If your New Year’s resolutions are to visit once-in
Iceland is an adventure waiting to happen, an awe-inspiring island just as incredible as it looks on Game of Thrones. Here, you can dive between continents, descend into a volcano or discover its amazing towns and cities. In Reykjavik, especially, the locals know how to party. During the weekends, cafés transform into late night bars and nightclubs, staying open until the wee hours of the morning (and later). The country welcomes a host of arts and music festivals throughout the year, including Iceland Airwaves and Secret Solstice, while on New Year’s Eve the capital erupts in a roar of street parties and fireworks. The best time of year to visit Iceland? January to March, when you have the best chance of spotting the Northern Lights!
For good weather and beaches guaranteed, Tenerife should be your go-to holiday destination for revelry, fun and winter sun. Not only that but, if you visit during February, you can join in the celebrations at one of the biggest carnivals on the planet. For fifteen days, the city streets come alive with flamboyant colour, music and spectacle, second only to Brazil’s famous fiesta. If you need a break from the festivities, Tenerife offers spectacular landscapes for tropical forest hikes, watersports and wildlife watching.
For a music festival with a twist, hit the slopes at Mayrhofen, in Austria, for the biggest ski festival in Europe: Snowbombing. Fans of snowsports would be mad to miss out, but even if you’re a novice on the piste, there are still plenty of reasons to grab your tickets before they sell out. Showcasing some of the greatest musical talents, from DJs to massive festival headliners, Snowbombing delivers world-class acts and igloo raves with not a muddy welly in sight. This year’s main acts include Pendulum and Dizzee Rascal, as well as Austria’s biggest fancy dress street party, so prepare yourself for an awesome weekend this April.
Nicknamed the ‘Windy City of Africa’, Essaouira is heaven for windsurfers who spend their off-time relaxing in the atmospheric harbour town, at beachside bars and wandering around the pretty Medina. Once popular with the Beat generation and the likes of Kerouac and Ginsberg, and later Jimi Hendrix whose ‘Castles Made of Sand’ was inspired by the region, Essaouira is an alluring and laid-back alternative to other, more frequented destinations in Morocco. A spring visit is ideal for warm days on the beach and fewer tourists to share it with, with April being the best month to get out on the waves.
If you’re looking for a little excitement this summer, with a side order of sun and sea, then book yourself a break in Spain’s Costa Daurada for an action-packed holiday destination. Known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, Mediterranean climate and welcoming resorts, the Spanish town of Salou and its neighbouring is are the ideal place for a fun-filled summer this year. When you’re not sunning yourself on the sand, why not pay a visit to the hugely popular PortAventura or the recently built Ferrari Land, which opened near Tarragona last April. Boasting a massive roller coaster named ‘Red Force’, billed as the highest and fastest accelerator in Europe, this brand new theme park is sure to please thrill-seekers and speed-lovers.
Offering some of the most sublime turquoise waters and glittering coastlines in the Med, at a fraction of the price of some of the big destinations, Croatia is a rising star among sunny summer holidays. Offering a fair share of water activities, from snorkelling to kayaking, there’s plenty to keep you entertained here too, without the need to wander inland (where you’ll discover beautiful historic cities and canyons and waterfalls). A beer here at even some of the coolest bars will only set you back a couple of pounds, while good value, good quality accommodation is easy to come by.
If discovering a new city if on your list of New Year Resolutions for 2018, then set your sights on Hungary’s capital, Budapest. An urban paradise for explorers, this grand old city is a treasure trove of stunning architecture and fascinating culture. The ideal destination for a budget-friendly getaway, Budapest offers excellent value for money for everything from restaurant dinners to opera tickets. A city built on natural hot springs, be sure to stop off at one of the famous Budapest outdoors pools, such as the Szechenyi Thermal Spa which hosts late night bath parties throughout the summer and autumn months.
Treat yourself, this year, to the ultimate Christmas present for 2018 with a holiday to Lapland. Hidden away in the most northern point of Finland, Lapland (aka Santa’s homeland) is a fairytale destination of cosy log cabins and snow-dusted forests, complete with more reindeer than people. For the most enchanting views, book yourself a stay at the Kakslauttanen arctic resort, where you can spend the night in a glass igloo and watch the Nothern Lights as you drift off to sleep.