The food, the ancient architecture, the dips in sun-dappled seas: this 10-day tour of the smouldering island of Sicily packs in the best of Europe. You’ll start in the charismatic capital, Palermo, to sample street food and ogle Roman ruins, before leaving the clamour of Vespa horns behind for the peace of the Madonie mountains. From here it’s onto the Aeolian Islands via Cefalu to explore cobbled village streets and lava-spewing volcanoes, including Stromboli. Back on the mainland, bounce across the otherworldly landscape of Mount Etna, discover the baroque hill towns of Noto, Radusa and Modica, and finish the trip with the flavours of Syracuse.
For a truly unique getaway, head to the Hebrides in Scotland. This cluster of islands is home to spectacular landscapes – such as the jagged peaks of the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye or the pristine white sands of Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris. You can also sample a wee dram at a whisky tasting before admiring the 5,000-year-old Calanais Standing Stones – our seven-day adventure includes all the best highlights of the islands.
For a short-haul dose of different, nowhere delivers like Iceland. From its quirky, creative cities to its seen-to-be-believed natural sights, it makes for an unforgettable break – and this small-group European adventure compresses the best bits into five thrilling days. You’ll start in the capital, Reykjavik, with a slap-up dinner of Icelandic specialties, before heading off the next day into the wilderness. First stop is the lesser-trodden Borgarfjordur region, for thundering waterfalls and the charming village of Reykholt. Then it’s on to the legendary Golden Circle, for steaming geysers, snowmobiling across a glacier, and a stroll on a volcanic black-sand beach. Wrap things up with a relaxing soak in the Blue Lagoon.
If sun, sparkling sea and fresh, zingy food are your thing, then an island-hopping tour of the Cyclades is for you. This eight-day adventure in Greece starts in the culture-rich capital, Athens, introducing you to both major sights (including the Acropolis) and under-the-radar neighbourhoods, before whisking you to the low-key island of Milos for two days of laid-back beach lounging. Next it’s on to the buzzy island of Naxos, where you’ll learn how to prepare a three-course Greek meal, followed by a final hop over to the Instagram darling Santorini (although you don’t have to join in with the selfie-takers).