Florida is not called the sunshine state for nothing; the temperatures rarely drop below 22 degrees even in January and December, the two coldest months of the year. The winter months in Florida are the best time of the year to visit the state as the summer months of June through to the end of September, whilst much hotter are in the rainy season and it is not unusual for it to rain at least once every day, it is also the official hurricane season.

Orlando is the Airport to which most flights from the UK go to and there are many regional airports which fly direct all year round. Orlando will make a great base from which you can travel and see the whole State, or just use it to have a great holiday experience, shopping sightseeing or some of the best golf on the world.

Naturally Florida is renowned for its theme parks and Disney World has t rank the tops for many visitors, both young and old. SeaWorld Orlando is a stunning attraction where you can take part in thrilling rides if you wish or just watch feeding of the seals and sea lions, or become completely entranced in the 360 degree theatre experience.

You will never be short of things to do and to see in Orlando, museums and some of the best dining experiences anywhere can be found here. But Florida has so much to offer, beaches galore 500 miles of them and as all things America, they don’t do things by half. Try Cocoa Beach or Daytona Beach water sports galore and beach bars to quench your thirst or replenish you with home cooked delights.

The Everglades is something completely different from the glitz and glamour of the theme parks, one and a half million acres of unspoilt wetlands and home to the all American crocodile and you could spot a Florida Panther! Take a hover craft ride through them; you will remember it all your life.

So we suggest that you try Florida for your next winter vacation in the sun, we are sure it will not be the last time you visit the “Sunshine State” why not give it a try?

Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Picture: twg1942


When you first set foot in this delightful Swiss resort you will be smitten by the sheer beauty of it, fearsome, steep mountains, how truly Swiss it is. Many regard this ski resort as the perfect one surrounded by a dozen or so peaks dominated of course by the most famous the Matterhorn, which is probably the most spectacular peak in the world.

The first time visitor to Zermatt is sure to be in for a treat as they step down from the train, Zermatt is a car free village, as you stand on the square outside the station you will be struck, no doubt open mouthed at the Matterhorn towering above the village, you know you’re in for a treat. Zermatt fully deserves its status as one of the world’s best winter resorts, which has ski slopes that fully cater for all abilities, a traditional village, some of the world’s best altitude dining and good nightlife.

One thing that the skier will not be short of in Zermatt and that is plenty of ski runs, the Matterhorn Ski Paradise is vast, with just over 300km of pistes, including Europe’s highest run. It incorporates a glacier and accesses Cervinia in Italy, offering skiers of every level acres of terrain.

As a high class international resort, Zermatt has many hotels, restaurants and shops but it is not cheap but the standards are incredibly high.  This includes the mountain restaurants too, which are some of the best in the Alps. Lower cost accommodation and eating is in shorter supply but there is some although it requires searching as well as a good knowledge of the resort.

Perhaps amongst its biggest pluses for a top ski holiday is the sheer charm of Zermatt. The town retains a special something in the way that it is laid out and the fact that it is traffic free, with only small electric vehicles and horse drawn carriages allowed.

Flights to the resort are to Geneva and the transfer is about three hours, tour operators and ski specialist fly from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Southend, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton.

Zermatt

Picture: David Martyn Hunt


Increasingly popular with British tourists Cancun can boast excellent winter sun; in fact year round sunshine makes it ideal for a vacation at any time of year. The temperature ranges from 20° to 30° C from October through to March and from 22° to 33° C from April to September.

You will never run out of things to do in Cancun such as a wide range of water sports, or try out the challenge on the championship golf courses if you feel you can, or alternatively why not take the family to one of Cancun’s world renowned eco-parks. Weddings are increasingly popular amongst the romantics; all the information is available to you through your online travel site.

Undoubtedly with the warm Caribbean water sports will delight all and even the most enthusiastic competitor will be amazed at the sheer variety of things that can be done. Some of the best scuba diving, snorkelling and sport fishing in the world are to found in these waters, why not charter your own sailboat with crew and equipment for an adventurous day out on the open sea or a romantic sunset cruise!

Adventure is readily available with organised tours, for al l the family with some of the longest zip lines in Latin America, go mountain biking, drive through the jungle in open top jeeps and swim in cool pools fun is there for the asking. But of course, if you prefer the lazy life, what better way could there be than to simply soak up the sun on white sandy beaches. When you have finished your day relax in true Mexican style with a varied choice of cuisine, with everything from downtown traditional Mexican restaurants to ultra-chic restaurants dotted alongside the Nichupte lagoon. Something for every taste all served up with a smile, what are you waiting for?

Cancun

Picture: Raj Taneja


The Italian Riviera is a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline, set behind a mountain chain and stretches between the French Cote d’ Azur and Tuscany. The Riviera or to give it the correct name of Liguria, is one of the country’s smallest but most intriguing regions.

The beaches border naturally sparkling clear waters and the towns and villages stretching along it take one back to a time of old style pre-war vacations. This narrow arc of the Riviera is backed by the Maritime Alps and because of these it is well a sheltered strip of land with a mild microclimate and unquestionably the prettiest, most flower-filled stretch of Italian coast, in fact the western stretch is often named the Riviera di Fiore’s.

To the east of the coast lies the City of Genoa which in itself is an historic centre but the west is where most holiday makers will head for. Here you will find wide beaches, lush surroundings and a trip to Ventimiglia with its pebble beach and lively Friday market, is the place to head for if you want excellent for leather goods.

A visit to San Remo in the west is well worth it as it has a plethora of ancient and splendid 19th-century villas, whilst the gamblers can visit the casino dating from 1904 as well as a maze of a medieval old town.  Travel east now and you will find yourselves in olive country near the town of Imperia, while beyond lies Diano Marina with a long sandy beach and a cheerful summer buzz. Alassio offers a 3km sweep of sands dotted with deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

To get away from the beach scene a trip into Genoa will take you to one of the largest medieval old towns in Europe confirmed by a trip down Via Garibaldi, a 16th-century style street lined with magnificent town palaces, and as many of these are now banks, you can take a look inside and see some of the courtyards and frescoed lobbies.

No visit to this area would be complete without a trip into the delightful fishing village of Portofino, lying to the east of Genoa, where you will find that little has changed from the Sixties, then the haunt of Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.

Flying to Genoa is the main option and both Ryanair and British Airways have a reasonable timetable, but driving down to the Italian Riviera is a good option too as a car here would give the opportunity to take in the whole coast and perhaps fit in Monte Carlo as well.

Italian Riviera

Picture: Matteo Bittanti


If you’re planning a partying holiday with your friends, there are such a huge number of options of where to visit across Europe that it can be difficult to choose one. A lesser chosen place for these types of holidays is the Greek Islands.

Mykonos is known as one of the more cosmopolitan and fashionable islands. During the day it’s a peaceful resort where you can relax or take part in fun games such as banana boating and jet skiing. But at night, there are loads of trendy clubs and fashionable bars open for business.

Zante is a big name in party holidays. And the place that is talked about most is the town of Laganas. It is one of Greece’s top four party resorts, and for good reasons – it’s packed to the brim with flashy clubs, bars and pubs.

Kavos is a popular place for young people to head after their exams are over. It’s a small resort but it’s packed with people looking for a good time. Big names such as Tinchy Stryder and Professor Green are known to visit, as well as a number of R&B artists.

Laganas

Picture: Eelke de Blouw


For tourists seeking an adrenaline rush, there are many thrilling options found all over the world.  Bungee jumping, base jumping and sky diving are the more popular activities, while rappelling and edge walking also attract a fair amount of participants.

Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

Bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge, 111m toward the Zambezi River, is a popular attraction for tourists seeking an adrenaline surge.  The bungee site is located in between the Zimbabwean and Zambian borders; the area is nicknamed No Man’s Land.

Cliff base jumping, Norway

For those who revel in the rush of free-falling, the Kjerag Mountains in Norway offer a plateau among its renowned cliffs for thrill-seeking tourists that is perfect for base jumping.  The Kjerag plateau is located on the south side of Lysefjord in Rogaland.

Rappeling at Iguazu Falls Boat Ride, Argentina & Brazil

Rappeling is offered on both Argentinian and Brazilian sides of the Igazu Falls.  Those participating in this activity can climb up to a rappelling platform, where they are secured by the operators with rope.  They are then lowered 55m in a controlled descent, which offers a unique view of the falls.

Edge Walking, CN Tower, Canada

The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada offers visitors the opportunity to walk 356m above ground on the ledge of its main pod.  This is a hands-free experience – visitors are attached to an overhead safety rail.  The walk offers breathtaking views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.

Skydiving over Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Tour operators in Taupo, New Zealand offer single and tandem skydiving options over Lake Taupo.  Skydivers will free-fall from 3,600m above ground and enjoy views of the lake, Tongariro National Park and the snow peaks of Mount Ruapehu.

Kingda Ka rollercoaster, United States

Six Flags Great Adventures boasts the tallest rollercoaster in the world, the Kingda Ka, which can be found in the state of New Jersey in the United States.  Reaching 206km/h, the ride is initiated by a hydraulic launch mechanism; the ride lasts 28 seconds.

CN Tower

Picture: Wanda Gould


Attracting over half a million tourists each year, Antigua is a great destination for those looking to relax and unwind in luxury. There are literally hundreds of sandy beaches and coral reefs to explore throughout the island, providing a great opportunity to do a bit of snorkelling and scuba diving, but the big draw of Antigua is the sunshine.

An all year round destination, Antigua is the sunniest island of the Eastern Caribbean Islands with temperatures ranging between the mid-seventies and mid-eighties, and a cool north easterly wind to take the edge off.

The island is just 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, so wherever you stay you are within easy reach of all of the islands main attractions including Nelsons Dockyard National Park and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

Due to Antigua’s calm, clear waters it hosts various sailing and yachting events throughout the year including the Antigua Sailing Week and the Charter Yacht Show. The Antigua Carnival is also a popular attraction and is well worth a visit if you like the sound of steel drums and calypso bands; the carnival lasts for 10 days and starts at the end of July.

Water activities are a must for those visiting Antigua and the crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and diving, where there is an abundance of colourful marine life and coral reefs to see and explore; windsurfing, sailing and sea fishing are also popular activities on the island.

Antigua offers many attractions for the holiday maker and is a great destination to visit at least once in your life.

Hermitage Bay, Antigua

Picture: ITC Classics


St Petersburg is an ideal holiday destination to enjoy magnificent Russian architecture.  Located near the river Neva, the Russian city exudes timeless charm.  Known as the ‘City of the Tsars’ due to its rich past, St Petersburg offers a range of splendid attractions for tourists.

Attractions

St Petersburg has all the elements for an interesting holiday: grand Russian architecture, great art, a rich history, wonderful cultural traditions and amazing nightlife all combine to give tourists the opportunity to have a wonderful time in the city.  This cultural capital of Russia offers visitors the chance to enjoy musical concerts, operas, ballet performances and a host of other exciting activities.

St Petersburg preserves its rich heritage in a protected manner, which is why the city has only three skyscrapers, all of which are located away from the historical centre of the place.  Among the famous landmarks of St Petersburg are the Winter Palace, the Russian Museum, Peter and Paul Fortress, the Admiralty, the bridges on the Neva, the Museum of Artillery and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral.

Visitor information

St Petersburg is located in the northwest of Russia.  The city is easy to access by aeroplane.  Pulkovo international airport connects the city to other international destinations.  The city’s Moskovsky railway station is a terminal station serving routes to many parts of the country and beyond.

The city of St Petersburg experiences a humid continental climate.  The summers are humid and hot while the winters are wet and cold.  The best time to visit the city is during the summer months of July and August.

Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburgh

Picture: Roger Wollstadt


Switzerland is a beautiful country and one which many people only think of in the skiing season, and it is true that it has wonderful ski towns and villages, but if you want to see the country, summer is the best time to go. Easily accessible by rail, City breaks can be very rewarding and one of the best has to be the Swiss capital Bern.

The old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site it has some of the best shopping arcades to be found anywhere and is situated on the loop of the River Aare featuring delightful river side restaurants and cafes. The old town, or more correctly the original medieval section, boasts wonderful fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets and historic towers which are unique.

Delightful boutiques and many bars of the old town, some of which are located in vaulted cellars, and the small street cafes are a favourite with the locals and of course the tourist population. A spectacular sight is to be seen in the Rose Garden above the Old Town and features no less than 223 variety of rose, 200 irises and 28 differing rhododendron are featured. Whilst there and for a dining experience, visit the Restaurant Rosengarten, you will not be disappointed with either the international cuisine or the spectacular views from the terrace.

As with most Swiss towns public transport is excellent, but to really enjoy the beauty exploration is best done on foot. The city centre has numerous squares and it is here that traditional markets are held weekly, well worth a look. Bern is easy to reach by many means of transport, car, or air but for those preferring rail, you can take advantage of the dense rail network with its direct connections to the major European cities.

Bern is a good base from which you can take advantage of the many excursions through this lovely country.

Bern

Picture: eastside06


When we think of Portugal, naturally the Algarve springs to mind and with very good reason, after all it is a superb place to spend two weeks swimming in clear blue seas and enjoying the delights that the fishermen bring to our restaurant tables. However there is another side to Portugal and spending thirty six hours in fascinating Lisbon will quickly show you this.

This delightful jewel is set against the superb Atlantic Ocean and never seems to shake off  delightful manners and traditions. Marvel at the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that clatter their way around the city and climb among the seven steep hills over which this city lies. Wander through the past in the Baixa district; here you will see haberdashers and tailors, gaze into the shops of time honoured old herbalists, amongst the ancient baroque streets of an ornate city centre.

Another feature of Lisbon is the climate which you should find neither over hot and it will never be really cold either. August is not a particularly good time to visit Lisbon though as the locals shut down most of the city and head away to the coast; it can be quite humid at this time of year.

Take in the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos which is a monastery that was built commemorate Vasco da Gama’s landing in India, the Gothic chapel is an absolute must here. For a mere €2.50  you can catch the wooden tram which runs every fifteen minutes and delight as it rumbles along through the streets and past churches and castles.

The maritime connection of Portugal is featured in the iconic Torre de Belem which is a gothic tower and stands over the River Tejo continuing to watch over the entrance to the harbour, accessing the tower gives wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean. There is so much to see with restaurants and food to sample on a thirty six hour trip to Lisbon, you will certainly arrange to return.

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

Picture: Linnie