After what has felt like a really long UK winter, now that the days are staying lighter for longer, a lot of us are finding it hard to hold on until summer to get away for a proper break.
If you’ve been craving that sun and holiday feeling early, we’ve picked three of the best places to tempt you away from home for some uplifting spring sunshine.
Paris – for the romantics
It may be a cliché – “Paris in the springtime” – but there’s good reason why Paris is so appealing at this time of year. The city will feel more like your own if you visit before the summer holidays as you’ll be sure to miss the July heat, the traffic and crowded streets (although in August many Parisians usually leave the city and return in early September).
In fact, spring and autumn are equally perfect seasons to savour the real flavour of Europe’s chic-est city.
Amble down the Champs-Elysees, in and out of macaroon and coffee shops before visiting some of the museums that catch your eye, and finish your Parisian day out with a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower around about sunset for a truly stunning view.
Paris offers a good choice of fractional and timeshare accommodation which is a great option if you’re travelling with the family and plan to save on eating out.
If you’ve been out shopping in the morning, and need to rest those feet, stop off for a sidewalk lunch in the sunshine for a chilled glass of wine and a French baguette filled with tomatoes and beautifully ripe brie – or grab a gourmet sandwich and head to the nearest park.
South Africa – for adrenaline junkies
Sun, wine, sightseeing, endless beaches, exciting safaris and long scenic drives are just some of the things that make South Africa such a special long haul destination.
And even if you’re not a sun lounger and a good book sort of person, there are loads of adrenaline-packed activities to experience. How about abseiling down Table Mountain, or why not hop aboard and raft down the choppy Doring River (if you dare!)?
If too much activity sounds exhausting, a stay at one of the spa resorts or one of the wineries South Africa is famous for is just the ticket. There’s so much to see here, it makes sense to visit for longer, if you can, and if you have two weeks to spare, we’d recommend you divide your trip into a city (Cape Town) and vineyard or safari break. You’ll return home feeling as though you’ve been away for months, after the South African sunshine has worked its magic.
Australia – for nature lovers
Australia’s incredibly extensive and varied landscape means there really is something for everyone here. Our top picks would be The Great Barrier Reef but you may also want to head west to Ningaloo coral reef which is less well known. Here, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the whale shark – the biggest fish in the world!
Western Australia offers a lot of breathing space, it’s one of the least crowded and most beautiful natural environment in the world – and one of long haul travel’s best-kept secrets – and an obvious choice for a spring getaway if you want to miss the crowds who tend to head for the popular east coast.