AZURA’S ULTIMATE SUNSHINE WISH LIST


EIGHT SUN-SOAKED DESTINATIONS AND A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCES AWAIT ON AN AZURA FLY-CRUISE IN 2023

WORDS CECILIA EVISON

PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES


MALLORCA: TAKE TO A KAYAK

Hot sun on skin is one of life’s great pleasures. A different way to soak up the Spanish sunshine and explore Mallorca’s coast is by sea kayak. From Palma, take in the kilometre-long Playa de Palma Nova before heading out into the blue at Platja de Magaluf in Calvià. As you make your way around the headland, keep an eye out for colourful sea life below, and pause at an isolated bay where you can take a refreshing and well-earned dip.


CAGLIARI: HIT THE HEIGHTS

Compact and culturally rich, Sardinia’s capital is rewarding to explore on foot. From the city, you can stretch your legs even further on a hike to Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Settle), the rocky summit on Cagliari’s southern cape. It’s a bit of a climb, but if you’re up for it you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views over the glittering Golfo degli Angeli (Gulf of the Angels) with its turquoise water and chalky white cliffs. Below lies Cagliari’s popular Poetto Beach with 8km of pristine white sand and gently lapping waves. It’s the ideal spot to cool off with a refreshment.


SEVILLE: HOP ON YOUR BIKE

The perfect city to explore on two wheels, Seville (from Cádiz) boasts 170km of cycle lanes. Pedal at your leisure through the tree-lined streets of the Old Town, taking in the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias, Seville’s holy trinity of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spot Mudjar architecture along the Guadalquivir River (left), and don’t leave without trying a cortadillo de cidra, a local pastry stuffed with candied squash.


LANZAROTE: SET SAIL

The secluded island of La Graciosa in the Chinijo Archipelago 2km off the north coast of Lanzarote makes for an idyllic sailing day away from the main island. Cross the El Rio strait by boat with picturesque views and refreshing sea breezes before arriving at the whitewashed fishing town of Caleta de Sebo. The island is car-free, so tranquillity is guaranteed as you relax on one of many sandy beaches. Playa de la Francesa is a stunning horseshoe-shaped bay teeming with marine life.


VALLETTA: TAKE IN EPIC VISTAS

The historic Barrakka Gardens of Malta’s capital Valletta are home to beautiful flowers, sculpture, a pretty fountain and the best city views. Created in 1661 as private gardens for the Knights Hospitaller of the Langue of Italy, they are split into two parts. The Upper section boasts a panoramic view of Valletta’s natural harbour and a notable bronze statue, while the tranquil Lower is ideally located for ship-watching. Lush planting and a neo-classical temple add to its charms.

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VALENCIA: SAVOUR SPECIALITIES

Valencia is famous for its cuisine, and a foodie walking tour with a local guide gives a great flavour of the city. Mercado Central showcases 1,200 local producer stalls and is the largest fresh produce market in Europe. Worth visiting for the modernist domed building alone, it is a food-lover’s mecca. Time your visit with lunch to try tapas, cured meats, Iberian cheese, paella (it hails from Valencia after all), traditional turrón (nougat) and a glass or two of Valencian DOP wine.


MADEIRA: SWIM IN NATURAL POOLS

For the ultimate day of wallowing, head for the natural saltwater pools of Porto Moniz (left) in the north. The lava walls of the complex were formed by volcanic eruptions centuries ago, and sea water flows into the 3,800m² swimming area to a depth of 2m with an average temperature of between 20 and 21°C. After your dip, explore one of the many lush hiking trails plotted along former irrigation canals (follow the Levada’ signs).


TENERIFE: GAZE AT STARS

With an overnight in sunny Tenerife, you can spend the day on the island’s renowned black-sand beaches before seizing the opportunity to go stargazing on Spain’s tallest mountain. Mount Teide (above) is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site where, come nightfall, stellar phenomena reward those who ascend the 3,715m mountain. With clear skies, 83 of the 88 officially recognised constellations can be seen from here and the Milky Way, Summer Triangle and meteor showers are known to make strong showings in summer.

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