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


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


Vienna, the capital of Austria, has always been a highly attractive holiday destination.  The magnificent city is known for the glorious buildings and monuments of its rich past.  Most significantly, Vienna can at once be considered old and new, as it preserves the past while marching ahead with the present.

Attractions

Vienna offers tourists an amazing landscape of architectural wonders from its history.  The magnificent baroque buildings and beautiful romanesque architectural styles come together to give the Austrian capital its distinct look and feel.

Vienna also has a strong cultural identity.  Tourists are exposed to a wonderful world of music, opera and theatre while enjoying a holiday in the city.  Vienna is known as the ‘City of Music’ as some of the most famous composers and musicians of the world have lived and composed in this wonderful place.  Vienna’s exclusive balls are another highlight of the city; while staying in the Austrian capital, tourists are able to sample the splendour of the fine balls that are organized in the grand palaces of the place.

Visitor information

Vienna is located in north-eastern Austria.  This famous tourist destination is easy to access thanks to advanced air and rail networks.  Vienna’s international airport is the main way to get to the city, and although there are other small airports, this one sees the most traffic.  The city’s railway network connects the capital to several other towns and cities.

Vienna’s weather is a mixture of an oceanic climate and a humid continental climate.  Summers are very warm, with temperature reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius, while winters are cold and temperatures drop as low as zero degrees Celsius.  Snowfall occurs from December to March, so the best time to plan a trip to Vienna would be during the summer season from June to August.

Vienna

Picture: Peter M.


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


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


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


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