Category - Destination Guides

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The real story on the best destinations 2014
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Making the most of your Cuba holiday
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Purple Tips: 16 Holiday Facts About Spain
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A Night Less Ordinary: Giraffe Manor
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Purple Tips: 11 Amazing Festivals 2014
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Hello Corfu! Beaches and Bars in Corfu
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Purple 10: Europe’s Most Romantic Cities
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Purple 10 Best Clubbing Holidays 2014
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2014 Travel Bucket List – 14 Holidays to book now
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Purple Tips: What NOT to do in Italy

The real story on the best destinations 2014

It’s official, Trip Advisor the world renowned travel site has awarded a host of awards for best destinations 2014. The annual Traveller’s Choice Awards includes the vast city of Istanbul in Turkey which tops the poll, with Rome, London and Beijing following close behind. Each city or place earned its review through the reviews and opinions of visitors the site. “If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travelers’ Choice Destinations,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Our global travelers are the tastemakers for uncovering the best places to visit around the world.” The awards in its 6th year picks out 500 of the absolute best places to visit in the world.

Best destination collage Square 640But what are these places really like? I’ve asked some of the Purple Travel family to share their thoughts on the top destinations 2014. Some they loved and some… well, you’ll see for yourself. We’d love to hear what you think, good or bad about the official list!

1. Istanbul, Turkey Fantastic city full of sights and culture. The people are so friendly and eager to help. This place has it all. – Gary
I think the best of the best way to taste the Turkish food, and experience the Turkish mentality, is to eat this giant hot dog with fish and cabbage at the Bosphorus coast on the Asian part of Istanbul. There are cooks on floating boats, preparing the grilled fish, that are then placed on these huge bagel and stuffed that with cabbage, fried potatoes and mustard. You cannot imagine! Also don’t miss the old guy outside the Blue Mosque who sells bagels and gives you for free La vache qui rit portion! – Soso
2. Rome, Italy What can someone say about Rome, about the Italians, their food and their language? I think my best moments in Rome were when we were walking around from the Piazza di Spagna, to the Colosseum, and the Fontana di Trevi. Suggested hotels-the newly built Caravel hotel (just two stops by bus from Piazza di Spagna) with nice big rooms and a lovely receptionist and Hotel Trevi, with its traditional style in the very centre of the city!!! loved them both, love Rome! – Soso
3. London, England Massive dump, ok for day trips but get out before it chews you up. – Gary
4. Beijing, China
5. Prague, Czech Republic Really touristy, especially in the centre, but a fun city with hilarious museums and cool bars. The beer on its own is worth the trip! – Kate
6. Marrakech, Morocco
7. Paris, France Paris is indeed the city of lights. Loved the museums and the Seine coast. I’m giving you the heads up for the hotels!They are all tiny and expensive in the city centre.  You have to go a bit further, if you wanna get a nice one on a descent price. Don’t hesitate cause the train is very good! – Soso
8. Hanoi, Vietnam
9. Siem Reap, Cambodia One of the most peaceful places I have ever been, temples here, there and everywhere, wild life and nature reclaiming it slowly, truly spectacular sights. The night life is also very good fun from low rent rock bars to high end cocktail bars. – Gary
10. Shanghai, China
11. Berlin, Germany Well a friend of mine got mugged there at 7 am in a packed train station and no one helped, so Berlin doesn’t rate too highly for me. – Kate
12. New York City, New York New York the best of the best hotel ever is next to the SEX museum, the one and only “The Gershwin Hotel”.  Almost on the 5th avenue, next to the train station, 5 minutes from the Flatiron District and the same distance from the Empire State Building and the hugest, the biggest Shoe Shop (named designers only) at the best prices!!!! Loved New york City for the donuts, the coffee shops and the views from the car driving all around Manhattan! You have to visit the shop of Tiffany & Co. at least for a window shopping as well the Hollister shop-at least for the experience-you feel like being in Miami!!! I tasted new things, loved this multicultural city!
Top secret tip for New York City – buy a $75 the city pass for New York (prior to arrival, purchase that online). It gives you access EVERYWHERE. If you do not have that and you want to visit all museums, take the boat tour to the Statue of Liberty or go to Broadway, you will spent more or less $185. So this pass will save you money and my secret for NYC. Do you remember where Alicia Keys was singing about the big apple and was playing the piano on the top of the steps on Times Square? Well, just underneath these steps, there is a ticket shop, with last minute bargains for Broadway.. I got ticket for the Phantom of the Opera for only $20. – Soso
13. Florence, Italy I went to a wedding in Florence a few summers ago and it was AMAZING. The city is gorgeous and fairly small so it’s easy to get around. The Uffizi has some magnificent art, food is fantastic (obviously) and it’s so historic. Although the queue was long, climbing to the top of the tower in Florence Cathedral is well worth it. – Kate
14. Buenos Aires, Argentina An old European style metropolis where you can go out for dinner at 2 in the morning, dine on fine steak and learn the tango. – Sean
15. Barcelona, Spain Amazing city, maybe the best in the Mediterranean! Great vibe, beautiful gothic quorter , even more beautiful smiley helpful people and of course the tapas and the sangria! Absolutely loved it! Some of my highlights: La Ramblas, Barcelonnetta, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Gothic Quarter. – Elizabeth
16. St. Petersburg, Russia
17. Dubai, United Arab Emirates Extravagant , glamorous and over the top. See how the richest spend their money and live an artificial lifestyle! – Ellen
18. Chicago, Illinois
19. Cape Town, South Africa
20. Bangkok, Thailand A bustling city, watch your head on the power lines and take public transport to avoid the 8 hours of rush hour traffic. Dine like a king for under 1 pound or do a cooking class and make it yourself. Don’t fall for the taxi drivers that can take you to get a suit made and drink your body weight in milky sweet ice tea. – Ellen
21. Budapest, Hungary Budapest is actually crazyWe went to an outdoor bar along the Danube and there was a huge lightning storm! It was so much fun though. Really lively city with cool bars and clubs. The baths are the perfect hangover cure too. – Kate
22. Sydney, Australia
23. Lisbon, Portugal
24. Chiang Mai, Thailand
25. San Francisco, California

If you want to book cheap holidays to any of these destinations, call Purple Travel on 0207 993 9228 or visit our website for our best offers and don’t forget to visit Purple Travel on Pinterest for loads of pics of these gorgeous destinations.

Making the most of your Cuba holiday

A trip to Cuba offers a holiday like no other. The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba beckons to visitors with promises of sun, sea, sand and salsa. Throw in a rich history, unique culture and exotic scenery, and Cuba stands apart as a “must see” vacation destination — particularly for those who immerse themselves in the laid back and distinctly Cuban spirit that characterises this extraordinary place.

Doesn’t just looking at this view make you feel more relaxed?

Embrace History
Stepping into the capital city of Havana offers an intriguing contrast of the old and the new. Take in sites ranging from an abundance of 1950s-era American cars to colourful Spanish Colonial architecture which has gracefully withstood the test of time. Whether window shopping along the Calle Obispo or touring the breathtaking Castillo de la Punta, be ready for some serious photo ops. And don’t forget to stop by a cigar factory to see Cuba’s most famous export being rolled, and perhaps even buy a box while you’re there.

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Purple Tips: 16 Holiday Facts About Spain

Ever wondered where the word ‘Spain’ comes from? Or how about how many  miles of beaches there are in Spain? Let us help you out with our 16 excellent holiday facts about Spain.

#1 Let’s start with one of our favourite facts about Spain. It is the most popular holiday destination for Brits, (it was in 2013) with Majorca, Malaga, Tenerife and Costa del Sol holidays ranking highly. Purple Travel’s most popular Spain holidays included Ibiza, Alicante and Palma de Mallorca as well as city breaks in Barcelona.

Malaga from Purple Travel

#2. Some of the most famous names in the world hail from Spanish shores. Actors Javier Bardem (Gran Canaria),Penelope Cruz (Madrid) and Antonio Banderas (Malaga) and sports stars like tennis player Rafael Nadal (Majorca), Andres Iniesta (Castilla-La Mancha) and Fernando Torres (Madrid) are just a selection of the famous faces hailing from Spanish shores.

#3. The word for ‘Spain’ is said to come from ‘Hispania’, which roughly translates to Island of Rabbits. So if you see some bunnies, don’t be too surprised.

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A Night Less Ordinary: Giraffe Manor

Our weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we have a night less ordinary at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

The WOW factor? The Giraffe Manor which is part of the Tamimi Group lets you get as close to a giraffe as you’re ever likely to get in your life. The Manor is a luxury hotel with its own herd of Rothschild Giraffe who wander around the property, nudging at your breakfast and generally being super cool new friends. The nature trail around the hotel goes through forests and dry lands and as well as giraffes it’s a natural habitat for warthogs, hyenas, different species of birds and every so often a leopard, so you’ll get up close and personal with all kinds of animals.

Giraffe Manor

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Purple Tips: 11 Amazing Festivals 2014

Give your holiday a boost this year by combining it with an amazing festival. Whether you want to knock back pints of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day or fancy giving the air guitar world championship a go, you won’t miss out with our guide to some amazing festivals 2014.

Venice Carnival In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday the Venice Carnival is in full swing. Carnevale di Venezia is an elegant throwback to 18th century opulence. The bright and beautiful of the Italian city’s social scene arrive cloaked and masked for energetic, but pricey parties. Ideal for a luxurious weekend away. Venice Carnival happens between February 14th and March 4th 2014.

Venice Carnival via Purple Travel

Venice Carnival via @ Heatherbroster

St Patrick’s Day There is no better place to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than the Irish capital city of Dublin. It’s not limited to drinking pints, (although you can if you want!) the city pulls out all the stops for a wonderful festival with live music, dancing, parades and free events all over the place. It’s a top choice for a very quick city break, Dublin is just a hop, skip and a jump from the UK. St Patrick’s Say is celebrated on March 17th 2014.

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Hello Corfu! Beaches and Bars in Corfu

Corfu people are happy and easy to get along with. They are also full of artistic activities such as music, theatre, painting etc. Corfiots love beach life so here are some picks of Corfu beaches and their bars.

Glyfada’s incredible beach is easily the most popular on the island. It’s well organized with plenty of loungers, umbrellas and showers. A great choice for families, the water is shallow and crystal clear, while the lifeguards on duty offer some peace of mind for parents with young children. The Aloha Beach Bar is full of life and is home to great parties in the evening. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for young people who are starting their night with a cocktail.

Close by is the resort of Aghios Gordios, another well organized stretch of sand for people who want to try out some water sports or take some pictures. The long, sandy beach has plenty of loungers and parasols and the AloBar is worth the visit alone! Gorgeous view and really laidback, enjoying a cocktail here at sunset is the moment you know you’re on holidays.

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Purple 10: Europe’s Most Romantic Cities

Treat him or her to a fantastic Valentine’s holiday with Purple Travel. We’ve got 10 of Europe’s most romantic cities for all types of couples. If It’s history that you’re mad about, incredible hotel rooms that you won’t leave for days on end or a sunshine getaway where you can relax hand in hand on a secluded beach, you’ll love our list of Europe’s most romantic cities. We threw the question out on Google + and Facebook and got some great responses. As always, anything we’ve missed, let us know in comment and already decided where you want to go on your next city break? Call Purple Travel on 02079939228 for low cost flights and hotels Europe’s Most Romantic Cities…

Romantic Liguria Italy from Purple Travel

#1 Dazzlingly beautiful Italy’s Liguria Coast is filled with cost tucked-away romantic guesthouses and hotels. Sometimes known as the Bay of fairy tales the ancient ruins and old castles provide a stunning backdrop to sunset dinners on a terrace and balmy evenings walking hand in hand. Choose from ocean view hotels with high ceilings and don’t forget to visit the cocktail bars.

Romantic Paris from Purple Travel

#2 Paris is perfect for traditional romantics. An obvious choice but that’s because it’s so good! We’re talking freshly baked croissants for breakfast in bread, the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower and long meals accompanied by the best red wine. Paris is filled with amazing hotels so you can treat him or her to a Valentine’s they’ll never forget.

Romantic Rome from Purple Travel

#3 Just a couple of hours away, Rome is a hot choice for history and art lovers for couples who want to discover the Sistine Chapel or the Coliseum together. Stay in the The wide streets and incredible selection of restaurants make this one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

Romantic Copenhagen

#4 It might not be the first city that pops into your head, but Copenhagen in Denmark makes a gorgeous romantic weekend away. The city renowned for its links to fairy tale writer Hans Chrsitan Andersen is a jusst 90 minutes from the UK. Stop for hot chocolates and a heart shaped cake in one of the city’s famous cafes after a visit to the Winter Garden, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. In the evening cinema is one of the most popular things to do in Copenhagen and it’s easy to see why. Cinemas like the Empire and Falkoner have specially made seats just for two. Copenhagen image via @ Visit Denmark

Atmospheric Lisbon

#5 One of the most popular cities in Europe right now the Portuguese capital has it all. Lively Lisbon is all cobblestone streets, cosy cafes and bars and incredible hotels. All of those overlooked by an ancient castle. It’s hard to top Lisbon for most romantic cities. Lisbon image via @ Luca Sartoni

Romantic Dubrovnik

#6 The magical kingdoms in Game of Thrones might be familiar when you set foot in Dubrovnik. The hazy sun soaked pottery tiled roofs and shiny flagstoned streets are not only beautiful, but world-famous now too thanks to the filming of the George RR Martin books. The city’s old walls doubles as Kings Landing and the view from the top shows off Blackwater Bay. Dubrovnik is top of the romance charts as far as we are concerned. Dubrovnik via @ Branimal

Romantic Venice from Purple Travel

#7 Venice. A long established romantic hot spot, Barbara Hopley on our Google + page shared her thoughts about her favourite romantic city in Europe: “Venice definitely, a nice dinner then a Gondola ride – perfect! Highly recommend, I love Venice.”

P1040335

#8 A stunningly well-preserved city, Prague is made for walking around hand in hand with the one you love. A sea of spires and statues awaits you by day, while at night, the famous Prague nightlife is sure to impress any party-loving couple. Sunset dinner in Prague via @ MadebyMark

Romantic Marrakech

#9 Holidays in Marrakech are made up of a couple of essentials: discovering the sights and sounds of the Medina, testing out your shisha smoking skills, eating incredible local food and maybe a bit of sunbathing thrown in. Marrakech couples city breaks are all about adventure and who better to share that with than your other half.

Romantic Santorini from Purple Travel

#10 Santorini has all the elements for the perfect couple’s holiday. Those incredible sunsets, the winding white washed streets where it feels like it’s just the two of you alone in the world. Book a room with a sea view and your own private swimming pool, just don’t blame us if you never want to leave.

Have something special in mind for Valentine’s Day? Call the expert travel team at Purple Travel on 02079939228 and surprise the one you love this year.

Purple 10 Best Clubbing Holidays 2014

If it is sun-soaked beers on the beach, boozing up on a city break, or shaking your booty all night long, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for with our Purple  Travel top 10 Clubbing holidays 2014.

Best clubbing holidays 2014

1. Ibiza When it comes to clubbing holidays, Ibiza is like a wise, old friend. It has them down to perfection. Boozing, dancing, beach parties and Ibiza clubbing holidays offer instant gratification. Head to Space, Amnesia and Manumission by night. By day, go straight from the club to Bora Bora, where you can keep your party spirit going.
2. Ayia Napa, Cyprus Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa is easily the most famous party location on the island. With soft, white sand, all night parties, booze, bikinis and the biggest name DJs, it ticks every best clubbing holiday 2014 box.
3. Sharm el Sheikh A night out in the Red Sea Resort usually includes shisha smoking, trendy lounges, cocktails and dancing all night. Basically anything can happen during clubbing holidays in Egypt. Head for Little Buddha in Naama Bay, famous for its cocktails and coolness.
4. Kavos, Corfu This one hardly needs an introduction, we’ve all seen that TV show. Kavos is possibly the most famous, craziest and hedonistic party town in Greece… maybe in the entire world, we reckon it could certainly rival Vegas in terms of debauchery. There are hundreds of bars and clubs where you can go shake your glow sticks all night long.
5. Barcelona Barcelona’s a cheap and cheerful choice for clubbing holidays 2014. There are tonnes of flights that’ll have you over in BCN and ready to party in no time. And thanks to the all-night attitude of the Spanish, there’ll be plenty of time to pub crawl, party and soak up the atmosphere. Head for the Ravel area for cool bars, hip restaurants and Barcelona’s cool kids.
6. Laganas, Zante The town on the Greek Island is practically world renowned for the antics of visitors every year. The so-called Golden Mile has a choice of bars and clubs with the likes of fire breathing bartenders, bartop dancing and an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Amnesia and Medousa are hot ticket clubs for 2014.
7. Prague, Czech Republic The gorgeous city of Prague is ideal for couples looking for clubbing ideas combined with a little culture too (!) There is a very hot underground scene with whiskey bars, cocktail lounges and all night DJs. Of course no trip to Prague is complete without knocking back a couple of pints of local ale. That’s the cure for the morning after the night before.
8. Magaluf, Majorca For cheap clubbing holidays 2014, Magaluf is a complete no brainer. There are serious dance nights, cheesey 80s bars, and Europe’s biggest club, BCM. It is home to some of the best party venues in Europe and has become an epic hen and stag do destination. If you go, get your hands on a Magaluf Club Pass. It’s one ticket for five of the hottest clubs in town.
9. Malia, Crete Think 18-30 clubs, foam parties, dancing on tables, pure indulgence. Get some sleep now, because you certainly won’t get any on a clubbing holiday in Malia 2014.
10. Berlin, Germany 24 hour techno clubs, old buildings transformed into dance warehouses and quirky, weird and unusual nights out are what Berlin is famous for. No wonder you can head out at 4pm on a Thursday and not get home until Monday afternoon.

Fancy shaking your booty with the best clubbing holidays 2014? Then call our disco ball-lovin’ team on 02079939228 or visit our website.

2014 Travel Bucket List – 14 Holidays to book now

#1 Budapest The Hungarian capital is set to have a busy year amongst hipsters thanks to the release of Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel (even though it was mostly filmed in Germany!) The city’s filled with architecture, baths, boutique hotels and laid-back cafes. It’s a must-do value city break. Makes a nice addition to our 2014 travel bucket list. 

Budapest

Budapest via @ Cost3l

#2 The Greek Islands We especially love Ikaria, where your holiday can make you live longer and eternal favourite Crete, where you can visit the hippie village of Matala or go family friendly in Heraklion.

Crete

Crete via @ El Mostrito

#3 Reykjavik See the Northern Lights, go to the Blue Lagoon or trek across glaciers and volcanoes. Iceland holidays will leave your jaw on the floor and your soul refreshed.

Northern Lights 1

Northern Lights via @ GuideGunnar – Arctic Norway

#4 New York The Big Apple is always a good choice and is a big seller for cheap holidays from the UK. Plan a summer of NYC shopping, cocktails and rooftop pools for an unforgettable US adventure.

New York

New York via @ Ed Yourdon

#5 Corsica The gorgeous island off the South of France is home to striking mountain ranges, clear waters and untouched beaches as well as the world’s largest chestnut forest, Castagniccia.  

Corsica

Corsica via @ Massalim

#6 Brazil Book cheap holidays to Brazil right now because cities like Rio and Sao Paolo are set to see a huge influx of visitors thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Instead of watching from your armchair, make 2014 the year you go there in person.

Brazil

Brazil via @ Lautsu

#7 Bordeaux, France A wine lovers paradise, Bordeaux is closeby, with decent hotels and a lovely atmosphere and a modern edge. Bordeaux is a good choice for a foodie adventure in 2014.

Bordeaux

Image via @ Grand Parc – Bordeaux, France

#8 Havana, Cuba It’s always been said, Cuba is a place to visit before it changes! Choose it for 2014 and get in there now before it’s too late and see the 50s cars, the old-time atmosphere and the eclectic accommodations on offer.

Cuba

Image via @ Flippinyank

#9 Cork, Ireland Not only is the city of Cork a hive of activity, but the surrounding countryside has some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer. Go to Clonakilty for black pudding, Inchydoney for the beach and island hop to Sherkin.

Cork

Image via @ zopdeep

#10 Gulet Cruise, Turkey Fed up with the idea of hitting the bars of Kusadasi or Bodrum? You could opt for a traditional wooden boat cruise instead on your holiday in Turkey. The boat takes you to tiny, hidden beaches, deserted bays and well away from the crowds.

Gulet Cruise

Image via @ TurkeyVision

#11 Sri Lanka Go on an elephant trek, climb 8000ft of mountains, or sunbathe on incredible white sandy beaches. Sri Lanka holidays will pack a punch in 2014.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka via @ HAS PhotoDesigns

#12 Balearic Islands With new routes from Heathrow and London City Airports in particular, the sun-drenched islands of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca play host to perfect 2014 summer holidays. There are stylish hotels, boutique farmhouses-turned-villas and an incredible choice of things to do to suit any budget and of course, Ibiza is always a top 2014 party holiday destination.

Ibiza

Ibiza via @ victoriapeckham

#13 Mexico If you really fancy Mexico, but you’ve already been to Cancun, try Puerto Vallarta. Once a spring breakers paradise, the resort is now more famous for its boutique hotels, great beaches and variety of diving spots.

Puerto vallarta

Puerta Vallarta via @ stab at sleep

#14  Cape Verde The former Portuguese colony is a beaut. It’s got Latin spirit by the bucket load thanks to its close proximity to West Africa. Go to Boa Vista for stunning beaches and loggerhead turtles for an unforgettable addition to your 2014 travel bucket list.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde via @ Wikicommons

Visit www.purpletravel.co.uk for more on cheap holidays 2014 from the UK or call our travel team on 02079929228 now.

Purple Tips: What NOT to do in Italy

The Italians love being helpful. Even if you are only asking for street directions, you’ll end up listening to all possible options, which one the locals would take and precisely why. In the end, one thing is for sure, you’ll be changing your initial destination as their suggestion will always be better than yours! Well, what can you do… passionate, strong-minded and original, Italians are like this! After all that’s why they’re so much fun. But be careful! There are certain things you’d better be conscious about when visiting Italy!

Here’s a list of DON’Ts that’ll guarantee you a great holiday in Italy this year.

miniskirt

Image via @ scattomatto56

1. Don’t visit the Vatican City in a revealing outfit, as you’ll be shown the way out! Cover up shoulders and remember to be respectful.

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