Sunshine gods and goddesses will know exactly where to go for the rays at this time of year, but what if you are looking for somewhere a little bit different? Somewhere new to explore. Go where others don’t and take a trip off the beaten track with these spring/summer holiday destinations.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are well known to winter sun seekers. Tenerife and Mallorca are popular holiday destinations all year round, with both islands offering beautiful beaches and a buzzing nightlife. A mere four hour flight from many UK airports, it’s obvious why the tourists flock. But what about the smaller islands?
La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands, and one of the less obvious winter sun destinations. It can be reached by ferry, from Los Cristianos in Tenerife, and is a beautiful island full of natural wildlife, winding roads and hill top mountains. The island is popular for walking, and some of the best trails can be found in El Parque Nacional de Garajonay.
For the perfect beach break, stay at Hotel Jardin Tecina, a beautiful resort in the south of the Island, in Playa Santiago. With five swimming pools and a golf course, you won’t be stuck for things to do. The team at the resort can also organise boat trips for you, or you can enjoy a romantic evening in ‘La Cueva’ – a natural cave, with breath-taking views of the ocean, where you can dine in complete serenity. Finally, in the north, a trip to Mirador de Abrante, in Agulo, is a must – it’s an instagram lovers dream.
La Palma is another hidden gem of the Canaries. The greenest of the Islands, one of the most beautiful aspects of the island is the clear, starry skies – all possible thanks to strict light pollution laws. The island is steeped in history, and there’s nowhere better to get a good dose that than at El Hotel Hacienda de Abajo, on the west coast of the island, in Tazacorte. The village is split into two, with a an old working port, and a busy little pueblo. A winter escape to La Palma is also a little easier than La Gomera, as you can fly direct from the UK.
Just within the four hour flying window lie the Greek Islands. Outrageously beautiful, sandy white beaches, cute tabernas and a lazy attitude towards time await.
Corfu has had a resurgence in popularity this year thanks to TV series The Durrells, so I recommend you head a little further south. Accessible by boat from Corfu, Paxi is a tiny little island with some of the most beautiful beaches around. Complete the remote experience and stay in Torri e Merli Boutique Hotel, located in the sounding hills of Lakka, one of the three villages on the island. With only seven bedrooms, you will completely relaxed and free to soak up your winter rays in complete tranquility. Head into Lakka, and enjoy mezze platters and the chatter from the working harbour. It’s worth remembering that many of the local businesses in the smaller towns and villages may close for the winter season – but don’t let that put you off, simply invest in some good reading material, and make the most of having part of the islands to yourselves.
Finally, it’s over to Morocco. This year, swap Marrakesh for less well-travelled, mediterranean Moroccan coast. From inner city Fez, right out to coast al towns like Tangier, there are sunny holiday spots bursting with Moroccan culture. In Fez, the old town is a myriad of street food stalls, impressive mosques and craft workshops. Tangier has both the bustling city and relaxing beaches winter sun seekers crave. Head to Asilah, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Greece, as this coastal town is lined with white-washed buildings, and many of the menus even feature Greek dishes. I’ve heard that hip riads are the way to bunk when you’re exploring the coast – not only can they be cheaper than many hotels, but they are often super stylish as well.
Tempted? Or perhaps you can’t decide? From remote Greek beaches and traditional Moroccan fishing ports, to starry Canary skies and natural parks, these places all have one thing in common – seek sunshine and you will not be disappointed.