Pack your bags. Let's get out of here

The kids are back at school, so make the most of the bargains now on offer. Ian McCurrach picks 20 last-minute holidays
Click to follow
The Independent Travel

1 Unwind in Madeira

Transformed from a former 19th-century hunting lodge, the five-star Casa Velha do Palheiro has a great outdoor pool terrace that's perfect for soaking up those late summer rays on this warm sub-tropical island. The hotel, in the capital Funchal, is an ideal base for walkers and nature lovers who want to make the most of Madeira's breathtaking scenery.

Cadogan Holidays (02380 828313; www.cadoganholidays.com) offers this seven-night b&b break for £744 per person, based on two sharing, including return scheduled flights from Gatwick with British Airways and private transfers. Departures 16 September- 9 October save £146 per person.

2 Luxurious Kos

The Princess of Kos hotel is set in beautiful gardens overlooking the sea on the north side of this Greek island. Designed to resemble a typical Aegean white village, the hotel combines traditional Greek hospitality with four-star facilities.

Freshholidays.com (0870 027 2110; www.freshholidays.com) offers this seven-night all-inclusive break for £399 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Gatwick to Kos. Departs 21 September, saving £50 per person.

3 Croatia's islands

Charter a Beneteau 423 yacht around Croatia's islands and discover secret bays. Do as much or as little sailing as you want (there's a skipper on board), swim, snorkel, dive, visit vineyards or simply sunbathe on deck.

Sail Croatia (020-7751 9988; www.sailcroatia.net) offers a seven-night charter for £361 per person, based on six sharing, including skipper, b&b on board, route consultation and transfers. Departs 10 September saving £155 per person. Croatia Airlines (020-8563 0022; www.croatiaairlines.com) offers return flights from Heathrow to Split for £262 return during September.

4 Gay-friendly Sicily

Four hundred gay men from many countries, one luxury island resort. Gay Week at Favignana on Sicily promises vineyard and temple visits, deep-sea diving, snorkelling, volleyball, tennis, DJs every night until dawn, foam and pool parties, fireworks, costume parties, cocktails at sunset, cruising and sailing, movies at midnight and more.

Alternative Holidays (020-8902 7177; www.alternative-holidays.com) offers this seven-night all-inclusive event at the Favignana Village Resort for £547 per person, based on four sharing, including flights and transfers from London. Departs 18 September, saving £53 per person.

5 Glamorous Riviera

Frequently rented by top celebrities such as Diddy, the luxurious Villa Fresia is ideal for couples wanting to relax during the day and party at night. The villa is set in an acre of private, fully enclosed grounds, has a large pool and electric security gates, which is one of the many reasons it is a hit with Hollywood royalty.

MyVillaRenters (0870 027 2650; www.myvillarenters.com) offers a seven-night self-catering break at the three-bedroom villa throughout September for £353 per person, based on six sharing, saving £200 in total. British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com) offers return flights from Gatwick to Nice from £103 return during September.

6 Budget Venice

Set back from a long sandy beach, Camping Marina di Venezia is just 30 minutes by ferry from Venice. If you don't fancy the city, the on-site facilities include a swimming pool, tennis and beach volleyball. Golf, horseriding and the Aqualandia Water Park are all nearby.

Venue Holidays (01233 629950; www.venueholidays.co.uk) offers a 14-night self-catering break to Camping Marina di Venezia at Punta Sabbioni for £62 per person, based on four sharing, including return P&O crossings from Dover to Calais and fully-equipped two-bedroom mobile home accommodation. For arrivals after 9 September, saving £133 in total.

7 Andalucian activity

Set on the sandy beach of La Barrosa on the Costa de la Luz, the five-star Gran Luxe Melia Sancti Petri Hotel at Novo Sancti Petri overlooks the Atlantic and has two outdoor pools, heated indoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and fitness centre. Next door is a 27-hole golf course and windsurf and sailing school.

Stowaway Travel (0845 230 1212; www.stowawaytravel.co.uk) offers a seven-night b&b break for £589 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights with British Airways from Gatwick to Seville and fully inclusive economy car hire. Departs 20 September, saving £65 per person.

8 Pampered in Monaco

Spend your days in the sun or indulging yourself at the swanky Les Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo Spa. In the evenings explore the culinary delights the principality has to offer.

Cresta Cities (0870-161 0900; www.crestaholidays.co.uk) offers a four-night b&b break at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel from £561 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights on British Airways from Gatwick to Nice, return helicopter transfers, and the Monte Carlo Passport (free entrance to a range of attractions and museums including exotic gardens and state apartments). Available throughout September, saving £72 per person.

9 Sporty in Turkey

Palm Beach Resort is one of Mark Warner's smaller resorts catering exclusively for adults outside the school holidays. Just a 45-minute transfer from Bodrum, the resort is set on the beach against a backdrop of hills. Facilities include windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, water polo, scuba diving and snorkelling.

Mark Warner (0870 770 4222; www.markwarner.co.uk) offers a seven-night all-inclusive break at the Palm Beach Resort from £599 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Gatwick, transfers, full-board accommodation with wine, and most tuition. Departs 12 September, saving £60 per person.

10 Cypriot villas

Escape to Rose Garden villas in Northern Cyprus. Located just a 10-minute walk from the nearest beach, the 18 bungalow villas are surrounded by rose gardens with access to top-quality facilities.

Metak Holidays (020-8290 9292; www.metakholidays.co.uk) offers a 14-night self-catering break for £299 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and transfers. Departs Glasgow on 12 and 19 September, Manchester on 21 and 29 September, and Heathrow on 24 September, and saves £130 per person.

11 Cruise the Med

Cruise the Med from Barcelona to Piraeus, Athens, on board the MV Marco Polo, calling at Monte Carlo, Civitavecchia, Sorrento, Valletta and Santorini before flying back to the UK.

Cruise Control (0870 890 2710; www.bookmeacruise.co.uk) offers this seven-night cruise for £899 per person, based on two sharing an outside cabin, including return flights from Gatwick or Heathrow and all-inclusive accommodation but excluding drinks. Departs 30 September from Barcelona, saving £450 per person.

12 Menorcan beaches

With its horseshoe bay and sandy beach fringed by pine trees, Cala Galdana is one of Menorca's top hot spots. The Hotel Sol Gavilanes provides guests with a high standard of accommodation and a wide range of amenities.

Direct Holidays (0870 191 9185; www.directholidays.co.uk) offers this seven-night half-board break for £396 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Gatwick. Departs 23 September, saving £100 per person.

13 Dive off Gozo

Combine the beauty and tranquillity of the island of Gozo with a superb diving trip. Divide your time between wreck, cave and shark dives in the warm, clear, tideless waters, and exploring the relaxed lifestyle and lush beauty of one of the Med's hidden gems.

Malta Direct (020-8561 9079; www.maltadirect.com) offers this seven-night b&b break for £437 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, supplements, all surcharges and seven dives with the Calypso Dive Centre on Gozo. Departs 24 September, saving £40 per person.

14 Relax near Lisbon

Hole up in Cascais, the cosmopolitan resort only 30km west of Lisbon. Surrounded by excellent beaches to the west and lush countryside to the north, Cascais is the ideal base for exploring the area.

Mundi Color Holidays (020-7828 6021; www.mundicolor.co.uk) offers a seven-night b&b break at the four-star Hotel Cidadela in Cascais from £447 per person, including return scheduled flights from Gatwick and private transfers. Available throughout September, saving £50 per person.

15 De-stress in Crete

De-stress at Crete's smart Aldemar Royal Mare Village and Thalasso spa and beach resort. The treatments are adapted to each part of the body to help ease aches and pains and all you have to do is lie back and relax.

Erna Low Body & Soul Holidays (020-7594 0290; www.bodyandsoulholidays.com) offers a seven-day half-board break for £1,190 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from London to Heraklion and transfers. Available throughout September, saving £120 per person.

16 Tuscan tower

Rent La Torre in Tuscany. This romantic, 14th-century converted tower is set in a secluded and unspoilt area within walking distance of the hill town of Cetona. There are great views from the terrace towards rolling hills and the towers and roofs of the medieval town Città della Pieve.

CV Travel's Italian World (0870 606 0803; www.cvtravel.co.uk) offers a seven-night self-catering break at La Torre for £370 per person, based on seven sharing, including return flights from Gatwick to Florence and maid service two hours per day for six days. Available throughout September, saving £460 on the total price.

17 Mallorcan nightlife

Hotetur Cala Vinas is set on the water's edge in the secluded Cala Vinas bay in Mallorca. Just 20 kilometres from downtown Palma, it's a short hop into town for some nightlife.

Lastminute.com (0870 443 9902; www.lastminute.com) offers a 10-night all-inclusive break at the four-star Hotetur Cala Vinas for £509 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Belfast, Bournemouth, Coventry, Newcastle or East Midlands. Offer available throughout September saving £150 per person.

18 Gourmet Lanzarote

Los Calamares is a three-bedroom villa just a short walk from the resort of Playa Blanca and is close to the Timanfaya National Park. Playa Blanca has a 400-metre, white-sand beach that slopes into clear waters and is backed by an attractive promenade with some good seafood restaurants.

James Villa Holidays (0870 085 0722; www.jamesvillas.co.uk) offers Los Calamares for £202 per person, based on six sharing, including return flights from Gatwick on 22 September and saving £500 on the total price.

19 Cycling in France

Cycle through the Aveyron Valley in the Midi-Pyrénées, in south-west France. A landscape of limestone gorges, rolling meadows and vineyards, the valley is also littered with timeless French medieval villages, Cathar castles and Renaissance churches.

Headwater (01606 720199; www.headwater.com) offers this eight-night break for £589 per person, based on two sharing, including return ferry crossings, eight nights' accommodation on a half-board basis, bike hire, baggage service and route notes. Alternatively, fly to Toulouse, with local transfers, for £709 per person. Departs every other day between 12 and 24 September, saving £50 per person.

20 Peaceful Portugal

The picturesque Portuguese fishing cove of Santa Eulalia is just a few kilometres east of Albufeira, but light years away from its busier and livelier neighbour. Enjoy long stretches of golden sand and sample freshly caught fish served in the beachfront restaurants.

Sovereign (0870-576 8373; www.sovereign.com) offers a seven-night b&b break at the five-star Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Spa for £624 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Gatwick. Departs 24 September 2005, saving £100 per person.

Comments