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The best destinations for an early summer holiday in 2019

Desperate for some proper sunshine, without the high-season scrums? Then get your holiday in before everyone else, by travelling in June rather than July or August. These destinations blossom early, and are sizzling long before the crowds arrive.

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1. Menorca, Spain – flights from €148 return*

Bright blue waters flanked by trees in Menorca, Spain

Known as the ‘island of pleasant breeze’, quiet little Menorca is fast becoming as popular as its sister islands Ibiza and Mallorca. Go in June before the summer-holiday crush and you’ll spend less time elbowing your way through the throngs, and more time enjoying the island’s glittering turquoise bays – lined with thickets of pine and olive trees.

Visit towards the end of the month and you can also join in the celebrations of the legendary Sant Joan de Ciutadella (23-25 June 2019). Cue sackfuls of hazelnuts being tossed about, horses cantering down streets, bonfires and fireworks…

House in Menorca, Spain lit up at sunset

Where to stay:Binigaus Vell is a delightful rural bolthole with just 20 rooms and a stunning swimming pool. There’s some lovely horse-riding nearby, too.

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Hotels in Menorca

2. Crete, Greece – flights from €170 return*

Azure waters in Balos, Crete

Not only is Crete the largest Greek island, it also benefits from one of Europe’s longest warm seasons. June is hot enough for swimming in the sea but not so hot you’ll melt on land, and before the schools break up, you’ll get much better service in the tavernas too. It also has a stellar historical pedigree.

Chania, (home of one of the island’s two main airports), is the most attractive city. An evening bar-hopping around its Venetian harbour is a must. But almost everywhere on the island you’ll find ruins of lost civilisations. Some, such as Knossos, have been painstakingly excavated and controversially restored. Others, like Lissos on the south coast, are grazed by goats and covered in scrub. And their ruins seem untouched since they were abandoned hundreds of years ago.

Blue fishing boat floats in the crystal clear waters in Crete, Greece

Where to stay: Nana Princess brings a new level of contemporary luxe to the island. Just 20 minutes from the airport, it has 112 suites and a magnificent spa.

Check out our Greek island guide 2019, perfect for finding the best family holiday hotspot, the ultimate towns for partying or where to just bliss out on a beautiful beach.

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Hotels in Crete

3. Île de Ré, France – flights from €66 return*

With its quaint fishing villages and lavender-fringed cycle paths, this tiny French island (a UNESCO World Heritage site) has long been an escape for Parisians seeking sunshine and seafood. But in July and August its lanes are bursting with over-heated holidaymakers. June is much calmer. There’s no jostling for towel space on the beaches, restaurants aren’t booked solid and every field screams “picnic!” at you. The only stress comes in finding the right kind of runny cheese to go with your freshly-baked baguettes.

Where to stay: La Maison Douce is tucked down a cobblestone street near the old port, and has 14 white-washed rooms and a courtyard garden.

Since you made it all the way to France, how about a romantic weekend in Paris? It features on our list of 7 of the most romantic city breaks in Europe, along the likes of Venice and Amsterdam.

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Hotels in Île de Ré

4. Miami, Florida – flights from €412 return*

Beach hut surrounded by yellow umbrellas, Miami, Florida

A beachside playground studded with Art Deco hotels and crazy-cool contemporary art, Miami is constantly raising its game. Mixing cosmopolitan and Cuban vibes, it’s a brilliant place to let your hair down. High season runs from November to April when temperatures are in the mid-20s. But we recommend South Beach in June.

The mercury might nudge the 30s at midday but there’s no shortage of parasol-strewn beach clubs, air-conditioned smoothie bars and spray-misted restaurants to keep you cool. Best of all, hotel rates go down by as much as 50 per cent. Avoid July – it’s way too humid.

Houses lit up at sunset in Miami Beach, Florida

Where to stay: Chic and petite Casa Faena occupies an original 1920s building and has a brilliantly laid-back me casa, su casa vibe.

Orlando, Florida made our list of 10 of the best family holidays on a budget for 2019 – and it’s only a three-hour drive from Miami.

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Hotels in Miami

5. Lake Como, Italy – flights from €64 return

Lake Como, Italy at sunset

One of Europe’s most enchanting locations, Lake Como is never entirely tourist-free. But if you visit in June you’ll enjoy the lake at its finest – with temperatures in the mid-twenties and a much lower headcount than July. The best way to admire its neo-classical villas and snow-capped mountain backdrop is by joining a boat tour. You can mix your nautical adventures with promenades through the towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna.

Make time for the gardens too – those at the Villa Balbianello and Villa Serbelloni rank amongst the finest in Italy. Added bonus: the annual Lake Como festival kicks off in June with jazz notes and classical music adding extra sparkle to those balmy Italian nights…

Panoramic view of Lake Como, Italy with boats in the distance

Where to stay: Borgo Le Terrazze has fairytale rooms and lake views.

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Hotels in Lake Como

6. Sardinia, Italy – flights from €161 return*

Azure waters in Sardinia's west coast

Peak season for the island of Sardinia is July/August, when tourists and Italian natives flood onto its sandy shores. June is the sweet spot, when days are warm and long but hotels and restaurants are yet to fill up. Costa Smeralda, dotted with designer boutiques and five-star hotels, is the place for people watching and flexing your credit card. But beyond the glitz and glamour there are masses of hidden coves, unpretentious restaurants and white-sand beaches to make your own. Sardinia has almost 2,000km of coastline.

Seaside town with palm trees lit up by the warm sunlight

Where to stay:Hotel Lucrezia is a 17th-century converted farmhouse hotel set within flower-filled gardens.

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Hotels in Sardinia

Dreaming of a sun-drenched beach holiday in 2019, or a city break where you definitely won’t need your coat? Check out these amazing places to visit this June in Europe, Asia and South America.

*Updated March 2019. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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