After all the doom and gloom of the Brexit negotiations, it is nice to hear some positive news for British travellers. The May exchange rates are up when comparing rates with this time last year. In fact, sterling is up against every European currency except the Swiss franc compared with last May. Some of the biggest gains are in non-EU countries and further afield, for example the Turkish lira (up 34 per cent on last year), Icelandic krona (up 13 per cent) and South African rand (up 10 per cent).
As the latest Thomas Cook Holiday Report shows, Britons are shunning Euro Zone countries in search of better value elsewhere. Although Spain remains the tour operator’s most popular destination, bookings to Turkey have brought the country into second place in the rankings, while bookings to Tunisia have also soared.
There are plenty of good value destinations within easy reach if you don't want to book long-haul. Croatia offers a great variety of resorts and activities. Of course there are great beaches and lovely islands to explore by boat but there are also vineyards for wine-tasting as well as walking and cycling trails for the more active.
Another big seller this year is Bulgaria. Golden Sands is a beach resort that's a great alternative to the Spanish costas. There are also cultural visits nearby, such as the town of Varna and the Aladzha Monastery (caves which have been occupied since the Stone Age).
Bargains are to be had in Morocco. Essaouira is a wonderful beach destination and of course there is fabulous Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains, amongst other attractions. Take a camel ride, try your hand at windsurfing in Essaouira (situated opposite the Canaries), or visit the bustling soukhs and haggle for a great deal on handicrafts, lamps and spices.
It's good to see confidence returning to Egypt after years of instability. Sharm el Sheikh is still not possible to visit due to the ongoing ban on flights from the UK. However, there are alternative Red Sea resorts such as Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Enjoy a beach break with great snorkelling or take excursions to the highlights of Egyptian antiquities in Luxor, the Valley of the Kings or Abu Simbel. Activities are many and varied, including camel rides, boat trips and quad biking in the desert to name but a few. Having visited myself this year I can highly recommend Egypt for fabulous sea life adventures in the Red Sea and amazing cultural sites, as well as awe-inspiring sunrises over the mountains in the desert.
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