Summer 2016 in Tenerife

After a long, dreary and cold UK winter and spring, look forward to a warm and sunny holiday away on the island Tenerife. Part of the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain, Tenerife sits off the coast of North Africa and experiences the northeast trade winds and Canary Current. The inland portions of the island are mountainous with glorious scenery and the coasts are famous for their white or black sand beaches and cooling breezes.

During the summer months, visitors experience extremely pleasant temperatures with an average daily high of 25°C to 28°C (about 77°F to 82°F), the hottest temperatures the island ever gets. In June, July and August, the lows only drop down at night to 18°C to 20°C (around 64°F to 68°F), still very mild and a welcome respite from the hot sun during the day.

Along with amazing temperatures, guests visiting Tenerife can expect dry days with lots of sunshine, averaging 9 hours of sunshine each day. Usual rainfall during the summer is only 2 to 4 mm with only 1 day of rain per month on average. July is the both the driest and sunniest month of the year, with a mere 2 mm of rain falling over 1 day.

The summer is also a great time to test out your hand at watersports or just splash around in the crystal blue waters. The average sea temperature during the summer falls between 22°C to 23°C (about 72°F to 73°F), plenty warm enough to enjoy the water – but sea temperatures actually peak in September at 24°C.

It’s easy to get to Tenerife too, with daily flights out of London’s Gatwick and Luton airports. You typically fly into Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s two main airports, Sur Reina Sofia and Norte Los Rodeos. You can find flights to fit nearly every budget thanks to low-cost airlines like Monarch, EasyJet and Ryanair. Flights are also available on major carriers such as British Airways and Norwegian Air.

The most popular resort areas in Tenerife include Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje, all located on the southwest corner of the island. Consistently one of the top hotels in Los Cristianos, the H10 Big Sur hotel offers a boutique atmosphere with the same amenities as large resorts. Guests are also treated to several restaurants and bars, an eighth-floor terrace with sweeping ocean views, outdoor pool area with Jacuzzi, and beauty spa and salon – so if you want to treat yourself, this may be the accommodation to consider.

In Playas de las Americans, visitors will find a slew of British restaurants, pubs and hotels, as it’s a very popular holiday spot with tourists from Great Britain. One of the most popular restaurants in the area, the Empire Modern British Restaurant and Steakhouse, serves up all the classic British dishes like fish and chips, beef wellington, steak and ale pie, and bangers and mash. At the Surfers Bar, patrons not only enjoy an amazing view of the beach and the ocean, they can also indulge in a traditional full English, Scottish or Boxers’ breakfast.

Aside from eating and sleeping, it is likely you’ll spend much of the warm summer weather in Tenerife splashing around in the gorgeous Atlantic. The Costa Adeje resort area has several diving companies to help you explore the clear blue waters surrounding the island. Blue Bottom Diving offers diving classes for beginners to advance divers to hone their skills before setting out to one of the many diving sites Costa Adeje is famous for. Diving sites include wrecked ships, walls, caves, cliffs and volcanic formations. Divers can see various underwater species including turtles, sting rays, moray eels, octopus, sharks and starfish.

Visitors who prefer to keep their heads above the water can still enjoy the warm sea temperatures while trying out water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, fly-boarding and stand-up paddle-boarding. Water Sports Tenerife rents the equipment necessary to try different water sports and also provides training for beginners and novices. The company has locations all across the island including on Playa el Duque Beach, Fañabe Beach and Las Americas Beach.

Summer is also the perfect time to get out and visit Tenerife’s best beaches. Near the town of Puerto de la Cruz, Playa Jardin combines man-made beauty with nature’s splendor. Canarian artist César Manrique was the brainchild behind the beach, which features botanical gardens and palm trees planted alongside the volcanic sand. The calm waters are ideal for swimming with children so families will love this beach and the soft sand is good for laying out and soaking up the sun. Thanks to its location near town, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and retail stores in the area to grab a bite to eat or shop, making for the perfect day-trip.

It is easy to understand then why Tenerife is so popular with families, couples and young travelers alike, but with popularity comes the need to think about booking in advance. It’s never too early to start planning a summer-sun trip to escape wintery climes – so plan ahead and let yourself daydream about the trip of a lifetime: ‘Tenerife 2016’!

How about a golden Christmas?

If you’d rather swap the slim chance of a white Christmas for a more or less guaranteed golden one, then head to Tenerife. Kirsty Liddle packed her bags…

Just a short four hour flight from London the volcanic Spanish island of Tenerife is an excellent choice, be it with a group of friends, a romantic mini-break for two or a family vacation as it has something to suit everyone. The island is particularly known for its lovely sunny weather all year round, thanks to the subtropical climate and warm trade winds blowing in from the Sahara desert. It is a haven for sun worshippers looking to relax and enjoy the warm sand and calming blue sea whilst topping up their tan.

Tenerife is the largest and most populous of the seven landmasses including Lanzarote and Gran Canaria that collectively make up the Canary Islands. Tenerife itself has long enjoyed a rich history thanks in part to its geographical location being a prime stop on the trade route for sea traffic. However, this did make it a popular target for pirates looking to steal valuable gold. Today, the island is more known for playing host to millions of happy tourists rather than protecting its wealth from opportunistic rogues.

Typically the weather in Tenerife in December is lovely, with the average day time temperature for December being 16ºC, dropping only a couple of degrees at night to 16ºC and at this time of year there are normally five gorgeous sunshine filled hours per day.

There are many hotels and resorts dotted all over the island including Playa de Fanabe which is a real family favourite with plenty of shops, restaurants and boutiques on the main strip and, best of all, it is situated just 700 metres away from the beach. However, if your idea of a good time involves fun, frolics and partying till four a.m. head to Playa de las Americas as the nightlife here and at Los Christianos really is second to none. Of course, if you prefer more of a low key atmosphere there are also numerous personal villas and apartments to rent elsewhere, depending on your personal budget and taste.

Whether you are a beach babe, water-sports enthusiast or nature lover this is the place for you. Tenerife is jam-packed with exciting experiences and among the highlights is Loro Parque, situated in Puerto de la Cruz, the zoo with a difference! It is home to hundreds of exotic birds and set in beautiful grounds with plenty of places to eat, relax and enjoy the sunshine. Why not head to the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife to pick up some souvenirs, enjoy the traditional cuisine and get chatting to the friendly locals? In 2012 The Guardian actually voted it to be one of five best places to live in the entire world so it can’t be too bad.

A visit is certainly not complete without seeing the lunar landscape of Volcan El Teide, part of the surreal Teide National Park, and the stunning views that it offers. You can either drive, climb it yourself or enjoy a leisurely journey to the summit by cable car. If you want something a little special why not try a romantic Teide By Night excursion? Ocean activities are also plentiful including boat tours and whale watching trips, diving, snorkelling and many more. Some activities get booked up fairly quickly so make a list of those that you simply must do well in advance.

There are also several Churches on the island worth visiting including the Church of the Immaculate Conception dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This is a building with huge historical significance as the foundation was built on the site of the first Chapel consecrated by the Conquistadors and where, in time, the capital would be built.

The Island also offers plenty of parks, gardens and hiking trails including the excellent Masca Walk within the Masca valley. The views here are absolutely superb, the route will take roughly 4 to 5 hours, but the trail eventually leads right down to the beach. If you attempt this do make sure that you have sensible walking boots, plenty of water and are reasonably fit! However, if you feel more at home relaxing on a beach with a book rather than energetically traversing a ravine then don’t worry. Just north of the village of San Andres, near Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the beautiful beach of Playa de las Teresitas, one of the most popular beaches in the entire Canary Islands, constructed of beautiful golden sand brought from the Sahara Desert in 1973.  Las Vistas, a popular beach at Los Christianos, is also an excellent option and is considered to be one of the best beaches on the southern tip of the Island.

Tenerife really is a sun-seekers paradise but there is also so much more just waiting to be discovered!

 

Walking in the Canaries

With average temperatures of 19C in April, springtime in the Canary Islands offers the perfect antidote to Britain’s grey skies. But there’s more to the islands than plentiful sunshine – if walking takes your fancy, paradise lies no further than here. Erica Bush puts a spring in her step and heads for the hills

Barranco de Fañabé & Roque del Conde © Michael Bolognesi

Since Columbus’ infamous stay in La Gomera before departing for the Americas in 1492, the Canaries have been a key trading point for the New World, bringing a wealth of fauna, riches and exotic influences that are still prevalent today. And with a plethora of spectacular scenery spanning all of the islands, including black-sand beaches, steep-sided valleys bursting with hardy Alpine vegetation, prehistoric volcanoes and sleepy traditional farming hamlets, it will be hard to find something that doesn’t catch your eye. Each island certainly has its own allure, but for hiking, there are two front-runners.

The largest (at 1275 square miles) and by far most popular island is Tenerife with a million and a half tourists flocking there each year. But if you move away from the plastic souvenir shops and giant mass-market resorts of the South Coast, you will find walking in Tenerife hugely varied and immensely rewarding. The constant presence of Mount Teide in the centre of the island is Spain’s highest mountain and the third tallest volcano in the world. Often regarded as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’ due to its temperate climes, the old-style quaint villages and dramatic coastline, coupled with plunging valleys and green-pine forests, supply a fascinating contrast of landscapes to explore.

Some of the best walking trails can be found at the UNESCO World heritage site and one of the ‘12 Treasures of Spain’, Teide National Park. Here, you will find an extensive network of guided trail tours and non-guided routes ranging from 30 minutes to five hours. However, these are not for the faint hearted and only the most experienced of walkers stray from the marked routes.

The sub-tropical ‘laurisilva’ forest of the Anaga Rural Park also offers stunning, more remote, hiking trails that lend to the ‘real Tenerife’, with high vantage points offering amazing views of lush forestry, rugged ravines and old-world villages. The circular route between Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada is one of the best, encompassing almost 12kms (around 4 hours) in total.

If it’s a coastal walk you’re after, the Rambla del Castro route offers one of the most exciting trails – it’s unique and exotic, yet still surprisingly untouched by tourists. With banana trees that stretch as far as the eye can see, colonial haciendas with bright orange tiles, and the endless view of clear blue waters, this trail is one you cannot miss. And all the while, the only people you might bump into are banana plantation workers who will smile kindly and say hello. While a little steep in places, most could manage this walk and be able to enjoy the wonderful views. Paths start from just outside Puerta de la Cruz.

For a much easier hike, take the Buenavista del Norte, which is located in the western corner of the island. Considerably easier than trails found at Teide or the Anaga mountains, this coastal route promises views of the glittering ocean with a breathtaking mountain backdrop. This marked trail is dotted with rock pools and local men catching fish that even the kids would enjoy, provided you bring a picnic!

If you are looking for somewhere to stay, the 4 star Hotel San Roque located in the heart of Garachico, an unspoiled traditional town with pebbled streets, a vibrant fishing port and grand houses, is one of Tenerife’s gems. Although quite unassuming from the outside, inside lie plush bedrooms, two central courtyards, an outdoor heated pool and a sauna.

A smaller, less popular but equally as enthralling hiking destination in the Canaries is La Gomera, a 45-minute ferry ride west of Tenerife. Arguably the prettiest of the smaller islands but only 15 miles in diameter, La Gomera offers varied and dramatic scenery including sheer valleys, sleepy villages and the luxuriant forest of Garajonay National Park. La Gomera is a plant and bird lover’s paradise due to its temperate climes, offering a wide variety of plants and flowers both widespread and rare, as well as 200 species of birds. It has been said that you can walk for two weeks on this island and never retrace your steps, so it is no wonder that the island possesses a strong feeling of undiscovered beauty. With several hundred kilometres of marked Caminos and old donkey paths, La Gomera is well and truly a walkers paradise.

The misty evergreen forest that is the Garajonay National Park lies in the centre of the island surrounding the Garajonay Mountain (1487m) and is an absolutely fascinating hiking area. Almost constantly shrouded in mist and fog, the mysterious and enchanting forest will supply you with endless trails, taking you deep into thick laurel vegetation of a type that is now rare in North American and Southern Europe. The Park also has 2000 species of plants, the vast majority of which are endemic to La Gomera, making for extremely interesting walking. One trail you can’t miss is the route of Contadedro-Caserio, which includes the unique Forest of El Cedro and its stream – the main ravine that is always running with water in the Park.

If you’re up for a lengthier, more hardcore hike, take the trail to the summit of Mount Garajonay to enjoy spectacular views of four other Canary Islands: El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Also be sure to check out Los Roques, the three most impressive volcanic rock towers on the island. Standing very close to Garajonay, they stand out above the main road, which connects the East of La Gomera to the West, the Carretera del Centro. Due to the beautiful backdrop of Tenerife’s Teide, this landmark is the most photographed on La Gomera, so do not miss out on this scenic viewpoint. Unfortunately, since becoming natural monuments, climbing on the three rocks is strictly prohibited.

Another trail that promises incredible panoramic views and picnic spots is the circular roundtrip through the valley of Vallehermoso, in the north of the island. The trail starts and ends in the sun-blushed centre of the town and takes you up 540 meters in height in just one hour and 15 minutes to high mountain ridges where Tenerife (including Mount Teide), La Palma and Lanzarote are all visible. In total the walk will take you around 5 hours but, although slightly steeper in places, is fairly easy for most.

One of the best hotels on the island is the gorgeous 4-star Paradores in the charming capital of San Sebastián. Perched on a high cliff known as the Lomo de la Horca (Gallows Ridge) above the port of San Sebastián, the hotel and grounds are surrounded by exotic gardens planted with hibiscus, bougainvillea and palms looking out over the cobalt-blue ocean and lively harbour below.

For a range of guided and self-guided package hiking holidays in the Canaries, visit www.headwater.com/list/by-country/spain/walking.htm

And for more information on the Canaries, visit www.turismodecanarias.com/canary-islands-spain/index.html

After all, the world’s more beautiful on foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2015 – plan ahead!

Help banish the winter blues and book up your summer holiday now. Here, Ozel Rowland brings us some of the best places to stay this summer…

Costa Adeje © Javier Lastras

Dream Hotel Gran Tacanda, Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Why not treat yourself this summer and indulge in the five-star comforts of the Dream Hotel Gran Tacanda? Located in the popular resort Costa Adeje in Tenerife, Spain this hotel boasts no less than four salt-water pools, three bars and three excellent restaurants – unsurprisingly, this hotel is a top choice for couples and families alike. There’s also a spa and gym to keep you in shape and suitably pampered, and parents looking to snatch some romantic time alone can take advantage of the free childcare and babysitting services for children over the age of three. There are also a variety of fun leisure and cultural programmes on offer for those wanting to head out for a day’s sight seeing.

Guests wanting to catch some rays outside the hotel grounds are in luck as Gran Tacanda is ideally situated right next to Playa del Duque beach. It’s also close to a range of shops and mini markets, including Fañabe and Plaza del Duque shopping centres – ideal if you fancy a spot of retail therapy.

August is the best time to visit Costa Adeje as temperatures reach an impressive 29˚C, while June and July enjoy temperatures of around 24˚C.

The hotel is offering 20% off the final price if you book your 2015 summer holiday now.

Riad le Clos des Arts, Marrakech, Morocco

Voted top three in TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards 2015 for best small hotel and best service in Marrakech, Riad le Cles des Arts takes its roots as an artistic guesthouse seriously and as a result is a firm favourite with guests for its authentic Moroccan décor and ambience. The rooms are adorned with traditional Moroccan styling – think warm terracotta tints and bright ceramic mosaic tiles. Each room comes with a lavish four-poster bed, a plush sofa and beautiful Kilim rug, too.

Temperatures in Marrakech, Morocco can hit highs of 38˚C in July, with a milder average of 29˚C during the other summer months. Handily, the hotel’s roof boasts a lovely pool, so you’ll never be too far away from a reviving, cooling dip.  The hotel also offers additional activities such as artisanal workshops and cookery classes, the latter being ideal if you want to learn how to rustle up an authentic tagine.

The hotel is located in the heart of the Medina, which is just a five-minute walk to the main square, Jemaa el Fna. Nearby are the Museum of Moroccan Arts (Dar si Siad) and the grand Bahia Palace – both are perfect for a cultural interlude into this magnificent city.

Prices vary from about £86 to £135 per night during peak season. This includes traditional Moroccan  mint tea and pastries upon arrival, along with a daily Moroccan breakfast and free Wifi.

Piazza Pretoria, Palermo © Dimitry B.

B&B Mondello Resort, Sicily, Italy

Situated in the peaceful suburbs of Palermo in Sicily, Italy this luxury B&B is the ideal choice for couples seeking refuge in a homely yet modern and stylish setting. With only five rooms, this resort offers an intimate atmosphere along with a gorgeous garden and pool area.

Weather averages in summer tend to reach 26˚C-27˚C, with August hitting around 29˚C, so why not sit back and lounge in the shade of the B&B’s Sicilian pines before taking a much-needed dip in the pool.

Hosts, Robert and Roberta, provide an attentive yet unobtrusive service with a breakfast buffet available every morning in the B&B’s spacious terrace. The rooms meanwhile boast a simple, minimalist interior and come fully equipped with all the expected amenities, while the bathrooms, complete with luxury fittings, are designed to provide a calming haven – perfect for soothing tired limbs after a day out exploring.

If you’re looking for sand and sea as well as sun, the pretty, powdery shoreline of Mondello beach is less than a mile away from the B&B. The bus station is also within walking distance, making Mondello Resort a great launching pad for exploring Palermo. There’s also a free bike service for guests wanting to get around on two wheels.

Prices are around £839 for a double room shared by two adults in August. Visit their website for full details on rates.

Aphrodite’s Rock, the legendary birthplace of Venus, or Aphrodite © Stav

Apollonia Holiday Apartments, Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos’s top-rated, family-run Apollonia apartments offer all the comforts of your own home while providing an ideal base for discovering this beautiful Cypriot city.

Paphos, Cyprus enjoys highs of 30˚C in August and thanks to its coastal location, a cooling breeze takes things down a notch come the evening.

Aside from an impressive pool and peaceful sun lounging area outside complete with a bar and an outside gym, the complex offers a number of different apartments to suit individual requirements, with studios or one and two bedroom apartments available. All are fully-equipped and decked with a simple yet comfortable interior, there’s a daily cleaning service, too.

Apollonia is located in the main tourist district of Kato Paphos, which is home to a variety of top attractions including the ancient ruins of Acropolis and Odeon. Meanwhile, the seafront, along with plenty of local shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance from the apartments.

Receive a 22% discount if you book your summer holiday now.

Villa Maya, Cancun, Mexico

The Mexican city of Cancun is a world-renowned choice for holidaymakers, well loved for its fascinating Mayan history, large stretches of pearl-white beaches and thriving social scene.

Average summer temperatures reach 28˚C in Cancun, Mexico so you won’t be short of sunshine and opportunities to spend plenty of time outside relaxing and exploring.

When it comes to a great place to stay, Villa Maya is a top rental accommodation, serving as a ‘flexi-house’ perfect for families or group holiday bookings. Inside, you’ll find five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, dining area and an outside terrace. The villa is located in a quiet residential area, away from the main tourist zone, so expect peace and quiet. It’s also close to a good range of shops, including a Walmart, as well as buzzing local cafes and restaurants.

Transfers to and from the airport, as well a free tour by the owners, can be organised in advance. Summer prices start from £879 per week.

We wish you a Merry Cruise-mas…

MSC Cruises is giving families the opportunity to make the most of the festive season this year with great value sailings available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

Sun setting, Baltic Sea © JVP pHoTOs

Escaping the British weather – and all the stress of a Christmas at home – has never been easier. With MSC Cruises, guests can simply relax, celebrate and share their magic moments safe in the knowledge that all the food, entertainment and tidying up is taken care of.

There’s an MSC Cruises itinerary to suit all budgets – and all ships will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations and Christmas trees. For the little ones, Father Christmas will make a very special stop during an event in the onboard theatre, where he’ll present a gift to every child on board.

MSC Cruises Christmas and New Year fly-cruise itineraries include:

Western Mediterranean: Seven-night western Med sailing aboard MSC Splendida, departing Genoa, Italy. The ship calls at Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Tunis, Tunisia; Barcelona, Spain; Marseille, France and Genoa, Italy. Prices start at £679 per person (based on Dec 21 departure), including transfers and return flights with British Airways from London. New Year cruise (departing December 28) starts at £849 per person.

Eastern Mediterranean: For a longer break, consider this 11-night sailing aboard the luxurious MSC Fantasia. The Eastern Med itinerary, departing Genoa, is great for guests you love a packed itinerary since it features multiple ports of call. The ship visits Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Heraklion, Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Genoa. Prices start at £969 per person (based on December 16 departure) including return flights with British Airways from London and transfers.

Dubai, the Emirates and Oman: MSC Orchestra offers a seven-night Arabian Sea sailing this winter departing Dubai, UAE. The itinerary features calls at Abu Dhabi, Khor Al Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab and starts at £1,149 per person including return flights with Emirates from London, Manchester or Glasgow and transfers (based on December 20 departure). New Year cruise (departing December 27) starts at £1,299 per person.

Canary Islands & Madeira: Fresh from a £40 million lengthening and refit project, MSC Armonia sails the Canary Islands from November. For Christmas it offers a trip combining the best of the Canaries with the Portuguese isle of Madeira. The sailing (departing December 20) leaves Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and calls at Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura; Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, La Palma; Santa Cruz, Tenerife and Las Palmas. Prices start at £1,039 per person, including return flights from Manchester and transfers.

Caribbean: Guests in search of the ultimate break from the norm can indulge themselves on a two-week trip around the Caribbean on MSC Cruises’ spectacular megaship MSC Divina. Operating out of Miami, the luxurious vessel sails alternating seven-night itineraries that can be combined to make a seriously relaxing break from the British winter. Onboard attractions include a West End-sized theatre, award-winning Aurea Spa, splash park with sweeping water slide, F1 simulator and bowling alley. The 14-night Caribbean itinerary, departing December 13 2014, calls at Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami; Philipsburg, St Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami, and starts at £1,289per person including return flights to Miami with British Airways from London.

And remember, kids cruise free with MSC Cruises (paying only flights and port taxes).

For more information see www.msccruises.co.uk or call 020 3426 3010.

© MSC Cruises

Tenerife and La Gomera hit by flash floods

The popular holiday islands, Tenerife and La Gomera have been hit by flash floods due to heavy rain falling on the Canary Islands since Saturday, including seven inches of rain falling in 12 hours yesterday. The concentration of the rainfall is said to have fallen on Santa Cruz, the historic port on Tenerife’s northeastern tip.

Thousands of holidaymakers have been caught up in flash flooding in Tenerife, with tourists warned to remain inside their hotels for their own safety. Everyone on the island has been advised to avoid driving unless their journey is absolutely essential.

Fast-flowing waters and landslides have led to road closures, several streets and homes have been flooded, and a number of ravines have become flowing rivers. The deluge has forced people to flee their homes, power and telephone lines are down, plus there’s currently no access to the port. Air traffic at the Rodeos airport was restored this morning after the rain stopped in the north of the island.

Local media have reported that five people have died after two and a half hours of heavy rain on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. It is not yet clear whether any foreign visitors are among the casualties.

One of the fatalities includes a 56-year-old woman who died after suffering a heart attack as she was swept along by flood water and becoming trapped under a parked car in Santa Cruz.

October half term holidays

Make the most of the half term break this month and sneak in a bit of sunshine before things really take a turn for the worse weather-wise in the UK, and we’re unceremoniously hauled into the season of woolly socks and winter coats. There’s some fantastic holiday destinations in Europe and further afield, read on for our top picks…

In the Med…

Portugal’s Algarve is still lovely and warm in late October – great for all you beach bums and golf lovers. Albufeira is the most popular destination for holidaymakers in the Algarve, and it’s not had to see why. Lagos is famous for its award winning beaches, especially Meia Praia, which stretches for 4km and is ideal for avid sunbathers and watersports lovers alike. Take your pick from some of the many stunning golf courses that line the coast – Pine Cliffs Golf Course is built in a pine forest and affords wonderful views of the Algarve’s golden beaches. Kids are catered for too, with some brilliant waterparks and zoos ensuring there’s plenty of fun for all the family. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Algarve click here.

Crete, one of Greece’s southernmost – and largest – islands, is also a safe bet at this time of year for reliably pleasant temperatures and sunshine. Explore the island’s spectacular 1,000 kilometre-long coastline dotted with exquisite coves, bays and peninsulas, many of which offer numerous sandy beaches to while away a sunny day. There’s also a myriad of pretty fishing villages such as the picturesque Paxos, ancient treasures and a variety of delicious Cretan culinary delights to enjoy. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Crete click here.

The Canary Islands are always going to get a well-deserved mention when listing top family holiday destinations that won’t break the bank and will deliver on great year-round weather, places to stay, activities and much more. With average daily temperatures sitting comfortably around the mid-20s well into late October, the popular resorts Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje in Tenerife – with their multitude of long, sandy beaches and inviting waters – are bound to help beat the onset of the winter blues and turn back the clock, albeit temporarily, to the heady days of summer. Lanzarote, also in the Canary Islands, certainly doesn’t let the side down in the temperature and sunshine stakes, offers a unique, striking landscape, with the western side of the island typically being hotter and drier than the eastern side. October is one of the best months for big game fishing, which is a popular pastime on the island, plus make the most of the warm sea temperatures and get into the big blue; take your pick from scuba diving, snorkelling, or by simply enjoying a daily dip. Click here for an up-to-date weather forecasts in Tenerife and Lanzarote.

Majorca in Spain enjoys a Mediterranean climate all-year round and daily temperatures average around 25°C to 21°C throughout the month, with things cooling down towards the end of October. This pleasant weather allows for enjoying the island’s many beautiful walking and cycling trails – the island boasts wonderful wildlife and a dazzling variety of flora. Nature lovers should definitely not miss a visit to the S’Albufera Wetlands. The Coves de Campanet in Alcudia are another must-see – these amazing caves are famous for the fossilised remains, as well as numerous pathways, chambers and pools. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Majorca click here.

Elsewhere in Europe…

Perhaps you and your family want to squeeze in a bit of action before the season of slumping on the sofa having stuffed yourself silly kicks in? If so, why not consider a cycling holiday – popular destinations include Ghent, Belgium, the Loire Valley in France and the Catalan coast of Spain (including a few nights in Barcelona perhaps). Other enjoyable and scenic routes include east to west across the Algarve, Portugal and the lakes of Bavaria, Germany.

For a truly memorable and unique holiday experience, there’s nowhere quite like Iceland, plus it’s only a short flight away. Soak up the breath-taking scenery by exploring the island’s stunning natural parks, the South coast, Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. You could even take in this beautiful country on horseback. Then, soothe your sore bones in Iceland’s famous geothermal pools before sampling traditional tasty fare such as “harðfiskur”, a type of dried fish. Best of all, in late October you have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. The temperatures may not rival that of the Med but you’ll still enjoy plenty of sunshine at this time of year.

Venturing further afield…

There’s a lot to be said for sun and sand, but if you’re after fascinating history and culture too, then Morocco has both by the bucket load. With a daily temperature lingering around 21 in Marrakesh, the weather is perfect for exploring this beautiful part of the world, furthermore, you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled across the globe but in reality you can fly to Morocco in just three hours. October is a great time to go, as you’ll catch the festival Eid al-Fitr, which signals the end of Ramadan. Expect feasting, music, dancing and general merriment – and don’t forget to haggle in the magical souks and chill out in a hammam. For thrills and spills, head to Oasiria Water Park – great for the kids – and for adventure-seekers, why not incorporate a trekking trip into the Atlas Mountains for a truly special experience. Click here for up-to-date weather forecasts in Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.

October is an ideal month to go to Sharm el Sheikh on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, with wonderful weather minus the oppressively hot temperatures. Rain is rare and the sea is still lovely and warm, so now is a perfect time to learn to dive. If your children are aged 10 years or more, they can learn to dive and achieve a PADI qualification – surely a fantastic skill for them to capitalise on in their later years. Don’t miss Ras um Sid, a stunning beach resort with a large diving and snorkelling site brimming with colourful coral and marine life. Check travel advice for Sharm el Sheikh from the Foreign Office before booking your holiday. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Sharm el Sheikh click here.

Boomerang Brits revisit the same holiday spots each year

  • Two thirds (60%) of Brits are ‘boomerang tourists’ who return to the same holiday spot time after time
  • Three in ten (29%) of these have been to the same resort more than three times and one in twenty (5%) have been back more than ten times
  • Two fifths (40%) eat in the same restaurant each time and 15% even sit in the same spot
  • Brits are most likely to return to Tenerife, Paris, Florida, Benidorm and Majorca
  • An increasing number of Brits are ‘boomeranging’ back to the same holiday destination year after year[1].

According to new research from LV= travel insurance, more people are now choosing to revisit the same holiday spot rather than try somewhere new. Almost two thirds (60%) of Brits have been to the same holiday destination more than once during the past five years and one in five (22%) are planning to revisit a resort they have previously holidayed at later this year.

British holidaymakers like to know what they are getting on holiday and once they find somewhere they like, they go back again and again. Of those who have been to the same holiday spot more than once, almost a third (29%) have been more than three times in the last five years and one in twenty (5%) have even been back more than 10 times.

Returning to the tried and tested, does not end with the location as many holidaymakers even do the same things each time. Two fifths of these boomerang holidaymakers (40%) say they eat in the same restaurant that they did on a previous trip, while others stay in the same resort (38%) and one in ten (9%) do the same activities. Almost two fifths (38%) go to the same beach, almost a third (29%) will go to the same bar or pub and 15% even say they sit in exactly the same spot as on a previous trip.

The most common types of holidays that Brits are likely to repeat are a relaxing beach breaks (48%), sightseeing trips (22%) and city breaks (18%). The most popular places to return to are Tenerife, Paris, Florida, Benidorm and Majorca. Good weather is a main reason for selecting the same location (38%), followed by reasonable prices (35%) and the location being family friendly (15%).

The consistency of these factors at certain destinations keeps Brits coming back for more. In total, two in five (40%) enjoy revisiting the same place because they know what to expect, while 20% say they do not feel the need to try somewhere new as they know they like this particular location. One in five (20%) claim they would feel happy returning to the same place every year.

Yet this familiarity can lure holidaymakers into a false sense of security. Around one in three Brits (30%) say that they don’t always get travel insurance if they’re going to a place they’ve been to before, which leaves them unprotected should they have an accident, fall ill, or are a victim of crime.

‘Travelling to somewhere you have been to before can make planning a holiday much simpler. It is easy to let your guard down because you already know the destination but things can sometimes go wrong when you’re on holiday. It’s important to make sure you have the right cover in place to protect you on your break so you can relax and just enjoy your holiday.’ Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= travel insurance

© LV Travel Insurance

October half-term: go all-inclusive

The October half term break is the perfect time to slip away for a bit of sunshine before the Christmas festivities and cold winter weather settles in full steam ahead across the UK.

Fancy packing up the kids and swapping Blighty’s cold and predicatably drizzly, grey weather for warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine? Of course you do. The Canary Islands, Turkey, Florida, and Majorca are top holiday destinations at this time of year with fantastic weather to enjoy and there’s some great deals to be had. To make things nice and easy for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best all-inclusive holidays currently on offer courtesy of Monarch…

Go all-inclusive – it makes sense!

With all-inclusive holidays you can be certain that you’ll be able to relax, with just about everything covered in the price of your holiday. So, not only can you expect a well earned rest but so can your wallet! All-inclusive holidays are great for families, with plenty of entertainment to keep kids occupied day and night and help to cuts out all those additional costs once you’ve paid for the holiday.  So whether you want to try watersports in Gran Canaria, relax in a Turkish bath in Turkey, a luxury holiday in the Maldives or relax by the pool in Greece, you can rest assured we’ve got it covered with these cheap holidays.


Turkey holidays

Turkey offers visitors a variety of holiday experiences with its beautiful history and stunning coastline.  The main regions are Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman, which all offer charming resorts with stunning beaches and sparkling seas. Go to: Turkey holiday offers.

Majorca holidays

With over 30 resorts to choose from, and whether it is lively or peaceful there’s little wonder Majorca’s one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. Perfect for an all inclusive family beach holiday. Go to: Majorca holiday offers.

Tenerife holidays

Guaranteed sunshine and warm climate makes Tenerife an exciting holiday destination. The most popular of the Canary Island’s it has buzzing resorts, non-stop entertainment and delightful, vast beaches. Go to: Tenerife holiday offers.

Lanzarote holidays

Located amid a volcanic landscape of lava-baked hills, fiery craters and desert terrain, Lanzarote boasts beautiful and relaxing white sandy beaches, coupled with a promise of adventure in the spectacular Green Caves and the Timanfaya National Park.
Go to: Lanzarote holiday offers.

Happy holidays!

© Monarch

Shining the spotlight on…Benidorm

Benidorm may not offer the most authentic of Spanish cultural experiences or the most peaceful or beautiful of holiday settings, but it does have plenty of character (just not especially Hispanic!), fantastic year-round weather – not many places can guarantee almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year – and it can be a hell of a lot of fun; given you put any snooty preconceived ideas about the brilliantly bold and sometimes bawdy beach resort aside and just get stuck in.

People of all ages flock to Benidorm in Spain during the summer making the popular seaside resort a bustling, busy place to be, and with so much to do it’s unlikely you’ll be bored. From scuba diving to golf, horse riding to family-friendly water parks, flamenco to food markets, Benidorm is anything but short on entertainment.

A bevvy of beaches

Benidorm is not short of fabulous beaches either, many of which offer fine golden sand, clean sparkling blue waters and an array of appealing places to eat and drink. Various beach and water based activities will keep the whole family happy, in fact, Benidorm is a prime spot for enjoying a wide selection of water sports.

Playa del Levante and the longer Playa del Poniente join beneath Plaza del Castillo to great effect – where the land juts into the bay it looks like the prow of a ship. Levante beach signals the start of a lively promenade, which boasts plenty of facilities and is a popular place throughout the year. Towards the north end, two small coves are a prime spot for diving and a more private and peaceful swimming spot.

Situated south of the port, the stunning Poniente beach is the longest beach in Benidorm and at 3km long is usually quieter than Levante beach. Ideal for families, this beach has plenty of good facilities including a playground, beach library, shaded areas and various games and activities to enjoy. By night, a romantic sunset stroll and sundowner on Poniente beach is bound to be a holiday highlight, and once you’ve worked up a an appetite, there’s a good range of restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from.

Tuck in

You will definitely be catered for in Benidorm if your idea of a perfect start to the day is a slap up full English breakfast with buckets of builder’s tea, equally, if you fancy sampling a local breakfast, you can. El Meson, despite being on Calle Gerona, which is known by locals as ‘British street’, is clinging defiantly to its Spanish roots and serves delicious traditional dishes at great prices.

Proving that Benidrom really isn’t just about greasy spoons and cheap and cheerful chip shops, Rias Baixas is stylish and the place to go for excellent seafood. Plus, although there are plenty of pubs still catering for a good old proper booze up, Benidorm is now home to some swanky gin bars and Balinese chill-out lounges, yes, really.

Hit the sack

Quite like the idea of staying in Europe’s tallest hotel? Then check in at Gran Hotel Bali, a mammoth complex comprising 776 rooms and two restaurants that can cater for up to 1,000 diners. This 4-star hotel stands at 186m high and is conveniently located near La Cala beach, La Malpas beach and Las Rejas Golf Club. It has a big outdoor pool and no doubt pretty good views, although the top floor might not be your best choice if you suffer from vertigo…

More modest both in terms of scale and star quality but a good choice nonetheless, especially if you’re on a budget, La Santa Faz is handily close to Levante and Poniente beaches. Each room is air-conditioned and has a private balcony, there’s a bar and free Wi-fi but no pool and bicycles for hire. La Santa Faz is located in Benidorm’s old town, 50 meters from Elche Park.

Ready to fly? Check the 14-day weather forecast here before you go, and click here for our fantastic month-by-month holiday guide.

Happy holidays!

© 2019 Holiday Weather