What to Look for in a Holiday Home Location

 

Who doesn’t dream of having their own peaceful retreat, away from the city traffic and crowds? But, choosing the perfect location of your dream holiday home is no easy thing. Buying a holiday home is an extremely important decision as you will be investing in a place intended to make you feel relaxed, safe and comfortable. It’s good to have high expectations, but you should be always be realistic to avoid disappointment.

 

Why are you buying?

When in doubt, making a list of what you want out of the location could prove helpful. Are you a passionate swimmer, do you like sunbathing or are you a mountain hiking expert? A lot of your favorite holiday activities depend a lot on the weather, landscape and surroundings. If you want sunny days and warmth, you should be prepared to look abroad. In the incredible region of Puglia, south Italy, close to the Mediterranean with Baroque cities such as Lecce, you can find houses under £80,000. Alicante, Spain has one of the biggest communications of Britons seeking sun. But if you prefer to hike in picturesque forested surroundings, then a home in an area such as Lake District might be right for you and not too far from home.

 

How will you travel there?

Monsaraz Village in Alentejo

If you have kids, it probably makes more sense to keep it local and buy somewhere in West Sussex, which is not only the cheapest place to buy a holiday property but it’s close to the coast and to the beautiful city of Brighton. If you are up for flying you can get some really great deals on holiday property in Portugal or Spain. As Porto and Lisbon have become expensive, we recommend Alentejo, an equally beautiful region with many vineyards and lush greenery. Another important question you’ll need to ask is: how far is the desired house from the airport? If you have a busy schedule at work maybe it’s not worth of sacrificing a day to get there and a day to get back home.

 

The financial aspect

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Even if your intention is to buy a holiday home for your own use, there might come a time when you would like to rent it out. Are you looking for a 5 bedroom home with a pool or a city-based apartment?

The price is a factor that can be decisive when choosing to opt for a particular destination. It’s worth to know that Bulgaria is the most affordable country to buy a house in, the average price being around £90,000. You can buy a lovely apartment in one of the small towns facing the Black Sea, within a short walk to a sandy beach.

 

How do you decide?

Decisions, decisions …This is perhaps the most difficult part of the whole process. The world wide web offers a huge variety of websites that work as online estate agencies. This offers you the possibility of looking for a house remotely giving you greater flexibility.

If it is feasible, search for your perfect location by wandering the local area during the weekend and look at the ads for sale displayed on the street or ask the locals. This gives you a feel for the locality at the same time.

 

Where to Have the Best Hen Do

 

For some girls, the hen do is even more important than the wedding itself. In order to make the most of what should be one of the most memorable experiences in your life, we recommend  you take a trip with your best friends. This way you can celebrate not just for a night, but for a few days in a row. When picking the location, think outside the box and be ready to discover a completely new place. Here’s a list of the hottest hen do destinations for 2017.

 

Kotor, Montenegro

If you’re looking for an unforgettable hen do in fairytale surroundings with your friends, then Kotor, Montenegro is a great bet. There is nothing more relaxing than admiring the magnificent architecture of this fortified city situated on the Adriatic coast. Kotor is the pearl of Boka Bay and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Green mountains and a divine coastline hug the edges of one of Montenegro’s most beautiful historic cities. Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved walls, old buildings and cobbled streets and stunning coastal landscapes.

At almost every restaurant in the city, you and your girlfriends can enjoy excellent seafood dishes at an affordable price. As many young tourists choose this lovely city for a holiday, Kotor is bursting with pubs and wine bars. As the best hen dos usually involve a day at the beach, hire a car and drive to Ulcinj a incredibly picturesque city in the South of Montenegro, famous for its long, sandy beaches. Enjoy a day of snorkeling, kite-surfing, swimming in the crystal clear water or simply sunbathe with your best friends. Don’t think twice, take the girls and go to Kotor!

 

Warsaw, Poland

Eastern Europe has many beautiful places to offer, at much lower price as the rest of the continent. For a fantastic hen party, our pick is Warsaw, the vibrant capital of Poland. The architecture of the city is fascinating as gothic churches are juxtaposed with massive soviet flats on the same street. If you want to see a panoramic view of the city go to the Palace of Culture and Science, a Stalinist building.

There is no such thing as a successful hen party without a proper shopping session. Head to Nowy Swiat to find the best stores ranging from designer boutiques to high street retailers. If you want a makeover or a relaxing massage, try one of the posh hair salons or massage parlours nearby.  For an ultimate unusual experience, you can go with your friends to the Neon Museum. There you’ll find a wide variety of neon signs that lit up Warsaw in the 60s and 70s.

If you love good food and want to become a good cook, we’re sure that both you and your friends will enjoy the next experience: the Pierogi Cooking Class. In Warsaw you’ll find many cooking classes that teach tourists how to make the delicious dumplings – our favourite ones are the beef and onion!

 

Albufeira- Algarve, Portugal

Another great way to spend your hen do is to visit the Algarve, one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal. You and your friends will love it as this charming coastal town is right on the beach. Take a walk in the dazzling old town, where you can have lunch or dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants always serving fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes such as prawn cataplana.

Admire the stunning coastal landscapes overlooking a clear blue sea, lush greenery and majestic mountains. It is also worth looking at the buildings in Albufeira in order to learn about the rich history of the region. Its architecture is a testament to its rich history and recounts the different civilizations that have settled in the region. Enjoy the tasty cuisine and be charmed by the local folklore. For a fun day out with friends we recommend going to Aqualand Algarve, a massive water park with colorful slides, big swimming pools and other fun water facilities.

If you’re looking for a great restaurant to celebrate your last night before saying yes, then Restaurante Palacete should be your choice. Here you’ll have an intimate dining experience along with your best friends, enjoying great food and having a fun catch-up about your best memories together.

 

Malaga, Spain

Come and discover sunny Malaga, a magnificent and vibrant city located in the south of Spain.  Malaga is a perfect spot for a hen do as it has it all: the area is surrounded by lush Mediterranean flora, the sea is close to the city centre and there is a charming old town where you’ll find cool restaurants and hip bars at every corner. As you explore the city, take a break and have a cappuccino at one of the many cafes with outside seating areas, while feeling the sea breeze.

In the Malagueta area, you’ll find plenty of bars where you can enjoy a light cocktail after an amazing beach day. The beach here is wide and sandy and at weekends you’ll find DJs playing music and youngsters enjoying volleyball in the sun. We recommend ZZ Pub, a lively place with funk and soul music and regular live acts.

 

Top Things to do in and around Auckland

If you’re planning a trip to the renowned city of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island, then you’ve picked just about the perfect place. Auckland is the most populous urban area and the warmest spot in the whole of New Zealand.

 

The harbour and the islands

Auckland is a wonderful city in terms of its mix of urbanism, business, arts, culture and nature. It has a coastline of 3,702 kilometres, and around 21,000 kilometres of rivers and streams.

Auckland is one of the few cities in the world that has two major harbours on two separate bodies of water. Waitemata Harbour is to the north, leading to the Hauraki Gulf and out to the Pacific Ocean. Manukau Harbour is to the south, and opens out to the west and is located on the Tasman Sea.

On top of that, one of Auckland’s suburbs is an island – Waiheke Island to be more precise. Rangitoto Island, on the other hand, is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf. This is the most iconic natural landmark of Auckland, due to its volcanic shape giving it a distinctive symmetrical look.

 

Culture and leisure

Auckland is by far the most cosmopolitan city in New Zealand. It also has the biggest Polynesian population in the world, along with predominant European, Asian and Maori groups.

Also known as The Sail City, Auckland’s main attraction is, of course, the harbour areas. With many famous yacht clubs and marinas, Waitemata Harbour is also home to several popular beaches that provide a well-deserved retreat. Enjoy a quiet day at the beach or take some surf lessons to spice up your holiday. Later, enjoy a good meal and night out on a fancy yacht – it’s all there at your fingertips.

If you feel like shopping, we recommend the famous Otara and Avondale flea markets. These offer a picturesque alternative to the mainstream shopping experience. Get to know the best New Zealand and Pacific artists at the Auckland Art Gallery, with works dating as far back as the 14th century. The New Zealand Maritime Museum is also worth a visit. Here there is a unique collection of Polynesian and Maori vessels, as well as European ships from the historic voyages of discovery.

 

Exploring the outdoors

 

Auckland is the perfect place for enjoying unique natural scenery. With its many parks, the largest of which is Auckland Domain, you will be spoilt for choice. If you wish to truly extract yourself from the urban area for a few hours, there are many natural reservations a ferry ride away. One of them is the Tiritiri Matangi Island, and another bigger option is the double island complex of Rangitoto and Motutapu islands.

If adventure is your thing, hop in the car for an hour and head to Woodhill Forest, one of Auckland’s largest adventure destinations. Activities range from mountain biking tracks, to skydiving. Discover family friendly walking trails and look for native birds and reptiles. This sand-based pine forest will be the cherry on top of your Auckland holiday memories.

Luxury Travel on a Budget: The Best Bits

There was once a time when luxury holidays were reserved only for the rich and famous. Over the past couple of decades, however, luxury destinations have become more and more affordable, especially if you’re prepared to compromise a bit on accommodation and transport. Here are our top tips on taking a luxury holiday without paying premium prices.

Camping & Guest Houses

 

As the oft-quoted saying goes, ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination.’ Consider the accommodation to be your destination, and your holidays may turn out a lot cheaper if you bear this simple truism in mind.

If you don’t have the budget for a hotel, look into camping. A luxury destination that offers excellent camping opportunities is Bali. From luxury tents to small, affordable ones, and locations ranging from seaside sights to mountain views, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

If you’re planning an escapade to a classic honeymoon destination such as the Maldives, then staying in a guest house is the ideal choice. Usually family-run and affordable, guest houses are the cheaper alternative to hotels. By not choosing an exclusive 5 star hotel on a private island, you have the chance to experience the local life, eat, drink and explore locals’ favourite places. For £25- £50 a night, you can expect a cozy, spacious bedroom with air conditioning, en suite bathroom, wifi, fresh towels every day and room cleaning with breakfast included.

Get a campervan

 

Campervans are homes on wheels and an affordable way to explore your country of  choice. By driving around with your little camper, you’ll be able to stop not at one luxury destination but any destination along the road!

Whether you’re after a romantic trip on the chic Italian Amalfi coast or a relaxing holiday exploring the surfing beaches of Australia, a van is often the most economical way to travel. If you hire one with a  small oven, you can also avoid paying a fortune for food every day. Aside from the flexibility and freedom that hiring a campervan offers, the best part is you’ll get to be on the same picturesque beaches as those who’ve paid a fortune for their accommodation.

Don’t go too far from home

 

It might seem obvious, but  a long haul flight is likely to be more expensive than a short haul one. This is an important factor to consider when you’re planning a holiday. If you want to spend less on the flights, choose a destination closer to home and use the leftover money to pay for a few holiday treats such as a  spa day or a fancy dinner. We promise you that there are plenty of amazing destinations just  stones throw away from where you live, ready and waiting to be discovered.

Pick the right country in the off-season

 

When planning your next holiday, it is worth noting that prices can differ greatly according to country, currency, location and time of year. Fortunately, there are places where you can find a 5-star hotel at bargain prices and where you can eat delicious food without emptying your wallet. Just choose a less mainstream  location and compromise a bit on the travel dates in order to secure the off-season offers. These sorts of locations will vary –  South Asia to South America are obvious choice, but up and coming travel destinations that are worth exploring are the countries of Eastern Europe. Offering good prices on hotels and food, in countries such as Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, you can live like a king without the need for a hefty bank account.

The Best Holiday Homes for Big Family Reunions

Yes, we all do it. Time runs away with us, and before you know it you haven’t seen some of your closest relatives in years. Life is definitely one big excuse for most of us, but perhaps this year it’s time to change that. Get everyone together, but rather than putting all the pressure on one family member to host the entire clan, turn the reunion into a retreat. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most spectacular holiday homes around, so that the only thing you’ll need to concern yourself with is finding a date when all of your nearest and dearest are free.

Sleep in the Mountains at Villa Kalkan. Credit http://www.thebigdomain.com

Villa Kalkan

Wake up to a view of the rugged Taurus Mountains. Admire clear Kalkan Bay waters spilling out into the glorious Med. At Villa Kalkan, there’s a wrap-around balcony perfect for evening cocktails with a view. You’ll also find a swanky pool terrace for lounging on the sunbeds. This five bedroom villa is great for families who crave the sun. Everything about this Turkish build is swoon-worthy. The open-plan living area’s wall-to-wall glass doors unfold onto a large outdoor platform, revealing spellbinding panoramic views of the coast. So, sashay down to the first floor in your finest swimwear, soak in the fizzing Jacuzzi and float in the heavenly infinity pool. Later, cook dinner on the sparkling kitchen island or dine al fresco after making use of the barbecue.  Finally, settle into the huge L-shaped sofa for a comfy night of stargazing.

The indoor swimming pool at Ludbrook Manor. Credit http://kateandtoms.com

Ludbrook Manor

Sandwiched between the wild moors of Dartmoor and the Salcombe Coast, enveloped by a soft patchwork of turtle-green fields, is Ludbrook Manor. This Grade II listed building has features dating back to 1050 AD, and really is everything that holiday dreams are made of. On approach, you’ll see acres of South Hams countryside, some of which is landscaped into a water garden with oriental influences. In addition, there’s a floodlit tennis court, outdoor hot tub and chicken coop. With capacity for up to 24 guests, each suite has an impeccable, distinctive design.

From remarkable, oak four-posters, to luxurious, freestanding baths;  a purple, velvet chaise longue to a room built on top of a glass-covered well (The Well Room), it’s easy to live like royalty here. Roaring marble fireplaces keep you warm, and the extensively stocked kitchen makes it easy to self-cater. The manor is so well-built for guests, that it’s easy not to leave the estate during your stay. In addition to the aforementioned amenities, there is also a table tennis table, grand piano, giant chessboard, swimming pool, music systems and some fairly large televisions.

Sleep like a princess at Chateau Chamborigaud. Credit https://www.oliverstravels.com

Chateau Chamborigaud

For an inspiring retreat, stay in a forest-engulfed fairytale castle. With rapunzel-esque turrets, it’s easy to let down you hair in this gorgeous part of southern France. Those who appreciate the raw wonder of nature will enjoy swimming in the local river or wandering the wilds, but this property is not short of extravagant luxury either. There are countless astonishing features across this 1575 estate; whether you want to relax in a clawfoot bathtub, ascend regal, twisting staircases or admire the dainty, floral wallpaper. Suits of armour line the halls and cavernous stone ceilings echo of the castle’s past.

Come snowfall or sunshine, this chateau looks completely divine. In winter, eat in the candle-lit, formal dining room using crockery from the distressed welsh dresser, and in summer cook outside in the poolside kitchen. Chateau Chamborigaud even has its own vineyards, and there are plenty of picturesque villages around.

Play some pool at Loch View Manor. Credit https://www.holidaycottages.co.uk

Loch View Manor

This mansion does what it says on the tin and so much more. This hillside property does indeed boast views of Loch Striven, on the rural Scottish coast. It also happens to be surrounded by acres of secluded forest. Those families who like an active break will be spoilt for choice, with onsite shooting and fishing, tennis, mountain biking and golf all possible. There are a whole host of natural attractions too, from deep glens to mighty waterfalls. On top of this, there is a billiard room with a bar, and a small, eccentric public house within the grounds.

 

Top 5 adventure and wildlife experiences

If you’re tired of the classic flight hotel city-centre kind of holiday, we have the ultimate challenge for you: a new set of adventurous destinations for intrepid, thrill-seeking travellers. Buckle up and challenge yourself with some of the most beautiful and unusual experiences that the world has to offer…

Galapagos Islands

This volcanic archipelago is amongst the most protected and well-known island groups in the Pacific Ocean. A part of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands were at the centre of Charles Darwin’s study and his HMS Beagle voyage. Because the islands host such a variety of endemic species, this is an experience you will remember forever. Enjoy unique bird watching, discover extraordinary reptiles and dive into the crystal clear sea to swim with the dolphins. If you want to see the islands from the ocean, why not recharge your batteries on one of the small boats and yachts that offer accommodation?

Mongolia

Take a walk on the immense frozen Lake Khövsgöl near the Russian border and go wolf spotting in the forests of the north. Lose yourself in the wilderness, amongst the white-tailed gazelle of the Gobi desert, the Argali mountain sheep in the glacial canyons and the Lammergeier vulture in the sandstone cliffs of the south. Then, discover and enjoy cultural jewels of Mongolia such as the horse-sleigh racing and wrestling contests of the important Mongolian Ice Festival. Afterwards, treat yourself to a good night’s sleep in a warm yurt.

Amazon

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest in the world and hosts over a third of all known species of animal and plant. Because of this, it has many fitting nicknames including, ‘the lungs of the world’ and ‘the world’s largest pharmacy.’ You may want to plan your trip around May or June, as these months follow the February-April rainy season—there really is nothing like manoeuvering a canoe through the flooded rainforest! Use the city of Manaus in Brazil as your point of departure and let your jungle experience begin. The Amazon boasts lodges with varying degrees of comfort, adventure and unique wildlife spotting possibilities around every corner, and the chance to gain completely new perspective of the world—one which will surpass your wildest expectations.

India

You can spend 30 years searching for the remarkable and elusive snow leopard without spotting one. Challenge accepted? Because this big cat is as rare and endangered as it is beautiful and extraordinary, less than 2,500 are thought to be reproducing in the wild. However, the Himalayan  mountain range of Asia is a good place to look for them. Five of the best national parks to for leopard spotting are: Hemis, the largest, the Great Himalayan National Park, where the brown bear also resides, Gangotri, Khangchendzonga and Namdapha. In addition, there are many tours on offer giving you the opportunity to see tigers, dholes, wolves, the Asiatic black bear, ibex, musk deer and all the other wildlife that define the very spirit of these regions.

Antarctica

Hours and hours flying south…Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.  This is where your magical, Antarctic trip begins. On arrival, you can inhale a satisfying breath of fresh air—and the great white continent has plenty to fill your lungs with. The best explorers have tackled the South Pole over the centuries, but you don’t need to be as intrepid as them: you can see the albatross without fearing it, cruise and kayak along the icebergs to spot the whales, perch next to penguin colonies, hike on the ice continent and climb the peaks for a breathtaking view. You can even scuba-dive, because if you’re in Antarctica you must, of course, not fear the cold.

 

Top Things To Do In and Around Malatya

Malatya is a grand South-Central Turkish city with half a million inhabitants, a historical human settlement for thousands of years. Expect a dynamic and busy city that will provide you with the experience of everyday life in a Turkish city.

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The Turkish city life

Start your stroll around the city center with a free visit to the Yeni Cami mosque – an architectural jewel of Malatya featuring three minarets. This is the main and most central part of the city. Nearby, you will find The Dried Apricot Bazaar of Malatya (Sire Bazaar) where you can find a huge variety of apricot-based goods ranging from the actual fruit to soap, jam and even skincare products. Because the region of Malatya is quite conservative, there is only one pub in Malatya. But don’t worry, along the canal (Kanalboyu), you’ll find a great assortment of cafes and restaurants. Many restaurants serve shish kebabs with grilled apricot – definitely something you’ll want to try. We also recommend you  enjoy a Turkish coffee along with a hooka (if that’s your sort of thing) at Nostalji Tarihi – a traditional Turkish café.

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A mandatory visit to Mount Nemrut and Gunpinar Waterfall

Malatya or Meliddu, as the Assyrians once called it, is the perfect base for tourists visiting Mount Nemrut. This natural splendour represents the site of an ancient burial tomb and was declared a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO. There you can admire the temple and tomb of King Antiochus and the beautiful statues that surround it dating from the first century BC. The giant stone heads will make you feel like a visitor in the land of an ancient civilization. Many tourists prefer to visit Mount Nemrut at sunrise or sundown for the breath-taking view that looks as if it’s from another planet.shutterstock_35877253

Another must-see in the Malatya region is the Gunpinar waterfall. You can even enjoy a Turkish coffee and a grilled kebab at the café just by the waterfall. You can’t possibly ask for a better view.  One of the best things about the waterfall is the organic and relaxing sound that the water makes when it hits the rocks. You should take a short hike up to the top of the waterfall to take a look at this natural wonder from above. During summer time, the place is full of locals and tourists enjoying a picnic in the sun to experience the unforgettable view.

For the best experience of Malatya, hire a car with easyCar and visit during the International Arts and Apricot Festival in July. The city will be buzzing with events and markets and you’ll be able to taste some of the best apricots in the world, alongside a wide range of apricot based products.

 

Top Things To Do In and Around San Diego

 

No one gets bored in San Diego. California’s second biggest city is a vibrant spot, offering plenty of attractions and some amazing weather. Whether you come here for work or holidays, we can guarantee that you will enjoy every second of it.

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Culture, urban and nature

San Diego means, great outdoor fun even when you’re visiting its many museums and galleries. Balboa Park offers 15 museums and performing arts venues set in majestic buildings that belong to the Spanish Colonial Revival-style. Balboa Park is America’s largest urban cultural park – take a stroll through its enchanting gardens and you can take a cultural break anytime by walking into one of its museums, ranging from photography to natural history.shutterstock_86694577

Another interesting fact that needs to be mentioned is that Balboa Park is home to the famous Tony Awards, that celebrates the best in Broadway talent.

If you’re tired of all the walking, the best and most affordable places to eat are to be found in Central San Diego. Due to the proximity to the Mexican border and its strong Hispanic heritage, here can be found some of the most delicious Mexican restaurants in California. Our choice would be Las Cuatro Milpas – a small and authentic place where their mouth watering dishes are totally worth the queues.

 

Outdoor fun in San Diego

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San Diego features 70 miles of coastline. Luckily, the beaches are perfect in all the four seasons, making it possible for tourists to enjoy a good swim even in the middle of the winter. Our favorite is Mission Beach, a long and sandy beach close to the best bars and restaurants in the city from which we recommend Canes Bar and Grill, for the food and for the majestic ocean view.

Another amazing beach is the laid-back paradise from La Jolla. This beach is great for surfing so anyone passionate can have a glimpse of the romanticized Californian surfer lifestyle.

The San Diego Zoo is an amazing place to bring the kids, but can be fun for all ages. The zoo is well maintained and has over 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species, which makes it one of the world’s grandest zoos. Both fun and educational, the trip will remind you of how amazing nature is. Get ready to see polar bears, elephants, white rhinos, gorillas and many other rare and wonderful species.

Just a 30 minute drive north of San Diego lies the famous theme park, Legoland. This could be an excellent day out with your family. The kids can see all the lego themes they love, in real life. You’ll be surprised at the endless creative possibilities your kids can explore with even the simplest Lego bricks!

Of course, like most US cities, the best attractions are spread around a big area surrounding the city center. So, the best way to explore San Diego is by car. Why not book your San Diego car hire with easyCar today?

Top Things To Do In and Around Santorini

Santorini is one of the most mesmerizing island of the Cyclades and that kind of place where acting like the most cliché  tourist just makes sense. You could literally stop at any corner and take a photo that can easily end up in a wall calendar. When you get to Santorini it feels like you arrived in a much further land, as this place really has no comparison. For the best experience, it’s recommended to visit the island during spring or early autumn when the weather is less hot and the tourists are less present.

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Fira, Oia and the best sunset in the world

The beautiful town of Fira is the official capital of Santorini and the best place to start your visit. It is said that in Santorini there are “more churches than houses” and Fira is the best place to observe this. On the narrow paved streets, you can find plenty of small orthodox churches painted white and blue (specific to the island) that are worth a visit but also great restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife.

It is said (and proved) that from the cliff top village of Oia you can see one of the most beautiful- if not THE most beautiful sunset in the world. We recommend arriving early otherwise you’ll find yourself surrounded by excited tourists posing for selfies. Take a walk on this lively town’s marble street, paved with souvenir shops, art galleries and jewelry stores.

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You might also want to taste the best seafood on the island. For this, take the stairs down from Oia to Amoudi port where the Greek tavernas compete in their authenticity. We recommend taverna Katina, not only for the variety of fish and seafood but for its proximity to the sea.

 

Don’t forget about the beaches and the volcanic island

To easily reach the most famous beaches of the island, we recommend that you take a sailing trip.  Due to its volcanic rocks, Santorini offers unique beaches. You’ll be able to brag that you that you visited a red, a white and a black beach all in a day. If the weather allows (and it most certainly will as weather in Santorini is warm from May until late September) the boat will stop for a bath in a deep, clear, striking blue water. You’ll also be surprised to discover that the picturesque red beach actually has warm water.

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A visit to the volcanic island Nea Kameni is not to be missed. Another boat trip – but this time shorter – will take you to a place seemingly inspired by a sci-fi film. Besides its interesting structure and rocky texture, the best thing that Nea Kameni has to offer is the breathtaking view. While you walk on solid black lava, you’re able to look at Santorini island from afar, and see it in all its splendor.

 

Hiking from Perissa to Kamari

Not the easiest journey, but one of the most enchanting, a hike from Perissa to Kamari can be a great plan for half a day in Santorini. Not only you will get amazing views but with a slight detour you can visit the old Panaghia church, a small orthodox church built in traditional Santorini style. At the end of the hike, you might want to sunbathe on the unique beach of Kamari, covered with black sand. Or why not enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters of the Aegean sea?

If that wasn’t enough to make you want to visit, you may be interested to know that Santorini stole the hearts of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who in 2010 actually bought a house on the island. If it’s good enough for Brangelina, it’s good enough for us!

 

Top Things To Do In and Around Cape Town

 

Do you often dream of travelling to a destination that has both idyllic beaches and high green mountains, both picturesque harbors and scenic gardens? In this case, the answer to your dream holiday is probably Cape Town. Luckily for you, Central Cape Town is perhaps the safest African city center, where tourists can take walk and explore without worrying too much about personal safety.

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The city of sapphire beaches and emerald mountains

Reachable by cable car (or by hiking, but only by the brave) Table Mountain makes one of the best views of Cape Town that can possibly be seen. After a well deserved photo stop on the top of the mountain, let’s assume that you are brave enough to hike all the way down. If you chose to do so, you will have the chance to visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the world’s most renowned botanical gardens.

After visiting Table Mountain, don’t miss Cape Town’s beautiful historical harbor. When you get to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront you will be amazed by the multitude of shops and restaurants that simply invite you in. If you’re looking for lunch, we recommend Hildebrand Ristorante where you can enjoy fresh oysters and delicious pasta dishes.

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Cape Town is also famous for its beautiful beaches. We should start with Clifton Beach, a stunning sandy beach, a short drive from the city center. If swimming and sunbathing are top priorities for your visit, we recommend visiting Cape Town sometime between late January and late April. Then, you’ll still be able to enjoy the amazing warm weather and the less crowded beaches.

 

The most cosmopolitan African city

As Cape Town is considered to be a ‘European city in Africa’, its has its own riviera, similar to the French. Camps Bay is frequently called South Africa’s ‘ Saint Tropez’ and if you go there you will understand why. Full of chic terraces and cool restaurants, Camps Bay is a serious competition to its French sister city.

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Let’s now talk about the urban side of Cape Town. This vibrant city is full of art galleries, cafes, restaurants and clubs. A trip to Cape Town is not complete without going to Long Street. If you don’t have the time to visit a nearby vineyard – as Cape Town area is also famous for its wine – just pop by any bar on Long Street so you can taste a big variety of local wines. It’s going to be a long night.

 

Top Things To Do In and Around Taranto

Perhaps not the most renowned destination for an Italian break, Taranto is the perfect place to go during summer if you want to see a truly authentic city that’s yet to be invaded by tourists.

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Not your average fishing village

Once a rich and flourishing city of the Roman Empire, then transformed into a fishing village after a dispute with Rome, Taranto has accumulated a strong cultural and traditional heritage. The reason it’s called “The City Of Two Seas” is its strap of land that separates the sea, creating two bays: Mar Grande or the commercial port and Mar Piccolo. The two are connected by the Ponte Girevole, “ponte” meaning bridge. The panorama of the old city form the bridge is worth at least a short photographic moment.

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After crossing the bridge, you’ll encounter the medieval city and its beautiful churches, traditional houses and majestic ruins that remind us of what Taranto once was during the Roman Empire. If this intrigues you then you should definitely go to the National Archaeology Museum to see the well preserved collection of figured objects, fine ancient jewelry and ceramics. After the visit, you’ll realise what a glorious and important Mediterranean hub Taranto was.

The Taranto inhabitants are warm people, proud of their rich traditional cuisine. Just take a walk through the fish market of Taranto to get a sneak peek of what the local restaurants are serving up for dinner. Speaking of which, we highly recommend Al Gatto Rosso restaurant which is an old, unpretentious place where the locals go. Try their specialty of pasta with mussels for an unforgettable dinner.

 

Places of unaltered natural beauty

You can’t go to Taranto without going to the beach. This part of the Ionian coastline has a little something for everyone. Although you’ll love Taranto’s local beaches, we recommend going to Marina di Ginosa for a crystal clear water, sandy beaches and green surroundings. Not far from Marina Ginosa, you’ll find Lake of Salinella. Many tourists come here with their cameras to capture moments of unaltered beauty or for bird watching. The presence of the lake created a microsystem that homes a variety of unique bird species.

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In order to be able to move fast around the spectacular region of Taranto, you should rent a car. In this way you can take a day and take the one-hour drive to the baroque city of Lecce. Puglia is a great region to explore and Lecce is an architectural jewel that you must see if you’re around.  For another day of exploration on your list, there should be the village of Alberobello. There you will find districts of trulli, surreal looking buildings that are specific for the village. The story behind them goes back to the 15th Century, when because of tax reasons, the inhabitants built the conical roofs which could be disassembled easily. Another important fact about the village is that in 1996 it became a UNESCO World Heritage.

In short, Taranto is a small, authentic Italian town which will delight you from your first day. Rent a car with easyCar to give you greater flexibility and the chance to visit its beautiful and unique surroundings.

 

Top Things To Do In and Around Calgary

There’s plenty to explore in Calgary. The city is becoming more and more cosmopolitan as a lot of new start-ups are choosing Calgary as their base of operations.

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A young and thriving city

Let’s start by exploring the downtown and then move outwards towards the surrounding areas of Calgary. If it’s your first visit, we suggest going straight to the Calgary Tower for a dazzling view of the city. If you’ve already fallen in love with the spot, we recommend staying for dinner at the tower’s rotating restaurant.

Once you feel you’ve taken in enough of the beautiful view, start your journey by foot in downtown Calgary. The city’s center is relatively compact, making it easy to cover most of the highlights in a single day. The best start can be a walk on Stephan Avenue. Make sure you’re not in a rush as you’ll be tempted to stop by the inviting shops and cafes. After the shopping spree you may want to enjoy some authentic craft beer in one of the most hipster bars that Calgary has to offer- Hop In A Brew.

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If you want to get to know Calgary even better, take a tour of the The Glenbow Museum for an outstanding experience. The art and historical collections provides tourists a more complete view and understanding of Alberta and West Canada’s heritage and history. The museum has a unique approach, showcasing a bit of everything, from ethnology and military history to photography and modern art.

 

Stepping back in time

Going to the Heritage Park Historical Village feels like stepping back in time to the early days of the Wild West. During your walk you’ll notice that the park has four main areas, reflecting distinct historical periods, from the late 1800 until the 1950s. Just as in those times, you will see a hotel, a post office, a police station, stores and bakeries. But the best part of your visit will definitely be the chance to ride in an authentic steam train around the entire park. And when no one’s looking, you can pretend you’re in a cowboy movie- we won’t tell!

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Moving further to the scenic beauty of West Canada, a 2-hour drive from Calgary will take you to Johnston Canyon. And you can’t really say you’ve been to Canada unless you enjoy a day hiking to one of its landscapes of natural beauty and wilderness. The scenery will stun you the moment you step out of the car: high mountains topped with white powdery snow, beautiful waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. The hike is easy and can be done by any nature lover. Don’t forget to bring your camera, you’ll want to look at the photos again and again.