Find all the tips and advice you need with our handy online travel tips, created by the experts. Ensure you have the perfect holiday by reading our advice on how to pack, where to find the best deals and even which suncream to wear – Purple Travel
Purple Tips: 6 Family Holidays in Spain
7 Facts About Venice
Purple 10 weirdest hotel services
Purple Tips: Top Bulgaria Holidays
Twilight holidays, the weirdest thing ever?
Facepalm: World’s Worst Sunburn
Holidays: The Most Amazing Swimming Pools In The World
A Night less Ordinary: Sun Cruise Resort and Yacht in Jeongdongjin
Looking to impress the kids and keep mum and dad happy? Then check out our Purple tips for six of the best family holidays in Spain. For great family holidays in Spain, you’ll need sunshine, child-friendly accommodation and restaurants and a tonne of things to see and do, not to mention a top notch beach. Here are some of our tips for family friendly fun in the sun for holidays in Spain in 2014.
1. Malaga on the Costa del Sol is one of our top choices. With Nerja Caves to explore, Aqualand Torremolinos or the botanic gardens and cable cars at Tivoli world, as well as great value accommodation and kid friendly restaurants by the bagful, it’s a good choice for a late summer break.
2. If you fancy all year sunshine Lanzarote and specifically Puerto Del Carmen is the place to go. The beaches are to die for and it makes a great base for exploring the island. Lanzarote has plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages including Costa Teguise Aqua Park, go karting in San Bartolome or the Rancho Texas Theme Park.
3. Lloret de Mar in the Costa Brava is a great place to mix city break with sun, sea and sand, in other words the ideal mix of things for kids and mum and dad. Close to Barcelona it’s ideal for a day out at the Museum of Ideas and Inventions, the CosmoCaixa, or simply a walk down the Ramblas, while the beaches are just a stone’s throw away.
4. Alcudia Beach in Majorca is perfect for a relaxed few days on the beach. You’ll find a relaxed pace of life here, so it’s good for a peaceful getaway. There’s lots of space for relaxing on the beach, enjoying long, leisurely meals in child-friendly restaurants and there are a lot of historical sites and the S’Albufera Natural Park.
5. Costa Adeje in Tenerife is a firm family favourite. For little ones there are water parks, clean and shallow beaches and for older ones there are surfing or diving lessons and organised day trips. The whole family will enjoy whale watching trips, while the selection of hotels suits every budget and every kind of holidaymaker.
6. Portinatx in Ibiza is not about partying all night. Away from the noise and clubs you’ll find a haven of facilities for you and your family. From quiet sandy coves, relaxed local restaurants and kids clubs at plenty of hotels offering entertainment and games programmes, it’s a good choice for kids up to 12 years old.
Are there any resorts we missed? We’ve love to get some readers tips on family holidays in Spain.
Why not book cocktail holidays for you and your other half, your bunch of girlfriends or a stag or hen party. From Cuba to Paris, in spirit (!) of cocktail holidays, Purple Travel discovers some of the world’ most famous cocktails and where they came from…
The Mojito, Cuba
Traditionally made using white rum, sugar, lime, carbonated water and mint muddled together, the Mojito is generally believed to be the world’s first cocktail. Thought to have been drunk as early as the 16th century by pirates and sailors, its origins can be traced back to 16th century Cuba, where the drink was called the “El Draque”, in honour of explorer and sailor, Sir Francis Drake.
The legend goes that the drink was first created as a way of disguising the taste of tafia/aguardiente – a primitive form of rum. The modern name for the drink comes from a Cuban sauce called mojo, made from garlic, olive oil and citrus juice; the drink became known as a cocktail with “a little mojo” or, in Spanish, a “Mojito.”
The Singapore Sling, Singapore
The Singapore Sling was first concocted in – you guessed it – Singapore, made from a mixture of gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine, in equal parts, with a dash of bitters and Cointreau, finished off with pineapple, lime juice and grenadine. While the exact year it was created is not clear, most agree that the cocktail was first produced by a Hainanese-Chinese bartender named Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar sometime between 1910 and 1915.
Today, the drink is served on all Singapore Airlines flights. You may have also seen it mentioned in many films and books, including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Raoul Duke talks about drinking “Singapore Slings with mescal on the side.” You can also order an original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar, where icons like Rudyard Kipling and others would once sip this famous, fruity cocktail.
The Sidecar, Paris
This classic cocktail that dates back around 100 years is a mix of equal parts brandy or Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. The Sidecar is believed to have been first created in Paris sometime during WWI. Harry’s Bar in Paris is the “little bistro” credited as the birthplace of this sweet, yet tangy cocktail, named after the motorcycle sidecar that supposedly carried an American captain to the bar one evening. The captain asked a French bartender for a pre-dinner cocktail that would help ease the chill he had caught outside. The bartender knew brandy would be the best liqueur to take off the chill, but he also refused to serve the traditional after dinner drink alone as a pre-dinner cocktail. The result was the bartender mixed the brandy with Cointreau and added fresh lemon juice to make an appropriate pre-dinner cocktail so the Sidecar was born.
The Pisco Sour, Peru or possibly Chile
The Pisco Sour is made from Pisco (a regional brandy from South America), lemon juice, bitters and egg whites. Many debate whether the origin of this drink is Peruvian or Chilean: In Peru, the creation of the Pisco Sour is attributed to American expatriate Victor “Gringo” Morris at the Morris Bar in Lima; in Chile, it is attributed to the English steward of a sailing ship, which was stopped at the then Peruvian and now Chilean port city of Iquique in 1872.
Whatever the origins of this famous drink, the Pisco Sour has become an iconic cocktail in both countries. In fact, there are even two National Pisco Sour Days (Peru’s in the first Saturday of February and Chile’s is celebrated May 15th) to celebrate this famous cocktail!
White Russian, California
Named for the vodka used in the recipe, rather than the origin, White Russians combine equal parts of cream, vodka and Kahula. In 1961, the Diner’s Club Drink Book, gave a recipe for a “Black Russian” without cream, implying that the same cocktail with cream would therefore be named a White Russian. Today White Russians have inspired a drinking game, in which party-goers try to keep up with The Dude from The Big Lebowski (whose favourtie drink was a White Russian) in their consumption of the cocktail while watching the film itself.
The Manhattan, New York
Known as both “King of Cocktails” and the “Drinking Man’s Cocktail,” The Manhattan is a very potent mix of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, garnished most often with a maraschino cherry.
Regarded as one of the best cocktails ever created, the Manhattan was supposedly first invented at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s. Legend has it that the drink was invented for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother) in honour of presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet prompted many people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated, calling it “the Manhattan cocktail.”
The Mai Tai, California
The tropical Mai Tai is made of a mixture of white and gold rum, pineapple juice, orange and/or lime juice and is of American origin despite its Polynesian name. First created by Victor Buergon, better known as “Trader Vic”, it was called Mai Tai as it was invented in the Polynesian-style restaurant in Oakland, California that bore his name.
Buergon created the first Mai Tai in honour of some friends who were visiting from Tahiti in 1944. As he served the new cocktail to his friends, they cried out, “Maitai roa!” (meaning “very good”), and the cocktail was born.
Tom Collins, New York
While many people assume the drink was named after a real person, there is much debate whether Tom Collins ever actually existed and whether he should be credited to this cocktail of gin, lemon and lime juice and soda water. One popular account involves a hoax that took over New York City in 1874.
A friend would tell you that he had just overheard someone named Tom Collins at a bar nearby saying terrible things about you. You would then race to that bar to confront him, only to be told that Tom Collins had just left for a bar a little further away. When you get there, the mysterious Collins would have decamped yet again for another joint across town. You would then chase him all over the city while your friends are in stictches laughing at you. According to Wall Street Journal columnist and cocktail historian Eric Felten, “It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding a Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named?”
Bloody Mary, California
Like the mixture itself, the history behind the Bloody Mary is a bit cloudy. One legend says that the original Bloody Mary, which was made using equal parts tomato juice and vodka and used as a hangover cure, was invented by comedian, songwriter and film producer George Jessel. Jessel claimed he created the drink one morning in Palm Beach during the 50s, as a way to recover from a night spent on the booze. He went as far as to appear in Smirnoff vodka ads declaring, “I, George Jessel invented the Bloody Mary.”
However, Eric Felten writes, “Given Jessel’s knack for self-promotion, many doubted his claim.” Many skeptics favoured a legend involving the head bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York named Fernand “Peter” Petriot. Petriot was supposedly serving up Blood Marys under the alias of “Red Snappers” at the hotel’s King Cole Bar from the ‘40s. In reality, the Bloody Mary popular today is in fact a combination of the two men’s creations; Petriot admitted that “George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over.” While credit for the original drink goes to Jessel, Petriot wasthe one who added salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce to the concoction, creating the modern Bloody Mary.
The Martini, California
The first Martini was poured sometime between 1862 and 1871 and was called a Martinez, a name to honour the town of Martinez, California, where it was supposedly first dreamed up by bartender Julio Richelieu, proprietor of the eponymous Julio Richelieu Saloon. Today, Martini has become more of a class of drinks than one drink in particular – with variations like Appletinis, Vodka martinis and others becoming popular over the years.
Although the origins of the first Martinez date back to the 1860s, the modern Martini first rose in popularity starting in 1900s during the prohibition period. The Martini then became the drink of choice (or no choice as the case was at the time!) in speakeasies across the country due to the quick accessibility of gin. The modern Vodka Martini, which James Bond enjoys shaken, not stirred, was not created until much later.
The Queen of the Adriatic, La Serenissima, City of Bridges – Venice is a never-ending sea of allure. British poet Arthur Symons once said “A realist, in Venice would become a romantic, by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”
Dating back over 1500 years ago, Venice has a long and diverse history. From the hustle and bustle of Rialto Bridge to the weaving and winding Grand Canal, travellers find a true escape in the romantic city break destination. Here we have gathered some interesting facts about Venice:
Although Venice appears to be a magical floating city, it is actually a series on wood pilings built upon the 118 submerged islands in the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea. Four hundred foot bridges and 170 boat canals connect the city to make it easily accessible to the local populace.
Many famous people in history were born in Venice including the playwright and famous lover Giacomo Casanova, the explorer Marco Polo, and composer Antonio Vivaldi.
The traditional and symbolic boats in Venice’s canals are known as Gondolas and have been used as transport around the narrow Venetian waterways for more than 10 centuries. Failing to ride one is like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.
Only 3 to 4Gondolier licenses are issued annually. To qualify, applicants must be able to finish an extensive training after passing a rigorous exam. Today, there are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice.
The Ca’Dario, a Palazzo with an attractive Venetian Renaissance architecture alongGrand Canal, is home to a series of inexplicable deaths. The ‘curse’ started way back when the structure was built in 1847, affecting owners of the building.
Oddly, the last victim of the curse is John Entwistle, famed bass guitarist of The Who. John was leasing Ca’Dario during his untimely death in 2002.
Never ever touch the produce in the Rialto Market, or in the whole of Italy for that matter. Ask the vendor of what you want and they’d be more than happy to give their best products to you, but touching them is considered extremely rude.
Hotels, in particular 5-stars, are made to satisfy every customer’s needs and tastes. But, it’s fair to say, some of them are taking that task a little too seriously. Here are the 10 weirdest hotel services we’ve heard of… This is of course open to change!
For the forgetful amongst us, the Standard Spa Miami Beach has its own beach vendor in case you’ve left your itsy-bitsy-teenie-weeny back home in Blighty.
2. Goldfish for hire
Probably a handy thing to have around if you’re feeling lonely, one Cheshire hotel offers guest their own pet fish for the duration of their stay. For £5 ‘Happy’ the goldfish can come and stay in your room.
3. Sex Toys
The Drake Hotel in Toronto, Canada is one of a growing number that offers a list of sensual toys. It has a ‘pleasure menu’ where you can take your pick of locally supplied playthings.
4. Social Media Butler
If you fancy switching off, but still want to share your envy-inducing instagram pics, tweets and status updates then the Lowes Madison Hotel in Washington has what you need with its social media butler.
5. Soundtrack concierge
If you’ve ever had an earworm, or a song that you just need to hear right now, or just need some in-room party music suggestions, why not take up the offer of a soundtrack concierge who’ll develop a playlist just for you?
6. Celeb for a day
The Geejam Hotel in Jamaica offers a recording studio where guests can sing to the top of their lungs and release their inner popstar. Working with the studio’s engineers you’ll find out about the process of recording your very own CD.
7. Dog surfing lessons
California’s Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa offers doggie surfing lessons for man’s best friend. Instructors from the surfing academy bring little Rover or Rex to catch their first waves without wiping out.
8. Vibe Manager
If you’re not partying quite hard enough, then head for the Ritz-Cartlon on Palm Beach, Miami which offers a personalised party manager. Your evening escort is on hand to create playlists, offer a cigar or knock up a cocktail for your delectation.
9. Fairy service
Not content with regular concierge servics, the Barnsley Gardens Resort in Atlanta, Georigea, offers a special service of a fairy godmother, who offers to fulfill dreams and wishes. For customised evenings with your significant other, ‘Love Spells’ or over the top proposals the Fiary is on hand to help you.
10. Sleep concierge
A growing number of hotels are drawing customers in with the promise of a good night’s sleep. A sleep concierge assess sleeping habits, recommends pillows, offers a bedtime snack of can organise a relaxing massage to help you drift off.
Bulgaria holidays boast a wonderful mix of holiday fun, from beautiful beaches, extensive history and sense of adventure, find a cheap holiday on the shores of the Black Sea this year from Purple Travel. Here’s our top pick of resorts for summer Bulgaria holidays.
Sozopol: With heavy Greek influence and right on the Black Sea, Sozopol is a traditional Bulgaria holiday option. The town is right on a beautiful lagoon and makes an especially great choice for families who want to wander the tiny cobbled streets, take in the unchanged fishing methods and enjoy clean, safe beaches.
Nessebar: Set on a peninsula right out in the Black Sea, Nessebar is a resort of two halves! There is the historic ancient part of town with its picturesque churches and old-world charm, and there is a newer part with beautiful beaches and plenty of hotels offering great value accommodation. There’s plenty on offer for watersports enthusiasts, while swimming, diving or fishing are some of the top day time activities. By night Nessebar comes to life with bars, clubs and pubs where you can party until dawn.
Sunny Beach: If you want a singles holiday, you’re going with a gang of mates or your part of a couple who loves a good laugh, then the cheap resort of Sunny Beach is the best option for a summer getaway. There’s a great value selection of 4 or 5 star hotels, tonnes of decent bars and clubs and lots of other stuff on offer too: from the beach, to the summer festivals and fashion shows.
Golden Sands: One of the biggest and best resorts in Europe, Golden Sands as its name suggests has it all. With plenty of beach space, loads of family activities and great bars, clubs and casinos, families, groups and couples will love it.
Albena: Right on a nature reserve, Albena is a little more luxurious than some of the other resorts in Bulgaria. There’s a beautiful selection of charming seafront hotels, top notch restaurants and plenty for kids who want to splash about in the water. The town itself is made for evening strolls, discovering little narrow streets or the amazing Botanic Gardens in neighbouring Balchik.
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.
We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From panda-themed hotels to converted silvermines, we explore the weirdest hotels in the world in our A Night Less Ordinary series, so you can expect the unexpected. This week, Sun Cruise Resort and Yacht in Jeongdongjin, South Korea.
What’sthegimmick? Why would anyone want to stay in a stationary cruise ship? We’re not really sure either, but this one has been packing them in since it first opened in 2002. It’s the world’s first on-land cruise-theme resort, 45m high and weighs around 30,000 tonnes. “On board” visitors can stay in one of 211 rooms, complete with nautical themes, and porthole windows.
Why stay? You can’t deny it’s something a little different.Right on a cliff overlooking Jeongdongjin, it’s a popular choice for couples who want amazing sun rise views. On top of that there are great restaurants, swimming pools and a revolving club.
TheWOWFactor? If you’re scared of the water or even want to experience something truly different, the cruise ship hotel probably delivers it. The owners say: “The owners were inspired by Titanic, but they dropped the anchor on a mountain to feel more secure”.
Arguably the biggest holiday of the US calendar, July 4th is a celebration of the Founding Fathers, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Here’s why you should get in the swing and celebrate Independence Day!
Because… New York City’s Fourth of July celebration fireworks show uses 22 tonnes alone. That’s pretty cool to us