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Travel Experts Reveal Their Fave Last-Minute Holiday Destinations

Weekend getaway, here we come!
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There’s a lot to be said for planning a holiday months in advance. Mostly, you get the luxury of time. Time to research sights and restaurants, to organise (and agonise over) your weather-appropriate wardrobe and to daydream how you’ll be spending your holiday - sipping a margarita atop a unicorn lilo, naturally.

Then again, there’s nothing better than a little spontaneity: booking a last-minute holiday to get away from it all, to discover something exciting and new or to reconnect with one of your favourite cities/beaches/dishes/long-lost friends who’s now living somewhere sunny and exotic.

Last-minute travel plans also take the pressure off: you just want (need!) a holiday, and you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone for the right deal - and the right destination.

Now, where to go? From Jamaica to Croatia, the world is your oyster. Here’s what the travel experts say on where to go when it comes to booking a last-minute break to remember...

The Canaries
"Our go-to last minute destination for some guaranteed all-year-round sun and a shortish flight is Lanzarote (not at all grotty)," says Lois Pryce, co-founder (with husband, Austin Vince), of The Adventure Travel Film Festival.

"It's a fabulous mix of dramatic, volcanic scenery, pristine beaches and stylish mid-century architecture and art from local hero, César Manrique."
Adél Békefi via Getty Images
Tom Hall, Lonely Planet's Editorial Director, recommends Morocco's Red City, Marrakesh - so-called for its blush-coloured walls - for an impromptu holiday.

"Marrakesh in Morocco is an excellent bet for a late getaway. This raucous, timeless city is only four hours from the UK but gives a big hit of the exotic, plus it has a long window of reliable, hot sunshine. It's a popular destination so there's lots of choice of places to stay, and a wide range of airlines and airports to use to get here. Particularly out of school holidays there are very good deals to be had on both.

"As well as being a lot of fun in itself, there are also lots of fascinating places within a short journey of Marrakesh, so if you've already had your fill of the souks and evening scene at the Djemm al-Fna, you can be at the seaside delights of Essaouira or deep in the beautiful valleys of the Atlas Mountains within a few hours of arriving."
"No matter what time of year, I would always choose Italy for a spontaneous getaway," says travel obsessive Jenny Lowthrop, from She Gets Around.

"There are often great last-minute flight prices and whether it's a popular destination like Rome or Florence or a random unknown place like Ancona, you will always find amazing food, friendly locals and beautiful towns and villages to wander around. A great place to explore without any plans."
"My top recommendation for a spontaneous summer trip would be Greece," says travel blogger Vicky Philpott, of Vicky FlipFlop Travels.

"There are so many interesting islands to explore, and always good deals to get there. The food, the weather, the beaches and the friendly locals make it my favourite country for a chilled-out holiday. Go!"
Pommie Travels' Victoria Brewood was blown away by Majorca's beauty on a recent trip there.

"Many people know Majorca's resort towns but they don't necessarily see the 'other' side of Majorca, which is incredibly scenic with mountains, wineries and crystal-clear waters," she says.

"If you do just one thing in Majorca, hire a car and drive through the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range from Pollença to Sóller. As you twist and turn along the mountain route (being careful to dodge the many cyclists) you'll be met with incredible views of Majorca's lush landscape.

"Along the route is Fornalutx - often referred to as 'the prettiest village in Spain'. It's not difficult to see why: the village has a special rustic charm, with colourful hanging baskets, stone buildings and the scent of orange and lemon in the air."
Troyes, France
For a glorious summer getaway that's only a few hours' drive from the UK, GlobalGrasshopper's Becky Moore recommends Troyes, the second-biggest city in the beautiful French region of Champagne-Ardenne.

"It’s a wonderful place to get a city fix before immersing yourself in serious wine country. Encircled by a series of canals and dotted with beautifully preserved, medieval timber-framed buildings, as well as its superb architecture, it’s also known for its impressive cathedrals, collection of fine restaurants, boutique shopping and, of course, Champagne."
Pierre Longnus via Getty Images
When travel writer Will Hide fancies an impromptu getaway, he jumps in the car, gets a Cal Mac Ferry hopper pass and explores the Hebrides in Scotland.

"It’s always going to be touch and go with the weather, but if you strike it lucky, this is by far the most gorgeous part of the British Isles. The beaches there are stunning. Start in Barra and head north to Lewis over the course of a week, with lots of walking and whisky in between."
La Rochelle, France
"La Rochelle in France makes for a great spontaneous getaway. It's an hour-and-a-half flight away from London and is a beautiful coastal city perfect for a relaxing long weekend, with exceptional eateries to satisfy even the most discerning foodie," says Gap Year Escape's Amar Hussain.

"La Rochelle also makes for a great base to explore the rest of the Charente-Maritime area including historic Rochefort, pretty Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the tranquil car-free island of Île-d’Aix or kayaking along the 4000km of waterways that make up Marais Poitevin, aka the Green Venice."
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"I love to pop down to Mexico any chance I get. The Yucatán is a short flight from New York City, where I live, and I'm obsessed with discovering the lesser-known destinations around there," says Christina Pérez, travel writer and founder of travel site inside Elsewhere.
Venice, Reykjavik, Bergen
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Ordinary Traveler's Christy Woodrow has a few beloved European destinations she frequents:

"We are all about last-minute, spontaneous, weekend getaways. Our favourite Europe getaways include Reykjavik, Iceland, Venice, Italy and Bergen, Norway. There are plenty of options to fill your time within all three of these cities and they are also close enough to stunning outdoor landscapes in case you want to extend your trip beyond just a weekend!"
Luang Prabang, Laos
GorazdBertalanic via Getty Images
CEO of LUXE City Guides, Simon Westcott, is based in Hong Kong, so frequently jets off around Asia for his spontaneous trips.

"A great Asian last-minute destination is Luang Prabang, the Laotian temple down on the banks of the Mekong. It's UNESCO-protected and has retained much of its low-rise, religious charm," he says.

"There's any number of luxury or flashpacker options, and days can be spent cycling languidly from Wat to Wat, shopping the high-end silk and antiques shops or gorging on street food. It's the kind of holiday spot in which you want to write a novel, instead of reading one."

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