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.
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.
From picture perfect bays, buzzing nightlife and buckets of sunshine, you couldn’t really ask for a more ideal holiday than on the gorgeous island of Cyprus. Of course, there is the infamous all night partying and up-to-no-goodness of Ayia Napa, the heart-racing history of Limassol, or the perfect blissfulness of Protaras. There are some excellent cheap holidays in Cyprus 2014 if you book early and choose the right hotels. Visit our website for more on cheap holidays in Cyprus, but for now, enjoy our guide on what to do in Paphos.
Paphos (and the whole island) is lucky in that it has great weather, almost the whole year round; the winters are mild and good for topping up that tan with a quick break in January, while the summer absolutely sizzles and is made for days running around the beach, dipping your toes in the warm waters, and indulging in some holiday fun. Legend has it that the Goddess of Love herself, Aphrodite was born from the waves of the island’s beaches and there are many sites dedicated to her. Image via @ Son of Groucho
What to do in Paphos
First up, we’ve got to mention the beaches, they are gorgeous. Latchi, Pachyammos, or Pharos Lighthouse Beach are all within reach for a day or two soaking up the sunshine, splashing about and grazing over a long lunch at a waterside taverna. A little drive from the town you can find Aphrodite’sRock (where the lady herself is to have appeared.) A relaxed spot, there’s a pebble beach that you can cool down in, and legend has it, if you swim around the rock three times, you’ll be granted eternal youth. Image of Aphrodite’s Rock by @ Verity Cridland.
Apart from sun, sea and sand the history of the island is plain to see. There is plenty to discover in and around Paphos. It has an Acropolis, (like the one in Athens) Paphos Fort, the Tomb of the Kings or the simply magical Temple of Aphrodite, which dates back to the time of the Myceneans around the 12th century BC. Scattered throughout the area you might even stumble across the remains of theatres, fortresses, tombs and palaces. Image via @ Glen Bowman.
For adventurers, or just for anyone look for a bit of activity on Paphos holidays, don’t miss the Troodos Mountains. There are unspoilt villages scattered throughout, tiny churches and excellent walking or hiking trails. And the views up there? Well, we think it’s hard for words to simply describe it; you have to see if for yourself.
Just a short drive from Paphos centre, you’ll find the Lara Beach Turtle Conservation Station. A serene stretch of sand, where, if you’re lucky you can find leatherback or green turtles scurrying across the sand, and a lovely secluded beach with plenty of greenery. Remember, September is the best time for viewing.
Family fun is plentiful in Paphos from the water sports on offer to the beaches. Paphos Zoo, family cycling adventures, an ostrich farm, amusement filled Luna Parks and (our favourite) the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark are all close by and ensure there’s a lot to keep kids of all ages busy. George’s Fun Bus is a good day out, with “guaranteed fun.” The tour takes in historic ruins, the Adonis Waterfall and Sea Caves. All in a day’s work really!
There are couple of wineries in the area if you’re looking for traditional Cypriot hospitality, a great lunch and, naturally, lashings of wine. The Kolios Winery, Sterna Winery or Tsangarides are all worth visiting. A fountain of knowledge, the owners provide tasting and educational visitors and offer you the chance to imbibe some delicious wine without feeling too guilty.
Partying in Paphos
Although not *quite* as wild as Ayia Napa, Paphos has its own alternative clubbing atmosphere. In the last few years, some great bars, cafes, pubs and clubs have sprung up. The Hollywood Music Bar on Bar Street (!) Aces Cocktail Bar on Ayias Anastasias, the themed Flintstones Bar on Dionisiou 2 Kato and the legendary Harry O’s are all worth checking out. For late night partying, Escape Beach Club, Rainbow Club (this one only opens around 2am) and the dance Robin Hood Club all make for awesome nights out. Image of Paphos at night by @ Son of Groucho.
Where to stay in Paphos
A little luxury never goes astray on holidays, so the 5* Hotel Almyra is a top choice. It is five minutes from the harbour, has free Wi-fi and the choice of four freshwater pools, or a dip in the spa. The 4* Capital Coast Resort and Spa is a top Family choice offering bright family rooms, lots of in-house activities and plenty of fun on the nearby beach. For romance or honeymooners take advantage of the Annabelle Hotel. This 5* overlooks the port and has its own tropical landscaped gardens, swim through caves, and marble features. You name it, they’ve got it. For great value we like the 3* Kissos Hotel on Verenikis Street. It’s in the heart of action in Paphos, slap, bang, between two resorts and amongst beautiful gardens. And it is right next door to a great beach, perfect for completely relaxing.
What to eat in Cyprus
Closely related to Greek and with influences from Turkey, Italy and the Middle East, there’s certainly something to suit everyone from the fresh food, handy snack souvlaki and delicious fresh fish in Paphos. The Letymbou Taverna is a little bit out of town, but we think well worth the trek. The prices are right and the food is hard to beat. If you prefer pub grub the Rugby Arms does great breakfasts, snacks or snacks. For fancy, Ficardo Restaurant on Poseidonos Avenue is top class, with fresh fish, kleftico or moussaka just a sample of what’s on offer.
Welcome to A Night Less Ordinary, our hotel series where we try to bring you the best in weird, wonderful and spectacular hotels from all over the world. Whether you want to sleep in a hamster themed hotel (do you??) or imagine yourself as James Bond, we’ve got something for you. This week, take a pinch of fairy dust as we take a look at Les Balade des Gnomes in Belgium.
The motto of this incredibly cute hotel in Belgium is ‘all that you can imagine is real.’ Found in near the village of Durbury, a 17th century village Les Balade de Gnomes, looks like it came straight from a fairytale – or a Tim Burton film.
With only ten admittedly crazy rooms, this is something really special. Built by architect Mr Noel, each room has been lovingly hand crafted to resemble a fairytale and includes the chance to sleep in a Trojan Horse, a Troll Forest, or a wine room. The Macquarie Island room has a boat bed that appears to float, while others are filled with wooden toadstools, starry skies, or, oddly enough a lunar capsule. Prices start around €115 for a double room.
You’ll find the hotel at Rowe de Remoleu 20, 6941 Heyd, Durbuy, Belgium; tel. +32 472 20 86 23 email@example.com
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley has to be seen to be believed. It’s made up of three shallow lakes– Bogoria, Nakuru and Elmenteita. Each of the alkaline lakes is a a protected area and is home to different ecosystems filled with flowers, fauna, birds and animals. The best bit, (we think!) is the huge influx of flamingos that arrive en masse every year. The lesser flamingos arrive in their millions to breed creating one of the world’s most spectacular displays.
This pink bird loves to eat the blue-green algae found at the lakes and it is virtually alone in its taste for this rich harvest. And it’s not just flamingos, the lakes are home to 13 endangered bird species, and larger animals, like the black rhino, wild dogs, lions and cheetahs who wander the shores of the lake.
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.
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.
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.
Make the most of your holiday with our Marrakech Travel Guide. Everything you should see, do, experience and stay in one handy place! Enjoy the Purple Travel Marrakech Travel Guide.
It might seem like an exotic, bustling place to go and, well, it is! But Marrakech is a lot more than that. The Moroccan city makes an amazing autumn holiday and here’s why: it’s got fantastic weather, great atmosphere and lots of budget friendly options and it’s just over three hours away. You’ll feel like you’re worlds apart after just a couple of hours.
The iconic city of Marrakech dates back to the 11th century. It probably looks a bit familiar since it’s been used as a backdrop for tonnes of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and even an episode of the Apprentice, while it’s become intertwined with The Rolling Stones who fell in love with the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere in the 60s.
Whether it’s a sun soaked beach, and American road trip, or Middle Earth, films have the power to inspire, so why not let them. We’ve put together our top 10 favourite film inspired holidays, so you can live like a movie star, even if it is just for a while. Let us know in comments below if we’re missing any important film inspired holidays!
Hollywood! Does it really need any explanation? Tinseltown is the motion picture capital of the world, and you can barely take a breath before seeing a famous film studio, a Kardashian or a Lohan, or a Star on the Walk of Fame.
New York, New York The city so good they named it twice. NYC was the famous setting (and fifth character) in the Sex and the City series. Carrie was always talking of it like a loved up teenager. There are tonnes of themed tours to choose from where you’ll be taken on a whirlwind visit to some of the show’s most famous settings. There are stops for Cosmos, a visit to the famous Magnolia bakery, Aidan and Steve’s bar Scout and as many designer shops as you can think of.
Tunisia For any Star Wars fans, Tunisia will already be familiar territory. It’s where George Lucas chose to locate Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tattooine. You can visit lots of parts of the set which is still intact, while Luke’s home has been lovingly restored by dedicated fans. Tozeur and the salt lake of Chott el-Jerid are chock-a-block with familiar scenes, while the Jedi battle between Qui-Gon and Darth Maul in Episode I was filmed nearby. The less said about that though, the better!
New Zealand if you’ve ever fancied seeing a real version of Middle Earth then New Zealand is the place to go. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was brought to movie life here by star director Peter Jackson. The countryside is filled with lush, rolling green hills, epic waterfalls, snow capped mountains and stunning sunsets. You’d have to be an orc to want to miss out on that!
Bali The story of a woman finding herself after divorce resonated with fans all over the world in Eat Pray Love and it’s Bali setting could be the reason why. Julia Roberts playing Liz Gilbert’s epic journey finishes in the exotic and glorious surrounds of Bali really struck a chord with audiences.. Part meditation, part healing, part sun holiday, Bali is a serious escape from the norm. It also helps that the star gets it on with Javier Bardem’s gorgeous Filipe.
Forks, Washington State One for the twi-hards. Forks is where Bella and Edward first met and fell in love. If that means nothing to you, then a Twilight themed holiday won’t be for you. But the town is certainly making the most of its new found fame with DIY guides and unofficial tours. Check out a 1956 chevy, painted red and referred to as Bella’s truck.
Benidorm, Spain If you like the sun, sea and shenanigans of the tv show Benidorm, then you’ll love heading to the place itself to indulge in a little of the same. It’s the quintessential Brits abroad type of place, where holidaymakers can unwind on the lovely beaches and in the lively bars of the popular Spanish city.
Florida Could Orlando be the ULTIMATE kids movie destination? We, of course mean kids of all ages. From the Magic Kingdom to the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter and everything in between, you’ll never be sort of things to do. And while, they might not be actual shooting locations, it’s a great choice for re-enacting your favourite Hogwarts moments.
St Vincent/the Grenadines These Caribbean islands are about as idyllic as you’ll get, with perfect white sandy powder soft beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and the odd palm tree to shade under. Perfect for pirates to find hidden treasure and Jack Sparrow to get deserted with Keira Knightley. Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here and, what with all that gorgeous tropical scenery and sunshine, we can only imagine what a tough shoot it must have been!
Skopelos, Greece get your Abba tunes out, slip into some shorts and sandals and head for Skopelos. The gorgeous Greek island was the luscious backdrop to fun Meryl Streep led Mamma Mia. We can just imagine lazily strolling down cobbled streets, past whitewashed houses humming Voulez Vous to ourselves…
Bonus point! Las Vegas to go relive the movie The Hangover, but remember… what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
Plan your holiday to perfect with our top 10 holidays for history buffs. From the Acropolis of Athens to the Mayan stronghold of Tulum in Mexico, we’ve got 10 of the best history holidays that will make your jaw drop.
Athens, Greece Almost anywhere you visit in Athens you’ll find precious ruins that date back thousands of years. The iconic Acropolis stands tall baking in the sunshine, while you can relive history at the ancient Greek and Roman markets, visit the colossal ruin of the Temple of Zeus, or take a walk around the Theatre of Dionysus.
Nile Valley, Egypt Actually, if you travel anywhere in Egypt, you’re likely to bump into an ancient and quite frankly, awe inspiring site. Some of our favourites are the ancient Giza Pyramids (how did they do that!?), Cairo’s Museum, where you’ll find the treasures of Tutankhamen and up the Nile River, the Luxor Temple and the Valley of the Kings.
Machu Picchu, Peru People wait a lifetime to visit the majestic ruins of the lost ‘city of the Incas’. Built around 1400, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Rome, Italy Once the most powerful city in history, Rome is still saturated with historical and cultural sites that will remind you of times gone by. The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon will transport you back in time, while the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain should be on your ‘must-see’ list. No wonder it’s made our top 10 list of holidays for history buffs.
Tulum, Mexico A seat of ancient Mayan civilisation, Tulum actually means ‘wall’ and is one of very few ancient sites that remains right on the sea. Dating back to 564 BC, you’ll find the Castillo, with breathtaking views of the ocean, the Temple of the Descending God and a selection of Cenotes (natural spring water pits that were used as a place of sacrifice.)
Prague, Czech Republic Once the capital of Bohemia, Prague’s ghostly atmosphere and historic streets mean there is a tonne to keep you going once you arrive. From the imposing Castle that overlooks the city to the Charles Bridge, it’s a haven for budding photographers. For occult hunters, most other sites pale in comparison to the Selec Ossuary. The Bone Church was built around the 1500s from the bones of thousands of people. Not for the fainthearted.
Florence, Italy Florence is a city dripping with art history, from the famous Cathedral, featuring a Brunelleschi designed dome, to the world famous Uffizi Gallery, showcasing works by Botticelli, Michelangelo and Raffaello, it’s a historian’s dream destination.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic The capital is a model for city and town planners across the world. Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 and Santo Domingo became the site of the very first cathedral, university and hospital in the Americas, all laid out in a familiar grid pattern. It’s a wonderful place to combine sun holiday with historic wonder.
Vienna, Austria Vienna could easily be taken for one of the classical music capitals of the world. Combined with its history of royalty and the strategic positioning, it offers the State Opera House, Imperial Palace and Schonbrunn Palace, gorgeous!
Fez, Morocco The medieval capital of Morocco, Fez is one of the best preserved old cities you’ll find. The ancient Medina is home to excellent examples of ancient Islamic architecture, while the city’s car free policy means you’ll truly feel like you’ve travelled back in time.