Here at James, we like to think we know a thing or two about what makes our holidaymakers tick. Whether you're a dedicated beach bum or a camera-wielding culture vulture, there's no 'one size fits all' when it comes to finding your holiday happy place. From Mediterranean magic to fun-fuelled Florida, one of our 60 dreamy destinations and 3000 handpicked properties is sure to spark your wanderlust. Without further ado, here's the inside scoop on the best holidays for…
When it comes to a true castaway experience, Greece holds the crown. All told there's a staggering 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Ionian and Aegean Seas, from bucket list beauties to lesser-known hideaways. Lovely Lefkas is the land that tourism forgot, favouring outstanding natural beauty and untouched beaches over garish resorts and man-made monstrosities. Dazzling white cliffs tower over sapphire seas, with cinematic scenes sprawling out in every direction. Throw in a healthy helping of traditional charm and sleepy villages for good measure and you'll be feeling relaxed just thinking about it!
Set your sights a few hundred miles south-west to the largest Greek Island of the lot, Crete. Winning hearts for centuries, you can't get more paradisiacal than the lagoonal waters of Elafonisi Beach. Pink-hued sands are met by gentle turquoise waves making this one of the most picturesque spots in all of Europe. In fact, it looks so exotic you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean…
All of your A-list aspirations are taken care of at the Hollywood hotspots of Santorini and Mykonos, where the glitz and glamour of celebrity still can't outshine the swoon-worthy scenes of these Aegean idylls. Beyond big names and Instagram fame, step off the tourist trail and dive into island paradise in its purest form. Pinch-me perfect Paxos and spellbinding Skiathos lend themselves to long, lazy days under the hot Grecian sun.
Jetting off with the whole family makes for the most memorable holidays! With a big wide world to discover, there's no shortage of dreamy destinations to choose from. Fly and flop to one of Europe's most coveted coastlines and watch your water babies play on the golden beaches of the Algarve. Fun in the sun indeed, the Mediterranean mogul is well set up with first-class facilities to help parents in need of a hassle-free holiday.
Florida is a firm favourite among all ages, where thrilling theme parks and effortless entertainment keeps all members of your brood beaming from ear to ear. Perfect for toddlers to teens and the young at heart, welcome to the happiest place on earth!
The beautiful Balearics are virtually unbeatable when it comes to low-key living and beach-based bliss. Leader of the pack for travelling with little ones in tow, you'll love the feeling of having your very own home from home to enjoy balmy evenings and sun-soaked Spanish summers. Time away with your nearest and dearest is a precious commodity, and a villa holiday allows you to make the most of every second…
Keeping the whole crew entertained can take a lot of effort, especially when you're craving those five minutes of peace and quiet! As luck would have it, we have a selection of villas that are kitted out with games facilities – ideal for occupying hyperactive kids or hosting family tournaments. You needn't worry about bringing all your earthly belongings away with you – there's plenty of fun waiting for your arrival…
Over 1,000 villas have added entertainment, including table tennis, air hockey, games consoles and in some cases – private cinemas! Get the bigger picture of all that's on offer with James Recommends.
A week or two in the great outdoors is not only good for your health and happiness – it's a breath of fresh air from the usual holiday exploits. Mix things up with a walk on the wild side and get stuck into the natural world. Mother Nature's masterpieces come in all shapes and sizes, with rolling hills, majestic mountains and fairy tale forests as staple stage-settings for your outdoorsy experiences.
Lanzarote's lunar landscapes are a match made in heaven for nature lovers. Moon-like craters, whacky rock formations, lava tubes and mind-blowing badlands all belong to the volcanic terrain of Timanfaya National Park. Forget about countryside carpeted in green, this Canary colour palette is all about copper reds and striking shades of black. In fact, the whole scene seems so far from home, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd landed on a different planet!
Wonder awaits for adventurers of all abilities in idyllic Istria. Walk, cycle, climb, trek and horse ride your way through verdant valleys and dramatic coastlines for a fresh perspective of the beloved bucket list beauty. Back-to-nature doesn't get more beautiful than 'the floating garden' of Madeira, where action-packed antics are endless! Boat trips, levada walks, jeep safaris, sea kayaking and mountain biking are just some of the ways to explore. It might sound a little exhausting, but trust us – you'll return home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!
When you're met with gorgeous golden sands and glittering warm waters, you know you're on holiday! From over-excited little ones who can't wait to paddle in refreshing waters, to chilled out couples longing to lounge on secluded shores – beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to beaches.
Feast your eyes on unique natural treasures like Sicily's Scala dei Turchi and its blinding white marl staircase, which doesn't look dissimilar to a giant meringue. That's not something you see every day! If classic coastline is more your thing, you can't do better than the Caribbean. Trademark traits of the tropical playground include powder-white sands, crystalline waters, swaying palms and toasty temperatures. A crowd-pleaser to the core, the island of Antigua has a beach for every day of the year!
Clue's in the name with this sandy sweet spot. If you manage to tear yourself away from the incredible infinity-style swimming pool, access to a beautiful beach lies at the bottom of your private garden. Salty air and sandy toes can only mean one thing – it's time to relax!
We have plenty more beach villas to laze away the days, so you're shore to find the perfect property with the help of James Recommends.
Cultural hotspots can be found across our destinations. Whether in the form of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, iconic landmarks, time-honoured towns or magnificent museums, there's countless ways to sink your teeth into a country's culture. Tantalise your taste buds by trying a local delicacy or simply seek out unique experiences that enrichen your understanding of the place you're visiting. Adding a layer of authenticity to your travel exploits – you'll be a cultural connoisseur before you know it!
Get a glimpse into humanities greatest achievements and artistic accomplishments with a trip to Tuscany. The birthplace of Renaissance, there's no better spot to satisfy your culture vulture needs than the city at the heart of it all, Florence. A living, breathing testament to human triumphs, some of the finest pieces of art and biggest names in the business (think Michelangelo and Galileo) hail from these hallowed roots.
Trade Renaissance for ancient mythology in Paphos. Crowned the European capital of culture in 2017, this Cypriot city packs a punch with castles, churches, monasteries and archaeological parks. Instead of 'great minds', Greek gods are Paphos' claim to fame – with Aphrodite being rumoured to have risen from the waters at Petra tou Romiou.
Whether you're looking to dance the night away or top up your tan on tropical shores, there's a whole host of warm and welcoming destinations that are a must for your wanderlust. Openness and hospitality are the key to LGBT holiday happiness, where laid-back attitudes compliment thriving gay scenes. Cosmopolitan hotspots like Mykonos stand in stark contrast to mellow Malta and easy-going Gran Canaria. Party-crazed Ibiza is hailed as one of Europe's 'big 4' for gay summer holidays, between celebrity-riddled nightlife and some of the world's most exclusive club houses – you're guaranteed a good time on the island of excess.
Our gay-friendly destinations showcase some of the world's best Gay Pride parades and nightlife scenes, where diversity is celebrated and differences are embraced. Dive in to our handy LGBT holiday guides for some of the best getaways across the globe…