Tag - Destination Guide

Purple Hearts: Lisbon Destination Guide
Purple Hearts: Valletta destination guide
Purple Hearts… Barcelona Travel Guide
Get Inspired: A Posh Girls Guide to Paris
Koh Samui Holidays
Purple Hearts: Montego Bay Jamaica
Purple Hearts Christ Church Barbados
Purple Hearts Goa Destination Guide

Purple Hearts: Lisbon Destination Guide

Planning your next city break, but looking for something a little more unique? Lisbon is just a couple of hours away from the UK and is all about relaxing over a coffee, dancing all night, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and eating delicious food and maybe, just maybe indulging in a few bargains. Here’s our Lisbon Destination Guide.


 Lisbon image via @ ChrisYunker

Lisbon’s built up on seven hills, so it’s good to get your bearings first. Head up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, or Saint George Castle to take in the spectacular sights. The extraordinary views over the whole city and the river Tagus offers an impressive introduction to Portugal. If you fancy staying on the move, then the Lavra Funicular is a relaxed route to the beautiful Torel Gardens.  Over 120 years old, it’s a bit of a city treasure and is a wonderful and romantic afternoon jaunt.

If you’re taking the kids with you, don’t miss out on the Oceanario de Lisboa, the city’s aquarium or have a go at some experiments in the Pavilhao do Conchecimento, or science museum. There’s also Lisbon Zoo with over 2,000 animals as well as live shows.  We reckon you’ll find something to impress kids of all ages in the city.

Portugal has a long history of art and culture and Lisbon has no shortage of fantastic museums and galleries. Contemporary pieces can be seen in the Chiado museum and Modern Art Center. The city’s churches are packed with history and can easily be seen on foot. Sao Roque and Carmo Church are two choices. The Tile Museum and Decorative Arts Museum are popular picks – and more interesting than you might think. Remember, these are just a handful of the wonderful museums Lisbon is famous for.

The Bairro Alto neighbourhood is made for Saturday strolling in the sunshine. If you’ve arrived on a Friday and checked in, head for the great atmosphere and traditional architecture to get a feel for the city. Its winding streets, lead to open terraces where you can sip on a coffee and soak up the sunshine. As a former red light district though, despite renovation, it might not have good vibes for everyone. The lower neighbourhood of Baixa is lovely for strolling around too. The beating heart of the city, it is a haven for foodies who can choose their own fresh lobster straight from the tank, or walk hand in hand in glorious sunshine.

Bars like Visita Virtual on Rua D Pedro V reflect Lisbon’s laidback atmosphere while cocktail friendly Bairrazza Bairro Alto offers some of the best Caiprinhas in town (so we are told!) If you want something quite different for a night out, head for art and culture space Arte & Manha, a hip (dangerously so!) bar/gallery/venue and restaurant. There you’ll find everything from Fado, jazz, samba and Latin nights, offering a place to lounge until 4am most nights. If you’re after gigs in Lisbon, visit Ask Me Lisboa for the latest updates on listings.

For something completely different, you could always visit the sexiest toilet on earth! In Terrerio do Paco via the very lovely PortugalConfidential blog.

Lisbon 2Lisbon by @desdetasmania


The ultimate in city breaks, of course our Lisbon Destination Guide wouldn’t be complete without checking out some cool and trendy hotels. We like the 4* Turim Alameda, or the more budget friendly 2* Duas Nacoes Hotel. Both offer excellent service and great locations. For the ultimate in luxury you could always head for the 5* Epic Sana Lisboa in upscale neighbourhood Amoreiras. Epic by name, epic by nature! Finally the 3* America Diamonds, has a top notch top floor restaurant offering great views and a modern design at decent prices.


We love the laidback cool of Lisbon, whether you’re enjoying the best in delicious desserts or sipping on a freshly brewed coffee, it’s a city of wild contrasts not least in its food choices. Check out the Goan cuisine which is super hot and spicy at Restaurante Nau do Restelo, or grab some tapas in the gorgeous Adega Victor Horta. There’s always Largo Resutarant in Baixa offering a sophisticated experience or super trendy at Manifesto in Santos. For more on how to eat like a local in Lisbon, check our foodie guide here.


If you’re a caffeine addict, you’d be best to learn the word bica, which means coffee in Lisbon (thanks to a slogan when coffee first arrived in the city). But this is not your ordinary coffee, smoother than its Italian brother; it’s roasted in a lighter way too and can be thoroughly enjoyed accompanied by a little sweet pastel de nata, a famous Portuguese pastry. Cafe Nicola and Cafe Martinho de Arcada, both downtown are both great choices while, you could soak up the great outdoors with a bica at Quiosque Galveias on Rua do Palacio.

Purple Hearts: Valletta destination guide

Finally climbing its way out of a reputation for being old fashioned, Malta is picking up the pace as a place to party, soak up the sunshine and eat great food. Of course, its relaxed atmosphere is a huge part of its charm, but, where blue rinsers once gathered, now you’re more likely to bump into ravers and all without the inflated prices of other Mediterranean destinations.

Early spring is the best time to hit the capital Valletta. The weather is one of the best bits, found tucked away between Sicily and Libya, right now it’s the perfect time to soak up the sun while shaking off the crowds. It gets very hot in summer, so it’s ideal for an early-in-the-year-break to get that golden glow. Valletta might be the smallest capital city of Europe, but it’s location on the sea, and atmosphere make it the beating heart of Malta. Find out more in our expert Valletta destination guide and make your holiday to Malta one to remember.

Valletta MaltaImage via @ Victoria Peckham

What to do in Valletta

Valletta is a charming capital city that is seriously beautiful to boot. Head for the main street the Triq ir-Republika for a coffee, and a great view, with water left and right.

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Purple Hearts… Barcelona Travel Guide

Cosmopolitan. Cultural. Cool. Barcelona is a Catalan metropolis. A magnet for European tourists, this low-cost city break offers shopping, beaches, nightlife, cuisine and more. With so much to cram into a short break, you’ll need the Purple Travel Barcelona travel guide:

What to do in Barcelona

Shopping in Barcelona
A paradise for bargain hunters, Barcelona’s most famous street, Las Ramblas, offers sublime shopping opportunities on all sides. In El Corte ingles, at the northern most tip of the Ramblas, you’ll find seven floors of shopping, categorized into different genres. If you can’t find what it is you require there, you won’t find it anywhere.

There is a plethora of shops all along the road, as well as dozens of cafes and restaurants for when you’re all shopped out. Take a break with a jug of sangria and take in the colourful hustle and bustle of the street, frequented by artists, tourists and friendly residents. You can also take a stroll through the lanes of the Gothic Quarter and the Raval neighbourhood to find boutiques backed by historic architecture and creatives on every corner.

Beaches in Barcelona
Despite being a major city, Barcelona actually offers some lovely places to get away from it all and relax. Many of its beaches date back to the years when the city turned to the sea and took part in a renewal programme for the Olympics. Our favourite is Barceloneta Beach for its sand artists, drums, dancing and more. However, Barcelona’s well-maintained beaches extend several miles north from there, with many fantastic beaches along the way. Along this stretch are various cafes where you can grab a bite, which by night, become beach bars, where you can experience a slice of Barcelona nightlife.

Nightlife in Barcelona
The first thing you must know about Catalan nightlife is that the Spanish dine late, therefore the clubs don’t kick off until very late (over the weekends, the best period is between 3am and 7am). One of the best places to see and be seen is Elephant Bar, situated in the Les Corts neighbourhood. This two-storey, baroque-style villa is adorned with colonial decor, plush sofas and an exclusive VIP area. One of the most popular is the slightly cheesy Razzmatazz, which boasts five floors of varying music types, which function as separate clubs, despite having just one entrance fee. Other places you may want to check out are Pascha, the sister of Ibiza’s superclub, Sutton, a New York style nightclub with many celebrity guests and Mirabe, whose outdoor terrace is the perfect place to take in some of Barcelona’s best views.

What to see in Barcelona


La Sagrada Familia
This enormous temple, designed by Antonio Gaudi, is one of the master architect’s most ambitious and impressive works. As yet unfinished, the building is often said to be a summary of everything Gaudi designed before (think leaning columns, designed at the correct angle so that they support the upper tower). This ongoing construction is funded by tourism, so be sure to check it out, you never know, they may finish it one day…

Poble Espanyol – “Spanish Village”
This small, Spanish village is home to different quarters, built to replicate the style of architecture from different parts of Spain. Here, you can findhost of specialist craft shops selling Spanish goods and it is also the venue of the famous flamenco show at tableo de Carmen.

La Predrera
Another innovative creation of Gaudi’s is La Predrera (meaning quarry), previously known as Casa Mila. The beautiful building displays Gaudi’s characteristic wavy brickwork and colourful tiles.

Barcelona FC Museum
If you are a footie fanatic, then this museum is the one for you. With wall to wall trophies, pictures and statues of the Spanish greats, you’ll be in football heaven. You can choose one of two ticket optios: buy a ticket for the museum and to see the stadium or you can buy a dual ticket where you get to see the museum and behind the scenes at the club.

Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum is arranged in chronological order, showing the artist’s early paints right through to his final works. This allows you to see the development of Picasso’s thinking over time and how his distinctive designs became what they are today.

What to eat in Barcelona

Even before the molecular gastronomy craze made Catalonia famous for its fun cuisine, Barcelona possessed its own unique tastes and textures, sausages, wild mushrooms, spring onions with romescu sauce and acorn-fed hams from southwestern Spain. These are married  with sparkling wines from the Penedès. Try Mesón Cinco Jotas on Las Ramblas, which serves a cselection of ham and charcuteria from the famous Sánchez Carvajal artisans in the town of Jabugo, Huelva. Or for the vegetarian, try Casa Félix, which is the classic Valls calçotada restaurant (a sweet, long-stemmed, twice-planted spring onion), which has entire dining rooms enclosed by enormous wine barrels.

Liked our Barcelona travel guide? See more our of travel guides in our Purple Hearts posts.

Get Inspired: A Posh Girls Guide to Paris

Paris – je t’aime. You are the ultimate city break, a haven of girlish fantasy, a macaroon paradise, a swish, sassy, chic enclave of all things hip and fabulous. Dive in our posh girls guide to Paris.

It’s a given that Paris is every girl’s dream getaway, from the shopping to the eating to the dancing the night away. But the posh girl in Paris is looking for that je ne sais quoi, which isn’t found in most guides to Paris. We assumed that you fine ladies may have better things to do than trawl the Internet looking for establishments that cater to your er… calibre (filing nails, sipping from teacups etc etc), so we created this list of Paris’ best posh girl must-do’s. Don’t mention it.


Say Oh at the Hotel O

This new hotel, part of the Elegancia group, was designed by Paris it-boy Ora-Ito and inspired by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Rather than typical hotel rooms, Hotel O comprises 29 cabins, in a space vessel style, cutting guests off from the hectic Parisian streets and and Etienne-Marcel shopping meccas at its doorstep. Each room has a unique colour scheme, built with four materials: wood, cork, felt and Corian, to create a harmonious blend of clean lines and smooth curves. The breakfast room doubles as a bar, serving a short range of cocktails using quality, often organic spirits.


Let them eat cake at Laduree

The history of Parisian tea salons is lovingly linked to the history of the Ladurée family. In 1862, Louis Ernest Ladurée opened his first a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. The decoration of the pastry shop was entrusted to Jules Cheret, a famous turn-of-the-century painter and poster artist, who sought inspiration from the painting techniques used for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Garnier Opera. Now with salons all over Paris and beyond, Laduree have become famous for their macrons – small, round cakes, crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, in various colours and flavours. No posh girl could complete their trip to Paris without having a macaron or two at the original tea salon on rue Royale. Decorated in original wood paneling, with a cascade of angels and gourmet fairies on the ceilings, this unique café is a symbol of the French art of living.

Exercise your taste for posh nosh at Le Meurice

Gallic gastronomic grandeur meets old school glamour at Hotel Meurice in the heart of Paris. It has the skeleton of all typical Parisian fine eateries – mosaic floor, crystal chandeliers, heavy damask curtains – but has recently had a super-modern overhaul by designer Phillipe Starck. Chef Yannick Alléno bagged a third Michelin star in 2007, due to his brilliantly inventive cooking, which is based on a deep knowledge of classical Escoffier vintage culinary technique. Flex your posh girl muscles with a course of In addition to crispy green ravioli with a fricassee of snails and wild garlic.


It’s Chanel, dah-ling

It would almost be a crime to stay in Paris and not take a visit to staple French fashion house, Chanel.  The masters of timeless luxury, their window displays at the rue Cambon location are particularly beautiful.

Smell true Paris at the Belle du Jour

The Belle du Jour is devoted solely to antique perfume and perfume bottles. It is the kind of shop you’ll probably find only in Paris, and is not to be missed.

Become a vamp at Cadolle Couture

This well-known lingerie store offers personalised fittings to the posh Parisian woman. In fact, the founder of this store invented the brassiere!

Get your best bib and tucker at Plume Plume

Once a patisserie, this charming boutique is filled with exquisite treasures that are made for the posh girl. Think raspberry-coloured hats, fur clutches and bejewelled necklaces.

Release your inner magpie at Bijoux Burma

It’s true that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in Paris, costume diamonds are the posh girl’s. Bijoux Burma offers the best of both worlds, presenting a variety of colourful precious gems in bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings and broaches, as well as costume jewellery that is arguably even more spectacular.


Drink tea with a difference at W Lounge

A place to don your new purchases and dance to Paris’ hottest DJs spin, while sipping one of W Lounge’s signature cocktails.  This innovative cocktail menu, crafted by W Hotels Worldwide Director of Cocktail Culture, Joseph Boroski, contains only the most fabulous drinks in Paris. Managed by one of the city’s top bar experts, Aurélie Panhelleux, the W Lounge even offers Do It Yourself Cocktail Sessions on a Tuesday and a unique twist on teatime with their exclusive Cockteals tea-infused drinks.

Sip champagne at The Ritz

With a hardcore following of young and trendy Parisians, The Ritz Bar Terrasse, weather permitting, is the place to be in Paris.  With a collection of chic and comfortable outdoor lounge chairs, which overlook the interior courtyard of this legendary hotel, when you’ve made this kind of mark on the world of luxury, there’s really no other option, but to have your own champagne label. Enter the Ritz Brut and Ritz Brut Rose. Perfect for spending a Parisian evening nibbling on fresh strawberries, and drinking bubbles with a loved one, if you don’t want to go for their delicious own brand, you can of course indulge in some Cristal (995 Euro), Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque (500 Euro) and Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé (600 Euro) by the bottle.


Relax at Raffles

Another astonishing interior under the belt of Philippe Starck, this hotel is a decadent, art-filled rebellion of colour, pattern and texture. Stark’s own interpretation of 1930s Paris. Then came the spa: an ethereal, snow-white world of plush lounging spaces, the longest swimming pool in any Paris hotel and fabulous treatments by Clarins. Try the Balance of Power face treatment by My Blend (€295 for 105 minutes), which uses a combination of eight creams and seven boosters, chosen by the therapist from a possible 400.

Get done at Doux Me

The Doux Me beauty room at Hôtel Costes offers personalised facials, body treatments and massages, using only organic products and vegetable-based oils that will leave your posh-girl skin feeling, soft, smooth and revitalised. Created for women, by women, this is ever Sloane Ranger’s dream pampering sesh.

If you enjoyed our post girls guide to Paris, you should read A Goth’s Guide to Gothenburg.

Koh Samui Holidays

Here’s our idea of heaven: powder soft, pure white, sandy beaches, never having to lift a finger as you’re brought cocktail after cocktail directly to your hammock. Long days of doing nothing except slapping on that bit of sun cream and watching your tan creep up on you. Palm trees swaying in the breeze and coconut milk served fresh from the tree. Hey, wake up! Sorry, we thought you might have been daydreaming like we do when we start to think of Koh Samui holidays

Beaches of Koh Samui

Primarily, people travel to Koh Samui for its legendary beaches. There are busy ones, quiet ones, water sports and relaxation, beach bars and epic parties, and beautiful people. All in a days’ work for Thai beaches really.

Laem Yai A quiet, secluded beach, perfect for couples or anyone just looking for a bit of peace and quiet.

Mae Nam A very beautiful, quiet and relaxed beach, perfect if you’re on a Christmas break on the island and really want that get-away-from-it-all kind experience.

BoPhut Otherwise known as the fisherman’s village, a great place to simply relax, and watch the world go by. But, go quickly! As this is becoming a firm favourite with tourists.

Chaweng This is the biggest and busiest beach on the island. You’ll find every type of life here from knackered looking backpackers, to luxury travellers in designer bikinis.

Lamai This is the island’s second beach, you’ll find a few more backpackers here than in other parts.

Bang Rak Home of the Big Buddha, it’s in a great location for hopping on a speedboat over to Had Rin on neighbouring island Koh Pha Ngan for the utterly legendary Full Moon Parties.

Click here to read more about family friendly beaches in Crete.

Things to do

Koh Samui with the kids Of all the Thai islands, Koh Samui is one of the most family friendly choices but there are still plenty of things to consider, pavements aren’t very pram friendly and high chairs aren’t readily available. Thai food is quite spicy, but there are generally child friendly options and childcare might not be available everywhere but locals definitely dote on children. We suggest sticking to the international style beach resorts for your own comfort and that of your little ones. There is plenty that kids will love and Bo Phut and Mae Nam are a great choice for travelling with youngsters.

A night of boxing Thai or Muay boxing is the national sport and the stadium near the Reggae Pub in Chaweng is at the centre of the action. The matches kick off (pun intended) around 9 and go on ‘til midnight. This is the real thing too, a noisy, exciting, hardcore night out.

Check out the creepy crawlies The Samui Butterfly Garden and Insect museum is a fun day out. You’ll find butterflies up to 25cms in length, while the insect museum has lots of different species and rare bugs as well as a bee house.

Sunset Snorkel Or morning snorkel or afternoon, anytime really. The diving here is wonderful, because the beaches are beautiful, the water is crystal clear and you can dive practically all year round.

Make friends with Nelly A jungle trip on an elephant’s back is a joy. The elephant is Thailand’s national animal, and Samui’s tropical rainforest centre makes it the obvious choice for exploring on this mighty animal’s back.

Party If partying is your thing, then there is possibly no better place in the whole world than Thailand. Head for Chaweng, the busiest and most party-centric beach on the island. Green Mango Square (named after the Green Mango club!) is just a couple of minutes from the beach and it’s filled with eye opening shows, featuring dancers in all stages of dress, there are booming sound systems, cocktails and hundreds of serious partying travellers. Join up with friends (or make new ones) in one of the many bars.

Full moon party Another option for those with partying in mind is to head for Bang Rak and hop on a speedboat for one of those Full Moon parties. There are bucket parties, dancing beaches and lots of health and safety issues to take note of. On big nights, like New Years, it draws up to 30,000 revellers. It tends to kick off with the bucket party. Each one is filled with some spirits and a handful of straws. That will give you a bit of an idea of what’s in store…

You should read… 10 weird and wonderful theme parks around the world.

Things to see

Na Muang Waterfall the spectacular pair of cascades are found a little inland from Nathon Bay and nicknamed the ‘Purple Waterfalls’ (so of course we’d love them!) They are named after the purple shade of their rock faces, if you go there, we want a picture!!

Mummy Monk In Lamai Beach, you’ll find the Mummified Monk, who died in the 70s in a seated position. Ever since his body’s been on display and even after 30 years shows little sign of deterioration.

Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (pictured above) Ahem, these are a little on the risqué side, but obviously that’s what people are into, as these cheeky rock formations are one of the biggest attractions on the island. Just ask a local about the legend of the rocks that resemble male and female bits.

Where to stay

Luxury Melati Beach Resort and Spa, Bophut: On a secluded beach, you’ll find this luxurious 5* resort, with outdoor baths, private pools and all sorts of food and drinks option. It has its own spa and the seafood and BBQ at the on-site restaurant are to die for.

Families Cocopalm Beach Resort: In Mae Nam Beach the Cocopalm is a far from the crowds of Chaweng, but still has plenty to keep kids busy. They’ll love the colourful surroundings and the quiet beach is ideal for building sandcastles.

Couples Dara Samui Beach Resort and Spa Villa: Think canopy draped beds, with luxurious traditional surroundings and a modern twist, that’s what you’ll get at this romantic 4*. This little slice of paradise is the place to go for a couples’ pamper session with excellent service and great facilities so you can do as much or as little as you like.

Partying Beach Republic, Lamai: This is where the beautiful people go to party on Koh Samui. A really unique hotel, the Beach Republic is well equipped with entertaining people and prides itself on its ‘sexy, sophisticated and cosmopolitan’ atmosphere.

Click here to find more hotels in Thailand from Purple Travel.

Purple Hearts: Montego Bay Jamaica

Not content with being both the capital of the Parish of St. James and Jamaica’s second city, the Bay is also the island’s capital of tourism. From spring-breakers that descend each year for bouts of ritualized raucousness to homing Jamaica’s busiest airport and cruise-ship port – it’s no surprise that Montego Bay Jamaica has a steady stream of visitors. And with so much to see and do, narrowing it all down into one travel guide is no mean feat. We’ve selected our top picks – the best beaches, the most interesting areas, the most delicious places to eat and the most fun things to do. Enjoy…

Montego Bay Jamaica Travel Guide

Beaches in Montego Bay Jamaica

Jamaica is defined by its pristine sandy shores, and some of its best are in ‘MoBay’, as the locals call the area. A particularly renowned spot is Doctor’s Cave Beach, named so because it was once owned by a doctor who donated it to a local swimming club. Although there is a small entrance fee, it’s well worth it, as the quiet sands are perfect relaxing. However the nearby water sports facilities, eateries and golf courses mean the beach suits the more active of travellers equally.

Where to go in Montego Bay

Gloucester Ave
Known as the ‘hip strip’, most of the hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops of Montego Bay line this parade. The strip runs parallel to the beach and boasts some of the best eating options on the island.

Centred on pedestrian Sam Sharpe Sq, Downtown fans out over a grid, its cobbled roads reach competing storefronts, ridden by pushcart peddlers who seem to appear out of thin air on every corner. Downtown is a breath of fresh air from trinket tourist streets, featuring a selection of decaying Georgian buildings and the excellent Museum of St James, which bears poignant testament to the city’s brutal slave history.

Montego Freeport
Aside from being one of Montego Bay’s main shopping ports, Freeport built in the 1960s, consists of five primary berths – two of which are dedicated exclusively for cruise shipping – making it a great photo spot.

Things to do in Montego Bay

Rose Hall Great House
Rose Hall has an incredible past. The Great House was once the home of the notoriously evil Annie Palmer, the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’, who murdered three husbands and terrorised her slaves. Two U.S. entrepreneurs, John and Michele Rollins, restored the building to its original glory, complete with period furnishings and lavish decor. Upon visiting, expect to get your bloog chilled as charming Jamaican hostesses tell tales of the evil Annie. There’s no need to fear though – a walk in the beautiful gardens is certain to restore your equilibrium. And if it doesn’t – head to Annie’s Pub in the dungeon of the Great House for something a little stronger to calm your nerves.

Aquasol Theme Park
Situated on Walter Fletcher beach, Aquasol theme park offers a go-kart track with 10 Honda bumper carts, plenty of water sports (including  kayaking, parasailing, banana boating and glass bottom boating) and  sporting activities such as trampolines, wave runners, beach volleyball and two professional tennis courts. For when you get a bit peckish, The Voyage sports bar and restaurant serves excellent food, in front of 42 big-screen TV’s for sporting events, pool tables, slot machines and many other games.

Dunn River Falls
While it’s entirely possible to fritter all of your time away on the beach, Jamiaca offers so much more than that. Dunn River Falls is a place where the fresh rain water cascades down stone terraces that cut right through the dense Jamaican rainforest and empties out into the Caribbean. Located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, this sublime spectacle puts the beach to shame. Not only can you see the beauty of the falls, but you can also climb up the cascading water from the beach below. From Montego Bay there are several tours available, but the least expensive option is to take one of the shared mini buses that drop you off right in front of the entrance. It takes about an hour and half each way for just a couple of quid.

Where to eat in Montego Bay

Whether you’re looking for authentic Jamaican cuisine, something British or even a curry – Montego Bay has it all in terms of restaurants. There’sThe Houseboat Grill, situated in the calm waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary. This unusual floating restaurant offers a unique setting for an intimate, one of a kind dining experience and some of the freshest fish in Jamaica. Or, Day O Plantation Restaurant, located in the lush tropical hills of Montego Bay City, is surrounded by a colourful tropical garden. Here you can sample the finest in Jamaican and foreign cuisine, all within elegant Jamaican splendour. Or, why not head to the Hip Strip to a local and tourist favourite alike, The Pelican Restaurant (no website). Well- known as one of Montego Bay’s best places to find mouth-watering Jamaican cuisine, their menu features classic Jamaican specialties like steamed red snapper with okras and bammy, ackee and salted codfish with boiled green bananas, yam and fried Johnny cakes.

Book a cheap holiday to Montego Bay Jamaica with Purple Travel (ABTA member) by calling us on our free hotline 0207 993 9228.

Purple Hearts Christ Church Barbados

With its traditional fishing villages, exclusive five-star resorts and lush vegetation, Christ Church Barbados blends the exotic with the familiar. Known as the Little England of the Caribbean, Barbados is an island that prides itself on its British customs and yet can’t help but embody the authentic spirit of the Caribbean.

When to go to Barbados

Barbados has a tropical climate, meaning it’s hot and sunny all year-round. The best time to go however, is between December and May when there’s less humidity and rainfall.

Beaches in Christ Church Barbados

The beaches around Christ Church are the chief reason why this area of Barbados sees such soaring numbers of tourists. Snorkelling, surfing and windsurfing opportunities are infinite, particularly at Dover Beach due to its favourable conditions for body boarding. Rockley Beach, with its tropical palm trees, comfortable sun loungers and good choice of local shops is another favourite. Enterprise Beach, frequently referred to as Miami, is a sandy spot that’s very much favoured with the locals due to its sheltered setting, crystal clear waters and calm waves. Windsurfers should head to Silver Sands, widely considered to be the best place to windsurf spot on Barbados. Tropical Bottom Bay is lined with mature coconut palms and boasts outstanding views of the shore. Unfortunately, swimming is not recommended here as the waves can be strong. Close to Christ Church is Crane Beach, a remarkably beautiful spot, which deservedly ranks amongst the world’s most acclaimed beaches. Crane, which takes its name from the large crane that was once located here to load and unload ships, plays home to an historic cliff-top hotel that dates back to 1867 – an excellent photo opportunity. The New York Times says, “A wave can travel nearly three thousand miles in the open ocean, undisturbed by sandbars, reefs or land, before it breaks here — on an unlikely little island shaped like a teardrop, off the radar of all but the most devoted surfers.”

What to see on the island

Apart from the beaches and water sports of Barbados Resorts like Christ Church, there are some excellent tourist attractions, especially those concentrated around the lively Saint Lawrence Gap area. Here’s our pick of the best:

Fish Cleaner, Oistins Fish Market By Day, Barbados by Patrick Bennett

Oistins Fish Market is a must-see attraction in Christ Church. Watch fisherman hauling in their daily catch and barter for some of the freshest, most delicious fish you will ever eat. Visit on a Friday or Saturday night to take part in the community fish fry, where you will enjoy the live Caribbean music, friendly atmosphere and a feast of grilled barracuda, dolphin fish, flying fish, marlin, snapper and tuna – to name but a few.

St John’s Church, on Hackleton’s Cliff, is not only one of the loveliest churches on Barbados, but it is also the burial place of Ferdinando Paleologus, last member of a family descended from ancient Greek royalty, who was a warden of the church and died in 1665.

A day at the races feels entirely different when sipping coconut water, tasting authentic Bajan cuisine, and basking in the Caribbean sun. “I hate horse-racing myself, but the atmosphere is great,” notes one Virtualtourist reviewer, “there are stalls selling Bajan food, parades, all sorts of activities, crafts stalls, etc. and the Bajans make a fun day of it.”

Located a little further away from the coast are some excellent attractions: the botanic gardens; a couple of nature reserves, including the wetlands of the Graeme Hall Swamp, which have attracted more than 160 species of bird, including some beautiful pink flamingos. In the middle of the island is Welchman Hall Gully, a kilometre-long walking trail through a sheltered and shaded ravine which hosts 200 flowering plants.

Holders Season is how the smart kids gets their cultural fix; held at Holders, a plantation house owned by Johnny and Wendy Kidd (parents of Jodie), this art and music festival is a glam event that presents the best of the island.

This EXCELLENT dinner theatre takes place in the heart of the lively St. Lawrence Gap area of Christ Church. Staged at the Plantation Garden Theatre, this production showcases the culture and traditions of Barbados. Performers at ‘Bajan Roots and Rhythm’ don spectacular costumes, and a buffet and drinks are included in the price of admission.

Where to eat in Christ Church Barbados

St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, Barbados (00 1 246 435 6564; www.piscesbarbados.com). A beautiful restaurant overlooking the sea. Good blackened fish and friendly service.

Overlooking the sweeping view of pretty Miami Beach, Café Luna offers alfresco dining on top of the Mediterranean-style Little Arches Hotel. This is spectacular at lunchtime and magical in the moonlight, serving up contemporary favourites from around the world, including fresh Scottish salmon grilled to perfection, oven-roasted New Zealand rack of lamb, fresh seafood bouillabaisse, and local chicken breast with mango chutney. Sushi is a specialty on Thursday and Friday nights; on Saturday night, a champagne and lobster option enhances the regular menu.

Purple Hearts Goa Destination Guide

The home of vibrant markets, stunning scenery, spectacular sunsets and erm… cow beaches? Here’s our insider guide to Goa, the perfect winter sunshine holiday destination.

This is the Purple Travel cheat sheet for Goa, it’s right on the western edge of India and known under many guises, including ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and ‘Tourist Paradise’. A former Portuguese colony, it’s home to soaring temples, endless beaches and an eclectic mix of Indian and Portuguese traditions, architecture and food. As you can imagine, holidays in Goa are more than just about beaches and sunshine (although they are near perfect!) they are also about indulging in the unique history and rich culture of this beautiful part of India.

Once a hotspot for hippies in the 60s, Goa’s glorious beaches and wonderful atmosphere has seen it become a firm holiday favourite, with over 2.5 million people visiting every year. Towards the end of September, monsoon season finishes up, leaving lush greenery, around ten hours a day of warm sunshine with little humidity, temperatures averaging 27 degrees and endless sandy beaches to perfect your tan. This carries on through to early March, meaning it’s a great choice for Christmas or New Years too. Throw in great prices, you’ll get a decent dinner for two with some local wine for about a tenner, while there are more budget friendly hotels and apartments than you can shake a stick at. Trust us the ten hour flight from the UK will be worth it. Find out all about this amazing country in our Goa Destination guide.

Goa’s loosely separated into two parts: North and South. The general rule is that it’s a bit busier in the north, maybe because it’s where the capital Panaji is. Plus it was the first part to be developed, when hippies arrived in the early 70s. The Southern part of the country is known as a more relaxed, laidback holiday destination.

North Goa

Anjuna with a weekly flea market, regular Saturday night bazaars and an alternative feel, Anjuna Beach has got plenty on offer. At sunset the beach is filled with entertainers from jugglers to fire-eaters, a great place to start your night out.

Candolim One of the quieter beaches in the Northern part of Goa, Candolim is not exactly empty, but tends to be on the quieter side. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby to keep your energy levels up for all the sunbathing.

Calangute is known as the queen of Goa’s beaches. It’s a really busy, bustling beach with lots of people. You’ll find plenty of children happily plotting sandcastles, while the surrounding bars and beach clubs mean it’s a great place to relax after a heavy night out.

Vagator The cliffside beach is split in two, between Big and Little Vagator Beaches and these are home to some of the best beach parties you’ll find in all of Goa, from trance to techno, hippies and backpackers, it’s a spot for all walks of life and certainly a place to make some new friends as you dance the night away.

South Goa

Agonda Beach Regularly topping the best beach in Goa lists, Agonda is clean and out of the way. It’s beautiful and secluded so it’s ideal for couples looking for a quiet day relaxing on sand. There aren’t so many food options around, so a sunset picnic sounds like a gorgeous option to us.

Cansaulim offers a really relaxed atmosphere. It’s a quiet, clean stretch close to two airports, so it’s perfect if you want to escape to the sun last minute. The sleepy villages nearby combined with the hotels and resorts mean you’ll never be short of options.

Betalbatim Great value on the shacks that edge the beach, while the peace and quiet is only interrupted by the odd bird or dolphin. Betalbatim has a friendly atmosphere that gets people returning year after year.

Colva A perfect mix of sun, sea and sand, Colva is known for its natural beauty. The 20-odd mile stretch of white sand and sparkling ocean leaves plenty of room to grab a lounger, a good book and take advantage of the sunshine.


Cow beach well, we couldn’t talk about Goa with talking about Cow beach. Bikini clad tourist happily mingle with bulls and heifers. As you do.

Things to do

Family break Many of the hotels dotted along the coast of the Arabian Sea are fully kitted out to make sure you and your little ones get the most out of it. Every conceivable activity is on offer, from Kid’s Clubs, crocodile watching, waterslides, swimming pools, beaches, GoKarting, or cruises. Sounds like a handful for your little handful.

Grownups getaway If you’re after a more grownup approach to your holiday, then a spa break is a pretty decadent way of doing it. Ayurvedic therapies will reunite your mind and body harmony. Failing that, you’ll at least find yourself feeling more relaxed than when you arrived.

Silent discosThe Silent Noise headphone parties in the south of Goa, see clubbers dance the night away – without disturbing any of the neighbours. It’s also some of the best fun you’ll ever have. Two or three DJs play the night away and each clubber has their own headphones so you can tune to whichever song suits your mood. It might sound weird, but when you make eye contact with someone dancing to your song, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Goan Carnival A yearly procession of colours and costumes, the Goan Carnival lasts for three or four days every year and we’re talking night and day. The legendary King Momo comes to life and takes over to create a riot of music and dance. It’s perfect timing if you’re planning ahead, the 2013 carnival kicks off on February 9th.

Dudhsagar Falls a tiered waterfall just a couple of miles from the capital Panaji, it’s known as one of the most beautiful in India. Surrounded by legend, the story goes that a beautiful princess used to live nearby and enjoyed bathing in her birthday suit, drinking ‘sweetened milk’ from a ‘golden jug,’ honestly, this is how it goes. One day she found herself being watched by a prince. To cover her modesty, threw herself under the jug of milk. It’s said it is that sweetened milk that pours down the mountain today.

Eat in Goa Goa is, naturally enough famous for its seafood. Fish based curries and rice are the staples. Add a dash of coconut and some local spices and you’ll find the intense flavours and delicious aromatic dishes Goa prides itself on.

Find the best cheap flights, hotels and package holidays to Goa from Purple Travel

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