Madeira Island: Expedia share vacation travel guide in 2018
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Where is best to go on holiday in August? Reigo Eljas, Country Director for lastminute.com, has shared the top destinations for this month as well as a host of great deals. Locations include Malta, Portugal, Jersey and Croatia – so all you need to decide is where to go.
Malta – Green list
Gorgeous sandy beaches, perfect weather and fascinating history means Malta doubles as a spot for beach holidays and city breaks. With 300 days of sunshine every year, any time is a good time to visit Malta, but it’s at it’s liveliest in August, when the sun shines until the late evening and bright-eyed tourists pour into the small island, ready to fall in love with it.
What to eat
Surrounded by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Malta is seafood heaven. For the freshest fish and best seafood restaurants, check out the village of Marsaxlokk. If you’re into fine dining, you’ll be happy to learn that there are five Michelin star restaurants, three Bib Gourmand restaurants and 23 Michelin-recommended restaurants scattered around the island. Not bad for a country smaller than the Isle of Wight!
Be sure to try traditional Maltese food on your visit as well. Thanks to its Spanish, British, Middle Eastern and Italian influences, the food is absolutely delicious. Pastizzi – savoury pastries filled with ricotta cheese or peas – are a must and make a tasty lunch. The national dish stuffat tal-fenek (rabbit stew) is also worth a try.
What to see and do
One of the best things to see in Malta is the Blue Lagoon. Off the coast of Comino, this is your chance to take a dip in incredible turquoise waters and explore some picturesque caves. First timers should also explore the Blue Grotto on the main island. A boat trip is the best way to see this complex of nine caves up close and personal.
For beaches, Għajn Tuffieħa, Golden Bay and Ramla Bay are some of the best. Thanks to its shallow waters, Mellieha Bay is also a great choice for families. There are also plenty of diving schools scattered around the island if you want to catch a glimpse of Malta’s incredible marine life.
It’s not all about the seaside though – there’s a lot of fascinating history on this island, from World War II remnants to Neolithic temples. If you can only see one, make it the UNESCO-protected Ġgantija temple complex in Gozo, which is older than Egypt’s pyramids and makes a fascinating day out.
4* AX The Victoria Hotel
Breakfast included, 7 nights + flights, departing 12th August, from £359pp
4* AX Sunny Coast Resort & Spa
Room only, 7 nights + flights, departing 19th August, from £359pp
Madeira – Green watchlist
Madeira is a must for travellers looking for something a little more off the beaten track. As one of Europe’s best kept secrets, it offers a unique, serene getaway, with breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches and a growing food (and wine!) scene.
What to eat
One of the most loved dishes in Madeira is black scabbard fish with banana – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Tuna steaks marinated in molho de vilão sauce are also something to try during your stay. For something barbecued, espetada (marinated beef skewers) are a must.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, look out for bolo de mel. This cake is made with honey, almonds, walnuts and cinnamon and is thought to be Madeira’s oldest dessert. It’s easy to see why it’s been around for so long – it’s absolutely scrumptious.
And, of course, let’s not forget about the famous Madeira wine. If you’re a bit of a connoisseur, try to join a wine tasting or guided tour at Vinhos Barbeito, Pereira D’Oliveira or Blandy’s Wine Lodge.
What to see and do
There’s a lot to do in Madeira despite it being relatively small. From bird watching to whale watching, surfing to paragliding, scuba diving to coasteering, there are plenty of activities for adventurers. Pico Ruivo, the island’s highest peak, makes a great hiking trail for outdoorsy travellers and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views at the top. Cape Girão, Ponta de São Lourenço and Pico do Arieiro are also popular amongst hikers.
But fear not – there’s also plenty to do if you’re just hoping to switch off. In terms of beaches, Praia da Calheta and Praia de Machico are two of the best sandy beaches in the area and are great spots to while away the hours under the sun. Fancy a dip? The natural saltwater swimming pools of Porto Moniz are a must. The view here is phenomenal – you can spend hours watching the ocean waves crash against the nearby lava rocks.
5* Quintinha Sao Jao
Breakfast included, 7 nights + flights, departing 7th August, from £669pp
4* Allegro Madeira
Breakfast included, 7 nights + flights, departing 17th August, from £559pp
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Somewhere between a staycation and a holiday abroad, Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is just a quick one hour flight away from London. August is the perfect time to visit, promising sunshine but not sweltering heat.
It’s the perfect spot for active travellers – surfing, kayaking, swimming and cycling are all popular here – but it’s also got everything you need for a more relaxing escape. Spa retreats are popping up all over the island and the quiet beaches are perfect for some respite.
What to eat
Jersey is bursting with flavour, and with British and French influences, you’ll be sure to find something familiar on the menu. For casual al-fresco food, you can’t miss The Hungry Man, it’s the brightest kiosk on the island at Rozel Bay. Order a light bite to eat, grab a spot at a trestle table and look out to sea – you might see France on a clear day. Fresh seafood and an even fresher breeze awaits you at the Driftwood Cafe next to Archirondel Beach.
For fine dining, there are three Michelin-starred restaurants to enjoy – Banjo, Samphire and Bohemia. Mark Jordan at the Beach and the Ocean Restaurant in the Atlantic Hotel also have rave reviews.
The island also has more than its fair share of country pubs. Don’t let the French names fool you, the likes of Les Fontaines Tavern and Le Moulin de Lecq are traditional English-style pubs. The former has a huge beer garden and kids play area, while the latter was transformed from a mill into a pub in the 1950s and has loads of outdoor seating.
What to see and do
From coasteering to climbing, kayaking to paddleboarding, surfing to cycling, there are plenty of things to do if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. For something a bit different, what about beach blokarting? Get propelled by the wind in a go-kart with a sail. Certainly something to try at least once!
Looking for something a bit quieter? Swim and sunbathe at the island’s best beaches – St Brelade’s Bay, Beauport Beach and Greve de Lecq. Jersey’s National Park also makes for a great day out. Nature lovers should also consider joining a foraging tour. This is a great way to wander the island while also learning a bit about its natural environment. If you’re more interested in Jersey’s history, be sure to check out the Jersey War Tunnels, Jersey Museum & Art Gallery and the Hamptonne Country Life Museum.
And the best way to indulge after all this exploring? Join in on a wine tasting tour at La Mare Wine Estate. Or, better yet, book a spa day at L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa or The Cottage Garden at Longueville Manor.
3* Merton Hotel
Breakfast included, 3 nights + flights, departing 6th August, from £289pp
3* The Revere Hotel
Room only, 3 nights + flights, departing 13th August, from £299pp
Dubrovnik Coastline – Green watchlist
It’s no wonder Dubrovnik is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ – its shimmering turquoise waters, shiny limestone streets and picturesque Old Town are captivating. Even beyond the city centre, the entire coastline is picture-perfect. Visiting in August means you’re guaranteed to have great weather, with highs of 30°C and lows of 23°C. How’s that for a summer holiday?
What to eat
If you’re looking for authentic Croatian cuisine, black risotto is a good place to start. Known as crni rižot, the popular dish consists of squid or cuttlefish, red wine, olive oil, garlic and squid ink. Don’t let the colour put you off, it’s delicious. Gverovic Orsan and Yacht Club Orsan are two of the best restaurants to try this, although you’ll find the dish all over the coast.
Another seafood dish worth trying is brudet (or brodetto) – a fish stew made with tomato, onions and mussels that’s also popular in Italy’s Marche region. Being so close to Italy, you’ll find some overlaps in the cuisine. Šporki makaruli (which translates to ‘dirty macaroni’) is the Croatian version of spaghetti bolognese – definitely one to try on your stay!
Leave some room for dessert – you’ll definitely want to try rožata, which is similar to crème brûlée with a splash of rum. Look out for sour cherry strudel as well, another popular Croatian dessert.
Don’t worry if you don’t eat meat or fish, there are plenty of great vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Dubrovnik – Nishta and Urban & Veggie are two of the best.
What to do
Wandering around the UNESCO-protected Old Town is a great starting point for your holiday. Join a walking tour to learn more about all the incredible landmarks such as Minčeta Tower, Pile Gate and Rector’s Palace.
For fantastic views of the city, take the cable car just before sunset. It takes you to the top of Mount Srd and is open all year round. There’s also a restaurant at the top with incredible food and panoramic views – definitely worth a visit.
There are some good beaches in Dubrovnik – Plaža Banje, Uvala Lapad and Sveti Jakov are the best. If you’re looking for beaches that are on the quieter side, a day trip to Cavtat is a must. This charming seaside town is known for its laid-back vibe and dreamy beaches, and it offers a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the centre.
Dubrovnik is also perfectly positioned for day trips to some of the islands – Lopud, Lokrum and Koločep make great sunbathing and swimming spots!
Dubrovnik Coastline Deals
5* Hotel Croatia Cavtat
Breakfast included, 7 nights + flights, departing 12th August, from £879pp
4* Villa Filaus
Room only, 7 nights + flights, departing 22nd August, from £779pp
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