Choosing a travel blogger to follow rarely comes is uncommon practice among travel enthusiasts. Be it that we love poring over their photos of immaculate exotic beaches or freshly prepared local dishes from faraway destinations, travel bloggers provide people with something to dream about and look forward to while grinding away at their job desk. The website design, luscious write up and sheer passion about travelling is something that we all admire and as such it’s not easy to distinguish amongst our favourites. However, purely in terms of putting things in order we have decided to rate our favourite bloggers and put them into a list because let’s face it; who doesn’t love lists!
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, Turkey Fantastic 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, Italy What 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, England Massive dump, ok for day trips but get out before it chews you up. – Gary
Check out our Purple Travel guide to some of the best parties cities Europe has to offer in 2014. Don’t agree? Let us know in the comments below.
Berlin, Germany. It can be hard to choose from the best party cities Europe 2014, but Berlin is an easy one. A sprawling city where weekends usually start on Thursday evenings and last well into Monday morning, there’s a great selection of cheap hotels and cool bars. House music is easily the most popular and clubs like WaterGate on Falckensteinerstrase 49, Cookies on Friedrichstrase 158 and Weekend on Alexanderstrasse 5 are almost clubbing institutions in Berlin.
Ios Island in Greece. Not technically a city, but Ios easily tops the list of the best places to party in Europe. A longtime backpackers favourite, trust me, it’s worth the ferry trek for hot summer all night parties. Start out in the clean lines of Far Out Beach Bar, before knocking back €1 shots in Orange Bar (the Malteser ones are epic!) Slammers Bar Ios, lives up to its name – you put on a helmet and get whacked in the head with a hammer after a shot, and Sweet Irish Dream only kicks off at 3am. Phew!
On the back of a complete overhaul of Ryanair’s website, the low cost Arline is introducing changes to its baggage and check in policies, in a bid to attract more customers.
Ryanair image via @ Paolo Margari
The no-frills airline announce on 28th November it was to allow passengers to bring a second small carry-on bag for free. It’ll also see the Ryanair boarding card fee reduced from €70/£70 to €15/£15 for customers who are already checked in online. This will presumably come into play if a customer has already printed out their check in card and mislaid it.
It’s part of CEO Micheal O’Leary’s plan for a whole series of customer service improvements across the Ryanair network. It comes in addition to a grace period of 24 hours to correct minor booking mistakes and a selection of new quieter flights, (pre 8am and post 9pm.) There’ll be no more fighting over seats either, as fully allocated booking will be introduced on 1st February.
Maybe the most important part of the changes is Ryanair hand luggage size. In addition to a single 10kg cabin bag, te introduction of a second small bag, from this Sunday (Dec 1) means there’ll be less trying to wear all your clothes at once like Joey From Friends – or these girls… However don’t think you’ll be grabbing another big case, the dimensions of the second bag must be 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.
Ryanair’s head of communications Robin Kiely said: “We are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights, but can now enjoy a second small carry-on bag and reduced boarding card reissue fees for those who have checked-in online, along with easier website access, 24 hour grace periods and quiet flights, with further improvements set to be rolled out over the coming months.”
If you’re a twihard, like us, then here are some holidays you might want to to think about. From the rolling hills of Ireland to the breathtaking landscapes
of Italy, we’ve got the top trips for Twilight holidays.
Olympic Coven, Forks, Washington, USA
Home to the Cullens, Edward, with added Bella, Carlisle and Esme and (of course!) the newest edition, Renesmee, Forks has become a haven for Twilight fans. Of course, starting off with a Twilight tour is a must. A trip to Seattle nearby is a great family friendly choice; you can even visit the famous Space Needle, while Forks’ national park shows off the setting that inspired Stephanie Meyer.
Volturi Coven, Tuscany, Italy
Romance is alive and well in Tuscany of course, even if you don’t see much niceness from the Volturi themselves. Volterra is the home of the vampire royalty who’ve lived there for over 3000 years, enforcing their strict code of conduct. It might be home to a fictional vampire elite, but don’t let that put you off. It’s one of the most popular places in Europe to get married (think summer evenings, eating outdoors, fireworks and olive groves,) while the show stopping scenery and long, lazy days surrounded by sunshine and pasta make for a totally laidback holiday.
Egyptian Coven, somewhere in Egypt
Egypt might reveal vampires pretty quickly – with all that sunshine, you couldn’t help but sparkle. For non-vamps, the historic homeland of one of Twilight’s oldest clans is an unbelievably beautiful experience. From snorkelling the clear waters of the Red Sea, to discovering the ancient historic sights of the King and Queens valleys.
Denali Coven, Alaska, USA
The Denalis are the Cullens’ closest friends and the only other known ‘vegetarian’ clan. Found in the wilds of Alaska, the Denalis must be making the most of the 67 days of night found in the northern American state. The untouched landscape and a trip to the (aptly named) Denali National Park, mean you can get close to nature and hike to your heart’s content.
Amazon Coven, Brazil
The ultimate in honeymoon destinations, Rio is where Edward and Bella kicked off their first holiday after their wedding and the stars Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart were the star attraction when they filmed there. The secretive Amazon coven, stays out of the way of humans, but you probably don’t need to worry about that. There’s a whole country worth of sights, sounds and smells to soak up in this Latin American gem.
Ireland Ireland’s capital city Dublin is a great introduction to the home of the Irish Coven with the vampires Maggie and Siobhan. It’s got that legendary nightlife, which is always helpful for vampires who are used to not sleeping. Head to the coast, either West or South, for the hip towns of Galway or Cork and indulge in some of the finest ‘craic’ this side of the Atlantic.
A job title that starts with “professional sleeper” isn’t one you see everyday. A hotel in the heart of Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is looking for someone to test out the comfort and sleep quality of its 35 rooms.
Image via @ Moyan Brenn
The Hotel Finn wants someone to promote the hotel which has undergone a huge renovation project. Hotel manager Tio Tikka told the AP they want ‘a dynamic person to write a quality blog” about a charming stay at the “best spot of summer Helsinki.” If you’re about to rush out with your CV, you better know you need to be fluent in English and Finnish, with a bit of Russian thrown in.
We’ve put together our list of the best April holidays to help you find the ultimate city break, some slightly off-season sunshine or where the kids will have the most fun on a midterm break holiday, and remember, this year Easter Sunday falls on April 20th, so book early to avoid missing out. If you have any other April Holidays ideas we would love to hear about them in the comments below. Enjoy!
Sunshine in springtime The Aegean coast of Turkey is usually pretty reliable for weather in April. Try Bodrum, or Kusadasi for days lazing in the gentle sunshine and sightseeing. Plus since it’s early in the season, it won’t be too crowded and there are plenty of cheap deals. Average temperatures: 17°
No rain in Spain The beautiful coastline of Costa de la Luz in Spain, is a top choice for a little early sunbathing, while the always reliable Canary Islands usually hit the early 20s and offer 10 hours of sunshine per day. If you want really hot in April head for Marrakech, one of the liveliest and most fun cities in Morocco, where temperatures usually hit around 26° in April.
Cities of Culture Umea in Sweden and Riga in Latvia are the chosen European capitals of culture for 2014. Umea in Sweden describes itself as a ‘window of Europe’, with a programme dedicated to co-creation, so expect a range of art, culture and music projects throughout the city. While the Latvian capital will host events like a human chain symbolically transferring books from the old city library to the Palace of Light and the Latvian National Operas performances of the Ring Cycle.
Cherry Blossom ceiling The Japanese city of Tokyo will be in the middle of its cherry blossom season so get moving for unforgettable April holidays. The whole city is filled with blooms which are celebrated with hanami, or parties in the park, which honour the flowers. April temperatures in Tokyo can rise to about 20°.
A night less ordinary Book a night in the Lego Hotel in Legoland California. On April 5th the hotel will celebrate its first birthday so there’ll be plenty of brick themed fun! As well as that it’s the perfect time to head for a holiday in sunny California, USA and make the most of a night hotel that is a serious treat for your inner geek. Average temperatures are around 17°.
Nothing but Sunshine For 2014 April sunshine holidays, we like Mexico. Ok, so the Caribbean is always reliable, but you can’t go wrong with an average of 27° everyday. In the area of Riviera Maya, you can take your pick of resorts with white sandy beaches, all inclusive hotels and brilliant sunshine. Or visit somegreat local scenery like the famous cenotes or the mysterious Mayan stronghold of Chichen Itza. What more could you ask for?
Hit the festival circuit April is more or less the start of music festival season – but as Easter falls in April this year, there are many cultural and traditional festivals that are well worth consider for April holidays. In Greece in April the weather is already mild and sunny and as Easter is one of the biggest dates in the calendar it’s the perfect time to visit. Crete is reliable for temperatures around 20°. Or you could try to visit a village – where whole families will work to hand-roast a whole lamb or kid-goat over an open fire. On the island off Chios a fireworks fight happens between rival churches, while Patmos is filled with devotees.
Go beyond the usual Sri Lanka is topping many of the must-see places to go in 2014 probably thanks to British Airways’ launch of regular flights between Gatwick and Colombo. The island country is, well, exquisite. The perfect white beaches, the stunning natural scenery, the thrilling atmosphere. All the ingredients you need for an amazing April getaway. The average temperature in Sri Lanka in April is around 25°.
Get Glamping glamour and camping are probably not words you expect to go together but that’s all set to change thanks to the gentle roughing it experience in Portugal. We don’t mean old tents with leaky roofs, this Glamping lark is state of the art, lounging balconies, luxury tubs and breakfast in a four poster bed. The average temperatures for the Algarve in April is 17°.
Stag and Hen If the tough job of organising a stag do or hen party in April has fallen to you, never fear for Purple Travel is here! Our dedicated team has been finding out the best and busiest destinations at any time of year for you and your hens or stags to have as messy a night out as you want. We like Benidorm (well, any time of year!) and Albufeira in Portugal. Just remember, what happens on tour stays on tour.
Book your April holidays now with the experts at Purple Travel.
The results are in! If you’re looking for a European City Break, then why not go to the official, Best European Destination 2013: Istanbul. The fabulous city has taken spot in a public vote, with just 439 votes ahead of its nearest rival, the Portuguese capital Lisbon.
The famous city is right on the dividing line between two continents and has an amazing mix of culture, cuisine and good times. Filled with clubs and restaurants, there are live gigs, cafes and street art to impress younger people, and a variety of museums and galleries culture vultures will love, it truly is a city that offers something for everyone.
2013 is set to be a landmark year for the city too, with the Istanbul Biennial, pop concerts, special exhibitions and Orhan Pamuk’s recently opened museum of Innocence. It’s also the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk, with huge celebrations on the cards. With so much happening and a bit of a reputation as a city that doesn’t sleep, it’s not surprising Istanbul took the top spot with 12.4% of the vote.
Here are some of the nice comments people shared about Istanbul:
Hatice aus Berlin: Istanbul is the best city of the world and sooo nice i love turkey <3
Otfire: I S T A N B U L – the ONE and ONLY! :))
Mark: If new york was in europe, guess we call it istanbul.
Nikos: Vote for Istanbul, it is the best city in the world!
Mikey: İstanbul is the most beautiful city of the WORLD 😉
Busra: I think Istanbul is the nicest city of Europe because there are many things with History which are very important and there is a big nice blue sea which creature a good atmosphere at nigt but normal days too. You can see different cultures and many other persons of the world. There are many modern buildings too which is interesting too. Everybody have to visit Istanbul it is only perfect !!!
Adam: Istanbul is an unique city and not only in the europe but also in the world. It is the oldest city of the old world. Other cities in the list are new and more or less same cities compare to istanbul.
Susan Gurz: After travelling most of the world, ISTANBUL is my favorite
That list in full is:
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Vienna, Austria,
- Barcelona, Spain
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Madrid, Spain
- Valletta Malta
- Nice, France
- Milan, Italy
- Stockholm, Sweden
All images via @ Best European Destination 2013.
Meet the new electric scooter by Hungarian design company Antro Group, that fits up neatly into a suitcase, so you can forget about airport parking or weekender tickets and just get on your way.
We’re told the scooter packs up in just two minutes, so it’s ideal for travellers on the go, and thanks to clever design features, there are no greasy stains as you pack it away. CEO of the Antro Group Tamas Slezak says it’s a simple, easy and eco-friendly way to get around the biggest cities in the world.
The scooter known as the Moveo weighs around 25 kilos and its battery lasts for a whopping 22 miles! However users will really find the benefits in hopping in and out of busy city destinations and of course its swish golden colour. To top it off, bringing it around with you ensures you won’t lose it… unless of course you end up leaving it somewhere! The £2,000 model is set to be on sale from the end of the year.
Images via @ Gizmag
Are you completely dead tired? Feeling a bit lifeless? Then this is the hotel for you.
An entrepreneurial Tasmanian businessman has announced plans to turn a morgue into a hotel, just in time for Halloween. Yes you read that right. But it’s not the kind of place where you’ll find four poster beds, covered in goose feather duvets, this is the real deal.
Here’s the plan for the morgue turned motel. The beds will be made of stone cold slabs, where autopsies once took place. The room will feature two huge fridges, where bodies were stored while the stainless steel bathtub that stands in the room was once used for washing cadavers. Out of use surgical implements will be scattered around the room, you know, to give it that ‘authentic’ look.
He says, “It’s still got its terrazzo slabs, and it’s still got its pull-out fridge, it’s a beautiful thing… We’ll be looking at putting a double bed in one of the rooms and then we have three slabs and two pull-out fridges which could be used.”The owner, Haydn Pearce an antiques dealer, has already opened a hotel on a former asylum at the same site and hopes to open his morgue hotel early next year. Speaking to ABC News in Australia, he said he thinks the hotel will attract “the unusual”, and the dissection table will be the main suite (and main attraction.) The Morgue will be an extension of the existing 22 room Willow Court Hotel that operates from an old hospital ward.
But will anyone actually want to stay in a hotel that used to be a morgue? Mr. Pearce answered that question with a simple: “we’re going to find out.”
Find out more about weird and wonderful hotels around the world in our series: a night less ordinary.
Images via @ Haydn Pearce