While last-minute holidays have their advantages, booking early often provides greater choice, better deals and also means that you won’t miss out on must-do events or sought-after experiences.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, award-winning travel specialist Sunvil has pioneered many lesser-known destinations, working alongside and building authentic relationships with local communities, to offer sustainable and culturally-sensitive tourism. This expert knowledge means that Sunvil is well versed on the places you need to book now to avoid disappointment.
Here are its top five ideas for 2020 that need to be booked pronto!
Witness the Midnight Sun in Northern Norway… Go between late May and mid-July
If you wait until spring, it is almost impossible to find availability for your first choice of dates on The Lofoten archipelago to experience the Midnight Sun. The wild and beautiful landscape here is considered to be the most spectacular of all, with precipitous mountains and sharp peaks, combined with sheltered bays, white sand beaches and charming fishing communities.
Party at a once-in-a-lifetime fiesta in Porto… Go in June Seemingly unknown outside Portugal, the Festa de São João do Porto (23 June) is a lively street festival celebrating the patron saint of lovers. Citizens of all ages gather in the bunting-clad streets and the evening culminates in a spectacular fireworks display. Traditions include launching multi-coloured paper hot air balloons into the sky and offering relatives potted basil plants, whilst a more baffling custom sees revellers hit plastic hammers on the heads of passers-by. Book now, before word gets out!
Stay on arguably the most beautiful island of the Azores archipelago… Go between June and September The luscious green landscape of rolling hills and crater lakes on the island of Flores feels like another world. With magnificent waterfalls and monolithic sea cliffs, it is also an adventure playground, with some of the Azores’ most exhilarating canyoning routes. Being a small island, with a population of under 4,000 and an area of just 143 sq km, early booking is essential.
Experience Italy’s most exciting traditional horse race… Go in July or August Palio’s legendary bareback horse race takes place twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena. The Piazza del Campo is transformed into a racetrack and, in the days leading up to the colourful medieval event, there are many festivities to enjoy. To really soak up the incredible atmosphere, it’s worth arriving in Siena a few days ahead of the race – you’ll see the horse trials and experience the festive open-air dinners each contrada (or district) holds on the evening before the race, with trestle tables running the length of main streets and filling the central piazzas. Stay at the four-star Hotel Athena, located within the city walls just 500m from the Palio.
Secure your spot on Santorini… Go in August
With its iconic blue-domed churches, picture-perfect views and glorious sunsets, Santorini is Greece’s glamorous, must-see island, making it expensive and tough to find a room in August. Book early, and you’re more likely to secure that dream accommodation for your preferred dates. For the sheer spectacle of it, a hotel carved into the cliff face overlooking the caldera – and world-famous sunsets – is a must.