Tag - Tunisia

Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015
Purple Tips: Tunisia – The ideal destination for winter sun
Purple 10: December festivals around the globe
Purple 10 Where’s Hot in September
Purple Hearts: Hammamet Tunisia
Purple 10: January Holidays
Is it safe to travel to Tunisia?
Purple Tips: Family Holidays Abroad

Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015

Looking ahead for next year’s summer holiday? If you’re after something more authentic but still have a budget to stick to then Purple Travel have picked the best cheap holidays in emerging and undiscovered destinations that won’t hurt your bank balance.

Essaouira, Morocco

Cheap_holidays_Essaouira_Purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Fabio Gismondi

With many tourists flocking to visit the souks of Marrakech or the budget-friendly holiday destination of Agadir towards the north, there lies a little secret a bit more south of this and it’s called Essaouira and really comes at no extra cost either. We can tell you that it is truly one of the most beautiful Atlantic coastal towns that is renowned for being more laid-back than its more popular neighbours. The best time to visit is in Spring and Autumn, before and after Ramadan. Film lovers will be especially pleased to hear that Essaouira has been the setting of Orson Welles’ Othello and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. While outdoor enthusiasts will love the choice of low cost activities and water sports available. Due to a renewed interest in Morocco, chic boutiques and quirky riads have been popping up all over the place, making Essaouira the new cheap and chic place to stay. It is also close to Marrakech for those who want to combine a beach holiday and a city break. Those interested in world music will be pleased to hear that Essaouira plays host to two music festivals. The Essaouira Alizes Festival in April which showcases classic and contemporary Moroccan music and the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June where local and international artists come together for dancing, music and culture.

Mahdia, Tunisia

cheap_holidays_mahdia_purpletravel.co.uk Image via @ Christopher Rose

Taking a cue from its North African neighbour, Tunisia has new offerings for tourists who want simple and charming experiences and friendly prices. Since Tunisia is more of a newcomer on the block than Morocco it is actually more affordable. Mahdia just south of the busy resort of Monastir, is a coastal city associated with the fishing silk weaving and olive industries. It is certainly one of Tunisia’s most picturesque cities and has many historic attractions such as the ruins of the ancient city of Punic, the Fatimid port, the first Fatimid mosque (dating back to the 10th century) and an Ottoman port (16th century). If you book a cheap holiday to Tunisia it means you have more cash to splash on activities such as diving and Mahdia surely is Tunisia’s top diving site and wreck diving in particular. Holidays in Mahdia are great for honeymooners and great for first-time visitors to Tunisia who will get a taste of this exotic country without being overwhelmed.

Yalikavak, Turkey

cheap_holidays_Yalkiavak_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @ Sue Kellerman

Yalikavak is a harbourside town with an ultra-modern marina yet has still managed to maintain a small and sleepy exterior – so far. I’ts located on the Bodrum peninsula not too far from the bigger resort of Bodrum itself. Visitors looking for cheap holidays to Turkey will be more than pleased by Yalikavak’s offerings. The small sandy beaches are perfect for spending days in the sun and so far many beaches remain uncrowded, perfect for families. For extra beauty, lay on the beach until sunset and see the sun drop behind the horizon. The market at Yalikavak draws people from all over the Bodrum peninsula, seeking out shopping bargains on retail items but also on fresh produce but to get a bargain be prepared to haggle.


cheap_holidays_montenegro_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Amira_a

Taking a spot all of its own is the country of Montenegro, this is perhaps definitely the most off the beaten track destination in our list. Budva, is the poster child of tourism here and there’s good reason why. Explore the atmospheric old town before parking yourself down on one of the 35 beaches. By night Budva transforms itself with numerous beachside bars so if you’re in for a night on the tiles then Budva is the place to be and really may not be suitable for families. Elsewhere along the Riviera and in other resorts Montenegro has remained quieter and more atmospheric. For example the Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and Kotor itself is an ancient fortified town with UNESCO World Heritage status. Further down the coast from Budva is the Montenegrin south coast where you’ll find Ulcinj, a predominantly ethnically Albanian town with a splendid location, for exploring the south of the country.

The Undiscovered Algarve

cheap_holidays_olhao_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Nicola Holtkamp

Tourists have been visiting the Algarve for years and years but away from the busy airport, golf resorts, and really cheap package deals lies something more authentic. Olhao, a small fishing village is a perfect example of the cultural mix that can be found in Southern Portugal thanks to the maritime hisotry and Moorish occupation. Olhao is known for its square-shaped whitewashed houses with Moorish features. In the late 18th century, the town was flourishing and so local people started to build new houses in a Moorish style. Another draw of Olhao is the chance to take a watertaxi to peaceful offshore beaches such as Armona, Farol and Culatra. Away from the coast lies Monchique, a forested market town known for its production of aguardiente, a potent brandy and the perfect base to explore the Algarve’s lesser known inland beauty.


Purple Tips: Tunisia – The ideal destination for winter sun

Tunisia-holidays-Purple-TravelImage via @Dennis Jarvis

Tunisia is perfect for those who want to top up their tan during winter and enjoy a winter sun break with friends or family. There are so many reasons to visit exotic Tunisia from the souks, the history, the gorgeous coastline, Tunisia will spoil you with dramatic landscapes and endless opportunities for winter sun and all that at only 3 hours away from the UK.


History – For family days out, there is so much history to see, why not head to Carthage or the amphitheater at El Djem.

Local markets – There are many local markets in Tunisia also known as souks. You can try out your bargaining skills by haggling with local vendors and take back some great spices and other souvenirs.

Beaches – There are miles upon miles of breathtaking coastline in Tunisia


Spa therapy – Tunisia is a little gem for spa treatments, so why not treat yourself on holiday and at the fraction of the cost that you would get it at home.

Desert Safari – How many times in your life can you say you’ve been on a desert safari…the landscapes in the desert are so surreal you might have to pinch yourself.

Golf – There are great golf courses, especially at Port El Kantoui with a PGA approved, 36 hole course.

Resort Guides:

Djerba – One of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, Djerba offers the perfect mix of beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a great atmosphere the minute you arrive.

Sousse – Does Sousse look a little familiar? It’s been used as a movie location for years. Think Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Discover for yourself the fine sandy beaches that back onto olive groves. Cool down from the warm sunshine with a dip in the crystal clear water or pick up a bargain in the vibrant souks. Don’t forget to haggle, it’s expected! 

Port el kantoui –  Perfect for a golfing getaway, Port El Kantaoui offers a PGA approved 36 hole course, that should keep you busy for a few days. When you’re not working on getting a hole in one, why not stroll along the dazzling harbour, admire the luxury yachts, or pick up a couple of bargains in the vibrant markets.

Hammamet – A popular destination for a cheap holiday, Hammamet sun holidays offer plenty for families, couples or solo travel. Relax on the beautiful beaches of Tunisia or try out a new sport in the shape of diving or water skiing. If that sounds like too much of a challenge, you could try some gentle celeb spotting; politicians, musicians and actors have been known to holiday in Hammamet.

Mahdia – When you arrive in Mahdia the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful expanse of beach and you’ll know you’ve arrived on holiday! There’s been plenty of investment over the last few years, building a fantastic resort with lots of activities for all ages. Whether you’re looking to relax in luxury in the sunshine or you want to take the hassle out of a holiday with an all inclusive Mahdia has all kinds of boarding options. 

Tunisia is a great choice for an adventurous family or friends, what do you think? Have you ever been to Tunisia or have you been wanting to go?  Let us know in the comments below!

Purple 10: December festivals around the globe


Image via @ ReneS

1. National Finals Rodeo

Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, USA
When: First week of December
People might say that Las Vegas is a festival itself, as it’s a place where the lights never go out. However, if you opt for a December trip to Las Vegas, you’ ll have the chance  to personally experience the 10-day National Finals Rodeo, a.k.a. Rodeo Superbowl. The festival involves, the top 15 rodeo cowboys who compete each other, claiming prizes up to $5.5 million!

burning the devil

Image via @ globeseeker

2. Quema del Diablo (Burning the Devil)

Where: Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala
When: December 7th
According to local tradition the Devil lurks in house corners, under every bed and in the garbage bins. Therefore, on 7th December of every year the locals clean their houses and streets, setting the garbage on fire at 6 o’clock in the evening. Usually, on top of the burning pile they also throw a figure of the Devil. Certainly an unusual addition to our list of December festivals.


Image via @ Box of Badgers

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Purple 10 Where’s Hot in September

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

Tunisia4. 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

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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 10: January Holidays

Did you know? January is actually one of the best months to book a holiday. Not only is the weather particularly miserable in the UK, but January is also the month in which you can find the best deals throughout the travel industry. While other people are tightening their belts, those who have saved some of their Christmas cash flow can enjoy the year’s best holiday bargains. Let Purple Travel aid your decision with out round-up of 10 best January holidays

For a little bit of sunshine…

1) Tenerife – near-guaranteed sunshine that’s just 4 hours away from the UK.

2) Southern Tunisia – avoid Tunis (which can be chilly at this time) and head to southern Tunisia for a mid-haul getaway that’ll leave you bronzed and refreshed.

3) Mexico – from boutique hotels to haciendas, there are some gorgeous places to stay in Mexico’s Caribbean coast. And with perfect January temperatures, there’s plenty of leeway for exploring ancient sites such as Chichen Itza.

4) Gambia – a charming, low-cost destination with an improved hotel scene.

5) Cape Verde – great value for money and easily accessible, Cape Verde islands are sure to win you over with their diversity and natural beauty.

Or for a cool wintery break…

6) Northern Lights – discover one of the earth’s natural wonders and our top choice for 2013 travel. Read our guide to the best Northern Lights trips here.

7) Sweden – With its winter wonderland scenes, plenty of things to do and see and even an ice hotel, Sweden is an ideal destination for January travel.

8) New York – while the sales are on, head to the world’s best shopping destination to pick up a bargain, grab a bagel or two and enjoy the last of the Christmas buzz.

9) Bulgaria – named the cheapest ski destination, Bulgaria is a great choice for those looking for good value without comprising on the slopes.

10) Italy – stylish skiing doesn’t get much better than in Italy. In January, you may find excellent deals on holidays to Italy’s luxury resorts.

Is it safe to travel to Tunisia?

Figuring out whether it is safe to travel to a country is not always easy, particularly if like Tunisia, that country has been deemed unsafe due to its recent political upheaval. When there is a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy in New York, the situation is far more obvious to would-be travellers, but political revolution obscures the scene, making it difficult to determine just how dangerous your holiday may be. Questions ensue as to how widespread the political activity is, whether armed activity is resulting in attacks on people and what economical issues you may face on arrival.

In regards to Tunisia, most are continuing with their travel plans, while others are electing to postpone and apply their funds to a future date. It is only a small minority who are cancelling outright and insisting on refunds. Even during the revolution of January 2011, only about ten per cent of tourists left Tunisia. All others stayed as the riots did not affect the resorts. Today, Tunisia is actually one of the safest countries to visit; it’s poor, but crime is actually very low.

The U.S. embassy did issue a ‘warning,’ telling people not to visit Tunisia. The border with Libya is open, but the security situation remains tense. There  are regular clashes between groups of informal economy and black market traders and the authorities in towns close to the border, meaning border crossing points are occasionally closed without notice. The physical structure of the country was also badly damaged during the revolt and in order to rebuild, they have minimised staff that handles routine consular matters and day to day travellers’ issues, such as lost passports, medical inquiries etc. For those who are travelling independently and may need these services, this is not the time to go.

On the other hand, the violence, strikes and demonstrations in Tunisia have now died down. And even when they do take place, they are announced for a certain time and place to attract the maximum number of demonstrators. Avoiding these places is a sensible step of caution. Jerry Sorkin from TunisUSA told Conde Naste Traveller, “As for as Tunisia now, we would never encourage people to travel here if we did not feel we had means of providing security precautions. We have not cancelled any programs.”

At  PurpleTravel.co.uk, we advise  our customers that if they are travelling to Tunisia, to make certain that they are fully covered by their travel insurance. While many insurance policies do not cover natural disasters or political events, a growing number DO have plans that provide an option to cancel. Although this option may be more costly, essentially you are paying for your peace of mind, making the initial cost a well-spent bargain. We also strongly recommend that you avoid all forms of demonstration – if you become aware of any nearby violence, you should leave the area immediately and keep yourself informed of developments by checking the news, observing the instructions given by the security authorities and/or your tour operator and regularly check this advice. You should always carry a copy of your passport, or other form of photo ID, as proof of your nationality and identity.

Bear in mind also that tourism is an important revenue source for Tunisia, representing seven per cent of GNP. Due to this, security for tourists has always been very high on the government’s agenda.


Book your safe holiday to Tunisia with PurpleTravel.co.uk here. Or call 02079939228.

Purple Tips: Family Holidays Abroad

Whether you’re an old pro at travelling with children, or this is your first trip with a new baby, it can be a daunting experience. How to keep them busy for two weeks and not go stir crazy yourself, will the food be alright, will there be other kids to play with and will the facilities be up to scratch? If you haven’t really thought it through and would like some ideas, then stay tuned for some top picks for family holidays abroad.

Young cheetahs in Masai Mara

Young cheetahs in Masai Mara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let your little ones take a walk on the wild side in Kenya. Imagine introducing your young one to the stunning scenery of Africa, seeing gazelles rave across the planes, or elephants feeding in their natural habitat. The Masai Mara is probably the best known safari destination and there you could get the chance to see the so called big five: lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards. Not for the faint hearted, it’s all early starts, and a little bit of roughing it, so maybe it’s best to wait ‘til your budding zoo keepers are a little older before heading to Kenya.

Tunisia’s well known for practically year round sunshine, so if you’re after a couple of hours on the beach every day, dig out your bucket and spade and get going. Hammamet is a great choice, because there are a tonne of kid friendly activities, from clubs, babysitters and crèches. Older children will love the food, evenings of football training, singing, dancing and making plenty of new friends.  If you’re the nerdy type of mum or dad, why not take a day trip to the Sahara desert, where you can check out the sets of some of the Star Wars films among others. Well, if it works for us…!

The stunning island of Antigua in the Caribbean might be a bit of a trek, but it’s so worth it. Antigua prides itself on being home to enough beautiful beaches that you could visit a different one every day of the year. It’s incredibly low key and relaxed, and is a perfect place to spend some quality time together. If you fancy a bit of activity, Half Moon Bay is fab for snorkelling, while Stingray City is an aquarium with a difference. Children are encouraged to stick their hands in the tanks and get up, close and personal with the tropical fish. It might not be a top choice for mum and dad, but we reckon youngsters will love it.

Praia da Galé; Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

Praia da Galé; Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portugal is surely one of the most family friendly holiday hot spots around. From the historic capital Lisbon, to the long stretches of sand on the islands of Madeira or the Azores Archipelago, there’s something to impress even the pickiest child. We think the old reliable Algarve is a top choice. There are water slide parks to beat the band, top notch sandy beaches to spend lazy days and a great range of family friendly accommodation options. Albufeira is a top pick for its lovely Old Town, with views right out across the ocean, a beautiful, sandy beach and great atmosphere.

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