The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel
Book now Seven holidays to plan this week
From a trullo stay in Puglia to a whisky picnic on Skye, Greg Dickinson picks late deals and more distant travel treats
Summer is fast approaching, and as your friends and colleagues boast of their upcoming trips to some Balearic bolt-hole or South African safari sanctuary, you might be worrying that you have left it too late. But worry not.
Yes, travel companies and hotels are reporting strong booking numbers for 2023, but there is still availability across a range of brilliant holidays. If you act soon, you can find good deals on getaways from June to August.
If you would rather plan ahead, your options widen and savings deepen, with winter sun and northern lights options coming at excellent prices. So take your envy into your own hands. Here are seven options across the next seven months.
CORNWALL WITHOUT THE CROWDS
Come July and August, “upcountry” folk descend on Cornwall and things can get rather crowded. But head there in June and you will find winding roads and sandy beaches that are just that bit quieter. What’s more, there are weeks of fine weather forecast. If you have a big family or a group of friends willing to book something last minute, gather the troops now and reap the rewards with a self-catering group holiday.
Located across 16 acres, Tregulland Cottage and Barn (01566 770880; tregullandandco.co.uk) sleeps up to 22 guests, with short stays and weeks available until the end of June from £4,664 for a four-night stay (a discount of 25 per cent). Includes the use of indoor swimming pool, hot tub and steam room. Other properties are available in Cornwall and Devon
STAY IN A TRADITIONAL TRULLO IN PUGLIA
As recently as 10 years ago, tourism in Puglia was still relatively undeveloped, with most people opting for Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast instead. But Puglia has blossomed into a refined destination in its own right (Four Seasons has plans for a resort, and Rocco Forte is already there), and July is a splendid time to visit, with sizzling sun and very little rain. Stay in a whitewashed, cone-roofed trullo house, designed to be cool in the high summer.
Vintage Travel (01954 261 431; vintagetravel.co.uk) has added Puglia to its programme of unique villas across
Europe. You can book a stay in a trullo house with a private pool. Trullo Noce costs from £1,398 for one week and Trullo Melograno from £2,092
A SEAT WITH A VIEW ON THE SWISS RIVIERA When
For a waterside European getaway that isn’t the Med, head to the so-called “Swiss Riviera” along the northern shore of Lake Geneva. Both Lausanne and Vevey have lake-front promenades, and the biggest stretch of sand, Vidy Beach, has plenty of space for all sunbathers in peak summer, stretching for 1,640 ft (500m). Sate your appetite at the Lausanne à Table culinary programme, with food events taking place from May to December.
Railbookers (020 3780 2222; railbookers.co.uk) offers an eight-day rail adventure through the Swiss Riviera, with stops in Lausanne, Montreux, Chateau de Chillon and Geneva. Prices from £1,999pp, excluding flights
THE WILD BORDERS OF EUROPE AND ASIA
Early autumn is a lovely time of year to visit the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe, which feels a world away but can be reached in under seven hours from Britain. Walking is the best way to experience the area’s cinematic beauty and variety; in Georgia you will find vineyards preparing for the harvest and in Armenia, monasteries and castles await.
Ramblers Holidays (01707 331133; ramblersholidays.co.uk) offers a 13-night walking tour of Georgia and Armenia on a full-board basis, with flights and local transport included. The current cost is £3,150 per person, a £240 saving
A WEE DRAM OF LUXURY ON THE ISLE OF SKYE When
This year marks 200 years since the Excise Act of 1823, nicknamed “Whisky’s year zero” as it led to the boom of whisky production in the UK. While Islay is the Scottish island bestknown for its distilleries, Skye has recently doubled its offerings, with the behemoth Talisker joined by Torabhaig Distillery (01471 833447; torabhaig.com) in 2017. Aim for October, when the Highlands and Islands erupt in a blaze of gold and amber, and before things shutter up for the long winter.
The splendid Kinloch Lodge (01471 833333; kinloch-lodge.co.uk) has launched a three-night whisky-themed package, including a tutored tasting, a tour of Torabhaig and a special whisky picnic. Prices from £850pp, based on two sharing on a half-board basis
GET A PRE-CHRISTMAS TAN IN ST LUCIA
Late November or December 2023
Why now The end of November spells the arrival of the dry season in St Lucia. Temperatures remain high, so if you are looking to get away before the Christmas holiday season, this is a good bet. Water visibility is also clearing up from now until April, making this a great time to go snorkelling, too.
Tropical Sky (01342 310596; tropicalsky.co.uk) has a deal on trips to Soco House, an adult-only all-inclusive boutique hotel near Rodney Bay. Seven nights, all-inclusive in a deluxe room, cost from £1,199pp, including flights and transfers
CATCH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
The northern lights work on an 11-year cycle, and in the middle there is an intense period of activity known as “solar maximum” – set to occur over the next two winters. The best time to see the aurora is between September and March, but as it is not guaranteed, book a holiday that incorporates all of the bells and whistles of an Arctic adventure, including sledding, snowmobiling and Santa visits.
Discover the World (01737 214 250; discover-the-world.com) has a range of trips to Finnish and Swedish Lapland over the Christmas period, with good availability in early December. A four-night Santa Adventure in Swedish Lapland costs £1,059 per adult and £757 for a child (under 14), including excursions. Flights cost extra