Summer 2018 is fast approaching and it’ll soon be time for us to jet-off to warmer climes across the globe for a week or two of sun-soaked relaxation. For some, the Caribbean is a major draw for its white-sandy beaches and crystal-clear coves whilst Bali appeals for its exotic culture. For those still seeking a sun-kissed destination for 2018, Europe has a plethora of stunning locations to explore. Wander through the picturesque vineyards of Tuscany, kick back and relax on the Costa del Sol and discover the rich cultural heritage of Mediterranean Malta.
Picture rolling green fields and vineyards as far as the eye can see contrasting against a deep orange sunset and you have Tuscany. Birthplace to the Italian Renaissance, this region is also famed for Chianti wine, rich, home-cooked cuisine and its intriguing Medieval cities. From the romantic city of Florence to the charms of Pisa and Siena, Tuscany is a wonderful holiday destination.
Head into Florence and discover the hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo, a magnificent open air gallery of the famous artist’s finest works and be sure to visit the Duomo, the oldest site in the city. Pisa, famed for its ”leaning tower” at the Piazza dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) boasts a great collection of Gothic Cathedrals and frescoes. Venture into Siena to witness the unique Palio di Siena horse race through the city and wander through the terracotta streets in search of local fare.
Costa del Sol, Spain
A firm favourite amongst European holidaymakers, Spain’s Costa del Sol welcomes millions of visitors each year to its sun-kissed south coast. Sweeping for over 150km, this region is famed for its soft sandy beaches, white-washed towns and flavoursome cuisine.
Take a stroll through the traditional cobbled streets of Estepona , admire the luxury yachts of Puerto Banus in Marbella or seek the thrills of Funegirola’s water-sports. Head in-land to appreciate the wonderful Puente Nuevo at Ronda and catch the cable car at Benalmadena to reach the Mount Calamorro summit for unmissable coastal views and a great sunset.
Ionian Islands, Greece
The Greek Islands are synonymous with beauty and picture-postcard beaches and it’s hardly surprising when there are 16,000km of coastline across 6,000 islands! On Greece’s west coast the Ionian Islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos create a haven for sun-seekers in search of gorgeous beaches and turquoise sea mixed with a little adventure.
Firstly, the stunning island of Kefalonia is home to a collection of 39 beaches lapped by the warm Ionian Sea, including the award-winning Myrtos Beach. This wonderful island was also once the filmset to the famous film ”Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, featuring Nicholas Cage. To the south of Kefalonia is Zakynthos, where visitors can set sail on a day trip to Smuggler’s Cove on Navagio Beach. This hidden inlet is the final resting place to a shipwreck which is surrounded by towering white cliffs and a crystal-clear shore.
Portugal’s Algarve is home to some of Europe’s best beaches, including 88 Blue Flag winners, perfect for topping up your tan as well as practising your swing on top Championship golf-courses. From the western point of Sagres to the far eastern edges of Vila Real de Santo António the south coast of Portugal has something to offer all holidaymakers.
Kick back and relax on 10km of sweeping sands of Falésia Beach or head into Vilamouara to wander around the elegant marina stopping for lunch after a round at the excellent local golf-courses. Families are sure to love the calm and relaxing town of Praia a Luz or may opt for the exciting nightlife and plentiful restaurants of Praia da Rocha and Albufeira. For those seeking a little more history and culture head toward Faro and Lagos whilst the former fishing village of Portimao has plenty to offer holidaymakers too.
The tiny island of Malta was once a strategic outpost for vast navies, although its location in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea has taken on a rather different occupation in recent years. Holidaymakers come here in search of the rich history and culture of previous invaders combined with a stunning coastline and exquisite cuisine that make for a fantastic summer destination.
Discover Malta’s heritage by visiting the Qawra Tower, dating back to 1637 and originally built by the ”Knights of Malta” before exploring the capital city of Valletta and its two harbours. This fascinating 16th Century city is brimming with spectacular architecture including the St John Cathedral. Step further back in time, to the Hagar Qim Temple, dating to around 3,600 B.C. or the ancient city of Mdina from over 7,000 years ago. Head north for the beaches, such as Blue Flag winners Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay home to ”Popeye Village”, or hop over to Comino for a day at Ramla l-Hamra beach.
Callum Davies is Marketing Manager at eXpectations Holidays. eXpectations Holidays is a Private Members Club specifically designed for families and couples who like to take one or more quality holidays each year.
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