Category - Off the beaten track

Go off the beaten track with Purple Travel and have the most incredible holiday experience.

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Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015
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Get inspired: Fireworks festivals around the world
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Unusual Holidays – Abandoned Hotels From Around The Globe
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Off The Beaten Track: What is Glamping
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Off the beaten track: Sicily Holidays – Turkish Steps
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Switzerland Holidays: Worlds steepest cogwheel railway
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Off the beaten track: Lencois Maranhenses, a desert filled with lakes
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Off the beaten track: Setenil de las Bodegas – A town within the rocks
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Snowbombing 2014: The hottest ski holiday you’ll ever have
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Off the beaten track: Cano Cristales, the River of Five Colours

Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015

Looking ahead for next year’s summer holiday? If you’re after something more authentic but still have a budget to stick to then Purple Travel have picked the best cheap holidays in emerging and undiscovered destinations that won’t hurt your bank balance.

Essaouira, Morocco

Cheap_holidays_Essaouira_Purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Fabio Gismondi

With many tourists flocking to visit the souks of Marrakech or the budget-friendly holiday destination of Agadir towards the north, there lies a little secret a bit more south of this and it’s called Essaouira and really comes at no extra cost either. We can tell you that it is truly one of the most beautiful Atlantic coastal towns that is renowned for being more laid-back than its more popular neighbours. The best time to visit is in Spring and Autumn, before and after Ramadan. Film lovers will be especially pleased to hear that Essaouira has been the setting of Orson Welles’ Othello and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. While outdoor enthusiasts will love the choice of low cost activities and water sports available. Due to a renewed interest in Morocco, chic boutiques and quirky riads have been popping up all over the place, making Essaouira the new cheap and chic place to stay. It is also close to Marrakech for those who want to combine a beach holiday and a city break. Those interested in world music will be pleased to hear that Essaouira plays host to two music festivals. The Essaouira Alizes Festival in April which showcases classic and contemporary Moroccan music and the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June where local and international artists come together for dancing, music and culture.

Mahdia, Tunisia

cheap_holidays_mahdia_purpletravel.co.uk Image via @ Christopher Rose

Taking a cue from its North African neighbour, Tunisia has new offerings for tourists who want simple and charming experiences and friendly prices. Since Tunisia is more of a newcomer on the block than Morocco it is actually more affordable. Mahdia just south of the busy resort of Monastir, is a coastal city associated with the fishing silk weaving and olive industries. It is certainly one of Tunisia’s most picturesque cities and has many historic attractions such as the ruins of the ancient city of Punic, the Fatimid port, the first Fatimid mosque (dating back to the 10th century) and an Ottoman port (16th century). If you book a cheap holiday to Tunisia it means you have more cash to splash on activities such as diving and Mahdia surely is Tunisia’s top diving site and wreck diving in particular. Holidays in Mahdia are great for honeymooners and great for first-time visitors to Tunisia who will get a taste of this exotic country without being overwhelmed.

Yalikavak, Turkey

cheap_holidays_Yalkiavak_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @ Sue Kellerman

Yalikavak is a harbourside town with an ultra-modern marina yet has still managed to maintain a small and sleepy exterior – so far. I’ts located on the Bodrum peninsula not too far from the bigger resort of Bodrum itself. Visitors looking for cheap holidays to Turkey will be more than pleased by Yalikavak’s offerings. The small sandy beaches are perfect for spending days in the sun and so far many beaches remain uncrowded, perfect for families. For extra beauty, lay on the beach until sunset and see the sun drop behind the horizon. The market at Yalikavak draws people from all over the Bodrum peninsula, seeking out shopping bargains on retail items but also on fresh produce but to get a bargain be prepared to haggle.

Montenegro

cheap_holidays_montenegro_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Amira_a

Taking a spot all of its own is the country of Montenegro, this is perhaps definitely the most off the beaten track destination in our list. Budva, is the poster child of tourism here and there’s good reason why. Explore the atmospheric old town before parking yourself down on one of the 35 beaches. By night Budva transforms itself with numerous beachside bars so if you’re in for a night on the tiles then Budva is the place to be and really may not be suitable for families. Elsewhere along the Riviera and in other resorts Montenegro has remained quieter and more atmospheric. For example the Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and Kotor itself is an ancient fortified town with UNESCO World Heritage status. Further down the coast from Budva is the Montenegrin south coast where you’ll find Ulcinj, a predominantly ethnically Albanian town with a splendid location, for exploring the south of the country.

The Undiscovered Algarve

cheap_holidays_olhao_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Nicola Holtkamp

Tourists have been visiting the Algarve for years and years but away from the busy airport, golf resorts, and really cheap package deals lies something more authentic. Olhao, a small fishing village is a perfect example of the cultural mix that can be found in Southern Portugal thanks to the maritime hisotry and Moorish occupation. Olhao is known for its square-shaped whitewashed houses with Moorish features. In the late 18th century, the town was flourishing and so local people started to build new houses in a Moorish style. Another draw of Olhao is the chance to take a watertaxi to peaceful offshore beaches such as Armona, Farol and Culatra. Away from the coast lies Monchique, a forested market town known for its production of aguardiente, a potent brandy and the perfect base to explore the Algarve’s lesser known inland beauty.

 

Get inspired: Fireworks festivals around the world

We may be the only country to celebrate the fact that a king survived an attempt on his life by lighting bonfires and fireworks, and continue to celebrate this over 400 years later, but we aren’t the only ones to commemorate a historical event using fireworks. Guy Fawkes Night is fast approaching and while you’re probably prepping for a big bonfire and making sure you have plenty of sparklers to go round, let’s take a lot at some fireworks  festivals throughout the world which could provide you with inspiration for your next holiday.

Fourth of July Celebrations – U.S.A.

Fourth of July is a holiday that celebrates the founding of America, therefore it’s fitting that some of the best fireworks displays happen in the capital, Washington, D.C. There are also many, many superb displays in New York. Grab a free view of fireworks from Brooklyn Bridge Park, or book yourself on a cruise and see the firworks from the water. Let’s not forget the family firm favourite that is Disney World, Florida. Fourth of July celebrations there capture the true spirit of America, their fireworks celebration is not simply a fireworks display but is hailed as a “concert in the sky”.

Fireworks_Disney_Purpletravel.co.uk Image via @Tom Bricker Read More

Unusual Holidays – Abandoned Hotels From Around The Globe

For many reasons some resorts and hotels become abandoned whether due to political or economical situations. Can you imagine what these places were like in their heyday? Occupied rooms, people splashing about in the pool or lazing on sun loungers, a queue forming in the bar or hotel lobby, chatty diners in the restaurants. Now, all the people are gone and all that’s left are the buildings in ruins. While you obviously can’t stay at these resorts there is a growing number of tourists who like to take unusual holidays and travel close to these resorts to explore the abandoned buildings.

1.Bokor Palace Hotel And Casino – Cambodia

Bokor Hill Station in Cambodia was a resort built by French colonists in the 1920s and the epitome of the splendour found there was the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino. Around 1000 people died during the construction of the hotel, only for the Europeans to flee the area in the 1940s due to political instability. It was used intermittently up until the 1990s when it was abandoned for good. Bokor Hill Station is now a popular tourist attraction and even though not even 100 years old the hotel looks much older than this. Locals in the area won’t enter as it is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of those who lost their lives trying to build it.

1017091852_c44b13d0f4_oImage via Matthew Klein

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Off The Beaten Track: What is Glamping

Thanks to Patrick, an expert glamper who gave us the lowdown on what is glamping! Turns out it’s a cool mix of camping and glamour, no buddy boots here!

Glamping 1

Glamping … it’s a funny new word. It’s actually two words mixed together which I’ve always found quirky in itself, but what makes this one really stand out is the fact that it’s actually two concepts rolled into one as well. And those two concepts – I imagined – were entirely contradictory. I couldn’t be more wrong! And the word isn’t funny really; it’s the concept that just makes you want to smile all day long.

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Off the beaten track: Sicily Holidays – Turkish Steps

Sicily Holidays: Turkish Steps

One of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the world is found where else but on the warm shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Sicily Turkish Steps are on the coast of the beautiful Italian Island and offer a one-off experience on great Sicily holidays. The rocky cliff face is famous for its unusual colouring, the bright white, which derives from sedimentary rocks and sits between two beautiful, sandy beaches. Visitors and locals are impressed alike when standing at this gorgeous piece of Sicilian coast.

Sicily Holidays: Turkish Steps 2

Images via @ Wim Kristel, Sandy Kirchlechner,  

We are talking about the stunning Scala dei Turchi, the English translation of which is Turkish steps. This superb geological formation is one of the most popular places to visit in Sicily. The first thing you’ll see when reaching the area is high rocks of white colour in the shape of steps and crowds of people lying and soaking up the sun, while others are swimming in the turquoise waters underneath. The beach is mainly famous for its natural sun loungers made of limestone and overlooking the sea and Africa, as well as the stunning natural landscape of Sicily.

Switzerland Holidays: Worlds steepest cogwheel railway

Looking for things to do on Switzerland holidays. If so then this is a must-try experience which you will never forget. Railway company Pilatus in Switzerland takes you from Alpnachstad lake in Lucerne to the top of Pilatus mountain, which is 2.073m high on the worlds steepest cogwheel railway. Warning though! It’s not for the faint-hearted

Switzerland holidays: cogwheel railway

Image via @ Marcin Wichary, Sky Eckstrom

Unique Switzerland Holidays

The train goes over 1600m uphill with a speed of only 4.6km. The world’s steepest cogwheel railway winds up through lush meadows carpeted with Alpine flowers, past sparkling mountain streams and fascinating rock faces. Switzerland holidays, whether you choose to go to this part of Switzerland or not are full of stunning mountain and lakeside scenery.

So if you went…would you dare travelling?

Off the beaten track: Lencois Maranhenses, a desert filled with lakes

The Lencois Maranhenses National Park is in northeastern Brazil. The thing that makes it special is that, although it’s 1500 square kilometres of desert, the white sands are broken up by small lakes.

Lencois Maranhenses 1

Lencois Maranhenses (The bedsheets of Maranhão) is considered to be absolutely unique among any other deserts on the planet, due to its high level of rainfall, which is 300 times higher than the rainfalls in Sahara desert. The strange thing is, that the rain water is stored between the huge dunes, keeping lakes of crystal clear waters that attract tourists from all over the world every year. It’s hard to get anymore off the beaten track than here!

Lencois Maranhenses 2

All images via @ Miradas.com.br  and Diogo R. Moraes

Off the beaten track: Setenil de las Bodegas – A town within the rocks

An absolutely unique town, Sentenil de las Bodegas is built on top of, within and underneath might rock structures, creating multi-level streets, and tiny winding alleyways. the 3,000 inhabitants of Setenil de las Bodegas in Cadiz, Spain seem to enjoy living in a gorge cut out of a mountain.

setenil delas botegas

Even if you think it’s a bit weird, there’s no arguing with history, the town has had residents for thousands of years, from when they first started to carve their homes out of the sides of the mountain. Most are built under the cliff or into the hillside, creating spacious homes that always stay at the right temperature.

Setenil_de_las_Bodegas

All images via @ Klinne

Snowbombing 2014: The hottest ski holiday you’ll ever have

Forest 2_grad

For anyone who loves snowboarding, skiing, and all things off piste, as well as knocking back the Schnapps, putting on ridiculous costumes and dancing on all night, then we want to let you in a little secret: it’s called Snowboming 2014 and it’s happening in Mayrhofen, Austria 7-12 April 2014.

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The huge snow sport/music hybrid has just announced its latest headliners who’ll be taking to the snowy stages. The 25 million record selling Prodigy will head the Forest Stage for an awesome adrenaline fuelled night. Joining the party is The Chemical Brothers (DJ set), Chase & Status are bringing their dubstep infused beats, Rudimental will hit the slopes and Groove Armada round out the line up that also includes Four Tet, Daphni and Anthony Naples.

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If you still can’t get your head around the idea, let us fill you in: Snowbombing is a festival that focuses on the random. All day the slopes are filled with skiers and boarders of all abilities improving their skills or relaxing at the spa of a 5* hotel.

Arctic Disco // Snowbombing 2012

After night falls, the best musicians and DJs fill unique stages across the mountains, including an igloo on top of the world and an enchanted forest! Snowbombing is heading into its 15th year, so you know it’s doing something right, especially when it gets reviews like: “The Greatest Show on Snow.”

For more info on tickets check out Snowbombing.com. All images courtesy of Snowbombing 2014.

Off the beaten track: Cano Cristales, the River of Five Colours

Cano Cristales is an impressive river in Serrania de la Macarena in Colombia. It is often called the “River of Five Colours”, “The Liquid Rainbow” or even “The most beautiful River in the World”, thanks to its amazing colours, such as yellow, green, blue, black and the cheerful red of the plant Macarenia clavigera, which is found on the riverbed and makes the river so unique and wonderful.

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Images via @ www.metrogreece.gr

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