10 top places in the sun

It's not too late to grab a bargain for summer. If you know where to look, there are still some great deals out there. Ian McCurrach bags the best


1. Get the city heat in Barcelona

Spend a long weekend at the luxurious Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona's historic and hip neighbourhood of El Born. After getting to grips with Gaudi and indulging in retail therapy, guests can relax by the rooftop infinity pool and enjoy sweeping views over the city. Discover secret parts of the city using the inside knowledge of the hotel's private guidebook. Feeling peckish? The hotel's restaurant, Actual, offers a Mediterranean cuisine and tapas, courtesy of Michelin-star chef Ramon Freixa.

Getting there: The Grand Hotel Central (00 34 93 295 79 00; grandhotelcentral .com) offers three nights' b&b (28-31 August) for £99 per room per night, saving £146 per double room.

2. Keep it chic in Cyprus

The chic and contemporary design-led seaside resort of Almyra in Cyprus attracts singles, couples and families alike. It is set in eight acres of landscaped gardens with commanding views across the bay towards the medieval castle and harbour of Paphos. Designed by Joëlle Pléot, the interior designer to Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld, Almyra has 189 spacious rooms, each with a garden or sea view. Expect state-of-the-art amenities to satisfy even the most demanding of techies. Facilities for kids include a supervised club, dedicated swimming pool and special menus. There are three golf courses nearby, and the shops, castle and house of Dionysus in Paphos are a short walk away.

Getting there: Abercrombie & Kent (0845-0700 612; abercrombiekent.co.uk) offers seven nights' b&b in a superior sea-view room for £875 per person, including return flights and transfers, saving £206 per person (excludes travel 1-20 August).

3. Go green on Skopelos

Villa Metochi is a three-bedroom property with a spacious garden situated on the edge of Skopelos Town on the Greek island of the same name. Set against the mountainside and surrounded by dense olive groves, the villa has uninterrupted views of Skopelos Bay and the harbour. The town itself is a warren of tavernas, cafes and bars. The villa has a private pool and the beach, port and restaurants are only a 10-minute drive away. Skopelos is the greenest of the Greek islands so expect plenty of pine forests and majestic scenery.

Getting there: Simply Greece (0870-405 5005; simplytravel.co.uk) offers seven nights' self-catering at Villa Metochi for £359 per person, based on six sharing, including return flights and car hire, saving £160 per person for departures on 30 August.

4. Tee off on the Spanish coast

Opening in June, the Sheraton Real de Faula Golf Resort & Spa on the Costa Blanca has two 18-hole golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus with views of the Mediterranean and the Finestrat mountains. There is also a range of activities for children, including a club and games room. Other facilities include floodlit tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a Sheraton wellness spa, gym and aerobics studio. Watersports, hiking, horseback excursions on the beach and theme parks are on the doorstep. Eateries include an all-day restaurant, barbecue area, Spanish Tasca restaurant and an Oriental restaurant.

Getting there: The Sheraton Real de Faula Golf Resort & Spa (00800-325 35353; realdefaula.com) offers a seven-night b&b break in a junior suite for £663 per suite, based on two adults and two children under 12 sharing, for arrivals during August, saving £693.

5. Keep the kids active in Italy

The Ca' Savio camping park in Italy's Treporti area, which separates the Bay of Venice from the Adriatic, has been family-run since 1959. The kids are kept busy and entertained with six pools, a children's club and mini-golf. The park also has its own gently shelving beach which is safe for young children. St Mark's Square and Venice are only 30 minutes away by public water taxi, and the Aqualandia water park is close by too.

Getting there: Eurocamp (0870-366 7552; eurocamp .co.uk) offers seven nights' self-catering (accommodation only) for £720, based on two adults and three children sharing a Venezia mobile home, saving £250 on departures on 29 July.

6. Hit the beach in Bulgaria

On the side of a small hill on the southern Black Sea coast of Bulgaria stands the four-star Marina Palace Hotel. Facilities include a rooftop pool and a spa with an extensive range of treatments. Nearby Nessebur has a historic old town with cobbled streets, the sites of more than 40 churches and a good selection of lively bars and restaurants.

Getting there: Balkan Holidays (0845-130 1114; balkan holidays.co.uk) offers a seven-night half-board break for £479 per person, including return flights from Gatwick and transfers, departing 28 August.

7. Try country life in Catalonia

Mas Sabena is a large rambling village house in the beautiful countryside of Catalonia. Set in eight acres of lawns and woods, the property sleeps up to 18. There are six bedrooms in the main house and three in the cottage across the courtyard. Features include a large vaulted kitchen, billiard room, an indoor pool on the first floor and an outdoor pool. It is also within easy reach of sandy beaches and the city of Girona.

Getting there: Vintage Travel (0845-344 0420; vintage travel.co.uk) offers a one-week rental for £4,195, saving £400, starting 24 July. One week starting 31 July costs £4,395, saving £200.

8. Take a new look at Cephalonia

Votsalo is a brand new villa near Avithos in the south of Cephalonia. It has views of Avithos Bay, the cliffs and sea in one direction and the towering Mount Aenos in the other. The deserted sandy beach of Megalipetra is a short walk away down a quiet track and there is also a large private swimming pool in the villa's grounds. There is one twin and one double bedroom, a large living/dining room, a shaded terrace and a well-equipped kitchen.

Getting there: Meon Villas (0870-850 8551; meonvillas .co.uk) offers seven nights' self-catering for £1,499 from 1 August, saving £780.

9. Find peace in Mallorca

Villa Encinas is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom villa just outside Pollensa in the north of Mallorca - one of the prettiest and least developed parts of the island, with good sandy beaches and impressive mountain scenery. Villa Encinas has its own large private pool and is situated in lawned gardens.

Getting there: Villa Centre (01223 513593; villacentre .com) offers one week, sleeping up to eight, for £1,547 in July and August, saving £350.

Prices based on two sharing and exclude flights unless stated and are correct at time of going to press

10. Hop along Croatia's coast

Sail around Croatia's islands on the Jeanneau 49ft yacht, taking in the highlights of the Dalmatian coast, from large buzzing marinas to small quiet coves and turquoise bays. Take a Jeep safari to the top of Hvar island, taste the fine wine on Brac and explore the Green Cave near Vis.It sleeps eight and costs £2,635 for a one-week charter, including skipper, transfers and route consultation. Contact Sail Croatia (020-7751 9988; sailcroatia.net) and quote IOS49.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Day In a Page

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor