TRAVELLER: SPRING ESCAPISM 2018
Spring has finally arrived and has brought with it bright mornings, lighter evenings and the promise that summer isn’t too far away. If you are in need of a little holiday pick me up sooner, there are a wealth of destinations that make a perfect Easter getaway. Soaking up the sun in Mallorca, sailing in Cape Verde or exploring the wild trails in the Cotswolds, here are our picks for best spring escapes.
SHORT HAUL: MALLORCA
Blessed with stunning natural beauty, from its breathtaking coast and its turquoise seas to an inland of almond trees, olive groves, vineyards and remote mountains, Mallorca is the ever-popular star of the Mediterranean. There is an extensive network of hiking and biking trails as well as many secluded beaches backed with sweet smelling pine forests. To the west, the island offers cliff-sculpted drama and sapphire seas, pine-flecked bays are waiting to be discovered to the north. Head east to scope our deserted coves, or dive off bone-white beached in the south. With a room overlooking the bright-blue sea, sundown beach strolls to the backbeat of cicadas and restaurants open to the stars, the laid-back groove of coastal leaving is beckoning. Wherever your journey takes you, Mallorca never fails to seduce with its enticing views and hidden pockets of silence you can find even among the tourist swarms mid-August. Trek to hilltop monasteries, pedal through honey-stone villages, sit under a night sky and indulge in every moment.
BERNARD RECOMMENDS: JUMEIRAH HOTEL & SPA, PORT SOLLER
WHAT TO PACK FOR MALLORCA
LONG(ish) HAUL: CAPE VERDE
Hiding in the mid-Atlantic, some 500km west from Senegal, Cape Verde is a stunning cluster of islands, which born of volcanic fury, are as beautiful as they are mysterious with their captivating blend of mountains, beaches and peaceful seaside villages. On Santo Antão, craggy peaks hide piercing green valleys of flowers and sugar cane, ideal for epic hikes. São Vicente is home to the cultural capital of the islands, Mindelo, which throbs with bards and music clubs. On Sal and Maio, undulating windswept dunes merge with indigo blue seas on unspoilt beaches of powdery white sand. Meanwhile, far-flung Fogo and Brava in the southwest offer their own enchantments, from surreal volcanic landscapes to sparkling bays framed by towering peaks. Throw in the constant beat of music and long hours of sunshine Cape Verde is famed for and you’ll see why many have come and never left. The Cape Verdean weather rarely shifts from the upper 20°C at any time of year. The nearest it comes to vast swing in temperature is the five-degree gap between the January average of 25°C and the 30°C that defines September. Hours of sunshine? Between five and nine.
Always Sailing offers the chance to go for a trip across the Atlantic, in a beautiful white racing yacht. A full 8-hour day costs €99 and includes lunch and snorkelling stops. Pick up is from Palmeira, and full-day excursions are available on Sundays, Tuesday and Thursdays. If your idea of heaven is more like floating along on a catamaran, flanked by wild whales and dolphins, then Sal has that option too – enquire at the pier in Santa Maria.
BERNARD RECOMMENDS: MORABEZA, SAL’S FIRST HOTEL
The four-star Hotel Morabeza in Santa Maria was the first hotel on Sal and remains one of the best. It was founded by an ageing Belgian industrialist and his wife, who were looking for somewhere reliably warm to settle in the sixties. Business has expanded ever since and there’s now an oceanside beach club attached. If you’re staying on a Saturday, claim your free caipirinha at the hotel’s ‘Cape Verdean Night’ in Les Palmiers restaurant, with traditional music and dance performances, displays of local crafts and a buffet of island specialities.
WHAT TO PACK FOR CAPE VERDE
LOCAL: THE COTSWOLDS
Rolling gracefully across six counties, the Cotswolds are a delightful tangle of hidden villages, thatch-roofed cottages, evocative churches, rickety almshouses and ancient mansions of honey-coloured stone. If you’ve ever lusted exposed beams, cream teas or cuisine full of local produce, look no further. In 1966, the region was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). At 790 sq miles, it’s England’s second-largest protected area after the Lake District. Though it extends from north of Chipping Campden to south of Bath, the bulk of it lies in Gloucestershire. The gentle yet dramatic hills are perfect for walking, cycling or horse riding, crisscrossed by a network of long-distance tracks, most notably the 102-mile Costwold Way.
BERNARD RECOMMENDS: VISIT THE COTSWOLDS DISTILLERY
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE COTSWOLDS