Booking your summer 2017 holiday in advance is a great way to secure a low deposit, as well as getting other early booking incentives such as securing popular hotels and free child places. The only hard part is choosing where to go! To help you plan ahead, here are five destinations to keep an eye on for 2017 holidays.
Panoramic view of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
With azure waters, white-pebbled beaches and the old town charm of Dubrovnik, it’s not hard to see why holidays to Croatia are taking off. The country has recently welcomed everyone from Tina Turner to Brian Ferry, and it’s also used as a filming location for the popular TV series Game of Thrones.
The most popular time to visit is during July and August where temperatures can be as high as 28°C – perfect weather for long beach holidays. However, with its Mediterranean climate, Croatia is warm throughout the rest of the year too making for a pleasant trip all year round!
Holidays to Dubrovnik are particularly popular thanks to the area’s sprawling coastline and rich history. The city is home to several historical monuments, and the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – making it ideal for a short city break.
Head over to Dubrovnik’s best-known beach, Beach Banje, which has beautiful views of the Old Town and is lined with traditional Croatian cafés and restaurants, as well as European culinary delights. Try the Banje Beach Restaurant, which serves superb seafood and Mediterranean dishes. It even has its own private pier to anchor customers’ dingy, boat or even yacht!
Discover your adventurous side by island hopping to one of over 1,000 islands dotted around the coast, or take a day trip to Montenegro by coach to visit the city of Kotor, which has several Romanesque churches, and Budva – home to sheltered caves and impressive beaches.
2. Cape Verde
Boa Vista Beach
If you prefer exotic destinations, then Cape Verde is just the place for you. With average temperatures between 26°C and 30°C, and flights times from the UK taking just six hours, Cape Verde offers visitors year-round Caribbean sunshine closer to home – and often for less money.
Beach fans should head to Boa Vista – one of the largest and least populated of the islands. The sands that surround Boa Vista are among the best outside of the Caribbean – with white stretches, warm waters and Blue Flag prestige as standard.
Those who enjoy the great outdoors can explore the forested peaks of Monte Estancia or set sail on a catamaran tour to see colonies of turtles in their natural habitat.
Holidays to Sal – another Cape Verde island – offer a more North African style climate and a volcanic landscape. The soft, white beaches are also home to a variety of watersports.
If you’re planning a holiday to Cape Verde in August, look out for the annual São Vicente Baia das Gatas Festival , a long weekend that’s dedicated to local and international music. The festival started in 1984 and is traditionally held when there is a full moon.
Valletta, the capital city of Malta.
Malta is well-known in the UK as a sun and sea destination famous for its clear blue waters – many of which are the clearest in the Mediterranean.
Alongside 300 days of sun each year, the Maltese Islands are steeped in 7,000 years of history – hence its UNESCO World Heritage Sites which include the City of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples, and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum – an underground monument.
When booking a cheap holiday to Malta in 2017, remember that it isn’t just one island. Many travellers look for deals in Malta’s neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino. Gozo is home to the oldest standing temples in the world, while Comino is home to the famous Blue Lagoon – one of the best beaches in Malta. An added bonus is that flight times are around three hours from the UK.
If you’re looking for relaxation, head to Mellieha Bay on the north coast where you’ll find a traditional old town with shops and restaurants. You’ll be a short 30-minute drive from Mdina too – a medieval city of honey-coloured walls and cobbled streets.
Want to learn a little more about Maltese history? Take a trip to St. Paul’s Catacombs, located on the outskirts of Mdina. There you’ll find underground Roman cemeteries that were used up to the fourth century AD.
4. Costa Brava
The rocky coast of Lloret de Mar featuring a castle.
Once the go-to Spanish resort for UK holidaymakers, and now seeing something of a revival, Costa Brava has something for everyone. It has some of the finest Blue Flag beaches in Europe, with stretching soft sands and romantic horseshoe bays, plus plenty of activities and watersports.
Lloret de Mar, on the southern part of the coast, offers lazy days on the beach alongside a vibrant nightlife. Its mile-long stretch of golden sand offers a range of watersports, with bars and restaurants selling a large variety of Spanish, English and European cuisines.
One of Lloret de Mar’s hidden gems, the Santa Clotilde Gardens, are beautifully landscaped and are set on top of a cliff with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Alternatively, take to Tossa de Mar with its charming Catalan culture of seafront restaurants and tapas bars. Alongside the castle views and a large horseshoe bay, named Playa Gran, you’re only 60 miles away from the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona – making day trips an easy option.
If you want to be even closer to Barcelona, try Calella de la Costa – a bustling coastal town centre with plenty of laid-back cafés. Look out for its extensive pedestrianised shopping zone, running parallel to the attractive sea-front promenade which is full of shops.
Calo des Mort beach in Formentera.
A Formentera holiday is often compared to one in the Caribbean due to the island’s fine, white sand and clear, warm waters. Formentera is the most southern island in the Balearics and is often referred to as Ibiza’s lesser known sister – which is only a short 30-minute boat ride away.
Although close, the two islands couldn’t be more different. Formentera has a relaxed atmosphere and features pristine, white beaches – perfect for swimming or snorkeling. It’s an ideal Caribbean-esque location for sun worshipers too, featuring Blue Flag beaches.
Keen shoppers can visit the regular hippy markets. The artisans’ market, the most famous of all, is held just outside El Pilar de la Mola and is the largest of its kind – opening on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.
Get off the beaten track by hiring bikes and using the eco-friendly paths across the island to explore. You’ll find small villages and perhaps even a few windmills among spectacular scenery – especially if you take a coastal path.
Published 20th April 2016