As the popular song used to say ‘it is a man’s world’ but not anymore, as recent research suggests (source). Speaking about the matter at hand though, travel, women seem to be making all the decisions and possess the spending power to make them happen too. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, women control $15 trillion in purchases. This is quite a formidable amount as it accounts for more than India and China’s growth markets combined. As expected, a large amount of those funds trickles down on travelling expenses decided upon by women as research by suggests. Namely, 80% of travel decisions are made by women regardless of who is paying for the trip, where they go or who they travel with. As such, there has been a huge increase in travel companies devoted to women only travel during the past six years which amazingly surpasses 230%.
‘Viva Portugal!’ The locals might say and we tend to highly agree! The sunny land of Portugal has long been a famous holiday destination as its friendly temperament, good weather and stunning beaches are amongst the main reasons why. You certainly know someone who has been or will soon be on holidays in Portugal and if you are considering it yourself, rest assured that it is amongst the best choices to make! From the essential seaside resorts of Algarve and Albufeira to the Island of Porto Santo, Portugal has some stunning coasts and it’s up to you to explore them!
The famous explorers and sailors of Portugal along with its lengthy coastline and age-long traditions have blessed the country with a unique seafood cuisine. Flavoured with the addition of spices carried from faraway lands, Portuguese cuisine is a tasty marvel definitely worth of exploring during your holidays in Portugal. It might be mainly fish oriented, but the local dishes don’t stop at fish produce despite mostly revolving around it. In this article we’ll take you through some of the amazing tastes of Portugal and if you don’t start drooling immediately like us, wait until you try it yourself.
With so many beaches in Portugal to choose from it’s hard to know where to start looking when you are searching for the perfect beach destination. Green coast? Silver coast? Fear not, Purple Travel is on hand to help you narrow down your choice for stunning Portugal holidays. Here are our top 5 beach choices in Portugal.
1. Praia da Falesia
The name “Falesia” means “cliff”, referring to the splendid orange-red cliffs that form a magnificent background to this long stretch of sand. At over 6km long, Praia da Falesia is one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, situated between the popular resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira. For those adventurous enough, Praia da Falesia offers many opportunities to participate in watersports such as windsurfing and for those seeking a relaxing evening, the coastline has many bars and restaurants to soak up the local flavour.
Praia da Ancora is located on Portugal’s “green coast” in the northern, Minho region, so called because of its wild beaches which are popular with surfers and windsurfers. The beaches along this coast are some of the most beautiful in Portugal, in particular that of Praia de Ancora, which offers calm water for those wanted to bathe and relax. It is particularly popular among swimmers due to the fact that it is protected from Atlantic winds by the surrounding hills to the north and south.
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!
So January is here, and the whole world appears to be rising from their Christmas slumber and hitting the gym to beat the winter blues – and the consequential weight-gain from too many mince pies! (Apparently we gain on average 5 pounds over the Christmas period – whoops.)
This is the perfect time of year to grab a travel bargain, but also to look at not only your typical European sun holiday but to think outside the box a little. How about incorporating some of your New Year fitness regime into your holiday? Sporty getaways create the ultimate feel good factor, not only do you get some relaxing time off work but you spend time in the great outdoors exercising your mind and body. Doesn’t that sound better than that familiar feeling of needing a holiday to recover from the holiday after a week of excess?!
It’s difficult to discuss sporty getaways in Europe without talking about skiing. European skiing destinations, dominated by the mighty Alps, are some of the most prestigious and challenging in the world – and there are packages to suit all skill levels and budgets. Some of the more famous names are Interlaken and St Moritz in Switzerland and St Anton in Austria, however there are some interesting alternatives – for example Finnish Lapland for something truly unusual! Try Trip Advisor for great starter ideas to get your ski bunny imagination to run wild! After a hard day hitting the slopes you can always put your feet up with a nice hot chocolate.
If you would prefer to enjoy your active holiday in a warmer climate, how about trying the winning combination of surf and yoga, offered on the stunning Portuguese coastline by Surf Algarve. This retreat offers 5-7 day yoga and surf programmes, immersed in the clean ocean air to revitalise your body and soul. At Portugal’s first specialised surf and yoga retreat, there are rarely more than 10 guests at any one time, ensuring a personalised and intimate stay. All-inclusive packages vary in price between off-peak and on-peak times, so check the website to see what might be best for you.
Now for horse lovers among you – have you considered a horse riding holiday in Europe? The perfect way to get some fresh air, great exercise and see some stunning countryside (which you can’t necessarily see by car.) Try In The Saddle for some tips on specialised riding holidays to suit you.
Aspiring jockeys among you – you would like to stay closer to home! – may be interested in the thrill of the race at the renowned www.kempton.co.uk racecourse, located between Sunbury and Hampton Court on the A308, South-West London, Kempton is easily reached by either road or rail from London Waterloo. Racing spectacles are held year-round with a variety of packages to suit all tastes and budgets. This could be a fun day or night out to compliment a horse-lovers holiday, and vouchers for the park make a terrific gift.
So get those endorphins moving with a sporty getaway in Europe this new year – it doesn’t have to mean attending a footie match in Spain!
Extend your summer or get in early for half term. The kids are back to school and a new (school) year is starting. Why not have something to look forward to, like an autumn tan, a spring in your step and a good injection of vitamin D in some of our favourite half term holiday picks. We take a look at where is hot during half term and what makes a great choice for children of all ages. If you fancy water slide parks, history lessons or just plain, old sandcastles and paddling in the sea, find out where to go with our best value destinations for half term holidays.
Where to spend your half term holidays
1. The Canaries – With an abundance of beaches, scuba diving, family bike rides and fantastic weather, cheap half term holidays in the Canaries are an obvious choice. Why not spend long, lazy days working on a winter tan on a black sandy beach in Tenerife, hike up the side of a volcano in Gran Canaria, or take a glass bottomed boat tour in Playa del Ingles? There is something to suit every type of family in the Canaries. Stay at Barcelo Lanzarote in Costa Teguise which offers adult and children’s swimming pools, playgrounds, kids club, giant monopoly and water slides as well as a spa for mum and dad.
2. Algarve – The Southern area of Portugal is still warm in October and there is plenty for children of all ages to keep busy with. Albufeira is a good family friendly hub, with plenty of child friendly restaurants, a sandy golden beach and nearby water parks. Stay at the Monica Isabel Beach Club in Albufeira, where you’ll find a great welcome, great rooms and great value.
3. Crete – The southern Aegean is ideal in October. Prices have dropped, but temperatures are still high and Crete is a perennial choice for family friendly holidays. Stay at the Knossos Beach Bungalows and Suites, right on a sandy beach, with lots of loungers, umbrellas and children’s activities available.
4. Marrakech – is an exciting, exotic holiday choice all year, but especially good around October. It’s still warm and at only three hours flying time, it’s not too far to get somewhere very exotic. Children and adults can enjoy hiking in the Atlas Mountains, visiting the colourful souks or exploring the Kasbahs. Stay at the Aqua Fun Club – All Inclusive. This 5* accommodation has extensive spa facilities as well as water slides, adult and children only pools, a rafting river and children’s aqua tower.
5. Rome – If you want to get some learning in during the half term break, why not choose a city break in Rome. The weather should still be ok, in the early 20s and you and your children can enjoy seeing the Colosseum and some gladiators up close, head for the Time Elevator Roma (a high tech history lesson made with some very special effects) spark imaginations at the Explora children’s museum and munch on pasta and pizza. Stay at the RSH Spanish Steps Apartments, centrally located near the Trevi Fountain and with plenty of space for all the family after long days exploring the city.
6. Florida – has over 1,000 miles of sandy beaches, is the home of theme parks and has some of the best shopping in the world. Then of course there is Disney World to think of. Meet Mickey Mouse, see the fireworks and parades and generally have the time of your life and a half term holiday you’ll never forget. Stay at the Disney Area Superior Homes for a home away from home experience in Orlando and all the amenities you want within easy reach of the World Disney World Resort.
Tell us your choices for the best half term holidays and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Kate Power is community manager for Purple Travel.
Praia da Rocha Maybe the most famous beach resort in the Algarve, or in the whole of the country, Praia da Rocha’s Blue Flag status, golden sands and excellent facilities (loungers, umbrellas and water sports) make it a top choice throughout the summer. It’s found close to the bustling and lively resort of Portimao and is one of the best beaches in the Algarve.
Praia da Marinha regularly featured in Portugal’s tourism advertisements, Praia da Marinha offers absolutely stunning natural beauty, with huge rocks dotted throughout the crystal clear waters. Near Lagoa, it’s also a hot choice for snorkelling enthusiasts too.
Praia do Homem Nu If you feeling like baring all, head for this nudist beach a short ferry ride from Tavira. This is one of two official nudist beaches in the Algarve and has excellent facilities and gorgeous views.
Praia do Ancao Close to the excellent Vale do Lobo resort, Praia do Ancao is somewhat of a hidden gem. Tucked away behind a mass of dunes, the wide, sandy beach is sheltered from the elements and the crowds. This Blue Flag beach also has excellent facilities with loungers, umbrellas and restaurants and toilets.
Praia de Barreta on a practically deserted island, the untouched sands of Praia de Barreta make it a perfect choice for total relaxation. This Blue Flag beach is away from the crowds and is accessible by boat. There are basic facilities, with loungers, umbrellas and a couple of snack bars.
Praia do Carvoeiro Another Blue Flag favourite near Lagoa, this one has extensive facilities, such as loungers, umbrellas and lots of restaurants or snack bars. However, it still manages to retain a quiet atmosphere and the caves nearby are well worth a visit.
Praia do Beliche Sagres’ best kept secret, this beach is a taste of the real beauty of the Algarve. Huge cliffs serve as a backdrop offering protection to the waters too. There are a lot of steps down to this secluded beach, so bear this in mind. It’s not really developed, so grab a picnic to take with you, or head for one of the restaurants on the neighbouring road.
We’re all about the Algarve, specifically the lovely seaside town of Albufeira. It’s got the Old Town that’s perfect for long lazy strolls in the sunshine. Over the hill you’ll find The Strip, packed with neon bars and all night parties. It really offers the best of both worlds.
So if you’re stuck for a place to stay, here’s our top 5 hotels in Albufeira.
Family friendly: The Paraiso de Albufeira Hotel Apartments have practically every facility you could think of, from one bedroom apartments to duplexes. The MGE restaurant and pool side snack bar are great for keeping little ones topped up, while the multi use court for basketball or football, mini golf course and video game room will keep even the moodiest teenager busy. That’s before you even get to the pool, nearby beach or the selection of water parks you’ll find around.
As purveyors of “cool,” we at PortugalConfidential.com think we know a thing or two about what’s hip, contemporary and unique in the realms of gastronomy, style and travel. So, we were up for the challenge when Turismo Central de Portugal suggested we take a road trip to discover some of the cool and unique hotels across their region. We have to admit, we were pleasantly surprised and delighted.
Central Portugal is the area north of the capital city of Lisbon, but south of the second largest city Porto, with the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Spanish border to the right. Historic hilltop villages dot the landscape, while city-life can be found in Viseu, Guarda, Coimbra and Aveiro. The region epitomises the perfect blending of laid-back traditional Portugal lifestyle with that of 21st century design and amenities. A fine example of this aesthetic can be found in these Seven Cool & Unique Hotels of Central Portugal.
Passado de Pedra is a small rural hotel in the centre of the eastern village of Caria. The early 19th century home was recently transformed into 6 guest units. One bedroom is in a former wine press room; a small apartment is now in the old stable. The main house has four more rooms which can be rented separately or configured for groups and families. Ask owner Graça for a walking tour of Caria, a village rich in Portuguese, Moorish and Jewish history.
Imagine a medieval village transformed into a boutique hotel. Former village houses are left intact on the exterior, but renovated for 21st century guests on the inside. At Casas do Coro in Marialva, the feel is rustic, but the accommodations are modern, the amenities are luxurious and the service is exemplary. Select from individual rooms or multi-bedroom houses at this chic hotel.
Sitting on top of one the highest peaks in the Serra da Estrela mountain range, Casa das Penhas Douradas is a high-altitude nature retreat as well as a design hotel. Mid-century modern elements are reinterpreted in the decor, with birch the predominant material in furniture and cabinetry, while traditional Burel wool fabric, manufactured in a factory down the hill, adds softness and warmth. Outside, numerous mountain trails offer amazing views of unique rock formations and the valley below. Inside, relax by the fire in the guest lounge or slip into a sauna in the hotel’s spa.
Casa de Sé is a small luxury hotel in the centre of historic Viseu. This sumptuously renovated 18th century building has 12 rooms, each uniquely decorated with antique furniture and decorative objects. Should guests fall in love with a particular item, everything is for sale. At Casa de Sé, history, art and luxury cohabitate in harmony.
Aveiro is often called the “Venice of Portugal” for its canals winding through the city centre. “Moliceiro” is the name given to the ornately-decorated “gondolas”. With a romantic view to these canals is the boutique Hotel Moliceiro. 49 rooms are available, but we recommend asking for one of the distinctive theme rooms ranging from Chanel, Provence and Lavender to Manhattan, Cosmopolitan and Marrakesh. Our favourite is the Oriental room with long private terrace.
Villa Pedra Natural Houses, just south of Coimbra, is quiet old-world Portuguese village life completely redefined for the 21st century. The hilltop village of Aldeia da Cima was literally abandoned for 70 years, until recently discovered by a Lisbon-based designer and architect team. They gave new life to the village by constructing modern, artfully-designed houses set amongst richly landscaped gardens, pool and even an aviary. Villa Pedra is perfect for short- or long-term escapes.
Think trendy urban boutique hotel snatched-up from the big city and placed perfectly on a large sandy beach in Portugal, and you’ve got Furadouro Hotel & Spa in Ovar. This modern hotel of 27 rooms features a gourmet restaurant and large full-service spa. But, of course, the best amenities are the view to the ocean and the sound of waves crashing to the beach.