If there’s a beach bar or cocktail that you’ve been raving about, share it with us in the comments section below! Enjoy our tips for the best summer cocktails and where you can enjoy them.
1. Tiki Beach Cocktail & Music Bar, Benidorm Busy AND fantastic and slap, bang on the boulevard of the Levante Beach in Benidorm. Have a cool and sophisticated Sangria on its sunny terrace and soak up as much Spanish sunshine as you can.
5. Little Ochie, Manchester, Jamaica Perfect if you fancy indulging in some great seafood, this ramshackle little bar offers a true taste of local life, with plenty of great fish on the side. Enjoy some epic food with a Big Bamboo or a Dirty Banana.
6. Cavalieri Hotel, Corfu Climb up to the top floor of this town-house styled hotel and get a look in at the exceptional roof garden, where delicious cocktails are served. Try a sophisticated Barbecue Bourbon Bloody Mary with a view of the Old Fortress.
8. Hula Hula Beach Bar, Hvar, Croatia Enjoy a pina colada in the footsteps of Beyonce and Jay-Z, apparently they’ve been seen stopping at the Hula Hula Bar and indulging in a drink or two. If it’s good enough for them…
National Geographic’s 2013 Traveler Photo Contest is on and we’ve been sneaking a peek at some of the amazing pictures sent in from all over the world. Showcasing the natural beauty of the world, stunning portraits of people, spontaneous moments and gorgeous landscapes, it’s a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul.
The competition is open to professional or amateur photographers who can submit their own entries until June 30th. See all the pictures from this years competition here, in the meantime we’ve picked out a couple of our favourites below.
Photo and caption by Fevzi DINTAS. This photograph was taken at Lipe Island in Thailand. Long exposure used and selective colours adjusted. Location: Lipe-Hat Yai, THAILAND
Photo and caption by vafa adib. Carpet for sale by beach vendor. Location: Mexico, Puerto Vallarta.
Photo and caption by Jennifer Holmes Beamer. While traveling through Tasmania, we took a detour to find this spectacular lavender field. After a soothing meander among endless fields of fragrant lavender we were ready for a nap in the red soil. Location: Tasmania Australia.
Photo and caption by Jasminder Singh Oberai. A boy in Nandgaon was playing Holi with his friends. I alongwith some friends was shooting the village side during holi and spotted him. He ran inside his house trying to avoid us. We stayed right outside his house waiting for him to emerge. Patience paid off very soon and he peeped from behind the door, smiled and vanished again. This moment was enough for us to capture this portrait. Location: Nandagaon, Uttar Pradesh, India
Photo and caption by Paul Oeschger. At the end of my last day of snorkeling in Kauai, I came upon this green sea turtle. It was the most amazing turtle I saw all week. Not only did it seem unfazed by my presence in the water, it actually kept swimming up to me, almost as if it was asking to have its portrait taken. I love underwater photography, something I didn’t discover until 25 years after I first picked up a camera. It’s a joy to experience the beauty of the sea and the life in it through snorkeling and photography. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. Location: Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Photo and caption by Pei-Chen Sung. She’s lying easily on the grass, within her mind’s absence, I captured this beautiful portrait. Location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, France
Photo and caption by Herschel Pollard. Amelia Island, Florida Camera: Zero Image 69 Pinhole, f/235 Film: Expired Kodak Portra 100T Exposure: About 5 seconds. Location: Amelia Island, Florida.
A living, breathing seafood soup, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest structure on the planet made entirely by living organisms. Expect a plethora of odd-looking, colourful and often endangered animals swimming at you from all angles. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site, containing some 1500 species of fish. It is without rival, the world’s largest coral reef system, even able to be seen from space. Make sure you get certified before you go though – you’re not Kate Bosworth ok.
Barrier Reef, Belize
Charles Darwin once called this reef “the most remarkable in the West Indies.” Its bubbling, warm waters are home to the world’s largest population of West Indian manatee, and manta ray and spotted eagle ray are fairly common sights. Even hammerhead sharks, Caribbean reef sharks and the oceanic white tip sharks can be spotted by luckier divers (or extremely unlucky, as the case may be). Cuddle with the friendly sea cows (not with the sharks), explore the mangrove-covered islands or swim over to the Big Blue Hole – allegedly the largest sinkhole on Earth. Jacques Cousteau named it his favourite diving spot – no surprise considering this 185-mile-long gigantic wall of unspoilt beauty packs more ecodiversity than any other on the planet.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
You’ll be hard-pressed to find water clearer than the Caribbean waves of Grand Cayman. The island is actually the peak of a mountain, and most of the surrounding former peaks are now underwater, offering sheer drops so you don’t have to go far from the coast to get deep. This also provides shelter from perilous conditions, providing calm and unspoilt beauty for divers. Make sure you check out Stingray City, a series of shallow sandbars, where stingrays have been tamed for years feeding on fisherman’s scraps.
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is perfect for the low-budget traveller, as it is a relatively inexpensive place to learn to scuba dive. Thailand’s large Andaman coast offers hundreds of islands, many of which are uninhabited and fringed with spectacular coral reefs. Whale sharks inhabit the waters along with a kaleidoscope of brightly-coloured fish. However, the best bit about choosing Koh Tao is that it has as many nightclubs and bars on the island as there are fish in its sea, so if you’re not a serious diver, and you like your liquid as much in a cocktail glass as you like it enveloping your scuba suit, then this is the place for you.
Although primarily famous for those big hunks of pyramid-shaped mystery erupting from the sand, Egypt is also famous for its incredible diving spots. If you love history and you love diving, this is your spot. An affordable alternative to beaches in Europe or the Caribbean, Egyptian beaches along the Red Sea offer sun-filled holidays and unparalleled waters. The Straits of Gubal are a particularly interesting choice, having claimed dozens of ships over history; shipwrecks, pirate treasure and dead sailors are as much a part of the Sea as the water is and warm, bubbly, tropical coral reefs make the Red Sea feel like one big bathtub.
Although you may have to deal with the teenage shrieks of ‘Spring Break whoooooooo!’, Cozumel is not just a paradise for meathead jocks and bottle blonde cheerleaders. The warm, clear waters of this Atlantic superhighway make it a diver’s dream. The Gulf Stream in particular is a prime scuba spot – the experience lending itself to something on the long the lines of being Superman, only with more fish. But with nineteen distinct reefs to choose from and a host of deep dives that go down as far as 3,000 feet, Cozumel is a scuba diver’s playground. For awesome tunnels, caves and caverns, there are few better locations.
This one turns pop-up upside down, way down. The Muru Pop Down in Finland is in a limestone mine 260 underground. Image via @ Yahoo News.
The Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei offers a dining experience with a difference. Customers sit on loo shaped seats, food is served in toilet shaped containers and drinks in mini urinals. Certainly different, but probably not for everyone.
A few destinations are taking up the dinner in the dark idea, including in the USA and Switzerland, but Dans le Noir in London does it really well. Eating and drinking in pitch darkness is said to heighten tastebuds and give you an unforgettable experience. Image via @ Dans Le Noir.
The Heart Attack Grill in legendary Las Vegas is an assault on your arteries, thanks to its double, triple or quadruple bypass burgers and chips, deep fried in lard. Yum, right?
Japan seems to outdo itself with every new café it opens. Here’s the Reptile Café, the pictures are faily self-explanatory! Image via the Reptile Cafe on Twitter.
Bucharest’s Count Dracula restaurant allows you to sit with the old bloodsucker and enjoy a night of frightening feasting. Image via @ Yahoo News.
A background check is required for entry into the Fortezza Medicea in Italy. It’s not just because the flavours and ingredients are dangerously good, but the staff are serving 25 years to life. A restaurant in a prison might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’ll surely make you an offer you can’t refuse. Image via @ Volterratur.it.
Dinner in the Sky is exactly what it sounds like. A team of waiters and chefs serves your every whim at a delicious meal 50 metres in the sky. You are strapped in and raised by crane with 22 others to feel the earth move beneath your feet. Literally. Image via @ Dinner In The Sky.
At the world famous Ayers Rock in Australia you can enjoy a Sound of Silence experience, where you dine under the stars, accompanied by a star talker, who’ll guide you through a tour of the clear skies as you indulge in the most delicious local food. Image via @ Ayers Rock.
We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From panda-themed hotels to converted airplane cockpits expect the unexpected. This week, it’s the infamous capsule hotels of Japan.
Would you ever think of staying in a capsule-shaped hotel room? If not, then no need to feel bad, we’ve heard it’s not all that pleasant, but everyone has their wants!
Although capsule hotels have become popular in Japan, they haven’t really caught on in Europe, as it’s a bit like sleeping in a sort of slight larger coffin! However, the true purpose of this weird accommodation is rarely mentioned, so most people seem to think it’s a widespread trend in Japan.
Why stay? This type of tiny room with (usually) just a bed was developed to save money and time in case commuters missed their last train home (taxi rides are crazy expensive) or for travellers seeking a cheap overnight stay.
What’s included? A night’s stay usually costs around £13, while there are some others around £17. The prices will get you ship shape in as much luxury as you can find on a tiny, capsule shaped mattress and, if you’re lucky a tv over the door. The big thing about these hotels though is admission to the ofuro a spa style bath, just remember to take a shower before entering, the water is not changed too often.
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.”
What does it say about the human race that we are prepared to pay good money to scare the wits out of ourselves? We have our bodies thrown around the sharp corners, tunnels and twists at high velocity, while strapped in with little more than a glorified seat-belt. The adrenalin rush that each trip provides is surely addictive, and with coaster designers becoming ever more innovative in their sadistic desire to scare us half to death, the roller coaster stakes are higher than ever. Here are the world’s top six scariest roller coasters.
This Russian roller coaster was supposedly designed to make its passengers throw up on themselves. Located at a theme park set deep into woodland, it spins, flips and rocks passengers in all directions for the ultimate stomach-churning effect (just make sure you don’t eat too much before boarding). The ride is one of Vekoma’s Waikiki Wave Super Flip rides (of which there is another in Mexico and one in Australia). The roller coaster can bend in all directions, allowing for diagonal twists and turns rather than just horizontal. One side of the ride moves in a clockwise direction, while the other moves in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning passengers are swung back and forth, hung upside down and tossed around in a vomit-inducing random fashion.
Batman The Ride has a particularly dark history. A teenager on a church trip was decapitated after entering a restricted area below. The 11-story-high ride was closed after the incident, but re-opened a few days later, only to take the life of a 58-year-old park worker in 2002, when he was in a restricted area while the coaster was operating. The man was kicked in the head by a passenger, who herself was hospitalised, though she ultimately survived the accident.
Shambhala at PortAventura, Spain
As well as being the tallest ride in Europe, Shambala is also the ride with the tallest drop (78m) and longest hyper coaster track (more than 1,650m). Its drop is enough to turn your stomach inside out and choose some of the other roller coasters around the world.
Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Formula Rossa is currently the fastest roller coaster in the world, reaching a staggering 240km per hour in less than five seconds. The velocity is such that passengers in the front seats are required to wear goggles to protect their eyes from the potential damage caused by a high speed impact with a flying insect.
Expedition Everest at Disney World, USA
This relatively new and relatively tame roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom still managed to kill a passenger, at least indirectly. A 44-year-old Florida man was unconscious when his cart pulled into the unloading station, and an employee and a park guest immediately tried to revive him. He was later pronounced dead, the victim of a heart attack, at a local hospital. Disney officials determined that the ride was operating normally when the man died. Maybe the surprise near the end of the coaster’s run startled him to death?
Cobra at Tivoli Friheden, Denmark
This amusement park in Aarhus, Denmark opened its new Cobra coaster in June of this year, only to shut it down eight days later after a section of track fell apart, sending a car off the rails and injuring four passengers. The ride’s now closed, as the park decides what to do: scrap it entirely or rebuild it. If it does re-open, we don’t think we’ll be signing up to ride it.
We like to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the travel world, but even we didn’t see this one coming: dive in cinemas. Whether you’re into rom-coms or action flicks, adventure or cartoons, hotels and beyond across the world are tempting guests with poolside outdoor cinemas. So grab your bikini and head for our top 8.
The Westin St John Resort and Villas, US Virgin Islands The only thing that could make a holiday in the Caribbean better, is probably the opportunity to soak up the sunset in the pool as a movie flickers to life on a big screen with maybe a cocktail or two delivered right to your hand.
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, USA Not content with just regular old movies, the Cosmopolitan’s BLVD social club blasts films on a colossal screen, that’s perfect for Hollywood favourites. This year alone feature the Wizard of Oz, Karate Kid, Social Network and Father of the Bride.
Archipelago, Thailand You might have seen those pictures floating (pun intended) around the internet of a huge floating screen in the middle of the sea. Well, it’s part of Thailand’s Film on the Rocks Festival. A huge floating raft was launched with the screening anchored a little way from the seats. The screen is touring, after which it’s set to be donated to the local community.
Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia We’re not quite sure if this is an inspired idea or just simply mad. As part of the Brisbane International Film Festival the director decided to show an in-pool screening of Jaws. And why not include films with a little bite.
The Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, USA During the day, the pool on the third floor of this hotel offers sweeping views of the Dallas skyline, while at night; anyone can come and watch a free movie. Pull up an inflatable raft, sit back and relax with a cocktail for this lovely experience.
The Pearl, San Diego, USA offers a free weekly cinema social. Dive into their eclectic film choices, some food and drinks and get settled in for classics, blockbusters or independents. There’s certainly something in The Pearl’s library to suit every taste.
Hot Tub Cinema, London Grab your nearest and dearest, hop into your swimming cozzy and head for the latest London trend, Jacuzzi cinemas. The simple idea has exploded in popularity in the last few months and the Hackney rooftop is the place to be. Shows are continually sold out for the champagne fuelled movie nights.
CenterParcs, Park Zandvoort near Amsterdam At its Aqua Mundo you can swim, bring the kids, soak up the sunshine and best of all, finish the day and take a well earned break watching a film on the massive screen in the comfort of your own inflatable rubber ring!
We were well impressed with Felix Baumgartner’s jump, where the Austrian hurled himself out of a space capsule a whopping 24 miles up in the air. Well, when we saw Fearless Felix, we thought we’d like to have a go at it, here’s our run down of some crazy adventure holidays… If that’s what you’re into! Enjoy!
Wife Carrying this is not strictly for husbands and wives, but each male competitor must carry a female teammate across a special obstacle track as quickly as possible. There are various techniques including piggyback, fireman’s carry or our personal favourite, Estonian style, where the wife hangs upside down, holding onto her husband’s waist with her legs over his shoulders. It started in Finland but is growing in popularity in the USA.
Zorbing Hop into an inflatable orb, (usually) made of plastic and you’ll be pushed down a nice gentle slope. Not really extreme, but included in this list for its level of unusualness. The first zorbing site was in New Zealand, but it’s spread globally (possible after its use in Gladiators!) and is a hit in Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Greece.
Chess Boxing A kind of hybrid sport, chess boxing was invented by a Dutch artist this is one of the craziest ‘adventure holidays’ you could ask for. It’s made up of eleven rounds – six of chess, each lasting four minutes and five rounds of boxing, each three minutes long. Participants have to be as good at boxing as they are at chess. It’s very popular in Berlin and London and growing in places like Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Cheese Rolling Take one massive wheel of cheese, throw it down Cooper’s Hill in the Cotswolds, and watch as competitors break arms, legs or teeth trying to catch it. As soon as the cheese is thrown a group of twenty or so participants leap down the steep hill and the first one to cross the finish line wins. The intensity of their injuries is a badge of honour in this case.
Extreme Ironing Not two words you would normally put together, extreme ironing combines the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt, with the white knuckle thrills of extreme outdoor activity. Thrill seekers attempt to iron on tiny mountain tops, in the middle of the M1, while skiing or snowboarding, and even while bungee jumping. From the Florida Quays, to the Netherlands to Australia, this is one sport you’ll be never get board of (wah wah.)
Limbo Skating One for the flexible only, we’re told this is the latest rage in India, where riders wear rollerskates and stretch eye wateringly low to pass under cars. This requires some serious strength and balance.
Volcano Surfing Yes, this is a thing. It is a fairly new sport having just been discovered/invented and sees surfers use a thin layer of plywood or a metal board to travel down a recently erupted volcano. Riders hike to the top and sit, slide or (attempt) to stand on the board all the way down. So far, we’ve only found evidence of this new sport in Nicaragua.
Camel Wrestling If you’re on holidays in Bodrum in Turkey, you have to check this out. After a camel beauty pageant, entrants (the camels) are set on each other to fight it out over a female. It’s actually strictly controlled to protect the animals taking part.
Bog Snorkelling Every year in Wales, crowds gather to watch competitions swim up a 133 metre stretch of bog water, filled with weeds and muck. ‘Nuff said.
Crocodile Bungee Jumping If you’re a bit bored of regular old bungee jumping then this will spice things up a bit. Already a bit of a hit in Oz, croco-bungee sees jumpers hop into water which is home to the snappy animals.
Cliff Diving Championed by Felix’s buddies at Red Bull, cliff diving is becoming more and more popular all around the world. Not for the faint hearted, this takes a lot of effort, training and dedication. Spectacular to watch, it’s one of our favourites. In the past few years alone there have been huge competitions in places like the Azores, Yucatan Mexico, the Aran Islands off Ireland, Athens, Greece and plenty more beyond.