Travel Long Haul: Some like it hot

It's all abroad if you want a heated half-term holiday.
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The Independent Culture
THIS HALF-TERM why not whisk the family abroad to catch the remaining European sun? Many travel companies rent their holiday villas out deep into the autumn before their contracts on the properties run out.

Simply Tuscany and Umbria (0181-995 8277), for example, offers villas and apartments from pounds 370 per person per week, including flights and car hire. Many of its converted farmhouses are divided into apartments. One such is the Tenuta Moriano, a manor house with tennis courts and pool. An apartment for four costs pounds 428 per person for a week and includes flights and car hire. The house is in central Tuscany, reasonably close to Pisa and Florence and to that medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano.

In Cyprus, Sunville Holidays (0181-568 4499) has a number of half-term holiday options. Prices for deals start at pounds 363 per person with a 10 per cent reduction for one child. The Villa Panorama, for example, in the seaside town of Pomos has its own pool and, with car hire included, costs pounds 551 per person for a week. Pomos is set against a backdrop of the Paphos Mountains and offers the postcard charms of limestone hills and rambling vineyards.

If you're in search of a more itinerant break, Festival Cruises (0171- 436 0827) promises views of Crete and Rhodes on its "half term survival" cruise. You need to get to Venice by 24 October, when the cruise leaves - there's a price of pounds 1,730 for a family of four.

Families simply wanting to get away from it all could try Catalonia. Vintage Spain (01954 261 431) has a range of luxury properties that begin at pounds 495 for a week.