Western wonder: The Oitavos, Portugal
Perfect for: Culture vultures looking for relaxation and adventure in a rustic setting
Journey time: 2 hours and 35 minutes by air, plus a 20-minute drive
When you’re in the beautiful natural surroundings of Portugal’s Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, it would be criminal not to have a constant view of the rolling dunes and Atlantic Ocean. Which, we imagine, is the reason why architect José Amaral Anahory decided to create The Oitavos, close to Europe’s most westerly point, out of little more than glass.
The facade is modern and sleek, but step inside and the wonder unfolds. Warm Portuguese sun floods the cool minimalist rooms, where you can wake up to a spectacular sunrise. The Turkish bath in the spa is particularly chic with its floor-to-ceiling windows.
What to do: Outside, there’s a world-famous golf course and swimming pool, but to really appreciate the area, rent bikes and cycle to Cascais, where your efforts will be rewarded with delicious pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Or, for the more daring, take a speedboat ride, try go-karting, horse riding or a helicopter flight.
What to eat: Portuguese cuisine is seriously underrated. There are four dining areas, including a chic sushi bar, and all the produce is regional and mouth-watering. The breakfast buffet is outstanding, while lunch on the breezy sea-view terrace at Verbasco is idyllic.
Standout local sights: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Pena National Palace, the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), and the Palácio de Monserrate.
Eastern idyll: D-Hotel Maris, Marmaris, Turkey
Perfect for: Luxe lovers looking for an idyllic hideaway, with a spa that’s second to none
Journey time: 4 hours and 5 minutes by air, plus a 2-hour drive (or 30-minute helicopter ride)
On Turkey’s isolated Datça Peninsula you’ll find the stunning D-Hotel Maris, a sprawling location, where they’ve nailed the art of bigger being better. There are five private white-sand beaches, including Silence Beach (where mobile phones are a no-no), a huge basement spa and six glorious restaurants.
The 193 rooms are all dark woods and marble, and every window looks out on to volcanic mountains covered in olive trees. Facilities include three pools and a watersports centre, where you can jump into a kayak made for two.
What to do: Cut through the waves on one of the hotel’s three yachts, to discover nearby islands, or hone your backhand skills at the Goran Ivanišević tennis school, and shop for local specialities – honey, almonds and olive oil – in the fishing town of Datça.
What to eat: Along with the delectable Turkish cuisine, there are other tempting options, from Michelin-starred Italian to award-winning Japanese.
Standout local sights: The 4th-century BC port of Knidos, the old town of Datça and Symi, the nearest Greek island.
Go there Deluxe Sea View rooms from £380 per night on a B&B basis, dhotel.com.tr. Monarch operates flights to Dalaman Airport from Leeds Bradford Airport, Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport, Gatwick and Luton, with fares from £59.99 one way, monarch.co.uk