It’s official, Trip Advisor the world renowned travel site has awarded a host of awards for best destinations 2014. The annual Traveller’s Choice Awards includes the vast city of Istanbul in Turkey which tops the poll, with Rome, London and Beijing following close behind. Each city or place earned its review through the reviews and opinions of visitors the site. “If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travelers’ Choice Destinations,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Our global travelers are the tastemakers for uncovering the best places to visit around the world.” The awards in its 6th year picks out 500 of the absolute best places to visit in the world.
But what are these places really like? I’ve asked some of the Purple Travel family to share their thoughts on the top destinations 2014. Some they loved and some… well, you’ll see for yourself. We’d love to hear what you think, good or bad about the official list!
1. Istanbul, TurkeyFantastic city full of sights and culture. The people are so friendly and eager to help. This place has it all. – Gary I think the best of the best way to taste the Turkish food, and experience the Turkish mentality, is to eat this giant hot dog with fish and cabbage at the Bosphorus coast on the Asian part of Istanbul. There are cooks on floating boats, preparing the grilled fish, that are then placed on these huge bagel and stuffed that with cabbage, fried potatoes and mustard. You cannot imagine! Also don’t miss the old guy outside the Blue Mosque who sells bagels and gives you for free La vache qui rit portion! – Soso
2. Rome, ItalyWhat can someone say about Rome, about the Italians, their food and their language? I think my best moments in Rome were when we were walking around from the Piazza di Spagna, to the Colosseum, and the Fontana di Trevi. Suggested hotels-the newly built Caravel hotel (just two stops by bus from Piazza di Spagna) with nice big rooms and a lovely receptionist and Hotel Trevi, with its traditional style in the very centre of the city!!! loved them both, love Rome! – Soso
3. London, EnglandMassive dump, ok for day trips but get out before it chews you up. – Gary
Treat him or her to a fantastic Valentine’s holiday with Purple Travel. We’ve got 10 of Europe’s most romantic cities for all types of couples. If It’s history that you’re mad about, incredible hotel rooms that you won’t leave for days on end or a sunshine getaway where you can relax hand in hand on a secluded beach, you’ll love our list of Europe’s most romantic cities. We threw the question out on Google + and Facebook and got some great responses. As always, anything we’ve missed, let us know in comment and already decided where you want to go on your next city break? Call Purple Travel on 02079939228 for low cost flights and hotels Europe’s Most Romantic Cities…
#1 Dazzlingly beautiful Italy’s Liguria Coast is filled with cost tucked-away romantic guesthouses and hotels. Sometimes known as the Bay of fairy tales the ancient ruins and old castles provide a stunning backdrop to sunset dinners on a terrace and balmy evenings walking hand in hand. Choose from ocean view hotels with high ceilings and don’t forget to visit the cocktail bars.
#2 Paris is perfect for traditional romantics. An obvious choice but that’s because it’s so good! We’re talking freshly baked croissants for breakfast in bread, the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower and long meals accompanied by the best red wine. Paris is filled with amazing hotels so you can treat him or her to a Valentine’s they’ll never forget.
#3 Just a couple of hours away, Rome is a hot choice for history and art lovers for couples who want to discover the Sistine Chapel or the Coliseum together. Stay in the The wide streets and incredible selection of restaurants make this one of Europe’s most romantic cities.
#4 It might not be the first city that pops into your head, but Copenhagen in Denmark makes a gorgeous romantic weekend away. The city renowned for its links to fairy tale writer Hans Chrsitan Andersen is a jusst 90 minutes from the UK. Stop for hot chocolates and a heart shaped cake in one of the city’s famous cafes after a visit to the Winter Garden, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. In the evening cinema is one of the most popular things to do in Copenhagen and it’s easy to see why. Cinemas like the Empire and Falkoner have specially made seats just for two. Copenhagen image via @ Visit Denmark
#5 One of the most popular cities in Europe right now the Portuguese capital has it all. Lively Lisbon is all cobblestone streets, cosy cafes and bars and incredible hotels. All of those overlooked by an ancient castle. It’s hard to top Lisbon for most romantic cities. Lisbon image via @ Luca Sartoni
#6 The magical kingdoms in Game of Thrones might be familiar when you set foot in Dubrovnik. The hazy sun soaked pottery tiled roofs and shiny flagstoned streets are not only beautiful, but world-famous now too thanks to the filming of the George RR Martin books. The city’s old walls doubles as Kings Landing and the view from the top shows off Blackwater Bay. Dubrovnik is top of the romance charts as far as we are concerned. Dubrovnik via @ Branimal!
#7 Venice. A long established romantic hot spot, Barbara Hopley on our Google + page shared her thoughts about her favourite romantic city in Europe: “Venice definitely, a nice dinner then a Gondola ride – perfect! Highly recommend, I love Venice.”
#8 A stunningly well-preserved city, Prague is made for walking around hand in hand with the one you love. A sea of spires and statues awaits you by day, while at night, the famous Prague nightlife is sure to impress any party-loving couple. Sunset dinner in Prague via @ MadebyMark
#9 Holidays in Marrakech are made up of a couple of essentials: discovering the sights and sounds of the Medina, testing out your shisha smoking skills, eating incredible local food and maybe a bit of sunbathing thrown in. Marrakech couples city breaks are all about adventure and who better to share that with than your other half.
#10 Santorini has all the elements for the perfect couple’s holiday. Those incredible sunsets, the winding white washed streets where it feels like it’s just the two of you alone in the world. Book a room with a sea view and your own private swimming pool, just don’t blame us if you never want to leave.
Have something special in mind for Valentine’s Day? Call the expert travel team at Purple Travel on 02079939228 and surprise the one you love this year.
We’ve put together our list of the best April holidays to help you find the ultimate city break, some slightly off-season sunshine or where the kids will have the most fun on a midterm break holiday, and remember, this year Easter Sunday falls on April 20th, so book early to avoid missing out. If you have any other April Holidays ideas we would love to hear about them in the comments below. Enjoy!
Sunshine in springtime The Aegean coast of Turkey is usually pretty reliable for weather in April. Try Bodrum, or Kusadasi for days lazing in the gentle sunshine and sightseeing. Plus since it’s early in the season, it won’t be too crowded and there are plenty of cheap deals. Average temperatures: 17°
No rain in Spain The beautiful coastline of Costa de la Luz in Spain, is a top choice for a little early sunbathing, while the always reliable Canary Islands usually hit the early 20s and offer 10 hours of sunshine per day. If you want really hot in April head for Marrakech, one of the liveliest and most fun cities in Morocco, where temperatures usually hit around 26° in April.
Cities of Culture Umea in Sweden and Riga in Latvia are the chosen European capitals of culture for 2014. Umea in Sweden describes itself as a ‘window of Europe’, with a programme dedicated to co-creation, so expect a range of art, culture and music projects throughout the city. While the Latvian capital will host events like a human chain symbolically transferring books from the old city library to the Palace of Light and the Latvian National Operas performances of the Ring Cycle.
Cherry Blossom ceiling The Japanese city of Tokyo will be in the middle of its cherry blossom season so get moving for unforgettable April holidays. The whole city is filled with blooms which are celebrated with hanami, or parties in the park, which honour the flowers. April temperatures in Tokyo can rise to about 20°.
A night less ordinary Book a night in the Lego Hotel in Legoland California. On April 5th the hotel will celebrate its first birthday so there’ll be plenty of brick themed fun! As well as that it’s the perfect time to head for a holiday in sunny California, USA and make the most of a night hotel that is a serious treat for your inner geek. Average temperatures are around 17°.
Nothing but Sunshine For 2014 April sunshine holidays, we like Mexico. Ok, so the Caribbean is always reliable, but you can’t go wrong with an average of 27° everyday. In the area of Riviera Maya, you can take your pick of resorts with white sandy beaches, all inclusive hotels and brilliant sunshine. Or visit somegreat local scenery like the famous cenotes or the mysterious Mayan stronghold of Chichen Itza. What more could you ask for?
Hit the festival circuit April is more or less the start of music festival season – but as Easter falls in April this year, there are many cultural and traditional festivals that are well worth consider for April holidays. In Greece in April the weather is already mild and sunny and as Easter is one of the biggest dates in the calendar it’s the perfect time to visit. Crete is reliable for temperatures around 20°. Or you could try to visit a village – where whole families will work to hand-roast a whole lamb or kid-goat over an open fire. On the island off Chios a fireworks fight happens between rival churches, while Patmos is filled with devotees.
Go beyond the usual Sri Lanka is topping many of the must-see places to go in 2014 probably thanks to British Airways’ launch of regular flights between Gatwick and Colombo. The island country is, well, exquisite. The perfect white beaches, the stunning natural scenery, the thrilling atmosphere. All the ingredients you need for an amazing April getaway. The average temperature in Sri Lanka in April is around 25°.
Get Glamping glamour and camping are probably not words you expect to go together but that’s all set to change thanks to the gentle roughing it experience in Portugal. We don’t mean old tents with leaky roofs, this Glamping lark is state of the art, lounging balconies, luxury tubs and breakfast in a four poster bed. The average temperatures for the Algarve in April is 17°.
Stag and Hen If the tough job of organising a stag do or hen party in April has fallen to you, never fear for Purple Travel is here! Our dedicated team has been finding out the best and busiest destinations at any time of year for you and your hens or stags to have as messy a night out as you want. We like Benidorm (well, any time of year!) and Albufeira in Portugal. Just remember, what happens on tour stays on tour.
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.