Dominica Republic – Punta Cana
In the past Dominica Republic has played second fiddle to Mexico when it comes to Caribbean holidays, but this luscious island is starting to come into its own. There are now a number of fantastic hotels on the island and it’s a great choice for a winter sun holiday.

The resort of Punta Cana is a picture perfect Caribbean destination, palm tree lined golden sand beaches and warm azure waters. Many of the hotels in the Dominican Republic are all-inclusive as its tourism trade is just emerging with plenty of four and five stars accommodation on offer.

The Royalton Punta Cana in Bavaro is a 24hr all-inclusive hotel, which means food and drinks are served all day long. It has three pools and is right on the beach, the hotel also has a total of ten restaurants and snack bars. Like many hotels, entertainment is top notch and is provided all day and night, so you won’t be short of things to do.

Egypt – Sharm el Sheikh

Many people had to Egypt for a guaranteed sunshine holiday, with year round scorching temperatures, the resort of Sharm el Sheik on the red sea is one of the most popular tourist destinations and the resort is jam packed full of luxury all-inclusive hotels.

Located on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, surrounded on one side by the Sinai desert and the other by the warm waters of the Red Sea, Sharm el Sheikh is a great all round destination. The bustling resort has plenty of bars and restaurants, catering well to the tourists, as well as plenty of shopping options from traditional souks to air conditioned malls.

In the heart of the resort is the Sultan Garden Resort, it has its own private beach, four outdoor pools and a number of activities available for adults and children alike. This all-inclusive hotel has a number of restaurants including buffet and formal a la cart dining options and snack bars. The hotel also has three bars providing locally produced alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks.

Turkey – Antalya

Antalya is a region on the coast of Turkey, the ‘Turquoise’ Mediterranean Coast and is quickly becoming one of the countries popular holiday destinations. Antalya has a reputation of a glamorous and luxurious destination; the small resorts dotted along the coastline are packed with luxury five stars hotels and complexes.

The Calista Luxury Resort in Belek, has prime position looking out into the Mediterranean ocean, like many right on the beach, it offers a wide range of activities. It has three swimming pools including one with waterslides. It runs a daily activities programme perfect for adults and children alike. It also provides a great selection of evening entertainment and has a main buffet restaurant, six a la cart restaurants and snack bars dotted around the complex.

The hotel is located in the charming resort town of Belek, where there are a wide range of traditional Turkish Markets as well as their popular ‘designer’ shops. You won’t be short of places to eat or drink here either, with a number of great restaurants and local bars.

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Picture: whl.travel


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


One of the highlights of a cruise is the food, and served all day and night to satisfy hundreds of hungry holidaymakers, it has to be appetising as well as tasty.

Cruise operators, always keen to enhance the cruise experience for passengers, have raised the standard of their menus consulting with some of the world’s top chefs on the best menus to serve on ships.  The result is cruise liners are serving food that would not be out of place in the best restaurants.

Holidaymakers have a choice of restaurants on cruise ships and so even the fussiest eater or anyone with a special requirement can easily be catered for.  Meals can be sit-down formal affairs while buffets are great for kids or for diners who just like to pick bits and pieces for themselves.

As well as the main meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner cruise ships offer snacks, cakes and sundaes throughout the day.  And if anyone is still feeling peckish after all the day’s food, then head to the midnight buffet.

Yes, cruise ships really do serve food nearly 24/7 so that holidaymakers never go hungry.

Cruise Restaurant

Picture: Steve Douglas


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 booking your dream holiday the added extras will be what will take you from standard to luxury. For the rich and famous these extras come as standard, they want the luxurious touch, when traveling which is why for many the following take priority when booking a holiday.

Private Airport Transfer

Your picked up from home, in a luxury car and chauffer driven to the airport and don’t worry about grappling with your bags. Private airport transfer when you at your destination, will mean more time spent relaxing whilst all the other holiday maker’s spend time waiting for the bus or paying for an overpriced taxi which has no air-conditioning. Then you are dropped off again home from the airport upon your return.

Airport Lounges

You have to be at airports early, so there is plenty of time to kill. But some airports especially busy ones don’t have anywhere convenient and quiet to sit. Well unless you book one of the luxury lounges. If you fly first class with some airlines, at major airports they have their own lounges, for your comfort. It’s a great way to start off, relaxed and ready for your holiday, without being crowded with the masses.

Go up the Class

First Class or Business Class, here you have the room, the service and the peace and quiet you just don’t get in economy. For long flights the extra space is a god send and for an overnight flight it means a full night’s sleep. Plus you are treated to three course meals and a fantastic alcohol selection.  Oh and use of the luxury lounges comes as standard.

Room Upgrades

Whether you get the pent house suit or your own personal bungalow, room upgrades give you the opportunity to spread yourself out. Room upgrades also come with better service such as your own personal butler. Opt for a bigger room, when booking your holiday you will find you needs the extra space and will enjoy it.

Spa Treatments

Luxury accommodation means luxury extras, such as spa treatments. Massages, facial and full body wraps to the use of the full spas facilities. This added extra will really help you relax and keep you in tip top shape whilst away.

couple beach

Picture: Wicked Cool


Amsterdam at any time is a popular place with many on the main continent of Europe, but for many British citizens it does not seem at have the same appeal. This is a mistake, for Amsterdam is a great place to have a break in the summer months particularly. First time visitors are surprised to find that the city has lots to offer, mall enough to walk or cycle almost anywhere you want, but it is rarely dull.

It has a collection of delightful buildings, canals and charming bridges, along with some top rated museums, not forgetting for the serious music lover, one of the finest orchestras in the world. The canals have to be one of the main attractions and a good way to see these and the city is to hire a pedalo or go on a ride in a glass roofed boat. This way you can see in detail the view of Amsterdam’s historic gabled buildings. Alternatively go on foot, the best section is probably the Jordaan district, to the west of the city centre.

Parks are a fine feature of Amsterdam and the pick is probably Vondelpark opened in 1865, this one alone attracts about ten million visitors a year! In summer here you can see entertainment at the Openluchttheatre, a venue for dramatic performances and live music, in the centre of the park. Amsterdam has its own speaker’s corner too at the Oosterpak with its very own English garden.

The centre and historical part of Amsterdam is Dam Square with buskers and puppet shows and many notable building surrounding the square. The Royal Palace is here too and the 15th century national monument dominates the east part of the square. Just 400 yards away from the Dam you will find solitude at the Begijnhof. This little courtyard is enclosed by old houses and here you can spend a few moments of quiet solitude away from the bustle of the city centre.

Amsterdam is worth a visit at any time of year, but summer really brings out the best in this old city.

Amsterdam

Picture: Moyan_Brenn


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


Comprised of 45 small islands and islets, El Nido is an interesting municipality in the Palawan province of the Philippines.  Relatively unknown to foreign tourists, this area is much more than a stereotypical paradise. Stunning inlets, steep limestone cliffs, clear waters and sunny beaches could easily persuade you to spend the rest of your life here.

El Nido and its wonders

Besides the breathtaking views, beautiful coral reefs, peaceful lagoons, and surprising springs and waterfalls, El Nido offers you a diverse selection of activities, including rock climbing, trekking, snorkelling, diving and island tours.

Some of the most renowned attractions in El Nido are the Cathedral Caves, Simizu Island, Ipil Beach, Snake Island, Big Lagoon and Secret Lagoon Beach.  You can also enjoy fantastic restaurants with delicious foods and a welcoming atmosphere.  Shopping addicts can find numerous small boutiques, shops and souks.

Climate

El Nido’s climate is divided into two seasons: a wet season from June to November and a dry season from December to May.  Since April and May are the driest months, these are the best time to visit this location.

Lodging information

Although El Nido offers a variety of lodging options, if you want to discover the local life the best possible alternatives are the family-run guesthouses and small resorts.

Getting to El Nido

Since there are no direct flights from England to El Nido, you must book a flight from London to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, and another flight from Manila to El Nido.  The entire journey takes about 18 hours.

El Nido

Picture: patrick kranzlmuller


Taking a cruise on the Baltic Sea is one of the best ways to enjoy most of the countries in Northern Europe without booking separate trips.  This cruise is also ideal for UK travellers who do not want to fly since they can set sail directly from Southampton.  Baltic cruises are only in operation between May and September.

A Baltic cruise provides an opportunity to take in and enjoy the best of Scandinavia with ports of call in various countries.  There are many fascinating cities to explore including Oslo, Helsinki, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen.

The biggest attraction on this cruise is St. Petersburg.  This city has so much to offer travellers, from unique domed buildings to captivating art galleries, that most cruise ships dock here for two days.  Other cities on the itinerary are equally as interesting.

An on-shore excursion in Tallinn, Estonia, gives visitors a chance to view the grand domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral, while a jaunt around Helsinki allows them to buy souvenirs from the large handicraft market there.  A trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen reveals restaurant and bar-lined streets dotted here and there with fashionable shops.

A huge advantage of a Baltic cruise is the fact that English is widely spoken in most of the countries, except for Russia.  However, the different currencies in use in these countries pose a challenge to travellers.  One way around this is to buy the local currency at the first port of call then exchange whatever is left over at the next port.

Cruise Baltic

Picture: 16g


The British sunshine has seemed to have disappeared for now, so why not give yourself a boost and book an affordable summer holiday to hotter climes than ours.

1. Malaga
If you’re looking for beach fun and guaranteed sunshine, then check out Malaga. It’s close to the UK, has cheap apartments to rent and is a cheap area to eat and drink so you shouldn’t be too out of pocket. Its set right in the Costa Del Sol so it’s a great spot for getting out and about exploring the region, with cheap bus tours available.

2. Cala Galdana, Menorca
One of the popular Balearic Islands, Menorca is a quieter than its bigger rivals, so it’s a great choice if you want a quiet and affordable holiday. Towns include Cala Galdana; if you’re looking for a cheap hotel Cala Galdana has a number to choose from.  There are a number of small villages to choose from to stay in, apartments.

3. Corfu, Greece
Many younger people head to Kavos on the Greek Island of Corfu for fun in the sun, so you can really pick up cheap deals to this resort as well as Roda. If you want to get away from it all, try looking at some of the cheaper sleepy fishing villages. Pelekas is situated close to Corfu Town, its perfect if you enjoy scenic walks and its ancient streets are great to explore.

4. Antalya, Turkey
Still a growing tourist holiday destination, Antalya hasn’t got as big as some of its neighbouring resorts like Marmaris. There are a number of affordable hotels and apartments and a wide range of activities available. Check out its historical museums and ancient streets. Or for sun seekers park you self on the beach and enjoy the Turkish Riviera.

5. Cape Verde
Relatively unknown holiday destination, Cape Verde has yet to take off on the tourist trail, but it won’t be long before it does. The islands, which are off the west coast of Africa, feature favourable year round hot temperatures and an opportunity to get away from it all. There are only a few hotels on the islands, but they are pretty cheap, but I’m guessing they won’t stay that way for long.

Cape Verde, Boa Vista

Picture: Espen Faugstad