Out of season holiday ideas from GIC The Villa Collection and Sunvil
Escape the grey UK skies for some winter sun and culture: independent travel specialists GIC The Villa Collection and Sunvil bring you inspiration for out of season holidays to the Azores, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and South America.
Relax in the shadows of Crete’s White Mountains – from £931 pp with GIC The Villa Collection
Offering diverse landscapes and steeped in legend and history, Crete is one of the southernmost islands in Greece and benefits from a warm climate and a longer holiday season. Travelling on 10 April, witness the awakening of the island and enjoy clement temperatures of up to 20 degrees. Stay at Villa Aphrodite in the foothills of the White Mountains, a five-minute walk from an authentic local taverna, a 15-minute drive from the beaches of Georgoupolis and half an hour from the beautiful Venetian towns of Chania and Rethymnon. This charming two-bedroom house has a private swimming pool, traditional character and fabulous views towards the nearby mountain peaks – snow-capped at this time of year. Price is from £931 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), seven nights’ B&B accommodation, transfers and car hire. Call GIC The Villa Collection on 020 8232 9780.
Explore the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia – Chile from £1,450 pp with Sunvil Latin America
Ever dreamed of having a National Park all to yourself (well, almost)? Well now you can. The Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, the southernmost tip of the world, is renowned for its rugged and unforgiving landscape of soaring mountains, glaciers and icebergs; an image to grace the cover of many guidebooks. Travel to the region in June and avoid the crowds; you may even see some snow falling. Visits to Patagonia can be incorporated into longer tailor-made Chilean adventures by the destination experts at Sunvil. From £1,450 pp (two sharing), including domestic flights, four nights’ full-board accommodation at the Explora Patagonia Hotel, transfers and all excursions. International flights not included. Call Sunvil Latin America on 020 8758 4774.
Discover the vibrant scents and colours of Cyprus in spring – from £511 pp
In March and April, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is ablaze with the scents and colours of wildflowers and, with daytime temperatures averaging 21 degrees, the weather is very pleasant too. This seven-night break showcases the country’s stunning spring highlights, staying in the Troodos Mountains Geopark – one of the most significant mountain habitats for plants in the whole of Europe – where you will find, amongst others, pink arabis, diminutive lilac crocus and orchids in bloom, and a region rich in cultural heritage and fabulous local cuisine. Price is from £511 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), seven nights’ B&B accommodation at the Linos Inn in Kakopetria, and car hire. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4758.
Enjoy Easter on the Greek island of Corfu – from £759 per person
The celebrations of Greek Easter are famed worldwide, with each island and village having its own take on this spectacular affair. From processions and musical performances to lively feasts and community festivals, there is much to experience and enjoy. Immerse yourself in Corfu’s vibrant Easter celebrations on this three-night break staying at the Cavalieri Hotel in Corfu Town. On Easter Sunday, the tradition is for local people to hurl clay pots from their windows and balconies, and in the evening there are candle-lit processions – a wonderful sight. Departing 6 April, the price is from £759 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), three nights’ B&B accommodation and transfers. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4758.
Celebrate the start of spring in Stockholm – from £682 pp
Dating from medieval times, Walpurgis night is celebrated across Sweden on 30 April under the smoke of roaring bonfires and the sound of choral singing. Welcoming the arrival of spring, visitors can join in the festivities of this annual event at the open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm on this three-night break. Departing in April, this three-night break costs from £682 pp including flights (London), three nights B&B accommodation, private transfers and a 48-hour Stockholm Pass providing free entrance to Skansen and over 60 other attractions. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4722.
Cruise the waterways of northern Italy – from £795 pp
The landscape of the Veneto in northern Italy is home to the most romantic of cities, Venice, and the art cities of Padua and Vicenza. From March onwards, enjoy a mini-cruise along the Brenta River between the unmissable sites of Venice and Padua, visiting three historical Venetian villas en route. Departing 21 March, the price is from £795 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), five nights’ B&B accommodation (three at the Ca d’Oro Hotel in Venice, two at the Majestic Toscanelli Hotel in Padua), a mini-cruise on board the il Burchiello, and a private transfer from Padua to Venice airport on departure. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4722.
Experience São Miguel’s largest festival with Sunvil – the Azores from £787 pp
The Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres is celebrated in the Azores from 4-10 May, and the streets of the capital, Ponta Delgada, are adorned with floral decorations and buzzing with processions, street markets and musical performances. May is an excellent time for walking in the archipelago, when the weather is mild and the spring flowers are in bloom. Whale and dolphin-watching excursions are also available, along with canyoning, kayaking, diving, mountain biking jeep tours and more – all pre-booked by Sunvil. Price is from £787 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), seven nights’ B&B at the Antillia Hotel Apartments in Ponta Delgada and shared transfers. Call Sunvil on 020 8758 4722.