Greece Travel Tips

If you are looking for the best place to take a summer holiday this year then look no further than Greece! Greece Holidays are always popular amongst holiday makers from the UK because you are almost always guaranteed to have great weather, good food and meet very friendly locals. It’s only a few hours away from the UK as well, so you know that you won’t have to be sitting on a place for a day or transiting through some random airport to make it to your final destination. Due to it’s close proximity to the UK, it is an ideal location for families that want a stress free holiday.

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It’s easy to choose Greece as your holiday destination, once you do you need to be prepared. I don’t think there is every too much preparation for a holiday, so here are my essential Greece holiday tips. If you have been there yourself then don’t forget to add your tips below this article in the comment section:

Book all your travel in advance

If you are planning to take day trips or are going to be visiting a part of Greece that is far from the airport you arrive in then you need to book all of this travel in advance. This travel can either be in trains, planes or ferries. If you have gone through an agent to book your holiday then they should be able to help you book everything with ease. I know we hear a lot about the Greek economy slowing down but I can assure you that all domestic transport will be very busy at the weekends. You will also get a discount if you book in advance, perfect!

Pack the right gear

The clothes you bring are important, so make sure that you don’t pack a load of unnecessary clothing. If you are planning on a beach holiday then you don’t need to pack your whole wardrobe, a lot of light clothing is essential. Remember that even though you are on holiday you can’t walk around looking like you have just got out of bed, so if you want to visit some of the higher class establishments make sure that you have a decent pair of shoes and something nice to throw on.

Get ready for the heat

I know that the it is difficult to judge the weather, but if you are not going to be in Greece around September time then expect it to get very hot indeed. If you go there for the summertime it is going to get hot! SO make sure that you have sunglasses, a hat and some decent sun lotion. We all love the sun but we need to remember how much damage it can do to us if we are not careful.

Turkey: A food lover’s paradise

Of all the countries that I have been lucky enough to visit on my travels, I can safely tell you that the food I had in Turkey is amongst some of the best in the world. It just never once let me down when I was on holiday there, you can get the most amazing kebabs on pretty mush every street corner or restaurant that you visit. The best thing is that it is cheap and so tasty! When travelling one of the biggest things that you have to get used to is the food, in Turkey it takes no time at all to adapt to the local cuisine. I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a great kebab? It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian because the flavours are so good in all of the dishes that taking away the meat and adding more vegetables makes no difference to the taste at all.

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If you go on your holidays to Turkey then you should try as much food as you possibly can. The great thing about Turkish food is that it is not too unhealthy for you. It is a myth that kebabs are fattening and unhealthy. If you break it down, you have a wrap, meat and salad all of these ingredients are healthy for you and contain most of the things we need to have in our diet. I advise you to not even think about how healthy each dish is when you are ordering your food in Turkey because you should indulge in everything that you see, you will regret not trying everything when you get home.

Remember all of those kebabs you have had back home in the UK, I’m sure some of them have been in the early hours of the morning. Some of them I know will  not have been very tasty but still kebabs in the UK are of quite a good standard. Well, I know that when you get home you will not want to eat another kebab, that’s because the kebabs in Turkey are absolutely amazing! It doesn’t matter if you are splashing out on an expensive meal or eating from a makeshift street stall, your taste buds will be overjoyed with the kebabs that you are served.

Breakfast time in Turkey is also brilliant, it’s a very simple affair but still very tasty. You will usually web presented with a buffet that includes; fresh bread, a huge number of spreads, selection of cheeses, cold meats, olives, eggs and tomatoes. You may be lucky enough to get served fresh Turkish coffer as well, it’s the best way to get your day started before you go and explore the sites.

The Best Beaches in Europe

The weather is so bad back home in the United Kingdom that it is really time to start thinking about beach holidays. It is absolutely crazy that we don’t go on more beach holidays in Europe! Some of the best beaches in Europe are on a couple of hours away by plane, so you could book a holiday right now and be lounging on the beach tomorrow – it really doesn’t get much better than that does it? We are so fortunate to live so close to a beach lover’s paradise, especially with the amazing travel offers that you can always find at this time of year. The first couple of months of each new year is always the best time to be on the look out for great travel deals, it is the slowest time for the tourist industry so they are doing everything they can do coax people in to booking their holidays. So get online or call into your local travel agent as soon as possible to snap up some of the best deals you are ever likely to find, don’t hesitate when it comes to booking because before you know it your dream holiday could be gone! If you are still undecided about where to go, here are 3 beaches that you have to consider.

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El Palo Beach, Malaga, Spain

Malaga is the biggest city not the Costa del Sol, even though it is a big and busy place it is without doubt one of he best places in Europe for a relaxing beach holiday. There seems to be endless kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches, it is aimed at tourists so you have everything you ned here. It is the ideal place for a family holiday, El Palo is the place all families should head to for a great family holiday.

Praia de Faro beach, Faro, Portugal

This is the place every water sport enthusiast should head to, there are countless amounts of water sports for you to enjoy here; jet skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and banana boat rides are just some of the great things that you can enjoy here. The thing I love about it is that Faro has an airport which makes travelling here as easy as pie.

Paloma Beach, Nice, France

Some of the world’s most famous beaches can be found in the South of France, the region is full of glitz and glamour. It is a celebrity hotspot that attracts the top A list celebrities from Hollywood. Paloma Beach is the place to head to if you want to try and do a bit of celeb spotting, but you have to make sure that you are on the right side of the beach – half is private and half is for the public. I love it here, but make sure you dress to impress!

Experiencing a Spanish taste sensation – tapas in Menorca

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Anyone who has spent any time holidaying in Spain will know that you can’t beat enjoying a few plates of tapas with a glass of the local tipple. If you are about to embark on your first trip to Menorca and wonder if the tradition extends to the island, do not fear because you will find just as much opportunity to indulge as on mainland Spain. You can read about some of the highlights below before planning your trip using this website.

Background to tapas

The word tapas comes from the Spanish for lid and refers to the fact that tapas was often served on a piece of bread that was put on top of a customer’s drink to protect it from flies in bars. From these humble origins as a bar snack, which was often given away for free, tapas has been elevated into a gastronomic experience.

These days whole meals can consist of tapas and instead of a simple nibble, delicious ingredients and large amounts of thought and effort go into each one. It has become very popular with holidaymakers who like the opportunity to try lots of different flavours as opposed to restricting themselves to just one dish each mealtime.

La Morada in Mahon

This lively tapas bar is widely considered to be the best restaurant of its kind in Menorca’s capital city and by extension the whole of the island. It is best to book if you are not keen on hanging around as there is barely a day of the week when La Morada isn’t busy.

It is well worth the wait, however, as the service is good and a friendly atmosphere makes for a wonderful dining experience. Be prepared for some difficult decisions as the tapas selection is extensive and you will want to try everything on the menu. Chances are you will be back more than once during your holiday.

Sa Vinya in Mahon

Most people fall for the charms of Sa Vinya before they even step through the door as it is housed within a rustic farmhouse on the outskirts of Mahon. It is the perfect place to come for a romantic evening with a loved one and particularly special if you are celebrating an anniversary or engagement.

Everything about the restaurant has been carefully contemplated to create the overall effect, from the decor and planting to the music and lighting. Pilar Pons, the resident chef, has an innate understanding of food and it always pays to ask for the daily specials before picking all of your dishes from the regular menu.

La Rueda in San Lluis

If it is traditional Menorcan cuisine and a small village atmosphere that you crave, then this is just the place for you. It is frequented by locals, which is always a badge of quality, but this makes it another place where it pays to book in advance.

La Rueda has been in business for more than 30 years and is definitely doing something right. Nobody will be able to complain about the prices, so order as much as you like and tuck in.

Es Cranc in Fornells

To enjoy tapas built mainly around seafood as the focus then the best place to head is this establishment in the fishing village of Fornells. You will not be disappointed by the dishes on offer, but it is imperative that all visitors try the lobster stew.

With an abundance of red lobsters in the area, this is something of a speciality. In the summer months customers need to book as far in advance as two weeks to ensure they get a table. It is best to do this otherwise you may travel to Fornells expressly for dinner and find yourself disappointed.

 

A Weekend in Stockholm

Are you looking for a relaxing fall getaway? Stockholm is the perfect place for an autumn retreat. The air is starting to turn crisp and the days are getting shorter, but the winter hasn’t gotten into full swing yet. Let’s take a closer look at what the gorgeous Swedish capital has to offer.

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Sites and Attractions

Stockholm is known for its cosmopolitan mix of old and new, with the 12th century buildings and cobbled streets of the Old Town set against 21st century architecture and cutting edge environmental protection initiatives. In fact, Stockholm just after Berlin and Copenhagen for having the best air quality in Europe.

To see some of this environmental protection in action, you can visit one of the many parks and green spaces that make up 30% of the city. One great example is Djurgarden, a peaceful wooded island park protected from the city’s hubbub.

If you’re in the mood for museums, then the National Museum offers a rotating schedule of exhibits featuring contemporary Swedish art. The Nobel Museum features information about the famous prize and all of its recipients throughout history. And if you’re interested in learning more about contemporary art and design, then the Nationalmuseet is definitely a must-see.

Cuisine

Sweden is home to the wonderful pastime known as fika, the act of taking a seat, enjoying a delicious cup of coffee, and having a pastry or cinnamon bun. Some great places for fika include Wayne’s Coffee, Robert’s Coffee and Espresso House, which replace the regular chains like Starbucks.

For dining out options, Sweden has some of the best venues in the world, offering creative takes on traditional Swedish fare and international influences. One well-known Stockholm restaurant is Ekstedt, where locally-produced food is cooked over a wood fire. Or, if you want to try the Scandanavian traditional breakfast, Djurgardsbrunn, near Gardet park, offers one of the best in town.

Nightlife

Stockholm is also becoming a popular nightlife destination. For those looking for a bit of after-hours fun, you’ll find most of the trendy bars on Gotgatan and Bondegatan, while the best dance clubs can be found in the district of Stureplan.

Extra Excursions

If you’re looking to get out of the city, the Stockholm archipelago offers beautiful seascapes and island views. Consisting of over 24,000 islands, the archipelago spans about 80 kilometers from the center of the city, and makes a perfect short tour by boat.

Make it Happen

The only downside is that Stockholm is known for being one of the most expensive cities in Europe. While it’s not that far away, things like food, lodging and entertainment (particularly alcohol, due to the the taxes) can set you back a pretty penny. However, there are plenty of ways you can earn the extra cash beforehand. For some ideas, click here.

Once you get the funds together, get ready for a relaxing autumn retreat in Sweden’s enchanting capital.

European Markets to Visit by Train

Winter time and particularly Christmas is a fantastic time of the year to visit Europe. Rail networks in most European countries are set up to deal with expected snowfall and a visit to European Christmas markets by train is a romantic and memorable experience for all types of traveller.

Travelling by train for many is just a way to get to the eventual destination, but by booking a tour to a European market being on the rails will be an exciting and essential part of the experience. So what does Europe offer visitors at Christmas?

Bruges Christmas market

Photo by Flickr User slideshow bob

Bruges is a wonderful city to visit any time of the year, with its canals and picturesque pointed houses. At Christmas, the town opens up for ice-skating, with venues open throughout Bruges for the type of Christmas you have always imagined.

Walking around the various market areas spread throughout the city you can eat the local sweet produce, warm up on some gluhwein – a Belgian wine prepared warm – and browse the stalls for Christmas goodies or clothes.

There are bars and clubs serving traditional drinks and snacks too.

Lille Christmas market

Photo by Flickr User Erik Vanden

Ride the rails from November 21 to December 30 and you can enjoy everything that the Lille Christmas market has to offer. For more than a month this market offers visitors the chance to do some last minute shopping and to see Christmas as it is meant to be.

This charming town in northern France has lovely wooden chalets at Christmas that represent the market and it is easily reached by Eurostar. The markets offer festive gifts, locally produced treats as well as arts and crafts.

In the main square is a huge, imposing Christmas tree and a Ferris wheel surrounded by the Lille winter wonderland. There are thousands of shops in the city, with many offering their own take on Christmas.

Valkenburg Christmas market

Photo by Flickr User chris friese

Between mid-November and Christmas every year, you can ride on the train to the wonderful Christmas market of Valkenburg in the Netherlands. For the kids there is naturally Santa’s grotto; but he is there for the adults too!

Valkebnburg’s Christmas market it unique: it is the largest underground market in Europe and is set in the municipal caves. The caves are decorated as you have never seen before and inside are market stalls and stands selling gifts you would expect – and probably many you wouldn’t!

Aside from browsing the market, there is a twice-weekly parade full of floats and dancers, with Santa himself at the front of the show. There is a host of restaurants to eat in set at the heart of the Valkenburg Christmas market; a fantastic way to enjoy your time.

London on Two Wheels

Probably one of the first things that will come up while planning your visit to London is the plain and simple fact that transport is not the cheapest available. If you’re traveling on a budget – do not fear, the city provides as many means of transport as you can imagine and cycling is definitely not only efficient but also pro-active – and provides the best views! There are even cycle-friendly London hotels for you to choose from, and the range is incredible: from 2- or 3- star affordable stays to luxury The Cavendish, priding itself on being environmentally friendly and offering cycle hire and route information as well as secure bicycle parking.

 Once your accommodation is sorted, it’s time to find a pair of wheels. If you’re planning a short stay, Barclays Cycle Hire, the latest London transport hit, is the best option. The access fee is minimal (£1 for a day, £5 for a week) and if your journey is less than 30 minutes long – it’s completely free! There are docking stations dotted around the whole Central London and cover all major sightseeing spots, as well as many hidden gems. The Cycle Hire’s website offers a very detailed maps of the scheme and they feature both leisure routes and cycle superhighways, very handy when you want to really explore the city to its maximum.

For all of you who intend to stay in London a bit longer and prefer to have their own bike but without splashing out a huge amount, I highly recommend ReCycling – a shop that offers serviced, second hand bikes. They have a really handy ‘no lemons’ policy: within 21 days you can change your bike without the change of value and if by the end of it you’re not entirely happy – they’ll give you your money back.

The cycle routes are all you need now, and I can assure there are plenty of them. Cycle-route.com is a great place to start – you can watch a chosen area for new routes or chose from a huge selection already submitted, each described with the amount of miles it covers and the time it’ll approximately take. My favourite is definitely the one along Regent’s Canal, my own beloved bit of industrial London that provides much needed peace and quietness in the always buzzing city. Another source of routes is the good old Transport for London website, and if you’re planning your visit in advance, you can even order free printed local cycle guides.

With all the preparations done, all you have left to do is to enjoy London’s sites. There’s been a lot of cycling promotion recently so you might as well bump into (hopefully not literally) quite a few London celebrities on their sets of wheels, including London’s own Mayor! Now wouldn’t that be a treat?

The Best Backpacker Hostel in Bodrum

Trips to Bodrum are fantastic if you’re craving some heat and relaxation. Most will, however, want to visit on a tight budget – if so your best bet is to book into a backpacker hostel. Here’s a quick run-down on some of the better options.

Thirsty backpackers in search of a party make a beeline for the Bodrum Backpackers hostel. Hostelbookers and Hostelworld five star rated, in high season they will squeeze you onto their rooftop terrace where you can sleep under the stars with spectacular views of the turquoise sea just one hundred metres away. Those who book their Bodrum Holiday ahead can enjoy a choice of ensuite, seven bed dorms, twin rooms or doubles ranging in price from £12-£44. The hostel’s website guarantees that, at least in low season, those needing their beauty sleep will be accommodated away from the pub next door, and most guests will be tucked in by 11pm. For some reviewers it was too basic, but with the Turkish Riviera on your doorstep, who is going to be in? A Lonely Planet listing will assure anxious travellers that it is not off the beaten track.

More intimate budget accommodation can be found at Bahceli Agar Aile Pansiyoni, also listed in Lonely Planet. Accessed by a narrow passage way opposite the Marina, you can dream of your next adventure by the aquarium on the terrace dripping with Dionysian vines. Prices are not listed on-line but you can telephone +90 252 316 1648 for information.

In the Turkish tradition of treating staying visitors as more than a guest, most accommodation is hotel style. While the warmth of the welcome sometimes exceeds the depth of the cleaning across the board, there are pictures on-line of happy travellers at the Gardenya Apart Hotel. Blue, painted windows look onto a pool with sun-bathers, and this family run hotel offers two and four bed rooms with kitchenette, air conditioning and wireless internet connection at just £12.78 per person per night for shared accommodation. A single will set you back £39.32, so it might help to hook up with fellow travellers to get the best deals. As with a number of hotels, reviews identified a disconnect between glossy, publicity photos and their own snap shots in which that chair in the corner turned out to be plastic garden furniture, and the bed plywood with a foam mattress. This was common throughout the budget price range and if you look on the bright side, it can also be liberating in terms of freely dragging sand into the room without negotiating an irate housekeeping staff.  Look out for the Panorama Hotel with pool and terrace views, and Hotel Centrale, prices from £32.97 per room.

Holistic Holidays: Europe’s Best Relaxing Getaways

There are a lot of different reasons for taking a holiday, to escape day-to-day routines, to broaden horizons, to enjoy new foods and cultures. But have you ever come back from a trip feeling more worn out than you did before you left? Sometimes, it’s tempting to cram so much into a holiday it becomes anything but relaxing. That’s why I’ve hunted down some of the best holistic holidays in Europe. Join me in discovering the path to true relaxation by choosing breaks designed to help soothe away all of your stresses.

 

Eco, life-enhancing in Lanzarote

For an eco spa experience that goes beyond mere relaxation and recuperation, there are few better choices that the Oceanside spa retreat in Lanzarote. This unusual retreat combines all of the benefits of a normal eco spa, such as gorgeous gym and spa facilities and a range of Yoga and exercise programs, with stunning ecological tours and unique life-enhancing experiences.

Book flights to Lanzarote and visit this ground breaking holistic retreat to discover beaches, volcanoes, rock face restaurants and you’ll be guided through special programmes designed to bring joy and fulfilment to your life.

 

Terrific Yoga Retreats in Tenerife

Photo by Flickr user Londoniss

The moment you step through the gates of Hacienda Cristoforo, you’ll know you’re somewhere special. This beautifully constructed retreat in south Tenerife is a lovely ecological centre that takes much of its inspiration from the natural landscape around it. It’s available for a whole host of personal and group activities, but the Winter Sun Yoga Retreat is a particularly special event.

Yoga, reiki sessions, life coaching and massages are just some of the relaxing experiences ahead when booking flights to Tenerife, and you can look forward to returning home feeling energised, refreshed and rejuvenated.

 

Holistic Treats in Greece

Photo by Flickr user Londoniss

Visit Atsitsa Bay for a real treat, from people who have built a 30-year tradition of working with the local community to create a responsible and relaxing retreat. You’ll be welcomed to a gorgeous white stone villa surrounded by lush gardens, an ideal spot to sit back and immerse yourself in a different kind of life experience.

There are a huge range of activities to choose from. Craft a combination perfect for you with anything from sports and exercise classes or dance and meditation to arts and crafts sessions, and the focus is always on doing everything in the most natural and ecologically responsible way possible.

 

Search for peace in Scotland

Ideal for those looking for a holistic holiday in a slightly cooler climate, Scotland offers some excellent retreats. Book a stay in the majestic Newbold House and discover peace in a beautiful Victorian mansion in the north east of Scotland. Surrounded by organic gardens and located within some stunning woods, it’s an enchanting place to get away from it all.

Sustainable living is high on the agenda and guests can choose from short stays to extended programmes, depending on their needs and desires. Workshops range greatly in style and substance, but all aim to provide transformational experiences.

If you’re fed up with feeling harassed on your breaks, make sure that the next time you book one, you choose a holistic holiday that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Why go on a package holiday when you can find gorgeous experiences like these that offer a whole new perspective on the world?