We may be the only country to celebrate the fact that a king survived an attempt on his life by lighting bonfires and fireworks, and continue to celebrate this over 400 years later, but we aren’t the only ones to commemorate a historical event using fireworks. Guy Fawkes Night is fast approaching and while you’re probably prepping for a big bonfire and making sure you have plenty of sparklers to go round, let’s take a lot at some fireworks festivals throughout the world which could provide you with inspiration for your next holiday.
Fourth of July Celebrations – U.S.A.
Fourth of July is a holiday that celebrates the founding of America, therefore it’s fitting that some of the best fireworks displays happen in the capital, Washington, D.C. There are also many, many superb displays in New York. Grab a free view of fireworks from Brooklyn Bridge Park, or book yourself on a cruise and see the firworks from the water. Let’s not forget the family firm favourite that is Disney World, Florida. Fourth of July celebrations there capture the true spirit of America, their fireworks celebration is not simply a fireworks display but is hailed as a “concert in the sky”.
Get more bite from your autumn holidays in Cyprus, where temperatures still top 30 degrees thanks to its southerly location. Coral Bay, a huge horseshoe-shaped beach is your best bet. The water will be nicely warmed from the summer sunshine and limestone cliffs ensure it offers a dramatic swim. Fly to Paphos from Gatwick, Luton, Bristol or Manchester.
The kids are back to school, full season is nearly over, now is the time to get some of the best possible deals for cheap September holidays. Enjoy our Purple Travel guide to cheap September holidays and save money on your next break.
1. Paphos, Cyprus: Average temperature in September 31 0C. Cyprus in September is still hot enough to enjoy dreamy days on the beach or swim a lap around the infamous Aphrodite’s Rock.
2. Antalya, Turkey Average temperature in September 32 0C. The ‘gateway to the Turkish Riviera’ offers a wonderful clutch of beaches along the coast and loads of bars, clubs and restaurants as well as the famous Efes beer. Image via @ Burntime
3. Tunis, Tunisia Average temperature in September 32 0C. Enjoy a taste of North Africa, with the souks, medinas, salt lakes and beaches that make Tunis holidays in September unforgettable. Image via @ WomEOS
4. Valletta, Malta Average temperature in September 28 0C. The island’s capital is tiny – only 1km – but there’s plenty to see and do. Stroll down baroque-influenced streets, and wander narrow cobble-lined lanes or hop on the Sliema Ferry and work on your tan on the rocks. Remember, Valletta itself isn’t filled with sandy beaches, but makes a good base for discovering more. Image via @ Britrob
Looking for paradise on earth? We might just have found it. Tucked away between the islands of Malta and Gozo, the natural beauty of Comino is the ideal place for anyone who wants to get-away-from-it-all or a delicious retreat for snorkellers, divers, windsurfers and hikers.
Practically uninhabited, there’s only one hotel on the island, you’ll barely hear a hint of a car and maybe go days without seeing anyone. An ideal secluded getaway if you’re looking for a cheap honeymoon. The highlight without a doubt is the stunning Blue Lagoon shore, which in summer offers breathtaking shimmering aquamarine water and perfect white sand. Indulge in some peace and quiet on the beautiful island of Comino.
Finally climbing its way out of a reputation for being old fashioned, Malta is picking up the pace as a place to party, soak up the sunshine and eat great food. Of course, its relaxed atmosphere is a huge part of its charm, but, where blue rinsers once gathered, now you’re more likely to bump into ravers and all without the inflated prices of other Mediterranean destinations.
Early spring is the best time to hit the capital Valletta. The weather is one of the best bits, found tucked away between Sicily and Libya, right now it’s the perfect time to soak up the sun while shaking off the crowds. It gets very hot in summer, so it’s ideal for an early-in-the-year-break to get that golden glow. Valletta might be the smallest capital city of Europe, but it’s location on the sea, and atmosphere make it the beating heart of Malta. Find out more in our expert Valletta destination guide and make your holiday to Malta one to remember.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s never been a better time to take advantage of great prices on holidays to Greece. Pretty much all of the islands are paradise like and its largest, Crete is ideal for families with children of all ages. Head for Chania, where you’ll find long stretches of beach where the kids can make sandcastles or the older ones can try out their water sports skills. Greeks tend to dote on children and evenings out in the Old Town are fun and very family friendly, with tavernas to dine in and plenty of entertainment options on offer.
Where to stay in Chania: The Althea Village is just a stone’s throw from Agioi Apostoloi, it’s got four pools and plenty of games and playground facilities on site. Throw in the friendly staff and this is the best family choice in Chania.
Croatia is a great, budget friendly alternative to Greece or Spain. There are plenty of budget hotels and the Istrian Riviera in particular is especially nice as it is on the verge of becoming one of the top foodie hotspots in Europe. It’s a bit friendlier on the pocket and just as stunning as the capital Dubrovnik. The whole area is known for its hugely diverse culinary choices, with fresh fish (of course!) Italian influenced pastas, truffles accompanying many dishes, and open air markets that are in almost every town.
Where to stay in Porec: Island Hotel Fortuna. This is an unusual and beautiful hotel close to lots of local restaurants and offering magnificent views as you dine. You can even sail to the centre to dine at the many local restaurants every evening.
Road trips are some of the best way of seeing new countries, and with short flight times to Spain it is well worth it. The proud Catalan people live for the important things in life, like sunshine, beaches nature and tapas. And of course Barcelona is an ultimate city for couples with boutique hotels, Park Guell and the many Gaudi inspired architectural wonders, more tapas bars than you can shake a stick at and even a city beach. It being a city, a little bit of scouting means you can find the cheapest of the cheap. We love the idea of a day trip from a cute hotel hidden away in the natural lush surroundings.
Where to stay: in Catalonia we like the Santa Susana Hotel just a hop, skip and a jump from bustling Barcelona. The Susana is a nice secluded haunt, where you can spend days relaxing, or head for the nightlife of the city.
Into clubbing? Want to bar hop night after night after night? Magaluf is an oldie but a goodie. Boasting one of the biggest clubs in Europe, BCM’s already seen Tulisa passing through this year, so you can imagine who’ll be headlining next summer. It’s a great choice for the last hurrah for Stag or Hen parties too with endless beer crawls, nightclubs, cocktails and fun. Oh did we mention the sun, sea and sand too?
Where to stay: In Magaluf go for the Fiesta Jungla Aparthotel. You’ll find the super clubs on your doorstep and the pools and beach to recover on the morning after the night before.
Malta is a tiny gem of an island in the heart of the Mediterranean, close to the boot of Italy, Sicily. The country is actually an archipelago made up of three islands, so it really has something for everyone. But, if you’re looking for a so-laidback-it’s-horizontal atmosphere at very budget friendly prices then you’ll find it here. The best bit? We think it has to be that Maltese summers are practically guaranteed hot, with loads of sunshine and no rain! On top of that, there’s a fine range of cheap hotels so it easily places on our best value holidays Europe list.
Where to stay: We love the Hotel Bella Vista in Qawra in a great location right on the seafront. You can take it easy at the bar, with a cocktail in hand just listening to the sound of the waves, or head for one of the tasty local eateries before retiring to your comfortable, spacious room.
Winter in the UK is cold, grey and wet. Definitely a good excuse to stay in the office. If you have the luxury to be able to leave, though, these are definitely the best and most popular places to hibernate and escape the winter blues..
An all-time British favorite, Spain offers amazing value for long-term getaways in an environment that caters distinctively to the British. It’s like home away from home – with better weather and cheaper food. Mainland Spain and the Balearics, such as Majorca and Ibiza, have much milder temperatures in the off-season months than the UK and you can even end up spending less than you would if you stayed home! The best part about it is that you’re no further than a 3-hour flight from the British cold – in case you ever want to go back, that is.
Take advantage of the almighty Pound compared to the US Dollar and spend a month or more in the USA’s favorite laid-back state. Florida has something for everyone, whether you’re retired, have a family, or want to party all night…and they speak English! Prices on flights out of the UK are quite moderate (you are crossing the ocean) and once you get there, accommodation is very cheap! You can have a villa or apartment to yourself for peanuts. If you feel adventurous, internal flights are cheap as well – go to New York, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles just for the weekend.
Australians go backpacking through Europe. Europeans go backpacking through Australia. It’s just the thing to do…and they speak English! The Pound will go far in Australia also, although the flights can be quite pricey. If you haven’t been to visit your second-cousins half way around the world, you definitely should. Australia is blessed with warm climate, beautiful beaches, and very friendly people. Australians celebrate their Christmas and New Year on the beach, since the seasons are opposite from the UK. No wonder it’s such a great place for you to hibernate the winter away.
4. Thailand. Indonesia (Bali). India.
Exotic, hot, and CHEAP. Sorry, they don’t speak much English. Spend a month or more immersing yourself in an amazing cultural experience surrounded by breathtaking natural surroundings. Better yet, choose one a year or, even better, one a month! These are developing countries that have a lot to offer. Pleasant and luxurious hospitality is available at prices you would have to see to believe. Jump on the “eat-pray-love” trend and go on a Yoga retreat. So many options, so little time…
Yes, Spain fits in here also, but we reserved this space for all the other wonderful destinations you can take advantage of in the winter months that are just around the corner. Europe has many popular, and cheap, places to get away on a long-term holiday. Among the favorites are Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Croatia. Each of these countries has a distinct character and personality to offer – along with an unforgettable experience.