Here are five exciting and beautiful places you should be visiting in 2016...
Has Sir David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef inspired you to visit Australia? This incredible natural wonder, the largest living structure on the planet, is even better in reality.
Wexas Travel (wexas.com; 020 7838 5892) offers a 12-day Cairns/Great Barrier Reef self-drive trip from £2,350pp. Snorkel or dive on the reef, plus explore North Queensland. Start with three nights in the rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands, then head to the Mareeba Wetlands Reserve, Port Douglas, Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation. Includes return flights with Qantas, car hire and nine nights accommodation with some meals.
British Airways is launching a new direct flight to Costa Rica in Central America this year – a wonderful country bordered to the north by Nicaragua and to the south by Panama. Hire a 4×4 (make sure it’s a Jeep – the rugged truck celebrates its 75th birthday) and drive yourself from north to south off the beaten track, to experience the country’s extraordinary biodiversity. The forests of San Gerardo, full of birds, make an unmissable stopping-off point before watching cowboys riding across the dusty plains of Guanacaste. Pause on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to enjoy a swim with turtles.
Pura Aventura (pura-aventura.com; 01273 676712) offer this Costa Rica Uncovered tour from 2,060pp including 15 nights B&B scheduled activities and excursions, transfers and a 4×4 rental car. The new BA flights start at £566 return (ba.com)
This summer will be important for Greece as it tries to get back on its feet. Olympic Holidays ‘ (olympicholidays.com; 020 8492 6868) new Gold Collection brochure includes the St Nicholas Bay Resort in Crete – Greece’s largest island. You’ll find 107 gorgeous rooms and suites set on the Gulf of Mirabello above a private beach, with three beautiful pools. A week costs from £865pp and includes UK airport lounge access at the start of your holiday, plus taxi transfers, a bottle of bubbly on arrival, and break and dinner each day.
All eyes are on India as the Duke and Duchess return from their 6-day tour of New Delhi and Bhutan. One of the best ways to see the country is on a guided tour, and Insight Vacations (insightvacations.com; 0800 533 5625) has just introduced its new Luxury Gold programme, including an 11-day Colours of Rajasthan trip.
The idea is that you’ll see the very best of the country with local guides and authentic experiences, yet stay in luxurious hotels, experience five-star service and ear delicious food. Nature lovers and Kipling fans will be entranced by the real Bengal tigers in Ranthambore National Park, and get the chance to visit his childhood home in Mumbai. The magical journey also includes Delhi, where guests can visit Gandhi’s grave, Agra for the romantic Taj Mahal, the Pink City of Jaipur, the Clue City of Jodhpur, and Udaiphur, where Insight guests stay in the luxurious Taj Lake Palace, made famous by James Bond’s Octopussy. Prices from £3,435pp including flights, 10 nights B&B accommodation and luxury transportation (departures until mid-April).
The northern Spanish coastal city of San Sebastian is the European Capital of Culture 2016, so it’s the place to go for a weekend break. You’ll love its style, charm and Michelin-starred food. Head to the bars in the Parte Vieja (Old Town), and spend an evening at the modern Kursaal, where cultural events will take place. Don’t miss the landscaped Parque de Cristina Enea. Three nights B&B at the five-star Maria Cristina hotel costs from £748pp (two sharing) with Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays.com; 020 7593 2283), with flights from London and private transfers.