Kate Simon

Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (, which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.

Get set for summer: High

Conquer the mountains of Macedonia on a strenuous holiday in the Shar Planina, which will put you and your older teenagers to the test. The climax is a climb to the range's highest peak, Titov Vrv (2,747m), as well as reaching the top of Medenica (2,163m), and Golem Krchin (2,341m) for views of Mount Olympus in Greece. Along the way, capture glimpses of lynx and eagles, and explore ancient Orthodox churches. KE Adventure Travel (017687 73966; offers the seven-night trip for £795 per person, including transfers, hotel accommodation, transport, park entrance fees, excursions and English-speaking local guide. Minimum age 16. Departs Skopje 20 July and 24 August. Excludes flights.

Get set for summer: Hot

Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145; makes its debut in the Canary Islands this summer, at Majanicho on the north coast of Fuerteventura. Origo Mare is typical of P&V's cut-above holiday village, with 323 houses, sleeping two to seven, smartly laid out around a sequence of oases, each with a communal pool. There's also a huge waterpark, as well as two restaurants, three bars, shops, an 18-hole mini-golf course, paddle, tennis, and petanque courts, plus a gym and kids' clubs for three- to 18-year-olds. A week costs from €875 (£719) per person, based on four sharing a studio. Excludes flights.

10 Great British spring breaks

Daffodils, blossom and lambs are all starting to make an appearance – so it's time to shake off winter and get outdoors, says Kate Simon

Summer Guide 2013: Forests

Thrills in the tree-tops are guaranteed for adults and children who take on the high-rope and zip-wire challenges on an Adventure Day at one of the centres run by PGL, pictured (0844 371 2424; The day package of activities costs £40pp and is available at various PGL centres around the UK.

Summer Guide 2013: Islands

Take your pick of seven new properties on the Greek Islands available through Ionian Villas (01935 477196; "Artist's Villa" on Paxos, built in 2011, has three bedrooms and sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive groves overlooking Gaios port. It costs from £1,330 for a week's rental. Meanwhile, two-bedroom "Morpheus", a newly completed property on Antipaxos, is one of only four villas with swimming pools that are available to rent on the island. It costs from £1,120 for a week, including rental of a Suzuki 4x4. International travel costs are not included.

Summer Guide 2013: Bikes

Freewheel along the Via Francigena in Italy, an old pilgrimage route to Rome, on a 172-mile tour that links Parma and Lucca. Let an E-bike take the strain, firing up its electric engine when you need a little help on those hills. The week's tour costs £641pp, based on two sharing, through Freedom Treks (01273 224066;, including B&B, two dinners, luggage transfers and route maps. International travel costs extra.

Summer Guide 2013: Beaches

Explore the coral beaches and white-sand shores of Connemara in Ireland on a new sea-kayaking adventure. The guided ocean trek is based on the tales of Granuaile, a 16th-century Gaelic pirate queen. It traces her route along the Atlantic coast from Connemara to Achill Island, staying at waterfront B&Bs along the way. The price is €1,250 (£1,058)pp, based on two sharing, with Wilderness Ireland (01479 420020;, including six nights' B&B, some meals, equipment hire and the services of a guide. Travel to Connemara costs extra. Departs 1 June and 7 September.

More headlines

The best rail trips in Europe

Let the train take the strain, says Kate Simon. From luxury railway trips to classic British days out, there are plenty of options to choose from

Traveller's Guide: Creative holidays

They're the new 'relaxing escape' – the chance to learn a skill, practise a hobby or start a life-changing project. Kate Simon finds ways to make the most of your time off

Traveller's Guide: Grenada

This tiny Caribbean spice island offers visitors plenty of historical and cultural diversions, plus some dazzling beaches. Pull up a sunlounger