Search Results For -goa

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Purple 10: Best Spa Destinations
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Purple 10: Best Summer Festivals
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Foodie Corner: Eat Crete food like a local
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Luxury Living: The world’s best cheese
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Foodie Corner: What to eat in Gambia
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Foodie Corner: Food Ibiza Spain
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Foodie Corner: Istanbul Food Guide
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Purple Hearts: Tenerife Spain
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Purple Hearts… Dalaman Holidays 2014
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Alternative Christmas Holidays

Purple 10: Best Spa Destinations

A wise man once said “when we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” Well, he probably never had a good rub down or a facial, since none our handpicked, amazing hotels existed at the time. Sneak a peek and feel that quiet and relaxing holiday that awaits for you just a short flight from the UK in our post about the best spa destinations 2014.
Mosaic hotel
#1 The Vine Hotel, 5* Funchal, Madeira Described by its owners as “a hotel with soul, just like good wine,” it does not come as a surprise that this stylish, sophisticated hotel relies heavily on the affluent heritage of the local wine industry. Specialising in Vinotherapy – a rejuvenating massage using grape oils and only natural ingredients – it helps carry your skin to spirits high. Not forgetting that wine is also meant to be enjoyed the old-fashioned way, one can enjoy a glass (or two) of local Chardonnay atop the beautiful Panoramic Bar overlooking the city.

#2 Corallium Spa Costa Meloneras, 4* Gran Canaria, Spain Inspired by the natural volcanic conditions of the island, the Corallium Spa blends old and new by utilising the latest technologies in hydrotherapy, music therapy and aromatherapy among other techniques. Set on a modern spacious site of over 3500m, it offers tailored treatments from all over the world including Shiatsu, or Indian Head Massage, body treatments from the Dead Sea and of course its infamous “Womb Room”, a unique, copper-red area that is said to simulate the absolute peace an unborn baby feels in its mother’s belly.
#3 Eden Andalou Aquapark & Spa, 5* Marrakech, Morocco Deep in the heart of Morocco, Marrakech is a city lost in time with its mosques, markets and palaces. To really feel that off-the-beaten track atmosphere, we suggest heading for one of Eden’s two traditional hammams before taking a relaxing swim at its sensory heated pool boasting a unique zen-like feeling.. The hotel also offers a vast Balneotherapy (massage through moving water) area where a team of professionals will ensure that though your body will eventually leave these mysterious lands, your mind will linger around just a little bit longer.
#4 One & Only, 5* Reethi Rah, The Maldives Overlooking the Indian Ocean, this majestic getaway is a secluded heaven surrounded by coral atolls, white sands and lagoons. The Maldives, an enchanting string of 1,200 islands, is the epitome of an exotic, relaxed destination. With swirling vitality pools, crystal steam rooms, saunas and ice fountains, the very aptly named One & Only Reethi Rah is the very definition of a tropical paradise.
#5 Anassa Hotel, 5* Latchi, Cyprus Anassa literally translates to “queen” from ancient Greek, but in modern Greek it stands for “breath,” which is also highly appropriate given that this wonderful, luxurious hotel, with its classical minimal architecture in earthy blue and white tones, will take your breath away. A luxurious choice for honeymoon or couples getaway, it is a roman-style spa that will take you back to the ancient times and its eclectic selection of Mediterranean delicacies will make you feel like an emperor.
#6 Taj Exotica, 5* Goa, India Far from the maddening crowds of the popular resorts in the northern strip, the Taj Exotica lies on the southwest coast of Goa overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built amongst lush beautiful gardens, the hotel complex offers a unique collection of villas, Mediterranean-style facilities and family friendly activities. Its gorgeous spa facilities, designed around the traditional Indian temple styles, offer a vast range of therapies and treatments to take your body and soul to a magical, faraway place.
#7 Abama Golf & Spa Resort, 5* Tenerife, Spain An imposing presence on a 160 hectare private estate,, the Abama Resort prides itself as being built on a privileged location that enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other place in Spain. Featuring volcanic landscapes, a wide range of rare plant life and breathtaking views, this is the perfect destination for those who like to walk (or golf, if its name was not subtle enough) among a beautiful natural scenery. Its world reknowned facilities offer tailor-made treatments and packages to suit your individual needs, whether it is to relax, feel pretty or get rid of those excess pounds.
#8 Porto Zante Villas & Spa, 5* Zante, Greece Zante is mostly known as a party destination for youngsters, but far away from the bustling boozefest of Laganas lies the award winning Porto Zante. It’s a true haven for those who’d rather combine the crystal clear waters with the privacy and space of a truly mesmerising hotel. Mixing exotic spices and local herbs, the spa offers an extensive variety of innovative treatments and special massage techniques. Afterhours visitors can enjoy the beautiful sunset at the relaxed beachfront restaurant facing the never ending Ionian sea.
#9 Vogue Hotel Avant Garde, 5* Antalya, Turkey Situated in the busy seaside resort of Kemer on the Gulf of Antalya, the Vogue is a modern, luxury hotel with 347 rooms, suites, villas and penthouses. Its spa has, rather fittingly, an Ottoman themed aura and includes a large variety of turkish baths, steamrooms, jacuzzis, aromatic showers and massage rooms. The Turks did it first, so who are we to argue? To complete the eastern experience, one can sample varieties of local drinks and herbal teas at the dedicated spa Vito-Bar.
#10 Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa, 5* Hurghada, Egypt Close to the shores of the Red Sea, an area blessed with eternal summer, one can find the highly acclaimed Premier Le Reve. With extensive landscaped grounds that offer a beautiful vista and exceptional service, this hotel is among the most popular luxury destinations in Egypt. It offers an astonishing sky pool with a spectacular glass dome (that keeps the water warm using natural sunlight) and vast hammam and relaxation areas that would make even Tutankhamun jealous.

Call the experts now on 0207 993 9228 to find out more about spa holidays this year.

Purple 10: Best Summer Festivals

It’s hard to choose, but we’ve picked our top 10 best summer festivals. Any we’ve missed, add in the comments below.

Poster for festivals

1. Coachella April 12-14/April 19-21, Califronia, USA. Tickets around $349 for a three day pass. Where the beautiful people of rock, pop and movies go to see and be seen. Run over two weekends, this years lineup is UK heavy, with the Stone Roses, the XX, New Order and Johnny Marr joining the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse and Sigur Ros amongst others. The festival in the dessert is all about sunshine and surprises: last year Tupac Shakur appeared in hologram form to perform with Dr Dre.

2. Primavera Sound Music Festival 22-26 May, Barcelona, Spain. Tickets €145 for a festival pass. This is one for serious musos. My Bloody Valentine are riding the coattails of their surprise album release with a string of dates and will headline Primavera along with Blur, Nick Cave, Tinariwen and Wu-Tang Clan.

3. Electric Daisy Carnival New York 17-19 May NYC, USA. Tickets $159. No lineup announced yet, no official updates on the website either, but we’re pretty sure the annual electro dance fest is one to watch. 2012 saw Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Avicii and Steve Angello headline.

4. Roskilde Music Festival 29 June-7 July, Denmark. Tickets DKR 1810.00. One of the biggest and best festivals in Europe, Roskilde actually does it all for charity. All profits go to a different chosen charity every year. So, not only will you have a good time watching Slipknot or, eh, Rihanna but you can enjoy the fact it’s for a good cause too.

5. Electric Elephant 11-15 July, Tisno, Croatia. Tickets TBA. Set in a natural amphitheatre, on a white sandy beach, surrounded by warm, crystal clear waters, Electric Elephant is about as far away from mudbath Glastonbury as you would imagine. We don’t know much about the lineup apart from Mr Scruff, but we do know, there’ll be boat parties, sunshine and handy apartments on site.

6. Positivus Festival 19-21 July, Salcgrava Latvia. Tickets LVL 39.00. A pretty good option for a cheap festival circuit experience, this has an eclectic mix of acts and a great atmosphere among its 20,000 + revellers. Sigur Ros are already confirmed to headline with more TBC in the next few weeks.

7. Sziget Festival 5-12 August, Obuda Island, Hungary. Tickets €229. A good option for non muddy camping, usually the weather is perfect for 7 days of nonstop partying, 60 venues, 200 acts daily, and lots of non music acts like a circus. Hadouken! Boys Noize, Azealia Banks, Blur and Triggerfinger have already been announced for Hungary’s finest festival.

8. Pinkpop Festival 14-16 June, Ladgraaf, the Netherlands. Tickets €165. Going into its 41st year, the Dutch have gotten this festival down to a fine art. The festival has sold out 20 times in its four decade history, so better get booking soon. An average of 60,000 head to the site each year and this year looks like it’s no different with Green Day, the Script and Ben Howard already announced.

9. Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 30 October-3 November, Reykjavik, Iceland. Tickets KR 18.500. Any festival in Iceland is going to be a bit different; they did give us Bjork after all! Already on the bill are Gold Panda, Goat, Fatima Al Qadiri and church organ magician Anna Von Hasswolff are set to play at the festival, where, by 4am, “You’ve been to five cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You’re tired. You’re wired. You’re ready to find a bed. You’re ready to find the after-party. You can’t believe you’re here. You’re already making plans to come back next year. And guess what? It’s still Day One.”

10. Super Bock Super Rock 18-20 July, Sesimbra, Portugal. Tickets €48-80. Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA, and the Killers are headlining the huge rock fest that started in 1994; it’s since become one of the most kick-ass gigs in the country, drawing huge crowds and big names.

For the best prices on flights and accommodation for all kinds of festivals, call one of our travel experts now on 0207 993 9228.

Foodie Corner: Eat Crete food like a local

Who doesn’t absolutely love Crete? Once you’ve been we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it, so here’s a little extra inspiration, especially for you expert foodie types (and beginners) on what to eat in Crete.

Cretan food is not just food, it is mouth-watering temptation, it’s twice baked breads and oozing cheeses, honey drenched sweets and rich flavours, slow cooked meats and the freshest fish you can imagine. It’s more than just food, it’s Cretan food!

Cretan food is entrenched in the culture, Greeks themselves talk about Cretan food in haloed terms, and sharing as you eat is a big aspect. Families tend to gather and enjoy many plates over many hours, as they talk, eat, laugh and drink. It’s a really wonderful experience whether you want a whole sit down feast, or simply snacking for a few hours in the sunshine. So, here’s our beginner’s guide to Cretan gastronomy.

Perfect Greek Salad from PurpleTravel.co.ukImage via @ Curious Food Lover

Dinner

Dakos: This is a very typical dish, kind of like a bruschetta. It’s a traditional dried bread, baked several times. On top you add some chopped tomato, high quality Cretan olive oil, lots of cheese and oregano and hey presto! It’s the perfect snack on those hot days.

Dolmades: These are probably one of the most famous dishes in Greece, stuffed vine leaves. They are a little tricky to make, but when you get the good ones, they are really good. It’s usually prepared with a mix of rice, herbs and meat, wrapped inside grape leaves. Totally delicious.

Cheese: There are so many types; you could say Crete is famous for its cheese. How about kefalotiri, a firm goat’s cheese, graviera, a slightly salty cheese made of sheep milk, mizithra, made from sheep’s milk or anthotiro, that changes from mild and soft when fresh and becomes saltier as it hardens. A great idea is to walk through one of the locals and get some samples in. Of course a simple Greek salad, horiatiki will always tickle your tastebuds.

Meat: Crete is food heaven for meat eaters. Lamb, kid and pork cooked in a myriad of different ways until utterly tender and delicious are some of our favourites, while a local special you shouldn’t miss is kohlious boubouristous (snails), fried in tomato sauce for a delicious treat.

Vegetables: Although Crete might not be the first place you think of for vegetarian fare, the variety of absolutely fresh, locally grown produce is a real treat, and many dishes (e.g. dolmades) can be served in meat free versions. The kolokythokeftedes or fried zucchini dipped in a mountain of tzatiki will impress the most hardened carnivore.

Dessert

Loukoumades: these are little handmade donut balls, fried in oil and served with lashings of honey and cinnamon. They are divine and possibly my favourite Crete food!

Bougatsa: you’ll find lots of pastries on offer in Crete and this simple filo filled with cream and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon makes an indulgent breakfast treat.

Kalitsounia (sweet): The sweet version of kalitsounia or lyhnarakia is made of home made pastry filled with mizithra or anthotyro, cinnamon and sugar.

To drink

Krasi or Cretan wine: Crete is one of the biggest producers of wine in Greece. It goes back 2000 years, and is essential with meals where you order by the kilo. That’ll certainly keep you going over a couple of courses!

Raki (or Tsikoudia): You couldn’t go to Crete and not sample at least a little drop of the local firewater, Raki. This potent but smooth little number will knock your socks off and makes a delightful digestif after a big meal.

To check out just how good fresh bougatsa or buckets of Raki can be, check out Purple Travel’s cheap holidays to Crete.

Luxury Living: The world’s best cheese

From fresh to aged, smoked to salty, stinky to sweet, good cheese can come in many forms. The options vary even further when it comes to the milk options – cow, goat, sheep, even buffalo – with their country of origin playing a massive role in overall flavour. But where can you go to find the best of the best? We’ve tracked down the world’s best cheeses to inspire even the most discerning of cheese-lovers.


Parmigiano Reggiano
, Parma, Italy | Probably the most-loved cheese in human history, everything about the culture and recipe of Parmesan is a testament to nutritional ingenuity. The creation process is one of the world’s most sophisticated and efficient technologies, developing a saliva-inducing flavor that adds depth to almost any dish.

Roquefort, Les Causses; France | Roquefort  is the best of the blues for a number of reasons: Charlemagne loved it, its pasty texture makes it a great mix of spreadable and hackable, and its use of sheep’s milk over cow’s makes for a lingering richness. For the best of the best, try smaller producers such as Coulet, Papillion, and Carles.

brie-melun-fromage-aoc-420033-jpg_282339

Brie de Melun, Ile-de-France, France | Not just for Christmas, Brie is a universally popular cheese and the most famous of the soft ripened category. A word of caution though – the real, raw milk brie is made in Ile-de-France, and more specifically, the village of Melun. Rustic, earthy and nutty at the same time.

Gruyère, Fribourg, Switzerland | This cooked-curd alpine cheese is one of the most famous cheeses in the world, with a pliable texture and strong intensity of flavour. A noticeably nutty, yet buttery tang stems from propionic acid, while the more well-aged tend to posses small, crunchy pieces of crystallising protein.

Stichelton, Nottinghamshire, England | Real Stilton, Britain’s beloved blue, is made with raw milk, which provides a nutty, rich flavour.

Mozzarela di Bufala, Naples, Italy | While mozzarella is everywhere (on almost every pizza, in sandwiches and sparingly placed on pasta dishes), fresh handmade mozzarella is of course something completely different from its rubbery, overused neighbour.  And if this is true, then di Bufala is not even on the same planet. Water Buffalo from farms in Naples are milked to make this incredible cheese.

FetaGreece | While a pickled cheese may seem odd, true Greek Feta, made from sheep’s milk and salt, is a delicious and distinctive cheese that makes a great salad condiment.

English Farmhouse CheddarSomerset, England | A classic. Cheddar, deriving from the west country of England, is an EU protected cheese that’s a far cry from the supermarket variety.  Meaty and salty at the same time, what’s not to love?

RoncalNavarre, SpainIn the thirteen villages of the Roncal valley of Navarre, Roncal cheese has been made using the same recipe for the past 3,000 years.  Made from sheep’s milk, it smells a lot like buttered popcorn, with a taste that lingers long after its been swallowed.

Book your cheese holiday with Purple Travel today by calling 02079939228.

Purple Travel Tip: Swiss cheesemakers have won The World Champion Cheese Contest for the past three years, however for 2012,  it was a low-fat Gouda named Vermeer from Friesland Campina, a company based in Wolvega, Netherlands, that took top honours.

Foodie Corner: What to eat in Gambia

Known as the smiling coast, Gambia has a lot to make people happy. Maybe it’s the near perfect weather, how about the endless stretches of golden sandy beaches, or the way the local people go out of their way to make your stay better.

But for many, it’s simply a matter of food. With a rich selection of ingredients and traditional cooking, Gambian cuisine is about as mouth watering as it gets. Here’s the Purple Travel guide for what to eat in Gambia.

foodImage via @ Xavi Talleda

Chicken Yassa

A ‘must-eat’ this is made with chicken or (a little confusingly) fish and rice. It’s packed with fresh lemons or limes, onions and black pepper that give a real hit of flavour.

Superkanja

As the name suggests you can’t miss this one! It’s made from a mix of okra, or meat, with palm oil and peppers all boiled together to really get the flavours out.

Domoda

A typical Mandinka dish, Domoda is made from puréed peanuts and can be made with meat or fish. Usually served with rice and beautiful fresh vegetables.

Oyster Stew

An unmissable treat, the fresh oysters are mainly collected locally and are super fresh and delicious. It can be found in any of the local restaurants or beach bars, where dishes tend to be prepared with only the freshest and organic ingredients. And the best bit, usually you get a stunning sea view thrown in.

Benachin

A tasty dish, made with rice cooked with meat or fish and piled high with tomatoes.

‘Afra’ takeaways

These are local BBQs usually found at the side of the road, where you choose your meat joint, whether it’s chicken or goat, it’s thrown on a very hot grill, with plenty of onions and mustard sauce.

Find out more about amazing holidays to Gambia from Purple Travel

Foodie Corner: Food Ibiza Spain

We’ve already mentioned one of the best things to do on holidays – eating (!) and introduced you to two well known traditional delicacies, in the form of paella and souvlaki, as well as some others.

PaellaImage via @ Guillo75

So, you already know they are mouthwatering and easy to find once you’ve been to their homeland, but why not enjoy a genuine and tastier version than those found at first glance. Check out our guide to food Ibiza Spain.

Imagine, for example, that you are in downtown Ibiza, having spent the whole day on the beach, soaking up all that sun, sea and sand. Last stop would definitely be a night full of Ibiza-style entertainment, but before that… or afterwards?

We’re sure that your palate would be asking for some delicious paella. The first thing to do is head to the port of Ibiza. There you will find numerous local restaurants serving this savoury treat.

However, paella is best eaten by the sea, so try the Bar Flotante on Talamanca beach by Argos or if you have a car drive to Sa Caleta beach, where you will find Sa Caleta Restaurant, one of Ibiza’s most famous paella restaurants.

Yemanha in Cala Jondal is home to not just amazing paella but an amazing view too. Finally, for the best paella in town you should pay a visit to Formentera Restaurant in the port of Ibiza, where you’ll have hearty, great value portions.

Stay tuned for volume two of our top places to eat like a local soon.

Foodie Corner: Istanbul Food Guide

The minute you land in Istanbul you’ll be amazed by its magical atmosphere and beauty, as well as (more importantly?) the smell of spices drifting through the air. The good news is, it’s not difficult to find something tasty to eat in this superb city, we’ve got the the insider’s guide to the best kept foodie secrets in the Turkish capital. Be prepared, the best places to eat are found in dark narrow alleys, on the fourth floor of abandoned looking buildings, without any signs of life. Enjoy our Istanbul Food Guide. And remember, if there’s something we’ve missed please let us know in comments.

Image by @ lwy

Click here to read where to eat like a local: Ibiza and Athens editions.

Kebab

The first and foremost (m)eating you have to taste is the infamous kebab (this is found in a variety of dishes, consisting of grilled or broiled meats, usually lamb or beef, on a skewer or stick). You’ll probably find numerous kebab corners all around the city, but we reckon the best place is to enjoy this delicious meal overlooking the magnificent Golden Horn, Bosphorus and Galata areas. Head for Hamdi Restaurant in Eminonu which has been serving mouthwatering Turkish dishes since the late 60s.

Tip: Make sure that you book a table on the top floor near the big glass window to enjoy the panoramic view.

Manti

These tiny pasta treats (kind of Turkish dumplings) are served with a generous spoonful of yoghurt, melted butter and ground-up red pepper. One of the best places to savour manti is at Marko Pasa restaurant in Taksim. There, the manti are freshly made, right before they’re cooked.

Tip: Highlight of the restaurant is the making of the food in the front window, so that people can watch how they are cooked.

Mussels

Wandering around the city, you’ll find it tough to find a place NOT selling these treats from the sea. It is a cherished treat and that’s something all Turks agree with. Eat them fried with garlic sauce or, even better, stuffed with spicy rice, pine nuts and more rarely with raisins. Mussels are brought to you by a waiter that grates the zest from a lemon right on your dish as it is served. Head for the fish market, Balik Pazari for the tastiest.

Tip: Buying mussels from street vendors is not recommended, because you might be unlucky to experience some side effects, you can probably imagine what we’re getting at.

Baklava

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. This divine pastry is available in every confectionery, but for the ultimate baklava go to Gulluoglu in Karaköy. There you can taste as many of the twelve different original recipes as you like.

Tip: Ask the shop owners to let you watch the ritual of baklava making. The baklava masters start making the filo pastry by taking an oath on baklava, which is really funny!

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is a ritual. Made in a special pot called a cezve, finely ground coffee is boiled, usually with sugar and served in a cup where it’s allowed to settle. (This is a very important bit!) Coffee and drinking it is so important in Turkey, breakfast is known as Kahvalti, literally meaning “before coffee.” While walking to Eyüp, a stop at Pierre Loti café is a must. Have an aromatic Turkish coffee and admire the view over the city and Golden Horn.

Tip: To find your fortune, all you need is a simple cup of coffee. When you’ve finished your cup, tip over the residue onto your saucer and read what the future holds for you.

Ps. If you’re feeling adventurous, the Kokoretsi (actually a Greek speciality, but also served in Turkey) is definitely one to try. Made mainly from goat or lamb intestines, it’s usually wrapped in offal and filled with whatever bits and pieces are available, we’re talking hearts, lungs and kidneys.

Click here to book your cheap holiday to Turkey today.

Purple Hearts: Tenerife Spain

Sun soaked, dazzling seas, year round warmth, lively clubs or relaxed lounging, it’s no wonder Tenerife Spain is a perennial favourite for tourists from all the UK. Straight out of Doctor Who, the lunar landscape is inspiring; it has its own volcano, year round good weather, the black beaches are something to marvel at and it would be tricky to find a livelier year round holiday hot spot.

Image under Creative Commons via @ Pasotraspaso 

Where to stay

Ideal for groups Playa de las Americas the busiest and one of the biggest resorts in Tenerife, Playa de las Americas isn’t just for groups, but for anyone looking for fun in the sun. There are endless sandy beaches, water sports by the bucket load and all night long clubbing.

Great for families Los Cristianos On the southern coast of Tenerife you’ll find great deals and lots of fun for youngsters. The soft, sandy beaches and shallow waters make it a great place to break out the bucket and spade while family friendly days out, fishing or sightseeing make it an excellent all round choice.

Perfect for couples Play Paraiso is exactly as its name suggest – paradise like. It’s a relaxed and peaceful resort that’s perfect for spending long, lazy days soaking up the sunshine on the beach. If it’s something livelier you’re after than the nearby Costa Adeje or Playa de las Americas offers unbeatable nights out.

Things to do

Image used under Creative Commons via @ Caza_no_7

Hit the beach OBVIOUSLY! There’s a big variety of beaches on the island. Some are made of dramatic, black volcanic sand, some are sandy, other’s shingle and others rocky. Most have beach bars, with excellent facilities and if you’re looking to strip off you’ll find naturist beaches on Playa de la Tejita in El Medano, or Playa de las Gaviotas in Santa Cruz.

Splash out at a water park Two major water slide parks are available in Costa Adeje the Thai themed Siam Park filled with slides and fun for all the family and Aqualand which has its own dolphin show, sure to impress kids of all ages.

Feast! Tenerife Spain has some delicious gastronomic treats on offer. The fact that it’s an island means it offers some delicious fresh fish simply boiled or baked in salt. Rabbit is a popular choice, while goat and beef are also good for the carnivores amongst you. You can’t leave Tenerife without sampling some of the wrinkly potatoes, papas arrugadas, or some of the fresh locally produced cheese.

Carnival Every February, Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife holds the second biggest carnival in the world, just after Brazil’s famous Rio street party. A riot of colour, there is music, singing, dancing, parades, fancy dress and the party goes on for days.

Visit the House of Honey Learn how honey is collected at the Casa de la Miel, built to support Tenerife’s bee keeping sector. Find out how apiculture works and get to taste some of the local favourites.

Let your hair down Head for the banging resort of Playa de las Americas, the home of nightlife on the island. The whole place is just building up every day to happy hour and there you’ll find the best clubs and bars filled with pumping music, great deals on drinks and dancing on tables. Just remember, what happens in Tenerife, stays in Tenerife.

Shop ‘til you drop Take advantage of the lower taxes in Tenerife Spain and head for the capital Santa Cruz. Bargains are everywhere with plenty of department stores to splash your cash, or small boutiques filled with bargains. Take home some local turron (a type of nougat) ceramics, leather goods or a pair of espadrilles.

Try to catch the green flash At sunset and sunrise an optical illusion sometimes occurs, where a green spot is visible on the horizon, usually for only a second or two.  It’s been known to happen in Tenerife and with great views out to the ocean, if you’re lucky you might just catch it.

Things to see

Image under Creative Commons via @ Edans

Auditorio de Tenerife The imposing structure of the Auditorio de Tenerife is found in the island’s capital. Designed by Santiago Calatrava the dramatic building hosts musical performances, operas and conferences, but the building itself is a sight to see too.

Teide Volcano If you’re planning on hiking, or want to cheat your way by cable car, a trip up the spectacular Teide, the highest point in Spain is a must, just be sure to apply for a permit to the get to the top. The views are well worth it and you’ll thank us when you get home!

TEA Tenerife This arts space in Santa Cruz is the Tenerife equivalent of the Tate Modern. Culture vultures can lap up contemporary and surrealist art in its permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Go rural Check out a cave house built into the mountains, go whale watching, or hiking or tickle your taste buds with some delicious local products. Teno Rural is a fun day out for all the family to discover the nature and history of the island.

Top hotels in Tenerife

Costa Adeje Gran Hotel A fantastic all inclusive option, the 5* Costa Adeje Gran Hotel is in a great location close to the shops to pick up a couple of bargains, the transfer times from the airport are about 50 minutes and the nearby beach and water park are perfect family fun.

Adonis Isla Bonita Hotel Just minutes from the beach, this 4* offers a warm and friendly holiday experience. The spacious, brightly coloured rooms are ideal for relaxing after busy days on Playa Fanabe Beach or the nearby Siam Water Park.

Columbus Aparthotel This 3* in the busy and vibrant Playa de las Americas resort is great for young people who want to be close to the bustling nightlife, water sports facilities and great beaches.

Sandos San Blas with a focus on environmental well being and sustainable tourism, the Sandos San Blas Nature Resort and Golf is a little slice of paradise. Play 18 holes, or head for the loungers to soak up the sunshine.

Laguna Park The infamous Laguna Park I and II accommodations are in a great party of Tenerife, just off the Las Americas Beach. Close to the bustling centre, with great facilities, it’s an excellent all round option for couples, families or groups.

Purple Hearts… Dalaman Holidays 2014

Purple Hearts… Dalaman Holidays 2014

For most travellers, Dalaman on Turkey’s Southern Aegean coast, is little more than an airport stop for visits to either the beach resorts of Fethiye, the southeast, or Dalyan to the northwest coast. However, it’s definitely worth basing yourself here, particularly if you have transport that will enable you to see the highlights of the region.

Things to do on Dalaman Holidays 2014, Turkey

Take a hike
Take a walk through the Lycian Way to explore the more unspoilt aspects of the region. Between Fethiye and Antalya, the mountains rise steeply from the wooded shoreline and small bays, offering beautiful views and varied walking opportunities. It’s likely that the only other people you are likely to see will be the farmers and goat herdsmen that tend to the pastures each day. The Lycians themselves were a democratic people, with a unique style of art and a luxurious standard of living. Although they absorbed Greek culture, they were later conquered by the Romans. Their graves and ruins abound on the peninsula, which comprises many remote historical sites.

Indulge in a mud bath

The spas in Dalyan are internationally renowned, attracting visitors with their sulphur-rich mud baths. The baths are believed to provide relief from many rheumatic and skin conditions and some have said that a mud bath in Dalyan has even left them looking younger. Either way, this great experience will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed for the remainder of your holiday.

Try your hand at paragliding
On route from Dalaman to Kalkan, you will pass the cliffs above Olu Deniz, where you can find paragliding like you’ve never seen it before. If the idea of jumping from a cliff with another person holding onto you also sounds appealing then Olu Deniz is your new favourite place, particularly as it now hosts for the International Air Games each October.

Party at the Lycian Festival
For three days at the end of June, Kas hosts the annual Lycian Festival. Folk-dancing troupes from Turkey and beyond perform in one of  Dalaman’s largest and most vibrant festivals. The festivities are met with street food, lots of drink and a lively, party atmosphere to the early hours of the morning.

Take a hydrofoil to Rhodes
Taking a hydrofoil trip from Marmaris to Rhodes for the day is a quick and cheap option that gives you more travel for your money. You can also do a similar trip to Kos, but we recommend Rhodes for its historical sites and beautiful tavernas. You don’t need any visas or documentation to take the trip.

Places to see on Dalaman Holidays 2014, Turkey

Kalkan
This stunning, well-maintained fishing village is just south of Fethiye. Its well-facilitated and attractive accommodation, and heaps of first-rate eateries make it a wonderful place to visit. And what’s more, the hotels and shops of the day  become rooftop restaurants at night, providing the perfect spot for viewing the harbour at sunset.

Patara Beach
Patara Beach is nine miles of almost completely deserted golden sands. As it is an archaelogical area, you will be required to pay a small fee to go onto the beach, but thw soft sand and shallow waters will most definitely make it worth the money. You can also head up into the dunes of the Beach, where you’ll find unexcavated Roman ruins such as temples and columns of buildings with sand blowing over them and Marram grass growing in their creeks and crevices.

Myra and Kekova
St Nicholas (the original Father Christmas) was the bishop of Myra. He dropped gifts down the chimney of poor people’s homes so that their daughters would have a dowry upon marriage. He wore a red costume and a red hat (no surprises there) and has been celebrated in the Christmas story ever since.
Nearby, the town of Kekova has a ancient Lycian underwater town that sank beneath the waves after an earthquake. You can hire a canoe and sail over the rooftops and market squares of the old city, the home to hundreds of people.

Where to eat in Dalaman
If you’re staying in the centre of Dalaman, you’ll find a great deal of choice when it comes to where to eat. The numerous restaurants on offer span from the more casual cafe restaurants to the smarter, find dining end of the spectrum. Dalaman is also famed for its tea gardens – a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Try our favourite haunt, the Akkaya Garden for a meal to remember.

Dalaman cuisine
As Dalaman is less touristy than many other parts of Southern Turkey, you will be glad to discover there are no British style pubs and restaurants – it is traditional Turkish here. Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the world’s best, considered to be one of the world’s three main cuisines due to the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients and its flavours and tastes. A main meal will usually begin with soup and meze (a variety of small cold and hot dishes made for sharing), which is usually made up of Tarama salad, cacik (taziki), dolma (vine leaves or peppers stuffed with rice), börek (pastries) and arnavut ciğeri (cubes of fried liver), but there are many varieties and alternatives. The main course is usually meat or fish, served with çoban salatası, a salad made of tomato, cucumber, parsley and onion, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Try a siş kebap (grilled cubes of seasoned meat on skewer), or if you prefer something hot and spicy, try an Adana kebap, made of minced lamb and hot peppers and spices formed around a flat skewer.

Visit our website now for more on cheap Dalaman Holidays 2014.

Alternative Christmas Holidays

Tired of stuffing turkeys and wearing novelty knitted jumpers on Christmas day? What if you could be lying under a palm tree or smoking a cigar in Havana instead? Make this Christmas unique with our list of the best alternative Christmas holiday ideas:

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Laidback Christmas in Cuba

Head to the Caribbean island of Cuba for a Christmas in the sun. Here, you can sip rum cocktails on the beach, salsa dance your way into the early hours of the morning or even hire a 1950s Cadillac and spend your Christmas touring the main sites of Havana, Varadero and Jardines del Rey.

Foodie Christmas in Grenada

Spend a Caribbean in Grenada, enjoying the special food and drink that the island’s locals concentrate on at this time on year. Think black fruit cake (baked and soaked from October, with port wine and local Clarke’s Court white rum), ham, rice and green pigeon peas, macaroni pie, baked stuff turkey; and locally made sorrel, ginger beer and the Clarke’s Court white, dark, or red rum.

Christmas Underwater in Sharm El Sheikh

Spend Christmas underwater with a diving trip to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Lying at the tip of the south Sinai Peninsula, the Ras Mohammed National Park offers some of the best diving in the world and is within easy reach of Sharm El Sheikh.

A Yoga Christmas in Goa

Instead of spending Christmas drinks and New Year incredibly hungover, why not instead opt for a rejuvenating yoga fortnight on Palolem Beach in Goa? The Bhakti Kutir retreat offers daily meditation and yoga classes as well as nutrition lectures, boat trips and visits to local markets. On Christmas Day, they hold a trip to a nearby fort, an evening barbecue and sunset yoga practice.

A Sunny Christmas in Grand Cayman

If you’re in search of sunny days and balmy nights around Christmas, head to the Cayman Islands. Forget wrapping up warm and spend Christmas in a bikini on one of the Islands’ famous beaches.

A Snowy Christmas in Val D’Isere

On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Val D’Isere’s high altitude makes it a definite bet for a white Christmas in the snow. Why not stay in Le Fornet, a pretty little village on the edge of the resort. Close to a cable car, you have almost instant access to the slopes, while the resort centre is only a short (free) bus ride away.

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