by Sophie Butler, The Telegraph, March 1, 2018
Tired of the snow and dreaming about Easter sand and sunshine? If haven’t booked your break yet, here's my top pick of last-minute availability to suit families and couples.
Prices quoted are per person for a seven-night stay based on a family of four (two adults and two children aged under 12 years), including flights and transfers, unless otherwise stated, and are subject to availability.
Note that older children may be charged the same rate as adults. Average flight times are from London, unless otherwise stated. Temperatures are average maximum.
Best for families
1. Beachside break in Cyprus
Flight time: 4h 20m
With its long holiday season and inviting coastal stretches, this popular Mediterranean island is a good bet for a sunny beachside break in early April. Plus points for families with young children include affordable self-catering options within walking distance of sand and sea.
From £908.50 per person, self-catering, based on a two-bedroom unit at Spilio Villa in Paphos, through Sunvil (020 8758 4758; sunvil.co.uk) including car hire, departing March 28.
2. Family fun in Tenerife
Flight time: 4h 15m
Largest of the Canaries, with beaches to suit all tastes and around nine hours of sunshine a day in April, this island is hard to beat for a dose of reliable warmth with children in tow. However, flights and accommodation are snapped up early so the big sun-and-sand operators are your best bet for last-minute options.
From £906 per person, self-catering, at the four-star Sunwing Resort Fanabe, through Thomas Cook (0844 412 5970; thomascook.com) departing from Bristol on March 30.
3. Surfing and yoga in Morocco
Flight time: 3h 30m
Active families with older children are well catered for along the sandy stretches of Morocco’s southern coast where sea breezes keep temperatures pleasant and Atlantic rollers offer good surfing for all abilities. Cooler nights see the thermometer drop to around 11C.
From £1,120 per person, with breakfast, at five-star Paradis Plage Resort, through Health and Fitness Travel (0203 397 8891; healthandfitnesstravel.com) including a surfing programme. Yoga classes also available (age limits apply).
4. Serious sunshine in Barbados
Flight time: 8h 30m
If you like your beaches sizzling hot and your sea like an inviting bath, Easter in the Caribbean ticks the boxes. Night-time temperatures are balmy too, perfect for al fresco dinners under the stars. Resorts offer lots of activities for energetic offspring.
From £1,899 per person, all inclusive, at Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels through Caribtours (020 3797 2485; caribtours.co.uk).
5. Escapist bliss in Mauritius
Flight time: 11h 30m
For Robinson Crusoe beaches of pristine white sand, fringed with coconut palms and lapped by turquoise waters, combined with serious heat and top-end hotel options, this Indian Ocean island is a good bet for luxurious family fun. The flight may be long, but the time difference is only four hours.
From £1,149 per person, half board, based on two interconnecting rooms at five-star The Residence through Powder Byrne (020 8246 5300; powderbyrne.com ).
Best for couples
6. Sand and spas in Mexico
Tulum, Riviera Maya // Photo by gappino/iStock/GettyImagesPlus/GettyImages
Flight time: 9h 15m
Idyllic white sand beaches fringe the Mayan Riviera between Puerto Morelos in the north and Tulum in the south, with sunbeds shaded by thatched tiki sunshades under leafy palms. Resorts are largely high-end, with pampering spas, some off-limits to children aged under 18 years.
From £2,078 per person, all inclusive, at five-star Excellence Riviera Cancun through Sovereign Luxury Travel (01293 832 459; sovereign.com ) departing March 27.
7. All-inclusive resorts in Goa
Flight time: 9h 5m
With a coastline stretching for miles along the Arabian Sea, this western state of India is a magnet for beach-lovers. Whether you prefer a full-on party scene or a quiet, unspoilt stretch, there are around 10 hours per day to loll on the sand and soak up the gloriously hot, early April sunshine.
From £1,342 per person, all-inclusive, at the Novotel Resort Dona Sylvia through TUI (0203 451 2688; TUI.co.uk ) departing on March 31.
8. High dunes in Gran Canaria
Flight time: 4h 10m
Known for its 143-mile coastline of black lava and white sand beaches, this Canary Island has something for everyone. You can choose from vast, tiny, sandy, rocky, busy or remote beaches or head to the spectacular dunes of Maspalomas, a protected nature reserve of sand hills on the southern coast.
From £3,618 per person, with breakfast, for seven nights at the five-star Seaside Palm Beach through Classic Collection Holidays (0800 047 1964; classic-collection.co.uk) departing on March 28.
9. Tropical beaches in Thailand
Flight time: 11h 15m
Powder-soft beaches backed by lush tropical gardens and lapped by translucent water combine with fabulously hot April sunshine. Perfect for romantic chilled-out holidays, resorts offer snorkelling, fishing and boat tours, plus pampering treatments and topnotch restaurants.
From £2,331 per person, with breakfast, based on a deluxe garden view room at Rocky’s Boutique Resort on Koh Samui, through Kuoni (01306 747008; kuoni.co.uk) departing on March 24.
10. Snorkelling and sand in Oman
Flight time: 7h 15m
Early April temperatures are high, though there’s still some way to go before it reaches the June peak of 40C. White sands, palm trees and good snorkelling in a vividly blue sea makes the coast around Muscat a prime pick for beach-lovers. Pods of dolphins can sometimes be spotted just off shore.
From £2,879 per person, with breakfast, at five-star Chedi Muscat through Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762 456; hayesandjarvis.co.uk ), departing March 31.