The nights are getting longer and the temperature has dropped – it’s time to start planning a holiday.
If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic than a package deal to Magaluf, then read on. We’ve put together a list of the most exciting holiday destinations in Europe and Africa – don’t forget to send us a postcard!
You don’t go to Iceland for a sunshine beach holiday – you go for an unforgettable experience. Stay in Reykjavik and hire a car (a 4 x 4 is advised – some of the rural roads are quite rocky), then head straight for the Blue Lagoon, a naturally hot water spring where waiters swim around offering you cold drinks from silver trays.
Find a quiet spot in the country and watch the Northern Lights in the dead of night, then travel to the north of the island for a spot of whale watching.
It’s just a few hours away by plane, yet it feels like a different world. Morocco has captured the imagination of travellers and explorers for hundreds of years, and it is still one of the most exciting and interesting places you can visit on holiday.
Fly into Marrakech and spend a day haggling in the souks for spices (ras al hanout is a must-buy, but shop around as every vendor has their own spice mix); glittering lamps; colourful rugs and exquisite leather. In the evening, take a stroll through the central square of Jemaa el-Fnaa where you will find snake charmers and traditional dancers.
If you have a few extra days in the country, stop off at Essouira, the seaside village that was beloved of Jimmy Hendrix. Stock up on locally-produced argan oil and work on your tan before retreating to the Atlas Mountains to hike around the stunning Todra Gorge.
Forget touristy Tuscany, Umbria is where the real foodies go to experience the best Italian flavours. Stay in Orvieto, a tiny city built into the top of a cliff, with views across the vineyards and olive gardens below. No cars are allowed in the city, so you must park at the foot of the cliff and take an escalator through the rock up into the city centre.
Once there, you will feel as though you’ve travelled back in time. Eat your weight in fresh pasta (artichoke linguini is a local speciality), sample the locally-sourced truffles and drink Orvieto Classico – a little known white wine which is celebrated as one of the best in Italy among wine lovers.
Hire a car and visit the World Heritage Site of Assisi, stop by the medieval city of Perugia and watch the sun go down over Lake Trasimeno.
It may not be your first (or second, or third) choice as a holiday destination, but this is the time to visit Northern Ireland. Now that the years of conflict are firmly behind it, the province is finally able to show off its potential.
Game of Thrones fans can re-enact some of their favourite scenes in Tullymore Forest Park (North of the Wall); Castle Ward (Winterfell); Downhill Beach (Dragonstone) and Balintoy Harbour (the Iron Islands).
In Belfast, you can still see remnants of the Troubles on the city’s epic murals. Visit the Cathedral Quarter – the creative hub of the city, where artist’s studios are packed in tightly between some of the friendliest bars in the UK.
If it’s good enough for Brangelina’s honeymoon, it’s good enough for us! Malta (and its neighbouring islands Gozo and Comina) is a stunning Mediterranean island which just brims with art, culture, history, good food and stunning beaches. Start your trip in Valetta and take in the sights of the capital city on the newly-installed Barrakka Lift. But for a taste of Real Malta, stay at Marsaxlokk Bay, a natural harbour on the south coast of the island which offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean and a harbour dotted with colourful boats. Don’t miss the fresh seafood and the local wines.
And of course, you must visit the famous St John’s Co-Cathedral, which holds some of Caravaggio’s most significant works.
Berlin is having a bit of a ‘moment’ – it hasn’t been this cool since the late ‘70s when David Bowie and Brian Eno set up camp there and made some of the century’s most iconic music.
Today, Berlin is more known for its edgy nightlife; cutting edge fashion; expressive street art and contemporary art scene.
But there is also a lot of history in Berlin – visit the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and the Pergamon Museum by day, and by night, visit legendary clubs such as Berghain and Sisyphos and find out what all the fuss is about.