Archive - April 2013

1
Purple Tips: Easter celebrations in Corfu, Greece
2
Get your hands dirty at The Chocolate Hotel
3
Purple Hearts: the best beaches in Lanzarote
4
Off the beaten track: Cherry blossom lake – Sakura, Japan
5
A Night Less Ordinary: Jules Undersea Lodge
6
The ultimate cheap summer stag and hen dos
7
Purple 10: Ultimate Greece Beaches
8
Dream Job? Professional Sleeper Required
9
Purple Pick: Volcano Holidays
10
Istanbul Best European Destination 2013: What’s it all about?

Purple Tips: Easter celebrations in Corfu, Greece

If you’re looking for ideas for the fast-approaching May bank holiday, take a second to think about Greece. Not only is the weather heating up, there are great deals to be had because it’s early in the season, and in early May Orthodox Easter is well under way so you can immerse yourself in something really different. So, grab the chance and get a first hand experience of the Corfu’s customs and traditions.

Corfu 1

Flickr/Ioeanu/Creative Commons

Easter celebrations in Corfu are a really special experience for visitors. During this time, various aspects of Corfiot traditions come together. You’ll find pagan tradition, Orthodox faith, the Catholic community, Venetian influences and marching bands all blending in with the Corfu Spring.

Traditional costumes

Flickr/Ioeanu/Creative Commons

During Holy Week (Megali Evdomada) visitors can experience the many events that take place, just bear in mind that many of these are religious ceremonies, and should be treated as such. The grand finale of the Corfiot Easter customs is the breaking of the ceramic jugs (kanatia).

This custom takes place in the Old Town of Corfu, where all the balconies and jugs are adorned with red ribbons. As soon as the bells of the first Resurrection ring at 12 o’ clock sharp, Corfiots throw the jugs filled with water off the balconies. The custom dates back to the Venetian occupation of the island. For the people of Corfu the breaking of the ceramic jugs signifies the end of winter, a new beginning and the birth of spring. Visitors usually keep a piece of the broken jug for luck.

Another Easter custom of Corfu is Mastela. According to the tradition, residents of Corfu put a wooden barrel tied with ribbons and myrtles outside their houses and urge passers-by to throw in some coins. At the end of the day, when the Resurrection bells ring, somebody has to dive in the barrel and take out the coins. Oh, we wouldn’t mind that job!

Also, because Orthodox Easter falls late this year, the lucky visitors of Corfu can celebrate the 1st of May (May Bank Holiday) in that all beautiful lush green scenery by having a picnic in the central Spianada square or on one of the superb beaches to soak up all the sun, sea and sand they can handle. Corfiots, and in general all Greeks, celebrate this day with excursions in the countryside or by the beach, so it would be a great chance to interact with the locals.

Get your hands dirty at The Chocolate Hotel

Every week we take a look at weird hotels around the world for A Night Less Ordinary. How about a James Bond themed room? Or maybe you’d prefer a movable hotel in Brazil? Either way, stay tuned to A Night Less Ordinary for the very coolest and whackiest hotels from all over the world. This week we look at a Chocolate hotel.

Hot on the heels of a promotional hotel made entirely of cake comes The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth. From chocolate weekends, cocoa themed Valentines celebrations or melted choco-flavoured anniversaries this place has it covered.

Chocolate Hotel Pic

Images via @ DesignTaxi

Although the rooms can’t actually be eaten like the cake hotel, this is the next best thing, with 13 confectionery themed rooms, chocolate cookery classes, chocolate slumber parties and chocolate cocktails in the hotel’s bar. There are chocolate fountains in every room, chocolate workshops where you can learn to make all kinds of chocolatey treats and even a chocolate shoe workshop. A night in the Chocolate Boutique Hotel will set you back between £65 and £170 per night.

Purple Hearts: the best beaches in Lanzarote

Lanzarote beaches are the top choice for families who want to enjoy year round sunshine, exotic volcanic scenery and some of the best beaches in the Canaries. With average water temperatures of 19.5°C, you’d be crazy to miss out on the wonderful beaches of Lanzarote. Here are some of our choices for best beaches in Lanzarote… don’t forget to share yours!

Papagayo Actually more like a group of beaches clubbed together, Papagayo is a local favourite as well as being one of the best beaches in Lanzarote. It’s sheltered from the wind so you can sunbathe; build a couple of sandcastles, laze around, and maybe even hop on a banana boat for the afternoon. Just remember, a couple of beaches in this area have a clothes optional approach. Stay at the 4* Iberostar Papygayo right on the Playa de las Coloradas Beach, a top choice for families who want to spend days on the beach with great facilities nearby.

Papagayo

Papagayo via @ Teosaurio

Caleta de Famara You won’t have to fight too much for space on this laidback stretch of sand. A handy choice if you’ve got a car, there are just a handful of restaurants lining the beach, a young atmosphere and great views. A good choice for couples who want to escape the crowds. Stay at the 4* Be Live Grand Playa in Costa Teguise to take advantage of both areas.

Famara

Famara via @ Lanzate

Read more: Best beaches Gran Canaria

La Graciosa Not strictly on Lanzarote, but seriously, you must visit this year; before everyone gets the same idea. Its soft golden sands can only be reached by a quick ferry from the north of the island. This is one to visit if you’re after a little peace and quiet, just remember, winds tend to be a bit stronger in the northern parts of the island, so it’s not so suitable for children. Stay at a charming self catering apartment in the town of Orzola.

Graciosa

Graciosa via @ Dario Garavini

Las Cucharas The main beach for the bustling and vibrant Costa Teguise area is a haven for water sports fanatics (known for its windsurfing) while kids have plenty of space for mucking about. Stay at the 3* El Trebol Apartments, a handy choice if you are looking for self catering holidays in Lanzarote this year.

cucharas

Cucharas via @ sun sea & sand

Playa del Reducto in Arrecife is a Blue Flag delight, in a fantastic location with excellent facilities. Why not stroll the length of the seafront, or simply hop straight into the surf and cool off from the hot Canarian sun? It’s got plenty of facilities, loungers and beach bars, so you won’t be left wanting. A little further west you’ll find the more secluded Playa del Cable beach. It’s two for the price of one in Arrecife. Stay at the Arrecife Grand Hotel & Spa, a 5* hotel with panoramic views, tasty restaurant and is the island’s tallest building.

El Reducto

Reducto via @ Lanzate

Playa Grande in Puerto del Carmen is well organised and packed with facilities like showers, life guards and loungers. There is a wealth of water sports on offer, while the Centro strip is ideal for youngsters who want to party hard after sunset. Stay at the cheap and cheerful Arena Dorada Apartments, only a few minutes from the beach, shopping and nightlife.

Puerto del Carmen

Puerto del Carmen via @ Terry Wha

Remember! You can find out more about cheap holidays in Lanzarote by visiting Purple Travelor calling us directly on 0207 993 9228.

Off the beaten track: Cherry blossom lake – Sakura, Japan

Sakura

 Sakura via @ SteFou!

If you love things romantic, filled with flowers or simply think the sight of hundreds of blooming cherry blossom trees is something you’d like to see, then head for Lake Sakura in Japan. Its name translates as ‘cherry blossom lake’ after its stunning surroundings.

In Ubuyagasaki, Japan, a small paradise in bright pink appears every spring, and offers  a breathtaking opportunity to thousands of visitors who come to soak up the unique sight.

Dozens of cherry trees start to blossom turning the whole area into pink. What’s more, bright pink is blended with the blue lake waters making visitors think they are looking at a famous painter’s creation.

Colours harmoniously success each other, depending on the season, reaching their beauty peak in mid-April when visitors can witness a stunning sight.

Find out about more amazing places in the world from our Off the beaten track series…

Sakura 2

Sakura via @ Forgo23

Sakura 3

Sakura via @ jmurawski

A Night Less Ordinary: Jules Undersea Lodge

We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From converted silvermines to igloo style hotels, expect the unexpected. This week, Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida.

jules undersea lodge 2

What’s the gimmick? First of all, to get into the lodge you have to dive 21 feet underwater. Once you get there, it will feel like you’ve discovered a secret underwater sports club! Divers can book overnight stays in either of two rooms, perfect for a romantic dip in the sea.

two300

Why stay?  Well, for the aspiring explorers, Jules Undersea Lodge would certainly be a walk in the footsteps of legendary explorers, such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Edwin Link, and Ian Koblick. Visit this underwater lodge to experience the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, or to simply test your scuba skills.

Jules-Undersea-Lodge-room

The WOW Factor?The big plus of each room, is the 42 inch porthole looking out into the ocean. Better than any tv, you’ll be amazing by the mangrove lagoon, where Jules is found and there are tonnes of tropical fish and sea creatures to look at. The JUL for Two Package costs about £530 for an overnight stay, Pizza delivery dinner and breakfast inclusive.

Read more: The World’s Best Underwater Hotels

The ultimate cheap summer stag and hen dos

No money? No problems! The dedicated stag and hen party team at Purple Travel is waiting to organise the most amazing send off for you and your mates. We’re talking cheap and cheerful not diamonds and champagne. So if you’re about to excuse yourself from single life, or you know someone who is, check out our cheap summer stag and hen dos.

The best cheap summer stag dos

Cheap stag parties from PurpleTravel.co.uk

Ibiza (Average summer temps 22-27)

Sun, sea and birds. Could there be a more perfect sunshine stag holiday destination than the beaches of Ibiza? Not only is the weather great, but a cheap stag holiday in San Antonio means you probably won’t be sober for more than a minute. Hop on a booze cruise; get VIP treatment in some of the top clubs on the island, beat the house with a high rollers party, or head for the strip clubs to get an eyeful of those hot Spanish girls.

Albufeira (Average summer temps 18-25)

Albufeira is a really affordable stag holiday option. There are plenty of flights and loads of accommodation options, so all you need to do is think about exactly how you want to spend the best stag ever. We suggest starting off with a day of speed boating or hop on a pirate cruise, this’ll be good fun for you and the lads before the big night out. Hit the legendary bar street, where you’re likely to get free shots before finishing the night in a top strip club. It’s hard to argue with that.

Amsterdam (Average summer temps 18-20)

2013 is a big year for Amsterdam with all sorts of extra stuff happening throughout the city. By that we mean museums, the zoo and loads of concerts. Of course, for a stag, it’s a good cover for all the horse play you’re planning in the background. Our stag parties in Amsterdam are dedicated to all things debauchery. From seeing the city by beer bicycle, to Red Light Tours, it’s absolutely the best of both worlds.

Speak with Jack from Purple Travel to find out the best stag do to suit you and your budget. Call 0125 241 8614 today!

The best cheap summer hen dos

Cheap hen parties from PurpleTravel.co.uk

San Antonio (Average summer temps 22-27)

Ibiza’s party capital San Antonio is one of our top choices for you and your girls to get pampered before getting stuck into as many cocktails as you can. On top of that, blazing sunshine is ready to give you a golden glow ahead of your big day, and nothing soothes a hangover like a long lie down on the sand and a dip in the sea. Go for broke and treat yourself and your hens to a speedboat party, or you could always go for the old fashioned banana boat option. Then it’s off for the ultimate club crawl, just remember: what happens in San Antonio stays in San Antonio.

Magaluf (Average summer temps 21-25)

Come on, everyone knows its other name: Shagaluf! Enjoy your last few nights of freedom with the hottest party ever. There are so many nightlife options you could practically call it the pub and club capital of Spain. Get some lap dancing lessons or spend your days downing cocktails at the beach. By night the place is buzzing. Grab yourself a guided bar crawl and VIP entry to the best clubs in town.

Barcelona (Average summer temps 23-28)

Combine city break with city beach and you have all the elements for a brilliant cheap hen do just a few hours from the UK. By day you can soak up the sunshine on Barcelona beach, or if some of your girls want to explore there are amazing landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia or Tibidabo. Then by night you can all regroup go for dinner, have a vajazzle party (yes, it’s a thing) and head for a guided pub crawl of the best bars in town.

Speak with Vicky from PurpleTravel.co.uk to find out the best hen do to suit you and your budget. Call 0125 241 8614 today!

Purple 10: Ultimate Greece Beaches

So you want the perfect beach for your summer holiday, but can’t decide where? It’s well known that Greece has some of the most jaw-dropping beaches you’ll ever see in your life and this year, it’s better value than ever before. So, with that in mind, we’ve asked some Greek friends to tell us their favourite secluded little hideaways along the Hellenic Coastline. It was hard to get them to reveal their secrets, but they did eventually, so use this information wisely! Here’s the ultimate list of the best Greece beaches.

1. Xigia Beach – Zante: If you’re driving to this glorious beach in Zante, you’ll need to get ready to abandon it and pop down a small path to a practically undiscovered beach.

Xigia Beach

Image via @ travelnblog

2. Fokos Beach – Mykonos: A quiet and secluded one, Fokos is surrounded by fabulous scenery, very different to the rest of the island. It’s ideal for sunbathing and eh, nudism! “A quiet beach on a noisy island. Definitely worth a visit!” – Nikos

Fokos Beach Mykonos

Image via @ GanMed64

3. Seychelles Beach – Ikaria: Seychelles is one of the most scenic beaches on Ikaria Island. The pebbled seashore is surrounded by rocks and caves creating a breathtaking  spot to completely soak up the sun. You can access the beach by walking on a path along the river bed. “Boasting stunning turquoise waters, this beach makes you think you are on an exotic island away from the hectic routine” – Elina

Ikaria where you live longer from PurpleTravel.co.uk

Image via @ www.lookabout.gr

4. Anthony Quinn Beach – Rhodes: The beach is named after the well-known actor, as it was used as the shooting place of the film ‘The Guns of Navarone’. It’s small but perfectly formed. It’s around  200 meters long with beautiful sand and some pebbles and rocks both in and out the sea.

Anthony Quinn beach


Anthony Quinn Beach via @ Wikicommons

5. Sarakiniko – Milos Island: This beach on Milos could be added to the list of natural wonders of the world, thanks to its moonscape-style landscape. “I recommend Sarakiniko beach on Milos Island for swimming, diving or photo shooting on the whitewashed rocks” – Maria

Sarakiniko

Image via @ Roban Kramer

6. Agios Sostis – Parga, Western Greece: Surrounded by lush greenery, this isolated beach has small pebbles and great waters for swimming and snorkelling. At the end of the beach, you’ll also find a small church carved into the rocks! “I recommend Agios Sostis beach in Parga for absolute relaxation, as it is guaranteed that you’ll have the whole beach and crystal clear waters to yourself ” – Paris

agios_sostisImage via @ www.trekearth.com

7. Achla – Andros Island: Achla is only accessible by sea or on off road Jeeps  The calm bay is totally protected from strong winds and is the ideal stretch of sand to completely unwind.

52632_bImage via @ www.in.gr

8. Egkremnoi – Lefkada Island: A charming beach that equals those of the Caribbean, thanks to its turquoise waters and long stretches of powder white sand. The beach is named after the giant rocks forming a natural cloak. Ideal for those seeking secluded beaches for absolute relaxation, but are fit enough for the 300 steps leading there. “My personal favourite beach on Lefkada. Amazing waters and idyllic scenery. Stepping down felt like flying!”- Eleni

Egremnoi

 

9. Mpalos (Gramvousa) – Chania, Crete: The warm, crystal clear waters, together with the stunning colour of the sand and the peaceful atmosphere create an idyllic setting at Mpalos Beach. This tranquil slice of perfection is only available to a select few dedicated enough to access it by rocky roads and long walks.

Mpalos beach

Image via @ www.jenny.gr

10.  Plateia Ammos – Kefalonia: The beach of Plateia Ammos in Kefalonia is where to go to rejuvenate body and mind. It’ll likely be deserted thanks to the tricky access via 400 steps, but when you get there, we promise it’s well worth it.

platia_ammos_1Image via @ kefalonia-tours

 

Dream Job? Professional Sleeper Required

A job title that starts with “professional sleeper” isn’t one you see everyday. A hotel in the heart of Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is looking for someone to test out the comfort and sleep quality of its 35 rooms.

Sleeping Cat

 

Image via @ Moyan Brenn

The Hotel Finn wants someone to promote the hotel which has undergone a huge renovation project. Hotel manager Tio Tikka told the AP they want ‘a dynamic person to write a quality blog” about a charming stay at the “best spot of summer Helsinki.” If you’re about to rush out with your CV, you better know you need to be fluent in English and Finnish, with a bit of Russian thrown in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Pick: Volcano Holidays

The Canary Islands is more than simply glorious beaches, great hotels and buckets of sunshine. The group of Islands just a stone’s throw from the coast of Africa offers some amazing natural surroundings too and one of our favourites is its VOLCANOES!Amazing night picture of Teide

Each Island has its own “volcanic personality” with a hugely diverse population of flowers and plants, Dr Who-like scenery, stunning views of majestic mountains bathed in clouds and spa treatments made from the amazing naturally forming landscape. You can walk on lava fields, along cliff edges or discover strange life (possibly!) in the underground galleries. Volcano holidays offer something truly incredible for all ages.

Add that to great cheap hotels, wonderful beaches and basically, it’s got everything you need for an amazing holiday in 2013. Remember you can call us any time for a great cheap holiday in the Canary Islands – or anywhere else on 0207 993 9228 or visit our website: PurpleTravel.co.uk. But first, find out more about Volcano holidays in our guide:

 

Image via @ Freakyman

There have been many eruptions among the islands since the 15th century, with the last one on La Palma in 1971. Today the islands are considered to be one of the most important volcanic sites; it is home to the third biggest volcano in the world, and Spain’s highest peak Mount Teide and the islands are regularly studied for their natural plant life and seismic activity.

So, if you’re taking the kids for a cheap family holiday to Tenerife, you want a cheap couples getaway in Gran Canaria or you simply want to enjoy a little more of this varied  landscape, then here are a few of our top picks for groundbreaking volcano holidays!

You Should Read: Off the Beaten Track… Waterfall Restaurant

Fuerteventura A windsurfer’s paradise, Fuerteventura is also the oldest in the archipelago. Visit the volcanic scenes at the Peninsula de Janida, Malpais de la Arena and Isla de Lobos. Apart from the rich flora and fauna you can find there, the long plains and volcanic mountains in the middle of the island will impress even the most hardened tourist. Plus, Fuerteventura has 152 beaches along its coastline, so you can catch the best of both worlds. Reason to go: This is the oldest of the islands, dating back a whopping 20 million years!

Tenerife One of the busiest and most popular islands in the Canaries, Tenerife’s Teide Volcano is actually visible from most parts of the island. Today you can climb to the top, (the highest point in Spain) and it’s the third highest volcano in the world and is still registered as active. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Park is one of the most visited in the world. Reason to go: The unbelievably spectacular view, just be prepared for a climb!

You Should Read… The Best Costa Blanca Beaches

Lanzarote The scene of some of the most recent volcanic activity (in the 70s) but don’t you dare let that put you off! The strange alien-like landscape is enough to take your breath away. The Timanfaya National Park is the centre of volcanic locations in the islands, and from the moment you arrive you’ll get a feel for how hot it is. Temperatures just a few metres towards the centre of the earth can hit 400°C! You can also check out La Geria or Los Hervideros for other lava exploring. Reason to go: For the Doctor Who style pics you can take when you get there.

Gran Canaria Visit the huge rolling craters on Gran Canaria to really get a taste of an historic land formed by hot lava straight from the earth’s core. Alongside its pure sandy beaches, lush greenery and buckets of sunshine, a day trip from Maspalomas or Playa del Ingles is made all the more impressive with the site of El Dodo de Dios (or God’s Finger) a rocky spire that juts out to the sea. Reason to go: The beach is the ultimate reward after a day’s exploring a Martian landscape!

For more information visit the excellent Canary Islands Tourism site here.

Istanbul Best European Destination 2013: What’s it all about?

You may have heard that Turkey’s second second city, Istanbul, has been voted this year’s best European destination in a public vote. But if you’re left wondering what all the fuss is about, take a walk through this ancient city with this week’s infographic.

Istanbul Infographc

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