Holiday inspiration for the perfect summer
Meander the streets of Rome with a gelato in hand and soak up the history and romance of the Italian capital on a city escape. Or, for the perfect beach break, head to the Greek island of Mykonos. The Aegean gem offers a wealth of spectacular beaches for you to choose from. And if you want a bit of both, the Spanish city of Alicante is a perfect destination for an urban beach retreat. Take your pick…
The city to visit next summer
Famous for its ancient sites, powerful history, delicious food and world-class art, the vibrant city of Rome has inspired visitors for thousands of years.
The biggest Roman amphitheatre in the world, the Colosseum, was built as an arena for gladiator fights, public executions and animal hunts. The iconic Trevi fountain has also undergone major restoration work – after over a year of large-scale renovation, be sure to toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain to ensure your return to the beautiful city.
As if that weren’t enough, you can uncover the beauty of Vatican City. A country in its own right, the city within a city is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home to breathtaking museums, St. Peter’s Square, one of the world’s largest churches and the hushed beauty of the Sistine Chapel (famously designed by Michelangelo).
If summer holidays mean winding down to beautiful sunsets over crystal-clear seas, then the Greek island Mykonos is just for you.
The island’s capital, Mykonos town, is made up of narrow marble streets, hidden churches and white-washed classic Greek houses with colourful doors overlooked by the island’s iconic windmills. Discover the glamorous side of the town with the designer boutiques and jewellers in the pedestrianised shopping area. Or sample an afternoon apéritif in one of the cute restaurants and vibrant bars found along the waterfront – perfect for soaking up the last few rays of the day as the sun sets. The colourful balconies that hang from the two-storey buildings on the edge of the sea make up the quaint and picturesque 18th-century neighbourhood, Little Venice, and are another must-see.
Mykonos is also well-known for its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, and whether you want to relax and read a book, find the perfect family-friendly beach, prefer an action-packed afternoon of water sports or while away the afternoon, cocktail in hand, there is something for everyone.
The best of both worlds
Known for its Mediterranean climate and sun-drenched beaches, Alicante has long been a popular summer holiday destination for those seeking a combination of beach and urban buzz. With its long waterfront, lively dining scene, historic old quarter and dominating castle, it’s not hard to understand why.
Alicante sits on Spain’s Costa Blanca and you don’t have to go far to find one of the city’s famous beaches. The long, sandy Playa del Postiguet beach is located in the heart of the city, but many of the city’s other beautiful beaches are only a short walk or bus ride away. Many also hold the Blue Flag award (a marker of their high environmental and quality standards). It’s clear why this city makes for the perfect urban summer retreat.
For the best view across the city and bay, head up to the Castle of Santa Barbara. Sitting atop Mount Benacantil at the edge of the city, the castle is one of Spain’s largest medieval fortresses and is testament to the county’s Moorish history. The historic quarter, at the foot of the fortress, is made up of narrow alleyways, balconies awash with colourful flowers and secret squares, but el barrio is also a lively spot for an afternoon drink or tapas. End your day in the city with a stroll along the Explanada de España; the famous palm-lined promenade runs parallel to the port and is made up of over six million coloured marble tiles that create a wave mosaic effect. It’s the ideal area to take up the traditional Spanish custom of el paseo, a leisurely stroll.