Hedonistic Hangouts: Six Pleasure-Packed Holidays for 2022
In the mood to indulge? These are the hottest destinations for a hedonistic holiday this year, from sun-drenched festivals in Albania to Formentera’s best beach shacks.
Words by Georgina Groom and Lucy Kehoe, in Sutcase magazine
Sunshine, charm, a go-slow vibe... That's not too much to ask for, right? Well, apparently so, if you live in the drizzly UK, where, often, one can only dream of the temperature reaching double digits. Whether you prefer your getaway to look like afternoons spent dozing in a hammock or dancing all day at a boho beach club, these are our favourite destinations for a hedonistic holiday this year.
Our newest Aegean obsession? The free-spirited Ios. This myth-infused Cycladic isle runs on a dawn-'til-dusk party philosophy. While it's a world away from the chaos of Kavos, be warned: the island's blissed-out best spots are well hidden, and you'll have to avoid a fair few €1-shot spots while hunting down true hedonistic Elysium. Join the carefree ex-Mykonos crew lounging on kilim cushions at the glamorous Ios Club in Chora, famed for its soft-focus sunsets, then head to waterside Harmony for acoustic sets accompanied by the clink of Mythos beer bottles. Find respite during the day with a trip to Diaseli, a traditional, family-run cheese business, where you can join tasting sessions featuring not only the island's unique cheeses, but heather honey and olive oil, too.
Where to stay: Calilo
Havana Cuba There's something about Havana. Camila Cabello's catchy chart-topper aside, we've long had a soft spot for its colourful, carefree attitude, and couldn't be happier about the Caribbean city's recent resurgence on the Instagram feeds of travel tastemakers. There's much to love here, where, against a backdrop of crumbling colonial architecture, live instrumental bands fill the air with music and hip hotels and trendy restaurants abound. For a proper taste of Cuba, make a dinner reservation at La Guarida, whose rooftop terrace offers the best bird's-eye views of Havana. If it's good enough for Queen B and Jay-Z, it's good enough for us. Where to stay: Gardens Havana
It's no secret that techno-loving travellers have been putting Croatia top of their list for sublime summer soirees for a while now, with Tisno, on the island of Murter, being at the heart of the action. Come summer, the lush green hills surrounding this Dalmatian town reverberate with the sound of synths and syncopated basslines, as international acts swap subterranean clubs for beachside stages and banging boat parties. The Garden resort, home to the holy triad of the Croatian festival circuit, Outlook, Suncébeat and Dimensions, sits in its own private bay. Exhausted? Spend a day or two away from the decks to get a flavour of the Sibenik archipelago's quieter edges. Wander under the old town's red roofs and graze on fresh seafood washed down with rakia, feast on dishes cooked over fire at the Michelin-nodded Konoba in neighbouring town Murter, then strike out for the mainland to visit the wildlife-rich Krka National Park. Where to stay: Olivia Green Camping Villas
Living up to its "Isle of Beauty" nickname, Corsica is home to beaches that would put those of the Maldives to shame, backed by endless stretches of dense pine forest and dramatic mountain ranges. In the famous words of Balzac, this place is a "French island basking in the Italian sun". What more could you ask for? We're making the north-western fortified town of Calvi our base. The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, its shops and nightlife scene are well worth exploring. Between making new friends in happening wine bars and late-night dance clubs, carve out time to hop on a four-hour cruise to Unesco World Heritage site Scandola Nature Reserve, during which snorkelling stopovers are a given. Where to stay: La Signoria
Sun-drenched boutique festivals are cropping up all along the sparkling coves of the Albanian Riviera, and we're bookmarking the dinky town of Dhërmi as a dance destination to watch. Separated from Italy's heel by the Ionian Sea, the low-key Balkan town is sending a siren call to Europe's pleasure-seekers. Kick-start your summer with an eclectic mix of music and wellness at Kala Festival, return for a hedonistic September fling at the six-stage ION, before drawing your season to a chilled-out close at Inner State, where the itinerary includes vegan feasts, stargazing sessions and lucid dreaming workshops. Dhërmi's striking natural landscape rivals its top-notch party scene, so we'd recommend extending your stay to explore the beaches hidden under its pink-toned cliffs or hike up the mighty Mount Çika after your long, hot summer of fun. Where to stay: Drymades Bungalows
With its abundance of beach shacks, design-driven restaurants and stylish boutique hotels, the pocket-sized island of Formentera makes for a comforting escape from the frenetic pace of neighbouring Ibiza. Attracting a jet-set crowd, thanks to its easy-going, no-frills vibe, Formentera delights with its wooden kiosks, retro daybeds, aquamarine waters and ancient lagoons, but what it really gets our vote for is the creative, tender spirit of its people. Follow the sandy footsteps of local foodies and snag a note-perfect pizza from Chezz Gerdi's iconic red camper van, then, come evening, head to chiringuito Fipper, where you'll join a mixed group of island day-trippers and laid-back residents dancing into the night. Where to stay: Casa Pacha