Well, it had to be, didn’t it?! The beaches, the beach bars, the sunny, laid-back, anything goes attitude. The stunning, unspoilt countryside in the north of the island. Ibiza Town at night, with its bars and boutiques and outdoor restaurants, all lit up and packed with happy, laughing faces. There’s a certain magic to the White Isle, and when I get there I never want to leave.
Palolem (literally ‘Paradise’) beach in South Goa is a beautiful crescent of golden sand backed by elegantly swaying coconut palms. High rises are banned so it’s all simple wooden huts, which are rebuilt every year after the monsoon. The sea is clear, with phosphorescence at night, the fish curries mouth-watering, and lying in a hammock under the sub-Continental sun with a book and mango lassi has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Rolling hills, tall, almost military rows of midnight green cypresses, golden vineyards and silvery olive groves – the Tuscan countryside is quite simply breathtaking. And then there are the cities! Lovely Medieval Siena, exquisite Florence, pretty Fiesole with its unparalleled views down to the Duomo, Renaissance art … oh and don’t get me started on the food! Just heavenly.
I taught English in Athens for a year after university and every weekend I’d escape to one of the islands, enchanted by the colours – the blue and white painted monasteries under an equally azure sky, vivid purply pink bougainvillea climbing pristine snowy walls. I was also captivated by the clarity of the Aegean sea, the traditional villages, the ancient ruins – and, of course, the tavernas.
Last year my husband and I stayed at a place called Papaya Playa in Tulum, on the Mayan Riviera. It was all eco, boho, and possibly a little pretentious, but so, so beautiful! Wooden cabanas and outdoor showers are scattered between sandy paths and palm trees, all surrounding a fantastic open air bar which serves the most delectable modern Mexican cuisine (and Margaritas aplenty!). The sand is dazzlingly white and the sea a turquoise merging into indigo that has to be seen to be believed.