Where to go

🏝️ Sporades | 🇵🇹 Braga | 🎿 Patagonia

5 April 2024

Islands

The Sporades, a 24-strong archipelago just north of Athens, have all the “champagne beaches and sapphire waters” of Greece without any of the crowds, says Lucy Clarke-Billings in the I newspaper. The busiest of the four inhabited islands is Skiathos, which boasts 45km of coastline and 60 beaches. On nearby Alonissos, the “jewel in the Sporades crown”, enjoy rolling pine forests and boat trips to spot the Mediterranean monk seal, “one of the rarest animals in Europe”. Ten-night trips to Skiathos and Alonissos with Olympic Holidays from £1,997pp, including return flights. Olympic

Luxury

For an otherworldly skiing experience, head to Patagonia, says Lucy Aspden-Kean in The Daily Telegraph. Compared to the “groomed, crowded pistes of the Alps”, the empty slopes of the planet’s last remaining “untracked mountains” make it the perfect destination for Eleven Experience’s “once-in-a-lifetime” heli-skiing trip. The 2.3 million acres of terrain have something for everyone – from steep “thigh-burning” couloirs to rolling runs fit for beginners. Highlights include glacial picnics and evenings spent supping pisco sours back at Eleven’s stunning nature lodge. Prices for heli-skiing, equipment, full board and transfers start from £12,543 per night, minimum group size three. Eleven Experience

Shoestring

Braga is Portugal’s oldest city, says Olivia Morelli in Condé Nast Traveller, and “the most underrated”. A 40-minute drive from Porto, it has cobblestone streets full of restaurants serving up classic Portuguese dishes: go to Tabique, in the centre, for its unforgettable plates of slow-cooked meat in thick rich sauces. And there are plenty of opportunities to soak up some history, from Sé, the country’s oldest cathedral, to nearby Bom Jesus do Monte, a series of “decadent chapels and pretty fountains” reached by an enormous baroque staircase. Rooms at Hotel Vila Galé from £107 per night. Vila Galé

Hotel

The boutique Art’otel, next to the redeveloped Battersea power station, is an architectural masterpiece, says Susan d’Arcy in The Times. The star attraction is a rooftop infinity pool, which is on “nodding terms” with the soaring chimneys next door and has views over Chelsea Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. Inside is another “visual feast”, with bedrooms designed by Spanish artist Jaime Hayon, and distinctive flourishes including “twin mirrors shaped like goggly glasses above the beds”. Doubles from £274 per night. Art’otel

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