Category - Get Inspired

Not sure where to go, where to stay or what to do on your next holiday? Get inspired by Purple Travel’s stories about honeymoons, stag and hen dos, city breaks and cheap holiday destinations

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The Benidorm Debacle: Alcoholic’s paradise or family-friendly haven?
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PurplePassport: Latest travel news
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Purple Pick: Post Exam Holidays
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Top Canaries Beaches: Lanzarote Beaches
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Top Canaries Beaches: Best Tenerife Beaches
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Escaping to Egypt
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Summer 2012: Turkish delight
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Family holidays in Spain
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A night less ordinary: Hotel Kakslautten

The Benidorm Debacle: Alcoholic’s paradise or family-friendly haven?

The Benidorm Debacle: Alcoholic’s paradise or family-friendly haven?

Once a beautiful, quiet Spanish town, you may say that Benidorm’s perfection was also its downfall. The minute we Brits stepped our flip-flop clad feet onto its sandy, white shore, the old town was transformed into a major resort. Less quaint Spanish town and more heaving Manhattan madness, its loveable fishing village facets soon became no more than relics, replaced by a skyline of unsightly tower blocks. And as for the natives? Kicked out by a bunch of cheap booze-seeking British lager louts, Nuts mag in hand and sandal/sock combo in tow.

Yet before you click away in horror, this embarrassing black cloud does have a silver lining. Over the past few years, authorities have made it their mission to shake off this ill reputation and restore Benidorm to its former glory. Now attracting all kinds of visitors, from families with young children to graduates looking for a wild time, this bustling resort aims to cater to everyone. And this it does well – the key to its success understandably lying within the phrase: ‘low-budget holiday’. And while you may not exactly find cultural refinement in Benidorm, you will most definitely find a good time.

According to James Reid of The Benidorm Guide, “Benidorm is perfect for both families and those looking for a boozy holiday. For families, the beach is fantastic, there is plenty of entertainment and some great excursions (Terra Mitica and Aqualandia to name a few)- not to mention the neighbouring towns of Altea, Alicante, Javea, Calpe etc. On the other side of the coin, Benidorm is truly a great place to let your hair down – plenty of pubs, cheap beer and a diverse scene to dance the night away.”

In fact, for those of you who fear the rough and ready Benidorm of ten years ago, rest assured that millions of families return time and time again, knowing that they will find inexpensive accommodation that is clean, comfortable and well-equipped for their individual needs. Of course parts of Benidorm have remained noisy – be warned of Avenida de Mallorca, where drink is cheap and bars are open all night – but with these expert tips, you can avoid the more boisterous areas and keep your sanity intact.

1) Choose Poniente beach over Levante
If you want to lose your kids to a stag party or you particularly enjoy a background music of 50-year-old men chanting ‘ooh ah ye’ at the tops of their voices, then Levante is the place. However, if you weren’t planning on either of these, we recommend Poniente: a much quieter, bigger and far less stressful stretch of sand. Poniente is also cleaned every night meaning by the time you and your family arrive, it’s completely free of all those cigarette butts and beer bottles that the night revelers tend to leave behind.

2) Do not stay too close to the Square
This is stag and hen central. It’s not uncommon to find a few yobbish Brits conversing with each other across the street through megaphones picked up at one of the Chinese shops. AVOID.

3) Avoid all-inclusive resorts
Unless you want some tanked-up twerp stuttering something along the lines of ‘cheer up you’re on holiday’ to your two-year-old daughter, with a breath so alcoholic it could get an elephant wasted – we’d say choose a family-friendly hotel such as Flamingo Oasis, Benidorm Plaza or Belroy. The solely all-inclusive hotels understandably attract an entirely different audience.

4) Do not do your food shopping at Lidl
On the one hand it’s the cheapest place to shop in Benidorm, but on the other, and this may seem a little harsh, the store is racked with rage-inducing pensioners, who seem to think a trip to Lidl is some kind of afternoon out. And they’ll run down anyone who stands in the way of the till with a trolley full of wet ones and denture cleaner.

5) Be careful where you eat
It could be your last. Avoid Top Road and head for the Old town. The Winnie the Pooh-themed café, Honey Pot, offers a full selection of food all day long as well as a Tigger menu for kids. There is also The Cellar, a ‘kid’s pub’, near Levante beach, which offers great entertainment, including clowns every night from 8-10pm and a parrot show on Sundays and Tuesdays at 11pm. The nearby White Horse family pub is another good one, allowing parents to have a drink while children play games in the back.

Benidorm Sunset

Benidorm Sunset (Photo credit: Berts @idar)

To read our latest blog guide to Benidorm, just click here.

PurplePassport: Latest travel news

We’re rounding up some travel news you need to know about this week.

Greece guides
Greece has just had its second election of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgetting about its holidaymakers!! There’s a big push this year to get people to visit and despite its perceived troubles, you won’t find a more relaxed, friendly and great value destination than the Greek Islands.
A new website has just launched to give first hand reviews of country. It wants to encourage people to tell their own stories about holidays to Greece, to find out why they should consider going. Volunteers can sign up to TrueGreece.org, to use social media to spread the good word about Greece.
If you’ve had a wonderful holiday to Greece, you can sign up, or even if you are thinking about it, check out what others are saying first. The website says its volunteers who sign up will be “tweeting and sharing the truth about Greece by responding to inaccuracies or speculations.” That’s certainly one way of setting the record straight!

Heathrow honours
If you’re flying to or from Heathrow Airportthis summer, keep your eyes peeled for this huge image right under the flight path. Ok, you might not need to keep them peeled, because let’s face it, it’s massive!As part of its #HomeAdvantage campaign for supporting our athletes in this year’s Olympics, eagle eyed passengers will spot a huge image of athletics favourite Jessica Ennis. It is bigger than 15 tennis courts and can be found in the Thornbury Playing Fields. We love this idea, and can’t wait to support all our wonderful athletes this year!

Packed pictures
Are you addicted to pictures on facebook and share every detail on twitter? Air New Zealand is getting in on the act with its I Am Packed site, which allows users to share pictures of the luggage. We might feel a little weird saying this, but it’s actually quite addictive!

In their own words they say, ‘when we travel, packing our bags is the first part of the adventure. Finding the balance between necessities, showing off in a new city, and leaving space for all your shopping is an art. I Am Packed is your chance to show us how you travel and gain a little bit of inspiration for when you hit a packing road block.’ If that’s your idea of a good time, it’s well worth checking out here and actually is becoming strangely addictive!

That’s our latest travel roundup; if you’ve got something we need to know about, please don’t forget to fill us in.

Purple Pick: Post Exam Holidays

Hours of study? Check. No social life for months? Check. Itching to get out and party? Double check. We’ve been thinking the exact same thing ourselves. There are plenty of places to go for a last minute get away for a bit of sun, sea and sand. But, of course there are things that make that post exam holiday extra special, how about foam parties, bangin’ tunes and great cocktails? From what we’ve heard that’s what makes your cheap holiday in the sun extra special. So grab your mates and head off to the sun for a few weeks of completely getting away from it all.

Here are some of our top picks for Post Exam Holidays…

Beach shoes

Beach shoes (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Beaches, babes and tunes: Greece has long been a favourite with revellers looking to unwind and Zante AKA Zakynthos is probable one of the most well known. You’ll find a belter of a deal on the Greek Islands as now more than ever there is a big drive to get tourists in. The weather is a big part of it; think the mid 30s from June onwards. Laganas has its own mile long strip of bars, clubs and restaurants so you can try a different one (or more!) every night. Lounging on the beach with a cocktail is the perfect way to recover after the night before.

Superclub superfans: Well, it’s said Ibiza is the home of the superclub, so if you want awesome nights that last ‘til dawn, then this Balearic Island is well worth a go. Amnesia is home to the legendary Cream parties, with residents like Paul Van Dyk and Deadmau5. While, Space in Playa d’en Bossa attracts crowds from all over the world and it’s won a pile of gongs. There are tonnes of accommodation options on the island so you’ll find something to suit any budget, which leaves more money for spending out on the tiles.

Splash and party: Albufeira in Portugal’s Algarve has everything you want for an awesome holiday. Think gorgeous pools and a beach just minutes away. The New Town is home to a strip that will give you some unforgettable nights out, while the nearby water parks are just as good for kids or grownups. If you’re into your cuisine, there are plenty of tip top restaurants to keep you going, as well as simple takeaway places for eating on the go. A week’s fun in the sun in Portugal and you’ll be ready for anything.

The original party city: Head for Barcelona. Not only will you find great bars and clubs there is a quality city beach to die for. A visit to the Nou Camp (home turf of Barcelona football club) is well worth it, it’s the biggest stadium in Europe! At night the vibrant main street, the Ramblas is perfect for people watching, seeing the sites and maybe making friends.

So, If you’re heading away this year somewhere for a post exam bash, we’d love to hear about it, or if you’ve been away the last while, let us know where!

Ps. A few things to remember, if you go a little further afield, be sure to check with the country you’re visiting, as unaccompanied under 18 year olds can get a grilling, or even end up deported!

Top Canaries Beaches: Lanzarote Beaches

The second entry in our 4-part series on the best beaches of the Canary Islands focuses on the beautiful island of Lanzarote and its beaches.

Papagayo Beach from Purple Travel

Papagayo beach via @ SparksEmma

Papagayo

The Papagayo Beaches are easily some of the most beautiful natural Lanzarote beaches in the archipelago. Composed of a series of six beaches, of which Playa Mujeres is the largest and the busiest (about 90 meters long). The other coves in the area are Playa de las Coloradas, Playa de las Ahogaderas and Playa de la Cera, located west of Punta del Papagayo, and Playa Caleta de Congrio and Playa de Puerto Muelas, located on the east side.

The Papagayo beaches are very popular with surfers and snorkellers, as well as families with children. The beaches are also favoured by naturists, with some areas being reserved for them, in order not to disrupt the families sharing the area. Although these beaches are stunningly beautiful and relatively easy to reach, they do not provide very many facilities, so make sure you come prepared.

Puerto del Carmen

Puerto Del Carmen is Lanzarote’s largest holiday resort on the south coast of the island. The five mile (or so) promenade connects the resort’s three main beaches with a huge variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. The most famous are the yellow sand beaches of Playa Grande (also known as Playa Blanca like the southern tourist resort, just to confuse you) and Playa de los Pocillos, both are around half a mile long. Further along is Playa de Matagorda, a smaller beach with fewer attractions, as the noise from the nearby airport keeps the crowds away.

Puerto del Carmen’s beaches are man-made, and are therefore easily accessible and family-friendly. They offer a wide range of water sports, leisure facilities, and amenities needed for a fantastic and carefree day on the beach!

El Jablillo & Las Chucharas

Located in the resort of Costa Teguise, these beaches are extremely family-friendly. The El Jablillo beach is connected to the resort’s promenade and has white sand and plenty of facilities to keep you comfortable and entertained. The larger of the two beaches is the Las Chucharas beach, stretching 600 meters in length. Both beaches are easily accessible from the resort’s boardwalk and offer calm, clear waters and lots of facilities.

Playa Blanca & Dorada

The Playa Dorada Beach is located in the eastern resort of Playa Blanca. The Dorada Beach is an artificial beach stretching 300 meters with white sands and clear water. The beach is home to many facilities as well, with shops and restaurants available within walking distance. The Playa Blanca Beach is a narrow, but natural, beach with white sands and plenty of facilities for the entire family, and especially for those looking to dive these famous waters. Both beaches have a boardwalk and are great settings for a relaxing beach day.

Read more… Best beaches Fuerteventura

Top Canaries Beaches: Best Tenerife Beaches

Fancy a last minute get away, or planning your holiday for ages? Beaches, beaches and more beaches are the first things that cross our mind when we’re thinking of heading away. With that in mind here’s a handy guide to the beaches of one of our most popular holiday hot spots: the Canary Islands. This is the first in our four part guide, and we thought we’d start with the most visited island, Tenerife. Perfect in summer, but equally as good in winter thanks to its great weather, Tenerife has some of the best beaches ever, you literally won’t be able to tear yourself away. Find out more in the Purple Travel guide to the Best Tenerife Beaches.

Tenerife beaches from Purple Travel

Tenerife beaches via @ Chop1n

Playa De Las Teresitas

This gorgeous beach was redeveloped with sand taken from the Spanish Sahara! The golden sand and clear waters stretch for about a mile along the coast. Plenty of facilities are available here (parking, sun beds, showers, toilets, etc), while the large crowds dwindle in the winter months. This beach is near the village of San Andres, about north of Santa Cruz.

Playa de las Americas

Come on, don’t tell us you’ve never heard about Playa de las Americas? It’s the busiest resort in Tenerife is also home to some of the most fantastic organized beaches on the island.

There are actually plenty beaches in this area, all just steps away from one another. Thy’re all idyllic miles of golden sands and gem coloured waters.  The jewel in this group is the Playa De Las Vistas beach, which was re developed with sand from the sea bed and is one of the best beaches on the island. All the beaches in this area have sun beds for hire and water sports available, along with a huge selection of shops, bars, and restaurants nearby. If it’s R&R you’re after, you’ve been warned, you won’t be too far from the crowd here.

Los Cristianos

Nearby to Playa De Las Americas, Los Cristianos has its own beach that’s a bit smaller than the Playa De Las Vistas beach. It’s very organised with sun beds and water sports, with Los Cristianos town as the backdrop. If you want to shake it up a bit while you’re there, Playa De Las Americas is only a stone’s throw away.

El Bollollo

One of the more unspoilt beaches on the islands, near to Puerto De La Cruz, El Bollullo, also known as La Orotava is a sunbathers dream. The stunning black sand (yes, you read that right!) and turquoise waters are much less crowded than their southern counterparts.

The beach has a limited amount of amenities but has plenty of waves to make for some amazing water sports. A perfect rest from all the, er… resting is a stroll through the nearby Banana Plantation.

Playa De La Troya

Located on the south coast of Tenerife, in Costa Adeje, is the marvelous Playa De La Troya. Its central location, fantastic facilities and off-the-beaten-track feeling mean it’s a great alternative to the very busy Playa de las Americas beaches. Bring the whole family and a bucket and spade for maximum fun in the sun.

If you enjoyed our guide to the best Tenerife Beaches, you should read… Best beaches Fuerteventura

Escaping to Egypt

Egypt-hurghada-sea01

Hurghada

Start out with an exhilarating, adventure filled and educational underwater tour, by hopping into a submarine and diving over 20 yards under the sea. It’s an unforgettable experience among the colourful, sub aquatic world.

If you prefer staying on dry land, a desert safari is an utterly thrilling ride. Your guide will take you into Bedouin territory, exploring the fascinating lifestyle and (for the romantic at heart) will bring you for a picnic under the stars after the most beautiful sunset.

Read More

Summer 2012: Turkish delight

Fancy getting away from it all? We’re daydreaming about soaking up the sunshine on the deck of a wooden ship gently bobbing along in the Aegean? Maybe you prefer to lounge by the pool with a good book, before tearing up the dance floor every night? Or perhaps you’d like a quiet little beach break with the kids, where there is plenty of room for their bucket and spade. Whatever you’re looking for, we think Turkey is a top tip.

Turkey’s right on the crossroads where East meets West. It’s bordered by a whopping eight countries and three seas, so you can imagine the choice on offer.

For pure relaxation, first stop should definitely include a Turkish bath, speaking from experience; this is a pretty blissful thing to do. An attendant basically scrubs you from head to toe with a kind of cloth, a bit like an icing bag, followed by a serious massage! If you’re not a fan of massages stay away and head for the many spas or yoga retreats on offer.

If it’s partying you’re after, well, there is no better place than Gumbet.  There are a heap of open air clubs and some even have 24 hour bars so there’s no excuse! Stay up all night, make friends and watch the sunrise outside some of the best beach clubs in the world. Ps. if you check out Gumbet, definitely take advantage of a boat trip to the Greek island of Kos, it’s like two holidays in one!

If you fancy something a little different, a walking holiday in Cappadocia might be right up your street. This strange rock landscape looks a bit like the moon. There are even underground cities and caves to explore. It’ll make your eyes pop!

For foodies, try out the spicy kebabs and famous coffee in the beautiful surrounds of Bodrum or give the meze dishes a go. With a choice of up to 15 at a time, you will definitely find something you will like. Or how about sampling the sights and sounds and grabbing a bargain on a short break in Istanbul.

Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For history buffs, start out with the ancient wonder of Ephesus. Its ancient Temple of Artemis dates back to 550 BC and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Mount Nemrut offers you the chance to see head statues dedicated to the ancient Gods.

So we think there’s something there to suit almost anyone. If you’ve got any other suggestions for things to do in Turkey, we’d love to hear them. Stay tuned for another country focus coming soon.

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Family holidays in Spain

Family holidays are always tricky. You’ve got so many variables to think about. How to keep the kids happy and where to find good beaches that are safe and not too crowded. You want fun and relaxed places to eat and kids clubs are always handy. Good public transport links are a must and of course you don’t want to be spending an arm and a leg on your holiday.

Then, you might like some choices to keep mum and dad busy; perhaps Grandma and Grandpa are tagging along too? You want to enjoy your holiday as well!

We reckon Spain should be a top choice for a family holiday. With great prices, facilities and of course that elusive sunshine, why would you consider anywhere else?

Malaga on the Costa del Sol has plenty to entertain children of all ages! The Malaga Open top tour bus is a nice way to get your bearings. A trip to the city beach of Caleta is a must. Little ones will love playing in the surf and there are plenty of loungers, umbrellas and facilities to help you out. If you tire of the beach, the interactive science museum will keep you in the shade and entertain for hours. The buggy friendly promenades are a great option for an evening stroll and the range of tapas bars and restaurants mean there’s a choice for even the fussiest eaters.

Lanzarote’s Puerto Del Carmen is amazing value for a fantastic summer break with the kids this year. There are plenty of options for all inclusive or self catering getaways that include kids clubs to keep them busy. The beach is a must, with nearly a mile of golden, soft sand, clean clear waters and a full range of facilities. Just a few miles away in Puerto Calero, kids will love Submarine Safaris. Designed especially for children to enjoy underwater exploration, it’s an incredible journey into Lanzarote’s clear, magical waters.

Costa Brava’s Lloret de Mar is perfect for a simple sunshine break of sandcastles, swimming and a bit of exploring. It’s got plenty of family friendly beaches so you could almost chose a different one every day. Lloret Turisme offers a miniclub, with organised beach games with a beach library for the grownups! The many children’s playgrounds offer a lovely break from the sand. There are even a couple of adventure parks including Gnomopark with bowling, mini karts, games and a gnome farm! If that’s not enough, it’s close to Barcelona if you feel like a little city adventure on your sunshine break. Discover the aquarium, or Park Guell which kids always enjoy.

Majorca has been a trusted family friendly resort for many years; it’s easy to see why so many people return again and again. We like Alcudia Beach or Cala Bona where you have great accommodation options with plenty of family friendly extras. The weather is almost perfect; the long sandy beaches are safe for little ones to get busy making sandcastles. Most hotels and apartments feature child friendly pools and kids clubs to keep them busy from morning ‘til bedtime.

Tenerife’s Costa Adeje is one of our top choices. It’s got a lively atmosphere, with lots of day trips on the menu. Check out the whale watching cruises or boat day trips. If you’ve got older children or teens, they will love trying out diving or surfing. A mini train runs through the resort to pick you up and drop you off when you need to, perfect if mum and dad are tired after a long day in the sun.

La Pineda on the Costa Dorada is really the best of both worlds. With an Aquapolis water park, Dolphinarium and the PortAventura theme park, as well as beautiful Salou just around the corner, there are more fun options than you can shake a stick at! Sun, sea and sand are the orders of the day, in this blessed out cheap holiday hotspot.

A night less ordinary: Hotel Kakslautten

In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of weird hotels and wonderful holiday concepts. From space hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected.

Igloo Village at night

What’s the gimmick? Located amidst beautiful Lapland scenery in the vicinity if Urho Kekkonen National Park, Hotel Kakslautten offers their winter guests the chance to stay overnight in  a futuristic glass igloo. Based on a groundbreaking idea and years of research and development, the unique, sci-fi-like glass igloos are a marvel of modern technology.

Why stay? Where else can you admire the amazing northern lights and the white Lapland scenery, all within the comfort of zebra-striped warm bed? Built from a special thermal glass, the temperature inside the igloo is always at a normal level and its special material also prevents the glass from not getting white frosted, keeping the view clear even when the temperature outside drops to under -30°C.

The wow factor: Every igloo is equipped with a toilet and luxury beds and the surrounding Igloo Village is also home to snow chapel and an ice bar, both built in every winter.  On every evening a hot sauna and a refreshing ice hole are waiting for you at the igloo, where you can climb into bed and marvel at the star-studded night sky.Husky safaris, snowmobile safaris, reindeer safaris and ice-fishing trips are all made available, as well as guided ski treks.

Village is open every year from December/January and until the end of April.

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