Escape the winter weather with a luxury break in Europe

Thursday, 20 October 2013 5:32 PM

If you are one of those people who mourns the loss of the sunshine and warm temperatures as autumn takes hold in the UK, then you should definitely consider jetting off on a holiday to a destination where the weather is more favourable.

You do not have to travel far to find some top places to stay that offer everything from sandy beaches and warm waters to great food and culture.

In fact, Tuscany in Italy is an excellent choice at this time of year, allowing you to discover its stunning countryside, architectural gems and fabulous food at your own pace.

Staying in villas in Tuscany, you will have all the freedom you could hope for to explore at your leisure. Of course, you can look forward to some wonderful meals at restaurants in the region - and why not take a wine tour to sample some of the vintages produced here?

One place you should not miss during a break in Tuscany is Florence. The city is brimming with culture and art and you could easily spend your entire holiday wandering among the masterpieces in its many galleries.

If, however, you are thinking more about relaxing on a golden beach with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the other, you may prefer to consider the Canary Islands.

Although this archipelago is part of Spain, the islands are actually situated off the north-west coast of Africa, so you can look forward to pleasant temperatures during the winter months.

Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote are just some of the islands you can visit, while La Gomera may capture your imagination if you are hoping to indulge in some hiking through unspoilt landscapes.

Wherever you choose to book holiday cottages in the Canary Islands, you can look forward to stunning natural scenery, fantastic beaches and the opportunity to try plenty of activities.

For keen walkers, Tenerife could be the ideal choice as it is home to the highest peak in Spain - Mount Teide. The summit of this volcano sits at 3,718 m, so if you tackle the climb, you can look forward to stunning views from the top.

Meanwhile, if you want to really relax, seek out one of the wellness centres and book a few treatments. You will find experts in thalassotherapy, crenotherapy and geotherapy among others dotted across the islands.

One final option - that may well be a great choice for families - is the Costa del Sol. Visiting in the winter means it will not be jam-packed with tourists, giving you the opportunity to enjoy its charms without the crowds.

While it is renowned for its beaches, there are many other reasons to visit this part of the Spanish mainland.

For a truly indulgent day out, why not hire a yacht and cruise through the clear waters? With 11 marinas along its coast, the region is bound to have a vessel that takes your fancy, whether you are experienced and want to head out on your own or would prefer to take a trip with a skipper and crew.

If you are something of a foodie then you should be sure to sample some local specialities while staying in Costa del Sol villas, many of which will feature delicacies from the sea.

Among the dishes you may want to try are Malaga-style clams and the fried fish, which is often served as a platter featuring several different types of seafood, including anchovies, red mullet and squid.
 

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