Escape from British Summertime

Believe it or not, last month marked the official start of British Summer Time, when the annual changing of our clocks supposedly welcomes warm weather and longer days. However, as we all know, this winter and spring have been dreary to say the least. So, as the clocks have gone forward without much improvement, you might well be planning your summer holiday early. 

Before you begin to pack, we have done some research and have come up with a few ideas on how to make the most of your summer getaway. We look at when to go, preview destinations and provide information on what’s hot in summer 2013. 

Paphos, Cyprus

Cyprus offers the Mediterranean at its best, providing around 300 days of sunshine a year, warm seas for relaxing swims and an abundance of fresh, Greek-inspired cuisine. After a dip in the sparkling waters has worked up your appetite, feast on small plates of stuffed vegetables, known as yemista, or try moussaka, a rich layered meal of lamb, garlic, aubergines and chopped tomatoes. You’ll also want to enjoy the island’s variety of plants and flowers, best explored by visiting the trails and paths of Paphos’ pine forest. Discover colourful orchids and species endemic to the island that provide perfect opportunities to take some charming photographs. 

Don’t miss: Cyprus is known for its friendly locals, and the Festival of the Flood is a great example of its people coming together to celebrate. Across all coastal towns, including Polis and Larnaca, everyone heads to the ocean for thrilling boat races and feasts. 

Plan your visit: With good weather throughout the year you can afford to be picky. From 2nd June 2013 there are no school breaks until the 24th July 2013, so get away for a long weekend or as long as you like. 

Average temp: 21C in June is normal for Cyprus, so apply sun cream of SPF30 to relax in the heat.

Travel: Take a break in Cyprus with


Nerja, Costa Del Sol 

Nerja in southern Spain is affectionately known as the “Jewel of Costa Del Sol”. It is home to white sand beaches and a mountainous backdrop that makes it ideal for long walks and refreshing tipples outdoors. The Nerja caves are a must-see for history lovers with their prehistoric paintings of snakes, turtles and shellfish. There’s an easily accessible entrance for tourists and inside you’ll find staircases and pathways leading around man-made galleries displaying archaeological finds.

Don’t miss: The Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) is a traditional event that began as a day of courtship for youths in the 19th century. Today, it’s a colourful fiesta where locals prepare beautiful floral altars, true signals of summer, that light up the streets and become bases for flamenco singing and dancing.

Plan your visit: Enjoy bliss in Nerja before May 25th when school children start their summer half term.

Average temp: In May the average temperature is 19C, so remember your sun-cream whilst you enjoy the warmth.

Travel: Discover the sun in Nerja with


Valetta, Malta 

Malta’s capital city, Valetta is a lively yet timeless marina resort located on the northeast coast of the small island. Discover Valetta, after a 20-minute transfer, famed for its Baroque-style architecture, Grand Harbour and historic forts. Admire the extraordinary buildings, explore the winding narrow streets and relax with a glass of wine in one of the many quaint cafes. After visiting the museums and art galleries, take a boat trip to admire the wonderful city from afar. For a short trip visit Malta’s sister island, Gozo. It’s an enchanting island with gorgeous beaches – a fantastic place to sit back and relax after sightseeing in Valetta.

Don’t miss: Valetta hosts a three night Jazz festival on the quayside at the Grand Harbour every July. The festival is held across various venues with a whole host of famous names. The 2012 jazz festival had the pleasure of hearing the likes of Al di Meola, Terri Lynne Carrington and Dianne Reeves, so get your air saxophone and dancing shoes at the ready.

Plan your visit: Visit in the summer months for glorious weather and fiesta time! On most weekends between June and August, different regions host celebrations to honour their patron saint. Churches are lit up, streets hung with bunting, processions, music, food and fireworks. 

Average temp: In summer months the average temperature is 28C.

Travel: Find your perfect Maltese holiday with and explore the beautiful island this summer.


Funchal, Madeira

This resort offers a calm, relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere with great weather all year round.  Not only does Funchal offer the stunning Praia Formosa beach with golden sand and clear waters, the Jardins Do Palheiro is a beautiful garden with a variety of flowers and wildlife. There are many picturesque walks, with paths that weave in and out of the mountains, offering breath-taking views.  There are guided footpaths that vary in length, ideal for those wanting to enjoy a day of hiking as well as those who prefer a relaxed stroll. 

Don’t miss: Like most Mediterranean islands, Madeira is renowned for its festivals and celebrations. The Flower Festival in May is the most popular and is visually stunning, so remember your camera. Costumes are made entirely out of local flowers from the island, and locals and tourists alike line the streets to celebrate the start of spring.

Plan your visit:  Madeira has great weather all year round because of its southern location near the north of Africa. The summer months are appealingly hot, but you will not be disappointed with temperatures of 17C if you went as early as April. 

Average temp: 19C with highs of 23C in August.

Travel: Discover Madeira this summer with


Cancun, Mexico.             

Cancun offers soft, sandy beaches, top-of-the-range hotels and facilities, as well as an authentic Mexican culture.  If you can tear yourself away from the turquoise waters then a round of golf is the perfect activity and attracts people of all ages. Cancun hosts some of the most extravagant golf courses in the world, but check the weather before tee off to avoid sunburn.  On the hottest days, it’s advised to play in the early morning or in the picturesque evening sun.  The Playacar Spa & Golf Club and the Playa Mujeres Golf Club are just some of the many courses used by the pros, so you’ll be in excellent company. 

Don’t miss:  The OHL Classic is the only PGA tour event in Mexico, despite the professionals using the various courses to practice their swings.  The OHL Classic runs from 11th until 17th November at the Mayakoba Golf Club.

Plan your visit:  You can go to Mexico any time of year and still guarantee yourself some first class sunshine. September to November is great if you want to avoid peak travel times and enjoy the beaches without the crowds.

Average temp:  28C from May until October.

Travel:  Enjoy sunshine in Mexico with

Take this summer as a time to enjoy doing what you love abroad, whether that’s a mountain walk, spending time in the water or discovering a new culture. Whatever it is you choose to do, aim for at least one new experience to write home about.