Combine a classic beach experience with some truly otherworldly landscapes in volcanic Lanzarote. TUI has a week’s B&B in the five-star Hotel Volcan Lanzarote, which is built in traditional low-rise Canarian style and is a short walk from Playa Blanca’s beaches and tapas bars. It’s also handy for boat trips to Playa del Papagayo and day trips to the dramatic Timanfaya National Park. Departing 16 January, the holidays costs from £489pp, down from £734pp, and includes flights and transfers.
In a blissful spot right on the beach on the island’s east coast, C Mauritius offers the chance to kick back on soft white sands while being surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Chic and laid back at the same time, the hotel offers three restaurants as well as watersports. An all-inclusive week’s holiday with Kuoni in March starts at £1,449pp – a 50 per cent saving – and includes flights and transfers.
While the west coast beaches on Barbados are more sheltered, the ones on the south coast are fantastic for watersports – and it’s easier to find an affordable holiday if you base yourself here. British Airways has a week’s room-only holiday in a sea-view studio apartment at the beachfront Coral Mist Hotel at Worthing Beach, and guests are able to use the facilities at neighbouring Blue Orchids Beach Hotel. Departing 14 January, the holiday costs from £857pp and includes flights.
If ever there was a place meant for unwinding, it’s the Maldives. Powdery white beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean invite lazy swims, snorkelling and maybe a little light paddle-boarding. First Choice has a week’s all-inclusive holiday at the Riu Atoll, on its own island, with a large pool, swim-up bar, spa and the beach within ambling distance. Prices for departures in March start at £1,932pp and include flights and transfers.
The seemingly endless golden sandy beaches and sand dunes of the Cape Verde island of Sal offer a tempting escape from a dreary British winter. They cover much of the southern part of the island, which is where the stylish Hilton Cabe Verde Sal Resort sits in sandy splendour, in front of Santa Maria beach. As well as a large pool and spa, there’s a nautical centre in front of the hotel to go with its beachside restaurant and bar. Cape Verde Experience has knocked £400pp off its price for a week’s stay on selected dates from January to March, with prices starting at £1,115pp, including flights, transfers and breakfast.
As Croatia’s popularity continues to soar, start planning now for a summer holiday. Among its 1,244 Adriatic islands is the sleepy Šipan, in the Elaphiti archipelago near Dubrovnik – where you can swim in pebbly coves or take the boat to neighbouring Lopud and its sandy beach. Regular ferries whisk you to Dubrovnik and its beaches by the old town and along the Lapad and Babin Kuk peninsulas. Thomas Cook has seven nights’ B&B at Hotel Božica right on the seafront near the village of Sudurad, with its own pool and secluded bathing platform. Prices start at £398pp for a 1 June departure and include flights.
See two countries for the price of one when you stay on the Greek island of Chios. It’s only 7km from Turkey’s Çesme Peninsula, and regular ferries shuttling between the two ports make it a doddle to cross continents. Despite being Greece’s fifth-largest island, Chios is wonderfully laid back, with dozens of beaches tucked into its indented coast. Sunvil has a week’s self-catering at Zorbas Apartments, overlooking Limnos and Lefkathia beaches on the island’s northwest coast. Prices for holidays departing 2 June start at £857pp and include flights and transfers.
Sardinia offers a dizzying range of beach holidays all around Italy’s second-largest island. A good place to start is the northern coast around the very pretty town of Castellsardo, whose brightly coloured houses stud the promontory that rises from the sea. It’s a handy base to explore the beaches to the west – including one of the loveliest, Spiaggia Le Bagnu – while to the east is the tranquil little beach at Cala Ostina. EasyJet Holidays has a week’s B&B at the Nantis Hotel in a prime spot on the seafront. Prices in June start at £696pp and include flights and transfers.
Calvi, on Corsica’s north coast, has one of the best city beaches in France – a long, broad sweep of sand that comes with fabulous views of the hulking citadel in the distance. It’s a suitable curtain-raiser for the dozens of beaches that stretch along Corsica’s Balagne coastline, many of which you can visit by hopping on and off the ancient little train that chugs along from Calvi to Ile-Rousse. Corsican Places has a week’s self-catering at one of its apartments at Le Home, which is in a quiet residential part of Calvi, yet is only a six-minute walk to the beach. There’s a shared pool set in luxuriant gardens in this adults-only residence, with prices starting at £699pp for a 15 May departure. The price includes flights and car hire.