Archive - January 2013

1
Where to go in 2013: Groups
2
Purple 10: Top European Party Cities
3
Learn about Mexico’s cenotes
4
Stockholm Metro Art – Taking Art Underground
5
Travel Infographic: A Holiday Love Story
6
How to Achieve Both Comfort and Style on a Long Haul Flight
7
Purple Hearts: Corfu Holidays
8
Off the beaten track: Patagonia, land at the end of the world
9
Guest Post: Hypnotherapy for Fear of Flying
10
Purple Tips: Family holidays

Where to go in 2013: Groups

Get a gang together whether it is your mates, extended family or a work thing, PurpleTravel.co.uk has the rundown of the best places to holiday as a group.Hanging on the beach

Cheap clubbing breaks We’ve covered party cities fairly extensively here at PurpleTravel.co.uk so you can be sure we’re into clubbing all night long (and a bit of the next day!) We reckon hitting up clubber’s paradise Ayia Napa, with brilliant hotels and buckets of sunshine is a good choice. The Greek favourite Faliraki is a good one, it’s got the hottest beach clubs and practically no closing time. For a bit of a change, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, has cheap flights, awesome bars and great choice of hotels.

You or a friend has announced their leaving singledom behind forever. What’s the next step? A whopper party somewhere great with a gang of your mates, that’s what! Stag and Hen parties are becoming more than just shagaluf Magaluf, with spa packages, limo hire and VIP nightclubbing, along with the staples of strippers and red light tours. So head for an all nighter Hen in Benidorm or a red light adventure stag in Amsterdam.

Golfing holidays Whether you’ve got a handicap of 55 or you’re a total pro, a golf holiday is the perfect way to soak up the sunshine and practice your swing. It doesn’t matter what level you play at, there are resorts all over the world where you can head for the greens. Portugal’s Algarve is practically made for golf. Fly to Faro and within a few minutes you could be out on the course. We like the Balaia Golf Village in Albufeira, or Quinta do Vale Resort, designed by golf legend Seve Ballesteros.

Festivals are better enjoyed with friends, so why not head for the sunshine and rock out in style. Mallorca and Ibiza Rocks have already announced headliner Jake Bugg and we’re practically drooling at the thought of who else will be announced over the next few weeks. Last year Kasabian, Bloc Party New Order and Tinie Tempah rocked the stage. A bit closer to home, Barcelona’s premier festival Primavera has just announced its lineup; Hot Chip, Kurt Vile & the Violators, My Bloody Valentine and loads more are heading for Catalonia 22-26 May.

Whether you’re a beginner, or more experienced diver, there’s always lots to learn. Try a hotel that includes introductory lessons in the pool, and bring some friends so you can look silly all together.  Some of the best diving holidays are found in the famous Red Sea Resorts in Egypt. Sharm el Sheikh is a no brainer here, with PADI approved instructors and schools, and famous diving sites like Ras Mohammed, Straits of Tiran, Thistlegorm or Dahab.

Really, there’s only one place to splash the cash with your girls and that’s NYC. The Big Apple around November (Thanksgiving weekend) has the best deals you’ll find anywhere.  Black Friday is not for the meek though. Get your shopping clobber on and stock up in Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s 5th Avenue or Macy’s or head for the huge Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 stores.

A classic choice for the whole family is Disney World. Visit the Magic Kingdom Park in the heart of Florida and fulfill childhood dreams of hanging out with Mickey and Minnie. Any little princesses in the family will love meeting Cinderella, while future movie directors can yell ‘lights, camera, action!’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Champions World in Kissimmee or Hampton Inn Pointe on International Drive are ideal choices to stay close to the action. Discover great group rates for hotels in Florida from PurpleTravel.co.uk.

Purple 10: Top European Party Cities

  1. Budapest – Who knew there was a thing called ‘Sparties’, well the Hungarians for one. Head for the Cinetrip Sparty, where the historic thermal baths is packed with half naked revelers, top DJs and you dance in the pool. Last year they had a Star Wars theme party. Sounds good… and weird.  YouTube Preview Image
  2. Prague – The beer is cheap, the nights are long and the DJs are top class. It’s a more laidback city to party, perfect for stag and hen groups who want a more adventurous last weekend of freedom. A pub crawl is a great way to see the city and sample a traditional brew from over 100 types.Czech Beer
  3. Barcelona – Get off the Ramblas ASAP and head for areas like the Barri Gotic or El Born. Not only will you steer clear of the pickpockets, but you’ll go headlong into partying with the locals.Barcelona Hipster Party
  4. Ibiza – No ‘best places to party’ list would be complete without Ibiza. Not so much a holiday as a life experience, you’ll find more than enough hard party in the home hedonism with foam parties, strippers, cheap drinks and beach bars. If you’re not a night person, stay away, the pre-party only kicks off around 11 and goes ‘til dawn.Tinie Tempah in Ibiza
  5. Ios – OK, not a city but an island, a Greek one to be precise, Ios has long been a secret party spot for anyone looking for a summer of late nights, high spirits and new friends. The booze is cheap, the beautiful people are half dressed and the place is gorgeous.Ios Island
  6. Lagos (Portugal) – So close to home and so filled with great bars and clubs. Lagos is in the Algarve, so you’re practically guaranteed great weather on top of the best in clubbing, booze cruises and themed parties (togas are our favourite.) Head for Portugal, but try to take it easy, a hangover is way worse in the sunshine.Party Bar
  7. Stockholm – It may be cold up north, but the nightlife in Sweden’s capital heats things up pretty quickly. Clubs and bars usually kick off their weekend on a Wednesday, and tend to stay open ‘til the early hours. Oh and of course, it being Sweden it’s filled with drop dead gorgeous partyers, just waiting to become your friend.IMG_6087
  8. Amsterdam – It’s probably safe to say Amsterdam is the holy grail of partying in Europe. Not only is it packed with clubs and bars and of course the infamous coffee shops, but the Red Light District is known to pack in visitors at all hours of the day and night. What might be taboo at home is very much expected here.Amsterdam at night
  9. Dublin – It used to be a bit more expensive but now the Irish capital is hooking up party animals with cheap deals and pubs on practically every corner. Find some of the famous craic in Temple Bar, a favourite with stag and hen parties, the indie Wexford street area, or the award winning Wright Venue a bit further outside town in the suburb of Swords.Temple Bar at night
  10. Berlin – Get a nap in, you’ll need it. Parties in Berlin usually kick off around 1am and keep going until the sun comes up, and well after. The German capital plays host to a totally international crowd, with electro, indie, alternative, and dance clubs amongst the best in the world. Head for a bar called Doctor Pong (we really just love it for the name) to kick off your epic night with a bit of sporting activity before Cookies or Watergate.DJ in Berlin

For more on cheap holidays to the best European cities to party in, visit our website at Purple Travel or call us now on 02079939228.

Stockholm Metro Art – Taking Art Underground

Art is all around us, whether in a piece of graffiti on the inner tunnel of a bridge or on a spotlight-hit wall at the MoMa. However, this is truest perhaps in Stockholm, whose entire Metro system is in essence, one huge underground art gallery. Out of 110 stations, just over 90 feature art created by some 150 artists. And the best bit? For little more than the price of a Stockholm Metro ticket, you can see everything from sculptures to mosaics, paintings to installations, messages from the 1950s right through to the 2000s.  Stockholm Syndrome – take that.

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Beginning at T-centralen station, you will find 1950s tiling and reliefs on the walls, while at the Arsenalsgatan (blue line), you’ll see an archaeological installation of a dig complete with ancient columns. Solna Centrum station (blue line) is one of our favourites, morbid may it be. With a cavernous, blood red ceiling, from which the escalators break through, it appears more like a staircase to hell than a welcoming entrance to the Metro. In other words, we like.

Construction of the underground began in 1941, with the most recent addition completed in 1994. As many of the yawning hollow interiors where left with unfinished bedrock exposed, others were tiled or even embellished with Romanesque statues. In the 1950s, artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert were behind the campaign to produce art in the Metro and in 1955, two motions on art in the Metro were submitted to Stockholm City Council in quick succession, the first by the Left Party, the second by the Social Democratic Party. And so work began.
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How to Achieve Both Comfort and Style on a Long Haul Flight

This is a guest post by Faria Ahmad at heidi klein.

Long haul flights are generally hard on your body, but what about your wardrobe? Choosing the wrong thing to wear can make for a very uncomfortable time spent on a plane, but not everyone enjoys throwing on a pair of jogging bottoms and slippers on a flight. Plus, for many of us it’s important to look good when we arrive at our destination – kicking your holiday off to a perfect start. So how can you dress comfortably without sacrificing style for comfort?

To keep you both looking and feeling your best you’ll need a pair of comfortable shoes. Although you won’t be on your feet for a huge length of time, your shoes need to be comfortable in case you end up running across vast airport corridors, luggage in tow. We’ve all seen pictures of Victoria Beckham strutting through an airport in her Louboutins, but come on! The practicalities of most of us doing the same seem fairly limited!

Make sure your shoes are fairly loose in case your feet swell once you are in the air, and consider the weather at both ends of your journey. Flip flops might be ideal for your destination, but on a 4am flight in mid January, do you really want to watch your toes turning blue in an English airport? Take some socks on board the flight with you. The temperature on a plane is never guaranteed and a pair of socks in your hand luggage could make all the difference if the cabin gets a little chilly.

A scarf is the ideal accessory to take on board your long haul flight. Versatile and foolproof, a luxury scarf adds elegance and style to your outfit. It can be used as a wrap to keep you warm or a make-do eye mask to block the light from your eyes. On arriving at your destination a scarf is easy to slip into your hand luggage.

 

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Dressing in layers that are easy to add or remove is a great way of controlling your body heat according to the temperature of your flight. A capsule wardrobe for travel will give you plenty of outfit choices, with layering options and tonnes of style.

Knitted black trousers are an excellent alternative for anyone who doesn’t like to wear leggings. Comfortable and classic, these give you much more comfort than a restrictive pair of jeans. Jersey tops are ideal for travelling as the stretch means they will keep their shape and are difficult to crease, even after a ten hour flight.

A dress might seem an impractical choice for a long haul flight, but a maxi dress in a stretchy material can be ideal for making your way to a warm destination. A maxi dress can be layered on the plane by adding leggings and a loose sweater or cardigan. Upon your arrival a pair of sunglasses can turn your maxi dress into a chic, beach ready look, and also work to hide tired eyes.

 

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A stylish way to finish off your outfit is with a jacket. Even if the rest of your outfit is fairly plain – maybe as simple as a pair of comfy leggings and a black t-shirt – throwing on a blazer is a fashionable way to keep warm and look good without making any effort.

Wearing black may seem like a good bet but it can make you look pale and tired when you arrive, and isn’t the best choice for wearing on arrival in a hot country. White isn’t a forgiving travelling colour either – highlighting every spill, but beige, muted greens, stone and biscuit colours will give your outfit a relaxed and glamorous feel.

Overall, your fashion choices for a plane journey should include items in fabrics that will be forgiving to creases and that fall easily and comfortably. Denim is too restrictive and linen creases too easily, so best avoid items in these fabrics.

Author Bio: Article written by Faria Ahmad, Ecommerce Executive at heidi klein. heidi klein is the one-stop destination holiday shop offering both women’s and men’s designer swimwear for the perfect holiday wardrobe.

Purple Hearts: Corfu Holidays

The queen of the Ionian Sea, Corfu is one of the greenest of the Greek islands, thanks to intermittent rains from September through May. Its landscape is comprised of thousands of olive trees making for a much more rural appearance that many other touristic spots in the country. Its combination of beautiful beaches and warm waters, with a fascinating history (not to mention great food), make it one of our top selling destinations.

Corfu

Corfu is best visited from Easter until October, though many resort hotels only work from May to September. We recommend mid-May to June, when discounted room rates, better taverna service and moderate weather make for an all-round superior trip. July and August are warmer, but also more crowded and expensive.

To get the most out of Corfu holidays, read on for our travel guide, including recommendations from the experts at Nelios.com (Greece’s leading e-tourism agency) and from our own Sales Team who specialise in holidays to Greece and its islands.

Beaches in Corfu

Kerasia – the quiet one

Kerasia Beach is a calm cove, with a long, sweeping beach, which lies between Kouloura and Agios Stephanos. The beach may not have many amenities, with just one tavern amongst a handful of villas, but its peacefulness and relaxed atmosphere are beyond compare. Its privacy also makes it a celebrity favourite; the Rothchild’s have a house there and Prince Charles and Lord Sainsbury are regulars.

Sidari – the traditional one

Sidari, two little villages connected by a beautiful stretch of sand, is an excellent choice for those who enjoy swimming and a piece of traditional life on the island. And if you’re travelling as a couple, one of Sidari’s most famous landmarks are the unique cliff formations known as canal d’ amour (French for the channel of love). Legend has it that if a couple swim together in its water, they will be forever in love.

I recommend Sidari for swimming or diving (it’s an amazing place!) and Corfu Town for a night stroll… Paxi island is also great for a day cruise.

Maria Tsekoura, Content Writer at Nelios.com

Glyfada – the pretty one

Glyfada Beach is by far the most beautiful on Corfu. Surrounded by a fine selection of tavernas and bars, you can easily spend all day here. The beach is made up on soft sands, making it a great choice for those with young children too.

Things to Do in Corfu

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Rent a Car

As much of the tourist development on Corfu holidays is isolated to the coastal patches, travelling inland is much like travelling to a completely different island, or perhaps even in a different era altogether. Secondary roads in Corfu appear not to have changed at all since British times. Renting a car is a must if you wish to see more of the rural landscapes and perhaps even take a picnic with you to make a day of it.

I recommend renting a car, pick a nice sunny day and your other half and go to one of the tallest mountains in Corfu and enjoy the breathtaking view. I know I did.

Georgios H. Kafataridis, Support Department at Nelios.com

Take a Walking Tour of Corfu Town

Corfu was the island that offered shelter to Homer’s Odysseus and allowed Poseidon to indulge his love for Amphitrite in Greek mythology. Today the island inspires the same creativity and love, with its cultural diversity and stunning scenery.  The best way to see the most interesting parts of Corfu Town is to take a walking tour.

Corfu town is a welcome mix of old and new, having been owned in the past by both France and Britain, there are distinct influences of its historic past in the architecture, atmosphere and local produce. It feels more like a French or Italian town rather than a Greek one, particularly in the square of the Esplanade, known as the Spianada. This square was first planned by the French, but is also encircled with beautiful Italian style buildings and even an old Venetian fortress known as the Old Fort, which features a small museum of Corfu’s history and an art gallery of traditional paintings. On a walking tour, you’ll pass a 19th century park and esplanade that is one of the largest plazas in all of Europe, Liston Street, the home of all that famed Venetian Architecture and the spectacular neoclassical Palace of St George and St Michael.

Visit Pelekas

Pelekas is a lovely village that with a great deal to offer tourists. Sandy beaches, tavernas, olive groves, nightlife and more make it well-worth a visit, whether you wish to stay in the resort or spend a day here. You’ll find some of the island’s finest traditional food and drink, enjoyed aside wonderful views from its hilltop location.

The scenic and infamous village of Pelekas, in southwestern Corfu is situated on top of a hill offering panoramic views all over the island. The village is nestled amidst lush greenery and here you can totally relax admiring the sun setting over the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea. For exceptional views and unique pictures visit the Kaiser’s Observatory to experience the ultimate sunset, as the German Emperor William II used to do, or Hotel Levant’s café for a refreshing drink as well.

Eleni Dimou, Content Writer at Purple Travel

Food and Drink in Corfu

At Purple Travel, we think Corfu holidays are all about the food and drink, and we’re certain you’ll feel the same after a trip there. Long gone are the soggy chips and cold moussakas of the old days, modern Corfiot food is fresh and exciting and produced mainly using locally-grown ingredients. From traditional tavernas to fine dining seafront restaurants, you’re certain to find ample choices of eateries on the island.

I recommend you to go on Fridays evenings at Lemon Garden Restaurant in Acharavi for the “Greek Night” with live music and dancers and drink minimum a “Lemon Pie” cocktail.

Luca Mitrea, Sales Advisor at Purple Travel

A drink in the famous Cavalieri Hotel is a must-do. This stunning 17th century hotel has long been a meeting point for writers, actors and poets, statesmen, businessmen and leisure travellers  Having once belonged to the family of Count Flamburiari, it reopened as a hotel in the mid ‘60s, becoming one of the first luxury hotels in Corfu.

If you go to Corfu, you must try pastitsada and sofrito at Bellissimo Restaurant. If you don’t you can’t say you’ve been there!

John Ropas, Senior Developer at Nelios.com

Book your cheap holiday to Corfu today by calling Purple Travel on 0207 993 9228.

Off the beaten track: Patagonia, land at the end of the world

When you arrive in Patagonia, you will soon realise that your travelling experiences are over, as you’ve already reached the end of the world.

The South Pole is just a stone’s throw away and the wild landscapes, along with the (sometimes) unnerving isolation of the Patagonian land really will make you feel like you are somewhere completely different. Shared by Argentina and Chile, it is a place like no other, where rivers rage, glaciers drift and the coastline snakes the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

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It is an endless landscape: a mainly flat area of 1,000,000 km² on the very southern edge of the American continent.

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Absolute uniqueness: Patagonia is a by-word for one of the last virgin areas on the planet, with utterly stunning scenery that creates a peaceful and quiet atmosphere.

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image by bibliojojo

Absolutely off the beaten track: We don’t like to put it too bluntly, but this really is the place to go to escape form civilisation. It’s one of the most sparsely inhabited places on earth, and home to only 1.9 people/km².

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Total freedom: that’s the prevailing feeling when travelling in this remote piece of earth.

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Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

Guest Post: Hypnotherapy for Fear of Flying

This is a guest post by Debbie Hursey from Hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk.

Flying

Image via  @ Vox Efx

Fear of Flying affects many people from all walks of life and it is estimated that between 20 – 40% of the population struggle to cope with the anxiety that flying causes.

I have suffered with ‘aerophobia’ since I was 7 years old and I will never forget my first flight, I had never experienced anything like it. As the plane took off, I held my head in my hands and sat in the ‘brace’ position for almost all of the journey in sheer terror.

As I got older, my fear intensified. As we approached the airport, I would get into my ‘zone’ of quietly preparing for the flight in which I was quite convinced that I would die. As the aircraft started to move, I became increasingly agitated, tossing my head backwards and forwards and started sweating profusely. I would notice any slight noise or movement, and if the lights flickered in the cabin it would send me into a quiet, internal, rising panic. I was often physically sick and when I got off the plane I was totally exhausted.

I didn’t want to stop travelling, so saw my doctor who prescribed Propranolol (beta blockers) tablets to slow my heart beat. They did take the edge off it slightly, but I hated taking them and felt out of control.

I decided to go online and do some research for an alternative to the prescribed drugs. There was a lot if information about Hypnotherapy and the benefits of how it can help. I read this page on Hypnotherapy Directory and contacted a qualified practitioner close to where I live. I had 4 sessions and was taught how to focus my mind on relaxing and staying calm.

On my first flight after the sessions, although I didn’t feel it had cured me, I was definitely much calmer and didn’t feel the need to take any tablets so felt much more in control; I could even eat a meal!

Last year my boyfriend and I went to South America. We spent 8 amazing weeks travelling around the continent, with a total of 17 flights, sometimes on some of the most dilapidated and ancient aircraft in operation! I am convinced that the hypnotherapy techniques that I learnt worked, and although I still can’t say that I enjoy flying, I can do it now without the fear and anxiety that I used to feel.

So… don’t let your fear hold you back, find a hypnotherpist in your area to help you and enjoy this beautiful world!

Purple Tips: Family holidays

Grab a bucket and spade, the kids and head for these family holidays in the sunshine. Here are some top picks for family friendly getaways. From 32 Cute Little Girl in Pink Dances photos set (uncropped) k

Image via @ MikeBaird

Fun, fun, fun at Disneyland USA Surely a no brainer, Disneyland is the chance to treat your kids (and yourself) to an unforgettable adventure. The Radisson WorldGate Hotel in Kissimmee is just a mile from Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios. You can even watch the theme park’s fireworks show from your room and hit the shops for some much needed retail therapy. It’s really the cherry on top of any family holidays you might be after.

Hit the beach in the Balearics Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, take your pick: The handy family run Hotel Almudaini in Palma de Mallorca, is just a few minutes’ walk from Passeig Maritimo and almost every amenity in town – the port, palace and market. For Menorca head for the family friendly resort of Cala’n Forcat, with its beaches, bouncy castles and aqua parks. Remember, Ibiza is not just for serious partying, there’s a softer, gentler side, with cosy villas away from the clubbing centres, but lively enough for mum and dad to enjoy too. Try Santa Eulalia, or Es Cana for great family holidays in the sunshine.

Ski adventure in Borovets Bulgaria is a fab choice for families with children, with a snow park especially for youngsters and wide runs in amongst green pine forests. There is a high standard of English speaking schools, and it’s a good choice for beginners, improvers or advanced skiers. Depending on where you stay there is free nursery or ski school as well as a great selection of cosy restaurants or day trips to the capital Sofia. The Hotel Rila has gorgeous views, mountain biking and hiking trips organised by qualified guides along with a great location right at the bottom of the ski runs.

Tropical getaway Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico the ideal in all inclusive, the Dreams in Tulum has excellent rooms, some with ocean or garden views and a private terrace. The onsite Explorer’s Club offers a Mayan themed world of fun for children aged between three and 12. Daily activities include climbing walls, splash fountains and outdoor movie screenings. For more adventurous kids, there’s a camping adventure every week.

Cruise in Turkey A great choice for one parent families, you join a party atmosphere on a cruise past tiny fishing villages, practically deserted beaches and tonnes of kayaking, swimming or diving. In the evenings, parents can gather on deck and relax over a glass of local brew, while the kids are entertained with movies.

Family luxury Cyprus The Almyra Hotel in Paphos is the perfect laidback getaway that’s is both stylish and child friendly. Children of all ages are at the heart of this hotel, with excellent childcare available. This includes supervised clubs, indoor and outdoor play areas, interconnecting rooms and children’s menus and a Baby Go Lightly service, so you can order all sorts of baby necessities before you arrive, e.g. nappies, car seats etc. For older children and teenagers, there is a dedicated ‘urban graffiti’ designed area with video games and big screens.

Dude Ranch, in the USA A holiday with a difference, this is the chance to test your cowboy skills. Set on a huge ranch, you and your family will be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and glorious sunsets. The Elk Mountain Ranch is known as the “White Water Capital of Colorado” and there is plenty of opportunity to go rafting along with hayrides, biking and erm, square dancing.  A great choice for children, each day has a theme such as cowboy or Indian, there are dedicated camp counsellors and even a water slide park nearby, meaning every base is covered.

Classic sunshine Depending on who you talk to, there are a couple of thousand islands in Greece, so there is plenty to choose from.  To top it off, it’s one of the best places for a bargain break; there is a big push to get visitors in this year, so prices have dropped and there is room for haggling. Try the resort of Amoudara in Crete, with a three mile long stretch of sand and tonnes of tavernas to lunch in. For days out try the Labyrinth of Knossos or the AquaWorld Aquarium and stay at the Castro Hotel, just a couple of minutes from a private beach, with its own pool and plenty of restaurants nearby.

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