Planning to escape to the hot summer sun this year? Europe has endless beautiful holiday destinations to choose from. We have selected the top pick for this years holiday bucket list, something for everyone!
For: A Romantic Getaway
Santorini is arguably the most popular Greek island, and world famous for its stunning setting. With whitewashed houses and blue topped churches set amongst the cliffs. A romantic favourite for many, due to it’s exclusive Hotels, beautiful restaurants and cave-like homes with private pools.
Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities, overlooking the calm blue Adriatic. Beyond the medical walls, attractions include wine bars, classy seafood restaurants and five-star hotels. A Croatian city rich in culture, and surrounded by crystal clear waters – what more could you want?
For: Luxury Parties
It’s fair to say Mykonos is the most luxury of all party destinations right now, a firm favourite amongst the jet-setters and a-listers. Located in the center of the Cyclades island group, Mykonos is one of the most famous Greek islands for its cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Marvel the amazing sunset from Little Venice, stroll around the narrow paved streets of Chora, enjoy your stay at the luxurious hotels, dance the day away at epic beach parties and swim at the exotic beaches. When the sun goes down, join the nightlife scene of the island and party all night long at the iconic beach clubs and bars. Considering a trip to the Aegean Sea this year? Find out our top pick of Hotels for their luxurious offerings, all providing something different, from an affordable find, to the most exclusive of boutique hotels.
For: A Picturesque Stay
A colourful, quant Italian town set on the Amalfi Coast. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this seaside paradise is set on a steep hill – an iconic haven popular with Celebrities and holiday goers alike. Looking to embrace the Italian lifestyle? Look no further.
For: Stunning Beaches
A heavenly Mediterranean destination, world famous for it’s vibrant nightlife, and exclusive venues. Offering everyone a slice of paradise, Ibiza is a top choice, whether your looking to relax on it’s turquoise shores, explore Ibiza Old Town, or indulge in the Jet-Setter lifestyle – this island is a must visit.
For: The Glamour
Cannes, a resort town on the French Riviera. Famed for Boulevard de la Croisette, curving along the coast, lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and palatial Hotels. Not to mention, it hosts the most prestigious international film festival in the world. Looking for a little glamour? Cannes won’t disappoint.
The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands. Positioned southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and of the North American mainland, the Caribbean is home to some of the most beautiful and culture rich places in the world. Take a look at our favourites below.
Located in the West Indies, Barbados has it all, from stunning white beaches, to a culture and history rich community. Deemed a favourite amongst holiday goers for it’s perfect surfing conditions, extensive rum shops and historical buildings (including plantation houses and colonial buildings), Barbados screams ‘adventure holiday destination’. With pretty great weather all yeah round, there’s no need to worry about what time of year to visit, however the sunniest and driest period is between mid-December and mid-April.
Puerto Rico is the perfect destination to get a taste of the Caribbean, from hiking (home to the only rainforest in the US) to exploring the culture rich San Juan, the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, full of century-old fortresses and Spanish colonial buildings. Live the ultimate island life and sip the days away with a pina colada in hand or visit one of three rare ecosystems Known as Bioluminescent Bays (of which there are only 5 in the world). The waters of these bays hold microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates, that when quantities are big enough, produce a glow-in-the-dark effect when stimulated by movement. Paddle in the waters and watch them glisten – a pretty special experience.
Saint Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island home to a pair of dramatically tapered mountains, the Pitons, on its west coast. Its coast is home to volcanic beaches, incredible reef-diving sites, quiet fishing villages and lots of luxury resorts. Much of the land is covered in rainforest, perfect for a secluded holiday away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s serene setting creates the ultimate romantic environment, chosen as a honeymoon destination for many holiday goers.
Virgin Gorda is a Caribbean island in the British Virgin Islands. Natural beauty is very much in abundance on Virgin Gorda, from nature reserves to golden beaches. It’s known for the Baths, a labyrinth of beachside boulders forming a series of pools and seawater-flooded grottoes. Their stunning beaches include Spring Bay and Devil’s Bay, while the incredible trails pave the way for unforgettable experiences in the most ’untouched’ of settings. Virgin Gorda is another island attracting an exclusive crowd, looking to seek calm and relaxation in this tropical paradise, less tourist heavy than some of the more obvious destinations.
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing – one of the reasons it’s so popular with its American visitors, in addition to the fact that it’s just two hours south of Miami. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. The history rich capital city of Santo Domingo and the 250 miles of the world’s top beaches, provide the perfect combination of beach and adventure – a typical tropical destination for many tourists.
Antigua is one of the two major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda (not to be mistaken for Bermuda). Ringed with coral reefs, the island is a tropical paradise, known for it’s breathtaking white beaches and snorkelling hotspots. With 95 miles of coastline, you can expect, much like St Lucia, to enjoy one of the most romantic environments of the Caribbean due to it’s serene feels and sense of ’untouched’ nature. From hiking to basking on the warm sands, Antigua is the ultimate romantic retreat.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is positioned where the northern Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean meet. Brimming with vibrant art and colonial charm. With mobile data only introduced in 2018, you can understand why many opt for a holiday here, to delve into a community often described as place stuck in a ’time warp’. Explore the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, quaint Colonial villages or white-sand beaches of the island – whatever you get up to, you can expect a pretty unique experience in Cuba.
St Bart’s is certainly a favourite amongst celebrities and A-listers, and for good reason! The Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy is the epitome of grandeur. You’ll need to spurge in able to enjoy the luxurious hospitality on the island, including a long list of exclusive hotels, villas and venues. Spend your days browsing boutique shops, soaking up the sun or chartering a lavish yacht for sunny days off-shore. With one of the shortest runways in the world, only passenger jets can land here – which seems rather fitting for the likes of the Kardashians or Beyonce.
Bermuda is a real treasure trove for natural wildlife and beauty. The shores of this incredible island boast some of the best in the Caribbean, with pink sands and fish filled waters (often angelfish and sergeant majors). One of the most breathtaking sites to ensure a trip to is the Crystal and Fantasy Caves, famous across the world for their crystallised form, and emerald blue waters found 30 metres below the ground.
North Americans fleeing winter make Aruba the most touristed island in the southern Caribbean. The obvious attractions include miles of white-sand beach and super high end resorts. Typically you can expect to enjoy the best of typical tropical activities here, including snorkelling, boat rides, diving, and even some shipwreck exploration. The flat island also provides the perfect breezy conditions for water sports (if that’s your thing), otherwise sit back and enjoy the whitest of sands and the bluest of blue waters.
Take a look at the best beaches in Thailand – from an exclusive film location, to the best snorkeling spot the beaches in Thailand are some if the most beautiful in the world.
Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh
For: A Bucket-List Tick
The infamous filming location for Leonardo Dicaprio’s ‘The Beach’, Koh Phi Phi Leh’s Maya Bay, is one of Thailand’s star attractions. The film certainly put the bay on the map, showcasing it’s dazzling emerald waters and white sands. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills that surround the two shallow bays, Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay can only be accessed at high tide, due to the boat ride needed to reach the destination, some however will anchor at the deeper Loh Samah, allowing people to walk through a section of jungle to reach Maya Bay. This really is the perfect location for swimming, with calm waters protected by the bay, however, we’d suggest an early visit to avoid the rather busy peak periods (it’s a big tourist attraction after all).
Tub Kaek Beach can be found on KrabiI’s sheltered coastline, far from the over-crowded shores and tourist heavy strips. Providing a sense of seclusion and tranquility, Tub Kaek offers the perfect escape for a day spent reading under the palm trees, or swimming in the clear waters. You can expect great views, with other islands scattered across the horizon, the perfect place to watch and reflect as the sun goes down.
If your looking for a beautiful beach in Phuket, Kata Beach kind of ticks all the boxes, with soft white sands, great clear waters and close restaurants and bars. It’s definitely a quieter option than Patong Beach, known for its endless bars and crowded atmosphere. Kata provides the best of both worlds, with the perfect combination of natural beauty and tourist-y facilities. The beach is great for surfers from March to October, and just a short walk from the Kata Noi, a great snorkelling spot. Sip a cocktail, enjoy water sports or snooze on the beach, either way you can expect a day of sun and sea heavy fun!
It’s clear where Long Beach got its name, with its 3-mile long stretch of golden sand. Koh Lanta has some of Thailand’s most unspoilt beaches, and Long Beach is no exception. Known locally as Phrae Ae, the stunning shores are lined by wild, dense trees where visitors can take shade from the dazzling sun. It’s Long Beach’s blank canvas-look that sets it apart from other, more commercialised beaches in Thailand, perfect for a little peace and quiet, or a romantic walk.
The coral reefs in Aow Leuk have put this beach on the map. Starting right from the shore, running along either side of the bay, down to depths of to 10 metres. You can expect to see an abundance of marine life here, from schools of sergeant major fish, to jack fish. You could get lucky and even see the odd turtle or black tip reef shark in the deeper waters. The bay is relatively quiet, especially if you avoid the peak hours in the middle of the day. We’d suggest snorkelling in the morning for the best conditions.
The last of Daniel Craig’s James Bond films, No Time To Die, finally hit our screens in September last year. Stunning locations, whether they’ve been rural or urban, have always played a huge part in the Bond Films, taking us on a turbulent journey, beginning to end. No Time To Die was no exception, with filming taking place across the world, from Italy to Jamaica.
After what seems like a relaxing holiday, the action soon kicks off with a bang in Matera. Thecity lies in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy, a 9000-year-old city rich in history, making it the 3rd oldest inhabited settlement in the world. Its muted stone buildings and narrow, intertwining streets offered itself as the perfect location for the first of many car chases, with Bond navigating the cobbled streets in his classic silver Aston Martin DB5. Although becoming more popular since becoming a designated European Cultural Capital for 2019, it still has fewer tourists than most cities in Italy. Perfect if your looking for that authentic, Italian, olde-worldy experience.
Seeking solitude, we find Bond years later in his ’retirement’ phase, set up in the stunning Port Antonio area, off the beaten track. The turquoise waters and plush greenery acts as the most picturesque of setting to portray his new, simplistic way of life in the jungle. Bond has long had a connection to this Caribbean island, and author Ian Fleming set up home there, so it seems like a suitable setting for his tropical retreat. The unspoiled beaches and trendy port town has tonnes of charm, and lots of natural attractions, ideal for a tropical adventure.
London of course, makes an appearance, home to MI6 and all the other key characters that make the franchise (M, Money Penny and Q). The Bond films wouldn’t be complete without a scene in the iconic Capital!
The Atlantic Road has a National Tourist Route status, stretching 8 miles from an island, connecting it to the mainland of Norway. A popular attraction due to the incredible scenery and architecture, this roads dramatic setting is used when Bond and Madeline set to flee the blacked out Range Rovers chasing them down. The result? A pretty nail bitting, dramatic scene! This impressive structure is definitely a visit if you take a trip to Norway.
The famous train station, Gare du Nord is featured when Emily accompanies Pierre Cadault’s heir, Mathieu to St. Tropez for the weekend (well almost). Located in Paris’ 10th arrondissement near Gare du Nord connects travellers with the rest of France, and routes to many destinations in Europe. It’s neoclassical style and collection of statues by famous sculptors, make it the perfect Parisian film set, and an interesting place to see in the flesh.
In episode 4, Emily’s co-worker, Luc takes her to the French cinema Le Champo Cinema. The filming location is in Paris’ Latin Quarter with the theatre being best known for it’s Art Deco styled interior and a haunt for French film stars over the years. If you’re interested in the French film scene, make sure you book a night at Le Champo cinema.
The largest French Department Store comes into play when Emily and classmate Petra opt for a spot of shopping, which soon leads to shoplifting. The flagship store is located in Paris’ 9th Arrondissement on Boulevard Haussmann boasts 750,000 square feet of French fashion. If you’re the Fashion Capital of the world, a trip to Galeries Lafayette ought to be on your must-see list.
It’s fair to say we saved the best till last. The Palace of Versailles is certainly the most regal of EIP Season 2 locations. Seen in the season finale, Emily coordinates the fashion show of Grégory Duprée, which takes place in the stunning Hall of Mirrors. The famous hall was designed to reflect King Louis XIV’s vision of himself as a King and the splendor of France, with all the mirrors made, in 1678 on French soil. You can see this stunning space for yourself, in addition to the rest of the Palace.
This volcanic Greek island is just north of the Sea of Crete, the most Southwestern island in the Cyclades group. Becoming more popular in recent years, tourists are amazed by the incredible beaches and untouched beauty of Milos. You could say its the rising star of the Greek Islands.
Mykonos is famously known as the most expensive Greek Island, due to it’s glamorous, 5-star status. Celebrities, athletes and movie stars flock to Mykonos to enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine, luxury accommodation, exclusive venues and lively nightlife.
Previously ‘Zante’ was only ever known as a ‘lads’ or ‘girls’ holiday destination, and the beauty of Zakynthos was, to a degree, overlooked. Although it still has it’s party town, much of the island is untouched, famous for turtle beaches, coves, caves, and even shipwrecks. The mountainous landscape is perfect for hiking and biking, while the stunning beaches provide all the waterborne fun.
If your yet to travel to Santorini, put it to the top of your list. This stunning Caldera offers the perfect romantic getaway with its beautiful cobbled streets and quant, cave like villa rentals. If days spent looking out onto the stunning view from your pool sounds like your kind of thing, you’ll love Santorini.
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands, known for its ancient ruins, snow-capped peaks and stunning beaches. With a relatively reliable weather forecast, you can pretty much guarantee sunshine, and with so much to see, you’ll be spoilt for daytime activities. If your looking to find the perfect combination of sight-seeing, relaxing and outdoor fun – Crete might be the one for you.
If your a beach enthusiast, and are looking to be stunned, visit Lefkada. The cliff-backed beaches of Egremni and Porto Katsiki, Vassiliki, Sivotasure and Meganisiwill are guaranteed to take your breath way (amongst others). If sun-soaking, beach bars and cave swimming is your ultimate holiday dream.. Lefkada, Lefkada, Lefkada.
Sitting above the Thames in the National Trust gardens, this regal country house provides its guests with the ultimate escape from reality. It’s fair to say anyone who is someone has found restbite here, including the Duchess of Sussex the night before her wedding. From the Prince of Wales Suite and private hot tub terrace, to the Chandeliered Dining Room and Private boat options, you’ll be sparing no expense at Cliveden House.
The Ritz is world renowned for its opulence, lavish interiors and classic British feel. From dining in the Mechelin Starred Restaurant, to unwinding at the award winning Hiro Miyoshi Spa, you can certainly rely on the Ritz to deliver the regal, romantic setting your looking for. If the overnight prices are too steep, but still want to experience the Ritz, their St Valentines Afternoon Tea may be the perfect compromise at £95 per person.
If your looking to live like a King and Queen, Thornbury Castle ought to be your first choice. With a tailored Valentines Package, you can expect to enjoy champagne in your bedchamber, a six-course Tasting Menu, and a Full English Breakfast for the perfect romantic weekend. If that doesn’t tempt you – we’re sure it’s previous occupants will. Yes, you can stay in Henry IIIV and Anne Boleyn’s bedroom!
As far as romance is concerned, being surprised with a mini holiday is definitely up there. Why not whisk your loved one away for a relaxing long weekend in Guernsey, and indulge in the stunning facilities and regal setting of the Old Government House. Fit with a range of suite options and romantic add ons, you won’t need to worry about a thing during your seaside stay.
After hearing Queen Victoria had said she’d never seen a “lovelier or more romantic spot” than Inverlochy Castle in 1873, it had to make the list. Set with the Scottish Highlands as its backdrop, you can expect the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life at this impressive estate. With true Scottish styling you can expect fires to be roaring, rich interiors and lots of polished wood – however, it has been updated with all the latest amenities to offer maximum comfort for its guests.
Tulum is the hottest holiday destination right now! First and foremost a beach destination — and for good reason! The beaches of Tulum are some of the best in the world alongside lush jungles, cenotes (caves with crystal-clear waters), gorgeous lagoons and importantly a crazy nightlife – think Bagatelle, Taboo, Bonbonniere and so much more. We have selected 5 of the Top Hotels for all budgets for that Mexican escape.
For: A Secret Escape.
This ‘Villa’ is set on the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula in Tulum, described as a sophisticated, exotically furnished Hotel with 11 rooms. A private oasis for its guests, the suites are designed with spacious bathrooms, luxury linens, and access to salt-water infinity pools, just steps from the sea. The main suite even includes a roll out bed, so you can enjoy the star-lit sky from the comfort of your sheets. La Valise is all about wellness. Offering many wellbeing improvement classes, to engage the mind, body and soul – from sound baths to snorkelling.
Suspended among the trees on Tulums dramatic coastline, Azulik sits off route 15 next to some of the area’s most glamorous hotels and beach clubs, just a 10-minute drive from central Tulum. The town has modernised over the past few years and the main strip is now busy with excellent restaurants and popular bars. The town still aches with bohemian charm but having the option to escape to Azulik’s white sandy beach is a real bonus. The villas of AZULIK Tulum were designed to create an atmosphere for rest, where we limit technology to reduce its impact on the environment and our ability to get in tune with our surroundings.
Papaya Playa Project is a sustainable boutique hotel complex, made up of beachfront cabins and cottages, located on the Mayan Riviera. Offering rustic accommodation, with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, the eco-friendly properties are modestly decorated, with a light airy feel. Some fit with rooftop plunge pools. Papaya Playa Project organises events including DJ sets and Full Moon parties to keep their guests entertained. If your all about relaxation, you’ll love their Spa, specialising in Mayan Shaman therapies.
This contemporary, boutique hotel sits on a private beach, on the Zona Hotelera seafront strip, known for its array of bars, beaches and restaurants. The rooms are fit with all the essential amenities, while the Hotel includes an outdoor pool, beach beds served by the restaurant and beautiful Spa facilities. This Hotel is in the prime location for exploring much of Tulum’s natural beauty – including the Mayan Ruins, just a 10 minute drive away. Maria Del Mare is perfect for the younger crowd, offering the perfect combination of rest and play! (Adults only).
Xscape Tulum is a chic, modern budget hotel on a quiet side street in Tulum’s city centre. The Hotel has stylish rooms, a great restaurant and a beautiful outdoor pool, while its urban setting allows for easy access to shops, bars and restaurants. With low taxi prices, getting to the beach won’t be any hassle, as well as the archeological sites near by including the Mayan Ruins, just 3 miles from the Hotel. The staff at the front desk are keen to help, assisting with taxi calling, restaurant suggesting, and any other questions you may have.
If you’re going to consider a romantic city break, it’s fair to say Europe will be your no.1 choice – home to the most romanticised, history rich cities in the world. Have a read through our favourites, and the hotels best suited to max out on the ROMANCE.
The ‘City of Love’ had to be our first mention, world renowned as the most romantic city for decades. From the architecture and art, to the food and entertainment – romance is imbedded in the culture of Paris, and still a firm favourite for couples celebrating proposals, weddings and everything in between.
London is lots of things, and still a hugely popular choice for tourists looking for a city break. When it comes to romantic weekends, London certainly deserves to make the list. Whether it’s a luxury spa day, an afternoon of high tea or a dim lit cocktail bar, there are tonnes of romantic memories to be made in the capital.
Rome has long stood a favourite for romantic trips abroad – characterised by it’s romanticised, historical landmarks, quant cobbled streets and incredible Italian cuisine. From a tour of the Vatican or Colosseum, to drinks in front of the Treve Fountain – if that old romance feel is your thing – choose Rome for your couples getaway.
With its unique waterways and stunning architecture, Venice acts as the prefect setting for a romantic escape. Unlike any other city, it’s unique landscape offers the perfect space to make unforgettable memories. From the picturesque Gondola rides, to the secluded, private restaurants, Venice is the ultimate location to ‘wow’ your special someone.
This Mediterranean city is full of culture and design, much like the locations above – but it’s traditional festivals and street parties might sway you in its direction. If your looking for a weekend full of good food, sightseeing and celebrating with your partner, Barcelona should be added to your list!
Looking to live the ultimate Italian lifestyle? Head for a Tuscan escape to the beautiful city of Florence. With it’s boutique shopping locations, timeless art and beautiful mountainous backdrop – Florence offers itself as an ‘urban escape’ away from many of the tourist heavy destinations above.
A current favourite destination for those looking to splash the cash on an exotic holiday during the winter months, the Maldives continues to attract tourists, with over 132 resorts across the different atolls. From the most contemporary over-water villas, to the most sustainable beachside properties – there’s something to suit every holiday objective. Which atoll to choose can become mind-boggling, with some choosing a resort closer to Male Airport, for a shorter journey, while snorkelling enthusiasts might opt for the atolls further south. Either way, every single island is picture perfect! February is the sunniest month in the Maldives, so with 10 hours of sun everyday, sun seekers ought to make this their first choice.
Tulum sits on the coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Known best for its stunning beaches, boutique-style hotels and nightlife, Tulum is the perfect holiday destination to see off the last few weeks of winter. With the peak season hitting around Christmas and new year, and rising again during the Easter holidays, February is the perfect month to grab great deals on hotels, and enjoy the beaches without it feeling overcrowded with families. Reap the benefits of visiting during the driest period, before it starts to pour from May.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean, with stunning beaches covering the coast, mangrove lagoons, mountain peaks and waterfalls found inland. If your looking for somewhere to explore, but also love long days at the beach – this might be the perfect tropical destination for you. The perfect combination of rest and play! February offers itself as a great time to visit, with great weather (around 30 degrees at peak times), and less tourists (pre Easter).