Let's face it - even though it's only January, everyone's already 100% focussed on their summer holidays, and we here at Hotels4U HQ we can't stop thinking about our next getaways.
This week we've been talking about Turkey and Greece, two Mediterranean hotspots that are steeped in culture and history, and both with a wide range of resorts to choose from.
The ruins of an
amphitheatre in the ancient city of Ephesus by Lyn Gateley
One of the most popular destinations in Turkey is Kusadasi, both a major cruise ship port and a package holiday resort. To avoid the crowds, the best time to book Kusadasi hotels is at the tail-end of the high season, when this seaside town is at its most calm and laid-back. The old Kusadasi town, now hidden by the modern-day pubs and clubs, is available if you search hard enough, with some charming antiquated bars in the Old Quarter.
Kusadasi also makes a great base for day tours to the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Priene, Didyma, and Miletus. Ephesus in particular is a fascinating snapshot of what life was like in Roman times. One of the best-preserved classical cities in Europe, Ancient Ephesus was a formidable trading city, and a centre for the cult of Cybele, an ancient goddess of fertility. The city is best visited in the early morning or late afternoon, to avoid the heat of the midday sun and the tour group crowds.
Like Turkey, Greece too boasts picturesque and idyllic destinations, such as the island of Corfu. The second-largest of the Ionian islands, Corfu has long been celebrated in literature, with Odysseus, the hero of Homer's Odyssey, resting here on his last stop on the journey home to Ithaca, and Shakespeare reportedly setting his island-bound romance The Tempest here.
Although any of the island's towns make for a brilliant holiday, Ipsos, set on the island's eastern coast, is one of the liveliest resorts on Corfu. It features a busy resort centre with bars and restaurants, as well as a beachfront where the adrenaline-junkies among you can indulge in water sports such as jet-skis, paragliding, and water-skiing. The town's popularity means that Ipsos hotels fill up fast, so it's a good idea to get in early with your reservation.
So if you're feeling the chill of British winter, why not enjoy the welcome distraction of booking those summer holidays? We all know that the winter months will fly by if you've got a getaway to look forward to, and with extra-low prices in Hotels4U's January sale, there's no time like the present.
What's your favourite Mediterranean destination for a splash of culture? Let us know in the comments below.