The stunning architecture of Rome, Venice, Florence and really, really good food are all great reasons to visit Italy, but it’s the sun that keeps us coming back. Coastal regions like Amalfi and Cinque Terre, along with islands like Sicily, Sardinia, Ischia and Capri hide some of the most stunning beaches in Europe – including Cala Goloritzé, which is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the world.
The most popular sunny breaks
Where’s the hottest holiday destination for next year? From family favourites to top trends, we find the most popular places to see the sun.
Research tells us that we’ve taken more holidays in the last year than at any point in the last five. But where are we all going? ATOL, the holiday protection scheme, has revealed the top 10 most popular hot spots for British tourists, and it’s sun holiday destinations that make up most of the list. We might be taking more holidays than ever – but all we really want is a bit of sunshine...
Greece will never leave the top 10 because there’s always another reason for holidaymakers to keep going back. Impossible to be bored with, Greece’s ever-changing landscape of hidden coves, tiny islands and secret beaches means going home always feels like you’re leaving something unseen behind. And with such a stunning climate, the sun never seems to stop shining. Stick to holiday hotspots like Santorini for bustling beaches, or head to lesser visited islands like Evia for more of a local scene.
Easy to reach by boat, train or car, visiting France feels like an easy option if you stay in the north where the climate and coastline closely resemble our own. But head further south and you’ll see why the country keeps on offering so much to British holidaymakers chasing the real sunshine – with regions like Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon and Aquitaine making the most of their perfect weather, enviable beaches and rich, perfumed air that makes lazy days feel like whole summers.
Come for the cities, the culture and the custard tarts – stay for 800km of pristine coast that offers some of the best places to soak up the sun in the world. The sandy, scalloped beaches of The Algarve are still the most popular with Brits, but it’s also worth travelling north to see Miramar, near Porto, Praia do Cabedelo, close to Viana, or the beaches of Guincho, Cascais and Setúbal, near Lisbon.
It’s been top of the list for decades and it’s easy to see why. Perfectly located, Spain sees more than 300 days of sunshine every year – often stretching long into the autumn and winter months at home. What’s more, the country boasts over 5,000 miles of coastline covering everything from sandy Atlantic beaches to rocky Mediterranean coves – containing the world’s largest number of Blue Flag beaches. Throw in the amazing food, an atmosphere of lazy days and crazy nights, and some of Europe’s oldest, yet most exciting cities, and you’ve got a destination that’s made for the summer holidays.
Less a country than half a continent, the USA has something for everybody. Big, incomparable cities like New York, San Francisco, New Orleans and Los Angeles. Panoramic vistas that cover deserts, forests, mountains, plains, swamps and canyons. Adult playgrounds like Las Vegas, Miami and Reno. But if it’s sun you’re after, head to the beaches of Florida, California and New England or to America’s own island paradise, Hawaii. The USA is a very popular destination for friends and family road trips!
You don't need much of an excuse to visit the Caribbean, and it’s inclusion on the top 10 list proves that most Brits don’t wait to find one either. Top of most people’s bucket lists, the natural beauty of the islands in and around the Caribbean Sea is enough to call them paradise on Earth – with golden sands and crystal waters to match the food and festivals that fill every day with colour. And with more than 7000 islands to choose from, there’s a sunset for everybody – from hotspots like the Dominican Republic and the authentic charm of Martinique, to this year’s it destination, Turks and Caicos, which boasts one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Brits are travelling further afield than ever before, and you can’t get much further afield than Australia. With winters like our summer, and summers like nothing we’ve ever seen before, the climate is perfect for a holiday in the sunshine. And with coastal destinations like Port Macquarie, Moolooaba, 1770, Noosa and Byron Bay, there are plenty of places to do it. It doesn't hurt that they also have The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, home to countless species of stunning fish, molluscs and starfish as well as turtles and dolphins.
The only top 10 destination on ATOL’s list that doesn't scream sunshine, Canada is still a great choice for anyone who’s after a holiday with a view. With some of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world (not to mention some of the best skiing), Canada’s vast scenery is unlike anywhere else – with the Great Lakes and the Rockies separating two rugged coastlines and some of the world’s great cultural hubs.
The ultimate beach island, Cyprus’ coastline offers the best of the Med with the right sand for everyone. From watersports and popular seafronts to hidden coves and wild bays, the sunny climate and idyllic local charm makes Cyprus feel like the dream seaside holiday.
_If any of the destinations on this list made your own top 10, head to Club Med to discover a range of premium all-inclusive resorts in sunny spots all over the world. _