And, just like that, Black Friday’s over for another year. Discounts acquired, purchases made, bank accounts satisfied. If you missed our debut Pink Friday deals, we guess there’s always next time… Luckily, our destinations don’t go anywhere, so check out what was on offer and make a note for 2024.
First up, we’re talking Turkey. This east-meets-west destination is a solid pick all year round. Book a trip for April next year and Izmir will already be hitting 20oC. Come summer, it’s guaranteed tanning season, tipping into the 30s. It’s one thing deciding where to travel, another choosing what kind of trip you really want. But Turkey’s giving city break, beach resorts, mountain hikes, colourful reefs and ancient Roman and Greek ruins. You can squeeze a number of different activities all into the same holiday – yes, we count snoozing on the beach as an activity. Istanbul and Antalya are where you’ll find the museums and bazaars or you can even experience a cruise down the Bosphorus. Side’s ready to teach you some classical history at Ephesus, or the Turkish Riviera, Aegean Coast and Dalaman region – known as the Turquoise Coast – are all about the beach life and wild watersports.
Nowhere does island life quite like Greece. And, from around May throughout the rest of summer, it’s officially beach weather. The Aegean Islands anchor some of the best spots, like Rhodes, Kos and the iconic, blue-domed Mykonos and Santorini. If Mamma Mia’s still living rent-free in your head, check out Skopelos – maybe a tour of all the filming spots to recreate your fave scenes is the cure you’ve been looking for. The Ionian islands are off the west coast, consisting of Kefalonia and party-starter Zante. You’ve also got Crete, full of ancient history at the Palace of Knossos and old town vibes in Rethymnon. For shorter flights, though, the mainland could be a winner. Athens has the Acropolis and golden beaches out of the city. Or, the Halkidiki peninsula’s the pick for boat trips to bob past views of Mount Athos.
Mexico’s peak season starts in January, ready for you to party it up with Spring Break scenes in Cancun or chill out on the sands of Puerto Vallarta. Down the coast on the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen’s got a quieter side and coral reefs to explore. Riviera Maya’s also pretty laidback but offers eco-parks and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza. If you’re after something to look forward to a little later in the year, save yourself a spot for November and experience the nation’s famous Day of the Dead festival on the 1st and 2nd of the month. The capital, Mexico City, is a great spot for this one, where parades fill the streets to celebrate the passing of friends and family into the afterlife.
Slovenia’s getting a serious reputation as one of the most stunning destinations in Europe. It’s got access to the European Alps, a small coastline on the Adriatic Sea and its very own wine hills of Goriska Brda. Right in the heart of the country though, its capital city, Ljubljana boasts green spaces, cosy museums and a cute café culture for wholesome days exploring. The Ljubljanica River flows through the centre and you can even paddleboard along its waters in summer. The nightlife is also surprisingly buzzy for such a small place. There’s a wide selection of bars and concert venues for live music, as well as nightclubs to continue the evening with more of a boogie. A must-do daytrip is Bled, to walk around and sail on the gorgeous Lake Bled. It’s all peaks and pines here, surrounded by a beautiful mountainscape that reflects on the water. Hop on a boat or a paddleboard to venture out to the island and castle that floats in the middle – it’s just dreamy.
The Canary Islands
Where do you go when you want some easy winter sun or a guaranteed good time over summer? It’s got to be the Canaries. This archipelago offers a climate closer to Africa than Spain, so it’s a real mix of Moroccan influence and your classic tapas and sangria here. They’re pretty toasty all year round. Lanzarote’s got sci-fi scenery with the volcanic Timanfaya National Park and a seriously strong beach game. Fuerteventura sees these sands and raises you top surf conditions, with big and beginner waves from sunrise until sunset. Gran Canaria’s dunes at Maspalomas really hit home the African connection – it’s like a mini-Sahara. Then La Palma’s the smallest of the lot and rather overshadowed, if we’re honest. The whole island’s UNESCO-protected, with some of the best stargazing conditions on the planet. Take a sunset hike and then stick around to watch them all come out.
Santiago de Compostela
We’re going specific with a city break now. Santiago de Compostela makes our list of top pink picks because of its heritage as the finish line to the famous Camino de Santiago trail in Spain. The old town is backed by UNESCO and is an entire homage to Galician architecture. The cathedral here is why Christian pilgrims make the journey every year – specifically, to climb the High Altar and kiss Santiago’s sacred cape to confess their sins. There are so many cultural sites to experience, so it’s a good job they’re all packed into the zona monumental, which only takes 15 minutes to walk across. You can see the Monastery of San Martino Pinario, contemporary art galleries and the famous Mercado de Abastos, all in the same day. The market is 150 years old – it’s the perfect pit stop to taste Galicia’s tapas. The local cuisine is all about seafood and if you’re feeling brave, you can try percebes. This delicacy is the so-called goose neck barnacle, and it can be slurped up, oyster-style. When in Santiago, right?
The home of the cultural icon, spaghetti Bolognese – need we say more? Foodies, listen up. This is the destination for you. Bologna’s a beautiful Medieval city in the north of Italy but also has a more edgy, student side too. Rumour has it the university here is the oldest in the western world but today, that just means you can count on a vibrant nightlife. Move over Pisa, this place has a leaning tower all of its own. The Asinelli Tower was once the highest building in Europe at just 100 metres tall but, with 500 steps to climb to the top, you’ll soon appreciate it’s still quite an achievement. Of course, it’s worth the effort for those panoramic views across the entire city. Now for the food. Head to the city’s markets for the freshest produce, from fruit and veg to traditional Italian dishes like the holy Bolognese and tortellini in brodo. Book your trip in for autumn and you’ll land just in time for truffle season – this is when the restaurant scene really thrives.
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Author: Lily Owen
Last updated: 27/11/2023
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