With Christmas just weeks away, it’s still possible to have some festive fun in the sun, says Ciara McDonnell.
Portugal remains a popular spot for winter holidays, and the Grand Real Santa Eulalia Resort in Albufeira is wildly popular with Irish people planning weddings in Portugal.
Sunsearch Holidays have a half-board Christmas break at this five-star hotel that is extremely good value and well worth the weather risk.
The hotel is situated right on the beach and minutes away from Albufeira town.
It has a slew of self-catering apartments on site and is well equipped for small children, with a playground on site and a fabulous swimming pool.
Sunsearch flies from Cork to Faro on December 20 for one week, staying in the Grand Real Santa Eulalia Resort on a half-board basis from €449 pp, staying in a double room.
Couples will adore the four-star TUI Sensatori Resort in Los Gigantes, Tenerife, whose newly refurbished rooms and glass-wrapped balconies are highlighted by the ocean view that most bedrooms enjoy.
This luxury holiday is offered on a half-board basis, giving you the opportunity to explore the nearby marina, which is lined with gorgeous shops and restaurants.
If you need a place to unwind for a week after a manic year, then this is the ideal spot to do it: The hotel has designated chill-out zones, and the onsite spa offers a menu of couple’s treatments designed to melt away the stresses of day-to-day life.
TUI flies from Cork on December 24 for seven nights at the TUI Sensatori Resort at Los Gigantes on a half-board basis from €1389.90pp.
Ryanair Holidays flies from Cork to Tenerife on December 21 for seven nights with a family package that is extremely good value.
The package, for two adults and two children, includes self-catering accommodation at Apartamentos Estrella del Norte, a small apartment complex overlooking the sea.
Families with young children will love the onsite playground and supermarket that carries the essentials, should you find yourself with small people who are too tired to venture further than the pool during the first few days.
It’s an ideal resort for those of us with children too small to realise they are missing Christmas and all its trappings at home.
The package includes flights and accommodation for two adults and two children, €1,742.
TUI is going all inclusive in Gran Canaria with a family Christmas deal, staying at the Paradise Valle Taurito, situated right on the beach at Playa Taurito.
The kids will have a ball here — it has a massive pool and a full-scale waterpark to keep active children occupied for the whole of your week-long stay.
When all that water play gets too much, there’s a bowling lawn as well as archery and a mini golf course that is begging for a family tournament.
Rooms are modern and contemporary, with a spacious terrace and a mini fridge to store those essentials.
This all-inclusive holiday leaves Dublin on December 20 and costs from €2,479 for two adults and one child or from €3,329 for two adults and two children.
The Gloria Palace San Augustin is one of the best options we’ve found that suits a large extended family who are hoping to spend Christmas away together.
Not only does it boast one of the largest Thalassotherapy spas in Europe, it also has something to suit all ages.
There are marked off areas for adults who need some quiet time, and a non-stop itinerary of entertainment to keep the kids busy at all hours of the day and night.
The nightlife is chilled out, making it super family-friendly, and if you need a grown-up night of dancing, the more high octane resort of Maspalomas is a mere ten-minute drive away.
Sunsearch is flying from Cork on December 19 for seven nights staying at the Gloria Palace San Augustin on a half-board basis from €705 pp.
Sunway is heading off to the Beatriz Costa & Spa four-star resort for its family getaway in Lanzarote.
With a massive pool and an altogether laid-back vibe, this resort is ideal for families who want to set themselves apart from the hustle and bustle of Christmas and spend the time winding down, instead.
There is a daily entertainment programme put on by the resort, should you wish to engage, but otherwise the message here is relax, and then relax some more.
Rooms are well proportioned and spacious, and food is taken care of in the main buffet restaurant, with snacks provided by the pool bar during the day.
This resort is about 2km out of Costa Teguise and there is a daily free shuttle bus to the nearest beach.
Sunway flies from Cork on December 22 for seven nights at the Beatriz Costa & Spa, on an all-inclusive basis, from €2,254 per person sharing.
Ryanair is staying at the four-star Hotel THB Tropical Island for its Lanzarote-based Christmas break.
Flying from Cork on December 22, you’ll head for Playa Blanca and a resort that provides an exceptional amount of facilities that are ideal for keeping the whole family occupied during the Christmas break.
This is a huge place, with ten pools, a range of sports courts, and a number of restaurants from which to choose.
When the sun goes down a lively entertainment programme takes over, with shows, live music, and special performances for the littler guests.
The package includes flights and accommodation for two adults and two children for one week, €2,429 in total.
The Suneoclub HAS El Trebol is the venue for an all-inclusive holiday from TUI this Christmas.
Right in the centre of the Costa Teguise, this resort combines an excellent location with modern, family-orientated facilities.
There are two adults’ pools and two for children, one of which is decked out with mini water slides and fountains.
The onsite playground is well laid out and the night-time kids disco each night will keep them entertained for hours.
Accommodation is modern and fresh and kitchenettes, while small, are well equipped.
There are two restaurant options, a buffet, and a pool bar serving burger, snacks, and essential ice creams.
TUI flies from Dublin on December 23 for seven nights at the SuneoClub El Trebol on an all-inclusive basis from €2,489 for two adults and one child or €3,299 for two adults and two children.
Morocco offers some of the best-value luxury holidays at the moment, and in our experience, it’s better to book the highest star rating for your budget.
With this in mind, consider Sunway’s getaway to Club Med Marrakesh. Its reputation for excellence precedes itself.
Set in Morocco’s oldest Palm Grove, this is probably the best introduction to all-inclusive you can possibly get. The hotel itself is a purpose-built Riad, with two restaurants, three pools, and two bars.
Included in your package are all meals, drinks, and activities like the flying trapeze and archery and Club Med’s world-class kids clubs that run from ages 4 to 17.
Sunway flies Dublin to Marrakesh for seven nights on December 20 to stay at the Club Med Marrakesh on an all-inclusive basis from €1,919pp.
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The Sunny Slopes Cork flights are full at the time of writing, but you can still nab Christmas on the slopes if you fly from Dublin.
Topflight is flying to Soll in Austria on December 22 to stay in the four-star Hotel Feldwebel for a week.
The hotel is less than ten minutes’ walk to the nearest ski gondola and has a gorgeous wellness centre, which includes an infrared sauna.
The package is reduced from €1,129 to €1,019pps and includes return flights from Dublin, return transfers,
accommodation for seven nights on a half-board basis, 20kg luggage allowance, taxes, and Topflight’s in-resort representation service.
Direct Ski, meanwhile, has a gorgeous ski break in France still available, flying from Dublin on December 22.
The week-long holiday is based at the four-star Chalet Renardeux, a catered chalet in Meribel Centre, Meribel Valley.
With a log fire and an in-house sauna as well as your own private chef, you may find it difficult to leave the luxurious chalet to the nearby ski slopes.
Your holiday includes return flights from Dublin, return transfers, accommodation for seven nights in a catered chalet — breakfast each day, afternoon tea each day, and dinner with wine on six evenings — 20kg luggage allowance, taxes, and in-resort rep service.
The deal is currently reduced from €1,357 to €1,175pps and is available through directski.com.