Tag - travel guides

Purple Hearts: Florence Things To Do
Purple Hearts: What to do in Paphos
Purple Hearts: Hammamet Tunisia
Purple Hearts… Paris for Lovers
Purple Hearts: Montego Bay Jamaica
Purple Hearts: Marrakech Travel Guide
Punta Cana Travel Guide
Purple Hearts: Heraklion Travel Guide
Purple Hearts: Bodrum Holiday Resort

Purple Hearts: Florence Things To Do

It might not be as famous as Italy’s other cities like historic Rome or Pisa with its leaning tower, but we think it’s fair to say Florence is a cultural, artistic and romantic capital all its own. Find out more in our guide to Florence things to do:

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The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a small city filled with architectural marvels, cultural delights, breathtaking masterpieces, stylish Florentines and an atmosphere you could dip a spoon into. The birthplace of the powerful Medici family, Florence became a haven for aristocrats, architects and artists. A who’s who reads something like Botticelli, Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and possibly the greatest of them all Leonardo Da Vinci. That’s quite a lot of name dropping and we’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg.

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Purple Hearts: What to do in Paphos

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

Aphrodites Rock

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’s Rock (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.

Ancient ruins

For adventurers, or just for anyone look for a bit of activity on Paphos holidaysdon’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.

Paphos at night

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.


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.

For cheap Paphos holidays in Cyprus this year visit the Purple Travel website or give us a call on 0207 993 9228.

Purple Hearts: Hammamet Tunisia

Blazing sunshine, a rich blend of Mediterranean style and North African Culture, holidays in Hammamet Tunisia really are where it’s at. It might only be three hours away from the UK, but it feels worlds apart. If you’re a history buff, a beach bunny or a family of four, the Hammamet area of Tunisia is the perfect place to holiday. Spend long lazy days on perfect, white sandy beaches, haggling at the markets or exploring beautiful villages.

An important note to mention is that there is plenty of talk about holidaying in Hammamet Tunisia, particularly for women, but as long as you have your common sense switched on, don’t worry too much about it. Tunisia is more like holidaying in a southern Mediterranean country. If you’re worried, read our post about travelling there or keep an eye on the Foreign Office website.


 Image via @ Wentuq

Tunisia Travel Guide, things to do in Hammamet Tunisia

Meddle at a Medina Definitely visit a medina and try to grab yourself a couple of souvenirs. There’s everything from the tacky to the bizarre and don’t be afraid to haggle, the locals certainly aren’t.

The Great Mosque a fun historical day out, there is architecture to discover and a couple of shops to get your haggling skills started. A tip: remember to bring a cover up if you want to go inside.

Like in the movies Tunisia’s been the location for plenty of Hollywood movies, so a day trip to explore the locations is a must for movie lovers. El Djem was the setting for the digitally remastered theatre in Gladiator. Matmata was the base for Tattooine in the original Star Wars, Chebika was the location for scenes from The English Patient.

For history buffs Visit Carthage. The ancient city was once the centre of a powerful empire, before being destroyed by invaders sometime in the 7th century. Now it’s worth stopping off to discover the museum and Acropolium, baths and ruins.

Another great way is to go on a Legends Tour, where a guide will help you discover thousands of years of history from Tunisia’s past. Visit the amphitheatre and walk the underground passageways where slaves were sent to do battle.

Bring the kids to CarthageLand If the place itself sounds like a handful with little ones, head for the fun park of CarthageLand, not quite an authentic experience, but the kids will love jumping and playing around there.

Beach Hammamet

 Image via @ WOMeos

Hit the beach The Hammamet Sud beach is one of our favourites, but there are plenty to choose from, with paragliding, jet skiing or banana boating.

Visit (or stay in) the new town Yasmine-Hammamet A dedicated tourist resort, this is not the place to go to find a true slice of Tunisian life. It’s filled with hotels and Arabic themed restaurants but the beaches are good for a day out in the sunshine.

See the boss’s villa The area was first built up by Romanian millionaire George Sebastian, who built a house right on the beach. It was once described by Frank Lloyd Wright as the most beautiful house he knew. Well worth a visit around its 14 hectares which feature swimming pool, a solid marble bath, and mock Greek theatre.

Where to stay in Hammamet Tunisia

Hotel Marhala, Matmata, the place itself is well worth a visit, while a stay in this troglodyte cave hotel is a true one off experience.

Caribbean World Venus Beach 3* A couple of minutes from the beach and a quick taxi trip to the centre of Hammamet, the 3* Caribbean World Venus Garden is an excellent all inclusive choice for families. There are plenty of on-site sports facilities, kids entertainment and indoor and outdoor pools.

Hotel Residence La Paix 2* A great choice for anyone watching their budget, the hotel is right in the centre of town and just a couple of minutes to the beach. Close to the airport and two golf courses, it’s a great choice with lots of facilities.

Iberostar Belisaire, 4* Just seconds from a private beach of Yasmine-Hammamet and with two golf courses nearby, the comfortable Iberostar Belisaire is ideal for couples or anyone looking for a relaxing holiday.

Hotel Diar Lemdina 4* Right in the heart of the resort, this is a great choice for couples looking for something extra special. The 4* Hotel Diar Lemdina has its own theme park, spa and swimming pool and is just a couple of metres from the beach.

Laico Hammamet 5* Perfect for Honeymooners, there is an onsite thalassotherapy centre to ease you into your holiday. Found on the beautiful Gulf of Hammamet, you won’t be short of romantic views, buckets of sunshine and each other.

Click here for more about cheap holidays to Tunisia, from (ABTA member) Purple Travel

Hammamet 3

Image via @ Wentuq

Purple Hearts… Paris for Lovers

The city of lovers, the city of light, the city home of the Mona Lisa. Here’s the Purple Travel guide to Paris for Lovers: the ultimate guide on where to stay, what to see and how best to enjoy the French capital. Paris is a city filled with sights and sounds of hundreds of years dedicated to the arts and music, haute cuisine and haute couture and you’d be hard pressed in living there for many years to see it all.

Copyright by Moyan Brenn

For the big stuff, the Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, Notre Dame and the Pantheon (among many others) we suggest the Paris Museum Pass. A pre paid ticket that gets you into over 70 museums across the city. It’s also worth remembering, most museums are closed on either Monday or Tuesday, so check before you go.

With so many sights it can get a little overwhelming, if you want to stay a little more off the beaten track, then here is our top five ‘other’ things to do in Paris.

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Purple Hearts: Montego Bay Jamaica

Not content with being both the capital of the Parish of St. James and Jamaica’s second city, the Bay is also the island’s capital of tourism. From spring-breakers that descend each year for bouts of ritualized raucousness to homing Jamaica’s busiest airport and cruise-ship port – it’s no surprise that Montego Bay Jamaica has a steady stream of visitors. And with so much to see and do, narrowing it all down into one travel guide is no mean feat. We’ve selected our top picks – the best beaches, the most interesting areas, the most delicious places to eat and the most fun things to do. Enjoy…

Montego Bay Jamaica Travel Guide

Beaches in Montego Bay Jamaica

Jamaica is defined by its pristine sandy shores, and some of its best are in ‘MoBay’, as the locals call the area. A particularly renowned spot is Doctor’s Cave Beach, named so because it was once owned by a doctor who donated it to a local swimming club. Although there is a small entrance fee, it’s well worth it, as the quiet sands are perfect relaxing. However the nearby water sports facilities, eateries and golf courses mean the beach suits the more active of travellers equally.

Where to go in Montego Bay

Gloucester Ave
Known as the ‘hip strip’, most of the hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops of Montego Bay line this parade. The strip runs parallel to the beach and boasts some of the best eating options on the island.

Centred on pedestrian Sam Sharpe Sq, Downtown fans out over a grid, its cobbled roads reach competing storefronts, ridden by pushcart peddlers who seem to appear out of thin air on every corner. Downtown is a breath of fresh air from trinket tourist streets, featuring a selection of decaying Georgian buildings and the excellent Museum of St James, which bears poignant testament to the city’s brutal slave history.

Montego Freeport
Aside from being one of Montego Bay’s main shopping ports, Freeport built in the 1960s, consists of five primary berths – two of which are dedicated exclusively for cruise shipping – making it a great photo spot.

Things to do in Montego Bay

Rose Hall Great House
Rose Hall has an incredible past. The Great House was once the home of the notoriously evil Annie Palmer, the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’, who murdered three husbands and terrorised her slaves. Two U.S. entrepreneurs, John and Michele Rollins, restored the building to its original glory, complete with period furnishings and lavish decor. Upon visiting, expect to get your bloog chilled as charming Jamaican hostesses tell tales of the evil Annie. There’s no need to fear though – a walk in the beautiful gardens is certain to restore your equilibrium. And if it doesn’t – head to Annie’s Pub in the dungeon of the Great House for something a little stronger to calm your nerves.

Aquasol Theme Park
Situated on Walter Fletcher beach, Aquasol theme park offers a go-kart track with 10 Honda bumper carts, plenty of water sports (including  kayaking, parasailing, banana boating and glass bottom boating) and  sporting activities such as trampolines, wave runners, beach volleyball and two professional tennis courts. For when you get a bit peckish, The Voyage sports bar and restaurant serves excellent food, in front of 42 big-screen TV’s for sporting events, pool tables, slot machines and many other games.

Dunn River Falls
While it’s entirely possible to fritter all of your time away on the beach, Jamiaca offers so much more than that. Dunn River Falls is a place where the fresh rain water cascades down stone terraces that cut right through the dense Jamaican rainforest and empties out into the Caribbean. Located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, this sublime spectacle puts the beach to shame. Not only can you see the beauty of the falls, but you can also climb up the cascading water from the beach below. From Montego Bay there are several tours available, but the least expensive option is to take one of the shared mini buses that drop you off right in front of the entrance. It takes about an hour and half each way for just a couple of quid.

Where to eat in Montego Bay

Whether you’re looking for authentic Jamaican cuisine, something British or even a curry – Montego Bay has it all in terms of restaurants. There’sThe Houseboat Grill, situated in the calm waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary. This unusual floating restaurant offers a unique setting for an intimate, one of a kind dining experience and some of the freshest fish in Jamaica. Or, Day O Plantation Restaurant, located in the lush tropical hills of Montego Bay City, is surrounded by a colourful tropical garden. Here you can sample the finest in Jamaican and foreign cuisine, all within elegant Jamaican splendour. Or, why not head to the Hip Strip to a local and tourist favourite alike, The Pelican Restaurant (no website). Well- known as one of Montego Bay’s best places to find mouth-watering Jamaican cuisine, their menu features classic Jamaican specialties like steamed red snapper with okras and bammy, ackee and salted codfish with boiled green bananas, yam and fried Johnny cakes.

Book a cheap holiday to Montego Bay Jamaica with Purple Travel (ABTA member) by calling us on our free hotline 0207 993 9228.

Purple Hearts: Marrakech Travel Guide

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.

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Punta Cana Travel Guide

What do Angelina Jolie, Beyonce and the Clintons have in common? They’ve all been spotted paddling in the jewel coloured waters or strolling on the glorious white, sandy beaches of the Dominican Republic. The rich culture of the small Caribbean country makes it one of the most interesting and varied destinations we can think of.

It shares land with the nation of Haiti, making up the island of Hispaniola. It was first inhabited by the Taínos people, before becoming the first European settlement when Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. Since the 70s it’s become a tourist hotspot, for people who want to discover this historic and vibrant country, while we couldn’t mention a Caribbean destination without a little mention of the weather and beaches, which really are to die for.

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Purple Hearts: Heraklion Travel Guide

Purple Hearts Heraklion Travel Guide

It’s hard to pinpoint just one bit of this gorgeous island to focus on. It’s in a great location right in the middle of Africa, Europe and historically, Asia Minor. The weather is heavenly, with hot summers of at least 30 degrees, and waters of up to 27. And it’s even the place where Zeus is said to have grown up, so if it’s good enough for a God… Heraklion is good enough for us!


You may have heard a little something about the beaches in Crete, but they really have to be seen to be believed. Sun-kissed and sandy, the beaches of Crete and Heraklion in particular are quite simply a joy.

For sporty types: Kokkini Hani is a little sandy beach just over 15 miles from Heraklion is a wind-surfer’s dream, it’s known for its north-west winds.

Family Ties: Amoudara has a three mile-long organised beach, with long stretches of warm sand to whip up a sandcastle and crystal waters to take a refreshing dip when tired hands demand it.

Best for beach bars: Ayia Pelagia, the long sandy beach of Malia, is about a half hour drive from Hearklion, but is well worth it for the soft sandy beach and vibrant atmosphere.

Ideal for everything: Matala. In a small valley, you’ll find this beautiful long beach in a quiet bay. Made famous in the ’70s after it was ‘discovered’ by hippies, it’s long been a top choice with visitors. It’s got every activity and amenity you can think of – from umbrellas, water sports and beach volley courts to heaps of bars, restaurants and cafes.


Acqua Plus Water Park: A whopper of a water park at 50 acres, it’s situated just round the corner from Crete Golf Club. It’s surrounded by lush gardens and the slides are hidden between towering palm trees. It’s home to dozens of slides, pools and games, which is more than enough to keep little ones on their toes for a day (or even two!).

Watersports: If you’re not content with the water park, you’ll be able to find plenty more water activities during your time in Heraklion. Thanks to gorgeous, crystal clear waters, snorkelling is a must, while jet-skiing, banana boating, pedaloes, canoeing and windsurfing are growing steadily more popular.

Historical Museum of Crete: A great place to take the kids to learn about the evolution of this wonderful city. On top of that you’ll find paintings by the famous artist El Greco and contemporaries.

Hiking: You know that bit in the middle of your holiday when you’re thinking, ah, really I need to do some exercise, we’ve got just the ticket – a network of hiking trails crosses the region across the mountains. The E4 trailer goes across Mount Psiloritis in the west to Mount Dikti in the east. You’ll find lovely villages, with traditional oil or wine pressing, springs to enjoy fresh water and stunning views.

Festivals and religious celebrations: Crete is filled with celebrations throughout the year. Usually centreing on food and culture, there’s always something going on. One of the most vibrant is the Heraklion Summer Festival, held by the local council to celebrate the rich culture.

Cretan Ethnology Museum: Discover the historic folk life of the island at this cosy museum, home to metalworks, furniture and pottery that demonstrate a culture that dates back thousands of years.


Greece is famous for its music and Crete is no different. Of course you’ve got the busy, super clubs but there are lots of traditional treats in store if you go looking for them.

Get into the folk spirit in Big Fish or Zatheri two well-known clubs in the centre of Heraklion. There you’ll find the best in Cretan music. Grab yourself a tiny glass of the local Raki (it’s strong stuff!) and let your mind drift along to the sounds of the live lyra.

Of course, if you like your nights out a little more action packed, the big clubs in Heraklion like Amnesia, Banana, Status, and Zig Zag offer everything from pumping sound systems, laser light shows and epic parties, to make sure you get the clubbing experience you’re looking for.

Read more: Purple 10 clubs in Ibiza


Heraklion is the largest region of Crete and it has got the most people, but that doesn’t mean it’s bustling with busy bodies constantly. A quick trip outside the city limits and you’ll find yourself surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, charming little villages and ancient history brought to life.

The vast site of Knosses is unmissable. Once the royal family’s home, it was also the admin centre of the region. It’s got a Throne Room, a West Wing, even a Double Axes Room, how Game of Thrones!

Practically next door you’ll find Arhanes, an ancient palace complex which was home to the Turks and was a huge ancient Minoan settlement.

Ta Leonataria: The beloved landmark of ‘The Lions’ is right in the middle of town. It was once the centre of the colony during Venetian times, now the stately marble fountain is one of the city’s favourite spots.

Loggia: In the centre of Heraklion you’ll find the Loggia, one of the best monuments to showcase Crete in Venetian times. It was a place built for noblemen to gather and talk about the important economical and social issues of the time. Now it’s Heraklion Town Hall, but still worth a look to see it in all its architectural wonder.

You should read Purple Hearts… Prague


Everything. Eat it all. Crete is known, even in Greece, as a foodie’s heaven. A perfect time to go is in July when the Wine Festival of Daphnes kicks off. You’ll find lots of interesting foods on offer, from snails cooked with groats (a kind of grain), rabbit with herbs, and lots and lots of pastries, with savoury cheese fillings or dripping in honey. We’re drooling just at the thought.

Loukoulos: is seen as one of the best restaurants in the city, with delicious pastas and meats on offer, while it prides itself on stealing visitors hearts!

Kounies: A taverna offering great views to the sea and delicious meat and fish, it’s hard to beat Kounies for a top notch dinner out.

Vromiko: This isn’t the name of a particular restaurant, but the delicious street food you can pick up anywhere and everywhere.  Getting acquainted with souvlaki, the famous Greek kebabs is a must. For next to nothing you’ll get a belly fill of delicious chicken or pork, wrapped in pita to keep you going.

Ippokambos: A favourite with locals, this place is famous for its seafood. Imagine the freshest fish you can think of, cooked simply but perfectly. This place is usually busy, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

Find cheap holidays to Heraklion now from Purple Travel

Purple Hearts: Bodrum Holiday Resort

We started counting on two hands all of the beautiful, adventurous, beachy and sunny places to go in Turkey and well, we completely ran out of fingers (and toes!) There is so much to do in this historic mish-mash of East and West from spending time on the mesmerising beaches to strolling around thousand year old ruins.

Bodrum, picture courtest of GoTurkey.co.uk

There isn’t a place where this is more evident than in the Bodrum holiday resort, which is home to the perfect mix of old and new, ancient and modern, museums and discos. Here’s the latest in our weekly feature with your full guide to Bodrum and its many amazing avenues for fun.

A city of two halves, Bodrum is the site of the famous ancient city of Halikarnassus, one of the old Seven Wonders of the World – but it was destroyed by earthquakes in the Middle ages. A big sailing town, it’s the place where the Turkish elite go to holiday and draws tonnes of British visitors every year. One half of the city is home to beach clubs, bars and cafes, with miles of beaches to choose from while the old side is home to the fancy yachts that sit at the Marina and exclusive shops that stock expensive foods and drink. So let our handy guide help you find out where to go and what to do.


Family affair: If you’re looking to get away with the kids this summer, Bodrum is top notch. Go for an all inclusive option and your little prince or princess will have the time of their lives. Most of the hotels and apartments have pools especially dedicated to little ones, while boat trips, safari jeep adventures, the many beaches and nearby waterpark will leave youngsters itching to come back for more.

Turkish Hamam from Wikipedia

Into cycling? Join a bunch of other biking fanatics and take the cycling high road from Izmir to Bodrum. The tour is organised by a non profit group and led by expert local guides who will bring you along the sea front and lakes and past ancient sites like Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World.) There’s more info here.

Hamam: Also known as a Turkish bath this is *the* place to go and completely chill out. First thing is a nice sit down in a warmed room, before being scrubbed to within an inch of your life by an attendant who is there just for that reason. If that sounds a little on the groovy side, head for a roll around the nearby mud baths instead.

Nights out: In the immortal words of, erm, Usher, I like to say ‘yeah’ really loudly to the beach clubs and bars of Bodrum. Home of some epic nights out, there are tonnes of clubs to choose from just by the water’s edge. Usually opening around 10, Bodrum’s nightlife is centred on the bars, restaurants and clubs we’re all familiar with in holiday hotspots. It’s actually a nice mix though, of clubs for hardcore party animals and beach bars for a quiet, chilled out drink. Halikarnas is one of our top picks, the outdoor venue is massive, holding around 4,000 people and has some of the best foam parties of the summer.

Haggle: Bodrum’s home to a heap of bazaars open six days a week. There you’ll be able to test your negotiating skills over everything from a needle and thread, to fruit up to beautiful hand painted silk scarves, silver jewellery and leather goods.

Get to the Greek: A quick trip across the water will leave you on the sandy shores of Kos or Rhodes, two of the most famous Greek Islands. These are great for a day trip to spectacular beaches and great lunches.


Camel wrestling: Yes, you did read that right. Every year down the Aegean Turkish Coast, the locals like to indulge in the furious sport of camel wrestling. It’s not that well known amongst us, but it should be! The travelling festival starts with a camel beauty pageant (!!) where the entrants are dolled up with bells and banners before moving on to the main event of fighting it out over a female. There are three ways which a winner can be crowned – making the other scream, fall over or retreat.  It may sound very strange, but there are actually strict rules in place to stop a match and protect the animals and all are specifically trained for the event.


The pools of Pamukkale

The pools of Pamukkale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pamukkale: is a stunning naturally occurring phenomenon that looks like candy floss. Kids and grownups will get a kick out of a day trip to the mountain where you can take a swim in the hot springs. It’s often said, but a trip to the unique surrounds of Pamukkale will be unforgettable.

Bodrum Castle: The historic building is actually the symbol of the whole region. Built by the Knights of St. John, it’s also home to the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Far removed from the idea of stuffy old relics, the museum offers plenty of chances to get your hands dirty and features the remains of underwater excavations from all along the coast. It includes the Uluburun Shipwreck, one of the richest ever discovered.

Blues Cruise: Take one of the so called Blue Voyage trips boat trips that give you the chance to leap into the turquoise salty waters of the Aegean. They usually include a trip to secret coves and secluded beaches as well as anchoring in the middle of the water so you can test your swimming skills. If you get one with lunch cooked on board, it makes the perfect day out to top up your tan with minimal effort.

Ballet boost: If you’re lucky enough to be in town in August, you’ll be able to catch the renowned International Bodrum Ballet Festival. From August 8th, you’ll be able to see some stunning performances in the festival which has been running over 10 years.


Beach shoes

Bodrum beach: the bit that stretches between Bodrum Castle and Halikarnas is great for swimming and has plenty of loungers but is a little on the pebbly side.

Ortakent: Just down the road from Bodrum town, you’ll find Ortakent, a little beachy beauty spot that’s over a mile long. Considered by many as one of the best on the whole peninsula, it is chock-a-block full of facilities (restaurants, beach bars, changing areas) and that means lots of people too!

Bitez: sheltered by a bay, Bitez tends to draw an older crowd thanks to its gorgeous location backed by tangerine orchards, its gently sloping sands and unbelievably clear waters. Hop in one of the handy dolmus buses and you’ll be there in no time.

Tropical Camel Beach: I’ll admit, I didn’t think I’d ever write something that included so many references to camels, but this one is worth it. It’s usually not so crowded, with a lovely long stretch of sand, plenty of umbrellas and loungers and a handful of delicious fish restaurants. The really great news is here you can actually take a camel ride on a separate part of the beach. Now that’ll make a good profile picture.

Turgutreis: Ideal for little chislers, this beach, although not very sandy, is quite shallow so it’s safer for the little one in your life. It’s also home to a lovely new marina, that is perfect for people watching.

Baklava picture from Wikipedia


From doner to mezes and baklava to kunefe, Turkish cooking is an absolute treat. Since you’re by the sea, some of the fantastic fish restaurants are not to be missed either. Of course it varies across the country, but Bodrum has its fair shares of great traditional eateries. Have a go of a Dolma (meaning ‘stuffed thing’) which is generally a mix of meat and veggies wrapped in vine leaves or pastry. There are almost too many types of kebabs to count, from steamed to grilled, with meat or vegetarian, spicy or mild, you can’t leave without at least having sampled a few.

Of course no trip to Turkey is complete without a taste of some powerful Turkish coffee. This stuff will knock your socks off! Well, almost as much as the local spirit Raki, with its aniseed flavour. Also known as Lion Milk, that’ll give you an idea of its effects!!

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