Archive - February 2013

1
Purple Hearts: What to do in Paphos
2
Digital detox holidays
3
Purple 10: Best Spa Destinations
4
An insider’s travel guide Goa
5
Travel Infographic: Unusual Hotels of the World
6
Purple Hearts:Florida Keys Holidays
7
Off the beaten track: Romantic holidays on Τavarua island!
8
In pictures: the biggest, scariest waterslide you’ll see today.
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Purple Tips: Best Honeymoon Destinations
10
Purple 10: Best Summer Festivals

Purple Hearts: What to do in Paphos

From picture perfect bays, buzzing nightlife and buckets of sunshine, you couldn’t really ask for a more ideal holiday than on the gorgeous island of Cyprus. Of course, there is the infamous all night partying and up-to-no-goodness of Ayia Napa, the heart-racing history of Limassol, or the perfect blissfulness of Protaras. There are some excellent cheap holidays in Cyprus 2014 if you book early and choose the right hotels. Visit our website for more on cheap holidays in Cyprus, but for now, enjoy our guide on what to do in Paphos. 
Paphos

Paphos (and the whole island) is lucky in that it has great weather, almost the whole year round; the winters are mild and good for topping up that tan with a quick break in January, while the summer absolutely sizzles and is made for days running around the beach, dipping your toes in the warm waters, and indulging in some holiday fun. Legend has it that the Goddess of Love herself, Aphrodite was born from the waves of the island’s beaches and there are many sites dedicated to her. Image via @ Son of Groucho

Aphrodites Rock

What to do in Paphos

First up, we’ve got to mention the beaches, they are gorgeous. Latchi, Pachyammos, or Pharos Lighthouse Beach are all within reach for a day or two soaking up the sunshine, splashing about and grazing over a long lunch at a waterside taverna. A little drive from the town you can find Aphrodite’s Rock (where the lady herself is to have appeared.) A relaxed spot, there’s a pebble beach that you can cool down in, and legend has it, if you swim around the rock three times, you’ll be granted eternal youth. Image of Aphrodite’s Rock by @ Verity Cridland.

Apart from sun, sea and sand the history of the island is plain to see. There is plenty to discover in and around Paphos. It has an Acropolis, (like the one in Athens) Paphos Fort, the Tomb of the Kings or the simply magical Temple of Aphrodite, which dates back to the time of the Myceneans around the 12th century BC. Scattered throughout the area you might even stumble across the remains of theatres, fortresses, tombs and palaces. Image via @ Glen Bowman.

Ancient ruins

For adventurers, or just for anyone look for a bit of activity on Paphos holidaysdon’t miss the Troodos Mountains. There are unspoilt villages scattered throughout, tiny churches and excellent walking or hiking trails. And the views up there? Well, we think it’s hard for words to simply describe it; you have to see if for yourself.

Just a short drive from Paphos centre, you’ll find the Lara Beach Turtle Conservation Station. A serene stretch of sand, where, if you’re lucky you can find leatherback or green turtles scurrying across the sand, and a lovely secluded beach with plenty of greenery. Remember, September is the best time for viewing.

Family fun is plentiful in Paphos from the water sports on offer to the beaches. Paphos Zoo, family cycling adventures, an ostrich farm, amusement filled Luna Parks and (our favourite) the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark are all close by and ensure there’s a lot to keep kids of all ages busy. George’s Fun Bus is a good day out, with “guaranteed fun.” The tour takes in historic ruins, the Adonis Waterfall and Sea Caves. All in a day’s work really!

There are couple of wineries in the area if you’re looking for traditional Cypriot hospitality, a great lunch and, naturally, lashings of wine. The Kolios Winery, Sterna Winery or Tsangarides are all worth visiting. A fountain of knowledge, the owners provide tasting and educational visitors and offer you the chance to imbibe some delicious wine without feeling too guilty.

Paphos at night

Partying in Paphos

Although not *quite* as wild as Ayia Napa, Paphos has its own alternative clubbing atmosphere. In the last few years, some great bars, cafes, pubs and clubs have sprung up. The Hollywood Music Bar on Bar Street (!) Aces Cocktail Bar on Ayias Anastasias, the themed Flintstones Bar on Dionisiou 2 Kato and the legendary Harry O’s are all worth checking out. For late night partying, Escape Beach Club, Rainbow Club (this one only opens around 2am) and the dance Robin Hood Club all make for awesome nights out. Image of Paphos at night by @ Son of Groucho.

Where to stay in Paphos

A little luxury never goes astray on holidays, so the 5* Hotel Almyra is a top choice. It is five minutes from the harbour, has free Wi-fi and the choice of four freshwater pools, or a dip in the spa. The 4* Capital Coast Resort and Spa is a top Family choice offering bright family rooms, lots of in-house activities and plenty of fun on the nearby beach. For romance or honeymooners take advantage of the Annabelle Hotel. This 5* overlooks the port and has its own tropical landscaped gardens, swim through caves, and marble features. You name it, they’ve got it. For great value we like the 3* Kissos Hotel on Verenikis Street. It’s in the heart of action in Paphos, slap, bang, between two resorts and amongst beautiful gardens. And it is right next door to a great beach, perfect for completely relaxing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat to eat in Cyprus

Closely related to Greek and with influences from Turkey, Italy and the Middle East, there’s certainly something to suit everyone from the fresh food, handy snack souvlaki and delicious fresh fish in Paphos. The Letymbou Taverna is a little bit out of town, but we think well worth the trek. The prices are right and the food is hard to beat.  If you prefer pub grub the Rugby Arms does great breakfasts, snacks or snacks. For fancy, Ficardo Restaurant on Poseidonos Avenue is top class, with fresh fish, kleftico or moussaka just a sample of what’s on offer.

For cheap Paphos holidays in Cyprus this year visit the Purple Travel website or give us a call on 0207 993 9228.

Digital detox holidays

Do you check Facebook before you even get dressed in the morning? Dn’t worry, you can tell us. Do you need to kick your Twitter habit? Or simply relax from Reddit? Are you naked without your smartphone? You need a digital detox!

We’re guessing the thought of going offline for a few days is a little scary, but hear us out. With attention spans dropping and internet addiction on the rise, a tech free holiday is meant to inspire, re-energize and improve your mood. If nothing else, it will at least make you feel popular when you return to a bunch of emails and status updates.

Unplug your computer and head for a little tech free treat, with our top 7 digital detox holidays.

Backspace button

Off the grid weekends in the USA
These Digital Detox guys are spearheading the trend, they think of everything. No watches, computers, phones; devices of any kind are checked from the arrival. This retreat is about recharging your batteries, but not the online kind. Digital Detox offers yoga, meditation, writing workshops (using a pen and paper!) a completely tranquil environment along with healthy simply food. It makes an ideal place to unwind and get inspired.

Distance to wi-fi: it’s not that far, but it’s under lock and key until the retreat ends.

Elephant watching in Kenya
You’re in the middle of the desert, silently watching out for an elephant, a once in a lifetime opportunity, when suddenly a phone interrupts everything and scares Nelly and everything in a 3 mile radius away. If there was a place on earth where phones should be banned, it must be at the Elephant Watch Safari Camp. You don’t want to be *that* person, do you?

Distance to wi-fi: at least a couple of miles. Don’t bother lugging that laptop.

Digital Detox in the Caribbean
The paradise like islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean are serious about the digital detox, asking guests to completely surrender all their tech gadgets on arrival. Hotels around the islands have no TVs, while you’ll be frowned on if you whip out your phone on the beach. It even provides pre-holiday advice on how to survive without technology.
Nearest wi-fi: you will find some access, but your neighbours won’t be impressed.

Enjoy the high life in Morocco
High up in the exquisite Atlas Mountains of Morocco, along with simply stunning scenery, you’ll find a haven of computer free activities at the Kasbah Bab Ourika like expert yoga classes, morning hikes through wild lavender fields, and clear mountain air that makes up for being offline. Don’t worry, it’ll all be waiting for you when you get back.

Distance from wi-fi: How often have you gotten good wi-fi signal up the side of a mountain?

Family tech free in Jamaica
Try Jakes Hotel, it has it all, or rather we should say it hasn’t it all. All of the cottages are without wi-fi, TVs or telephones. This place is about getting completely relaxed at the perfect beaches nearby, finding the ideal masseuse at the spa, or simply taking some time to enjoy life at the ‘chicest shacks in the Caribbean.’

Distance to wifi: Ok, if you really need it, you might find signal in the hotel lobby.

Get beached in Phi Phi
If you’ve seen that movie The Beach, you’ll remember the picture perfect cove, where a bunch of travellers decided to live in idyllic surroundings. Completely removed from society, it was the perfect balm for escaping the rat race (until things turned a little sour, but the less said about that the better!) The beaches in Phi Phi may not be as deserted as they once were, but they are definitely about as tech free as you’ll find in Thailand.

Distance to wi-fi: You’ll be lucky to find patchy reception in some of the bars, but this isn’t one of the big all-encompassing resorts, so you might even forget you once owned a phone!

Surf the Aegean not the web
The cruising season in the Greek Islands lasts from May to October. It’s a place to switch off – because you don’t have any choice. Helping out on a boat is hard work, even if it’s simply sunbathing on deck, (that’s helping isn’t it?) Typically, you’ll travel around the likes of Rhodes, Mykonos, and Santorini. Wi-fi is at a minimum on board, so why not go to the whole hog and leave your phone back in Britain.

Distance from wi-fi: Of course when you land on the islands you’ll find plenty of places to plug in, but a tech free holiday is just what you make it, so switch off and check your mail when you get home.

Image via  here.

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.

An insider’s travel guide Goa

This is a post by writer Rosalie Cruz, who spent the past few months in Goa, experiencing all that life had to offer there. Read her insider’s travel guide to Goa and find her online on Facebook.

Henna

India has always held a certain magical appeal to westerners. The reasons for that are more than we can list; maybe it’s the spirituality or perhaps it’s the amazing diversity of cultures, spice, food, colour that floods your senses at every turn but the truth is, there isn’t much you can’t find in India. From beautiful palaces tucked away in the deserts of Rajasthan, ageless rituals and the mysticism of Varanasi, the massive city sprawl of Mumbai or Delhi where anything can happen, the beauty of Kerala, the quaintness of Pondicherry. And then there is Goa, playground for Indians and the rest of the world alike.

Goa is quickly becoming the place to be if you’re looking for an amazing holiday at a relatively purse friendly rate. With its peaceful warm waters, stretches of fine sand surrounded by jungle and coconut tree forests, every beach in Goa could make it on a postcard. If you’re not so much into beaches, there is always the thrill of bargaining for handcrafted souvenirs in the many flea markets that dot the area or driving around on a spiffy little Vespa, snapping shot after shot of the architectural gems that remain from colonial days.

But if a beach holiday is what you crave, then Goa has much to offer. Some of my favourite beaches in North Goa are Morgim, Mandrem and Aswen. The three beaches are all part of the same large stretch of fine white sands, quiet warm waters and beach shacks and huts. If water based sports are your thing or you just need something to occupy yourself when you have decided to give yourself a break from tanning, this is the place to be. Surf lessons, para sailing, kite surfing. You name it, they’ll have it.

Dudhsagar Waterfall

Then there is Arambol, also to the North. Home to hippies, yogis and free spirits in general, this beach is the place to be if you’re looking for some serious chill out time with all mod cons. I recommend you stay for sunset and the drum circle that happens at the beach every night.

As you make your way further south, be sure to visit Anjuna. If you’re looking for a party (a trance party I should say) this is definitely the place to be. There is always a party going on in any of the many shacks on the beach. Curlie’s is an institution when it comes to partying in Anjuna but Hippies, Shiva Valley and Café Lilliput should be on your to do list as well. Days here are all about lazing by the beach, spending a Wednesday bargaining at the massive flea market and getting some food before heading out to party all over again.

Vagator, the smaller town neighbouring Anjuna, is said to be the birthplace of Goan Trance and has a much different vibe. Here you’ll end up rubbing shoulders with the people who fell in love with Goa back in the 60’s and have been unable to ever truly leave. All you have to do is pull up a stool at the Mango Tree (renowned for its bad service but still a favourite in the area); I promise you’ll leave with a story to tell. For some trance, try Hilltop or Nine Bar.

Baga and Calangute could well be the places for you if things get a bit too quiet while you bum around in North Goa. Tito’s Lane in Baga will definitely have a bar that suits you down to a T. It’s a great place to mingle and meet some locals. If you time your stay well you’ll be around for Sunburn, a music festival that caters for those who enjoy dance, house and trance music and renowned as one of the best festivals in the world.

Guetta in Goa

Before you leave, make sure you spend a Saturday night in the Arpora Saturday Night Market. Amazing stalls with local crafts as well as clothing and jewellery; designers from all over the world come here to sell their beautiful wares. It’s impossible to resist the urge to shop here, even if you dread the thought of shopping.

Before you leave North Goa, hop on a taxi and head to Old Goa, the district that was once the heart of Portuguese Goa. Beautiful churches and old colonial homes are the most evident remains of the colonial occupation. There is a stunning multi-dimensional feel to the whole state but Old Goa is where it is more evident and best preserved. It’s well worth spending an afternoon walking around with your camera in hand.

Once you hit South Goa, life slows down a bit more. The white sand beaches and warm waters of the Arabian Sea create the ideal place to see life go by. Away from the partying of North Goa, the key word here is “chill.” Palolem Beach, also known as paradise beach is definitely a must during a visit to Goa. And we assure you they don’t call it paradise beach for nothing. Sunset here is like nothing you have ever seen before. Spending the last few days of your holiday here will leave you invigorated and happy.

If after all the beachcombing you still have the time and energy, take a trip to Hampi in the state of Karnataka or Kerala but we’ll tell you all about that in another post.

All images via Rosalie Cruz.

Travel Infographic: Unusual Hotels of the World

 

A Night Less Ordinary

Purple Hearts:Florida Keys Holidays

With its luscious jungles, dazzling seas, and exotic mangroves, the string of islands that make up the Florida Keys is this year’s hottest destination. Attracted by its stunning coral reefs and the bountiful coloured fish that make them their home, thousands of tourists return to as the charming communities of Key West and Key Largo every year. Choosing which islands to get to while you’re there is difficult when you’re not in the know, so we’ve put together a travel guide to help you along the journey. Welcome to Florida Keys Holidays.

Florida Keys

Flickr/Emilio Labrador/Creative Commons

Where to go in Florida Keys

Bahia Honda Key | Tropical Bahia Honda Key centres mainly around its eponymous state park, known for its pristine beaches, wonderful snorkelling opportunities and perfect sunsets. Take a picnic with you to the beach and spend a relaxing day, dipping into the sea and enjoying the balmy breezes that caress its shores. This remote island is an excellent place to see shorebirds and other wildlife, with a nature centre dedicated to the island’s plants and animals.

Big Pine Key | Big Pine Key is a refuge to rare and endangered animals. Its authentic back country atmosphere and National Key Deer Refuge, make it a beautiful place to holiday. Big Pine is also the jumping off point for numerous snorkelling and diving charters to Looe Key reef, the perfect remedy if you feel like taking an offshore adventure.

Conch Key | This stretch of Florida Keys is dominated by the fishing community, and home to both rustic fishing villages and boating elite. Conch Key itself is a tiny fishing village, but you can quickly hop across to Duck Key, if you’re looking for a more upscale community.

Duck Key | Small, secluded, yet central to Miami and Key West, 

Duck Key is known for its beautiful sunsets. Also home to Hawks Cay, one of the region’s most popular marina resorts, Duck Key is the ideal destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway.

Grassy Key Legend has it that this remote little key was not named after its abundant vegetation as the name would suggests, but after an early settler who went by the name of Grassy. However, this doesn’t take away from its greenery – the Key is fileld with shrubs and native trees.

Islamorada | Isla Morada is Spanish for Island Home, named so by the early settlers who immediately found this island to be cosy and homely. This well-known fishing village is the perfect place for snorkelling, sunbathing and swimming.

Key Largo | Key Largo is the first of the Upper Keys that can be reached by car, and at 30 miles long, it’s also the largest island in the chain.

Key West | Close to Miami,  and just 90 miles from Havana, this end-of-the-line community is like nowhere else on earth. This is the land of eternal holiday, where no one has a care in the world and all you have to think about is what you want for lunch or which cocktail you’ll choose.

Florida from Space

 Flickr/gsfc/Creative Commons

Little Torch Key | Little Torch Key and its neighbour islands, Ramrod Key and Summerland Key, are good jumping-off points for divers headed for Looe Key Reef. The islands also serve as a refuge for those who want to make.

Long Key | Long Key is the ideal destination for those looking to avoid the masses and enjoy some ecological history.

Marathon | Marathon is a busy town – or at least busy when compared to other communities in the Keys. However, the island also lacks a certain charm when compared to its counterparts…

You Should Read… Top 10 Theme Parks in the USA

Hemingway house

Hemingway Balcony/Mattwunderle/Creative Commons

Main attractions of Florida Keys

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum 

A guided tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home is filled with amusing anecdotes of the writer’s life. Built in 1801, Hemmingway lived in the house between 1931 and 1942, writing about 70% of his life’s work, including classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls in its roomsYou can even see some of his belongings including some books, with photographs along the way to help you visualise his day-to-day life.

Audubon House and Tropical Gardens

See the works of ornithologist John James Audubon in this three-story house, which was built in the 1840s for Captain John Geiger. Today, it commemorates Audubon’s 1832 stop in Key West while he was travelling through Florida to study birds. The self-guided tour of the house and gardens and the art gallery of lithographs of the artist’s famed portraits, is one you’ll never forget.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Construction of Fort Zachary Taylor began in 1845, but was halted during the Civil War. Finally completed in 1866, the fort was also used in the Spanish-American War. Guests can either take a 30-minute guided walking tour of the redbrick fort, a National Historic Landmark, at 12pm  and 2pm, or self-tour anytime between 8am and 5pm.

Off the beaten track: Romantic holidays on Τavarua island!

Romantic holidays Tavarua island

Small but perfectly formed, you could call Tavarua Island the best place on earth for romantic holidays. In the shape of a heart, in a paradise like location just to the west coast of exotic Fiji, it’ll make your desert island dreams come true.

Romantic holidays on Tavarua island

The heart-shaped island has an area of 29 acres and is close to the main Fijian island, Viti Levu. Tavarua, part of the Mamanuca islands, is home to perfect, white powder sand beaches, completely clear tropical waters, lush greenery and coral reefs. For such a tiny island there’s also a surprising amount of activity there, if you can drag yourself away from the beaches. Guests can the island can choose from surfing, scuba diving, sport fishing, snorkelling and kayaking. Shell hunting is also popular choice, and trips to the famous Cloudbreak (a surfing haven) or simply chilling in a sunny spot in your hammock are a must. However, the top choice has to be a Fijian massage. We’re serious, don’t even think about operating heavy machinery after one of those! As for cuisine, it might surprise you to learn that as well as seafood, the islands cuisine also includes some Indian dishes that were introduced to the island by Indian labourers. A popular dish is called Kokoda, which is similar to ceviche, consisting of raw fish marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, sometimes accompanied by pepper onion and tomato.  Of course there’ll be plenty of fresh tropical fruit on offer too.

Tavarua, with perfectly-formed beaches, warm climate and relaxing atmosphere make for the ultimate in romantic honeymoon holidays.

Romantic holidays on Tavarua island

Romantic holidays, Tavarua island

romantic holidays on Tavarua island

Romantic holidays on Tavarua island

In pictures: the biggest, scariest waterslide you’ll see today.

The World’s Biggest Waterslide is not for the faint hearted. At 14 storeys high, and reaching speeds around 105 km per hour as you slip down, it takes serious guts (or insanity) to brave it. The Beach Park in Brazil is home to the delightfully named Insano.

So the big question is: would you dare try it?

Waterslide 5

Image via @ Beach Park

Waterslide 1 Waterslide 2  Waterslide 4

All images via @ Car_tav

Purple Tips: Best Honeymoon Destinations

Cyprus SunsetBuzzing nightlife Pick Cyprus. The birthplace of the Goddess of Love Aphrodite is pretty much bubbling with romance.  There are idyllic sandy beaches, trails where the goddess herself is said to have walked, charming wine-making villages and a relaxed atmosphere that’s made for hand in hand walks in the sunshine. By evening, Paphos is a lively town with a mix of traditional tavernas, lively bars and clubs where you can dance all night if you feel like it. The luxury 5* Elysium Cyprus has every aspect of your honeymoon covered, from stunning views, massages to its great location right on the beach. Cyprus sunset image via @ Mrs Logic

Monkey in GambiaWildlife just a few short hours from the UK, Gambia is the obvious choice for enjoying a lively first few days of honeymoon packages. You can top up your tan in tropical sunshine, relax in sumptuous facilities, explore safari and try to catch the big 5 or meet some of the friendliest people in the world at the Smiling Coast.  The 5* Kairaba Beach Hotel is a comfortable choice. Right on the famous Kololi beach and standing in beautiful flower filled gardens, it’s a real home away from home. The only way you’ll notice the difference is by catching sight of the vervet monkeys and wild birds that live in the trees. Monkeys in Gambia image via @ kevinzim

RomeOn a budget if you’re going for budget, why not take a long weekend in a beautiful European city. Purple Travel can get great deals on flights to several capitals but Rome has to be one of our favourites. The modern 4* Hotel American Palace is right in the heart of the action, with a nearby metro that will take you to sights like the Trevi Fountain or Colosseum. There’s even a beach about 30 minutes away by convenient public transport.  As beautiful as it is by day, it’s even more spectacular by night, as the cosy corners are lit by candlelit, vino is opened and couples take evening strolls under moonlight. Rome is a great choice for a budget conscious honeymoon this year. Image of Rome by @ Moyen_Brenn

CubaAbsolute luxury The Sandals Royal Hicaco 5* in Varadero, Cuba, is on 23 acres, in lush greenery and offers lots of choice for couples on their first days of married life. There are three types of suites to choose from and the properties are decorated in a cute 1920s style. Although home to some of the finest beaches on earth, the Caribbean Island is practically made for honeymooners looking to discover its rich culture and heritage. Nights should be spent learning tango, knocking back rum cocktails and learning how to roll your own cigars, in between sunbathing sessions in one of the best honeymoon destinations ever. Image of Cuba by @ darkroomillusions

Blue dome of SantoriniThe ultimate in romance Island hopping in Greece is obviously the top choice for island hopping. With a big boost on drawing visitors, it’s never been better value to head to head to the beautiful Greek islands. We think the Cyclades is a good idea, with Santorini offering azure sparkling waters, and dramatic evenings watching the sunset from the caldera. The Astro Palace 5* Hotel is an elegant and traditional accommodation, with a peaceful atmosphere, but just a few minutes from the island’s main city Fira. The nearby island of Naxos is an absolute gem and not that well known outside of Greece, so you can lay out on unspoilt, empty beaches before tottering to a nearby taverna for lunch. Finish up in Mykonos for a few days of the high life before jetting back home. The Mykonos Grand should be enough luxury for you and your new other half. Image of Santorini by @ Navin75

Algarve Beach

On the beach Portugal is a big hit with bride and grooms both as a wedding destination and has kick ass honeymoon packages. There are tonnes of flights and the Algarve and Faro in particular are easy to get to. Plus it’s got something for everyone, from golf course, (but c’mon guys!) romantic secluded villages, lively towns and spectacular hotels. The 4* Riu Palace Algarve is right on the beach, one of the most beautiful in the Algarve and has pools, Jacuzzi, hammam and spa on site to make you feel totally relaxed. The on site restaurants or local eateries are great for sampling the absolutely delicious Portuguese cuisine, while its access to picture perfect beaches is hard to beat. Image of Algarve Beach by @ Dan Taylor

Call Purple Travel now for the best honeymoon destinations this year on 0207 993 9228.

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.

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