From family breaks to adventure trips, Ciara McDonnell rounds up the best packages to book now.
It’s a well-known fact that the best cure for the post-Christmas blues is booking a trip away. If you’re planning a break for later in the year then check out our picks for holiday 2019. From perennial favourites to new and exciting destinations, we’ve got something to suit every requirement and budget.
Best for Family
There are certain requirements that are non-negotiable on a family holiday. Easy access to beach and pool, accommodation that is spacious enough to facilitate children playing and of course, well-priced ice cream all score top points among family travelling en masse.
Majorca is a consistently popular destination for families, particularly those with young children. A short flight time teamed with resorts that are super family friendly, it’s a reliable choice for those who want a stress-free break this year. The four-star Globales Bouganvilla in Sa Coma is an all-inclusive resort with all the bells and whistles. There’s a fantastic onsite water park, with a smaller version for the littlest guests, two pools and an abundance of sun loungers.
TUI fly on May 25 from Cork to Palma, staying at the Globales Bouganvilla for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis from €1,910 based on two adults and one child.
If a self-catering break is on your to-do list then Albufeira in Portugal’s Algarve is an ideal solution. The Bayside Salgados Apartments are situated near that gorgeous Salgados beach, whose sandy dunes are a natural playground for little ones. The apartments are smart and set in a quiet complex that has a lovely pool, playground for smaller children, and a weekly entertainment programme during the summer. There is a daily mini bus that will shuttle you in and out of Albufeira should you wish to explore.
Sunway fly to Faro from Cork on May 11 to stay at the Bayside Salgados Apartments for seven nights from €375 per person, based on two adults and two children.
For families with children who are too grown up for kids’ clubs and relish an adventure, then American Sky have the holiday of a lifetime. The 10-day Saddle Up To Texas family self-drive tour includes a tour of the AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys and a stay on the Dixie Dude Ranch in San Antonio, where the whole family will have a chance to go full scale City Slicker.
Saddle Up To Texas with American Sky costs from €1,659 per person, based on a January departure and includes flights from Dublin, car hire and accommodation.
Probably the most popular all-inclusive brand, Club Med continues to attract families who crave a holiday that is entirely stress-free. La Palmyre Atlantique in the Charente-Maritime region of southwestern France is a paradise for nature and water sports, making it ideal for an active family. The resort has a huge entertainment programme and has a kid/teenager club that runs from under one all the way to 17.
Sunway and Club Med fly from Cork on June 10 to stay for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis from €1,255 per adults and €785 per child. Children under six stay free.
Best For Couples
Small yet perfectly formed, the four-star Pergola Club Hotel & Spa in Mellieha in Malta is an ideal getaway for couples that want a quiet break away from the humdrum of busy life.
Mellieha is a quiet fishing village with gorgeous restaurants and the hotel is built onto the side of a valley, affording views of the sea and the islands of Gozo and Comino. The hotel has an onsite spa and a PADI dive centre for those who want to explore the surrounding water.
Sunsearch Holidays fly from Cork to Malta on April 28 to stay at the Pergola Club Hotel & Spa on a room only basis for seven nights from €359 per person.
TUI suggest that nothing says romance quite like a jaunt to Italy. Sorrento is a fabulous spot to holiday, full of family-run boutiques, dreamy piazzas and cafes tucked into every corner. It’s a 40-minute train ride from Pompeii, a must for any history buff. Stay at the four-star TUI Sensimar Nastro Azzuro, seven kilometres outside the town, but with a free shuttle bus that will have you in the heart of Sorrento within 15 minutes. Romance abounds at this resort, from the rooftop bar where the cocktails are legendary to the rooms that come with DVD players and luxury toiletries.
TUI flies from Dublin to Campania on May 3 to stay at the TUI Sensimar Nastro Azzuro for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis from €1,004 per person.
If you are planning an extra special holiday this year, then consider the Haven Riviera in Cancun. Only open since October, this super exclusive, adult-only resort offers extremely high-end service in the most luxurious of surroundings. The hotel has six restaurants, three snack bars and nine bars, two of which are swim-up, so get ready for some serious self-care as all of your whims are catered to.
Tropical Sky are departing Dublin in October 2019 for a seven night all-inclusive stay at the Haven Riviera from €1,419 per person.
Best for Far Flung Getaways
Zanzibar is home to the newly opened Zuri Zanzibar, a hotel that is already gaining a reputation as the last word in fabulous. Fifty five stand-alone bungalows, suites and villas are built around spectacular landscaped spice gardens, with plenty of private areas to relax and recharge. The location isn’t tidal, meaning you can swim all day in the azure sea, and there’s a huge range of watersports on offer for those who are not content with relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.
Tropical Sky offers a seven-night stay at the Zuri Zanzibar on a half-board basis from €1,649 per person and flying from Dublin in April or May.
Trailfinders are all about Vietnam this year and have a number of tours exploring the country. The Kuala Lumpur and Classic Vietnam package is ideal, allowing for a three-night stop over in Kuala Lumpur to get a grip on your jet lag and explore a city of gleaming skyscapers and incredible food. From there, you’ll head to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital before heading to Halong Bay and embarking on an overnight cruise. You’ll visit Hue, beside the Perfume River, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, and finally you’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take an overnight cruise among the bright green rice fields of the Mekong Delta.
The Kuala Lumper and Classic Vietnam package from Trailfinders departs from Cork for 13 nights and costs from €2,899 per person, including most meals and accommodation.
African Sky suggests emulating Meghan and Harry this year and heading to Botswana, where they enjoyed a three-week safari trip for the Duchess’ birthday.
The andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp is as far from ‘camping’ as you can get. Located in a 61, 775 acre exclusive wildlife concession on the edge of the Okavango Delta, bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, the camp is known for its elegant tented accommodation, which boasts breath-taking views of the ever-changing Delta. You’ll sleep in one of nine exclusive tented suites, set on raised wooden platforms and tucked beneath a canopy of trees. You will want for nothing; each tent is furnished with a luxury bed that enjoys beautiful views of a reed-filled floodplain; an ensuite bathroom with an indoor and al fresco shower and a sprawling veranda with a spacious sitting area.
A ‘tent’ at the andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp costs from €485 per person, per night and can be booked as a part of a tour with African Sky.
Best For Adventure
You may think that a holiday in Tenerife is hardly the best way to flex your adventurous muscles, but you’d be wrong. Watersport enthusiasts will adore Flyboarding, the latest adventure pursuit on water that is taking Tenerife by storm. A cross between jet skiing and hover-boarding, you stand on a board that’s attached by a hose to a jet ski and once the jet ski takes off, you’ll find yourself flying through the air. A haven for adrenaline junkies, Tenerife has incredible beaches with fantastic waves that offer year-round conditions for surfing and windsurfing.
TUI are departing Dublin on May 10 to stay at the four-star Guayarmina Princess on the Costa Adeje for seven nights on a half-board basis from €739 per person.
G Adventures are heading to Cuba this year on a six-day tour of the country, starting with Havana. You’ll be in a group of maximum 16 people, giving you a chance to soak in every last minute in this colourful country. You’ll walk through the pincushion hills and wander amongst orchids and lush mountain coffee plantations and get to tour a tobacco plantation, and soak up local culture in a homestay for an immersive experience that travellers rarely get to know. G Adventures Cuba Libre tour costs from €1,945 per person and includes flight from Cork, accommodation and tours as per itinerary.
Best for Solo Travelling
Roz Purcell raved about her experience on the BodyHoliday in St Lucia, and now you can too.
Dubbed the ultimate spa holiday destination, the resort is luxurious enough to attract an extremely glamorous clientele and that’s not just down to its location. It has incredible facilities, including an award-winning wellness centre, powdery white-sand beach and more activities and sports than any other hotel in St Lucia; a constantly changing daily activity list can be found inscribed in chalk on a blackboard by the beach. It runs themed weeks over the course of the year include sailing, yoga, WellFit (a week-long intensive training programme) and jiving.
With no single supplements, BodyHoliday is perfect for solo travellers. A stay here will set you back from €2,499 per person with Tropical Sky, and the all-inclusive package includes flights from Dublin, transfers, one spa treatment per day plus an unprecedented range of activities, fine-dining and quality wine.
Travel Department offers a fantastic way to explore new destinations while meeting new people along the way. Their Highlights of Andalucia tour explores what is arguably Spain’s most vibrant region, staying in the charming town of Antequera, surrounded by dramatic mountains and green valleys. Your tour will include a visit to the Unesco World Heritage City of Córdoba, and a full-day excursion to Granada, including a guided city tour and a visit to the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, and you’ll take a coach tour of Seville. Highlights of Andalucia departs Cork on September 26 for seven nights with Travel Department, and costs from €789 per person, including return flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions with an expert local guide.
Malta is not just for lovebirds, and Travel Department’s tour of Malta and Gozo immerses travellers in its colourful history and culture that comes as much from its Mediterranean neighbours as the country itself.
You’ll enjoy a guided tour of Valetta, Malta’s capital, visit the island of Gozo and discover the historical area known as the three cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea. This tour includes lots of free time, to relax or sightsee at your own pace, making it an ideal highbred of activity and downtime.
Travel Department flies from Cork to Malta for seven nights, staying in half-board hotel accommodation from €999 per person when travelling in May, June and September.