Archive - February 2013

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A bit NSFW: 6 slightly dodgy stag do ideas
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Purple Hearts Malaga Holidays
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Off the beaten track: Top Greek Caves
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A Night Less Ordinary: Les Balade des Gnomes

A bit NSFW: 6 slightly dodgy stag do ideas

Best man duties are important and maybe the biggest responsibility is for a stag do that of course has the grooms’ best interest at heart and is not simply just booze and birds. Ah, who are we kidding, stag do ideas are all about male bonding via the medium of drinking and partying. Just remember: what happens on tour stays on tour. Get a load of our slightly dodgy stag do ideas.

Happy Ending Red Light Tour in Amsterdam

amsterdam

It’s a fact – you literally CANNOT go to Amsterdam without visiting the Red Light District, and, if you’re on your stag or hen holiday, it’s probably a crime if you don’t. The ‘Happy Ending’ walking tour is led by a clued-up guide, who’ll do their best to show you the city’s wild side over a two-hour tour. Your group will be taken to the city’s hottest bars, clubs, pubs and X-rated establishments, exploring Holland’s world famous windows along the way. The tour also includes a visit to a peep show, entry into a lap dance club and a free beer at one of Amsterdam’s most popular bars.

From £30 Per Person.

Tits and Teatime in Benidorm

tits and teatime

Food, booze and boobs all under one roof – what more could you ask for from a stag holiday? One strictly for the boys, this decadent affair kicks off to a roaring start with a fantastic meal followed by a saliva-inducing private strip show. Sure to inspire ‘bromance’, this excellent male bonding session does exactly what it says on the tin – plus unlimited sangria for 2 hours. Everything is arranged and pre-paid for, so all you have to do is turn up and get involved.

From £39.00 Per Person.

Tank Driving in Bratislava

tank driving

If you’re looking for the manliest of manly activities that will be talked about for years to come – tank driving in Bratislava is definitely top of the list. And if you’re wondering where that actually is – it’s Slovakia. Slovakia in a tank. See what we mean? Here road rules needn’t be remembered and insurance claims are a thing of the past – all you need to think about is rolling over everything that comes in your way. It is a tank, after all. The tank driving session includes a ride in a BVP-1DTP (3 x 10-min circuits), a delicious BBQ and a round of beers for the guys.

From £69.00 Per Person.

Treasure Hunt in Barcelona

Small-Treasure-chest-on-beach

A far cry from the traditional treasure hunt, this alternative activity in Barcelona is the perfect mix of cheeky and cultural. What a fantastic way for your stag party to take in the city’s impressive sights, have a laugh and bond with each other and score some awesome treasure – of the gorgeous variety, of course. The hunt involves solving clues that lead to different landmarks, such as Gaudi’s majestic Sagrada Familia and completing challenges and drinking games along the way.

From £25.00 Per Person.

Paintballing in Prague

paintballing

Prague paintballing features speed games and military-style missions at a former army training base with buildings, trenches and a lush forest. Perfect for a great stag, you’re certain to raise adrenaline levels up and ignite that competitive spirit –this means war! Lock ‘n load with cutting-edge guns, 200 balls each and protective gear all included – as well as return transfers and an English speaking guide.

From £40.00 Per Person.

Kidnap the groom. If you want to really make his last days of freedom memorable, get your budding hero kidnapped by some spy specialists. A simulated raid experience has a group of masked men pull up in a van and steal away the main man. The inspiration for these comes from De Niro and Pacino so you know you’re in healthy company. Warning: this one is probably not for wusses.

Prices depend on location.

For even more stag do ideas visit Purple Travel or call us on 0207 993 9228.

Purple Hearts Malaga Holidays

Malaga in sunshine from PurpleTravel_2Malaga in sunshine via @ gotardo 

Drenched in sunshine, there’s a reason it’s called the Costa del Sol. Did you know there are at least 300 days of sunshine every year on the Costa and it gets up to a balmy 27 degrees in the summertime. Its regional capital Malaga is no different and is the right mix of nightlife, beaches, shopping and total relaxation.

If the weather isn’t enough to convince you how about the price? It’s cheap as chips on Malaga holidays 2014, especially if you know the right places to go. And that’s before we start on the native Malaguenos. The friendliest people on earth? Only one way of finding out.

Beaches in Malaga

Malagueta_from_PurpleTravel

Malagueta via @ Ari Helminen

The obvious first choice is Playa de la Malagueta, the blue flag town beach. A busy beach, with good facilities and easy to get to. Get to the Playa Las Acacias early as it’s a popular choice. Great for kids with its sheltered sandy coves and it’s huge so there’s plenty of room for everyone. Beside the El Candad marina you’ll find the Playa Palo with a good atmosphere and lots of facilities and bars. Further on from the city there are great beaches to discover like the Santa Amalia in Fuengirola, El Padron in Estepona and Casablanca in Marbella. So really it’s up to you!

What to do in Malaga

Malaga Bullring from PurpleTravel

Along with Seville and Madrid, Malaga is at the heart of bullfighting in Spain. Although clearly the sport is not for everyone, the bullring at Plaza La Malagueta draws throngs throughout the throngs of locals during the season (April to September.) Malaga Bullring via @ mer de glace 

Malaga is the birthplace of the legendary painter Pablo Picasso and the Picasso Museum houses a selection of his works, with a detailed audio tour added to it. The café and shop are worth browsing in too. There’s also a Museum of Dollhouses in Malaga, a cute collection that’ll impress any little princess. Learn all about the history of the area at the Museo de Artest Populaires or treat yourself at (our personal favourite) the Wine Museum of Malaga. Retreat from the hectic streets by visiting the Renaissance city Cathedral or take a walk in La Concepcion –  Jardin Botanico (the Botanic Gardens.)

Day trips from Malaga

Night view of the Alhambra

The imposing Alhambra Palace in nearby Granada is one of Spain’s most important attractions. It’s part cathedral, part castle and part palace and has inspired poetry, music and even mathematics. You’ll definitely need to get tickets in advance to make sure you get in. Night view of the Alhambra via @ Teosaurio

Mijas and Nerja are two delightful little villages very close to the city. They have small lookout points, offering beautiful views of the Costa. Furthermore there are plenty of smaller resorts to discover nearby. Travelling west from Malaga City, you’ll find Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella. Going East you’ll get to Rincon de la Victora or Torre del Mar. Most of these are just a few minutes on easy connections by train and are well worth going to for an evening out eating or exploring.

Family fun on Malaga Holidays 2014

Juzcar

Visit the town of Juzcar. In 2011 all the residents got together and painted every building a lovely sky blue, in honour of the Smurfs movie. Juzcar image via @ manuelfloresv

Worth a look if you’ve got the time. The Aventura Amazonia in Marbella is an action packed activity park with 83 challenges and 20 zip lines. Enough to keep little ones busy for hours. Selwo Adeventure in Estepona has over 2,000 animals from across the world and also offers some activities, like zip wires. Aqualand in Torremolinos is the biggest waterpark on the Costa, big enough to spend the whole day and just minutes from downtown, it’s a top choice.

Shopping in Malaga

Sales in Malaga run on and on and on, even in the classiest shops in the centre of town. Start with the fancy designer shops around Calle Marques de Larios. The marble boulevard just screams big bucks. Well worth an afternoon out is the Mercado Central de Atarazanas for a riot of colour, the freshest in fruit and vegetables and yummy cheese (and a great tapas bar in the corner.) It’s ideal for stocking up if you’re self catering.

In the heart of the city you’ll find the Smile Bank, a cute shop selling all sorts of funny souvenirs, cute t-shirts and personalised gifts. If you need a hat, fedora, sombrero or panama (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) Go to Ricardo del Cid Fernandes on Calle Caldereria, an old school favourite.

Green fees in and around Malaga

Golf courses abound in Malaga from approximately €17 at the Casares Costa Golf designed by Juan Carlos Martinez to €65 at the La Cala Resort and plenty in between.

Nightlife in Malaga

There are some great bars, music venues and of course, clubs in Malaga and the surrounding areas offering everything from a quiet drink in a cosy snug to dancing on the table all night long. The ZZ Pub is a favourite with locals and has lots of live bands. Mane in nearby Benalmadena is open late, has free entrance at the weekend and you can expect pumping dance music all night. The Velvet Club on Calle Juan de Padilla 22 has great music and prides itself on its midweek parties, but note they close at 3am. If karaoke is more your thing, head for Dixie’s on Salvador Allende 9. A small, friendly establishment, run by locals, it is a great place to get your night started.

Hen and Stags in Malaga

Lads enjoying a stag party
Malaga’s also an up and coming hen and stag party destination. With a tonne of clubs, cheap bars and booze and loads of activities like, a fiesta meal (with stripper) for the ladies or very special nights out for the lads, with added dancing for the groom to be, you and your gang can have as much fun as you want.

You Should Read… The Perfect Stag and Hen Parties

Cheap eating in Malaga

Fancy Octopus lunch in Malaga SpainMalaga is a delicious taste of Spain and one of the most surprising things? The prices. One visitor who has just returned from a short trip to the city was delighted to find: “abundant coffee and wine at €1.50 so you can savour a stop frequently.”

Malaga has delicious Spanish cuisine and great international choices too.  Start with a trip to Tapeo de Cervantes, C/Carcer 8, for reasonably priced, excellent quality food. Arguably the best bargain tapas place on the Costa del Sol! For something special, the Restaurante Amador at Calle Bandaneira 6 is a quality establishment offering beautiful, fresh Spanish food along with delightful views. For seafood Marisqueria el Kaoba is a mid priced must. Finish your evening with a stop at Malaga’s top sweet shop, Cafe Lepanto at Calle Marques de Larios 7.

Octopus Lunch in Malaga via @ Ewan-M

Where to stay in Malaga

The Barcelo Malaga is just a few minutes from the city centre and right on the handy AVE high speed rail line, so it’s a great choice for couples who want to soak up the sunshine and relax. The Hotel Las Vegas is right on the waterfront at La Malagueta beach and all rooms have a full or partial sea view. The Malaga Centro is in a great location as its name suggests and just a couple of minutes to the beach. Hotel Domus, just five minutes from Pedregalejo Beach and with simple rooms, this is good value choice, but is a little further from the city centre (4km.)

For more cheap Malaga holidays give Purple Travel a call on 0207 993 9228.

Off the beaten track: Top Greek Caves

Off the beaten track: Top Greek Caves

Explore, dream, discover, There’s never been a better time to holiday in Greece and on top of the beaches and sunshine, there is plenty to discover. Go home with a tale to tell after visiting one of the huge cave complexes dotted throughout the mainland and the islands.

Cave of Melissani: Found in the beautiful island of Kefalonia, this is an underground masterpiece. Shaped like a ‘B’ a small tunnel brings small tour boats inside the cave where the sun’s rays transform it into a heavenly light show. (Image via @ NikitasPhoto)

Melissani cave in Kefalonia via Purple Travel

Cavern of Perama: Just 5km away from Ioannina city centre in Western Greece, the Cavern of Perama, discovered in the 40s is a real treat. A tour around the imaginatively lightened caves, and awe-inspiring ancient stalactites and stalagmites is well worth the trip.

Diros Cavern: One of the most beautiful lake made caverns in the world, together with Padirac Chasm in Southern France and Jeita in Beirut. Diros Cavern in the Peloponnese is 14.5 km long, featuring underwater and overland routes.

Cave of the Lakes: In the village of Kastria in Achaia lies the famous Cave of the Lakes, a rare natural creation. Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries and its strange stalactite formations, this cave has something exclusively unique that does not exist in other infamous caves. Inside visitors will find a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels that establish its uniqueness in the world.

Cavern of Aggitis River (Maaras): The cave of the springs of the Aggitis River in Drama-Northern Greece features colourful and varied forms of stalactites reflected in the still waters of the underground river. It’s the perfect choice for budding biologists; unique fish species has been found in this cavern, such as Barbus Barbus, Squalius Orpheus and a rare kind of semi-transparent stone crayfish.

Alistrati’s Cave: According to the Greek Mythology, Pluto, master of Hades kidnapped Persephone, daughter of the Goddess Demeter. He led her to what was called the Gates of the Underworld at a ravine. The specific area which is mentioned in these Greek Myths is the same one near Alistratis’ Cave. The cavern lies in a place called Petroto, where Mother Nature decided to demonstrate its power by creating medusa-like shapes. However, what fascinates the most is the huge stalactites forming pure white curtains along the walls.

Σπήλαιο Κάψια-Τρίπολη

Cave of the Elephants: The Cave of the Elephants in Chania, Crete is a refuge for the protected species of Mediterranean Seal, one of the most endangered mammals of Europe. Diving in this cavern is a truly magnificent experience as visitors can admire the beautiful décor of stalactites and stalagmites (underwater and above the water surface) and see fossilized bones, which are embedded in the rocks of the cave.

Σπήλαιο Ελεφάντων

Dragon’s Cave: Sshhh! Located in Kastoria-Northern Greece, this impressive cave with underground lakes was once believed to be a gold mine guarded by a sleepless dragon.

Σπηλιά Δράκου

Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.

A Night Less Ordinary: Les Balade des Gnomes

Welcome to A Night Less Ordinary, our hotel series where we try to bring you the best in weird, wonderful and spectacular hotels from all over the world. Whether you want to sleep in a hamster themed hotel (do you??) or imagine yourself as James Bond, we’ve got something for you. This week, take a pinch of fairy dust as we take a look at Les Balade des Gnomes in Belgium. 

The motto of this incredibly cute hotel in Belgium is ‘all that you can imagine is real.’ Found in near the village of Durbury, a 17th century village Les Balade de Gnomes, looks like it came straight from a fairytale – or a Tim Burton film.

With only ten admittedly crazy rooms, this is something really special. Built by architect Mr Noel, each room has been lovingly hand crafted to resemble a fairytale and includes the chance to sleep in a Trojan Horse, a Troll Forest, or a wine room. The Macquarie Island room has a boat bed that appears to float, while others are filled with wooden toadstools, starry skies, or, oddly enough a lunar capsule. Prices start around €115 for a double room.

Starry skies at Balade de GnomesFairytale walls at Balade de GnomesFuturistic bathroom in Balade de GnomesYou’ll find the hotel at Rowe de Remoleu 20, 6941 Heyd, Durbuy, Belgium; tel. +32 472 20 86 23 info@labaladedesgnomes.be

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