4. Zakynthos, Greece
Best for kids
When there are electric blue seas, powdery sands and tufts of wild forests to explore, little ones will be happy to be occupied. Zakynthos has carved out a reputation for refined family getaways, whether you’re looking for historic solutions, enchanting waterfront taverns and water in a thousand shades of blue. You will have seen images of Zakynthos, even if you didn’t realize it: from its surprising Navagio beach, where the orange and buttery sand meets the waves of the Aegean Sea. This beach curve, located in the shade of a cradle of cliffs, is only accessible by boat.
What to do: For an enchanting waterfront getaway, head to Laganas Bay, where loggerhead turtles roam the seas, and further afield are the whimsical rock formations of Keri Caves – a fascinating place to throw in the water. ‘a boat and linger in the clear seas. For more intense sensations, rent bikes and set off for the wilder heart of the island, through valleys covered with wild flowers, olive groves, fragrant pine forests and sleepy villages.
When should we go: Avoid the peak months of July and August and try the middle months of May, June, September and October for milder temperatures and quieter beaches.
How to do: Love Holidays offers seven nights at Lesante Classic Luxury Hotel & Spa from £ 581 pp, B&B, in May.
5. Bergholmen, Stockholm Archipelago
Best for nature
For something entirely different, the Stockholm archipelago has a fiercely loyal following of locals who have fallen in love with its serene rocky shores and pockets of wild, ethereal nature. No one really knows how many islands make up the archipelago, although the general consensus is around 24,000, all of them steeped in bucolic beauty. And yet, everything is fully accessible from the always cool capital with regular sea connections to and from Stockholm. Desire to escape ? The private island of Bergholmen might just be the antidote – it’s only a 40-minute boat ride from the capital, but its underground reputation only adds to the feeling you’ve stumbled upon a secret home.
What to do: There is only one place to stay in Bergholmen: Island Lodge. It is a collection of geodesic tents in the shape of a dome, with wooden floors, suitable beds and windows opening to the sight of guests biting seashells and staggering above the rock pools, or distant fishing boats tumbling over the ink sea. Trips here consist of enjoying an early morning coffee with sand between your toes, scavenging for food for berries and mushrooms, reading a book on the patio, and walking under a canopy of fir trees and of steep birch trees. You can kayak to nearby islets and, upon your return to camp, slip into the hot outdoor shower or hot tub before enjoying a meal prepared from the picked ingredients.
When should we go: From May to September.
How to do: Rent the whole island and enjoy all-inclusive accommodation at Island Lodge Bergholmen from £ 1,278 per night.