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Purple Tips: Best Party Cities Europe 2014
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Ryanair Hand Luggage Size – finally changing!
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Twilight holidays, the weirdest thing ever?
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8 Reasons to visit Croatia this year
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Purple Pick: June Holidays
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Purple Pick: Crete Family Holidays
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Purple Tips: Costa Brava Family Holidays
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Dream Job? Professional Sleeper Required
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In pictures: Why you should visit Greece in 2013
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Purple Tips: Make 2014 April Holidays Amazing

Purple Tips: Best Party Cities Europe 2014

Check out our Purple Travel guide to some of the best parties cities Europe has to offer in 2014. Don’t agree? Let us know in the comments below.

Berlin, Germany. It can be hard to choose from the best party cities Europe 2014, but Berlin is an easy one. A sprawling city where weekends usually start on Thursday evenings and last well into Monday morning, there’s a great selection of cheap hotels and cool bars. House music is easily the most popular and clubs like WaterGate on Falckensteinerstrase 49, Cookies on Friedrichstrase 158 and Weekend on Alexanderstrasse 5 are almost clubbing institutions in Berlin.

Ios Island in Greece. Not technically a city, but Ios easily tops the list of the best places to party in Europe. A longtime backpackers favourite, trust me, it’s worth the ferry trek for hot summer all night parties. Start out in the clean lines of Far Out Beach Bar, before knocking back €1 shots in Orange Bar (the Malteser ones are epic!) Slammers Bar Ios, lives up to its name – you put on a helmet and get whacked in the head with a hammer after a shot, and Sweet Irish Dream only kicks off at 3am. Phew!

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Ryanair Hand Luggage Size – finally changing!

On the back of a complete overhaul of Ryanair’s website, the low cost Arline is introducing changes to its baggage and check in policies, in a bid to attract more customers.

Ryanair from purple travel

Ryanair image via @ Paolo Margari

The no-frills airline announce on 28th November it was to allow passengers to bring a second small carry-on bag for free. It’ll also see the Ryanair boarding card fee reduced from €70/£70 to €15/£15 for customers who are already checked in online. This will presumably come into play if a customer has already printed out their check in card and mislaid it.

It’s part of CEO Micheal O’Leary’s plan for a whole series of customer service improvements across the Ryanair network.  It comes in addition to a grace period of 24 hours to correct minor booking mistakes and a selection of new quieter flights, (pre 8am and post 9pm.) There’ll be no more fighting over seats either, as fully allocated booking will be introduced on 1st February.

Maybe the most important part of the changes is Ryanair hand luggage size. In addition to a single 10kg cabin bag, te introduction of a second small bag, from this Sunday (Dec 1) means there’ll be less trying to wear all your clothes at once like Joey From Friends – or these girls… YouTube Preview Image However don’t think you’ll be grabbing another big case, the dimensions of the second bag must be 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.

Ryanair’s head of communications Robin Kiely said: “We are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights, but can now enjoy a second small carry-on bag and reduced boarding card reissue fees for those who have checked-in online, along with easier website access, 24 hour grace periods and quiet flights, with further improvements set to be rolled out over the coming months.”

Twilight holidays, the weirdest thing ever?

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If you’re a twihard, like us, then here are some holidays you might want to to think about. From the rolling hills of Ireland to the breathtaking landscapes
of Italy, we’ve got the top trips for Twilight holidays.

Olympic Coven, Forks, Washington, USA

Home to the Cullens, Edward, with added Bella, Carlisle and Esme and (of course!) the newest edition, Renesmee, Forks has become a haven for Twilight fans. Of course, starting off with a Twilight tour is a must. A trip to Seattle nearby is a great family friendly choice; you can even visit the famous Space Needle, while Forks’ national park shows off the setting that inspired Stephanie Meyer.

Volturi Coven, Tuscany, Italy

Romance is alive and well in Tuscany of course, even if you don’t see much niceness from the Volturi themselves. Volterra is the home of the vampire royalty who’ve lived there for over 3000 years, enforcing their strict code of conduct. It might be home to a fictional vampire elite, but don’t let that put you off. It’s one of the most popular places in Europe to get married (think summer evenings, eating outdoors, fireworks and olive groves,) while the show stopping scenery and long, lazy days surrounded by sunshine and pasta make for a totally laidback holiday.

Egyptian Coven, somewhere in Egypt

Robert Pattinson

Egypt might reveal vampires pretty quickly – with all that sunshine, you couldn’t help but sparkle. For non-vamps, the historic homeland of one of Twilight’s oldest clans is an unbelievably beautiful experience. From snorkelling the clear waters of the Red Sea, to discovering the ancient historic sights of the King and Queens valleys.

Denali Coven, Alaska, USA

The Denalis are the Cullens’ closest friends and the only other known ‘vegetarian’ clan. Found in the wilds of Alaska, the Denalis must be making the most of the 67 days of night found in the northern American state. The untouched landscape and a trip to the (aptly named) Denali National Park, mean you can get close to nature and hike to your heart’s content.

Amazon Coven, Brazil

The ultimate in honeymoon destinations, Rio is where Edward and Bella kicked off their first holiday after their wedding and the stars Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart were the star attraction when they filmed there. The secretive Amazon coven, stays out of the way of humans, but you probably don’t need to worry about that. There’s a whole country worth of sights, sounds and smells to soak up in this Latin American gem.

Dublin, Ireland

Ireland Ireland’s capital city Dublin is a great introduction to the home of the Irish Coven with the vampires Maggie and Siobhan. It’s got that legendary nightlife, which is always helpful for vampires who are used to not sleeping. Head to the coast, either West or South, for the hip towns of Galway or Cork and indulge in some of the finest ‘craic’ this side of the Atlantic.

8 Reasons to visit Croatia this year

Daenerys

Game of Thrones If you’re still reeling from the Red Wedding, then how about a visit to King’s Landing itself to take your mind off it. Croatia’s beautiful capital Dubrovnik is the location for lots of shooting of GoT, and its three hour tour includes the scene of Stannis Baratheon’s Battle of the Blackwater and tales of the Starks, Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen as they battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. The new season of Game of Thrones is just one of the reasons to visit Croatia this year.

There is a feast of local culture scattered around Croatia, from the traditional embroidery of Dubrovnik, the street markets of Zagreb, the folk music of Istria or the ‘klapa’ singers of Split. It is sometimes said, people visit Croatia for the weather but stay for the culture. There is also a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Euprhasian Basilica in Porec, the historic city of Trogir and the Plitvice Lakes.

You Should Read… OMG! World’s Best Beaches

The perfect city break? Dubrovnik might just fit that template. A spotlessly clean, small and friendly city, the whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an upcoming favourite among European elite. The city walls make for breathtaking views and are an easy walk especially if you make it in the morning before it’s too hot. There are summer festivals throughout August, a wealth of history and museums, there are beaches and even some cliff jumping if you’re feeling up for it at Cafe Buza (ask for directions!)

Croatia

Image via @ emmequadro61

Discover a festival Croatia’s en route to being the edgy festival sister of Hungary, Spain or Portugal, offering plenty of home grown talent and big names this year. It’s more to do with cheap booze, chilled-out crowds, top DJs and beach or boat parties. Discover a Fresh Island on Pag in July, or celebrate the Unknown in Rovinj in September. Croatia holidays are perfect for combining sunshine and festivals in 2013.

Beach party like a boss Holidays in Croatia are synonymous with beach parties. One of the wildest, hottest and hippest beach clubs in Croatia, Carpe Diem in Hvar has restaurants, loads of pools, a creperie, long couches for relaxing on, and wooden umbrellas for a bit of extra luxury. It is worth spending a day and a night soaking up the atmosphere and partying until late.

Get naked It’s well known Croatia is one of the most nude friendly destinations in the world. Paradise Beach on the small island of Rab was established way back in 1934 and is a leading naturist beach. On top of that there are over 30 resorts for naturists throughout the 1,000 islands that make up the country.

Indulge in Heartbreak in Zagreb Heartbreak Museum Mend a broken heart, or at least know you’re not alone in your heartbreak, with a visit to Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships. Home to keepsakes from failed love affairs that have been donated to the cause, it’s less teddy bears and love letters, and more vials of cried tears, a glass horse and…an axe. There’s even a small cafe where you get pull yourself together after the emotional rollercoaster. Ćirilometodska 2, 10 000 Zagreb

You Should Read… Purple 10 really weird museums

Eat, drink and be merry Croatia’s a foodie haven, with a mix of traditional cuisine with added Hungarian, Italian and Austrian influences. On the coast you’ll find the freshest of fish, risottos and seafood pastas, combined with olives and salads. Further inland, you’ll find stews, and lamb roasted on the spit. There’s freshly brewed strong coffee available in most cafes, while a rakijas (a kind of local grappa) finishes off a night perfectly.

For more reasons to visit Croatia this year, you should read… Purple Hearts Dubrovnik City Guide

Purple Pick: June Holidays

Purple Pick: June Holidays

Majorca from above

Image via @ Tom Tolkien

Balmy in the Balearics Ideal for cheap family holidays, Majorca, one of the most famous of the Balearic Islands has a whopping 42 Blue Flag beaches, with calm, crystal clear waters, fantastic weather and lots of water parks that’ll keep children of all ages busy. June holidays in Majorca are also a good choice because it’s little before the summer crowds arrive, but you can still expect about eight hours of sunshine and highs of 27 degrees.

Grecian Getaway Obviously, the Greek Islands are firm favourites for cheap holidays in June, but don’t knock the charming Halkidiki coastline. Made of three ‘fingers’ jutting out of the mainland in the north, these offer something a little different. The beaches are nothing short of spectacular and you’ll find really great value holidays, especially for last minute bookings.

You should read… the six most terrifying rollercoaster rides in the world

City breakers June is a great time to take advantage of a quick city break somewhere in Europe. Barcelona has some great bars, a city beach and tonnes of hotels and apartments for a short break or a longer getaway. If you’re looking for a great summer festival, then Sonar at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona is the cutting edge choice. We like the idea of a boozy weekend in BCN so if you’re looking for the best bars in Barcelona, you should definitely include La Leo, on Calle Sant Charles 32, the tango themed Tinta Roja, Carrer de la Creu Molers 17 and the jazzy 23 Robadors in the Raval area.

Cuba calling The Caribbean is always a good choice, thanks to its year round great weather and brilliant value. Cuba is a top choice in June, where you can combine a bit of cultural discovery in the capital Havana, with the chilled and idyllic beaches of Varadero. Perfect for a honeymoon or a couple’s getaway.

You should read… Purple 10: get noticed on the beach

Trying out Turkey Antalya in Turkey is part city, part beach offering the best of both worlds. In June it won’t be hugely busy, but should still be warming up nicely so you can spend long, lazy days on the fabulous beaches, and nights out in the nearby clubs or eating out. There’s even the SunSplash Festival between 2-9 and featuring the likes of Gilles Petersen, Mad Professor and Jamie Lidell and a big emphasis on yoga, healthy living and foods. Find out more at their site here.

Clubbing in Cyprus Cyprus is excellent value for June holidays. If you want to party, the clubbing haven of Ayia Napa is a no-brainer. The nightlife is epic, there are countless bars, clubs and restaurants to suit every kind of music lover. We like the Castle Club, Club Ice and Club Sin. The beaches are made for long days of nursing a sore head, while if you’re feeling up to it, there is a top selection of water sports too like wind surfing, diving and surfing.

Image via @ Oscarparadela.com

Purple Pick: Crete Family Holidays

Chania

Family beaches

Marathi Beach is ideal for Crete family holidays with small children. It’s very protected, the water is calm and even in August when the famous Meltemi winds are high, this stays more sheltered than most. Grab your bucket and spade and head for the beach!

Elafonisi is a bit of a trek, but the water is clear and perfect and it’s great for swimming. About two hours from Chania, it’s well worth the day trip and the kids will love it.

Stalis Beach is very clean and just a short drive from Heraklion. Boasting the softest of sands and very clean waters. Just watch out if the wind picks up as the water can get a bit choppy.

You should read.. The best family friendly beaches in Crete

Time travel

The old town in Chania makes for a great afternoon of exploring. It’s a little touristy, but we’re willing to bet kids will enjoy watching the boats come in at the harbour, stopping for ice cream in a cafe and wandering the winding streets.

Knossos Palace is a huge site where kids can learn about life dating as far back as 1900 BC. The best option is to get a tour guide to show you around and enthral you and your kids with the legends of ancient Minoan society.

Food in Crete is a way of life. Cretans take their food very seriously. So why not head out for an evening enjoying local favourites like dakos, dolmades or bougatsa for breakfast.

You should read… What to eat in Crete

Days Out

There are thousands of caves dotted throughout the island; Head for Dikteon Cave, on the Lassithi Plateau in the east of Crete, where legend has it Zeus was born. It’s open every day, so if you get fed up of the beach, it’s an obvious choice.

The Museum of Sea Life in Rethymno is located in a former abbey and has a huge display of all kinds of fish, fossils and shells, offering a good afternoon out.

Hike a gorge definitely one for more active or older children, Crete is actually home to several spectacular gorges. There are routes right along the coast and although some of them can be tough, it’s well worth it for the views out to see. Head for the Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s longest at 18km.

The Aquaworld Aquarium and Reptile Rescue Centre in Hersonissos is the perfect way to discover the underwater world. Learn about the marine life of Crete with hundreds of fish and reptiles, get your picture taken with an unusual reptile and get up close and personal with a shark.

Water Parks

Aqua Plus in Hersonissos has tonnes of water rides to suit all ages. Just check out the names they’ve given the rides, how could anyone resist giving the Acquaslalom, Black Holes, Kamikaze Hydrotube or Crazy River a go?

WaterCity in Heraklion is the largest water park on the island. Offering 36 different slides, pools and amusements, as well as a couple of bars and restaurants, you can spend all day long here and not get tired.

Image via @ gterez

Purple Tips: Costa Brava Family Holidays

Purple Tips: Costa Brava Family Holidays

For anyone looking for a great, cheap family holiday on the Mediterranean’s wonderful coastlines coastlines, beautiful coves and transparent waters, the Costa Brava family holidays are the ones to consider. There are plenty of resorts, ranging from easy on your pocket to the lap of luxury, many specialising in family friendly fun. Of course, that’s in addition to the charming local towns and villages, stunning natural scenery and golden sandy beaches with shallow waters, little rock pools to explore and great facilities.

At the beach

Image via @ KevinKrejci

Beaches

Tamriu is quite a sheltered beach so it’s a great place to relax with your children. A handful of tasty local restaurants offer good value children’ts menus, while it’s only a couple of minutes drive from Begur or Palafrugell.

The beach of Playa de Pals near L’Estartit is an excellent family friendly choice. A huge stretch of sand, there is lots of room for fun and games, and great child friendly eateries and shops. Just be aware that it can get a little rough when the wind picks up.

Water Sports

You’ll find any number of water sports schools and shops right along the coast. If you are travelling with teenagers, maybe they’ll be interest in snorkelling, scuba diving or sea kayaking. For something a little more group orientated, a glass bottom boat trip doesn’t exactly count as a water sport, but is still a nice afternoon out and a lovely way to spend Costa Brava Family holidays.

Theme Parks

The AquaDiver park in Platja d’Aro has wave pools, rapids and lots of rides and pools dedicated to children. The pancake house, picnic spots and relaxed pine forest surroundings means mum and dad will enjoy it too.

Aqua Brava is home to Europe’s biggest wave pool, as well as impressive water rides like the Kamikaze, the Black Hole or the Anaconda, a huge river rafting adventure. For smaller children, the Kid’s Lagoon and Island is a good choice, while a restaurant and pizzeria will keep energy levels up.

We’re not sure where this idea originated from, but Gnomo Park in Lloret de Mar is a fun day out, especially for babies, thanks to a specially adapted area. For older children there’s bowling, trampolining, and quad bikes and as the name suggests a dedicated Gnome Farm.

You Should Read… Purple Tips: The Best in Family Fun on the Costa del Sol.

On land

The Cap de Creus National Park is a great choice for hiking and exploring, there are hidden coves and lovely flora and fauna to discover. There is horse riding a plenty, paintballing, geocaching, mountain biking and quad biking found throughout the region if your kids are into lots of activities. The Tren Turistic is also a good choice for children, the old fashioned ‘train’ has been giving tours right along the coast from Roses for years and is a nice way of soaking up the scenery.

Resorts

Where to stay, Lloret de Mar for its lovely seaside scenery and great transport connections. It’s also a good place for walking thanks to the woods that surround the town. Tossa de Mar, a fortified old town, is ideal for sun, sea and sand with a little bit extra in the form of great restaurants offering children’s menus and a couple of bars and clubs for older teens. Estartit might be one of the most popular family resorts in the area and has been accommodating British tourists for years. There is a huge range of hotels, apartments and restaurants to suit every budget.

Enjoy 2014 Costa Brava Family holidays with Purple Travel!

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 the 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 Tips: Make 2014 April Holidays Amazing

We’ve put together our list of the best 2014 April holidays to help you find the ultimate city break, some slightly off-season sunshine or where the kids will have the most fun on a midterm break holiday, and remember, this year Easter Sunday falls on April 20th, so book early to avoid missing out. If you have any other 2014 April Holidays ideas we would love to hear about them in the comments below. Enjoy!

April Holidays from Purple Travel

Sunshine in springtime The Aegean coast of Turkey is usually pretty reliable for weather in April. Try Bodrum, or Kusadasi for days lazing in the gentle sunshine and sightseeing. Plus since it’s early in the season, it won’t be too crowded and there are plenty of cheap deals. Average temperatures: 17°

No rain in Spain The beautiful coastline of Costa de la Luz in Spain, is a top choice for a little early sunbathing, while the always reliable Canary Islands usually hit the early 20s and offer 10 hours of sunshine per day. If you want really hot in April head for Marrakech, one of the liveliest and most fun cities in Morocco, where temperatures usually hit around 26° in April.

Cities of Culture Umea in Sweden and Riga in Latvia are the chosen European capitals of culture for 2014. Umea in Sweden describes itself as a ‘window of Europe’, with a programme dedicated to co-creation, so expect a range of art, culture and music projects throughout the city.  While the Latvian capital will host events like a human chain symbolically transferring books from the old city library to the Palace of Light and the Latvian National Operas performances of the Ring Cycle.

Cherry Blossom ceiling The Japanese city of Tokyo will be in the middle of its cherry blossom season so get moving for unforgettable 2014 April holidays. The whole city is filled with blooms which are celebrated with hanami, or parties in the park, which honour the flowers. April temperatures in Tokyo can rise to about 20°.

A night less ordinary Book a night in the Lego Hotel in Legoland California. On April 5th the hotel will celebrate its first birthday so there’ll be plenty of brick themed fun! As well as that it’s the perfect time to head for a holiday in sunny California, USA and make the most of a night hotel that is a serious treat for your inner geek. Average temperatures are around 17°.

Nothing but Sunshine For 2014 April sunshine holidays, we like Mexico. Ok, so the Caribbean is always reliable, but you can’t go wrong with an average of 27° everyday. In the area of Riviera Maya, you can take your pick of resorts with white sandy beaches, all inclusive hotels and brilliant sunshine. Or visit somegreat local scenery like the famous cenotes or the mysterious Mayan stronghold of Chichen Itza. What more could you ask for?

Hit the festival circuit April is more or less the start of music festival season – but as Easter falls in April this year, there are many cultural and traditional festivals that are well worth consider for April holidays. In Greece in April the weather is already mild and sunny and as Easter is one of the biggest dates in the calendar it’s the perfect time to visit. Crete is reliable for temperatures around 20°. Or you could try to visit a village – where whole families will work to hand-roast a whole lamb or kid-goat over an open fire. On the island off Chios a fireworks fight happens between rival churches, while Patmos is filled with devotees.

Go beyond the usual Sri Lanka is topping many of the must-see places to go in 2014 probably thanks to British Airways’ launch of regular flights between Gatwick and Colombo. The island country is, well, exquisite. The perfect white beaches, the stunning natural scenery, the thrilling atmosphere. All the ingredients you need for an amazing April getaway. The average temperature in Sri Lanka in April is around 25°.

Get Glamping glamour and camping are probably not words you expect to go together but that’s all set to change thanks to the gentle roughing it experience in Portugal. We don’t mean old tents with leaky roofs, this Glamping lark is state of the art, lounging balconies, luxury tubs and breakfast in a four poster bed. The average temperatures for the Algarve in April is 17°.

Stag and Hen If the tough job of organising a stag do or hen party in April has fallen to you, never fear for Purple Travel is here! Our dedicated team has been finding out the best and busiest destinations at any time of year for you and your hens or stags to have as messy a night out as you want. We like Benidorm (well, any time of year!) and Albufeira in Portugal. Just remember, what happens on tour stays on tour.

Book your 2014 April holidays now with the experts at Purple Travel.

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