Most of the Costas can get pretty hectic, but head to Costa de la Luz and you’ll find the opposite – sleepy Andalusian villages, cobbled streets and quiet stretches of golden sand. Better yet, it’s just a 30-minute drive from the Algarve. Up the tempo with a trip to Faro, Portugal’s capital, and get a taste of true, Portuguese culture in its authentic old town. If you’re hungry for more, fill up with tapas in its stunning marina, then nip back to the Costa de la Luz for some after-dinner sangria. TUI FAMILY LIFE's Islantilla is right by the border, and offers up the perfect base to explore the two. It’s recently been refurbished, too, so it’s pretty swanky, and is so close to Portugal that you’ll actually fly into Faro airport – meaning you can tick off two countries simply by catching your transfer. Voila!
Parga’s a bit of a triple-whammy when it comes to seeing more countries. It’s tucked into Greece’s north-western Preveza region, hidden between mountains and a sweeping bay. Not only are Kefalonia, Ithaca and Skorpios a quick ferry ride away, but under-the-radar Albania’s in day-tripping distance, too. Dip into its beautiful coastline, or head to the ancient city of Butrint to fill up your Instagram feed with poses beside its dramatic Greco-Roman theatre. If you want the drama to continue, strap into a 4x4 and head on an excursion to Berat’s hilltop villages. There’ll be a chance to cook up a feast with the locals, and we recommend rustling up Tavë Kosi – an authentic Albanian dish of baked lamb and yoghurt. Yum.
If you’ve always wanted to see Venice, but can’t bear the thought of going a year without some time on the beach, look no further than our Twin Centre holidays to Venice and Lido di Jesolo. These start off with two nights in Venice, which is plenty of time to nose around its compact and car-free streets – stopping off for scoops of gelato and ice-cold Aperol Spritz as you go. Of course, you can always let a gondolier map find a route for you on the water. Or book onto an excursion to be led by an expert guide. After Venice, you’ll spend five nights at a hotel in the seaside resort of Lido di Jesolo. With 15 kilometres’ worth of sand, plus a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, this place is designed for recharging your batteries.
With rainforest straight out of a wildlife documentary, smouldering volcanoes and some of the world’s best beaches, Costa Rica is the place for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. What you might not realise, though, is that it’s really easy to tick off another Central American country while you’re there. Neighbouring Nicaragua lays claim to the historic, pastel-painted town of Granada, and the Masaya National Park, which is packed with smoke-wielding volcanic craters and lunar-like landscapes. You can see both of these sights on our Discover Nicaragua excursion. Or, if you’ve got a bit longer to spare, the Nicaragua Overnight trip throws in a boat tour around the jungle-flanked islands sprinkled over the Lago de Nicaragua. This body of water’s so large, it will have you believe you’re by the sea. Make sure your packing skills are up to scratch with our guide on what to take to Costa Rica.
A Multi-Centre holiday to Havana and Varadero lets you get to grips with the time-warped Cuban capital, before enjoying a stint on the beach – they are what the Caribbean does best, after all. Stop by Havana and stroll around its old-world castles and plazas, hitch a ride along the seafront Malecón Boulevard in a candy-coloured Cadillac, and sip mojitos in a backstreet salsa bar. Then, whizz on over to Varadero, where you’ll have 11 days to work on your tan, rub your toes in the sugary sand, and snorkel in aquarium-clear waters.
Because Croatia and Slovenia are next door neighbours, it’s really easy to nip over the border from one to the other. Slovenian excursions are up for grabs on Thomson holidays to Croatia’s Rovinj, Pula and Porec. And when you consider Slovenia has sights like Lake Bled up its sleeve, it’s well worth the trip. This glassy lagoon looks straight out of the Sound of Music, backed by snow-sprinkled mountains and pine-cloaked hills. Set off on our Lake Bled excursion, and you’ll pay a visit to Bled Castle, which perches on a rocky peak that watches over the water. You’ll also board a boat for a cruise to the tiny island church which dots the lake’s centre.
Golden beaches. Restaurant-packed harbours. 320 days of sunshine a year. There’s nothing not to love about Spain’s Costa del Sol. You can add a touch of spice to your holiday here with a visit to Morocco. It’s only a quick ferry ride away, across the Strait of Gibraltar – so close, in fact, that you can even see it from the Spanish mainland on a clear day. Our Moroccan Delights daytrip whisks you off to Tetouan, where you can wander through the narrow alleyways, check out the Royal Palace, and shop for Argan oil at a souk. You’ll also sit down for a Moroccan lunch, with some traditional entertainment thrown in, before heading back to Spain.
As the party capital of the world, Ibiza draws in the crowds with its super-clubs, big name DJs and dance festivals. Anchored just a 30-minute boat ride away, the go-slow island of Formentera is the yin to Ibiza’s yang. Make tracks there and you’ll be greeted with footprint-free sands and chilled-out beach bars – perfect for winding down after a heavy night on the tiles.
Port and petiscos or cava and tapas? Our daytrips from Portugal to Spain mean you can have both in one holiday. The Seville – The Golden City of Culture daytrip ticks off the Gold Tower, the Real Alcazar Palace and the lagoon-ringed Plaza de Espana. You’ll then have some free time to grab some lunch and do a bit more exploring under your own steam, before returning to Portugal.
The islands of Sardinia and Corsica sit within throwing distance of each other – with the pristine La Maddalena Islands strung out like stepping-stones between the two. But because the former is Italian and the latter is French, they each offer up very different experiences. On a daytrip to Corsica from Alghero in Sardinia, you can pace around the postcard-worthy town of Bonifacio, which delivers a fjord-like harbour and a Medieval fortress that teeters over the edge of a cliff. Back in Alghero, you’ll notice how there’s a Spanish twist on the place. The old quarter is like a mini version of Barcelona – tapas bars are easy to come by and the locals speak the Spanish dialect of Catalan.
With a top-class dining scene and eye-catching interiors, the JW Marriott Bangkok is perfect for a luxury city break.
There’s something for everyone at the TUI BLUE Baia di Conte in Alghero, Sardinia – it has a top pool scene and a great activities line-up.
The Paradisus Princesa del Mar in Varadero, Cuba occupies a prime spot on the beach. It also flaunts three huge pools and a medley of places to eat and drink.
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