If you fancy yourself a little bit of an amateur astronomer, then we’ve got just the bit of news for you. A new craze is sweeping the tourism industry, for dark sky getaways. We’re not talking about space travel, (although that is a growing industry!) we mean places with reduced light pollution, away from the glare of street lamps and cars where you can really see the skies at night. Here are a couple of top tips for your star gazing holiday.
La Palma, Canary Islands La Palma has a local law called Sky Law, a money saving initiative that stalls pollution, radiation and outdoor lighting and therefore encourages dark sky holidays. The island is also home to the Roque de los Muchachose Observatory. It’s renowned in the Northern Hemisphere for some of the best views of the night sky with consistently cloudless skies making for almost guaranteed sights.
Provence, France You’ll find an astronomy farmhouse where the owner Olly will take you through the nebulae and galaxies far, far away. The owners even offer you the chance for sophisticated space photography with no experience necessary.
Wadi Rum, Jordan the ancient historical Bedouin Camp, offers Arabic banquets and al fresco beds, as you gaze skywards. A perfect opportunity to take in the vast twinkling lights, away from any light or air pollution. You’ll also be surrounded by the stunning ancient sites of Jordan to fill your days as well as your nights with wonder.
Spain El Milano Real Hotel near Madrid offers guided sessions in Spanish and English of the skies above. With little air or light pollution and an observatory with a 250mm telescope mirror. For anyone serious about dark sky holidays, this is certainly one to consider.
National Geographic’s 2013 Traveler Photo Contest is on and we’ve been sneaking a peek at some of the amazing pictures sent in from all over the world. Showcasing the natural beauty of the world, stunning portraits of people, spontaneous moments and gorgeous landscapes, it’s a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul.
The competition is open to professional or amateur photographers who can submit their own entries until June 30th. See all the pictures from this years competition here, in the meantime we’ve picked out a couple of our favourites below.
Photo and caption by Fevzi DINTAS. This photograph was taken at Lipe Island in Thailand. Long exposure used and selective colours adjusted. Location: Lipe-Hat Yai, THAILAND
Photo and caption by vafa adib. Carpet for sale by beach vendor. Location: Mexico, Puerto Vallarta.
Photo and caption by Jennifer Holmes Beamer. While traveling through Tasmania, we took a detour to find this spectacular lavender field. After a soothing meander among endless fields of fragrant lavender we were ready for a nap in the red soil. Location: Tasmania Australia.
Photo and caption by Jasminder Singh Oberai. A boy in Nandgaon was playing Holi with his friends. I alongwith some friends was shooting the village side during holi and spotted him. He ran inside his house trying to avoid us. We stayed right outside his house waiting for him to emerge. Patience paid off very soon and he peeped from behind the door, smiled and vanished again. This moment was enough for us to capture this portrait. Location: Nandagaon, Uttar Pradesh, India
Photo and caption by Paul Oeschger. At the end of my last day of snorkeling in Kauai, I came upon this green sea turtle. It was the most amazing turtle I saw all week. Not only did it seem unfazed by my presence in the water, it actually kept swimming up to me, almost as if it was asking to have its portrait taken. I love underwater photography, something I didn’t discover until 25 years after I first picked up a camera. It’s a joy to experience the beauty of the sea and the life in it through snorkeling and photography. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. Location: Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo and caption by Pei-Chen Sung. She’s lying easily on the grass, within her mind’s absence, I captured this beautiful portrait. Location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, France
Photo and caption by Herschel Pollard. Amelia Island, Florida Camera: Zero Image 69 Pinhole, f/235 Film: Expired Kodak Portra 100T Exposure: About 5 seconds. Location: Amelia Island, Florida.
Finally! Ron Burgundy’s amazing commitment to quality journalism is about to be recognised with a dedicated exhibition in Washington DC. Anchorman: The Exhibit will open on November 14.
The Newseum in partnership with Paramount Pictures is opening the special exhibit ahead of the long awaited sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The original film starring Will Ferrell, Cristina Applegate and Steve Carell became a huge hit and one of the most quotable films of recent years. Fans of the film will get to see props, like Burgundy’s jazz flute and the whip used in that rival anchormen fight scene. The costumes worn by the Channel 4 Evening News Team will feature and visitors can check out a re-creation of the KVWN-TV anchor desk and set. If you’re a budding Burgundy, you can even step in front of the camera yourself, just be careful no one adds a question mark to your auto cue. We’re also hoping it’ll be filled with leather bound books and smell of rich mahogany. Ron Burgundy himself is delighted with the dedication: ‘I’m literally trapped in a glass case of emotion.’ The trailer for Anchorman 2 is a hint at what to expect: Find more information on the Anchorman Exhibition at the Newseum website.
Looking for paradise on earth? We might just have found it. Tucked away between the islands of Malta and Gozo, the natural beauty of Comino is the ideal place for anyone who wants to get-away-from-it-all or a delicious retreat for snorkellers, divers, windsurfers and hikers.
Practically uninhabited, there’s only one hotel on the island, you’ll barely hear a hint of a car and maybe go days without seeing anyone. An ideal secluded getaway if you’re looking for a cheap honeymoon. The highlight without a doubt is the stunning Blue Lagoon shore, which in summer offers breathtaking shimmering aquamarine water and perfect white sand. Indulge in some peace and quiet on the beautiful island of Comino.
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios: Seriously, this is one fabulous Jamaica hotel. Right on the beach of Mammee Bay in Ocho Rios, the ClubHotel is surrounded by woodlands and waterfalls. It offers the perfect mix of total relaxation and endless activities. The hotel is very close to Dolphin Cove, where a guide will take you to swim with dolphins (or even sharks!) and the Dunn’s River Fall, one of the most beautiful in the world is perfect for a day trip.
Best on a budget
Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa, Ocho Rios: Diving, waterfalls, plunge pools, powder soft sandy beaches, is that your idea of a good time? Then the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa is just the ticket. This all inclusive 730 room palace has plenty of restaurants, bars, kids club and boutiques, all in the beautiful, Caribbean surrounds that Jamaica is famous for.
Great huts: If you’re feeling a little adventurous about your holiday, how about a night away in a hut or a tree house? Yes, we did say hut, but don’t let that put you off. These Great Huts are off the beaten track luxury accommodations, with stunning cliff side views and hammocks everywhere. Choose from the different amazing structures on offer, you can even stay in the Queen of Sheba hut! We’re sure it’s fit for a queen.
Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica: A Victorian style hotel, right on the beach, you can go from bed to beach in just seconds. Here it’s all about complete relaxation in the sunshine. The 840 room hotel has a spa, excellent restaurants and on top of the white, sandy beach there are three interlinked pools to swim in, countless loungers, beach umbrellas and towel service. Everything is looked after at the Gran Bahia Principe.
The Sandals Montego Bay: is surrounded by a tropical setting and right on a white sand beach, offering a slice of heaven for your holidays. Here, guests can experience the true Caribbean spirit and chill out all day long, tasting mouthwatering cocktails.
Perfect for kids
Breezes Trelawny Resort & Spa, Falmouth: This gorgeous hotel is really a sight for sore eyes. With four (count ‘em!) swimming pools to choose from, two water slides and that absolutely perfect, white sand and stunning blue waters that Jamaica is famous for, it’s a hotel that’s really close to our hearts. It’s just a couple of miles from the centre of Falmouth where you’ll find a mix of history and shopping, restaurants and bars. You couldn’t ask for more!
From the freshest fruit and vegetables to mountains of cheese, perfectly grilled meats and desserts dripping with honey, Greece knows its food. Here’s what you should eat on your next holiday to the Mainland or the famous Greek Islands. Enjoy our Purple Travel guide to the best food in Greece.
Like all aspects of fashion, swimwear trends change year on year and this year is no different, as we are once again spoilt for choice with a huge range of bold and bright, girly, boho and classic styles. Get the inside track on the best bikinis for summer 2013 from the experts at heidi klein.
Bold & Brights
Expect to find sleek black swimsuits, but with a neon twist. This extra detailing is fun and flirty for the summer season as well as super flattering. This darker palette can also be spotted with funky white chevron patterns for a little poolside punk rock. Classic styles like the one piece will also have a makeover this season, with vintage 50s inspired prints and watercolour effects. Could it be the Mad Men effect?
Keep an eye out for digital prints this season too – they’re everywhere, taking inspiration from spring and summer outerwear trends. Expect to find floral and animal prints alongside skylines and other bold images. Mixing and matching your prints oozes an eclectic, fun summer vibe.
It’s nice to see the return of flirty and feminine swimsuits – ruffles, checks, bows and hot pinks come as standard at the beach this season. Ruffles are also super flattering for curvy frames as they highlight silhouettes in all the right places. Expect to find pink neon crochet too, combing girly trends as well as a tick in the bold and brights box.
With style and function the classic convertible bandeau is great for switching from water sports activities to bathing without the fear of tan lines. Again, reflecting some of the other season’s trends: muted greens paired with green crochet fabric makes an appearance as well as baby blue girly bows, lending a sweet touch to classic bikini cuts, alongside, the all American red, white and blue one-pieces.
Of course, boho wouldn’t be boho without the tie-dye! Make sure a tie-dye bikini is at the top of your packing list this summer. They are making an appearance in all the classic bikini shapes, so mix it up a little with lots of light floaty layers.
Mosaic prints are in vogue at the moment, so getting your hands on one of these bikinis will definitely help you to stand out on the beach this summer in all the right ways. We love a mosaic print as an alternative to the florals that we saw during Spring/Summer 2012.
If you’re after original, keep an eye out for side cutouts in tribal prints – this cut lets you show a bit of skin whilst keeping to the silhouette of a traditional one piece. If you want to tone the hippy vibe down a little, opt for a classic strappy cut in mosaic prints.
Article written by Faria Ahmad, Ecommerce Executive at heidi klein. heidi klein is the one-stop destination holiday shop offering the perfect holiday wardrobe from luxury swimwear to designer kaftans and maxi dresses.
Here at Purple Travel we’re nothing if not helpful. Whether it’s finding you the best possible price for your holiday, tips on how to pack your bag, or what to wear on the beach this summer, we’re here to help.
Ladies – are you sick of that unsightly bikini tan? Have you got more lines on your body than Mother Teresa? Guys – does it look like you’ve still got your shorts on even when you’ve already taken them off? Is your behind akin to an Alaskan landscape?
Fret not. We’ve got you covered, or uncovered as the case may be.
Whether you just want to avoid unsightly marks, feel like getting down with your primal self or are a fully-fledged naturalist, the best nudist beaches can be a sandy haven for both your inner and outer self. With this list of our top naturalist beaches, you’ll be in the know as well as in the buff. And if you’re a little shyer, or perhaps travelling with your children – consider this a list of places to stay well away from…
Let’s begin our best nudist beaches with an old favourite:
Since the 1990s Spain’s Vera Playa has developed into an important naturism centre. It’s in the lovely region of Andalusia which mixes ancient cities with amazing beaches and deserts with ski resorts! So you should certainly be able to find a spot, to bare all. The infamous dunes of Maspalomas Beach in Gran Canaria provide plenty of coverage for stripping off and designated sections to get used to the new found freedom.
Next up is the Czech Republic; we hear there are over 50 recognized nudist beaches in the country, so you’ll have plenty of chances to get your kit off.
Leucate Plage in France, situated on the Mediterranean coast, just north of Perpignan is a superb bare beach of fine golden sand and warm waters. Three naturist resorts share the coastline, but the beach is open to all so there’s plenty of space for both first-time skinny-dippers and veteran nudists alike.
Greece: there are plenty of options in Greece, if you fancy whipping off your gear. Super Paradise Beach on the frankly, glorious island of Mykonos has nude friendly policy and in some parts “nudism is actually obligatory.” Another good one is on Skiathos, near Koukounaries on the south-west coast, where you’ll find Banana Beach – the collective name for three sandy coves, worshipped by naturalist bathers. And before you get any ideas, the name refers to the fact the beaches are yellow and curved…
Croatia’s Vrsar is home to Koversada, which is one of the largest nudist resorts in Europe! According to Wikipedia it can take up to 18,500 guests per day. Better bare (!) that in mind when booking…
Looking towards more tropical climates, daring to bare in the Caribbean has never been more inviting. Seven Mile Beach in Negril Jamaica, is a very nude friendly resort, although the beach itself is public property, so topless is ok, but if you’re losing your bottoms you’ll have to pay extra. The Hedonism resort, also in Negril is as the name suggest open to not only nudist sunbathers, but plenty more besides.
Heading down Mexico Way, you’ll find the Hidden Beach Resort, an ‘au naturel club’ which claims to be the only All Inclusive Nudist Resort in the Mexico Caribbean. A top choice for the best nudist beaches in the world… at least we think so.
The Sunshine State of Florida, welcomes nudity with open arms…well almost. Haulover Beach is an official tax supported public nude beach, with excellent facilities and you don’t need to worry about getting hassled in a state of undress.
One word of caution: While it’s true ‘topfree’ is popular in most resorts, it’s not for everyone. Be sure to check with the local authority to be sure!
Balmy in the Balearics Ideal for cheap family holidays, Majorca, one of the most famous of the Balearic Islands has a whopping 42 Blue Flag beaches, with calm, crystal clear waters, fantastic weather and lots of water parks that’ll keep children of all ages busy. June holidays in Majorca are also a good choice because it’s little before the summer crowds arrive, but you can still expect about eight hours of sunshine and highs of 27 degrees.
Grecian Getaway Obviously, the Greek Islands are firm favourites for cheap holidays in June, but don’t knock the charming Halkidiki coastline. Made of three ‘fingers’ jutting out of the mainland in the north, these offer something a little different. The beaches are nothing short of spectacular and you’ll find really great value holidays, especially for last minute bookings.
City breakers June is a great time to take advantage of a quick city break somewhere in Europe.Barcelona has some great bars, a city beach and tonnes of hotels and apartments for a short break or a longer getaway. If you’re looking for a great summer festival, then Sonar at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona is the cutting edge choice. We like the idea of a boozy weekend in BCN so if you’re looking for the best bars in Barcelona, you should definitely include La Leo, on Calle Sant Charles 32, the tango themed Tinta Roja, Carrer de la Creu Molers 17 and the jazzy 23 Robadors in the Raval area.
Cuba calling The Caribbean is always a good choice, thanks to its year round great weather and brilliant value. Cuba is a top choice in June, where you can combine a bit of cultural discovery in the capital Havana, with the chilled and idyllic beaches of Varadero. Perfect for a honeymoon or a couple’s getaway.
Trying out Turkey Antalya in Turkey is part city, part beach offering the best of both worlds. In June it won’t be hugely busy, but should still be warming up nicely so you can spend long, lazy days on the fabulous beaches, and nights out in the nearby clubs or eating out. There’s even the SunSplash Festival between 2-9 and featuring the likes of Gilles Petersen, Mad Professor and Jamie Lidell and a big emphasis on yoga, healthy living and foods. Find out more at their site here.
Clubbing in Cyprus Cyprus is excellent value for June holidays. If you want to party, the clubbing haven of Ayia Napa is a no-brainer. The nightlife is epic, there are countless bars, clubs and restaurants to suit every kind of music lover. We like the Castle Club, Club Ice and Club Sin. The beaches are made for long days of nursing a sore head, while if you’re feeling up to it, there is a top selection of water sports too like wind surfing, diving and surfing.