With the rising cost of living and time-poor professionals working longer hours, for less pay, taking a week or fortnight away might not always be on the agenda. However, more and more of us are waking up to the appeal of shorter breaks. Jet off for an extended weekend or midweek mini-break and it can be just what’s needed to recharge those batteries and reboot.
Just a few days away can allow us to chill out on the beach, sample other cultures and cuisine and do a spot of sightseeing. So, if you haven’t got the time or resources for an extended vacation right now, check out our top 5 weekend beach break recommendations.
Portugal’s premiere beach destination, the Algarve is just under three hours flying time from the UK and offers up a host of diverse resorts, long dry summers and mild winters. You can expect everything from wide stretches of golden sands, to quiet sandy coves, so whether you’re travelling with friends, a partner or family, there’s a beach and resort to suit.
For a relaxing, upmarket break, Vilamoura with its sleek hotels and classy marina is hard to beat, while those in search of fun and nightlife may prefer lively Albufeira. Culture vultures can head to Silves; a delightful town packed with history, the ruins of a Moorish castle and a selection of charming cafés. Make sure you sample the famous grilled sardines, washed down with some delicious Portuguese wine.
When it comes to beach breaks, the Canaries are always worth considering and the largest island, Tenerife, offers a string of resorts, volcanic beaches and once in a lifetime sightseeing opportunities. Thanks to being so close to Africa, it’s blessed with a warm and sunny climate pretty much all year round, so you can enjoy lazy beach days, watersports and leisurely strolls.
Playa de Las Americas is ideal for those in search of entertainment, with restaurants, bars and nightclubs aplenty. Don’t miss a trip to Teide National Park with its intriguing and unique landscape dotted with moon-like craters, volcanoes and rivers of petrified lava.
Mainland Spain is another great short break choice, with fantastic beaches, a great climate and rich culture to enjoy. Get the most from your mini-break and opt for a resort town such as Salou, where amusement parks, restaurants, shops and bars will ensure that there’s never a dull moment. The beaches are superb and the region is just an hour from Barcelona airport.
If you’re travelling with kids, don’t miss the chance to visit PortAventura WORLD, which is packed with roller coasters, entertainment and rides for all ages. For a dose of culture, spend an afternoon in Barcelona city where you can marvel at the architecture of Antonio Gaudi, check out the Picasso Museum and enjoy authentic tapas. For rest and relaxation by the Mediterranean Sea, Spain is hard to beat.
Fly to Majorca in under two and a half hours and a world of sightseeing and seaside fun awaits. If you want a good balance of relaxation and culture, consider the coastal resort of Cala Millor. Spread along Majorca’s north-east coast, it boasts a pretty bay with a sandy beach, selection of watersports and an attractive promenade. Food-wise you’ll find everything from traditional seafood paella through to international dishes. The town has an upbeat seaside atmosphere, with shops selling crafts and souvenirs and a selection of restaurants. There is also a smattering of bars and clubs for evening fun. For a change of pace, head to the lively capital Palma, just over an hour’s drive away, where you can indulge in retail therapy and visit the famous cathedral.
With a flight time of around four hours, the Greek island of Rhodes could be a haven for those in search of laid-back resorts, ancient culture and a vibrant capital city to explore. Seaside resorts, such as Lindos, offer a seamless mix of new and old, with well-equipped hotels and authentic charm providing the perfect holiday venue. The island also has a subtropical climate, so averages around 300 days of sunshine per year. The beaches offer up both sandy and pebble shores and there are more than 25 locations that have been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness.
Make sure you take time away from the beach however, to visit The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, a medieval castle which is one of the finest Gothic architectural examples in Greece. Rhodes Town is a delight to explore, with a maze of cobbled streets, cocktail bars and traditional tavernas, awaiting your custom.
When deciding on your venue, think about flight times, what you want from accommodation and proximity to both the beach and airport. When time is of the essence it is also precious, so make the most of your mini-adventure by researching the best destinations and deals.