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Article by David Leck | 26th June 2018

Summer Getaways

There are plenty of holidays still available and not just the standard offering for the “bucket and spade” market. Tour companies are recognising that while, for many, the beach has enduring appeal, families are now more discerning when it comes to the annual retreat. The days of the last minute summer holiday “deal” are virtually gone. In fact, most experts now subscribe to the “book early for the best prices” ethos. But with a little research and flexibility, it’s still possible to get the best value out of your travels.

Immerse yourself in the Turquoise Coast

There’s much more to Turkey’s vast and often spectacular coastline than resorts littered with brash nightlife and a guaranteed full English. Choose well and you’ll uncover an area peppered with charming coastal towns, stylish harbour-side eateries and villages where locals are more accustomed to Turkish holidaymakers than they are foreign tourists.

“Authentic” is the best word to describe resorts such as Akyaka, Datca and Alacati and, if lounging by the pool for a week or two doesn’t quite tick all the boxes, then the country’s ancient history and classical culture can be easily experienced on day excursions or overnight side trips.

• Anatolian Sky, call 0844 273 0719 or visit www.anatoliansky.co.uk 

Poland? You’d be surprised…

Poland may not seem like an obvious choice but it’s worth thinking again. There’s good food, friendly people, beautiful scenery and a unique culture for a start to which you can add cities, palaces, castles, cathedrals and landscapes straight out of a movie set, not to mention an abundance of history.

The medieval city of Krakow is home to the famous Cloth Hall, Bell Tower and Wawel Castle as well as the old Jewish quarter – a lively area full of excellent restaurants. Krakow can be easily combined with Zakopane. This region in the far south of the country with the Tatra Mountains as a backdrop is a mecca for those in search of majestic landscapes and unspoiled nature.

• Thomson Lakes & Mountains, visit www.thomsonlakes.co.uk or call 020 8939 0740

Natural beauty and timely reminders in the Italian Dolomites

The Dolomites in northeastern Italy is typified by snow-capped mountains, small villages perched atop lush green peaks, perfectly still lakes reflecting their surroundings and a wonderful feeling of alpine calm and good health. The Dolomites also played a crucial role in the First World War, so for anyone inspired by the current commemorations of the Great War – and any schoolchildren studying the period – there are several trails and trenches providing a fascinating and poignant backdrop to the role the region played in the fighting between Italy and Austria in 1915.

• Thomson Lakes & Mountains, visit www.thomsonlakes.co.uk or call 020 8939 0740

Taking it slow with the boating life

A narrow boat on one of the UK’s canal networks combines life at a more sedate pace with plenty of activity to get all the family involved. Middlewich Narrowboats is a family-run company with an extensive fleet, all of which are fully modernised.

With 22 locks across 52 miles, the Llangollen canal gently drifts out of the agricultural planes of Cheshire into the Welsh hills. The journey is offered in rapid (five days), relaxed (one week) and sedate (10 days) options with prices starting from around £635.

• Middlewich Narrowboats, visit www.middlewichboats.co.uk, call 01606 832460

Swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores

How about heading to the Azores and a holiday for which the centrepiece is swimming with wild dolphins? You’ll be given expert guidance to develop competence and confidence when swimming and are likely to see up to seven different species of dolphin and sperm whale – some more playful and inquisitive than others!

The cost of the eight-day trip for a family of four sharing a triple or quad room with three dolphin trips included is from £580 for adults and £195 per child. Flights are not included.

• Responsible Travel, visit www.responsibletravel.com or call 01273 823700

Caribbean dream

Considering long-haul at this time of year needn’t be as frightening a prospect for the bank balance as you might fear. It’s off-season in the Caribbean for example and, while still not cheap, it can score highly when it comes to what you get for your money. At the five-star The Landings in St Lucia the ocean is your playground with plenty of organised activities, a kids club and a luxurious 7,000sq ft spa. The price for a family of four departing in July is from £7,862 for seven nights including flights from Gatwick with British Airways.

• TotsToo, visit www.totstoo.com or call 020 7284 3344

Sea kayaking in Croatia

All the activity you can handle is on offer on a sea kayaking holiday around Croatia’s Elaphite Islands. You’ll immerse yourself in its waters and natural wonders, learning a new skill and paddling your way through paradise. Although you sail to other sites of interest, your base is
car-free Lopud. Copious snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing are the law on this trip too. The cost of the eight-day holiday for a family of four in peak season sharing a triple or quad room is from £515 for each adult and £443 per child. Flights are not included. Minimum age six.

• Responsible Travel, visit www.responsibletravel.com or call 01273 823700

Rail travel – flexibility and freedom

There is something in that old advertising slogan “let the train take the strain”. The other benefit of rail travel is that it gives you the option to create a trip at your own pace and tailor-make it to the interests of the family. GRJ Independent specialises in bespoke journeys that could take you through the stunning alpine scenery of Austria, Germany’s blend of history, fine architecture and artworks, Spain’s vast terracotta plains, lush vineyards and Moorish influences, or Bulgaria’s densely forested hills, lakes, waterfalls and wildlife.

GRJ Independent, visit www.greatrail.com/grj-independent or call 01904 527181

Images: Middlewich Narrowboats, Responsible Travel, Thomson Lakes & Mountains, Anatolian Sky, TotsToo & GRJ Independant


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