International borders are finally opening again after eighteen long months without travel and there’s an unbelievable array of destinations and experiences to enjoy in our new normal.
So, after an age of lockdowns and medical-grade masks steaming up your glasses anytime you brave a trip to the supermarket, where on Earth (quite literally) do you choose to go first?
The choice is startling, so here are three of our favourite destinations that have emerged from the pandemic more attractive than ever before.
Portugal saw a flurry of bookings as it was one of the first countries to receive a coveted spot on the government’s “Green” travel list.
A trip to Portugal deserves an entry in your travel journal – and it will come in so much cheaper than a trip to neighbouring Spain or France.
Portugal is the undiscovered gem of Western Europe, with a beautiful Atlantic coastline and well-respected history of producing fine wine.
Once upon a time, Portugal was the centre of a world-dominating empire. Start your trip in Lisbon, where you’ll be able to soak up the culture and history of this impressive naval nation. Whilst in Lisbon, explore the Belém Tower – a 16th Century fortification that marks the gateway to the city from the Atlantic Ocean – and devour a Portuguese egg custard tart, called Pastéis de Belém in the south of the country as it’s believed they were first created in the monastery right here in Belém.
If you want to soak up the sun and enjoy Portugal’s great wine and relaxed way of life, head south to the Algarve region. It’s not the cheapest region of the country, but it’s well worth the price. Enjoy a round of golf in the most gorgeous setting, or relax in the Monchique Thermal Baths before taking an evening stroll on the beach.
Spain has always been a favourite for Brits travelling abroad, thanks to its beautiful weather, delectable food and amazing choice of destinations.
For a laid-back getaway with all of the Mediterranean vibes you could wish for, choose Barcelona or nearby Tarragona. Barcelona rightly deserves a spot on any list of the best cities to visit in the world, and you’ll keep yourself entertained with sightseeing and shopping galore. When you’re there, pay a visit to the world’s oldest new-build… Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia started construction is March 1882 and they’re still working on it – it’s a masterpiece.
If art is your thing, hit the Spanish capital, Madrid, for an impressive collection of galleries and museums, including the Prado Museum where you’ll be able to see paintings by such Masters as Raphael and Titian.
Prefer to spend your holiday on the beach with sangria in hand? You’ll love Malaga and other coastal towns in the south of the country. The beaches are divine and Spanish food and drink are pretty heavenly too.
An up-and-coming destination, with charm spilling out over its gold-and-blue coastline. Croatia looks out over the Adriatic Sea, with some of the warmest and bluest waters in Europe.
Amazingly, Croatia’s national population is less than half that of London, so it’s the perfect destination to escape those big-city-getting-you-down vibes.
Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, is quite far inland, so the more popular tourist destination is Dubrovnik – described so aptly by the 18th Century poet Lord Byron as the “pearl of the Adriatic”.
Dubrovnik features an impressive old town, still protected by huge stone walls, built in the 16th Century. Nearby Zlatni rat beach (nothing to do with the rodent, I promise), is a wonderful sunbathing spot and Croatia’s reliably sunny weather forecast makes it an irresistible destination to show off your beach bod.
Oh, and if you’re a Disney fan, you have Croatia to thank for 101 Dalmatians as the breed originates from this mesmerising country. And Games of Thrones fans will certainly recognise Dubrovnik from the hit series too.
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