You’ll Take the High Road and I’ll Take the Low Road – Beaches Vs. Mountains
We’re all living for our next holiday – at least we can agree on that. But while you may dream of swaying palms and white sands, I’ll be humming something from the Sound of Music. Shall we go our separate ways or can a destination offer the best of both worlds? Let us know what you think, but for a bit of food for thought here are my top destinations for sea and sand, trees and mountains – and the best of both.
Craving the coast?
Year-round sunshine, coral reefs and calm, warm water. Sharm El Sheikh was made for beach lovers – literally. It was once just a base for local fishermen, but since the 1980s it’s grown with the rest of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into a purpose-built zone for seaside pleasure.
It’s certainly ideal for sun-seekers, being blazing hot in summer (20–45°C) and beautifully warm in winter (15–35°C). For those who like to get wet, world-class water sports and the coral gardens of Ras Mohammad National Park await.
Location: book Monarch flights to Sharm El Sheikh from Birmingham, London Gatwick and Manchester
If you change your mind: head inland to scale Mount Sinai, which is about 3 hours by road from Sharm El Sheikh
Heading for the hills?
Cyprus may not be synonymous with skiing (although the slopes of Mount Olympus are perfect for families and beginners from mid-January to mid-March). But its astonishingly unspoilt Troodos Mountains, surrounding Olympus, offer a slice of the best in mountain life year-round.
Vineyards, forests and traditional villages nestle in the Troodos, alongside treasured Byzantine churches, waterfalls and secret caves. You’ll also discover a thriving mountain sports community – and plenty of scope for anything from gentle hikes to extreme mountain biking.
Location: books Monarch holidays to the mountain resort of Platres to get to the heart of the Troodos mountains
If you change your mind: beachside Limassol is easy to reach from Troodos by bus
Best of both worlds?
If you long for the hills whenever you’re on a beach, but gaze wistfully to the sea from every peak, there’s hope for you yet – on Tenerife.
This largest of the Canary Islands affords 67.14km of beaches, from the white sands and palm trees of Playa de Las Teresitas to the windsurfing Mecca of El Médano.
But Tenerife’s heart is Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak, and its surrounding 18,990ha of national park. This – and all of the wildly rugged massifs, ranges and ravines of Tenerife – are the work of volcanic upheaval over millennia.
Location: book Monarch flights to Tenerife from Birmingham, East Midlands, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester
Best for: those who just can’t choose