20 hot holidays to book now, from Sicily to watching England cricket in Sri Lanka and Bali

LifestyleTravel

Breaks for all pockets from India to Namibia to Corfu and Brazil

Friday, 21st February 2020, 8:00 am Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 8:01 am Alappuzha or Alleppey City on the Laccadive Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala (Photo: Meraki Travel)

Kerala, India — 33c

A laid-back pace of life pervades the emerald-green tea and spice plantations, wildlife reserves, palm-fringed beaches and backwaters of this southern state. The monsoon doesn’t arrive until June, so it’s a good time to visit.

On a two-week Meraki Travel trip, there are also cookery lessons, farm visits and cycling trips into neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Two-week Backwaters, Temples  and Beach trip from 7 March for GBP1,542pp excluding flights.

British Virgin Islands, Caribbean — 27c

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You don’t need deep pockets to enjoy a sailing trip in the Caribbean, where G Adventures operates skippered trips around the British Virgin Islands in the dry months of March and April.

The group trips depart from Scrub Island on a 47ft catamaran, stopping off for snorkelling, white sand beaches and uninhabited islands. Breakfast and lunch are prepared on board, with dinners ashore and nights spent bobbing on the water. One week for GBP749pp excluding flights from 12 April.

Sri Lanka — 32c

Tourism is gently reviving after last April’s Easter Sunday attacks on multiple Sri Lankan locations and the tail-end of winter is a great time to visit, when the peak season tails off and rainfall is low. The England cricket team will be embarking on a two Test tour next month, playing in Colombo and Galle from 19-31 March. Experience Travel Group offers tailor-made trips.

A 16-day tour taking in beaches, the countryside and cultural triangle from GBP3,000pp including flights.

El Hierro, Canary Islands — 20c

El Hierro is a natural beauty (Photo: Niamh Waters/Travel Media)

The smallest of the Canary Islands is a natural beauty. There is a volcanic interior to hike, a marine reserve to dive into and groves of juniper trees to roam. The island is also well on its way to generating all its own renewable energy.

By Easter, temperatures will be in the low-20?Cs. A week’s self-catering in the hilltop capital Valverde from 2 April for GBP219pp excluding flights, coronaholidays.co.uk.

Queensland, Australia — 29c

Coral reefs, deserted beaches, indigenous culture and Second World War history await in Australia’s Top End, with June marking the start of the dry season. Torres Strait Eco Adventures tailors trips around the 274 islands scattered between the Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. Discover the history of the indigenous men who defended Australia during the Second World War despite not being recognised as citizens.

Sal Cape, Verde — 28c

The 10 Cape Verdean islands, strung out in the Atlantic off the West African coast, comprise a tropical escape with relatively easy access from the UK. Higher winds provide a cooling breeze until March, as well as opportunities for water sports. Try windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding or sailing at the new activity-packed Robinson Club on Sal.

One week’s all-inclusive for two people in March for GBP1,330.

Bale Mountains, Ethiopia — 24c

The landscapes of the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia (Photo: Sam McManus/Yellowwood Adventures)

It’s trekking season in the Bale Mountains, a Unesco World Heritage Site in south-eastern Ethiopia. The volcanic landscape of grasslands, waterfalls, cloud forest, glacial lakes and mountain plateaus – the highest in Africa – is roamed by rare Ethiopian wolves, nyala, warthogs and serval. Nine-day group hiking trip from GBP1,599pp from 15 March, excluding flight.

The Sahara, Tunisia — 29c

Recently opened near the oasis city of Tozeur, the Anantara resort proffers views of palm trees, salt lake and desert in south-western Tunisia. Activities include driving through the Atlas mountains to a deserted village, desert dining in a Berber tent, and sunset dune walks, as well as time to explore Tozeur, an historic stopping point for caravans and centre of date cultivation. Doubles from GBP148 room only.

Bali, Indonesia — 27c

The dry season arrives on this idyll in April, before the peak tourism months of July and August. Explore the island on a cycling trip that starts in the tropical highlands of Ubud, then freewheels past verdant paddy fields and Hindu temples, hot springs, caves and volcanoes to quiet beaches.

It is a trip that veers away from the popular resorts in favour of a more authentic experience. Eight-day group Cycle Bali trip 29 March-5 April from GBP649pp excluding flights.

Baja Peninsula, Mexico — 26c

A gray whale at the San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California Sur state, Mexico (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty) In the indigo-hued Pacific waters off Mexico’s Baja peninsula, grey whales are at the end of their annual migration, calving, nursing and mating in southern lagoons, before heading north again in April. Tui has return flights from Gatwick to Los Cabos, on the peninsula’s southern tip, for GBP257 return, from 27 February-5 March.

Corfu and Puglia — 24c

Hold out for spring to be rewarded  with a double dose of beautiful beaches. Simpson Travel is now offering twin-centre trips in the Med.

One option is to start on pine-draped Corfu in Greece, before hopping across the Adriatic by hydrofoil to the bleached-out shores of Puglia.

10 nights from GBP2,100pp including flights, boat and car hire.

Cape Town, South Africa — 24c

It’s autumn in the Mother City, with temperatures peaking in the mid-20?Cs this month and the annual wine harvest under way.

The country offers good value for British visitors, and if you can hold out until our own autumn, there will be more flights to the city, with British Airways increasing its frequency and Virgin Atlantic reinstating its route from Heathrow on 25 October. Nine-day Cape Town and Winelands Escape self-drive from GBP2,015pp in March and April including flights

Costa Verde, Brazil — 29c

Brazil’s Green Coast (Photo: Embratur)

Brazil has a lot of coast to lap up, holidaymakers flocking to the palm-fringed sands of Bahia and the many tropical islands. The “green coast”, between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, has many assets. It will become more accessible next month when Virgin Atlantic launches flights from Heathrow to Sao Paulo and offers a swathe of forested mountains that plunges to deserted beaches, fishing villages and colonial-era towns.

Return flights from GBP668.

Andalucia, Spain — 21c

Seville is particularly animated at Easter, with processions of penitents and floats.

The busy April fair and flamenco concert season follow. However, a little earlier, in March, the scent of orange blossom wafts on the warm breeze – an intoxicating setting for a walking Discount Holidays © holiday that links Seville with sherry in Jerez and Roman history in coastal Cadiz. Six-night Fino & Flamenco self-guided trip GBP595pp for March departures excluding flights.

Florida and the Caribbean — 29c

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady sets sail from Miami for the Caribbean next month. Richard Branson’s adults-only cruise line promises a “detox/retox mentality” with wellbeing classes, mixology classes, fine dining, gigs and more.

Itineraries include Mexico, the Bahamas, Florida and the Dominican Republic. Three-night introductory cruises from GBP820pp excluding flights.

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt — 24c

The Xperience St George Homestay at Sharm el Sheikh (Photo: Tim Fordham Moss/Red Sea Holidays)

With flights from the UK now resuming to one of Egypt’s prime diving destinations, it is a good option for winter sun, low prices and underwater adventure – and its tourism industry is eager to welcome back one of its key markets. Nearby, Ras Mohammed National Park is one of the world’s best diving destinations, suitable for advanced and newly qualified divers. A week all-inclusive stay at the Xperience St George Homestay from 5 March for GBP475pp including flights from Birmingham.

The Azores — 20c

Swap summer crowds of tourists for pods of whales and dolphins by visiting the Atlantic archipelago in May. A variety of these mammals – including the blue whale – migrates through the islands at this time of year.

Responsibly operated boat trips  also offer the chance for participants to swim among wild dolphins. One week for GBP690pp in May with three wild dolphin swims, excluding flights.

Catania, Sicily — 18c

Namibia — 28c

NamibRand Nature Reserve (Photo: Nils Odendaal/NamibRand Nature Reserve) Namibia has some of the darkest skies on the planet, and March offers prime opportunities for stargazing, when rainfall and high temperatures start to ease.

The southern NamibRand Nature Reserve is a gold=tier international Dark Sky Reserve. It features as part of 10-day tailor-made hiking holiday, from GBP3,340pp excluding flights in February, March and April.

The Empty Quarter, Oman — 28c

Roamed by Bedouin nomads and the historic heart of the frankincense trade, the wind-sculpted dunes of the Empty Quarter comprise the world’s largest sand desert which so captivated Lawrence of Arabia.

The best way to experience it is to camp out under the stars on a desert safari.

One-week Land of Frankincense tour of southern Oman from GBP1,300pp excluding flights.

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