Secret France: How to escape the tourist trail
The reasons for France's popularity are obvious, but how do you avoid the crowds and discover some of the country's lesser-known experiences?
City break deals for under £99pp
September is a cracking time to explore a new city – which one are you keen to tick off the list?
Secret Italy: How to escape the tourist trail
These Italian secrets – from hidden beaches to home cooking – will make you fall under Italy’s spell and discover lesser-known sides to this marvellous country.
Secret France: How to escape the tourist trail...1
City break deals for under £99pp...2
Secret Italy: How to escape the tourist trail...3
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...Read More
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...Read More