Calling all sunseekers!
If you’re feeling the need for the sun’s warm rays but can’t decide where to go, we’ll point you in the right direction. Pack your sun cream and shades for itineraries that take in our favourite sunshine cruise destinations
The Caribbean is the stuff of sunseeker dreams. With a wealth of stunning islands to choose from, it’s the perfect destination if you’re looking for rays and relaxation. For a little inspiration, meet three islands with big personalities…
Barbados boasts east and west coast identities that are intriguing and beautiful in equal measure. Explore the rugged east side, where Atlantic rollers break into unspoilt rocky coves and there’s a sense of wild adventure. Or head west for the sheltered white beaches, cool bars, top restaurants, water sports and yachting glitz and glamour. Between the two is a lush and varied landscape rich in natural wonders and captivating history.
Curaçao is cosmopolitan, confident and full of character. Willemstaad, the capital of the largest island in the Dutch Antilles, is fascinating thanks to its colonial past, great architecture and mix of cultures and influences (more than 50 nationalities call Curaçao home). Beyond, expect stunning beaches and seas teeming with marine life – take a beach break, go snorkelling or explore the coastline by kayak for a closer look.
Grenada in the Windward Islands is a bijou beauty. The port of St George’s makes a picturesque starting point, flanked by forts and colourful French architecture. Elsewhere, natural wonders abound with lush mountains and rainforest valleys, stunning lakes and waterfalls, and volcanic craters. And, of course, there are the spices that underpin the island’s history, culture, cuisine and economy. Close your eyes and let their fragrances fill your senses.
Canary Islands magic
For year-round sunshine, the Canaries are a safe bet with a balmy climate that makes them the perfect winter escape or summer break. For a little taster, read on…
Fuertaventura boasts 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, so you can tick the tan box here. The island is smaller and less developed than its neighbours and offers stark and beautiful volcanic landscapes to explore. The sweeping golden-sand beaches and white breakers are a magnet for water sport enthusiasts so get involved or just relax and watch in wonder.
Lanzarote offers something for everyone, including a range of beach colours courtesy of its volcanic geology - take your pick from black, red or golden sand. If exploring is on your mind, the island’s interior and mountainous lunar rockscapes are unforgettable. Climb to the top of Fire Mountain in Timanfaya National Park (or take a camel ride up), visit caves and lagoons, trek through lava fields or jump in a 4x4 jeep to explore the unique landscape.
Gran Canaria is the third-largest in the Canary Islands archipelago and the sunshine island has been a travel stronghold for many a year. And it’s easy to see why! Highlights include the old quarter of Las Palmas (think cobbled streets and leafy courtyards), the lively Playas del Ingles beach, the flora and fauna of verdant Palmitos nature park, and atmospheric old towns boasting traditional architectural features. There is, of course, an extinct volcano to climb for the best island views.
Spain & Portugal Inspiration
The towns and cities down Spain and Portugal’s western coast provide unforgettable days out with a heady mix of attractions including stunning architecture, history, culture and food, not to mention beaches and natural wonders.
La Coruña’s location on the far western tip of Spain makes it a dramatic destination with access to the rugged beauty of Galicia. The charming town packs a punch with an old quarter, lively local shops selling traditional crafts and delicacies, cracking museums, an aquarium and a planetarium. Head out to the imposing Tower of Hercules, Europe’s oldest working lighthouse, for breathtaking coastal views.
Vigo bustles with activity and is a treat if you love fresh seafood with crisp local wine. As a key Spanish fishing port, Vigo has played a major role in maritime history. Today, it is rightly famous for its oysters from the salty riverbed, fabulous fish market, bars and restaurants. The city centre and old town is a delight to explore with museums, great architecture and friendly locals.
Porto is a seductive mix of culture, history, architecture and a truly fabulous food and wine culture. The city setting on the banks of the River Douro is stunning. Exploring is a treat with contrasting architectural styles, from colourful houses and narrow cobbled streets to leafy squares, elegant boulevards and grand monuments. Take time to try the wine, including the world-famous port and other red and white varieties from the beautiful Douro valley.