Straddling between breakfast and lunch time, brunch has become the hottest trend these days… our favorite leisure break! It’s story was framed in the late 1800s by English and its’ fame was escalated after 130 years in the U.S. However, the word itself was first appeared in Hunter’s Weekly content when Guy Beringer asked the public to have only light meals before going to church on Sunday afternoon. He said that brunch gives you a more jaunty temper and you are instantly like an upbeat ‘’looney kid’’. He even suggested the local restaurants and pubs serving beer with a nice plate of delicacies instead of the typical English tea or coffee. However, there was a short mention on the Punch magazine in 1876 saying that when you eat at times which are a bit closer to breakfast, this is brunch… Read More
We think you need something rare to find, well-preserved, charming, traditional but also with a modern twist while it maintains it’s old-European charm…. Something inviting, both for nature/mountain lovers and romantic souls too!
Purple Travel wanderers have been hopping up from town to town to bring you the most charming European villages taken out of a fairy tale, postcard-like gems; your imagination travels miles away, it’s like they’ve been taken out of a magnificent canvas or a historic-mystery story to put a spell on us, captivating our mind and soul long time after our journey! We present you some of the most worldly, post-card destinations hidden away somewhere in Europe, encircled with beguiling lush gardens and majestic waterfalls or standing as if they were ”royal kings” upon sylvan hillsides…. All worth adding them to your travel bucket list!
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
The 5 Lands of Nothern Italy
The picturesque fishing towns of Cinque Terre, frankly, will capture our soul! It’s a dramatic coastal scenery, amidst sheer cliffsides, where winding paths are surrounded by colorful Venetian buildings, the rugged shoreline is washed by crystal-clear blue while these imposing mountains are looming over magical vineyards… Some cobblestone foothpaths are the only way to get from one hamlet to the other. Rest assured, that these jaw-dropping views of the sunset where pieces of the shoreline are tumbling into the deep blue, will surely leave you spellbound!
2. Santorini, Greece
The romantic gem of Aegean
The treasured volcanic-gem of the Aegean is calling you and you should definitely answer immediately!
This island is a a geological gallery set amid the deep blue of the Aegean… You can’t resist to its’ mythical charm, high craggy cliffs and white-washed sugarcube houses spilling down to the azure blue of Aegean Sea… The most famous thing about Santorini, though, it’s these magical jaw-dropping, wine-colored sunsets! The island is one of the most popular wedding destinations, there is a reason the title ‘’Greek Romance’’ features every year on travel magazines around the world! Experience the ultimate romantic journey as you explore one of Santorini’s ‘’painting-lands’’: Imerovigli, Fira, Oia & Firostefani are usually called the ‘’Caldera’s eyebrow’’, it’s easy to figure out why, as all these marvellous hamlets offer the most dramatic, stunning views of the volcano!
However, it would be a crime not to share with you the 3rd main reason that you have to visit Santorini. The ultimate gastronomic oasis is here! A real haven of culinary delights along with its’ aromatic fine wines such as the popular sweet Vinsanto or dry Athyri and Assyrtiko; it’s the perfect romantic dinner for two, while you’re plunging into these eye-watering sea views!
Purple Secret Tip:
1. Head to Oia for the most out-of-this-world sunset of your lifetime!
2. Don’t forget to explore one of the smaller traditional villages and soak up their lovely atmosphere; whether you seek pure tranquility or cosmopolitan aura, Santorini can offer you both!
The mysterious Portuguese beauty
Here, there is an array of wild forests soaked by small lakes and exotic grassy mountains embrace gleaming Medieval castles, palaces and royal retreats… We present you Sintra, a well-preserved and Unesco’s World Heritage town of Portugal!
The whole place is dotted with enchanting mansions set on hillsides spilling down to the deep blue of the Atlantic ocean, it’s like a fairytale taken out of a romantic-historic story…. A jagged 18th-century-Portuguese castle built by Celts (or Moors) waiting for you to explore it’s majestic historical charm!
Filled with a romantic aura sheltering every corner, it’s the place to be with your sweetheart! Don’t leave Sintra without visiting the magnificent, beautifully mysterious‘’ Castelo dos Mouros’’, which was finished by King Ferninard II in 1830, it’s out-of-this-world!
4. Albarracín, Spain
The uncommon side of Spain
The scenic village of Albarracin lies in the Aragon region. It’s encopassed by flagged hillsides and a rugged scenery along with half wood-covered houses with a dusky-red color. Stroll around rocky pathways, winding routes and let yourself to capture the essence of its ancient maze-like charm through magnificent castles and lovely chapels. Towering above this rugged spooky landscape lies a Mudejar-style cathedral based on Islamic art…
5. Portofino, Italy
Cosmopolitan and glamour tunes in Italian Riviera
Are you fancy seeing celebrities passing by your side while you’re taking a walk on the promenade? Then look no further to our favorite Italian marvel, Portofino! Stroll around the Liliputian gleaming harbor or head to the popular Punta del Capo, visit the castle and unwind while sipping your delicious espresso, all sound absolutely inviting right? Portofino make us imagine a famous writer weaving a novel of romance and mystery and there’s a reason you’ll capture this kind of mood… Picture-perfect lush gardens at the edge of steep cliffs and white-grey shades of luxury yachts mirrored at the cerulean waters of Ligurian Sea! What not to love in Portofino?
Purple Secret Tip: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre and dive into Lavagna, Paraggi or Camogli
* Portofino may be a bit pricey but you should definitely visit it once in your lifetime!
6. Lugano, southern Switzerland
‘’Atemberaubende Ausblicke’’ ( stunning vistas)
“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life.”
– Rachel Carson –
Natural-worshippers get ready! We present you the Swiss paradise where Italians meet-up on their weekend breaks… Except for its’ natural treasures, Lugano is the 3rd most important banking centre in the country! A blessed place filled with blooming parks, mansions, boutiques and lovely bistros cuddling the maze of these cobblestone alleys that unscramble at the end of Ticino’s mountain-based lake…
7. Ronda, Spain
A two-faced tale in Spain
It’s one of the oldest town of Spain which has been declared as Property of Cultural Interest! Set in a dramatic location on El Tago canyon, surrounded by imposing towering sierras, Ronda will hypnotize you …The town is Malaga’s province and frankly, one of most charming! Welcome to Ronda! Its’ old town dates back to Islamic Era and the whole town is halved into two areas, the Arab-aged with its medieval beauty and the other area, with a modern twist, which poped up after the 16th century… Rocky bridges unite the two pieces of the town which is a great part of the famous ‘’Whitewashed Villages’’.
Purple Secret Tip: Ronda was once Ernest Heminway’s secret place to unwind; it was one of his favorite source of inspiration…
8. Hallstatt, Austria
The most pictured European village with 7000y of history
Nature-worshippers and landlubbers will surely fell in love with Hallstatt… We are sure that you’ve already seen thousands of travel posters featuring this fairy-tale austrian town! The whole town is a storybook spilling down to the Hallstätter See, between a crystal-clear lake and imposing mountains providing the ultimate dazzling backdrop – Now you know why thousands of wanderers are extremely passionate to take countless of photos here! – The collection of beautiful pastel-coloured houses dotted with blooming gardens, creating amazing shimmering reflections into the stained-glass waters of the lake, this fabled beauty would be enough to guarantee its’ fame around the world…
Purple Secret Tip: A stroll away from the centre, Mühlbach waterfall vie for your attention, you’ll be under its’s spell for a long long time!
Christmas is coming and along with all the cosiness there is also the dreaded Christmas shop. Give something different this year and give yourself a present at the same time. Why not head off on your travels and stock up on traditional European goods from a foreign christmas market and soak up the incredible atmosphere.
Vienna’s Christkindlmaerkt is one of the most famous, and long running in Europe and Vienna makes the perfect setting for this European Christmas Market. A lot of effort goes into the magical decorations and atmosphere and it attracts people from all over the world. Held in front of the town hall, visitors flock to Vienna to grab photos with the famous Christmas decorations, listen to the seasonal music, pick up traditional gifts and of course overindulge on sweet chestnuts. The city also offers the chance to see the glorious Schonbrunn and Imperial palaces and to stuff yourself silly with all the great cakes at the coffee houses.
Open: November 17th – December 24th
Image via: @tttaaaooo
Feeling a little inspired by all the action at the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 and want to give snowboarding or skiing a go? How about simply settling in for an evening of apres-ski? What do you mean you’re not really bothered with skiing? Filled with warming gluhwein and cosy sweaters, or maybe it’s an alternative music festival you’re after? We’ve got the best late deals for 2014 ski holidays right now for whatever type of ski break you’re looking for.
Image via @ www.glikiazoi.gr
Decoration – The Christmas Tree is the most well known festive decoration. People use colourful lights, homemade decorations, a bit of tinsel and on top of the tree a big shiny star, symbolising the Star of Bethlehem that revealed the birth of Jesus. But, as always, the Greeks have their own particular traditions! Mainly, in the Greek Islands, the locals decorate a wooden model ship to show their love and appreciation to all the seafarers on duty during these special days.
Christmas delicacies – Apart from the sweet savoury pastries, such as melomakarona (honey cookies with walnuts) and kourabiedes (shortbread-type biscuit usually made with ground almonds – recipe), there’s another special treat made only on the first day of the year. It’s a cake or bread called Vasilopita, and on New Year’s Day families cut the pastry for a blessed and luck year. This is usually done at midnight on New Year’s Eve. A coin is hidden in the bread by slipping it into the dough before baking.
Image via @ Dave_b
Prague, Czech Republic – Couples Christmas Markets
Two of the most popular Christmas Markets in Prague are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Both markets are just five minutes’ walk from each other, creating a magnificent festive atmosphere around the city centre. In both markets you’ll find the usual traditional sweet treats, like Trdelník, a hot sugar coated pastry, lots of local beers, such as the famous Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar, and warm drinks including the infamous Glühwein. If you’re hungry, there’s plenty to feast on from large spit roasted hogs to tasty BBQs sausages. The Prague Christmas market includes lots of stalls selling cute handicrafts and decorations and real animals in the crib scene.
Opening times: 30 November 2013 – 12 January 2014. The Prague Christmas markets are open daily, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a month spent knocking back mince pies and downing one too many glasses of mulled wine, January is an international period of detox. For some, this necessitates a strict diet of raw food and juices, while others just need a week away to recover mind, body and soul. Here, PurpleTravel.co.uk searches for the top ten New Year detox holidays. Attention please…
Castel Monastero, Tuscany
Castel Monastero is a stylish retreat overlooking Chianti vineyards, placed within an 11th-century settlement. Its therapeutic wellness programme was designed by Dr Mosaraf Ali, the director of the Integrated Medical Centre in London. This programme focuses on weight loss, detox and rejuvenation – perfect for beating the Christmas bulge.
Expect daily yoga, toxin-eliminating Marma massage, cellulite-busting Trattamento Lipolitico mud wraps, a personalised dietary programme by Gordon Ramsay (delicious), and profuse amounts of fasting tea (gross). Come here if you’re looking to go home with more energy, lower stress levels and ease of sleep.
Viva Mayr, Austria
Based on Franz Mayr’s research on the idea that many ailments are actually caused by poor digestion, Viva Mayr, the Centre for Modern Mayr Medicine, in southern Austria prides itself on excellence in allergy and food intolerances. Run by Harold Stossier, the centre’s programmes combine traditional and modern naturopathic therapies, each with a different focus, whether it be on allergies, stress or anti-ageing. Its beautiful lakeside setting, indoor pool and beauty parlour make for an even more luxurious stay. However, don’t be fooled, this is not a holiday; everything is geared towards achieving optimum health, cleansing the digestive system and re-education of eating habits.
Longevity Wellness Resort, Algarve
Portugal’s first anti-ageing medical spa lies within a nature reserve by the quiet spa town of Caldas de Monchique. Recently built, the modern concrete and glass structure is eco-friendly, with grass roofs and solar panels. In partnership with La Clinique de Paris, specialists in ageing management, the Resort spa offers a variety of holistic personalised wellness programmes, lasting from three days to one month. For New Year, why not try Dr Chauchard’s 15-day Fast Slimming and Detox programme, which includes full medical consultation, a diet plan and related treatments? You will stay in one of the apartment-like suites, with its own kitchenette with Smeg and Bosch appliances and living and dining areas.
Fusion Fitness, Hotel Aguas de Ibiza, Ibiza
The Fusion Fitness holiday at Aguas de Ibiza offers seven personalised one-on-one activities and treatments, focusing on cardio, strength, sport, mind and body and renewal. Whip your body into the best shape to start the New Year with in the beautiful surroundings of Ibiza.
Hotel Palace Merano, Italy
Henri Chenot’s detox programmes are like catnip for yoga bunnies. His method is called Biontology, which combines Chinese medicine with Western technology. His regular clients visit to lose weight, boost their energy levels and rejuvenate their bodies, but those at the Hotel Palace Merano also benefit from being in the foothills of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Enjoy calorie-controlled, salt-free recipes, trips to the spa and medical centre and picturesque views.
Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat, Devon
Located within 50 acres of organic farmland in north Devon, the incredibly stylish Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat is home to a convoy of fitness, nutrition and yoga experts. Here, you have the option of reconnecting with nature in the beautiful English countryside, while enjoying the range of outdoor activities on offer. For New Year, you should try their signature programme, an intensive four to seven-day detox called the Yeotox, which involves a combination of private consultations and specialised massages, plus daily activities to boot.
The Golden Rock Retreat, Bali
A journey towards radiant health, the Golden Rock Retreat on the eastern tip of Bali is a private resort in the most tranquil of settings. Beachfront bedrooms and tailor-made programmes will help you get away from it all. Nutrition, fasting, yoga, meditation and qigong are all included, with the aim of deep-cleansing the system and re-energising the body. Whether you opt for the four-day Elemental Cleanse, with bowel flushes, massage, reflexology and other components or the 20-day Golden Rock Retreats, you’ll leave the Retreat feeling like a new person.
Forte Village, Sardinia
The Spa Thaermae del Forte at Forte Village houses six seawater pools at varying temperatures to heal by thelassotherapy. Resident doctor, Mosaraf Ali provides clients with advice on exercise, relaxation, yoga and massage to get you back on form after the Christmas season. His impressive list of patients include Prince Charles, the Sultan of Oman, Richard Branson and Michael Douglas.
Penninghame House, Scotland
On the exterior, Penninghame House is a quaint family home, but further inside you will discover a modern macrobiotic health retreat. Located on a remote 19th-century estate (an hour and a half’s drive from Glasgow in Dumfries and Galloway ), the House offers various courses, including cookery lessons and dine evenings, where their chefs will demonstrate a range of dishes, with ingredients chosen for their effects on the body, mind and energy levels.
The January health week (16-22) is perfect for your New Year’s resolutions, having a specific detox focus, which will help you clear your body of toxins, fat and acidic imbalance. You will also take home the skills needed to maintain a healthy balance in the future through lectures and home remedy sessions.
SHA Wellness Clinic, Albir, Spain
Alfredo Bataller Parietti’s used macrobiotic principles to tackle and recover from a disease he had suffered since childhood. With his SHA Wellness Clinic, he fuses ancient Oriental disciplines with Western techniques to create personalised macrobiotic diet programmes that include organic, locally sourced Mediterranean and Japanese fusion cuisine. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the resort’s fresh, contemporary design and its setting within the natural beauty of the Sierra Helada National Park. The seven-night, full-board Detox Holiday (already on our Christmas lists), includes a medical check-up at the beginning and end, clinical analysis, consultation with a personal coach, massage, colonic hydrotherapy, acupuncture, daily yoga, t’ai chi, cooking demonstrations and a personalised post-treatment health plan plus two months of follow-up coaching.
Need a detox holiday? Let us help you find the right one. Learn about the latest deals from Purple Travel.
For beginners or the most seasoned of ski pros, we choose our top ski holidays Europe. Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.
Les Deux Alpes and La Grave Ski Resort, France
A great choice for experienced (and beginner) skiers, these are two practically tailor made just for you. Les Deux Alpes lies alongside the main pistes – so you are never far from one of the many lifts – which extend on both sides of the valley and finish in the village. Beyond these, high altitude skiing and magnificent scenery can be enjoyed from the top of the glacier. With the Grande Galaxie pass also offering a day’s skiing in neighbouring resorts.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week enjoy a night in a concrete tube at the DasparkHotel
What’s the gimmick? The ‘rooms’ at DasparkHotel are constructed from repurposed drainpipes. Rather than an attempt at glorified camping, the three huge concrete drainpipes, set on a beautiful, lush patch of the Danube River in Ottensheim, Austria, actually provide the ultimate in post-industrial living. Each bolthole is about two metres in width and furnished with a double bed, storage space, lighting (but no windows) and blankets. When DasparkHotelwas built by designer Andreas Strauss in 2004, it was originally opened in Linz, but was later moved to the stunning setting of Ottensheim. A coat of varnish and wall paintings by the Austrian artist Thomas Latzel Ochoa completes the ‘hobo jungle’ vibes.
You should read… A Night Less Ordinary: Boot Bed ‘n’ Breakfast
Why stay? Ok so this doesn’t exactly connote luxury, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that concrete is actually incredibly comfortable. Simultaneously functional and comfortable, the three concrete sleep-pipes offer visitors to Austria the chance to experience the area in a totally innovative (and economical) way. The Dasparkhotel’s rooms are round like a barrel, providing maximum comfort in a minimal amount of space – a modern day squatopia.
The Wow Factor: Rather than sleeping on a reformed car bonnet or something along those lines as you might expect, guests will sleep on a double wide Eurofoam mattress held by an ergonomic slatted frame by Optimo – basically the ultimate in comfort. The thick cement keeps the interior comfortable and eliminates noise from outside, creating a secure-feeling environment. You will also find fresh pillows, blankets and sheets supplied every day and don’t fret about you camera or iPhone going dead – there is a 220V outlet for charging your electronic devices. And for the best bit? See below.
Guests who wish to spend a night or two are required to book their rooms at the hotel’s website. Because the hotel obtains sanitation, breakfast and other hotel facilities from existing public infrastructure, it is possible for them to work with the very simple, user-friendly “pay as you wish” system.
A night in dasparkhotel costs just as much as you can afford or want to pay.
You should read… A Night Less Ordinary: Dog Park Park Inn