Take Three July Getaways
Still haven't made up your mind where to take your summer holidays? The clock is ticking, so here are some last-minute destinations you should definitely consider.
1 the alps
Most go to the Alps in winter, but far fewer enjoy their spectacular scenery at this time of year. If anything, for active families there is much more to do in summer than winter, from rafting to hiking, riding to paragliding. If you prefer gentler outings, you can use the ski lifts to get you up hill and enjoy the walk back down.
Stay in a country refugio high in the mountains, explore cobbled villages and dine like locals on the freshest bread, cheese and meats. You'll feel like a new person when you come back down.
Croatia signed up to the EU this week and its popularity as a holiday destination is soaring. It's a country of dramatic mountainous landscapes and dreamy deep-blue seascapes that is easy to reach with a direct Aer Lingus flight from Dublin.
Most visitors head for the islands, but the Makarska Riviera on the mainland coast between Split and Dubrovnik is home to some of the country's loveliest stretches of beach and attracts fewer crowds.
Think of the Seychelles and you think of winter, but Europe's summer months are the driest for the islands. For example, July has five times less rain than January.
You'll always risk a few tropical showers in the afternoon, but with seven hours of sunshine a day and top temperatures of about 27°C, they shouldn't worry you too much. And it's one of the cheapest times of year to visit.