Aug 8, 2016

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Last-minute European beach breaks for under £500pp...

Last-minute European beach breaks for under £500pp

As the summer rolls on, Brits up and down the country will be jetting off on a well-deserved holiday. If you had every intention of booking a bargain break back January but never got around to it, you might be worried about checking the prices now in case they shatter your dreams of a last-minute getaway. Well relax! The deals are still there, you just have to know where to look. To put your holiday anxiety at ease, we’ve rounded up eight incredible beach bargains for under £500 per person. Benidorm, Costa Blanca How much? £425 per person, flying from London Luton Benidorm sometimes gets a bad rap, but for price and beaches it’s rightly still a big favourite for Brits. Beach-wise you can take your pick from well-known Levante and Poniente, or the quieter bays of Cala Tio Ximo and Cala Mal Pas. And as well as its infamous nightlife, the resort has a calmer side in the traditional old town where you’ll find plenty of great tapas bars. The deal: A seven-night half board stay for two people at the four-star Albir Playa Hotel & Spa, departing September 6, 2016, costs £425 per person. Booking with Love Holidays, flying with Easyjet from London Gatwick. Compare cheap holidays to Benidorm El Cotillo, Fuerteventura How much? £352 per person, flying from Manchester Quiet, laid-back and surrounded by “endless” beaches – if you’re looking to get away from it all this summer, El Cotillo is a great shout. Largely devoid of mainstream tourism, this former fishing village keeps to itself on Fuerteventura’s pristine north west coast, something that has made it popular with surfers and beach bums alike. Try your hand at catching the perfect wave, bar hop around El Cotillo’s lively harbour bars or take a day trip to intriguing Lobos Island, which features a largely uninhabited nature preserve that’s home to diverse plants and wildlife, including rare birds. The deal: A seven-night self-catering stay at Apartments Cotillo Lagos, departing September 6, 2016, costs £352 per person. Booking with Love Holidays, flying with a budget airline from Manchester. Compare cheap holidays to Fuerteventura Paguera, Majorca How much? £497 per person, flying from Bristol Another Spanish island resort that started out life as a fishing village, Paguera has become a lively alternative to Majorca’s better-known resorts. Best bits for Brits include a decent nightlife scene, plenty of places to...

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Aug 8, 2016

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A foodie’s guide to the Costa Blanca

A foodie’s guide to the Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca may be one of the most popular Spanish destinations with holidaymakers and expats, but don’t be fooled into thinking its food scene is all packed tourist traps serving forgettable tapas and familiar British fare, writes Lucy Douglas. The bountiful larders of the Med and fertile farmlands rich with fruit, rice and vegetables provide the fresh ingredients for quality rustic dishes and innovative fine dining alike. At the northern tip of the Costa Blanca, Denía leads the way for the region’s gastro scene, with stand-out destinations such as Quique Dacosta’s eponymous restaurant which boasts three Michelin stars, or narrow, cobbled Carrer de Loreto which is lined with stylish tapas bars and artisan gin joints. But even in tourist hotspots such as Benidorm, you can still find talented chefs using fresh regional produce to create authentic and elegant dishes. Here’s our pick of the best the region has to offer. Compare cheap holidays in Costa Blanca El Baret de Miguel Ruiz, Denía 1 Carrer Historiador Palau, 00 34 673 74 05 95 Best for: Foodie show-offs Don’t miss: Miguel’s desserts For culinary one-upmanship, this place is hard to beat. Expats rave about their dinners here, and it’s tough to get a reservation within six months of booking. It’s tucked in a tiny Denía backstreet, with an unassuming tavern-style interior that belies the delicious creations of the kitchen. Chef Miguel Ruiz prides himself on serving unpretentious (he turned his back on a career in a Michelin-starred restaurant) but inventive and meticulously prepared food. Save room for dessert, but start with a round of the modestly named ‘best olives in the world’. La Cajita, Javea 9 Calle Finestrat, 00 34 642 534 939 Best for: Rustic tapas with the locals Don’t miss: Ceviché A tiny hole in the wall, La Cajita is in Javea’s beautiful winding old town, away from the tourist-heavy joints on the seafront drag. Charismatic host Miguel serves traditional, well-cooked tapas dishes that change from day to day depending on the best local produce in the market. It’s a popular hangout with locals, so you’ll scramble for space on Friday and Saturday nights when the atmosphere is lively. Restaurante Masena, Javea 9 Carrer Benitachell, 00 34 965 793 764 Best for: A great value lunch Don’t miss: Steaks A short drive out of town...

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Aug 5, 2016

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8 incredible challenges around the world...

8 incredible challenges around the world

When a friend told me he was taking on the mighty Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walk, I must admit I was skeptical. Hundreds of walkers attempt a section of this ancient web of routes across France and Spain every year, but he planned to tackle the entire 550-mile hike in one go. It was a long and gruelling journey with demanding terrain, searing heat, blistered feet and exhaustion, but he was rewarded for his hard work with ethereal sunrise walks past the snow-capped Pyrenees and the...

Aug 5, 2016

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Long-haul travel trends: British holidaymakers’ top destinations...

Long-haul travel trends: British holidaymakers’ top destinations

Whether you’re looking to soak up some winter sun or want to fling yourself into a new culture, a long-haul flight is often part and parcel of going on holiday. France and Spain are still the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers by some way, but the number of travellers taking long-haul flights has grown significantly over the last two decades, despite a dip following the 2008-09 recession. In the graphics below, we look at how flights to...

Aug 4, 2016

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7 hotel rip-offs and how to avoid them...

7 hotel rip-offs and how to avoid them

A big holiday can quickly become very expensive, so the last thing you want is to shell out on avoidable costs when you get there. Even though you’re set for a some serious relaxation time, don’t let your holiday good mood cloud your judgement. To help you stay ahead of the game, familiarise yourself with some common hotel rip-offs you should try to avoid. Rip-off #1: Mini-bar madness We all love a bit of a splurge on holiday, but there are some areas where the...

Aug 2, 2016

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How to do the Greek islands with kids...

How to do the Greek islands with kids

With a collection of dolls and teddies lined up next to her on our kitchen floor, my two-year-old regularly declares that she’s off to Paxos on a “boat”. She tells me she’ll swim in the sea when she gets there, catch a fish and then eat ice cream. Praise indeed for a memorable holiday. But how did we make a trip exploring three Greek islands with a two-year-old in tow enjoyable and relaxing? Here’s how to get the basics...

Aug 2, 2016

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Beyond Rio: 7 of Brazil’s best beach destinations...

Beyond Rio: 7 of Brazil’s best beach destinations

From iconic showstoppers such as Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio to lesser-known hideaways nestled in the wild north or on one of its many islands, Brazil’s 4,000-miles of coastline are strewn with glorious, picture-perfect beaches – it’s clear to see why Brazilians are so proud of them. Crowds of gringos will be packing Rio’s famous stretches of sand during the Olympics this year, so we decided to round up some of the other brilliant beaches elsewhere in the country that we’d love to be sunning ourselves on –...

Aug 2, 2016

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The Zika virus: Travel advice and your rights...

The Zika virus: Travel advice and your rights

The recent announcement from Public Health England that pregnant women should avoid travel to Florida due to the risk of contracting the Zika virus has thrust the issue back into the limelight. Here we outline what the virus is, what best do to if you want to cancel your holiday, and what steps you can take to avoid contracting the virus. What is the Zika virus? The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness which can be passed from a pregnant woman to...

Aug 2, 2016

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Revealed! How to travel in style in economy class...

Revealed! How to travel in style in economy class

How many times have you boarded a plane and walked through the business class section to find that your seat in economy is not one of those wide, spacious, comfy-looking reclining spots at the front of the plane, but instead resembles a battery farm cage? Your meal looks like it’s made of plastic, the blanket is wafer thin and the size of a flannel, and the entertainment system is broken – ring any bells? Most of us have been there, but don’t...

Aug 1, 2016

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Am I entitled to compensation for a delayed flight?...

Am I entitled to compensation for a delayed flight?

No-one wants their flight to be delayed and we receive regular questions from readers about how to tackle the claims process following travel disruption. So, to help you if your flight is delayed, our handy guide simplifies your legal rights and explains what compensation you might be entitled to, as well as how you would go about claiming it. My flight is delayed – does my airline have to look after me? If you are travelling from a European...