x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Travel Deals: make your own odyssey

Christine Iyer looks at a range of tempting travel escapes, from Barcelona to the Maldives.

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia. Emirates Holidays has a 'stay four, pay three' package to Barcelona, including flights and hotel stay. Getty Images / Gallo Images
Barcelona's Sagrada Familia. Emirates Holidays has a 'stay four, pay three' package to Barcelona, including flights and hotel stay. Getty Images / Gallo Images

Barcelona, Spain

"Stay four and pay three" with Emirates Holidays' package to Barcelona, with accommodation in El Palace Hotel, located in the heart of the city and close to the Gothic quarter and shopping districts. The trip costs from Dh9,149 per person, based on two sharing a standard room, including breakfast, economy airfare from Dubai to Madrid, round-trip airport transfers and return train journeys between Madrid and Barcelona, hotel transfers and taxes. The offer is valid until February 25. Visit www.emiratesholidays.com or call 800 5252.


Etihad Holidays has a three-night package in the Maldives with accommodation at Biyadhoo Island Resort and Spa. The package costs from Dh4,830 per person, half board, including airport transfers, return flights from Abu Dhabi and taxes. Each additional night costs from Dh515 per person. The Biyadhoo Island Resort and Spa, set on the South Kaafu Atoll, is about 30km from Malé airport and has one of the Maldives' finest house reefs, with a wealth of easy-to-access diving sites nearby. The 96 rooms are set over two-storey buildings around lush gardens, with balconies or private patios leading down to the beach. Visit www.etihadholidays.com to book.


Soak up Jordan's rich history and sights on this week-long trip that begins and ends in the city's capital, Amman. Besides a tour of Amman, a visit to the superbly preserved remains of Jerash and exploring Wadi Rum in a 4x4, the trip's highlight is a drive along the famed King's Highway to Petra, an epic nine-hour journey over 306km with stops at Mount Nebo and the mosaics of Madaba, among other places. From Dh5,060 per person for seven days, including the services of a tour guide, sightseeing and transfers, entrance fees, accommodation based on two sharing, and some meals, but excluding flights. Visit www.balesworldwide.com for more information.

Ithaca, Greece

Enjoy a self-catered holiday in a traditional house on the island of Ithaca off Greece's west coast. Each house has two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a living room with a wood-burning heater. The houses offer views over a bay and are surrounded by private herb gardens. Winding, stone-flagged pathways connect the houses to other parts of the estate, such as the coffee shop, the outdoor cooking and dining area, and a saltwater infinity pool.

There's plenty to do in the area - Pilates and yoga classes at sunrise, held on the edge of the forest on the pool terrace; massages and spa treatments in a forest pavilion; long walks, hikes and cycling in the hills; cooking classes; sea excursions with a marine biologist as guide; boating trips and scuba diving. Below the estate are two coves, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Each house sleeps four to six people and costs from €1,520 (Dh7,380) per week. The price includes round-trip airport transfers, welcome snacks and drinks, breakfast on the first morning, bread and seasonal garden produce daily; and local transport. Book through www.responsibletravel.com.