From sherry tasting in Andalucia to the searing white sands of Mexico’s Caribbean coast (with a diversion through a sleepy corner of Europe along the way), our publisher draws on his globetrotting experience to pick his favourite deals from this week’s Top 20
£499 -- Greece & Montenegro Cruise w/Flights & Cabin Upgrade
OK, it’s post-Christmas and your bank account is looking like a workhouse waif from a Charles Dickens novel since you bought the collected works of Erik Satie for odd Uncle Bob (see previous publisher’s round-up), but that doesn’t mean brilliant travel deals have dried up on the internet. Greece has always been a lusciously toasty corner of Europe, those 6000 islands promise almost endless variety, and just because its inhabitants will shortly be trading stones and twigs in lieu of unreliable money, that’s no reason to stay away. Indeed, you and your pounds will be ever more welcome. Combined with Montenegro in the all-in £499 cruise we’ve found, the country makes a nice balance of familiar and slightly more adventurous Europe. Of Montenegro itself? With its little villages snoozing by the Adriatic, ancient walled towns and canyon-scored interior, it’s a reminder of what off-the-beaten track travel was like before the track got so beaten.
£29 -- 4-Star Andalucian Hotel inc Breakfast, 45% Off
I like a town that gave its name to an alcoholic beverage. Jerez, in Andalucian Spain, is the birthplace of sherry (the name actually comes from the Arab word for the place, pronounced “Sherish”) and what a revelation sipping the stuff in this calm and rather beautiful settlement is. Pour your misconceptions of sticky, sickly sweet liquid awkwardly consumed in elderly relatives’ front parlours down the sink. That’s most likely cream sherry, a version for the notoriously sweet British tooth. In Jerez, you can expect the light, bone-dry fino variety or a deep, dark, mysterious oloroso. Sample them at a tree-shaded bar in one of numerous hidden old Jerez squares, then retreat for a night at the 4-star hotel we’ve found, at almost 50% off the standard rate.
£1499 -- 10-Nt Luxury All-Inc Mexico Holiday inc $1500 Spend
No news, speaking as a journalist, is boring news, which perhaps explains Mexico’s rather troubling rep of late. Travellers shouldn’t forget, however, that the strife that grabs the international headlines is largely confined to the north. The spankingly good all-inclusive deal we’ve found, which throws in almost as much to spend (in converted currency) as you’re paying for the deal itself. When I spent a few months tootling around Mexico some years ago, I started where you’ll be if you succumb to temptation and book this deal: the Caribbean coast. I didn’t want to leave; with its great stretches of white sand, warm, placid seas and only slightly less warm and placid locals, it’s like some vortex of unEnglishness. (Help! Stop! I’m beginning to daydream of it now and I’m supposed to be working.)