to an Atlantic breeze, never sweltering. 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 railway to reach the beach. It’s golden slice of hidden heaven under the cliff.

Book the Ritz-Carlton Abama

  • Check out the attractive streets 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.£127 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.£230 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.£507 pp

    Book Mykonos holidays

Corfu

Greece cries out like a siren to island hoppers and lovers of All Inclusive luxury. Come 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

There’s one big reason why you should stay in Corfu this summer, and that’s the newly-opened Ikos Dassia. Ikos resorts have recently swept the board for awards and are ranked among the best All Inclusives in the world. With its ‘Infinite Lifestyle’ concept (next-level All Inclusive service) Ikos Dassia proves no different. Plus, there are extensive and expert childcare facilities.

Book a stay at Ikos Dassia

Thessaloniki

British Airways flies direct from London 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 archaeological treasure around to be contained in museums. Instead, you’ll find it on the streets: the ancient Roman agora, a Byzantine city wall and one of the first ever Christian buildings.

Where to stay

Sani Club is perfect for families. A series of white, elegant bungalows give your clan space, privacy and peace – and you can stay on half-board. Children are well cared for in the kids’ clubs. Adults might want to try something different – how about a beekeeping course?

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 ocean 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 Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is a tumble of whitewashed Cycladic buildings on the cliffs next to Oia. The suites all come with jacuzzis and sea views. You can book yourself in to be painted with a blue seaweed body mask – or just curl up in a peacock chair with a good book.

Book a stay at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa

  • 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 grows ever popular. This inexpensive and beautiful country is stealing sunbathers from Spain as more and more tourists seek its Atlantic shores. Faro airport has recently expanded, allowing more visitors to 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 – there are 43 in the area.

Where to stay

Blue & Green The Lake SPA Resort has a swimming pool complete with real sand, so you don’t need to head out to a public beach. This five-star hotel is set on a pretty lake and is just a short drive to some of the area’s great golf courses.

Book a stay at Blue & Green The Lake SPA Resort

Lisbon

If you’re seeking a city break in Portugal, you can always visit the capital: rattle along in an egg-yolk yellow tram along the cobbled streets of Lisbon, 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 short train to visit the string of beaches nearby.

Where to stay

With its fancy façade, PortoBay Liberdade slots nicely into Lisbon’s swankiest street. This five-star hotel has just under 100 rooms, and one lovely indoor swimming pool. After a day on the baking pavements of the city, there’s no better way to cool off than by executing a few lazy lengths.

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

Belmond Reid's Palace styles itself as a ‘Little Britain’. It’s furnished like a fancy British country house and Winston Churchill even stayed here to write his memoirs. The swimming pool has 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.£488 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.£166 pp

    Book a Dubrovnik holiday
  • Overlooking the Jamaa al-Fna square 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.£220 pp

    Book a Marrakech holiday

Turkey

Turkey is expecting record numbers of visitors in 2018. This inexpensive Med destination comes with the added attractions of Hammans 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

A five-star resort where the staff are friendly rather than frosty. Hillside Beach Club has three beaches. The first is phone-free and adults-only, the perfect place to perfect your sun salutations at daily morning yoga. The second is kid-friendly, with a pop-up evening cinema. You’ll need to step aboard a charming wooden boat to visit the third. Outdoor restaurants and swimming platforms are in reach just a stroll along a pine-scented boardwalk from your room.

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 historical – you can wander through a necropolis or visit miraculously-preserved mosaics in the house of Dionysus. Alternatively, you can skip double history and just enjoy the pillow-soft sand at Coral Bay.

Where to stay

Surround yourself in a tropical garden at the Annabelle Hotel. The first five-star hotel to open at Paphos, Annabelle has been newly renovated for 2018. You can explore the hotel’s new rooftop indoor pool and wellness centre.

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. But you better visit quick: 2018 will see record numbers of sun-seekers. The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel in the country’s crown. It’s 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, and airy interiors, thanks to a design that seems to have more windows than walls. Step into a motorboat and take the thirty-minute sea voyage to Dubrovnik. 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 eye never rests – 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, henna-wreathed hands... When it all gets too much, 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, from which even YSL’s shady walkways cannot offer full protection.

Where to stay

You’d be forgiven for seeking some peace after the market melee. Four Seasons Resort Marrakech offers just that, and it’s only a 25-minute walk away from the medina. The five-star hotel’s massive spa helps you on the way to Hamman heaven, and there are divine views of the Atlas Mountains from Zest, the rooftop bar.

Book a stay at Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

Further afield

Inspiring long-haul destinations for your 2018 summer holidays. Explore the world during your break: discover far-flung cities and Caribbean idylls.

Jamaica

It will take more than a hurricane to stop the Caribbean holding a special place in our hearts. Many resorts are back open for 2018, and just as lovely as before. Lively Jamaica has an infectious spirit, the coffee is delicious, and the All Inclusive resorts are plentiful. Though there are enormous resorts in Ochos Rios, it will take more than hotels can’t quell the area’s natural beauty spots. They include blindingly white beaches, an impressive waterfall, and a magical swimming spot: the Irie Blue Hole.

Where to stay

Set in Ochos Rios, Moon Palace Jamaica is an All Inclusive resort set on the largest private beach in the area. The hotel has a generous ‘resort credit’ programme, which gives you good discounts off spa services and excursions.

Book a stay at Moon Palace Jamaica

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic makes for an inexpensive, but experience-rich holiday. You can tell that the nation is a former Spanish colony from the gorgeous colonial architecture in its capital. But it owes its national music to its African roots: learn to dance the tantalising Merengue for yourself in Punta Cana, the resort-laded eastern tip of the country. The jungle interior hides some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean.

Where to stay

Comprised of a series of stunning suites, Excellence El Carmen is a five-star adults-only property north of Punta Cana. Their restaurants span global cuisines – try the Lobster House or dress up for a fancy French dinner at Chez Isabelle.

Book a stay at Excellence El Carmen

Cancun

Dip your toes into Mexico with a trip to Cancun. This resort city is well used to holidaymakers – the Hotel Zone has kilometres and kilometres 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 and order a drink straight to your sun lounger 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?£986 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 world’s greatest city. 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 rounds off your perfect day in the city – or you could try and get Hamilton tickets.

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 – and then you can have a drink or two at the nearby ‘restaurant row’ – a parade of nearly forty places to eat 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 forty degree heat. You can trip between cool casinos and shaded pool umbrellas without fear of incineration. Need another reason to go? The Backstreet Boys are performing throughout the summer at Planet Hollywood. They’re back, all right.

Where to stay

Find the party at the MGM Grand – it’s only the largest hotel in the USA. The combination of casino, world-famous nightclub and theatre means you’ll be endlessly entertained, and you can find better rates than at other Las Vegas hotels on The Strip.

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 in July. 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 vision on the outer frond of Dubai’s The Palm, this huge hotel has something for everyone. Amongst the endless activities, it has its own adjacent theme park, and its own enormous aquarium.

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: it’s 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

Set on Mahé, the main island, Constance Ephelia is the largest resort in the Seychelles – so you’ll be entertained by plenty of activities. There’s even a zip line.

Book a stay at Constance Ephelia

Mauritius

You’ll find great summer rates and family-friendly luxury in delicious Mauritius. This multicultural island has enough different distractions to be fantastic for families – go 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 – thank goodness for the island’s Indian influence.

Where to stay

A beautiful All Inclusive five star, Maritim Resort & Spa is full to bursting with fun activities. You can visit the resident giant tortoises, strike out to the nine-hole golf course and even take the horses for a dip in the ocean.

Book a stay at Maritim Resort & Spa