BEST HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS 2018
If you're wondering where to go on holiday in 2018, we've revealed the top picks to put in your calendar. Whether you fancy an exciting city break, a slow paced beach holiday or far flung adventure somewhere exotic, we've got a list of luxurious destinations that you can experience for less.
This vibrant destination is a rising star for all the right reasons. Croatia boasts an old-meets-new kind of vibe with a mixture of sunny beaches, untouched islands, diving sites and medieval squares lining the Adriatic Sea. This Eastern European gem is a popular choice for those seeking both a beach and city break, with top beach resorts including Makarska Riviera and South Dalmatia, plus the alluring ancient walled-city of Dubrovnik.
You'll never be short of things to do in Croatia, this Mediterranean country has over 1,100 islands fringing its coast, making it perfect for exploring the lesser known resorts and secluded pebble bays on a boat trip. Or if you're more interested in discovering what's underneath the twinkling waters, the Dalmatian Coast makes a fantastic base for first-time divers, where you'll find the Leomar Diving Centre in Solta. Hvar is one of a few idyllic islands hugging the Dalmatian Coast, known for its gothic squares, glitzy nightlife and architectural town.
Gorgeous white sprawling beaches, wonderful scuba diving sites and evergreen golf courses define the Caribbean paradise of Barbados. For surfers, the Bathsheba Beach on the east coast with its turquoise waves is a top adventure draw, while the fine sands of Dover attract those looking for a tan and a quick dip. Near capital Bridgetown, Carlisle Bay with its sunken shipwrecks and vibrant marine flora and fauna attracts divers and snorkelers in droves.
The more adventurous can head to Harrison’s Cave, an elaborate underground cave full of awesome stalactites, stalagmites and several streams. The beautiful Broadwalk is a nice place to stroll in the evenings, plus you can order a glass or two of famous local rum at any of the lovely cafes dotting it. Relax amidst sun, sand and surf at this idyllic haven.
Crowned as one of Europe's Capitals of Culture 2018 is the stunning 16th-century citadel and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valletta. This small resort in the heart of Malta packs away oodles of history, with ancient theatres, museums, national art galleries and a line-up of fascinating fortifications eager to be explored. If you're into art, don't miss Malta's International Art Festival 2018 hosted in Valletta on 29th June - 16th July, where you can feast your eyes on visual arts, theatre, dance, opera, films and more.
Historic highlights include St. Johns Co-Cathedral, built to honour the success of the Knights mission to protect Europe and the Catholic faith from attacks - the buildings opulent interior is unlike any other church in Europe. Catch a glimpse of the city's natural beauty and stroll the public Upper Barakka Gardens, where you'll find old fortifications, military cannons, gorgeous grounds and multiple viewpoints of the Grand Harbour. When the sun goes down, explore the plethora of waterfront restaurants and bars.
Hungry for more? We've highlighted some of the best things to do in Malta on your holidays.
Marrakech & Casablanca, Morocco
Morocco is a fascinating destination sure to fulfil all of your far-flung dreams. This North African country is a melting pot of culture, with a line-up of vibrant resorts you have to see, to believe. Marrakech is a centuries-old city boasting mazelike streets packed with spice-laden souks, hand-woven carpet stalls, traditional hammams and Royal Gardens - not to mention some of the best tasting food you'll find. The "Red City" is a pleasure to get lost in, with spectacular ancient-old buildings and compelling culture found on every street corner; feel like you've stepped into a fiction book when you visit major draw Jemaa el-Fna, the continents biggest and busiest square, hosting everything from snake charmers to medicen men, fortune-tellers and more!
While you're here, it's worth the two-hour journey to visit the Western port city of Casablanca, graced with art deco buildings, old stone alleys, a fantastic mall and one of the largest mosques in the world, Hassan II Mosque.
Sicily is a sunny island in Italy known for its balmy climate, wine, citrus fruits and year-round appeal for tourists. Explore the small towns of Palmero and Syracuse, full of ancient churches, cathedrals and Greek theatres, and while there relish some delicious Sicilian fare. The Greek ruins of Valle dei Templi (Valley of Temples) is worth a visit for their amazingly preserved temples and reconstructed ruins. To the east, you'll find the imposing volcano of Mount Etna and the lovely sunshine resort of Taromina. Climb the active volcano or explore the Greek theatre or just stroll through pretty streets fringed by jasmine and bougainvillea.
Seville is the capital of Spain’s beautiful Andalusia region - a historic, arty city with a leisurely vibe. There's no doubt this destination is a melting pot of culture, best seen in its architecture which brings together Christian and Mudejar influences. Meander through its massive Alcázar castle complex, once developed as a fort but emerging as a grand castle over 11 centuries, with different portions constructed by various rulers, and of late, a Game of Thrones locale.
Discover the tomb of Christopher Columbus at the Gothic Seville Cathedral, marvel at the Giralada bell tower which was once a minaret or escape to the lush green grounds of Parque de María Luisa, exquisitely maintained gardens with shady pathways and duck ponds. If all that exploring has given you hunger pangs, try the amazing organic food restaurant conTenedor and relish its delicious Duck Rice. In the evenings, head to Triana district for some energetic Flamenco dancing.
A fabulous long-haul destination, Mexico City is one of the oldest and largest cities in the Americas. Stroll in the Zocala, the world’s second largest public square and explore several landmarks in the Historic Centre. Many of these buildings are still in use, like the Palacio Nacional from where the president’s offices operate. The Metropolitan Cathedral is a mix of Renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical architecture. Further northeast, the Teotihuacan, is home to Aztec monuments like Avenue of the Dead, the monumental Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.
When you’ve had your share of history, visit the Venice-like Xochimilco where boats carry tourists through floating markets and pleasant artifical islands called chinampas, used to grow flowers, vegetables and plants. With mouthwatering street food and fine dining at affordable cost, Mexico city is a haven for foodies - unwind after a fun-filled day by dining at restaurants like Guzina Oaxaca, known for its dried grasshoppers or Blanco Colima for its amazing cuisine and ambience.
Whether you're dreaming of bright white sands, colourful colonial buildings, bustling cities or vibrant offshore coral reefs, Cuba holidays have it all. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time when you visit this spectacular destination, since the island nation is still under communist rule, meaning you'll find 1950's era cars, cigar shops, pastel-coloured houses and cobbled old quarters dotted with old school cafes.
When you're not lazing on the sands, go salsa dancing in Havana, trawl the antique markets in Guardavalaca, visit a cigar factory, wander the historic city of Holguin, or discover the island's natural beauty with lush inland jungles and scenic sugar plantations. Wondering where to stay in Cuba? Varadero is the most popular resort and makes for a delightful beach holiday with roughly 19km of white sands and aquamarine waters.
The Greek islands are a haven for those seeking stunning beaches, laid-back towns and fantastic Mediterranean cuisine to indulge in. Santorini in the southern Aegean Sea is probably the most famous, known for its picture-postcard images of blue domed houses and churches sitting atop a cliff, a pretty harbour below. When it comes to beaches, you'll find everything from black sands at Kamari to a faded crimson at the Red Beach set against warm cobalt blue waters, plus some pebbled coves dotted along the coast. Gaze into the sea on a sunbed while sipping a glass of local wine, go for a relaxing swim or explore the remote islands and hidden caves on a boat trip - it’s up to you to define your leisure here. When the sun sets, head to one of the traditional al-fresco tavernas around the Caldera and watch as the tangerine sunset blanket the glittering sea.