My name is Alan Garcia and I founded Sunshine World in the summer of 2005. I am currently the managing director of the company. I am so passionate about finding the very best holiday experiences that our world has to offer that I have dedicated much of my life to travelling the globe extensively and documenting through our range of websites the ups and downs, pros and cons and unique finds that each nation has to offer. All countries have their unique and deep history and culture of course, far too complex to write in in a basic review or even on a full website, but we’ve done our best to be as honest as possible every step of the way. Because of the unique aspects of each nation it is ultimately our ambition to create at least one website dedicated to each nation in the world. For the moment we are continuing to make our websites based on the destinations which we find most relevant, interesting and best value for the UK and Irish public which are our main markets although we do have many guests from around the world- we’ve even had guests travel with us from as far afield as Zimbabwe and the USA!
In my own quest to find the very best summer and winter holidays out there I personally have visited and carefully analysed more than 46 nations, there are 2 more countries listed below (Japan and Lithuania) which have been created by other Sunshine World staff members who have been there:
A fantastic destination popular for many years with British travellers and indeed with people from around the world and with just reason. The prices may have risen over the last decade but they still offer excellent value- the sheer number of tourists mean that the giant purpose-built holiday resorts can still offer a beach holiday at a very low price. You must put up with the tacky side if you do choose this option however. Especially with the over crowding and stress of peak season. Barcelona remains one of the most exciting cities in the world to visit and the Spanish people on the whole are most pleasant hosts in my experience. Watch out for our new Spain website coming soon.
One of the most famous and highly regarded destinations in the world for clubbing holidays and rightly so. Ibiza will always be Ibiza and nowhere will ever be able to take that crown. The price, the suffocating peak season crowds and the tacky parts of the island ultimately do show up it’s weaknesses. The opening and closing parties at the beginning and end of the summer clubbing season offer the best value and in my opinion the best atmosphere in the clubs without it being TOO crowded. Our Ibiza website will be online soon.
Half my family is from Gibraltar- a fascinating destination with a proud history. Proud to be British for over 300 years yet interestingly most of the residents have clear connections to Spain. Gibraltar is arguably more responsible, per capita, for helping to ensure that the Allies won both world wars than any other town in the world. Without question a cultural wonderland in the sun. Definitely very crowded though.
I have personally visited all of the well known and most popular islands and have also driven from top to bottom of this beautiful country with a fascinating, often tragic, shocking and heartbreaking and often inspiring and heartwarming history. We have another great website dedicated to the best holiday destinations across Croatia (www.summer-activity-holidays.com) which has taken many years and hundreds of hours work to put together. Croatia is in my opinion one of the best countries in the world for any kind of summer or activity holiday.
Great steak and chips and chocolate of course- The centre of our European Parliament and stuck in the middle of many of Europe’s greatest conflicts. Belgium is certainly a fascinating country to visit if you’re a history buff or keen on politics. For most people however Belgium is not the most fun country in the world to visit.
This tiny and very beautiful country is worth stopping off at if you’re passing through the region. You’d be hard pressed to be fully entertained for a whole week when compared with what is on offer elsewhere.
Fantastic skiing and snowboarding but expensive. Beautiful lakes and mountains. Not the best overall value for summer holidays though.
Austria: Arguably the best overall destination in the world for skiing and snowboarding holidays when travelling from the UK or Ireland. No beaches though. We have another great website showing all the snowboarding and skiing holidays in Austria which we’ve researched and also the summer offers in Austria.
Photo credit: 2004 © Tirol Werbung
England: Although many of us might not realise it as the grass is always greener on the other side, our own nation has so much to offer including some of the greenest grass in the world :). We even have awesome beaches and some of the best nightlife in the world. I grew up in London (my favourite city in the world) and our head office is in Knightsbridge. We think the best overall holiday destination in the UK is Bournemouth. With Cornwall on pretty much an equal footing.
Scotland: Beautiful, unspoilt countryside and plenty to see and do but overall I feel it’s a better destination for more cultural and golf-related ventures. The skiing in Aviemore is not as bad as most people assume as long as it snows- which does also happen more often than you might think!
Wales: Some of the best castles in the world and plenty of good watersports if you can brave the cold. A fun night out with a bit of a twist can always be had also in Cardiff. In recent years Wales has become famous for some of the most adventurous action holidays in the world.
The best place in the world for skiing and snowboarding during the northern hemisphere’s summer. A very popular destination for every kind of holiday imaginable. Sunshine World has been organising holidays to New Zealand for over 4 years.
Again we were the first licensed UK tour operator to organise great value skiing and snowboarding holidays to Slovakia.
Once more we were the first licensed UK tour operator, this time to present ski and snowboard holidays to Bosnia to the international market.
Slovenia: Yes, that’s right, Sunshine World first again to offer neighboring Slovenia (also a neighbor of Croatia). You can view our great value family skiing holidays in Slovenia
Photo: Hotel Smarjeta (Novo Mesto)
A fantastic holiday destination and one which is sure to become even better value than it already was due to the countries current financial difficulties. Greece has something for everyone at great prices and is extremely well serviced by the best value airlines.
Fascinating, yet very humid and sometimes a bit too dirty. Unique culture, fantastic restaurants, good prices, breath-taking scenery and even some pristine beaches a boat ride away (although the clean ones are not nearby!). Worth a visit for sure. Maybe not essential to make 7 visits as I have done.
This old Portugese colony not far from Hong Kong has developed into a purpose built holiday mecca. There are wildly different sides to this fascinating and tiny country. From an outrageous Las Vegas style gambling and entertainment district which even competes with Las Vegas itself for sheer size and extravagence to more peaceful beach resorts suitable for families to ancient ruins and unique architecture. If you’re traveling around the far east it’s certainly worth staying here for at least a few days.
A great value destination if you’re looking to take a month or two out. A bit over-rated for a 7 night holiday overall in my opinion as the long distance flight cancels out any benefit you gain from the cheap prices on arrival and while much of the country is incredibly beautiful, the vast majority of the tourist destinations are overrun with tackiness and a surprising amount of pollution and rubbish. The mafia influence can also be felt even if it is not clearly visible on the surface. Still a great destination but not top of the list.
Myanmar (formerly Burma):
An extremely interesting country if you are brave enough to try to get a VISA which is easier said than done although certainly possible. You do certainly have to be careful what you say and where you go as freedom of speech is certainly not a liberty which the people of Myanmar enjoy. I certainly recommend a visit however as the people are truly unique. Maybe not for the whole family though!
An incredible destination but extremely hard to get to and expensive mainly for that reason. It’s a great place to travel to if you live in Australasia or the Far East but for the best value from the UK and Ireland we do have idyllic beach paradises closer to home.
To be honest I can’t really review the whole of the USA as although I’ve driven across much of the country I haven’t been to all the states and they do differ wildly. Right now I’m a huge fan of our American cousins as they’ve elected Barack Obama. This certainly does much to heal the wounds of the Bush years. The customer service in the USA is probably the best in the world and people are genuinely open and friendly- much more so than most other countries. The USA has the upsides and downsides of pretty much every nation in the world and the diversity which has made the states the most powerful nation in the world is also it’s most attractive as well as inspiring feature. Everything in the states is done to the max. As legendary American, Donald Trump, said, “For those of us who are already thinking, we may as well think BIG!”. Noone can say that Americans lack ambition! Not only worth a visit but worth staying for a good 6 months- or until your VISA runs out. Some of my Top places to visit are: Florida (and all the theme parks), New York, LA- Hollywood of course, San Francisco, Las Vegas (a wasteful adult playground which has to be seen to be believed whether you love it or hate it- I’m not a fan myself!), the Grand Canyon (The National Parks in general have plenty of incredible wonders to marvel at), the ski resorts in the Rockies- Aspen and Vail to name but a couple). There are of course countless more attractions- too many to list right now.
Probably my favourite country in the world. It has all the upsides which the United States benefits from while remaining significantly more humble in its attitude towards the rest of the world. The friendliest and most trusting people I have ever known, some of the best ski resorts in the world, very fair prices and American-style customer service. Why not the best place for a holiday then? If you’re only going for 7 nights then a 10 hour flight is both expensive and uncomfortable and the jet lag will massively cut in to any benefits which may come from relaxing during your holiday. By all means go there for a long holiday or to live 🙂
Tunisia: I worked as a professional tennis coach when I was 19 at a Club Med resort called Djerba La Douce in Tunisia. (Incidentally Club Med are AWESOME and Sunshine World are actually official Club Med agents so you can book Club Med Hoidays through us for the same price as booking direct!) Tunisia itself is relatively sexist as well as rather daunting at times although the vast majority of people are most pleasant. It does have some incredible beaches and unique features- Tatooine, the planet in Star Wars, was filmed in Tunisia. All Club Med resorts offer great full service, hassle free holidays but they are certainly not the cheapest way to travel.
Sardinia: A beautiful, unspoilt island off the coast of Italy. Great beaches, great food, great holiday resorts but not the cheapest destination.
Portugal: Faro, in the south of Portugal is extremely beautiful, has exceptional weather, food, activities, golf and is perfect for families. It’s not so hot as a party destination although there are certainly awesome parties, events and festivals to be had across the country. The prices on the whole are very reasonable although they have gone up considerably over the last decade similarly to Spain. Lisbon is a great city to visit and has sunny weather most of the year round.
Barbados: An exclusive destination popular among the rich and famous. Personally I felt it was also rather overrated overall. It’s a shame that more effort isn’t made to keep the place clean and free of general littering as it would truly be a perfect island paradise if this simple work was done. You do certainly have perfect sandy beaches and plenty of atmosphere in season. Out of season you can easily get caught out with the heavy rains and your dream of a week of perfect sunshine may well be dampened. If it were within a short haul flight it would certainly be higher up my list of places worth considering for top value.
Germany: Interesting history, especially if you’re British as even if you don’t feel the past is directly relevant to how we should get on today many of the Germans still clearly feel a little awkward around British people even if they try to hide it. I’m not a huge fan of Germany although to be honest the more I discover contemporary Germany the larger I feel a soft spot growing for the Germans in my heart. It does seem to me that the best characteristics of the German people has certainly been able to come out well since the fall of the Nazis. We do seem to have a bizarre love/hate relationship with the Germans too complex to be analysed clearly I feel…
Hungary: Famous for its natural hot springs and spas. Hungary is similar in many ways to its ex-communist neighbours but certainly has many unique features. Probably more worth stopping off for a long weekend than for a full holiday. For people touring around eastern Europe, Hungary would certainly not make an unpleasant addition to the todo list.
The second country on this list which I have not actually yet visited myself along with Japan. We have researched Lithania in detail however and have an excellent partnership set up to be able to offer the best value hen and stag parties in Lithuania.