Year-round warmth – Canary Islands
The Canary Islands have long been a favourite holiday destination. Lying off the coast of Africa, their location means residents and visitors benefit from a year-round sub-tropical climate, perfect for those seeking some winter warmth. In addition to the sunshine, the islands boast beautiful, diverse scenery, namely dormant volcanoes, national parks and gorgeous beaches.
Wild and rugged scenery – Shetland Islands
For such a small area, the scenery in the Shetlands is surprisingly varied and equally as impressive. There’s everything from heather hills and rocky crags to sand dunes, pebble beaches and stupendous cliffs. The rugged beauty is sure to enchant at any time of year.
Mountain views – Lofoten Islands
Lying to the west of Norway, deep within the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Archipelago is decorated with imposing jagged mountains that rise abruptly from the crystal clear sea. The area is filled with natural beauty. During the summer months visitors get the chance to see the surreal Midnight Sun – 24 hours of uninterrupted daylight – so you’re able to absorb the breathtaking mountaintop views at all hours.
Medieval architecture – Visby, Gotland
Known as ‘The City of Roses and Ruins’, the UNESCO-protected town of Visby resembles a living museum and is considered the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. Circled by exceptionally well-preserved walls, and retaining original cobbled streets, the town looks as it has for centuries. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you wander the streets.
Street food and cuisine – Sicily
From Arancini balls and Sfincione pizza to Panelle chickpea fritters and Pani Ca’meusa spleen sandwiches, the streets of Palermo, Sicily are rife with alluring street stalls selling a host of authentic delicacies. Many of the popular street food vendors can be found near the bustling Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo markets.
Birdwatching – Faroe Islands
Offering the perfect breeding and nesting environment for migrating birds, the Faroe Islands are considered to be one of Europe’s top destinations for birdwatching enthusiasts. During the summer months the islands are inhabited with puffins, sparrows, gannets, guillemots and the national bird of the Faroes – the oystercatcher. Dramatic seascapes provide the perfect backdrop to witness these majestic birds gliding over the islands.
Glorious beaches – Bora Bora
Once rated ‘The Most Photogenic Destination in the World’ by the Daily Mail, the magical island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia is renowned for its miles of pristine, powdery white-sand beaches. Fringed with swaying palm trees and surrounded by warm, turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why this hard-to-reach island remains a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.
Exotic wildlife – Komodo Island
Established in 1980 to protect the vulnerable Komodo Dragon, this beautiful, remote island is the ideal place to marvel at these gargantuan creatures in their natural habitat. Reaching lengths of up to three metres, these fearsome predators are the largest living lizards in the world. Exploring the island with a trained ranger means you get to view the incredible ‘dragons’ up close.
History – Robben Island
UNESCO declared Robben Island is one of the most notorious landmarks in South Africa, housing the prison that incarcerated Nelson Mandela during the years of apartheid. Once a place of banishment, segregation and retribution, today this infamous island is an institution of historical significance. The island is now home to a fascinating museum that makes for an enlightening visit.
Botanical gardens – Madeira
Famed for its natural beauty, Madeira is often referred to as ‘the floating garden of the Atlantic’. Visitors can delight in an array of stunning floral exhibits at a number of gardens across the island. The most notable of these are the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Palheiro Gardens and the Madeira Botanical Garden. Even during the cooler months, there is still a kaleidoscope of colours on display.