29 May 2013

Lanzarote Hot Spots

Lanzarote’s Best Holiday Resorts


So you’ve chosen to visit the popular Canary Island of Lanzarote. But now you need to work out which is the best resort for you to stay in. Fear not, as our in depth guide to the island’s hot spots below should provide you with plenty of insight.



Lanzarote is around a four hour flight from the UK and boasts three main holiday resorts, all of which have their own unique identity. There are also plenty of great places to stay in more undeveloped parts of the island too.

Puerto del Carmen


The largest and oldest of these destinations is called Puerto del Carmen. It started life as a fishing village but during the 1960’s and 70’s started to be transformed into a full blown holiday resort as package tourism from the UK took off. Today it is the most popular spot on Lanzarote and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from the UK, Eire and Germany each year.

What’s the attraction? As well as being located just a short drive from the airport – so keeping transfer times to a minimum – Puerto del Carmen is also home to some excellent beaches, most notably Playa Grande, which has golden sand gently shelving into the sea, making it an ideal choice for families. As well as other smaller bays and coves such as Playa Chica, which is located close to the Los Fariones Hotel, the first establishment of this kind to open on the island back in 1968.

Puerto del Carmen boasts plenty of other attractions too, such as Rancho Texas, a wild west theme park and zoo and one of only two golf courses on the island. As well as a host of restaurants and bars which also make it the best choice for those seeking nightlife.

Playa Blanca


Playa Blanca is a much newer resort, located right at the southern end of the island about 40 minutes drive from the airport. The resort is particularly popular with holidaymakers seeking self catering accommodation and there are lots of locally based agencies, such as Optima Villas, who have over 70 properties for let in this area, such as Playa Vista, which is new to the market for 2013 and which is available from £140 per day, sleeping up to eight people.

Playa Blanca´s primary draw are it´s three beautiful beaches, Playa Flamingo, Playa Dorada and Playa Blanca (which the resort is named after), whilst the protected coves and bays of Papagayo are also just a short walk from the centre of the town.

One of the other main plus points for tourists staying in Playa Blanca is the ease with which they can visit the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura, which is just a short ferry ride away.

Costa Teguise


In contrast to the other two main resorts Costa Teguise is located to the north of the airport in a slightly less sheltered part of Lanzarote, making it more prone to the winds that can blow quite hard across the island. It´s location also makes it the least obvious choice for those seeking winter sun as the other resorts to the south enjoy more sunshine hours. On the upside however Costa Teguise is very closely located to most of Lanzarote´s main visitor attractions, such as the Cactus Garden and the Jameos del Agua, so it´s a great choice for those who are interested in doing some serious sightseeing.

Miami Nice

Miami is an intriguing vacation spot for tourists and those seeking an adventurous holiday. Located on the Southeastern coastline of Florida, Miami has some wonderful locations for sun and fun inspiration. You can find attractive architecture in the downtown area of the city, golf on some of the most famous courses in the country, enjoy several aquatic activities, dine at some of the finest restaurants, roam the long stretch of beaches and enjoy several of the local holiday festivals.


When it comes to finding somewhere to stay why not consider staying with a local in their home? You can choose a room or apartment as an alternative to staying in a hotel which not only will save you money but offer an individual feel to your accomodation.

 

Miami is a great destination for the whole family to spend their holiday because it is a bustling community of culture. Unique corner markets and artistic venues offer a little color to the city and some of the most spectacular works of art are displayed in several of the local museums. Art and entertainment is a part of the diverse culture of Miami and after the museums close, there are several attractive venues that will spark adventure and provide an entirely new view of the Miami culture. Musical festivals and live concerts will fill the streets and no one can resist the variety of talent that calls Miami home. Many of the venues overlook the bay and provide not only entertainment but spectacular views as the city lights bounce along the calm ocean waters.

The entire family can also enjoy the local parks located around the city and across the bay for amazing views and fun. South of the city, the famous Historic Virginia Key Beach Park can offer fun and education for the whole family. Another great park located on Miami Beach is near Normandy Shores Golf Club which makes it easy for dad to hit the greens while mom and the kids play at the scenic North Shore Park. Traveling around Miami and across the bay to the many parks on Miami Beach can also be fun when paddle boarding to favored locations. If paddle boarding seems a little tame, then you can try windsurfing which is also a local favorite.

Miami can seem like a little slice of paradise and the many adventures available for holiday fun or relaxation can easily satisfy just one or the whole family.

17 May 2013

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Kielder Water & Forest Park is an impressive place, spanning about 250 square miles of forest, the largest one in England and also holding the largest lake created by Man in the territories of northern Europe. Its unique and beautiful landscape is loved and enjoyed by people from all over Britain and Europe and was voted NE England’s best tourism experience of the year 2012.

While there are many reasons for one to visit, its incredible views and scenery are the most popular reason to be here. It is a remote, quiet location that offers crisp clean air, plenty of open spaces for picnics and stunning views begging to be photographed. You can rejuvenate your energy by even enjoying a nice dark night of stargazing. You can spend quality time here thanks to the comfortable accommodation and traditional cuisine offered in the area as well.


Outstanding beauty spot Kielder Water

Kielder Park offers a whole lot for nature lovers and explorers through a chance to enjoy walking, cycling, family picnics, water sports and whole lot more. Whether your passion is mountain biking, long hiking trips or something more calm such as bird watching you will find an activity to enjoy. See more on this video:


When it comes to cycling, you have a wide range of routes available to you for various levels of skill and ability. There are twenty-two trails one can choose from, but Lakeside Way allows to enjoy a long bike along the Kielder Water shoreline where you will enjoy a 27-mile long beautiful cycling experience. The trails have a travel guide one can obtain at any of the visitor centres at the site itself.


Deep in the woods are tower slides designed and built by Image Playgrounds - read more about the interesting project work at Kielder on their website

Lakeside Way has the most scenic, gorgeous part of the lake shore with views and wildlife both abundant and lovely for all of us enjoying a great time in the green expanses of England. The multi-user track available here is capable of accommodating cyclists, walkers, horse riding and even wheelchairs. If that is not enough, you can take a walk around Kielder village.

Kielder Water offers wonderful opportunities on its eleven square kilometres for water sports. A fun fact: If the waters of the lake were to be distributed among the world's population, each and every one of us would have seven gallons of water. That is the size of the lake you would be exploring should you visit the park grounds. Sailing, canoeing, water skiing during the summer season and more are offered through the Calvert Trust and professional clubs around the lake. These activities are highly sought after, so pre-booking is required to stay ahead of the line of people aiming for them. Make sure you call your chosen club ahead of time so you can enjoy your time there without disappointment and issues originating from such lack of organization on your part. You can even use your own equipment on the park grounds, however you will need to adhere to the rules and regulations decided upon by the park authorities. 

Horse riding is something else you and your kids can enjoy, and if you have a horse of your own, you'll be able to ride it here as well. There is a lovely network of forest tracks and bridleways for you to enjoy with access to almost all of them. If you don't have one, you can always check Cragside Stables, which is a horse riding school which doubles as an equestrian centre in Hexham, near Bardon Mill. Your age, riding history and height will be required before you can rent any horses or ponies for your enjoyment. 

Guest author Heather writes for http://www.vacation-rentals.com/vacation-rentals/kentucky.html and has been traveling since she was a little child. She lives in the US and loves planning family trips and exploring new places.
 

10 May 2013

Areas to Stay in Barcelona

Five areas to stay in Barcelona


These are my five best places to stay in Barcelona. Some are iconic and world famous - such as the Sagrada Familia and the old town and Las Ramblas while others are insider's local tips but all are ideal locations for renting Barcelona apartments.

Barcelona is very popular with tourists and these 5 tips will help you walk the best of both its beaten and unbeaten tracks.



The Old Town - El Barri Gotic


If you don’t have long in Barcelona perhaps stay here as it is the most central district with most sites packed in.

El barri gotic is the original and oldest part of the city with roman, medieval, art nouveau and modern architecture packed within its ancient streets.

In truth many locals would opine that Las Ramblas are a little over-rated and that their tsurrounding areas are much more interesting. They are certainly bustling and depending on your preferences read into that overcrowded or vibrant.

In the surrounding old town you will find the Picasso Museum also, the Port Vell (Old Port), shops, restaurants, windy old streets, pedestrian plazas and terrace cafes.

Accommodation here is in plentiful supply but due to its popularity prices can be high in summer.

The Beach


Come summer or winter, Barcelona has wonderful sandy beaches that are extremely enticing to all. The beaches in Barcelona are also very accessible from the centre and are a part of the city itself, they not a long trip by public transport away.

Come winter, the beach then becomes a city park used for recreation by locals and tourists alike. It is perfect for gettings some fresh sea air and enjoying a drink and some tapas next to the sea in the winter sunshine. 



Passeig de Gracia


Described by some as an outdoors museum, Passeig de Gracia is Art Nouveau central, and is where Gaudí's Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà (La Pedrera) can be found. Passeig de Gràcia links Plaça Catalunya (the central square) with the former village of Gràcia. Gràcia is a very popular district and hangout place for young people and especially young families in especial.

This is probably Barcelonas finest street and home to the most expensive shops and restaurants in the city. It divides Barcelona’s 19th century art nouveau district in two and is the main focus of the neighbourhood.

Gràcia


Gràcia village was once a small rural village outside the city limits, until the aformentioned Eixample district was built at the end of the 18th century and it was consumed by the city. Luckily it was not changed at all and maintains its villlage charm.

Gràcia is charming and laid back and is where locals hang out at the weekends. It offers an old low rise village with pedestrian streets and squares lined with orange trees, relaxed and informal bars and restaurants and a generally very relaxed atmosphere. If only Barcelona were a stressful city this would be the place to escape it!


Sagrada Familia


This is not a well known area in terms of accommodation as it si dominated by the iconic Sagrada Familia. But it is a delightful central residential neighbourhood with Gaudí’s landmark right on its doorstep.

If you are interested in the Sagrada Familia then this is a good place to stay so you can roll out of bed early but not too early and beat the queues.

Sagrada Familia is part fo the Eixample district and you can get to the centre in 3 metro stops so it is very well communicated, It also boasts ann excellent food market and Avinguda Gaudí. The latter is is a pedestrian rambla and it is a very agreeable place for some refreshments.

These recommendations were written by the team of www.feelathomeinbarcelona.com. If these districts interest you go to their site here.


07 May 2013

A Guide to Historical Rhodes

Rhodes, located north east of Crete and south east of Athens, has some of the most interesting historical buildings in Europe. They are still very much a part of its landscape, within a very small area that was once the centre of a maritime and commercial empire, which was famous for its schools of philosophy, science and literature. All this is still evident when you walk within in the city’s walls and walk along its narrow cobbled streets and visit its imposing buildings. 

Rhodes was, of course, the home to the statue of Colossus and its old town is a World Heritage Site and all of this makes it a fantastic place to visit and explore. Even better if you can stay within walking distance of its historical centre, which is easily accessible on foot and won’t require a laborious coach ride or pot luck taxi driver. The harbour, which incidentally, was recently excavated and found to be the resting place of some very unique medieval shipwrecks and the little windmills dotted about all go towards making Rhodes an interesting and individual gem on the Mediterranean, it mixes culture and holiday fun beautifully.

Rhodes has managed to reinvent itself as a thriving tourist destination without losing its unique historical identity. You can wander into the town centre and enjoy a beer at one of the charming outdoor tavernas and find yourself sitting within a lush green courtyard, tucked away out of sight of the main shops. There are plenty of restaurants to suit all budgets and there is never any pressure to leave your table before you’ve had a chance to enjoy a spot of people watching, especially in the main square where competition for your business is keen but not aggressive.

A trip to Rhodes would not be complete without visiting one of the most interesting and imposing sites in Rhodes. It is the 14th century Palace of the Grand Master built by the Knights of Rhodes. After a short, slightly uphill walk, the palace stands before you and you can’t help but feel impressed by its sturdy, fortress like appearance. The huge airy rooms inside give you some idea of the importance of the inhabitants and there’s plenty to look at as you make your way around before arriving in its charming little outdoor gardens. This building appears in great contrast to the tiny homes that line the Street of Knights in Rhodes’s centre in which you can visit and look inside. The excavations allow you to see right into the fabric of the buildings before emerging, once again, into the bright sunshine and meandering streets of ancient Rhodes.



We strongly recommend when travelling to Rhodes that you take out suitable travel insurance. If you head to www.cheaptravelinsurance.com, we found they offer holiday insurance cover to residents of over 140 countries.

Essential Information

Rhodes Department of Tourism
Address: 3, Averof, Rhodes 85100, GreeceTel: 00 30 22410 35240- 22410 35945Fax: 00 30 22410 35315