TRAVEL: Unmissable spring into summer holiday spots

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TRAVEL: Unmissable spring into summer holiday spots

From an opera festival in Finland to the best Boho B&B in Bouliqueme and lots more in between for a sun break

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing was the cleverest of all concepts as so many of us run our lives this way. As such here we are in the middle of April and that last holiday is a distant memory with nothing in the calendar. I find a change really is as good as a rest which is why short breaks in boutique hotels are my thing but if you want to flop somewhere for a week or more a resort will be more yours.

From 5 July to 4 August, the historic city of Savonlinna, in Finland’s picturesque lake district, will transform into an opera lover’s paradise with a lineup featuring masterpieces by Verdi, and Mozart. Perfomances take place at Olavinlinna Castle, an island fortress in Lake Saimaa, a truly breathtaking setting. Fly to Helsinki and stay in Hotel Hospitz in Savonlinna from around £100 a night.

Savonlinna opera festival in Finland

Not just for holidays, Portugal has become the place to live with properties available at a range of prices and yearlong sunshine. For every grey and rainy day here, the Algarve has blue skies and heat, so grab a long weekend at the beautiful farmhouse Casa De Mondo in Bouliequeme. The property has rave reviews for its peaceful location and caring hosts who take care of guests travelling alone. Lavish breakfasts and tapas suppers are served in the verdant gardens overlooking the pool and if you time it right, you can join a Portuguese cookery class. Only three double rooms with kitchens and private terraces, it never feels crowded and the beach is a 15-minute drive. Known for its Mama Mia-style hen parties and shabby chic weddings, there’s a 10% discount quote JNmondo on a £95 per night stay until the end of May.

A suite at Casa De Mondo in the Algarve


Bedroom at Crillon le Brave in Provence

Or make your way to the Luberon area and check in to Coquillade on a 100-acre estate studded with historical vineyards, cypress trees and 300-year-old olive groves. This 63-room hotel within a restored 11th century hamlet has rooms spread across a collection of bastides (country houses, an on-site organic winery, an award-winning spa and a BMC Cycling Centre. From £545 per night.

Tivoli la Caleta in Tenerife

In Tenerife Tivoli La Caleta has taken up residence where the Sheraton was, just 15 minutes from Tenerife South airport and well located for all the great restaurants for which the area has become known. The building has been refurbished, with the addition of a brand new spa which has an ice igloo although personally I’d rather be warm by one of the three outdoor pools. There are also padel courts and a top-of-the-range Technogym. Dine at Seen Beach Club and Yakuza, both by well-known Portuguese chefpreneur Olivier da Costa. From 390 euros a night

Israelis have long been going to Cyprus and we should follow suit, especially to stay at Secret Forest in the hills above Paphos, which is every inch a retreat in which to wind down. It has a spa, sulphur pools, massage, yoga and the spacious suites are set among the trees. Israeli owner Yoni Kahana runs the place with an air of charm and calm, even offering (kosher) brunch from 10-1 so you don’t need to get up.  From £550 for two nights for an exclusive all-inclusive experience.


Keight Hotel Opatja

Keight Hotel Opatija is one of Croatia’s newest hotels and has a rooftop sundeck with a swimming pool and bar overlooking the red-tiled roofs of the 19th-century town. In the heart of the charming seaside resort town Opatija, it’s less than a two-minute walk from the sea and famous Franz Jozef Lungomare, Opatija’s seafront promenade. Fly to Rijeka, and from there visit many of Croatia’s islands, including Cres and Krk.  From approx £250 per night.

Villa Fiesole just outside Florence

If city breaks are your thing but you’d rather stay outside the centre, the tranquil Villa Fiesole Hotel, a renovated historic home, dating back to medieval times, has romantic views of Florence and the surrounding countryside. There are just 32 bedrooms and the main building was originally a serrra (greenhouse) used by the monks from the nearby monastery. Lots of the rooms have frescoed ceilings and the newly-opened gastronomic restaurant is run by Michelin-starred chef Antonello Sardi. From approx £200 per night.

Isla Brown Corinthia Hotel Greece

The Athens Riviera is only one hour drive from the capital, where the new Israeli-owned Isla Brown Corinthia Resort & Spa has unobstructed sea views overlooking the Saronic Gulf from the hotel’s 166 guest rooms. For an even better view, head up to the rooftop to grab a drink at the bar or relax on loungers beside fire pits. Downstairs there is a charming taverna, buffet restaurant, lobby bar and a pool bar for a quick bite, plus two swimming pools a private beach, gym and spa. From around £250 per night.

Casa Cook is a design-led collection of intimate hotel hideaways embracing laidback luxury. There are three in Greece, one in Egypt and a new one opens in the Italian Alps by the end of the year. I would choose Casa Cook Rhodes in the village of Kolymbia. Elegantly boho, with 119 verandah-fronted rooms with direct access to a shared swimming pool, it’s a short walk to the beach, and you can tuck in to Greek-inspired sharing plates to the backdrop of the house DJ’s summer beats. From 113 euros per night.

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