For many reasons some resorts and hotels become abandoned whether due to political or economical situations. Can you imagine what these places were like in their heyday? Occupied rooms, people splashing about in the pool or lazing on sun loungers, a queue forming in the bar or hotel lobby, chatty diners in the restaurants. Now, all the people are gone and all that’s left are the buildings in ruins. While you obviously can’t stay at these resorts there is a growing number of tourists who like to take unusual holidays and travel close to these resorts to explore the abandoned buildings.
1.Bokor Palace Hotel And Casino – Cambodia
Bokor Hill Station in Cambodia was a resort built by French colonists in the 1920s and the epitome of the splendour found there was the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino. Around 1000 people died during the construction of the hotel, only for the Europeans to flee the area in the 1940s due to political instability. It was used intermittently up until the 1990s when it was abandoned for good. Bokor Hill Station is now a popular tourist attraction and even though not even 100 years old the hotel looks much older than this. Locals in the area won’t enter as it is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of those who lost their lives trying to build it.
Excited about Game of Thrones Season 4? Ahead of its premiere on Sky Atlantic on April 6th, we’ve got some pictures of the best filming locations for the new series. For anyone living under a rock, the TV show based on the hugely popular G.R.R. Martin books centres around the fight for power amongst seven feuding families who plan to win the right to the Iron Throne. Featuring the Starks of Winterfell, Lannisters of Casterly Rock, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands nad House Targaryen it is a fantasy epic with locations that match its incredibly dramatic story lines. Game of Thrones is filmed mostly in Iceland, Ireland, Morocco, Croatia and Malta where rugged landscapes stand in for Winterfell and sun soaked streets play host to the Queen of the Dragons. Here are some of our favourite Game of Thrones locations.
The bulk of Game of Thrones filming season 1, 2 and 3 took place in Northern Ireland, where Castle Ward in Downpatrick became Winterfell and introduced viewers to the Starks, Lannisters and King Baratheon. McComb’s Coach Travel provides Game of Thrones day trips from Belfast where you can also visit the Kings Road and the Cave of Cushendun where the shadow baby was born to Melisandre. Ballintoy Harbour played host to Theon Greyjoy’s homecoming to the Iron Islands and near Bushmills is the avenue of trees known as The Dark Hedges, where Arya Stark escaped King’s Landing. There’s even a GoT exhibit in Belfast where you can take a seat on the Iron Throne.
Plan an incredible summer holiday around a festival and get more bang for your buck. Read our Purple tips about the best music festivals 2014 and don’t miss out. If you’ve got any more suggestions for the best music festivals 2014, hit us up in the comments below.
Altitude Comedy Festival – Austria When: 31 Marcy – 4 April 2014 Where: Mayrhofen, Austria What is it: In the same awesome venue as the Snowbombing festival, this is all about comedy. Lots of beginner slopes as well as black runs and great apres-ski, this is two holidays in one! Who: Pub Landlord Al Murray, John Murray, Tommy Tiernan, Andrew Maxwell and Craig Campbell. Price: Depending on your arrival date from £188.
Snowbombing – Austria When: 7-12 April 2014 Where: Up in the snowy mountains of Mayrhofen, Austria What is it: A mix of partying and piste, where winter sports meets hedonistic highs. Who: The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers DJ set, Four Tet, Tom Odell, Foxes. Price: From £219 including accommodation.
Best Music Festivals 2014 – May
Primavera Sound – Barcelona When: 29-31 May 2014 Where: Parc Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain. What is it: A huge lineup of some of the best acts in the world today will play in the sunshine at Primavera’s outdoor stages showcasing Barcelona as a great music-lead city. Who: The National, Arcade Fire, Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, QOTSA, Haim, Metronomy, Foals and Chrvches. Price: €175
Ibiza Rocks and Mallorca Rocks – Balearic Islands When: All summer long! Starting on June 4 2014. Where: Ibiza/Majorca What is it: A full on summer festival experience without the mud. Who: Haim, The 1975, John Newman, Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran and Tinie Tampah. Price: From £75
Pinkpop – Netherlands When: 7 – 9 June 2014 Where: Landgraaf, Netherlands What is it: The 45th year of Pinkpop, this is one of the oldest in the world and draws huge names from all over the world. Who: Arcade Fire, Metallica, Editors, Mastodon and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. Price: Tickets for Pinkpop will be released on 15th March 2014
Purple 10: Europe’s cheapest cities… as tracked by the European Backpacker Index
It’s official, the list of Europes cheapest cities has just been announced. These 10 cities definitely won’t break the bank, and a combo of cheap flights, transport, hotels and things to see and do, mean the likes of Bucharest, Krakow and Zagreb should feature for your next city break.
Game of Thrones If you’re still reeling from the Red Wedding, then how about a visit to King’s Landing itself to take your mind off it. Croatia’s beautiful capital Dubrovnik is the location for lots of shooting of GoT, and its three hour tour includes the scene of Stannis Baratheon’s Battle of the Blackwater and tales of the Starks, Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen as they battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. The new season of Game of Thrones is just one of the reasons to visit Croatia this year.
There is a feast of local culture scattered around Croatia, from the traditional embroidery of Dubrovnik, the street markets of Zagreb, the folk music of Istria or the ‘klapa’ singers of Split. It is sometimes said, people visit Croatia for the weather but stay for the culture. There is also a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Euprhasian Basilica in Porec, the historic city of Trogir and the Plitvice Lakes.
The perfect city break? Dubrovnik might just fit that template. A spotlessly clean, small and friendly city, the whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an upcoming favourite among European elite. The city walls make for breathtaking views and are an easy walk especially if you make it in the morning before it’s too hot. There are summer festivals throughout August, a wealth of history and museums, there are beaches and even some cliff jumping if you’re feeling up for it at Cafe Buza (ask for directions!)
Discover a festival Croatia’s en route to being the edgy festival sister of Hungary, Spain or Portugal, offering plenty of home grown talent and big names this year. It’s more to do with cheap booze, chilled-out crowds, top DJs and beach or boat parties. Discover a Fresh Island on Pag in July, or celebrate the Unknown in Rovinj in September. Croatia holidays are perfect for combining sunshine and festivals in 2013.
Beach party like a boss Holidays in Croatia are synonymous with beach parties. One of the wildest, hottest and hippest beach clubs in Croatia, Carpe Diem in Hvar has restaurants, loads of pools, a creperie, long couches for relaxing on, and wooden umbrellas for a bit of extra luxury. It is worth spending a day and a night soaking up the atmosphere and partying until late.
Get naked It’s well known Croatia is one of the most nude friendly destinations in the world. Paradise Beach on the small island of Rab was established way back in 1934 and is a leading naturist beach. On top of that there are over 30 resorts for naturists throughout the 1,000 islands that make up the country.
Indulge in Heartbreak in Zagreb Heartbreak Museum Mend a broken heart, or at least know you’re not alone in your heartbreak, with a visit to Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships. Home to keepsakes from failed love affairs that have been donated to the cause, it’s less teddy bears and love letters, and more vials of cried tears, a glass horse and…an axe. There’s even a small cafe where you get pull yourself together after the emotional rollercoaster. Ćirilometodska 2, 10 000 Zagreb
Eat, drink and be merry Croatia’s a foodie haven, with a mix of traditional cuisine with added Hungarian, Italian and Austrian influences. On the coast you’ll find the freshest of fish, risottos and seafood pastas, combined with olives and salads. Further inland, you’ll find stews, and lamb roasted on the spit. There’s freshly brewed strong coffee available in most cafes, while a rakijas (a kind of local grappa) finishes off a night perfectly.
Islands in Croatia. Why? Hvar, Brac or Rab (nudist beach paradise) are just a couple of the island gems off Croatia’s magnificent coastline. The pine tree studded islands are just a short ferry hop from Dubrovnik or Split and offer jaw-dropping beaches, cute little restaurants, a wealth of accommodation options and some brilliant beach bars. No need for a super yacht here, you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy great value holidays in July in stunningly beautiful Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast. Stay at the 3* Bluesun Hotel Borak, Brac Island.
Riviera Maya, Mexico. Why? Heading towards the end of the season, holidays in the Caribbean are at really good prices, so you should be able to bag a bargain. Riviera Maya has those tropical white sandy beaches, sparkling jewel coloured waters, coral reefs, underwater caves, Mayan temples and the most delicious enchiladas. That’s why we love Riviera Maya and why you should too. Stay at the 5* Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa.
Crete, Greece. Why? The biggest of all the Greek Islands is the obvious choice for families, and there’s a reason for that, or should we say many. Elafonisi and Marathi beaches are well protected from the wind, are shallow and have great facilities, so you and the kids can spend all day on the sand. There are lots of historic sites to discover, while water parks and a reptile centre will impress even the most fussy child. Stay at the 4* Star Beach Village Hotel and Waterpark. The weather in Greece makes it an unforgettable addition to our list of July holiday ideas.
California, USA. Why? It’ll be the 4th of July, what better time to visit the states? We reckon taking to the highways of California for a road trip is just the ticket. Rent yourself a convertible, stock up on Beach Boys records and hit the road for guaranteed sunshine along Pacific Coast Highway. Stop at Solvang, a slice of Holland in California, take some pics by Big Sur and finish in Morro Bay by a 23 year old volcano. All that will make for a classic road trip holiday. Stay at the 5* Solage Calistoga (renowned for its spa.)
Kenya. Why? July (and August) is migration season for many animals including the majestic wildebeest. A safari holiday is a natural paradise where you can get up close and personal with wild animals through the sweeping plains, have breakfast with some giraffes, watch out for lions and get a photo taken with an elephant! Stay at the 4* Southern Palms Hotel in Diani Beach.
Dubai, Emirates. Why? If you want guaranteed sunshine, and we mean seriously guaranteed, Dubai is the obvious choice. Temperatures hit an average of 40 degrees in July but if there was ever a place that catered for sun worshippers, this is it. Dubai has masses of great value luxury hotels, incredible views, spas offering the best in beauty and relaxation treatments, sky diving above the Palm Jumeirah, scuba diving inside the mall, dune buggying through the desert or formula one racing at Ferrari World. What more could you ask for? Stay at the 4* Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers.
Paphos, Cyprus. Why? The beautiful beaches and pretty harbour offer the perfect location for sunbathing, swimming and people watching. The resort in July is absolutely bustling, with lots going on from bars and restaurants, classical music festivals, hiking through the countryside, visiting Aphrodite’s Rock, horse riding on the beach or simply lounging all day. Stay at 3* Mayfair Hotel Apartments in Paphos.
Ayia Napa, Cyprus. Why? If you want a completely boozey, dancey, party all night kind of holiday, then the obvious choice is the opposite side of Cyprus, where Ayia Napa still dominates the late night, early morning scene. Stay at the 5* Adamas Beach Hotel or the 3* Anesis Hotel.
For more information on holidays in July or to book a sunshine break, give Purple Travel a call on 0207 993 9228.
Here at Purple Travel we’re nothing if not helpful. Whether it’s finding you the best possible price for your holiday, tips on how to pack your bag, or what to wear on the beach this summer, we’re here to help.
Ladies – are you sick of that unsightly bikini tan? Have you got more lines on your body than Mother Teresa? Guys – does it look like you’ve still got your shorts on even when you’ve already taken them off? Is your behind akin to an Alaskan landscape?
Fret not. We’ve got you covered, or uncovered as the case may be.
Whether you just want to avoid unsightly marks, feel like getting down with your primal self or are a fully-fledged naturalist, the best nudist beaches can be a sandy haven for both your inner and outer self. With this list of our top naturalist beaches, you’ll be in the know as well as in the buff. And if you’re a little shyer, or perhaps travelling with your children – consider this a list of places to stay well away from…
Let’s begin our best nudist beaches with an old favourite:
Since the 1990s Spain’s Vera Playa has developed into an important naturism centre. It’s in the lovely region of Andalusia which mixes ancient cities with amazing beaches and deserts with ski resorts! So you should certainly be able to find a spot, to bare all. The infamous dunes of Maspalomas Beach in Gran Canaria provide plenty of coverage for stripping off and designated sections to get used to the new found freedom.
Next up is the Czech Republic; we hear there are over 50 recognized nudist beaches in the country, so you’ll have plenty of chances to get your kit off.
Leucate Plage in France, situated on the Mediterranean coast, just north of Perpignan is a superb bare beach of fine golden sand and warm waters. Three naturist resorts share the coastline, but the beach is open to all so there’s plenty of space for both first-time skinny-dippers and veteran nudists alike.
Greece: there are plenty of options in Greece, if you fancy whipping off your gear. Super Paradise Beach on the frankly, glorious island of Mykonos has nude friendly policy and in some parts “nudism is actually obligatory.” Another good one is on Skiathos, near Koukounaries on the south-west coast, where you’ll find Banana Beach – the collective name for three sandy coves, worshipped by naturalist bathers. And before you get any ideas, the name refers to the fact the beaches are yellow and curved…
Croatia’s Vrsar is home to Koversada, which is one of the largest nudist resorts in Europe! According to Wikipedia it can take up to 18,500 guests per day. Better bare (!) that in mind when booking…
Looking towards more tropical climates, daring to bare in the Caribbean has never been more inviting. Seven Mile Beach in Negril Jamaica, is a very nude friendly resort, although the beach itself is public property, so topless is ok, but if you’re losing your bottoms you’ll have to pay extra. The Hedonism resort, also in Negril is as the name suggest open to not only nudist sunbathers, but plenty more besides.
Heading down Mexico Way, you’ll find the Hidden Beach Resort, an ‘au naturel club’ which claims to be the only All Inclusive Nudist Resort in the Mexico Caribbean. A top choice for the best nudist beaches in the world… at least we think so.
The Sunshine State of Florida, welcomes nudity with open arms…well almost. Haulover Beach is an official tax supported public nude beach, with excellent facilities and you don’t need to worry about getting hassled in a state of undress.
One word of caution: While it’s true ‘topfree’ is popular in most resorts, it’s not for everyone. Be sure to check with the local authority to be sure!
Stop what you’re doing. We’ve got your summer holiday sorted right now. News giant CNN has just released it’s 100 best beaches… in the world. Nice right? You’re telling us.
Grande Anse Beach, on La Digue Island, Seychelles takes the top spot, thanks to its secluded, hard-to-get to location. But they’ve also included a few that are easy to get to. Here’s our pick of not-quite-out-of-the-way beaches that are realistic options for next summer.
Falassarna Beach, Crete, Greece Crete, one of the most popular resorts from the UK, has Falassarna Beach, with an endless stretch of sand, and the biggest party on the island held on the first Saturday of each month. It’s at #100 on the list of World’s Best Beaches.
Luskentyre Beach, Outer HebridesWho would have thought a Scottish Beach would beat competition from the likes of Greece, the Caribbean and Spain? Well, that’s exactly what’s happened with Luskentyre Beach in the Outer Hebrides. Perfect for hiking and fresh air, you won’t get a tan at #16 but it is very beautiful.
For dedicated clubbers, the Electric Elephant Croatia festival taking place from 11th-15th July sounds like a paradise. As the festival is organised in the idyllic area of Garden Tisno, Croatia, music buffs can soak up the sounds from the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
For five days and five nights like-minded souls from across Europe and beyond unite for the best in summer sunshine and summer tunes. Electric Elephant also offers lots of other events, such as the legendary Argonaughty; sailing out across the glittering deep blue sea by day or simply enjoying nightly after parties at the amazing new outdoor club, Barbarellas.
There are big names playing the festival in 2013, including genre-blending and extended set maestro Mr. Scruff, Kompakt’s Michael Mayer and Tobias Thomas, DJ Prosumer, DJ Nature, Pete Herbert, Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston, Optimo, Ivan Smagghe, Ewan Pearson.
If you’re planning on heading over for the festival, visit Purple Travel first for the best in flights and accommodation for any Croatia Festival. Weekend tickets cost £110.00. For more details head on over to ElectricElephant.co.uk.