Fly direct to some Caribbean cool from Manchester, Newcastle or Leeds Bradford, and swap your mulled wine for an ice-cold rum punch in Barbados. The island’s west side is nicknamed the Platinum Coast, and boasts the award-winning, virgin sands of Crane Beach – a clear go-to for sunbathers – as well as popular resorts like St James. But Barbados’ rich tapestry is made up of more than just its 92-kilometre-long coastline. You’ll still find evidence of British rule in the country’s UNESCO-listed capital, Bridgetown. This quirky city blends parliament buildings with premium shopping malls whose stores are duty-free, so head here for the likes of Tag Heuer and Tiffany & Co. Throw reggae bars, colonial plantations and sweet and sour cuisine into the mix, and you’ve got a holiday to remember.
Orlando’s a bit like a cartoon character – it’s a destination popping with colour and energy. This summer, fly from Doncaster Sheffield, Humberside, Leeds Bradford or Newcastle, and go from zero to top speed in Orlando’s theme parks. When it comes to rollercoasters, this Floridian city’s motto has to be ‘go big or go home’. Over 50,000 acres of the region is covered in amusement parks, with the giants of Disney and Universal stealing the limelight - you can read our article on Disney’s newest attraction here.
If high-speed thrills aren’t your thing, you can jam-pack your holiday with golf tournaments, shopping sprees and sunbathing instead. Cocoa Beach, just an hour’s drive from Orlando, is a hub for surfers. Plus, there’s a huge offering of steakhouses and seafood restaurants all along the coast for when you’ve worked up an appetite.
Fly from Manchester this winter, and have a spice-scented adventure in west India. Thanks to its Portuguese roots, there’s a distinct European vibe in some parts of the country, making Goa a great introduction to the exotic. The north and south definitely aren’t two sides of the same coin – in fact each region couldn’t be more different. North Goa’s vibrant markets, full-moon parties and ancient temples are a mecca for culture-vultures, while South Goa turns the tempo right down. This southern half of the region is pin-drop peaceful. Lazy days on the beach are interrupted only by the calls of local fruit-sellers and the sound of soft music playing from beach bars. If you’re staying for a while, it’s well worth making the trip to Agra to visit the magnificent Taj Mahal – this 17th-century tomb is as about as iconic as you can get. And, on the trip, you’ll also stop in at the impressive Agra Fort, and the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri.
Want to discover more of India, but need some guidance? Read our article Goa vs Kerala – where should I go?.
Cyprus is an ideal choice for year-round sunshine. And you can fly to the Paphos Region, on the west coast, from Newcastle, Doncaster Sheffield and Manchester. The region's coastline is sprinkled with over 12 Blue Flag beaches, set against the rugged backdrop of limestone cliffs, and there’s enough going on here for fun-filled family holidays as well as relaxing breaks for two. The household-name hotspots of Limassol and Paphos deal big in karaoke bars, marina-front restaurants and standout shopping. But sneak off to the lesser-known village of Latchi and you’ll get a refreshing dose of traditional Cyprus, away from the tourist gift wrap. The sand and pebble beaches in these parts are pleasantly crowd-free, and you can snap great views on the winding walking trails of the nearby Akamas National Park.
2017 is the year to visit Paphos - find out why here.
These islands, just off Spain’s east coast, blend traditional Mediterranean charm with their own twists. Fly to clubbing king Ibiza from Liverpool and stay up late in superclubs like Pacha and Ushuaia. Ibiza’s gorgeous old town is a pretty sight for even the sorest of eyes (and heads) so it’s a good choice for a day trip after a big night out. Family favourite Majorca has its fair share of sightseeing opportunities, too. Whether it’s catholic cathedrals in Palma, or the sand dunes and walking trails of S’Albufera Nature Reserve, you can easily fill up your days away from the beach. Or, fly from Doncaster Sheffield to Menorca. This sleepier sister island is more about picnics in the countryside and tucked away beaches. And, in the cities of Mahon and Ciutadella, elegant wine bars and high-end boutique stores set the tone.
Click here to find out which Balearic Island is for you.
Budget-friendly breaks from the north begin with Bulgaria. And we fly to this eastern European gem from Doncaster Sheffield, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle, so it’s easy to get away. No-limits Sunny Beach, in the Bourgas Region, sets the bar high. It’s a fun bubble of restaurants, bars and energetic nightclubs, wrapped up with an eight kilometre-long stretch of Blue Flag beaches. Our newest destination, Varna, is a real mixing bowl of ingredients. The landscape of forests, lakes and thermal springs is just ripe for exploring. History’s well-preserved here, too. Take the 13th-century Aladzha monastery, for example - its walls were carved direct into the limestone cliff face, helping it stand the test of time.
Take your pick from three pools and three restaurants at the lti Dolce Vita Sunshine Resort
The Waves Barbados boasts a beach postcode, contemporary interiors and a peaceful spa area - all the ingredients of a relaxing retreat.
Candle-lit dinners by the sea and massages for two are on the cards when you stay at this adults-only hotel, operated by Constantinou Bros.
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