Once the last of the snow has melted and summer comes around, the Alps spring back to life, with hillsides carpeted with flowers and sunshine glistening off lakes. Stay in a cosy Alpine village and choose from a menu of thrilling activities, from mountain biking and rock climbing to glacier skiing and white-water rafting.
Many Brits are sniffy about Corfu but never those that have visited the island’s northeast corner. Far removed from mass high-rise tourism, it is a place of tiny unspoilt coves, lush green interiors immortalised by Gerald Durrell, white pebble beaches, friendly tavernas and a choice of villas among the best in the Med.
You won’t be disappointed if all you want to do is fly and flop on beautiful beaches. But Thailand is a place to discover as well as loaf, inspecting temples, visiting traditional hill tribes, exploring such enthralling cities as Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, joining a cookery class and, of course, irresistible shopping.
A Caribbean villa holiday has little to do with self-catering. Even the smallest properties have a daily maid who may also do your cooking, while larger houses come with a full brigade of staff to shop, cook, launder and even fix your favourite cocktail. It makes the holiday surprisingly affordable, especially if you avoid the peak season.
It’s known as the three-star island with the five-star hotels, but that’s not saying enough for the white sandy beaches or the forested highlands in the southwest. And maybe it’s not saying enough for the hotels either, many of which are six-star retreats staffed by some of the nicest people on the planet.
America is amazing but don’t bite off more than you can chew. The six states of New England make up a perfect bite-sized chunk. Packed with history, tradition, pretty villages, fine hotels, great food and natural beauty, they are ideal for self-drive or escorted tours at any time of year.
Are you ready for a personal challenge, perhaps a career break? Join an overland truck tour of Africa, Asia or South America and you’ll experience a true adventure, visiting remarkable places and bonding with your fellow passengers. Everyone passionate about travel should try this at least once.
As well as tropical beaches and top hotels, your memories will be shaped as much by the Balinese countryside. You’ll see emerald rice paddies one minute, immense volcanoes the next. Bali is a spiritual place where daily life embraces ceremony and ritual, temples and stone gods. And Balinese craftsmen are amazing, so take an extra suitcase.
Some destinations punch well above their weight. Montenegro is a perfect example, a tiny country with not only 180 miles of Adriatic coast but also a striking interior of mountains, lakes and rivers. There’s plenty for the outdoorsy types, including hiking and mountain biking, plus historic gems from walled towns to Roman villas.
Burma is one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful destinations, its people gentle, warm and genuinely friendly. Although Burma is ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, the release from house arrest of the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi makes us believe that now is the right time for tourists to discover this hidden gem.
Abu Dhabi has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting new tourist destinations. Much more than a place for winter sun, it boasts world-class hotels, thrilling attractions on Yas Island, great beaches, designer shopping malls and desert experiences including dune safaris and sand boarding.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 it brought tragedy to the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The volcano also served to freeze in time a fascinating period of Roman history. Visit the scene in the company of an expert archaeologist to discover the most complete insight into everyday life in Ancient Rome.
With its rugged moors and soft voluptuous dales, Yorkshire serves up helpings of English countryside at its most iconic. Add pretty stone hamlets and historic market towns, castles and walking trails, fishing villages and cosy pubs into the pot and you have a county that delivers a multi-course menu of holiday pleasures.
The dramatic scenery of the Amalfi coast, with its lemon groves, almond trees and bougainvillea, is stunning. You’ll find resorts for all tastes, from popular Sorrento – an ideal hub for boat trips to Capri and Ischia, and outings to Pompeii and Vesuvius – to super-chic Positano and the exquisite hilltop retreat of Ravello.
It’s easy to find glitzy ski resorts where lunch on the slopes costs as much as your weekly grocery bill. More challenging is to find charming Alpine resorts that combine reasonably-priced self-catering accommodation, sensible prices, accessibility and – of course – great skiing.
Most visitors to Malaysia head for the resorts on the west coast but for unspoilt beaches, lush countryside and fascinating local culture we recommend a visit to the quieter east coast of the peninsular. You’ll find jungle treks, authentic fishing villages, rivers and islands to explore and some gorgeous hotels.
With the new political entente cordiale between the west and Iran, now is the time to travel to this culturally-rich and friendly country, either independently or on an escorted tour. With 700 years of history, attractions include jewels of Islamic architecture, old bazaars and stunning landscapes.
The ski chalet is a wonderful British invention. With breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea provided, you get to enjoy your day on the slopes – and pay a lot less than you would staying at a hotel and eating out. Making new friends and dining together is a key part of the chalet experience.
Affordable family holidays need not mean having to sleep under canvas in a field bare of everything but grass. Many continental sites and ‘parcs’ not only provide a choice of mobile homes, lodges and apartments but have a broad range of on-site activities to keep all ages fully occupied and entertained throughout their stay.
Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot. With 500 miles of beaches, the magnificent baroque city of Lecce and distinctive whitewashed trullo houses, it is one of Europe’s most appealing holiday regions. The food and wine are terrific and nowhere is more than 15 miles from the coast.
Renowned for its profusion of wildlife and flora, 80 per cent of which can be found nowhere else on Earth, Madagascar is a nature lover’s dream. The island’s unique evolutionary path has produced elephant birds, giant lemurs and pygmy hippos. It also offers dazzling beaches and clear turquoise waters teeming with marine life.
Grand Cayman is sophisticated, polished and safe – in every sense of the word – with classy hotels, top restaurants and dreamy Seven Mile Beach. There’s also plenty to explore with pristine reefs, stingray encounters, submarine trips, botanical parks and island-hopping excursions to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman. Perfect with or without the kids.