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Had quite enough of the grey and bleak? Make the most of the Easter bank holiday with a break somewhere sunny

The Easter bank holiday has one purpose, and it’s not stuffing your face with chocolate. Nope, it’s to reacquaint your pasty-white skin with its old friend – sunshine.

The four-day weekend (with a couple of extra days tacked on either side if you can swing it) is the perfect time to head for sizzling climes, and there are plenty of destinations just a few hours away where the temperatures are soaring.

Ride a camel on the beaches of Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh, lie on a sunny boat deck as you sail past Croatia’s stunning coastline or head for the cultural sights of Rome. 

Portugal: The biker’s break

Fancy whizzing through lush Mediterranean landscapes on a bike, soft springtime breeze on your face? Pedalling past the Algarve’s dazzling blue coastline as the sun shimmers on the sea? Wobbling through a series of pretty vineyards, making numerous stops (hic!) whenever the mood takes you? Yeah?

Then you need to book yourself a cycling holiday in Portugal, where there’s a whole network of routes you can take, depending on your fitness level. 

A popular and easy path is along the cliffs from Almograve to Odeceixe on Portugal’s southwest coast. Here you can cruise along largely flat roads and enjoy the rugged beach scenery. 

Or for a much more challenging ride, Portugal Bike run a guided cycle through the centre of the country’s medieval villages.

It starts in the small town of Marvão, and over the next few days you can expect lots of muscle-grinding hill climbs, scenic forest rides and blissfully steep descents that take you past old churches, castles and mountain villages.

The ride finishes up in Évora, a walled Roman town classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco.

Hilly Lisbon might not be the most bike-friendly of cities, but that’s not stopping tour group Portugal Best Cycling, which has devised a route that avoids the ascents yet still manages to take in most of the key sights.

Their city bike tour starts at the top of Parque Eduardo VII near El Corte Inglés and finishes by the river Tagus in Torre de Belém, pointing out dining and drinking hotspots on the way.

More: There are heaps of cycling routes to drool over at portugalbike.com or portugalbestcycling.com.

Getting there: Fly return from London Gatwick to Lisbon from £132pp with easyJet.

 

Egypt: The beach break

Anyone who has been craving baking sands over the past few chilly months in London, Egypt’s the destination for you.

It’s worth noting that there have been recent safety concerns for tourists, but the self-contained resorts in the Red Sea area, including Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab are still considered safe to holiday in, according to the UK’s Foreign Office.

Sharm el Sheikh has miles of golden beaches for relaxing on if you’re planning a chilled break, but if you need more than a lounger to keep you entertained for a couple of days, there are plenty of activities on offer.

Stick around on the sand for beach football and volleyball matches, or for something more exotic, camel rides, desert safari trips, Jeep and quad bike tours are also on offer.

The area is famous for bustling evening bazaars to browse for bargains, plus enough bars and nightclubs to keep you out ‘til late.

More: See egypt.travel.

Getting there: Fly from London Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh from £129pp return with easyJet.

Croatia: The sailing break

Taking a few days to hit the open sea is a must if you want to make the most of Croatia. An island-hopping tour should do the trick, giving you and your mates the chance to party on deck by night and explore some of the country’s prettiest sights by day.

Don’t miss out on visits to Mljet Island National Park to see the salt water lakes, the pretty harbour town of Trstenik on the Peljesac Peninsula, and Korcula’s medieval Old Town.

It’s also worth stopping off for at least a day or two in Split to explore the city’s Roman ruins or go hiking in the pine-tree-covered Marjan peninsula.Some tours depart from Hvar, which is famous for having a raucous after-dark scene.

Alternatively, fly into Dubrovnik to spend some time in this beautiful coastal city before you set sail. Spend at least a couple of days here so you’ve got time to take a ride on the city’s spectacular cable car, explore the quaint Old City, and walk around the famous medieval city walls.

More: See croatia.hr.

Getting there: Monarch flies direct from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik from £72.50 return.

 

 


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Sunny and exotic Easter breaks: From beach holidays in Egypt to sailing Croatia
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