Think of a Spanish city break. Does Alicante come to mind?
Probably not, right? Most people flying in to Alicante are actually en route to Benidorm, the high rise resort a few miles up the coast. But rushing straight off means missing out on one of Spain’s most enjoyable weekend break destinations.
The airport is close to the city, the beach is in the centre of town and there are dozens of tapas bars a short stroll back from the seafront, including one of Spain’s best, La Taberna del Gourmet.
Read my feature on a weekend break in this sunny Spanish city in the Times.
Ever since family holidays to the Canaries in the 1990s I have loved these islands in the sun. I visit at least once a year and have spent plenty of time on all seven main islands as well as several of the smaller islands.
But there is one resort that keeps pulling me back, Corralejo in the far north of Fuerteventura. I love Corralejo because it is not just a tourist resort, it is a real town where visitors mix with locals. The main street along the seafront turns to sand here, so few walks into town don’t involve getting my toes in the sand, and the local community keeps restaurant standards high.
Find out more about this fantastic Canarian resort in my piece for the Times on a Weekend in Corralejo.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations – so it can get pretty crowded, especially in the hotspots such as Bondi Beach, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
Fortunately there are plenty of places you can head to that are far less busy, and just as wonderful. I was delighted to share some of my favourite alternative Aussie destinations with Sunday Times readers this weekend.
Read my Alternative Guide to Australia to find out which places made the list.
I’ve found the best beach in Spain – and that is saying something.
It is called Praia de Rodas and it is not on the country’s well-known and perpetually sun-soaked southern coast, it is out to the northwest of the mainland on an island off the coast of Galicia.
This is a beautiful coastline, strung with gorgeous white sand beaches. But to find the very best, the one that looks like it could have been lifted from the pages of a Caribbean holiday brochure, you ave to board a boat and head out to sea – or more precisely to the Islas Cies.
Rodas beach is a stunner. White sands, turquoise waters, the works. But there is more to these islands than just a place to switch off and sunbathe. There is also a simple but quietly spectacular restaurant serving fresh fish on a ramshackle terrace, a dramatic walk across the cliffs to a towering lighthouse and hundreds of birds wheeling overhead.
Read my recent article for the Times to find out more.
I am often asked where I would live if I could live anywhere.
If we’re talking outside the UK (because, honestly, the answer is London!) then it has to be Palma.
Mallorca’s capital city is a stunner. And on my most recent visit I got to see her from a new angle – from the top of her world renowned Gothic cathedral.
I also gazed out over her rooftops from my rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Nakar, a wonderful hotel, and got to know her a little better on a tapas crawl through Sa Gerreria.
You can read more about what I got up to on my weekend in Palma in my article in the Times.
The first country I ever visited was Spain, on a school trip in the 1990s. Little did I know then that this was the beginning of a love affair, with the country as well as with telling people about my very favourite secret spots there.
I travel to Spain multiple times each year and always find something new. I am still discovering new quiet corners and new stories to tell, so I was delighted to be asked to compile my top 50 holidays to Spain for 2017 for the Times.
Find out what made the cut here, and feel free to get in touch with any of your favourites – I’m always on the lookout for new angles on my favourite European country.
Madeira has a terrible reputation. Cruise ships, coach parties and, well, plenty of visitors of a certain age.
But there is so much more to this tropical island marooned in the Atlantic. There’s excellent walking for a start, along levadas (precipitous aqueducts) and up volcanoes, not to mention delicious fresh seafood, a burgeoning arts scene and some of the tallest cliffs in Europe.
Check out my guide to the island for Sunday Times Travel magazine to find out why you should head to Madeira this year.