Grab a bucket and spade, the kids and head for these family holidays in the sunshine. Here are some top picks for family friendly getaways.
Image via @ MikeBaird
Fun, fun, fun at Disneyland USA Surely a no brainer, Disneyland is the chance to treat your kids (and yourself) to an unforgettable adventure. The Radisson WorldGate Hotel in Kissimmee is just a mile from Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios. You can even watch the theme park’s fireworks show from your room and hit the shops for some much needed retail therapy. It’s really the cherry on top of any family holidays you might be after.
Hit the beach in the Balearics Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, take your pick: The handy family run Hotel Almudaini in Palma de Mallorca, is just a few minutes’ walk from Passeig Maritimo and almost every amenity in town – the port, palace and market. For Menorca head for the family friendly resort of Cala’n Forcat, with its beaches, bouncy castles and aqua parks. Remember, Ibiza is not just for serious partying, there’s a softer, gentler side, with cosy villas away from the clubbing centres, but lively enough for mum and dad to enjoy too. Try Santa Eulalia, or Es Cana for great family holidays in the sunshine.
Ski adventure in Borovets Bulgaria is a fab choice for families with children, with a snow park especially for youngsters and wide runs in amongst green pine forests. There is a high standard of English speaking schools, and it’s a good choice for beginners, improvers or advanced skiers. Depending on where you stay there is free nursery or ski school as well as a great selection of cosy restaurants or day trips to the capital Sofia. The Hotel Rila has gorgeous views, mountain biking and hiking trips organised by qualified guides along with a great location right at the bottom of the ski runs.
Tropical getaway Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico the ideal in all inclusive, the Dreams in Tulum has excellent rooms, some with ocean or garden views and a private terrace. The onsite Explorer’s Club offers a Mayan themed world of fun for children aged between three and 12. Daily activities include climbing walls, splash fountains and outdoor movie screenings. For more adventurous kids, there’s a camping adventure every week.
Cruise in Turkey A great choice for one parent families, you join a party atmosphere on a cruise past tiny fishing villages, practically deserted beaches and tonnes of kayaking, swimming or diving. In the evenings, parents can gather on deck and relax over a glass of local brew, while the kids are entertained with movies.
Family luxury Cyprus The Almyra Hotel in Paphos is the perfect laidback getaway that’s is both stylish and child friendly. Children of all ages are at the heart of this hotel, with excellent childcare available. This includes supervised clubs, indoor and outdoor play areas, interconnecting rooms and children’s menus and a Baby Go Lightly service, so you can order all sorts of baby necessities before you arrive, e.g. nappies, car seats etc. For older children and teenagers, there is a dedicated ‘urban graffiti’ designed area with video games and big screens.
Dude Ranch, in the USA A holiday with a difference, this is the chance to test your cowboy skills. Set on a huge ranch, you and your family will be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and glorious sunsets. The Elk Mountain Ranch is known as the “White Water Capital of Colorado” and there is plenty of opportunity to go rafting along with hayrides, biking and erm, square dancing. A great choice for children, each day has a theme such as cowboy or Indian, there are dedicated camp counsellors and even a water slide park nearby, meaning every base is covered.
Classic sunshine Depending on who you talk to, there are a couple of thousand islands in Greece, so there is plenty to choose from. To top it off, it’s one of the best places for a bargain break; there is a big push to get visitors in this year, so prices have dropped and there is room for haggling. Try the resort of Amoudara in Crete, with a three mile long stretch of sand and tonnes of tavernas to lunch in. For days out try the Labyrinth of Knossos or the AquaWorld Aquarium and stay at the Castro Hotel, just a couple of minutes from a private beach, with its own pool and plenty of restaurants nearby.
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!
You should read… the best water slides ever!
Some just an hour or two away, some a little further afield, all made with couples in mind for the ultimate in romantic, here’s our last minute Valentines escapes. Whether you’ve got money to burn or want a wallet friendly treat for your other half, get sorted now with our Purple 10 last minute Valentines ideas and give the gift of love this year.
Pigeon Island, St Lucia, Caribbean St Lucia is tiny, it’s just over 20 km wide and 44 km long, but once you land there, it makes its presence felt. From the friendly locals, great hotels and couldn’t-ask-for-better weather, it is the jewel in the Caribbean crown, topped only by its beaches. Try the southern side of Pigeon Island where you’ll find the peaceful and utterly beautiful golden sand that is made for relaxing on.
Image via @ Squish_E
Playa del Duque, Costa Adeje, Tenerife Ideal for families thanks to a breakwater that provides calm seas, your kids will love it. Formerly a black sandy beach, it was ‘renovated’ in the nineties when white sand was added. It’s a long golden stretch now, filled with palm trees and loungers and perfect for soaking up the sunshine and topping up your tan.
Image via @ jlastras
Halkidiki, Greece Once a secret of German holiday makers, Halkidiki in the north of Greece is a hidden gem filled with gorgeous beaches to choose from. The Sani Resort is topped by the beautiful Asterias Suites, where you can step straight onto the beach into calm, crystal clear Aegean waters, or relax for hours on the soft white sand. (It even features, ‘Babewatch Ladies’ to look after children during high season.)
Image via @ Horia Varlan
Gunluklu, Turkey A local favourite, this is best visited during the week, as the world and their mother turn up to BBQ and watch the sunset at the weekends. Tucked away on the Fethiye to Gocek road, and backed by pine trees the beautiful stretch of sand is the ideal get-away-from-it-all escape.
Image via @ Ingeniarius
Caladesi Beach, Florida, USA this is so off the beaten track, you can’t even get there except by boat. The quiet, powder soft white beaches, crystal clear waters are perfect for long lazy days in the sunshine. There is plenty of nature on offer nearby too, with trails, bird watching or kayaking through the mangroves. If honeymoons are on your mind, consider the beach at Caladesi.
Image via @ PinellasCounty
Golden Horn, Croatia Probably the most famous of all the sandy beaches in Croatia, the Golden Horn or (Zlatni Rat to the locals) is a real stand out winner. Found on the south side of the glorious island of Brac, it juts out in a tiny circle of sand with absolutely pristine blue waters to dip your toes in.
Image via @ Proimos
Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica This one goes on, yep, you guessed it for a whopping seven miles. The golden sand and crystal clear Caribbean waters are perfect for washing away any stress in your life, while the range of activities on offer are second to none. Just one to watch out for, there are nudist sections, where visitors will bare all, but these are clearly marked.
Image via @ Vox Efx
It’s never a bad time to think ahead, that’s why we’ve put together our list of great holiday destinations that’ll be perfect from April next year. For couples, or honeymooners, families or small groups, here’s where you should be booking now for the best value. Enjoy our choice of the best cheap Easter holidays and save money with Purple Travel.
Image by @Ramon Baile
Malta in April should see some absolutely fantastic weather, but it won’t be so hot that you can’t actually enjoy the stunning surrounds of this island. Valetta, the capital is a tremendously beautiful city, home to lovely architecture and fantastic restaurants. While just up the coast you’ll find picturesque St Paul’s Bay, a great choice for watching the world go by.
Top tip: Gozo Island nearby is a place where it seems time is standing still. The perfect get-away-from-it-all daytrip.
The most southerly of the Greek islands, Crete offers amazing food all year round, a fantastic choice of accommodation and some of the best weather at that time of year. On top of that, Easter in Greece is a great tradition so it’s ideal for families who want a slight twist on a traditional holiday.
Top tip: Orthodox Easter is on May 5 and is a time when families and friends get together and share food, drinks and laughter. The smaller villages will be beautiful to visit on Easter Sunday.
Majorca is great value anytime, so there’s no reason not to go. From partying with your mates, to family friendly getaways, the island has something to suit all tastes, and budgets. Majorca has a whopping coastline of over 550km, and plenty of that is beach. Spring is well and truly springing in Majorca so you’ll find little rain. A well oiled tourist infrastructure means it’s well able to cater for the 8 million tourists who visit each year. From the capital Palma, to the party city of Magaluf, or the tiny villages that dot the coastline, there really is some sunshine for everyone.
Top tip: A little off the beaten track you’ll find the Cuevas del Drach in Porto Christy, a cave system featuring one of the world’s biggest underground lakes.
Paris in the springtime. Someone should write a song about that, oh, someone already did, because they realised how simply beautiful it is. The French capital is made for long strolls hand in hand with your other half, trips up the famous Eiffel Tower, or seeing whether the Mona Lisa is really worth all the talk at the world famous Louvre Museum. Enjoy the City of Love, in the words of Ernest Hemingway who called it a ‘celebration of life.’
Top tip: Slow down! Whether you have a weekend or a week, Paris works on a different time than home. Boulangeries are made for lazy snacks on croissants and you’ll find them everywhere, while Parisians might not stop to admire the beautiful architecture of their city, you’d be mad not to.
Image via @ Paul Cook 2809
So, you want to spend Easter 2013 being a rock star right? Who doesn’t?! Head for the glitz and glamour of Barbados. The homeland of singer Rihanna, this is where the beautiful people spend their holidays. Relax on a yacht in the Bay of Holetown, or hit the clubs on First Street. If it’s relaxation you’d prefer the Aqua Restaurant and Lounge is a big favourite amongst the local glam pack.
Top Tip: Check out our Purple Hearts… ChristChurch to find out lots more about where to stay and what beaches to visit in Barbados.
An archipelago of nearly 1,200 islands, the Maldives is absolutely idyllic. The Indian Ocean is beautiful in April, with excellent weather and a romantic atmosphere makes it perfect for couples or honeymooners, looking for their own water villa. Explore the reefs by day, and sip a cocktail watching the most beautiful sunset of your life by night. The Maldives is made for romance.
Top tip: A seaplane tour is a beautiful (and cosy) way of discovering the islands. It’s a little expensive and weather dependent, but well worth it for the views.
Cape Verde these little islands of Africa’s western coast have a great mix of beaches and culture, sunshine and activities. It’s got plenty for children with watersports and beautiful beaches, while mum and dad will love the atmosphere and selection of restaurants. On top of that it’s easy to get to, (and actually not that far away, really) and won’t break the bank for an early sunshine session.
Top tip: Visit Pico de Fogo where you’ll find an active volcano! The landscape is really beautiful and perfect for exploring with the kids on horseback.
For more on cheap Easter holidays this year, visit Purple Travel and save money on flights, hotels and transfers.
After extensive research (!) we’ve compiled our list of the best boozy holidays. Whether it’s a stag or hen do, a beer discovering holiday or you simply like to throw back a few pints, choose these holiday destinations for a spirited pick me up.
Cancun, Mexico This purpose built resort has been serving the best in tequila since the 70s. It’s a kind of anything goes place, so be prepared to let your hair down.
Image via Pinterest.
Las Vegas, USA Renowned across the world as one of the funnest places you’ll find, the 24 hour casinos tend to ply gamblers with free drinks, so you’ll never be without a cocktail in your hand.
Image via @ Moyan_Brenn
Ayia Napa, Cyprus Tourists have been going there to party for years. The clubbing capital is filled to bursting point with clubs and bars, and people going to party as if their lives depended on it.
Image via Pinterest.
Magaluf, Majorca Otherwise known as Shagaluf, there are bars and clubs stretching for miles on every street. If it’s nightclubbing until the small hours you’re after then there’s no better choice.
Image via @ FeelSummer.com
Munich, Germany The legendary beer halls and Oktoberfest, make Germany a must see. Grab your mates and head off for a few days of major boozing in costume in the beer halls of Munich.
Image via @ Alaskan Dude
Amsterdam, Holland The home of Heineken is a firm favourite for stag dos. Not only will you get up to all sorts of boozy shenanigans, but it’s well known that Amsterdam’s explosive nightlife caters for all kinds of fun.
Image via @ Michell Zappa
Malia, Crete It’s where the Inbetweeners decided to party. Says it all doesn’t it.
Tallinn, Estonia Another stag favourite, it’s not unusual to have a beer at 8 am. If that’s the kind of boozing you’re after, head for Talinn.
Image via @ Cal Evans
Dublin, Ireland Temple Bar, Saturday night, that’s all you need to know.
Image via @ fotopedia
Our most visited destination guides, Purple Hearts…
Koh Samui, Thailand
Image by @ mjhbower
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Image by @ daryl_mitchell
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Image by @ sharif
Image by @ Timo_w2s
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Many of the islands now offer excellent budget getaways – thanks to an increase in affordable accommodations, food and shopping. And of course, the region’s biggest draw – those powdery white, pal tree-lined beaches – don’t have to cost a thing. We’ve compiled a guide to the Caribbean’s five most affordable destinations. Enjoy our 5 most affordable Caribbean Holidays.
Known as the Cancun of the Dominican Republic due to its huge amount of low-priced all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana is a bargain-hunters haven. Offering everything from oceanfront views to delicious international cuisine, this tourist hotspot is one of the cheapest escapes in the Caribbean.
Cancun’s cheap price tag is just one of its many draws. As one of the most popular Caribbean destinations, from weddings and honeymoons to family getaways and holidays with friends, Cancun has steadily become one of the most recognised names in the travel world. Although a less authentic Mexican experience (the purpose-built resort was built up from nothing), you’re guaranteed a successful holiday-to-remember, at a fraction of the price of many other destinations nearby.
Powdery soft sands, shimmering turquoise water, fresh seafood in abundance, and lots of rum cocktails – Puerto Rico offers travellers the chance to experience all the Caribbean has to offer. Like most Caribbean destinations, staying inside the city itself or the surrounding area are both suitable ways to holiday on the cheap. Goods are also ridiculously cheap, but be careful not to go overboard with so much on offer!
Laid back, breathtaking scenery and with the best coffee in the world, Jamaica is a popular tourist hotspot for obvious reasons. This island appeals to all types and although it may be a little pricier than say, Puerto Rico or the Bahamas, travellers shouldn’t have too much trouble finding cheap flights and cheap, but comfortable accommodation.
According to Frommer’s, “Puerto Plata appeals to a mass-market crowd that prefers less expensive, all-inclusive resorts.” This Dominican Republic resort town is a fantastic choice for those looking for an action-packed holiday – there’s plenty for travellers to do away from the hotel, from watersports in Cabarete to spectacular sights like the Damajaqua Cascades (27 Waterfalls).
Image by @ David Stanley
Tired of stuffing turkeys and wearing novelty knitted jumpers on Christmas day? What if you could be lying under a palm tree or smoking a cigar in Havana instead? Make this Christmas unique with our list of the best alternative Christmas holiday ideas:
Laidback Christmas in Cuba
Head to the Caribbean island of Cuba for a Christmas in the sun. Here, you can sip rum cocktails on the beach, salsa dance your way into the early hours of the morning or even hire a 1950s Cadillac and spend your Christmas touring the main sites of Havana, Varadero and Jardines del Rey.
Foodie Christmas in Grenada
Spend a Caribbean in Grenada, enjoying the special food and drink that the island’s locals concentrate on at this time on year. Think black fruit cake (baked and soaked from October, with port wine and local Clarke’s Court white rum), ham, rice and green pigeon peas, macaroni pie, baked stuff turkey; and locally made sorrel, ginger beer and the Clarke’s Court white, dark, or red rum.
Christmas Underwater in Sharm El Sheikh
Spend Christmas underwater with a diving trip to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Lying at the tip of the south Sinai Peninsula, the Ras Mohammed National Park offers some of the best diving in the world and is within easy reach of Sharm El Sheikh.
A Yoga Christmas in Goa
Instead of spending Christmas drinks and New Year incredibly hungover, why not instead opt for a rejuvenating yoga fortnight on Palolem Beach in Goa? The Bhakti Kutir retreat offers daily meditation and yoga classes as well as nutrition lectures, boat trips and visits to local markets. On Christmas Day, they hold a trip to a nearby fort, an evening barbecue and sunset yoga practice.
A Sunny Christmas in Grand Cayman
If you’re in search of sunny days and balmy nights around Christmas, head to the Cayman Islands. Forget wrapping up warm and spend Christmas in a bikini on one of the Islands’ famous beaches.
A Snowy Christmas in Val D’Isere
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Val D’Isere’s high altitude makes it a definite bet for a white Christmas in the snow. Why not stay in Le Fornet, a pretty little village on the edge of the resort. Close to a cable car, you have almost instant access to the slopes, while the resort centre is only a short (free) bus ride away.