Mainland Spain has been a British holiday favourite since the sixties, and it’s still going strong. Catalonia is the gateway to the famous Costas, where you’ll find loads of Blue Flag beaches, culture-packed cities, waterparks, theme parks and amazing tapas restaurants – basically all you need from a holiday. Pick the Costa Brava as your base, and you’ll have access to the unspoilt Catalan countryside and some stunning sweeps of sand. Or, make a beeline for the Costa Dorada, which has the Aquapolis waterpark and PortAventura theme park nearby to keep the kids happy.
London to Malaga flight time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (approx).
This Balearic beauty is a hop and a skip away from the UK. In the space of just two and a half hours – or three episodes of your favourite Netflix show – you’ll be waving goodbye to the dreary UK and saying hello to the sunny shores of Majorca. If you’re after a big, bustling resort and a famously golden beach, make Magaluf your base. You’ll find a mix of quiet, upmarket hotels and lively hotels to choose from. And, if you’re after more of a culture-packed trip, pick Palma as your resort of choice. The cosmopolitan city blends dramatic cathedrals and old architecture with café-lined streets and the nearby beach of Playa de Palma.
London to Majorca flight time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (approx).
Europe’s boot-shaped country is most-commonly associated with delicious food. But, as well as being the home of pizza and pasta, Italy packs in so many top sights and ancient attractions. There are 51 World Heritage Sites to be exact, spread across the mainland, Sicily and Sardinia, including classics like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum in Rome, and spectacular natural attractions like active volcano Mount Etna in Sicily. Stay in Sorrento and you can combine daytrips to historic Pompeii with tasting traditional pizzas in Naples, and exploring the Amalfi Coast.
London to Naples flight time: 2 hours, 40 minutes (approx).
Spain’s neighbour has the perfect combination of award-winning beaches, historic cities, and 300 days of sunshine a year. And, you can take your pick from large, lively resorts like Albufeira in the Algarve to sleepy villages like Olhos d’Agua. Head to the Algarve and you’ll have dreamy hidden coves, secluded beaches, and a dramatic coastline at your disposal – not to mention some of the best golf courses in the world. Or, if you’re a dedicated sun seeker, pick the Portuguese island of Madeira which enjoys a close-to-the-equator spot between Portugal and the coast of Africa. It’s known as the ‘floating garden’ thanks to its flower-blanketed landscape, and boasts rugged mountains, colourful towns and pristine beaches.
London to Portugal flight time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (approx).
There are two sides to this A-list celebrity favourite. It’s of course known for its nightlife and having some of the biggest and best clubs in the world. So, if you’re after a party holiday, stay in San Antonio or Playa D’en Bossa to be right in the heart of the action. In the north of the island, it’s a different story. You’ll find quiet, cosmopolitan towns like Puerto San Miguel and Portinatx where laid-back beaches, quaint boutiques and local tavernas take centre stage. You can also take daytrips to the beautiful island of Formentera which includes Blue Flag beaches, local markets and rustic beach huts if you fancy a holiday from your holiday.
London to Ibiza flight time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (approx).
With a beachfront setting, stunning views and six pools, the TUI SENSATORI Ibiza is the cream of the crop. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa session, and sip fruity cocktails in the Sunset Lounge.
You get something for everyone at this family-friendly hotel – it has a top pool scene, and a great activities line-up on offer.
A five-minute walk from three miles of golden sands, the RIU Festival Hotel is the perfect compromise for beach lovers who still want to be within a short taxi ride distance of Palma.
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