With only three weeks of this sometimes gloomy decade left, and the weather outside currently even gloomier, there’s something very soothing about casting minds forward to our much anticipated holidays of 2020. Because we all need a bit of escapism in our lives, right? Next year, villa holidays with a focal point on the glorious, shimmering Mediterranean sea look set to be very much in vogue. And it’s easy to see why; warm, golden sun and sands, water perfectly temperate, diverse and delicious cuisines making the most of the Med’s bounty, and properties best enjoyed as a big, convivial group of family or friends…if this is how a new decade starts, then sign us up! With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL villa holiday destinations on the Med in 2020.
Narrowing down the best places to visit in 2020/2021 is a hard task, however topping our list is Dubrovnik. Croatia’s astronomic rise as a premier European holiday destination with villas to match shows no signs of slowing down in 2020. And Dubrovnik is perhaps the jewel in the ascendant country’s crown. Legendary Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw put it better than we ever could when he implored intrepid travellers that ‘those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik’. The walled city which gazes out over the Adriatic Sea, and its old town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its iconic orange roofs, is simply dazzling.
It’s an upmarket place to visit, which oozes class without being gaudy; celebrity fans of the city such as Jay Z, Beyonce, Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones among others are known to visit. And the food is simply top-notch; if there’s a better fritto misto (small fish such as anchovy, whitebait and calamari, lightly dusted in flour and fried) then we haven’t tried it.
Still incredibly untouched by tourism and untapped by influencers, Sicily is a place seemingly untroubled by the worst affectations of the modern world. Though one of Mediterranean Europe’s least affluent, the island is rich in many, many other ways. Boasting beaches of white sand, gravity-defying rock formations, an incredible, unique cuisine – check out our guide to some of the best food in Sicily here – and a hugely loaded history, Sicily is set to be one of the hottest tourist destinations of 2020. What’s great about the island is that it’ll take the acclaim in its stride and remain proudly Sicilian, with none of the tourist baiting which can afflict a place of such obvious beauty.
While you’re visiting, make sure you take in Syracuse, an ancient Greek city and World Heritage Site, home to amphitheatres and history abundant. In fact, the island houses several Greek temples, with Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta all boasting spectacular architecture of the time. And the beaches? Oh, the beaches; Sicily has more than 1000km of coastline, meaning a deserted stretch of sand is never far away. Our favourite? Probably San Vito Lo Capo in Trapani, a crescent-shaped beach and lagoon with the charming village of Monte Monaco overlooking it. And if you’re after Instagram worthy shots (but sshhh, don’t spoil the secret), the Turkish Steps of Agrigento have to be seen to be believed.
The Turkish seaside town of Kas is bohemian, blissful and blessed with unbridled beauty. It manages to be accessible, laid back and amenity-rich without losing its soul to excessive tourism. We see a big year ahead for the town. It’s particularly famous for scuba diving, with boat trips for hire shipping keen divers and snorkelers to nearby waters around the Turquoise Coast. Indeed, there are 30 recognised dive sites within just 30 minutes of the town. Perhaps the most fascinating is the ruins of sunk cargo plane the Dakota, at just 22m is achievable even for diving intermediates.
The central town, walkable, pedestrianised and utterly charming, is perhaps the highlight. There’s a chilled out vibe here, with shisha bars, coffee shops and a few places for a cold beer lining the cobbled streets. The food is excellent, too; freshly made, charcoal grilled flatbreads make a wonderful snack. Or lunch. Or dinner. We love the spicy lamb mince lamachans, and the filled breads (spinach, fresh cheese, minced beef…take your pick) named Gozleme. Best of all, though, but not for the faint hearted, is kokorec; a super spicy wrap filled with lamb intestine. Heaven. Grilled fish straight from the med and onto the grill in hours is also hugely popular here; the restaurant Nereid does superb bream and octopus.
Oh, and don’t forget to have a raki or two to send you on your way, a clear Turkish brandy similar to ouzo, enjoyed straight on the rocks, which cause it to turn a cloudy hue. Raise a toast to a new decade here; cheers!
Urbane, cosmopolitan and diverse, Corfu could stake a rightful claim to be the Greek island with the most fascinating history. Shaped by the British, French and Venetians, it manages to assimilate these varied influences whilst retaining its Greek and uniquely Corfiot soul.
The second largest island in the Ionian Sea simply has so much to offer. It all has to begin in the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre which boasts churches of intriguing Venetian/Greek architectural influence, as well as the Esplanade – a huge, grassed square – and the world famous Old Fort, the 16th century citadel whose majesty defines the island.
Also well worth the effort of exercise is Mount Pantokrator, the island’s tallest peak, which offers incredible views of Corfu below and onto other islands in the distance. And of course, being a Greek island, there are beaches by the bucketload; the village Palaiokastritsa boasts a bay of real beauty, and Myrtiotissa is a beach proudly unspoilt by crowds or tourism – accordingly, it’s also proudly nudist. April 30th to 4th May 2020 sees Corfu’s annual Beach Festival – if you are to visit, make sure it’s during this celebration of sand, surf and sea.
Anywhere which manages to be nicknamed as both ‘Ibiza in miniature’ and ‘the Saint Tropez of Spain’ is alright by us. We think 2020 is going to agree. Sitges, nestled in the Mediterranean basin just an hour south of Barcelona, is Europe’s premier party destination you may not have even heard of. A resort town famed for its beautiful beaches, cornucopia of carnivals and clubs, and year round festival atmosphere, it is perhaps most renowned for hosting two of Spain’s (and Europe’s) biggest gay friendly parties.
The first is Sitges Carnival, Spain’s most revered and raucous, which will next year occur from February the 18th to the 26th. It’s one of the world’s most celebrated Mardi Gras events going is hugely popular with the LGBTQ+ community. A no holds barred, week long fiesta of fancy dress and frivolity, peaking with the Rua de la Disbauxa (‘The Debauchery Parade’), 2020 is set to see its biggest year ever. The second, and next year in its eleventh, is Sitges Gay Pride, which is happening from the 3rd of June to the 7th, and sees the town decked out in rainbow flags and packed to the rafters. If you’re planning on visiting this hotter than hot destination during either of these times, make sure to book well advance as things get busy.
If you’d prefer to see this rising star of the Mediterranean destination scene at a more peaceful time, then Autumn, particularly September, sees the most temperate climate and laid back vibes at their most resplendent, a welcome respite after all the partying of summer has cooled off. The two museums of Cau Ferrat – the iconic Spanish artist – and Maricel – which houses some incredible sculpture, are definitely worth a visit.