If you’re holidaying in Spain, particularly Andalusia or anywhere nearby, you’ll be wanting to check out the incredible Alhambra Palace. It is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, certainly the most famous in Spain and the town of Granada offers a little shelter from the punishing summer heat of Seville or Cordoba, and is only a couple of hours from Malaga. The two parts of the complex, the Alhambra and Albaycin are seated on two opposite hills and showcase medieval Granada at its most magnificent.
Feeling a little inspired by all the action at the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 and want to give snowboarding or skiing a go? How about simply settling in for an evening of apres-ski? What do you mean you’re not really bothered with skiing? Filled with warming gluhwein and cosy sweaters, or maybe it’s an alternative music festival you’re after? We’ve got the best late deals for 2014 ski holidays right now for whatever type of ski break you’re looking for.
If you’re a shrinking violet, maybe best to steer clear of these amazing very cool swimming clothes (I’ve already been called on out on these not being bikinis – but I can’t do the word ‘swimwear’. So, hottest bikinis 2014 or other title suggestions in the comments please!
1. You’ll definitely stand out with this Cool Bralette bikini via @ EliteFashionSwimwear.com
2. Prim and proper in this gorgeous Michael Kors swimsuit for SS 2014 via @ Elle on Pinterest
3. This will cause some serious tan lines… but who cares! It’s certain to get you noticed on the beach.
4. Nothing says “Look at Me” like a swimsuit made of galloping horses. You can get yours from We Are Handsome.
#1 Budapest The Hungarian capital is set to have a busy year amongst hipsters thanks to the release of Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel (even though it was mostly filmed in Germany!) The city’s filled with architecture, baths, boutique hotels and laid-back cafes. It’s a must-do value city break. Makes a nice addition to our 2014 travel bucket list.
#2 The Greek Islands We especially love Ikaria, where your holiday can make you live longer and eternal favourite Crete, where you can visit the hippie village of Matala or go family friendly in Heraklion.
#6 Brazil Book cheap holidays to Brazil right now because cities like Rio and Sao Paolo are set to see a huge influx of visitors thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Instead of watching from your armchair, make 2014 the year you go there in person.
#8 Havana, Cuba It’s always been said, Cuba is a place to visit before it changes! Choose it for 2014 and get in there now before it’s too late and see the 50s cars, the old-time atmosphere and the eclectic accommodations on offer.
#9 Cork, Ireland Not only is the city of Cork a hive of activity, but the surrounding countryside has some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer. Go to Clonakilty for black pudding, Inchydoney for the beach and island hop to Sherkin.
#10 Gulet Cruise, Turkey Fed up with the idea of hitting the bars of Kusadasi or Bodrum? You could opt for a traditional wooden boat cruise instead on your holiday in Turkey. The boat takes you to tiny, hidden beaches, deserted bays and well away from the crowds.
#12 Balearic Islands With new routes from Heathrow and London City Airports in particular, the sun-drenched islands of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca play host to perfect 2014 summer holidays. There are stylish hotels, boutique farmhouses-turned-villas and an incredible choice of things to do to suit any budget and of course, Ibiza is always a top 2014 party holiday destination.
#13 Mexico If you really fancy Mexico, but you’ve already been to Cancun, try Puerto Vallarta. Once a spring breakers paradise, the resort is now more famous for its boutique hotels, great beaches and variety of diving spots.
#14 Cape Verde The former Portuguese colony is a beaut. It’s got Latin spirit by the bucket load thanks to its close proximity to West Africa. Go to Boa Vista for stunning beaches and loggerhead turtles for an unforgettable addition to your 2014 travel bucket list.
Some friends and I have a regular afternoon tea session. It’s a lovely way of catching up and enjoying a little luxury, but when I saw this, I thought: “I have to have that!” Jasmine Afternoon Tea at the Jumeirah Hotel Dubai.
Served in a 17th century Chinoiserie style, it’s been created by master patissier Eric Lanlard and the word magnificent is the only one that can do it justice! It combines high fashion with the historic beauty of ancient China. It’s a true ying-yang experience! For more, visit the Jumeirah Hotel Dubai website here, assuming you can stop drooling over these pictures of course!
Air New Zealand, the official airline of Middle-earth is celebrating the release of the new Hobbit film early, with a scary Smaug themed livery for its planes. A Boeing 777-300 has been specially touched up to show the dragon Smaug all the way down each side to celebrate the release of The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug.
The plane’s new livery is all part of a theme for Air New Zealand who pull out all the stops when it comes to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Last year there was a similar effort when various characters from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey featured on the side of an aircraft. However, this year the mighty dragon Smaug voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch takes the starring role. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says it’s been a privilege to collaborate with the film team and Director Peter Jackson; “we worked with the digital effects company behind The Hobbit Trilogy, Weta Digital, and they designed the graphic for us especially for this purpose.”
Chichen Itza Cancun is one of Mexico’s biggest and most famous tourist sites. 125 kilometres from Cancun and Cozumel it is a major landmark on the Yucatan Peninsula. Filled with huge temples, ancient carvings and a fairly fatal football pitch, Chichen Itza was a place of trade, culture and history for the Mayan people.
The Temple of Kukulkan, or El Castillo, pictured above was built under specific astronomic specifications. The structure is one of a whole series of temples, pyramids and other structures sacred to the Maya people. There are 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Each side has 91, which with the top makes 365 again, a reference to the year. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, a snake shadow falls on the temple. As the sun sets the snake gradually slithers down the steps.
GambiaAverage temps 24 degrees Gambia is a great value choice for January Holidays. Easy on the pocket and easy on the eye, there are tonnes of beach side hotels or villas to choose from and no time difference, so you can feel at home on holidays!
CubaAverage temps 21 degrees Within nine hours of the UK, the Caribbean offers warm waters, soft sandy beaches and an incredible range of hotels. It’s just a matter of where to choose! We love Cuba for its laidback atmosphere, perfect for a post-Christmas break. Choose an all inclusive resort like the Playa Costa Verde All Inclusive resort where your every whim is catered to.
Hurghada Average temps 22 degrees release your inner scuba diving with a mostly underwater holiday in the Red Sea. Float through a tropical landscape by day as you discover coral reefs and the beauty of nature. At night there are nightclubs, bars and a huge range of range of entertainment from the traditional to the modern in Hurghada’s bustling resort. Hurghada is a fantastic choice for January Holidays.
DubaiAverage temps 20 degrees A shopping lovers dream, although post Christmas, it might not be the first thing that springs to mind. The hot, dry weather in Dubai in January is just the balm to chase away those winter blues. Jumeirah Beach is a purpose built holiday haven, with its own souks, malls, clubs and pools… actually we could go on, but isn’t it better to see for yourself?!
Swiss AlpsAverage temps -1 St Moritz is a ski Mecca in January. It is slap, bang in the middle of full winter season, with skiing and snowboarding, cross country and hiking on offer as well as electric après-ski. Book now for great ski deals in January with Purple Travel.
Cape VerdeAverage temps 24 A string of islands floating in the Atlantic, Cape Verde is a wonderful melting pot of cultures, from its Portuguese influences to its proximity to the African coast. It’s not exactly mainstream so offers an eclectic holiday for sports lovers, surfers and great food and is still cheap enough for a great January deal.
Canary IslandsAverage temps 22 degrees The Canaries are renowned as winter sunshine holiday destination. And at just four hours flight time from the UK, they offer a cheap, cheerful and close holiday. Family friendly in Lanzarote sunshine is just the ticket after a long winter. Book self-catering or all inclusive budget accommodation in Lanzarote now with Purple Travel.
FloridaAverage temps 23 degrees Holidays in Florida are a great choice for two reasons: 1. you can beat the queues at the Theme Parks and 2. You can do it minus any sunstroke. Disneyworld and Orlando are still busy but not at summer levels, while Sarasota and St Petersburg beaches are still warm enough for bathing. Of course, if it’s endless parties you’d prefer, you could do worse than a quick road trip to Miami.
For more on cheap January Holidays talk to Purple Travel on 02079939228.
Prague, Czech Republic – Couples Christmas Markets
Two of the most popular Christmas Markets in Prague are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Both markets are just five minutes’ walk from each other, creating a magnificent festive atmosphere around the city centre. In both markets you’ll find the usual traditional sweet treats, like Trdelník, a hot sugar coated pastry, lots of local beers, such as the famous Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar, and warm drinks including the infamous Glühwein. If you’re hungry, there’s plenty to feast on from large spit roasted hogs to tasty BBQs sausages. The Prague Christmas market includes lots of stalls selling cute handicrafts and decorations and real animals in the crib scene. Opening times: 30 November 2013 – 12 January 2014. The Prague Christmas markets are open daily, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
For anyone who loves snowboarding, skiing, and all things off piste, as well as knocking back the Schnapps, putting on ridiculous costumes and dancing on all night, then we want to let you in a little secret: it’s called Snowboming 2014 and it’s happening in Mayrhofen, Austria 7-12 April 2014.
The huge snow sport/music hybrid has just announced its latest headliners who’ll be taking to the snowy stages. The 25 million record selling Prodigy will head the Forest Stage for an awesome adrenaline fuelled night. Joining the party is The Chemical Brothers (DJ set), Chase & Status are bringing their dubstep infused beats, Rudimental will hit the slopes and Groove Armada round out the line up that also includes Four Tet, Daphni and Anthony Naples.
If you still can’t get your head around the idea, let us fill you in: Snowbombing is a festival that focuses on the random. All day the slopes are filled with skiers and boarders of all abilities improving their skills or relaxing at the spa of a 5* hotel.
After night falls, the best musicians and DJs fill unique stages across the mountains, including an igloo on top of the world and an enchanted forest! Snowbombing is heading into its 15th year, so you know it’s doing something right, especially when it gets reviews like: “The Greatest Show on Snow.”
For more info on tickets check out Snowbombing.com. All images courtesy of Snowbombing 2014.