For those lucky enough to be able to travel this year, this summer will undoubtedly be one to remember. To help you go a little off the beaten track and away from the crowds, we’ve handpicked our hot new spots for summer 2021. From Marseille and its stylish new restaurant with rooms to the island to visit off Sicily, these are the destinations to book - or at least bookmark this year.
Sweeping white-sand beaches backed by dunes, brilliant beach restaurants and clubs and a super low-key vibe are keeping Comporta’s star in the ascendant. Spend your days at Sublime Comporta Beach Club on Carvalhal Beach, drifting easily from your sunlounger to a seafood linguine lunch to cocktails as the sun goes down. This summer, the hot villa ticket is Casa Belinha, a six-bedroom beauty a short distance from Comporta’s Atlantic waves. Lisbon is just an hour away for days where you want a culture fix.
Far away from the selfie sticks and popular playas, there exists a Formentera that’s wild, mountainous and carefree much like Ibiza used to be in its glory days. Villa Sebastian is located at the island’s highest point, Pilar de la Mola overlooks vineyards, endless pine and olive trees and sea as far as the eye can see. With the beach just below you, there are no neighbours for miles. If you want a bit more of a buzz, check into the new Casa Pacha, a new beach house-style hotel right on Playa Migjorn.
We’re usually tempted to head straight for one of Spain’s Balearic islands, but this year we’re equally tempted by the mainland thanks to the up and coming Emporda. Casa Agusti is surrounded by hectares of exceptional countryside and just twenty minutes from the beach. Start your day with fresh eggs laid by the estate’s hens, before enjoying the house and its gardens (which include a vegetable garden) and a trip to the picturesque local town, Llampaies.
France’s Cote d’Azur is a perennial favourite of the style set, but it’s the coastline around Marseille that’s garnering the most attention in 2021. And this is largely thanks to the opening of Tuba Club in the Les Goudes neighbourhood: the place to eat, drink and swim off the rocks (French designer Simon Port Jacquemus is a fan) as well as try and bag one of the five stylish cabanes. You’ll be perfectly placed for exploring Marseille and the area’s feted calanques, limestone cliffs that tower above the glittering sea. Make the 45 minute drive to nearby Cassis, the idyllic old fishing port where in-the-know Parisians are snapping up houses.
Known affectionately as the ‘Isle of Beauty’, Corsica benefits from an Italian-meets-French sensibility and Caribbean-style beaches that keep its fans, such as Parisian hotelier Adrien Gloaguen, coming back year after year. Book into Villa Cap Azur, a glass-fronted contemporary gem near Ajaccio that makes the most of its showstopping sea views. Make sure to find time for lunch at L’Ancura in Sagone, a small seafood restaurant which comes highly recommended by Gloaguen and his family.
Ponza is the tiny, steep-sided island that Romans would rather keep to themselves. A mere speck in the Tyrrhenian Sea set between Napoli and Roma, the island is where Circe the sorceress is said to have been banished to and seduced Odysseus on his journey home to Ithaca. Many are still bewitched by Ponza today, with its simple trattorias, startlingly blue coves and pleasing lack of five-star hotels. Stay at Chiaia di Luna, low-key but lovely and with a knock-out terrace.
Closer to Tunisia than Sicily, this offbeat island known as the ‘Black Pearl of the Mediterannean’ should be high up on your list this summer. A volcanic, mountainous interior, lush greenscapes and a wild, glittering coastline peppered with thermal pools make it an island destination like few others. The place to stay is Parco dei Sesi, run by the lovely Margot and Massimiliano, who have created a homely guesthouse from a family dammuso. Part artist residence, part organic farm, you’ll enjoy yoga mornings, afternoons by the pool and intimate dinners with other guests under the stars.
While Puglia might not have the vertiginous views of the Amalfi Coast, it oozes a very particular rustic charm, scented with its ubiquitous olive groves and vineyards. One of its most prized spots is around the citta bianca Ostuni, which has charming restaurants, bars and masseria hotels such as the much-loved Masseria Moroseta. Studio Andrew Trotter (behind the latter) has also designed a handful of private villas in the area, including Villa Cardo, in a modern Pugliese vernacular. The villa has a beautiful roof terrace facing out to sea, an outdoor kitchen and interiors dotted with LRNCE ceramics, all set among olive and almond trees. Moroseta’s famed chef Giorgia can cook private dinners at the villa upon request.
Food lovers will adore Sifnos, which is known as the cradle of Greek cooking and has borne many a chef, including the great Nikos Tselementes. As well as Sifniot cuisine, the island has endless beautiful blue and white churches, an ancient hilltop town Kastro, rocky inlets for wild swimming and seriously handsome villages with more than a whiff of Venetian architecture about them. Stay at Villa Amar, a private Cycladic estate which is new this summer and features its own petanque court as well as a vast infinity pool and views over Kastro.
For anyone wanting a dose of Greek Island goodness, while avoiding the Mykonos parties and Santorini honeymooners, Antiparos has a wonderfully quiet vibe. With its traditionally Cycladic whitewashed buildings, quaint cobblestone streets and Aegean blue doors framed by bougainvillea trees, the island is a nod to days gone by. Stop in at Beach House for lunch and a couple of ouzos at The Doors, the island’s favourite locals’ bar. This summer, the hot new hotel on the scene is The Rooster, which has an earthy minimalist design and divine owner. Those looking for a more private experience should commandeer Villa Heleni, which has stunning sea views and sleeps 14.