With over 1000km of beaches around its shores, the island of Crete is as close to paradise as a Mediterranean island could get. The stunning beaches and diversity of sights make for an unforgettable destination if you are up for beach holidays in Crete, providing you with some of the most spectacular settings that you could witness, let alone explore. Delve into our guide top up your tan and discover your perfect summer getaway!
Golden sand or black sand? Pebble or shingle? Greece or Spain? Whatever we do, this life is full of dilemmas and we certainly have a hard time choosing. In order to start making sense of our choices and narrowing down the options a bit, we have chosen to list some our favourite seaside destinations on the Northern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. We can definitely say that this list will not be completely fair, as there are thousands of magnificent beaches around the coasts of the Mediterranean, some of which we might not even have heard about. Nevertheless, there are beaches and beaches and according to each person’s preferences the listing criteria might change significantly. As such, here we present you with our favourite 10 which we hope will inspire you to leave the rainy coasts of the Ol’ Blighty behind and go after the warm Mediterranean sun.
Whenever our mind slips away to foreign lands and spectacular faraway destinations it is hard not to think about a tropical beach on the shore of one of the islands of the Caribbean. The powder-fine white sand, azure blue waters and tall palm trees swaying gently in the breeze, certainly put us in a relaxing mood perfect for daydreaming. The warm water of the Caribbean Sea as well as its marvelous natural sceneries have long been amongst the top places on earth for a beach holiday and without any exaggeration, most of those places on our list could compete for a photo entry to some dictionaries if the phrase ‘paradise on earth’ was mentioned. It’s really hard to distinguish amongst which beaches we consider best but nevertheless, here are some of our favourites!
Purple 10 hotel water slides. Looking to impress the kids, while relaxing in a luxury hotel? Look no further than this selection of hotel waterslides – the hotel part for you, the waterslide for the kids!
Image via @ bali.hardrockhotels.net
1. Hard Rock Bali, Kuta, Bali
Being the first Hard Rock hotel in Bali, Kuta beach, this property has been decorated in a 50’ style. Note, that the hotel features the biggest swimming pool all over Bali, 22 suites and a wide selection of waterslides to keep youngsters busy!
Image via @ luxurylaunches.com
2. Atlantis, The Palm- Dubai, UAE
Arm yourself with courage in case you wish to try a high-speed drive in the infamous “Poseidon’s Tower” waterslide, diving 9 floors down ending up in an underwater aquarium-tube with sharks and stingrays.
Image via @ www.marriott.com
For years now, Greece has been considered as one of the the hottest party locations in Europe and it’s easy to see why. Every summer the Greek islands are practically shaking from the wild crowds of party animals. So we’ve compiled our top 10 Greek Party Islands. Practice some moves, ’cause you’ll need ’em around these beach bars and clubs.
Maybe the most infamous of all the Greek Islands, although we’re open to correction on that, NOT. Mykonos guarantees endless fun, all night parties and brilliant club nights. Head for Super Paradise: nude friendly, fresh cocktails, a gorgeous beach and music all night. Couldn’t really ask for more could you?
Attracting young crowds from all over Europe, the island of Ios is home to excellent bars, cheap drinks and all night parties. It’s also got really good and really cheap accommodation, so is a good choice for a party holiday. Head for Kandi or Far Out on the beach as well as Orange Bar and Baru for shots and beers.
Perfect for sun worshipping party peeps, Kavos is the all nighter capital of Corfu. You’ll get to know the staff in every bar, the reps who pull you out for shots, and maybe Tinchy Stryder and Professor Green who are both scheduled to play this summer. Basically you’ll probably have the time of your life.
Faliraki is legendary in terms of partying. Drenched in sunshine, Rhodes is filled with wild dancing, brilliant cocktails, cheap drinks and loads of fun. Head for the unmissable King Arthur’s Bar, where all the kings and queens assemble to kick off their night with a royal round of shots!
Thousands of party animals enjoy Malia clubbing holidays every year. Literally. Even the Inbetweeners got a look in! It’s got an excellent setup, great beach and lots of accommodation just a few minutes walk from the strip. There are epic bars and clubs there, we like buzzing nights out at Banana or Malibu, or the silent disco at Candy Club.
You Should Read… 10 Of The Most Unbelievable Bikinis and Swimsuits
Load up on shots in Kardamena for an explosive start to your night out. Kos is a sleepy, beachy place by day, but comes to life with a bang after dark. We’re talking fishbowls and Jager Bombs on the cheap in every bar on the Strip. Head for the oldest club in Kos, Heaven before you leave – it’s been packing them in for 25 years.
A more laidback island than Mykonos, Paros is more chilled if you’re into lazy evenings by the beach, downing cocktails or beers. After a long day sunning yourself, head for Punda Beach Club in the southeast of the island for late night action.
Laganas has long been considered the hardcore clubbing capital of the Greek Islands, so if it’s not broke, why fix it? The (in)famous Zeros Club is famous for its hot bar staff, crazy bar games, dance routines and fire breathers. If you’re a serious party animal, definitely consider it.
Kefalonia isn’t that most well known for partying, but there are some brilliant clubs if you know where to look. Stavento in Argostoli is synonymous with fun. Loads of tunes, all day boozing and dancing and special one off guests, it’s a good choice if you want to go wild and chill out a bit too.
Go to Skiathos in August, when the clubs will be full of half dressed visitors from all over the world who want to bump ‘n grind all night. Feeling it already? Add some of the best beaches in all of Greece and that’s pretty much the recipe for a perfect holiday.
You Should Read… OMG! World’s Best Beaches
Book an amazing clubbing holiday in the Greek Islands with the experts at Purple Travel or call us on 0207 993 9228.
A wise man once said “when we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” Well, he probably never had a good rub down or a facial, since none our handpicked, amazing hotels existed at the time. Sneak a peek and feel that quiet and relaxing holiday that awaits for you just a short flight from the UK in our post about the best spa destinations 2014.
#1 The Vine Hotel, 5* Funchal, Madeira Described by its owners as “a hotel with soul, just like good wine,” it does not come as a surprise that this stylish, sophisticated hotel relies heavily on the affluent heritage of the local wine industry. Specialising in Vinotherapy – a rejuvenating massage using grape oils and only natural ingredients – it helps carry your skin to spirits high. Not forgetting that wine is also meant to be enjoyed the old-fashioned way, one can enjoy a glass (or two) of local Chardonnay atop the beautiful Panoramic Bar overlooking the city.
#2 Corallium Spa Costa Meloneras, 4* Gran Canaria, Spain Inspired by the natural volcanic conditions of the island, the Corallium Spa blends old and new by utilising the latest technologies in hydrotherapy, music therapy and aromatherapy among other techniques. Set on a modern spacious site of over 3500m, it offers tailored treatments from all over the world including Shiatsu, or Indian Head Massage, body treatments from the Dead Sea and of course its infamous “Womb Room”, a unique, copper-red area that is said to simulate the absolute peace an unborn baby feels in its mother’s belly.
#3 Eden Andalou Aquapark & Spa, 5* Marrakech, Morocco Deep in the heart of Morocco, Marrakech is a city lost in time with its mosques, markets and palaces. To really feel that off-the-beaten track atmosphere, we suggest heading for one of Eden’s two traditional hammams before taking a relaxing swim at its sensory heated pool boasting a unique zen-like feeling.. The hotel also offers a vast Balneotherapy (massage through moving water) area where a team of professionals will ensure that though your body will eventually leave these mysterious lands, your mind will linger around just a little bit longer.
#4 One & Only, 5* Reethi Rah, The Maldives Overlooking the Indian Ocean, this majestic getaway is a secluded heaven surrounded by coral atolls, white sands and lagoons. The Maldives, an enchanting string of 1,200 islands, is the epitome of an exotic, relaxed destination. With swirling vitality pools, crystal steam rooms, saunas and ice fountains, the very aptly named One & Only Reethi Rah is the very definition of a tropical paradise.
#5 Anassa Hotel, 5* Latchi, Cyprus Anassa literally translates to “queen” from ancient Greek, but in modern Greek it stands for “breath,” which is also highly appropriate given that this wonderful, luxurious hotel, with its classical minimal architecture in earthy blue and white tones, will take your breath away. A luxurious choice for honeymoon or couples getaway, it is a roman-style spa that will take you back to the ancient times and its eclectic selection of Mediterranean delicacies will make you feel like an emperor.
#6 Taj Exotica, 5* Goa, India Far from the maddening crowds of the popular resorts in the northern strip, the Taj Exotica lies on the southwest coast of Goa overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built amongst lush beautiful gardens, the hotel complex offers a unique collection of villas, Mediterranean-style facilities and family friendly activities. Its gorgeous spa facilities, designed around the traditional Indian temple styles, offer a vast range of therapies and treatments to take your body and soul to a magical, faraway place.
#7 Abama Golf & Spa Resort, 5* Tenerife, Spain An imposing presence on a 160 hectare private estate,, the Abama Resort prides itself as being built on a privileged location that enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other place in Spain. Featuring volcanic landscapes, a wide range of rare plant life and breathtaking views, this is the perfect destination for those who like to walk (or golf, if its name was not subtle enough) among a beautiful natural scenery. Its world reknowned facilities offer tailor-made treatments and packages to suit your individual needs, whether it is to relax, feel pretty or get rid of those excess pounds.
#8 Porto Zante Villas & Spa, 5* Zante, Greece Zante is mostly known as a party destination for youngsters, but far away from the bustling boozefest of Laganas lies the award winning Porto Zante. It’s a true haven for those who’d rather combine the crystal clear waters with the privacy and space of a truly mesmerising hotel. Mixing exotic spices and local herbs, the spa offers an extensive variety of innovative treatments and special massage techniques. Afterhours visitors can enjoy the beautiful sunset at the relaxed beachfront restaurant facing the never ending Ionian sea.
#9 Vogue Hotel Avant Garde, 5* Antalya, Turkey Situated in the busy seaside resort of Kemer on the Gulf of Antalya, the Vogue is a modern, luxury hotel with 347 rooms, suites, villas and penthouses. Its spa has, rather fittingly, an Ottoman themed aura and includes a large variety of turkish baths, steamrooms, jacuzzis, aromatic showers and massage rooms. The Turks did it first, so who are we to argue? To complete the eastern experience, one can sample varieties of local drinks and herbal teas at the dedicated spa Vito-Bar.
#10 Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa, 5* Hurghada, Egypt Close to the shores of the Red Sea, an area blessed with eternal summer, one can find the highly acclaimed Premier Le Reve. With extensive landscaped grounds that offer a beautiful vista and exceptional service, this hotel is among the most popular luxury destinations in Egypt. It offers an astonishing sky pool with a spectacular glass dome (that keeps the water warm using natural sunlight) and vast hammam and relaxation areas that would make even Tutankhamun jealous.
Call the experts now on 0207 993 9228 to find out more about spa holidays this year.
Image via @ nikonvscanon
Not only does the US have more theme parks than there are cows in Wales (well not exactly…) but each and every one of them have a little piece that make them quite alike, particularly in regards to food, fun, and roller coasters. We’ve narrowed down a list based on which theme parks USA offer the most for your money and are the most popular of the year.
#1 Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Known as the best amusement park in the world, it’s no wonder Cedar Point makes it to the top of our list. With 75 rides, ten shows, a water park and seventeen roller coasters, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio packs more thrills per square foot than anywhere else on the planet, let alone America.
#2 Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida
No list of theme parks would be complete without a mention to the largest, most-attended recreational complex in the world. Home to some of the most iconic landmarks, characters and imagery on the planet, Walt Disney World is an American favourite.
#3 King’s Island in Mason, Ohio
As the largest amusement park in the Midwest, King’s Island is humongous, with 364 acres of park grounds boasting over 80 rides and attractions. The all-new Soak City water park alone offers more than 50 water activities, including 30 slides, tropical lagoons, rushing rivers and surfable waves.
Featuring three incredible parks (for one admission), more than 40 rides, 17 slides, nine tube chutes, uphill water coasters, three lazy rivers and more than three miles of tube rides, Schlitterbahn is a huge, thrill-seekers paradise. Home to the longest water park ride in the world, The Falls, Schilitterbahn is one of Texas’ main attractions.
#5 Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California
For hundreds of thousands of theme park fans, Disneyland could never be anything but #1, but even in fifth position there’s no question that Disneyland Park and the larger resort, with 20 million annual visitors combined, is simply one of the best.
#6 Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia
Well-maintained with a unique design, this African themed adventure park offers something for everybody. This year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has built an electromagnetic multiple-launch roller coaster on the former site of the Big Bad Wolf called Verbolten, which opened in May.
#7 Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Arguably even more exciting to than Disneyland or Six Flags Universal Studios in Orlando is a must-visit for all age groups.
#8 Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Knoebels offers free admission and parking, with more than 50 rides available either a la carte or through an all-day pass. Enjoy the Grand Carousel, two world-class roller coasters and The Phoenix, voted the second best wooden coaster in the world.
#9 Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois
Six Flags is a dependable brand for thrill-lovers. Chicagoland’s own Six Flags Great America features eight themed areas, each highlighting a different aspect of Americana.
#10 Legoland in Carlsbad, California
This theme park takes you right back into childhood, amusing both the children and the adults. It’s known for its sculptures made of Legos, from rides to cars, from the New York skyline to Mount Rushmore.
So you’re heading on your holidays to Ibiza for some of the best nights of your life on the sunny party island of Ibiza, you know you’ll go clubbing, but can’t figure out which one is for you. Our advice is try all of them. The home of the superclub, there is no better place for bangin’ tunes, foam parties, cocktails and big name DJs. Get the inside track with our Top 10 Ibiza Superclubs:
- Privilege: Bosses at Privilege lay claim to the biggest dance floor in the world title and superstar Tiesto is its headline act. It’s been host to some of the most famous parties the island has ever seen, including the now legendary Manumission nights.
- Space: slap, bang in Playa d’en Bossa, Space gets revellers from all over the world and it’s opening party is seen as the start of Ibiza clubbing season. It also draws big name acts, this year alone The Chemical Brothers and Simian Mobile Disco headlined.
- Es Paradise: Ten bars, three rooms, massive sound and the dancefloor doubles up as a swimming pool. Yes please!
- Eden: is in the heart of San Antonio and is relatively new in terms of Ibiza clubs. Open since 2000, it’s got big name nights and puts up a good fight against its major rival El Paradis.
- Zoo Project Ibiza: Into partying on a boat? Well you’re not the only one. Throughout the island you’ll find party cruises on offer. Zoo is one, along with Ibiza Rocks the Boat, Pukka up and Driftwood.
- Pacha: The dancefloor is always crowded, house music is blaring and some epic DJs are playing. Pacha is one of Ibiza’s absolutely unmissable clubs and draws top names like David Guetta and Pete Tong.
- Amnesia: Home to the infamous Cream parties, Amnesia recruits the big guns with residents Paul Van Dyk and Deadmau5. It’s even won the Best Global Club award 3 times.
- Club Martina: Although it’s a baby in terms of history, parties at Club Martina are starting to slip into legend. It opened with a bang in 2009, with a Wednesday night called Five with the likes of Dave Clarke and DJ Hell announced shortly after.
- Ushuaia Beach Hotel: This is a hotel that actually has its own club nights built in. It transforms after dark into a top venue with some of the best DJs in the world. It even offers its own “Anything Can Happen” suite!
- Ibiza Rocks: (and Mallorca Rocks) is one of the best live venues on the island and throughout the summer season is home to big name gigs every week. Already in the season Ibiza Rocks has seen Kaiser Chiefs, Professor Green, Tinie Temper and Kasabian raising the roof.
When you think about Cuba what comes to mind? It’s probably the rhythmic lilts of Caribbean music that flows throughout the island, or the sugar-white sandy beaches that are a perfect escape from the rate race. Maybe it’s the 1950s cars that are so popular on Pinterest these days or the long, lazy days taking in the colonial architecture. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear there is all that and lots and lots more. Read our top 10 things to do in Havana Cuba.
- Music and movement: Whether it’s salsa or jazz, rumba or reggaeton, you won’t go too far in the bustling capital of Cuba without hearing some amazing street music. Music is a religion in this city and a holiday here will quickly turn you into a convert. Grab a drink and relax to the stunning sounds of the tres guitar or head for some of the noisy jazz clubs to experience a night out like a local.
- Havana Street food: It’s well worth grabbing some pesos to get your hands on some delicious street food. Tuck into some deliciously fresh egg tortillas, or paper cones filled with fried banana chips or pork skin. Ok, it’s not good for your cholesterol but is so tasty, one or two can’t hurt, right?
- Old Havana: A hectic and crazy experience for some, Old Havana is where to go for a true Cuban experience. A tour in an old time Cadillac is a great way to round off a day. Usually available for an hour or too, it can be pricey by Cuban standards.
- Che shaped history: It’s well worth taking a step back in time and visiting the Mausoleo Che Guevara. The Santa Clara memorial houses a dedicated museum to the legendary revolutionary’s life and work and an eternal flame that was lit by Fidel Castro in Guevara’s memory.
- Writing tour: Havana’s been a Mecca for writers since… well, since they realised what a cool place it is. Check out Ambos Mundos, Ernest Hemingway’s old stomping ground. He lived at the hotel for seven years in the 30s, and wrote part of For Whom the Bell Tolls in one of the rooms which is preserved in pristine condition.
- The Tropicana: Really, you can’t head for Cuba without sticking your head in the gloriously tacky, world renowned, cabaret club. Set in six acres, the Tropicana’s history of mob involvement and showgirls (or flesh goddesses as they are known) is a jingle of colours, a riot of music and one helluva night out.
- Perfect beaches: While Varadero is the top beach jaunt, with lots of all inclusive options, don’t knock the beaches close to Havana until you’ve tried them. Playa Jibacoa is a little village about an hour from Havana. Renting a car is probably the best way to get to this idyllic, sundrenched paradise beach. Otherwise the gorgeous Santa Maria beach is a typical picture perfect tropical wonderland.
- Dance the night away: Cuba is certainly famous for its dancing. Think of those strong rhythms working your feet into a frenzy. There’s pretty much no bar or venue where dancing is frowned on, so bring your comfy flats and a bit of rhythm and get into the swing of it with the locals.
- Nights on the Malecón: You’re on holidays but you want to hang with the locals? Head for the Malecón, the seafront promenade that’s perfect for people watching. Just watch out for the ladies of the night, or their friends who like to befriend foreigners.
- Mojitos on the Malecón: Ok, you’ve found the famous locals hangout point, how about a mojito nearby. A trip to Cuba wouldn’t be right without sampling at least on. In fact, you’ll probably never settle for one at home after an expertly made version, with precisely the right amount of ice and rum. A trip to the historic Havana Club Rum Museum is top of our list, it is great post or pre your cocktails.
The Benidorm Debacle: Alcoholic’s paradise or family-friendly haven?
Once a beautiful, quiet Spanish town, you may say that Benidorm’s perfection was also its downfall. The minute we Brits stepped our flip-flop clad feet onto its sandy, white shore, the old town was transformed into a major resort. Less quaint Spanish town and more heaving Manhattan madness, its loveable fishing village facets soon became no more than relics, replaced by a skyline of unsightly tower blocks. And as for the natives? Kicked out by a bunch of cheap booze-seeking British lager louts, Nuts mag in hand and sandal/sock combo in tow.
Yet before you click away in horror, this embarrassing black cloud does have a silver lining. Over the past few years, authorities have made it their mission to shake off this ill reputation and restore Benidorm to its former glory. Now attracting all kinds of visitors, from families with young children to graduates looking for a wild time, this bustling resort aims to cater to everyone. And this it does well – the key to its success understandably lying within the phrase: ‘low-budget holiday’. And while you may not exactly find cultural refinement in Benidorm, you will most definitely find a good time.
According to James Reid of The Benidorm Guide, “Benidorm is perfect for both families and those looking for a boozy holiday. For families, the beach is fantastic, there is plenty of entertainment and some great excursions (Terra Mitica and Aqualandia to name a few)- not to mention the neighbouring towns of Altea, Alicante, Javea, Calpe etc. On the other side of the coin, Benidorm is truly a great place to let your hair down – plenty of pubs, cheap beer and a diverse scene to dance the night away.”
In fact, for those of you who fear the rough and ready Benidorm of ten years ago, rest assured that millions of families return time and time again, knowing that they will find inexpensive accommodation that is clean, comfortable and well-equipped for their individual needs. Of course parts of Benidorm have remained noisy – be warned of Avenida de Mallorca, where drink is cheap and bars are open all night – but with these expert tips, you can avoid the more boisterous areas and keep your sanity intact.
1) Choose Poniente beach over Levante
If you want to lose your kids to a stag party or you particularly enjoy a background music of 50-year-old men chanting ‘ooh ah ye’ at the tops of their voices, then Levante is the place. However, if you weren’t planning on either of these, we recommend Poniente: a much quieter, bigger and far less stressful stretch of sand. Poniente is also cleaned every night meaning by the time you and your family arrive, it’s completely free of all those cigarette butts and beer bottles that the night revelers tend to leave behind.
2) Do not stay too close to the Square
This is stag and hen central. It’s not uncommon to find a few yobbish Brits conversing with each other across the street through megaphones picked up at one of the Chinese shops. AVOID.
3) Avoid all-inclusive resorts
Unless you want some tanked-up twerp stuttering something along the lines of ‘cheer up you’re on holiday’ to your two-year-old daughter, with a breath so alcoholic it could get an elephant wasted – we’d say choose a family-friendly hotel such as Flamingo Oasis, Benidorm Plaza or Belroy. The solely all-inclusive hotels understandably attract an entirely different audience.
4) Do not do your food shopping at Lidl
On the one hand it’s the cheapest place to shop in Benidorm, but on the other, and this may seem a little harsh, the store is racked with rage-inducing pensioners, who seem to think a trip to Lidl is some kind of afternoon out. And they’ll run down anyone who stands in the way of the till with a trolley full of wet ones and denture cleaner.
5) Be careful where you eat
It could be your last. Avoid Top Road and head for the Old town. The Winnie the Pooh-themed café, Honey Pot, offers a full selection of food all day long as well as a Tigger menu for kids. There is also The Cellar, a ‘kid’s pub’, near Levante beach, which offers great entertainment, including clowns every night from 8-10pm and a parrot show on Sundays and Tuesdays at 11pm. The nearby White Horse family pub is another good one, allowing parents to have a drink while children play games in the back.
To read our latest blog guide to Benidorm, just click here.