Crete is one of the most spectacular islands in the world to visit and even though it’s a Greek island the Cretans have a spirit that’s entirely their own. Here we whittle down the choices of things to do in Crete so you can make the most of Crete holidays.
Knossos was the capital of Minoan Crete and was inhabited for several thousands of years. The palace is connected with such mythology as the Labyrinth with the Minotaur. Knossos is easily reached by bus from Heraklion.
You might think Gambia holidays are just about beaches and wildlife. We’re not gonna lie, there is a lot of that but if you delve a little deeper there is also a wealth of history, cuisine, arts, music and dance to discover and find out more about real life in The Gambia.
1. Visit the Abuko nature reserve to get up close to many species of birds, monkeys, bushbucks, chameleons and crocodiles.
Looking ahead for next year’s summer holiday? If you’re after something more authentic but still have a budget to stick to then Purple Travel have picked the best cheap holidays in emerging and undiscovered destinations that won’t hurt your bank balance.
With many tourists flocking to visit the souks of Marrakech or the budget-friendly holiday destination of Agadir towards the north, there lies a little secret a bit more south of this and it’s called Essaouira and really comes at no extra cost either. We can tell you that it is truly one of the most beautiful Atlantic coastal towns that is renowned for being more laid-back than its more popular neighbours. The best time to visit is in Spring and Autumn, before and after Ramadan. Film lovers will be especially pleased to hear that Essaouira has been the setting of Orson Welles’ Othello and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. While outdoor enthusiasts will love the choice of low cost activities and water sports available. Due to a renewed interest in Morocco, chic boutiques and quirky riads have been popping up all over the place, making Essaouira the new cheap and chic place to stay. It is also close to Marrakech for those who want to combine a beach holiday and a city break. Those interested in world music will be pleased to hear that Essaouira plays host to two music festivals. The Essaouira Alizes Festival in April which showcases classic and contemporary Moroccan music and the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June where local and international artists come together for dancing, music and culture.
Taking a cue from its North African neighbour, Tunisia has new offerings for tourists who want simple and charming experiences and friendly prices. Since Tunisia is more of a newcomer on the block than Morocco it is actually more affordable. Mahdia just south of the busy resort of Monastir, is a coastal city associated with the fishing silk weaving and olive industries. It is certainly one of Tunisia’s most picturesque cities and has many historic attractions such as the ruins of the ancient city of Punic, the Fatimid port, the first Fatimid mosque (dating back to the 10th century) and an Ottoman port (16th century). If you book a cheap holiday to Tunisia it means you have more cash to splash on activities such as diving and Mahdia surely is Tunisia’s top diving site and wreck diving in particular. Holidays in Mahdia are great for honeymooners and great for first-time visitors to Tunisia who will get a taste of this exotic country without being overwhelmed.
Yalikavak is a harbourside town with an ultra-modern marina yet has still managed to maintain a small and sleepy exterior – so far. I’ts located on the Bodrum peninsula not too far from the bigger resort of Bodrum itself. Visitors looking for cheap holidays to Turkey will be more than pleased by Yalikavak’s offerings. The small sandy beaches are perfect for spending days in the sun and so far many beaches remain uncrowded, perfect for families. For extra beauty, lay on the beach until sunset and see the sun drop behind the horizon. The market at Yalikavak draws people from all over the Bodrum peninsula, seeking out shopping bargains on retail items but also on fresh produce but to get a bargain be prepared to haggle.
Taking a spot all of its own is the country of Montenegro, this is perhaps definitely the most off the beaten track destination in our list. Budva, is the poster child of tourism here and there’s good reason why. Explore the atmospheric old town before parking yourself down on one of the 35 beaches. By night Budva transforms itself with numerous beachside bars so if you’re in for a night on the tiles then Budva is the place to be and really may not be suitable for families. Elsewhere along the Riviera and in other resorts Montenegro has remained quieter and more atmospheric. For example the Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and Kotor itself is an ancient fortified town with UNESCO World Heritage status. Further down the coast from Budva is the Montenegrin south coast where you’ll find Ulcinj, a predominantly ethnically Albanian town with a splendid location, for exploring the south of the country.
Tourists have been visiting the Algarve for years and years but away from the busy airport, golf resorts, and really cheap package deals lies something more authentic. Olhao, a small fishing village is a perfect example of the cultural mix that can be found in Southern Portugal thanks to the maritime hisotry and Moorish occupation. Olhao is known for its square-shaped whitewashed houses with Moorish features. In the late 18th century, the town was flourishing and so local people started to build new houses in a Moorish style. Another draw of Olhao is the chance to take a watertaxi to peaceful offshore beaches such as Armona, Farol and Culatra. Away from the coast lies Monchique, a forested market town known for its production of aguardiente, a potent brandy and the perfect base to explore the Algarve’s lesser known inland beauty.
Tunisia is perfect for those who want to top up their tan during winter and enjoy a winter sun break with friends or family. There are so many reasons to visit exotic Tunisia from the souks, the history, the gorgeous coastline, Tunisia will spoil you with dramatic landscapes and endless opportunities for winter sun and all that at only 3 hours away from the UK.
History – For family days out, there is so much history to see, why not head to Carthage or the amphitheater at El Djem.
Local markets – There are many local markets in Tunisia also known as souks. You can try out your bargaining skills by haggling with local vendors and take back some great spices and other souvenirs.
Beaches – There are miles upon miles of breathtaking coastline in Tunisia
Spa therapy – Tunisia is a little gem for spa treatments, so why not treat yourself on holiday and at the fraction of the cost that you would get it at home.
Desert Safari – How many times in your life can you say you’ve been on a desert safari…the landscapes in the desert are so surreal you might have to pinch yourself.
Golf – There are great golf courses, especially at Port El Kantoui with a PGA approved, 36 hole course.
Djerba – One of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, Djerba offers the perfect mix of beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a great atmosphere the minute you arrive.
Sousse – Does Sousse look a little familiar? It’s been used as a movie location for years. Think Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Discover for yourself the fine sandy beaches that back onto olive groves. Cool down from the warm sunshine with a dip in the crystal clear water or pick up a bargain in the vibrant souks. Don’t forget to haggle, it’s expected!
Port el kantoui – Perfect for a golfing getaway, Port El Kantaoui offers a PGA approved 36 hole course, that should keep you busy for a few days. When you’re not working on getting a hole in one, why not stroll along the dazzling harbour, admire the luxury yachts, or pick up a couple of bargains in the vibrant markets.
Hammamet – A popular destination for a cheap holiday, Hammamet sun holidays offer plenty for families, couples or solo travel. Relax on the beautiful beaches of Tunisia or try out a new sport in the shape of diving or water skiing. If that sounds like too much of a challenge, you could try some gentle celeb spotting; politicians, musicians and actors have been known to holiday in Hammamet.
Mahdia – When you arrive in Mahdia the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful expanse of beach and you’ll know you’ve arrived on holiday! There’s been plenty of investment over the last few years, building a fantastic resort with lots of activities for all ages. Whether you’re looking to relax in luxury in the sunshine or you want to take the hassle out of a holiday with an all inclusive Mahdia has all kinds of boarding options.
Tunisia is a great choice for an adventurous family or friends, what do you think? Have you ever been to Tunisia or have you been wanting to go? Let us know in the comments below!
It’s almost impossible to choose the best beaches in Europe, so we asked around the office to find out what some of the favourites are. We’d love to hear your opinion of our top 10 best beaches in Europe.
1. Zlatni Rat, in Bol, Croatia. The photographer’s favourite, known as Zlatni Rat or the Golden Cape or Golden Horn is a white pebble beach that creates an incredible seaside experience stretching in an almost vertical line into the sea Changing with the tide, the clothing-optional beach is one of the country’s most famous.
We love to take a look at some of the best, weirdest and most wonderful hotels in the world. A night less ordinary is all about hotels with an extra special something, like a revolving roof, a night with giraffes or a panda themed hotel. This week, we take a look at the Royal Tulip Rio de Janeiro home to the England World Cup Squad at least on a temporary basis!
The basics: As you read this, the England squad is already ensconced in the Royal Tulip Hotel on the Sao Conrado Beach in Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the 2014 World Cup kicking off on June 12th. The hotel can host up to 3,000 guests in a variety of rooms. There are 418 apartments boasting private balconies, with sea or mountain views. The outdoor pool will probably be more use than the bar, as will the two tennis courts, gym and sauna.
The WOW factor: Superstars like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney are already enjoying the luxurious rooms at the hotel which finished a multimillion pound revamp just in time for the arrival of the England squad for the World Cup. Its reported the FA has asked for a dedicated games room with three TVs so the team can watch its potential opponents in all the group games. The hotel’s manager George Durante, told the Mirror that the 64 rooms that are home to the team for the next few weeks have brand new furniture, beds, floors, balconies and air -conditioning. Sounds like the team has everything they need to win the Brazil World Cup 2014!
Details: Royal Tulip Rio de Janeiro Av Aquarela do Brasil – 75, 22610010, Rio de Janeiro. See Royal Tulip Rio de Janeiro reviews on TripAdvisor here. Rooms from €150.27 per day.
It turns out March in Istanbul is the perfect time to visit. Actually, scratch that, I would say anytime is the perfect time to go. No wonder it’s been named the best destination to visit in 2014. Living in Athens, it was an easy trip for me and my friend across the Aegean for three days of exploring in the vast (trust me, it’s huge) sprawling Turkish City.
Ok, i’ll throw my hands up and say it was kind of a surprise to realise just how huge the city is. It’s spread across both sides of the Bosphorus. Since we had such a short time, we fancied seeing the obvious ones, this was a taster really, but here’s our highlights:
Next time you’re away on holidays and decide to whip out your camera to snap some pics of the area’s most famous attractions like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, or the Empire State Building in New York, remember you’re not alone. Sightsmap is a heatmap that charts the most photographed tourist attractions around the world. The images are collated by how ‘hot’ they are, based on the number of people sharing them via Google’s Panoramio. Here’s the top 10 of the world’s most photographed places in the world, with a few that might surprise you. Which one is your favourite?
It’s official, Trip Advisor the world renowned travel site has awarded a host of awards for best destinations 2014. The annual Traveller’s Choice Awards includes the vast city of Istanbul in Turkey which tops the poll, with Rome, London and Beijing following close behind. Each city or place earned its review through the reviews and opinions of visitors the site. “If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travelers’ Choice Destinations,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Our global travelers are the tastemakers for uncovering the best places to visit around the world.” The awards in its 6th year picks out 500 of the absolute best places to visit in the world.
But what are these places really like? I’ve asked some of the Purple Travel family to share their thoughts on the top destinations 2014. Some they loved and some… well, you’ll see for yourself. We’d love to hear what you think, good or bad about the official list!
1. Istanbul, TurkeyFantastic city full of sights and culture. The people are so friendly and eager to help. This place has it all. – Gary I think the best of the best way to taste the Turkish food, and experience the Turkish mentality, is to eat this giant hot dog with fish and cabbage at the Bosphorus coast on the Asian part of Istanbul. There are cooks on floating boats, preparing the grilled fish, that are then placed on these huge bagel and stuffed that with cabbage, fried potatoes and mustard. You cannot imagine! Also don’t miss the old guy outside the Blue Mosque who sells bagels and gives you for free La vache qui rit portion! – Soso
2. Rome, ItalyWhat can someone say about Rome, about the Italians, their food and their language? I think my best moments in Rome were when we were walking around from the Piazza di Spagna, to the Colosseum, and the Fontana di Trevi. Suggested hotels-the newly built Caravel hotel (just two stops by bus from Piazza di Spagna) with nice big rooms and a lovely receptionist and Hotel Trevi, with its traditional style in the very centre of the city!!! loved them both, love Rome! – Soso
3. London, EnglandMassive dump, ok for day trips but get out before it chews you up. – Gary
For something really special, why not enjoy a night less ordinary. We scour the world to find the most amazing and unusual hotels all over the world. Whether you’re interested in a night with some giraffes, or you want to pretend to be James Bond for one night only, we’ve got you covered. This week, a revolving hotel room. Enjoy a night less ordinary at the Marmara Hotel, Antalya.
The WOW factor: The Revolving Loft Room. It’s the extra special touch that we thought made the Marmara Antalya worth featuring in our series of great hotels. 24 rooms are built into the revolving roof of the hotel give you a view that changes by the hour. A full revolution soaking in every view takes seven hours, just don’t blame us if you never want to leave! Soak up the atmosphere as you gaze across the sparkling water of the Mediterranean and the breathtaking views of the Bey Mountain range.