The right recipe for a great break

By Jeff Barak, June 28, 2006

Not surprisingly, food -and even cooking - formed a major part of our fabulous Italian holiday in Apulia

Theres something very satisfying about eating ones own hand-made pasta in the restaurant of a top Italian hotel.

If only every meal one cooked was served by smiling, attentive waiters on a flower-laden, sun-warmed balcony and washed down with a glass of perfectly chilled white wine...


Marbella, not for adults only

By Charlotte Seligman, May 10, 2006

This exquisite tourist resort on the Costa del Sol is friendly and accessible — even if you have kids in tow

Most people have wonderful memories of their childhood holidays. Mine are of the many summers I spent on Spain’s Costa del Sol at my grandparents’ apartment in the Marbella urbanization of Guadalmina.


Top Tenerife

By Peter Moss, October 23, 2005

The Spanish holiday island proves an unexpected hit

Tenerife. It’s not really a word I’d ever uttered, except perhaps ironically, nor a destination I’d considered, except (you’ll excuse the pun), as a last resort.

A bit, you know, touristy. Frankly, I blanched at the thought; even my passport flinched. I’ve no tattoos, I don’t like beer and I’m not from Gravesend. How would I blend?


Strictly Balearic

By Louise Scodie, January 21, 2005

We go star-gazing in Majorca, largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands

Apparently, Majorca is one of the best places in the world to see the stars. And we’re not just talking celebrities from Coronation Street and Big Brother, some of whom were spotted on the island this summer.

No, cast your eyes upwards on a clear Majorcan night and admire the stunning astronomy on show — you might even spot a shooting star.


Costa lava

By John McShane, July 1, 2004

We find a volcanic corner of Andalucia that is almost untouched by tourism

It seems hard to envisage: clear blue waters lapping against a big, beautiful Spanish beach on a warm autumn day, yet no crowds to mar the peace.

Even more bizarre is to stroll over to one of the charming, slightly run-down beach-side bar-restaurants nearby and discover that it’s essential — unless you already speak Spanish — to take a phrase book.


A taste of Italy

By Helen Jacobus, May 12, 2003

We enjoy heritage, history, healthy food and heart-breaking scenery in a visit to Umbria

Throwing open the tall, shuttered windows in the morning, my eyes were dazzled by sunlight. Through the glass the countryside shimmered in a verdant haze.

Light flooded into the bedroom of the Umbrian villa where I was staying. If music had broken through the silence and credits had begun to roll revealing this was a Merchant-Ivory film, I would have been only slightly surprised.


Upon my Sol!

By Mitchell Symons, January 31, 2003

To our great surprise, we find that the Costa del Sol’s leading resort is not Romford with sunshine...

Sometimes, travel doesn’t just broaden the mind, it completely blows it away.

Despite being the only person on the planet never to have visited Marbella, I “knew” just what to expect. It would be garish, charmless, tacky, flash and irredeemably becky: all the men would have earrings; all the women would sport tattoos. The lingua franca would be estuary English and any girl not from Essex would think herself accurs’d she was not born in the county.


So so Sorento

By Nadia Marks, July 18, 2002

We relish the serenity and old-fashioned charm of Sorrento

Perched high on dramatic cliffs that rise out of an azure sea, at the very start of the Amalfi coastline, Sorrento has been described as the land of colours, mermaids, myths and legends.

It is on these shores that the sirens tried to lure Odysseus’s ship onto the rocks with their song, and the Romans chose it as the perfect place for their holiday-making.


Simply splendido

By Jan Shure, May 9, 2002

A simply splendid time in Italy following in the footsteps of European royals and celebrities

One of the sad things about being a grown-up is that few events or places actually live up to expectations.

It is with a little frisson of delight, therefore, that I report that the splendidly named Hotel Splendido, in Portofino on Italy’s Mediterranean coast, actually lives up to its billing as one of the top hotels in Europe.


Holiday of note

January 14, 2000

Sunshine and strudel and beautiful music, rainstorms and vino and plenty of pasta.

These are a few of the “favourite things” that linger after a very different and delightful trip to the north-eastern corner of Italy.

Bordered by Austria and Slovenia, the province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is actually closer — in both distance and atmosphere — to Vienna, Prague and Budapest than to Rome, with the mittel-european cloak of the Habsburg Empire still clinging to the elegant towns and villages scattered across this lush region beneath the Alps.