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.
Passports are tricky things, we can’t tell you the amount of stories we’ve heard from people who realize they’ve left theirs at home the day they were meant to travel, missing flights because they couldn’t find it, or realising it’s out of date the a week before you leave!!
We don’t want your holiday to be ruined by something like that, so we wanted to answer some of your most asked passport questions in one handy place. First thing is, it is your responsibility to keep your passport safe and in good order.
It usually takes around three weeks to renew a passport and the price changes depending on how fast you request it. You need to bear this in mind when making a booking and ensure your passport will have arrived well before you leave.
If your passport is going to expire soon, you should think about applying for a new one early. Some countries require a minimum of two years validity on your passport from the date you arrive home.
Our rule guideline is that you have validity of at least six months left in your passport after your return date. If you have specific questions you should contact the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to. You can search here for UK guidelines on passport requirements by country.
It’s a good idea to leave copies of your passport, insurance details, ticket details and itinerary with friends and family at home too.
Lost: If you’ve lost your passport, or believe it has been stolen you’ll need to report it to the local police so you can get a copy of the report. You will need that to get replacement passport papers and for insurance reasons. Get in touch with the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate too.
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you will need to fill in an LS01 form (available from the local embassy/consulate.) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will issue you with replacement documents to get back to the UK.
If you need to travel urgently, it is possible to get an emergency passport but you will need to show some document verifying your identity and a copy of a police report if it has been stolen. There is a fee involved in this too, so be prepared to pay the price. And not all countries accept an Emergency Travel Document (ETD.)
Similarly if you’ve reported your passport is missing to an embassy or consulate and you find it tucked away in a bag or under a pillow, you won’t be able to use it, as it will have been electronically cancelled. Be warned, if you try to use it, you may be stopped by the authorities.
In addition, whatever happens everything related to passports takes time, e.g. renewing or reporting it as lost, so your travel plans might be disrupted.
My passport says Miss, but I am a Mrs
As long as the gender on your booking corresponds to the gender on your passport, there should be no problem in being able to fly. Being labelled incorrectly as Ms/Mrs or Miss won’t change your booking. UK and most other passports do not actually state the title on travel documents. However, if this is not the case for you, please contact our team immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I got married and am in the process of changing my name
Your booking must be in the name that is on your passport. DirectGov has some sound advice. It says if you need to renew your passport it might be better to get one earlier in your maiden name and change it afterwards. Most travel companies won’t allow you on board if your name is different to your passport even if you have your marriage certificate with you.
We would urge anyone in any doubt about any aspect of their passport to contact the Foreign Office for up to date information.
Gadgets, gizmos, cool cars, and femme fatales: all in a days work for James Bond and for visitors to the International Spy Museum. In Washington DC, you’ll find the spaced dedicated to unveiling the mysterious world of professional espionage, shining a light on double lives, and sharing the sometimes hilarious tricks of the trade that make spies so intriguing (lipstick gun anyone?)
A day at Washington’s most fun museum starts with the Spy in the City tour. We’re pretty sure it’ll be a highlight for any nine year old, or 99 year old! You track your way across the city, solving a series of fiendish clues and complete your mission. The tour is made all the more realistic with all the undercover gadgets you’d expect. Back at base you can explore the museum, which is filled with stories of ingenious, and sometimes ridiculous stories from the golden age of spying in the 50s and 60s, with in-shoe cameras and a replica of a tunnel that run underneath Berlin during the Cold War. There are also much older artefacts like George Washington’s spy letter, and an Enigma Machine used during World War II to send coded messages.
Right now Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains has some of the most famous cars from the franchise, along with a detailed exposition of every Bond Villain and the chance to create your own secret lair! Argo Exposed also brings you behind the scenes of the real life and completely daring mission by Tony Mendez to rescue a group of Americans from Iran by going undercover as a film crew.
There’s code-breaking and a whole room dedicated to the Enigma cipher museum and it’s constantly updated with new activities – see if you can pass a polygraph test while you’re there. The best bit, is when you take away your spy stories you can be sure they come with some kind of authority, the man in charge of the museum was in the CIA for over 35 years, while the advisory board has two former chiefs of disguise for the Agency as well as a retired KGB general. create your own secret lair! Argo Exposed also brings you behind the scenes of the real life and completely daring mission by Tony Mendez to rescue a group of Americans from Iran by going undercover as a film crew.
Tickets are $19.95 and children under 6 go free. You’ll find it on 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004.
The World’s Biggest Waterslide is not for the faint hearted. At 14 storeys high, and reaching speeds around 105 km per hour as you slip down, it takes serious guts (or insanity) to brave it. The Beach Park in Brazil is home to the delightfully named Insano.
It’s hard to choose, but we’ve picked our top 10 best summer festivals. Any we’ve missed, add in the comments below.
1. Coachella April 12-14/April 19-21, Califronia, USA. Tickets around $349 for a three day pass. Where the beautiful people of rock, pop and movies go to see and be seen. Run over two weekends, this years lineup is UK heavy, with the Stone Roses, the XX, New Order and Johnny Marr joining the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse and Sigur Ros amongst others. The festival in the dessert is all about sunshine and surprises: last year Tupac Shakur appeared in hologram form to perform with Dr Dre.
2. Primavera Sound Music Festival 22-26 May, Barcelona, Spain. Tickets €145 for a festival pass. This is one for serious musos. My Bloody Valentine are riding the coattails of their surprise album release with a string of dates and will headline Primavera along with Blur, Nick Cave, Tinariwen and Wu-Tang Clan.
3. Electric Daisy Carnival New York 17-19 May NYC, USA. Tickets $159. No lineup announced yet, no official updates on the website either, but we’re pretty sure the annual electro dance fest is one to watch. 2012 saw Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Avicii and Steve Angello headline.
4. Roskilde Music Festival 29 June-7 July, Denmark. Tickets DKR 1810.00. One of the biggest and best festivals in Europe, Roskilde actually does it all for charity. All profits go to a different chosen charity every year. So, not only will you have a good time watching Slipknot or, eh, Rihanna but you can enjoy the fact it’s for a good cause too.
5. Electric Elephant 11-15 July, Tisno, Croatia. Tickets TBA. Set in a natural amphitheatre, on a white sandy beach, surrounded by warm, crystal clear waters, Electric Elephant is about as far away from mudbath Glastonbury as you would imagine. We don’t know much about the lineup apart from Mr Scruff, but we do know, there’ll be boat parties, sunshine and handy apartments on site.
6. Positivus Festival 19-21 July, Salcgrava Latvia. Tickets LVL 39.00. A pretty good option for a cheap festival circuit experience, this has an eclectic mix of acts and a great atmosphere among its 20,000 + revellers. Sigur Ros are already confirmed to headline with more TBC in the next few weeks.
7. Sziget Festival 5-12 August, Obuda Island, Hungary. Tickets €229. A good option for non muddy camping, usually the weather is perfect for 7 days of nonstop partying, 60 venues, 200 acts daily, and lots of non music acts like a circus. Hadouken! Boys Noize, Azealia Banks, Blur and Triggerfinger have already been announced for Hungary’s finest festival.
8. Pinkpop Festival 14-16 June, Ladgraaf, the Netherlands. Tickets €165. Going into its 41st year, the Dutch have gotten this festival down to a fine art. The festival has sold out 20 times in its four decade history, so better get booking soon. An average of 60,000 head to the site each year and this year looks like it’s no different with Green Day, the Script and Ben Howard already announced.
9. Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 30 October-3 November, Reykjavik, Iceland. Tickets KR 18.500. Any festival in Iceland is going to be a bit different; they did give us Bjork after all! Already on the bill are Gold Panda, Goat, Fatima Al Qadiri and church organ magician Anna Von Hasswolff are set to play at the festival, where, by 4am, “You’ve been to five cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You’re tired. You’re wired. You’re ready to find a bed. You’re ready to find the after-party. You can’t believe you’re here. You’re already making plans to come back next year. And guess what? It’s still Day One.”
10. Super Bock Super Rock 18-20 July, Sesimbra, Portugal. Tickets €48-80. Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA, and the Killers are headlining the huge rock fest that started in 1994; it’s since become one of the most kick-ass gigs in the country, drawing huge crowds and big names.
For the best prices on flights and accommodation for all kinds of festivals, call one of our travel experts now on 0207 993 9228.
Get a gang together whether it is your mates, extended family or a work thing, PurpleTravel.co.uk has the rundown of the best places to holiday as a group.
Cheap clubbing breaks We’ve covered party cities fairly extensively here at PurpleTravel.co.uk so you can be sure we’re into clubbing all night long (and a bit of the next day!) We reckon hitting up clubber’s paradise Ayia Napa, with brilliant hotels and buckets of sunshine is a good choice. The Greek favourite Faliraki is a good one, it’s got the hottest beach clubs and practically no closing time. For a bit of a change, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, has cheap flights, awesome bars and great choice of hotels.
You or a friend has announced their leaving singledom behind forever. What’s the next step? A whopper party somewhere great with a gang of your mates, that’s what! Stag and Hen parties are becoming more than just shagaluf Magaluf, with spa packages, limo hire and VIP nightclubbing, along with the staples of strippers and red light tours. So head for an all nighter Hen in Benidorm or a red light adventure stag in Amsterdam.
Golfing holidays Whether you’ve got a handicap of 55 or you’re a total pro, a golf holiday is the perfect way to soak up the sunshine and practice your swing. It doesn’t matter what level you play at, there are resorts all over the world where you can head for the greens. Portugal’s Algarve is practically made for golf. Fly to Faro and within a few minutes you could be out on the course. We like the Balaia Golf Village in Albufeira, or Quinta do Vale Resort, designed by golf legend Seve Ballesteros.
Festivals are better enjoyed with friends, so why not head for the sunshine and rock out in style. Mallorca and Ibiza Rocks have already announced headliner Jake Bugg and we’re practically drooling at the thought of who else will be announced over the next few weeks. Last year Kasabian, Bloc Party New Order and Tinie Tempah rocked the stage. A bit closer to home, Barcelona’s premier festival Primavera has just announced its lineup; Hot Chip, Kurt Vile & the Violators, My Bloody Valentine and loads more are heading for Catalonia 22-26 May.
Whether you’re a beginner, or more experienced diver, there’s always lots to learn. Try a hotel that includes introductory lessons in the pool, and bring some friends so you can look silly all together. Some of the best diving holidays are found in the famous Red Sea Resorts in Egypt. Sharm el Sheikh is a no brainer here, with PADI approved instructors and schools, and famous diving sites like Ras Mohammed, Straits of Tiran, Thistlegorm or Dahab.
Really, there’s only one place to splash the cash with your girls and that’s NYC. The Big Apple around November (Thanksgiving weekend) has the best deals you’ll find anywhere. Black Friday is not for the meek though. Get your shopping clobber on and stock up in Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s 5th Avenue or Macy’s or head for the huge Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 stores.
A classic choice for the whole family is Disney World. Visit the Magic Kingdom Park in the heart of Florida and fulfill childhood dreams of hanging out with Mickey and Minnie. Any little princesses in the family will love meeting Cinderella, while future movie directors can yell ‘lights, camera, action!’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Champions World in Kissimmee or Hampton Inn Pointe on International Drive are ideal choices to stay close to the action. Discover great group rates for hotels in Florida from PurpleTravel.co.uk.
Budapest – Who knew there was a thing called ‘Sparties’, well the Hungarians for one. Head for the Cinetrip Sparty, where the historic thermal baths is packed with half naked revelers, top DJs and you dance in the pool. Last year they had a Star Wars theme party. Sounds good… and weird.
Prague – The beer is cheap, the nights are long and the DJs are top class. It’s a more laidback city to party, perfect for stag and hen groups who want a more adventurous last weekend of freedom. A pub crawl is a great way to see the city and sample a traditional brew from over 100 types.
Barcelona – Get off the Ramblas ASAP and head for areas like the Barri Gotic or El Born. Not only will you steer clear of the pickpockets, but you’ll go headlong into partying with the locals.
Ibiza – No ‘best places to party’ list would be complete without Ibiza. Not so much a holiday as a life experience, you’ll find more than enough hard party in the home hedonism with foam parties, strippers, cheap drinks and beach bars. If you’re not a night person, stay away, the pre-party only kicks off around 11 and goes ‘til dawn.
Ios – OK, not a city but an island, a Greek one to be precise, Ios has long been a secret party spot for anyone looking for a summer of late nights, high spirits and new friends. The booze is cheap, the beautiful people are half dressed and the place is gorgeous.
Lagos (Portugal) – So close to home and so filled with great bars and clubs. Lagos is in the Algarve, so you’re practically guaranteed great weather on top of the best in clubbing, booze cruises and themed parties (togas are our favourite.) Head for Portugal, but try to take it easy, a hangover is way worse in the sunshine.
Stockholm – It may be cold up north, but the nightlife in Sweden’s capital heats things up pretty quickly. Clubs and bars usually kick off their weekend on a Wednesday, and tend to stay open ‘til the early hours. Oh and of course, it being Sweden it’s filled with drop dead gorgeous partyers, just waiting to become your friend.
Amsterdam – It’s probably safe to say Amsterdam is the holy grail of partying in Europe. Not only is it packed with clubs and bars and of course the infamous coffee shops, but the Red Light District is known to pack in visitors at all hours of the day and night. What might be taboo at home is very much expected here.
Dublin – It used to be a bit more expensive but now the Irish capital is hooking up party animals with cheap deals and pubs on practically every corner. Find some of the famous craic in Temple Bar, a favourite with stag and hen parties, the indie Wexford street area, or the award winning Wright Venue a bit further outside town in the suburb of Swords.
Berlin – Get a nap in, you’ll need it. Parties in Berlin usually kick off around 1am and keep going until the sun comes up, and well after. The German capital plays host to a totally international crowd, with electro, indie, alternative, and dance clubs amongst the best in the world. Head for a bar called Doctor Pong (we really just love it for the name) to kick off your epic night with a bit of sporting activity before Cookies or Watergate.
For more on cheap holidays to the best European cities to party in, visit our website at Purple Travel or call us now on 02079939228.
The celebrated 57th Street Buckingham Hotel, built in 1929, is to be restored this year as The Quin Hotel. Once frequented by musical legends such as pianist/composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the historic 18-storey beauty is set to open in February 2013, and hopes to capitalise on this musical and artistic heritage. Its luxurious in-house amenities even include a gallery, featuring paintings by Irish artist, Patrick Graham. Furthermore, the hotel’s location, which is within walking distance of Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art and the 57th Street gallery district, is sure to add to its cultural flair. The hotel will have 200 rooms, an American restaurant, a spa and a business centre.
The Thief, Oslo
Recently opened in downtown Olso, Norway, is a former 18th-century prisoner colony come waterfront hotel. Aptly named The Thief, the name derives from the days when criminals were brought to Tjuvholmen, nicknamed “Thief Island”, which lies just off the coast. Today, the same waterfront is made up of art galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and now, to the modern 119-room, nine-floor hotel. A member of Design Hotels, The Thief boasts a penthouse suite, panoramic views of the city and a rooftop terrace. Although it’s unlikely that you will be wishing to escape from this prison, as cars are forbidden along the Scandinavian coastline, the primary way of getting around is via foot or bike.
Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg
Once home to a Russian princess, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is, as its name suggests, a restored palace. Expected to open sometime in spring 2013, the hotel’s majestic marble staircase is embellished with gold and bronze moulding, a nod to its 1820s glory; the designers even used the original architectural drawings as a reference. One of the palace’s earlier courtyards is now a glass enclosed Tea Lounge, serving breakfast, tea and a light dinner. Hungrier guests can indulge in some fine Italian cuisine at the Percorso restaurant or decadent Asian fare at Sintoho, followed by a glass of cognac at Xander bar. In the works is also a four-level luxury spa with an enclosed rooftop pool and several treatment rooms.
Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group will this year make its European debut with its Parisian addition, set to open in late 2013. The hotel will occupy the Beaux-Arts gem constructed in 1908, which was once home to the Majestic Hotel. Great measures are being taken to make certain the building is restored to its original magnificence and ensure that it blends flawlessly with the surrounding Parisian architecture in the sophisticated neighbourhood of the 16th arrondissement. Once complete, The Peninsula will house an impressive 200 guest rooms and a spa on the enviable Avenue Kléber near the Champs-Élysées.
Opening in Las Vegas is the first-ever hotel from master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Expected to open within Caesars Palace on February 4, the hotel will be one of the first expansions of a restaurant into the world of hotels – a new trend for the New Year perhaps… watch this space. The idea of a hotel built around a restaurant concept is something we quite admire, and with interior design from David Rockwell, including a hand-layed river rock wall, we’re certain the venue will not disappoint. And of course, ordering room service from Nobu is a dream soon to be realised.
Shangri-La Bosphorus, set to open in Istanbul in the first quarter of 2013, will be the luxury hotel brand’s first property in Turkey. Sitting neatly on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Besiktas district near the Dolmabahce Palace, the hotel is ideally located for all the local amenities. Its addition to the Istanbul skyline will be particularly of note, as on completion Shangri-La Bosphorus will be the second tallest building on the coastline. With 186 guest rooms, including 17 suites with sea views, the hotel’s design is contemporary mixed with Asian touches. This theme crosses over to the hotel restaurant, which serves both Western and Asian cuisine, while in the Lobby Lounge guests can enjoy afternoon tea and tapas. Ladies may indulge at The Spa at Shangri-La, which will specialise in Chinese healing therapies, yet also include two Turkish hammams.
While remote, the Maldives’ island of Noonu Atoll, is possibly the most perfect setting for the upcoming Cheval Blanc Randheli (part of LVMH’s luxury hotel portfolio). Set to open this summer, the extravagant 45 loft-style villas, some of which will be set on the white-sand beach, while others will be propped up on stilts over turquoise waters, will feature personal infinity pools, flawlessly selected interiors and awe-inspiring views of the contiguous lagoon. The Cheval Blanc Spa will be readily available for indulgent treatments, and a fleet of traditional Maldivian fishing boats, specially crafted for Cheval Blanc, will allow guests to explore the local area at its most romantic. The heavenly retreat will also include four restaurants, ranging from fine dining to a fish market, as well as cigar and wine cellars.
Fast, furious, thrills and spills, if there is one park that is the epitome of thrill seeking then it has to be Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The first of its kind in the world, it tells the story of Ferrari on a series of exhilaration rides and educational journeys.
Image via @ Ferrari World
The iconic red roofed park houses over 30 vintage and modern Ferraris, the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa, which hits speeds of 240 kmph and its own G-Force experience that blasts you to a height of 62 metres. Not for the faint hearted that one.
Image via @ Ferrari World
For kids there is the chance to get behind the wheel of a scaled down 430 GT Spider as well as Speed of Magic, a 4-D adventure through jungles and volcanoes. Definitely a must see on any holiday in Abu Dhabi.