By the Confused.com Travel Team
The wrapping paper has been recycled and the pine needles swept away – it’s time to go back to normality. Or is it? At Confused.com we see no reason why the joy should end, so it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday this year. Here are our top tips for the year’s hot destinations:
Turkey is still a firm favourite with holidaymakers, and who can blame them? Thanks to its rich history and sites of archaeological interest – including Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy – it’s the perfect spot for culture vultures.
There are also great family beaches, a warm and lively atmosphere, and a huge range of accommodation in resorts such as Gumbet, Marmaris and Kusadasi. Plus there’s great diving to be had, and the pound stretches a long way there at present. Oh, and did we mention that it’s really hot? Lovely.
Read our guide to driving in Turkey.
Spanish islands (Balearics & Canaries)
The Balearics and Canaries are still incredibly popular, both among those seeking action and those looking to take it easy. For example, Ibiza is generally regarded as being a notorious hotbed of hedonism; and yet the north of the island is incredibly beautiful and tranquil.
But whether you prefer putting your feet up or foam-partying four in the morning, everybody’s guaranteed to enjoy the beautiful scenery and sun-kissed weather.
Greek islands (Crete, Corfu, Rhodes & Zante)
With picturesque white villas and churches, clear waters and azure skies, the Greek islands are a marvel. The beach bars are a perfect place to relax and forget about the world. And don’t get us started on the food. You can get involved in the 18-30 revelry if that’s your thing; but for our money, the quieter beaches are the spots well worth seeking out.
Read our guide to driving in Greece.
For striking mountains and lovely beaches, a break in the eastern Mediterranean is an absolute winner. And there’s something for everyone in Cyprus – whether you want to be bowled over by nine thousand years of history; throw some shapes in Ayia Napa; or just enjoy the terrific local food and soak up some rays. The island is dotted with UNESCO World Heritage sites and unspoiled beaches, and if you go during the winter, it’s even possible to ski in the mountains.
Egypt is rightfully an incredibly popular destination. The selection of Red Sea resorts is a gift for beach lovers. It’s beautifully hot. And, of course, there’s the incredible history, too.
A trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing the great pyramids. As Karl Pilkington put it, “it’s like a massive game of Jenga that has got out of hand”. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Plus of course there’s the Sphinx at Giza, the Temple of Ramses III, the Valley of the Kings near Luxor… plenty enough to satisfy even the most hardened traveller.
Be sure to find out about the local customs before you go, as what may be considered acceptable in the UK may not necessarily be viewed the same way here. Most of all, it’s important to dress modestly – particularly when visiting traditional spots.
Mexico is glorious - a country with a great sense of freedom, wonderful food and terrific beaches. If you’re into your water activities, there’s great diving, sailing and deep sea fishing to be had. Banderas Bay is a particularly good spot for that, and there are plenty of other incredible landmarks to see while you’re there, including yet more pyramids and the spectacular Meso-American ruins.
It’s worth keeping in mind that – outside of the major cities – English is not as widely spoken as you might expect. So be sure to familiarise yourself with some useful Spanish phrases if you’re venturing a little further afield.
How do you feel about soaring temperatures, miles of white sandy beaches and miles upon miles of palm trees? Good? Then Florida is sure to melt your butter.
If you’ve got a family, then there are plenty of well-known theme parks to visit all around the Orlando area, such as Disney World, Epcot and Universal Studios. Actually, that can be a load of fun even if you don’t have a family. You might also be surprised at the price of package deals. With 7-night holidays available from £589, the States have never seemed closer.
If you are hopping over the pond, do bear in mind that it’s now compulsory to fill in an online ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) form before going. To find out more, read our article 'Going to the USA? Then Don’t Forget ESTA'.
With its fascinating history, going to Cuba is like stepping into a different world. The colonial architecture, vibrant murals and multicoloured old maquinas are a real feast for the eyes. And despite Cuba’s increasing popularity among tourists, it’s still easy to find beautiful secluded beaches for a real sense of getting away from it all.
Again, it’s well worth learning some useful Spanish phrases before going – they’ll definitely come in handy if you want to go off the beaten track.
For the world’s best beaches, incredibly friendly locals and cheap fresh fish as big as your head, Thailand is an absolute winner. Whether you take a tuk-tuk ride to a temple in Bangkok or stretch out on the white beaches of Krabi, you’re certain to have an experience you’ll never forget. And regardless of what budget you’re working to, you’ll find yourself well catered for, with accommodation ranging from the budget to the luxurious.
For the ultimate relaxed lifestyle and baking hot sun, head on over to the Caribbean. Every island has its own unique ambience and history; but wherever you go, the laid-back attitude and feeling of being pampered are always present. If you’re feeling a bit more active, it offers some sensational scuba diving, among other activities. Or you could just sit on the beach with a rum cocktail and watch the world go slowly by.
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