THE MOST MYTHICAL OF TIMES IS UPON US:the Great summer time. June! When we are called out of our homes and offices to bask in the rare sunshine and celebrate summer solstice – on the 20 June 2016 – the longest day of the year – with chanting and handholding at Stonehenge or, far more likely, in a pub garden or a park. For guaranteed sunshine, head to Europe which is hot hot hot, but not unbearably so, meaning beach breaks or city escapes are both perfectly plausible. Join in the wonderful sense of optimism June brings and take a look at our top 5 destinations to visit this month.
CROATIA’S SURGE IN POPULARITY has been meteoric, and it’s not hard to see why. In the past 10 years it has gone from being considered a cheaper, quieter alternative to Italy, to being one of the hottest destinations for summer. Take to the islands to dance with beautiful young things at one of the festivals hosted in June, such as Hideout on the ISLAND OF PAG, or jump aboard a yacht to find a quiet stretch of the DALMATIAN COAST. If you need a little less beach and a bit more city, the capital DUBROVNIK has enough history and culture within its Gregorian walls to keep you busy for a weekend.
2. Amalfi Coast
A SINGLE VISIT TO THE AMALFI COAST is all it takes to understand the legions of love letters, poems and literature Italy has inspired. Confetti-coloured houses and ornate domes and spires jostle for space on sheer cliffs, looking out over the azure Mediterranean sea. And the light! June is busy, of course, but just ahead of the tour groups that clog the perilously winding road in their droves come July and August. POSITANO and AMALFI are the most famous villages, and although terribly touristy, absolutely beautiful. RAVELLO, on top of the cliffs, has unquestionably the best views; while CETARA our little secret – is quaintly cute with a little pebble beach to bronze on.
IF SUNSHINE IN THE UK WERE GUARANTEED, no one need ever look further than DEVON for a classic beach holiday (except perhap Cornwall). It’s just lovely. Now being heralded as the new Cornwall, rather oddly, the county has acres of sandy beaches, characterful fishing villages, rugged moors and coastal paths. For those who prefer the thrill of the great outdoors,DARTMOOR is great for hiking, the north coast for surfing and along the south coast, sailing. The whole area is having a regeneration, from new cycle paths such as the EXE TRAIL and DRAKE’S WAY, to TORQUAY’S shiny new seafront redevelopment and EXETER and PLYMOUTH’S cosmopolitan updates. Summer – particularly June, before the country lanes get too busy – is the best time to while away an afternoon in one of Devon’s best pubs or tinker around the cutesy seaside towns such as SALCOMBE or BUDLEIGH SALTERTON, or inland in TOTNES
THOSE IN THE KNOW flock to good-time MYKONOS in June, when the nights seem to stretch out into infinity and the sunshine bounces off the little white stone houses but before the chaos in July and August. Forget ouzo – magnums of Champagne are more de rigueur in MYKONOS as you spend the night dancing to international DJs at Cavo Paradiso, and the days recovering by the bluer-than-blue Aegean sea at one of the hot new beach clubs. If you need a culture fix, take the ferry over DELOS, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece
5. Mallorca and Menorca
PART OF THE BALEARIC ISLANDS, MALLORCA AND MENORCA are more chilled-out and low-key than their party-loving sister island of Ibiza.MALLORCA, the larger of the two, is wonderfully diverse, from historic PALMAto cute artsy villages, like DEIÀ , and the pine-lined hidden coves along the north coast. Things are a lot quieter on MENORCA, but all the better for taking a week out and totally relaxing on truly stunning beaches. Hotels aren’t super smart, but lovely little converted farm houses dot the moody Mediterranean landscape, and G&Ts are sipped in clifftop bars with sunset views.