4 things to do at sea in Jersey

kayaking in the sea

If you like the sea, here are a few ideas of things to do in Jersey.

kayaking in the sea

Sailing holidays in Jersey – how big is yours?

If you want to do some sailing on holiday you can hire a small dinghy or charter a large yacht with a full crew, and everything in between, such as catamarans. Whether you’re experienced or a beginner you’ll enjoy sailing around offshore reefs and discovering the diverse coastline from a different perspective, the sea.

Sail into harbours and moor up while you enjoy lunch in a local fish restaurant, before continuing to enjoy the wildlife and scenery as you set sail again around the rest of the island.

Charter a boat and see another side to Jersey

When you charter a boat you’ll experience another side to Jersey. For starters you’ll be out at sea looking back to shore realising how beautiful this Channel Island really is as well as watching the dolphins jump in and out of the Atlantic Ocean.
Ever raced a catamaran? Well on a Jersey holiday you can, or you can simply sail around the island, maybe over to France, or enjoy a bit of snorkelling around one of the reefs, or scuba dive to a sunken ship wreck.

If it’s a romantic short break to Jersey you’re looking for you may fancy dinner onboard a boat drinking champagne as the sun goes down, leaving all the hard work to the boat’s skipper.

There’s more to see with a kayak

Instead of chartering a boat you could rent a kayak and explore the island’s coastline. You’ll soon see that it’s a great way to explore parts of the island that quite simply you otherwise wouldn’t see. There are coves and caves up in the north just waiting to be discovered, full of a variety of wildlife, in areas that are so remote you’d never find them, but with a kayak you can get up close and personal.

If you don’t want to venture too far you could just ride the waves on the west coast around St Ouen’s Bay, or you could simply paddle gently off one of the south coast’s sandy beaches.

They say Jersey is one of the top kayaking destinations in the world.

Fishing on a Jersey holiday – yes there is a catch!

With offshore reefs, sunken ships, harbours, caves and coves and one of the highest tides in the world a Jersey fishing holiday is a must for fishing enthusiasts.

There are rivers and streams too but the sea is where it’s at.

Up on the north coast there are coastal rocks to fish off, or there are harbour walls. Or maybe you want to hire a boat and get out to sea, where you’ll find mullet, sea bass, conger eels, bream, turbot, rays…all waiting to be caught by you.

Fish of the boat and you’ll be amazed at the great variety of fish available to catch and that the sea bass you just caught will be great on the BBQ later!

Ready? Visit Jersey.com to start planning your holiday in details.

Top three things to do on a Kavos holiday

Boatful of fun in Kavos

The nightlife in Kavos is legendary. From late night karaoke to midday foam parties, if you are looking for nights filled with dancing, drinking and making new friends then this is the place for you. Originally a small fishing town, Kavos has been transformed into the must go holiday destination for British under thirties.

Located on a southern tip of the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu, life in the town is dominated by the long strip of bars, clubs and restaurants. Most of the people who work in the resort are English, promoting the non-stop nightlife, and by the look of their tan and smiles, they are having just as much fun as the holidaymakers.

Boatful of fun in Kavos

Nightlife

You can’t come to Kavos and not sample the fantastic nightlife. It is the main attraction of the resort and it doesn’t disappoint. There are a huge range of places to visit and most hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants are within a 20 minute walk of each other.

It’s agreed that there are two main clubs to hit when you have finished your night out in the bars, Futures or Atlantis. Atlantis lets you unwind on the beach with some great music and Futures is the place to go for late night partying. The Rolling Stone club is open late for rock and indie music with great cocktails and friendly bar staff.

If clubbing isn’t your thing, there is a wide selection of quieter bars and restaurants which stay open most of the night.

Water sports

Kavos offers the usual range of holiday water sports with one exhilarating exception. The Crazy Speedboat reaches speeds of 75mph on a two-hour trip to the island’s Blue Lagoon and is certain to clear your head from the night before. You can book online before you travel, but it’s easy to buy tickets from the beach when you arrive.

There are long stretches of sandy beaches to meander along or sunbathe on during your days in Kavos. There are boat trips and excursions available for those who have slept off their hangover and are ready for a bit of adventure. I would highly recommend a day trip to the Greek mainland, the food is great and it makes a nice change from lounging by the pool.

Culture

I know that the main reason for anyone to book a holiday in Kavos is to party, but while you’re there try and pick up a bit of culture. Your mother will be pleased you weren’t in the clubs 24/7. Corfu Town is a great place to go for a day trip and there are a few ways to get there. You can book a trip through a company or, if you want to save some money, find out when the local busses run and organize it yourself. Corfu Town’s Marina is a beautiful place to sit and eat ice cream on a lazy afternoon. There is also more shops in Corfu Town than Kavos and it’s a nice place to buy gifts for people back home.

This diverse and exciting little Greek town is a perfect holiday destination, boasting something to satisfy every type of traveller. And with companies offering holidays from as little as £190, it’s also a destination to suit every type of budget.

There is always something going on in a resort like this so don’t expect any down time. Remember it’s going to be a fun packed, energetic and very loud holiday so you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

 

Picture credit: Sir Hectimere

Three Beacons in the Sea: The Lighthouses of Scilly

St Agnes Lighthouse

British lighthouses remind us that we are a sea-faring nation: they have a powerful romantic appeal. They were built, sometimes costing lives, in the wildest and loveliest corners of the British Isles.

Most continue to fulfil their original function. The lights are now automated, and the lonely life of the lighthouse-keeper is part of history, but the lighthouses still stand up to the wildest storms.

The Scilly Isles, in the Atlantic to the west of Cornwall, are subject to very violent winter storms, and they have been the scene of numerous shipwrecks over the centuries. Two of the three lighthouses of Scilly are still in use. They are surrounded by beautiful scenery, so those that plan to visit the Isles of Scilly are advised to go and enjoy these vistas.

St Agnes

St Agnes Lighthouse

St Agnes Lighthouse, built in 1680, is the oldest on the Scilly Isles, and it is only the second lighthouse ever built in Cornwall. The light is no longer functioning but the lighthouse still towers above St Agnes and serves as a marker for boats during the day.

In the early days, a coal fire was used to create the light, but an oil lamp amplified by mirrors was introduced in 1790.The last fire iron used for the coal fires can be seen on display in Tresco Abbey Gardens.

The light has been out since 1911, when a smaller automated light was built on Penninis Head, but the old lighthouse still dominates the island. It is the main landmark of St Agnes, the smallest inhabited island of the Scillies.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse

This is one of the most dramatic of British lighthouses. The small rocky outcrop where it stands climbs vertically up from 45 metres beneath the sea, four miles to the West of the Scilly Isles.

Shipwrecks around the Scillies were common in the 18th century, and included a major naval disaster in October 1707 when a whole squadron of the fleet foundered off the islands. 2,000 sailors were lost.

It was realised that the lighthouse at St Agnes was not enough to protect shipping from Atlantic storms, but it took nearly 150 years for another to be built.

The Bishop Rock lighthouse, started in 1847, was a feat of engineering and endurance. The first version was designed to rest on screw-piles rather than a solid base, as a way of withstanding the ferocious Atlantic storms. That idea didn’t work, and the lighthouse was swept away by a storm in 1850 when it was nearly complete.

The next one was built on traditional lines, with a solid base. A dam had to be erected and the sea pumped out, in order for work to proceed on the foundations. A team of workmen was housed on a small uninhabited islet nearby, where granite blocks were transported from the mainland.

In these harsh conditions, with work only possible at peaceful intervals in the often wild weather, the new lighthouse took seven years to complete. In 1858, the light was turned on. However, an 1881 survey revealed that the structure was suffering badly from its regular battering by the elements. To strengthen the structure, a massive granite platform was bolted into the rock, so that the force of the storms could be partly absorbed before hitting the lighthouse. The work was completed in 1887, and the Bishop Rock lighthouse has continued its work since then.

Round Island Lighthouse

1887 was also the year when a third lighthouse, Round Island Lighthouse, was completed, on a small island adjacent to St Helen’s. An ancient burial cairn was destroyed during its construction.

Round Island lighthouse is in another precarious place, with the 62 foot tower built on a 115 foot high mass of granite. Steps were cut into the rock for access, and top-soil was shipped to the island so that the incumbents could tend a small vegetable garden within the lighthouse walls. The lighthouse was automated in 1987 so nobody weeds the garden.

The Scillies are famous for their bird-life, including the iconic puffin. Round Island is notable for breeding seabirds, and it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Landing is not allowed except for lighthouse maintenance.

Resources:

http://www.simplyscilly.co.uk/

 

How to have a whale of a time in Tenerife

Trio of whales in Tenerife

Dolphin and whale watching opportunities are often one of the draws of holidays such as cruises, but for those serious about seeing these impressive cetacean creatures in their own natural habitat, breaking apart the ocean waves and gliding across the surface, Tenerife is one of the best places in the world to go.

Trio of whales in Tenerife

Busy waters

The whale watching industry in Tenerife is also one of the most highly regulated in the world, having a strict code of practice on the behaviour of the boats when near the whales. No less than 28 species (over one-third of all species) of whales and dolphins reside in or pass through the Canarian waters. Resident species include the Pilot whale, Risso Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, which is renowned for forming attachments to species other than its own, including humans.

The Sperm whale

The Sperm whale also swims the ocean around the Canary Islands, often in schools of 20 to 25. Identified by their enormous square head, they feed on squid, fish and octopuses at extremely deep ocean levels, where, to navigate and hunt, the whales emit clicks to sense what is around them.

Whale and dolphin watching

Besides the resident species, whale and dolphin watchers may well be lucky enough to spot one or more of the 24 migratory species which pass through the waters at various times of year and with flights easy to come by throughout the year and excellent weather for the boat trips almost guaranteed, the island is perfect for these activities.

Watch for free

There are also opportunities on the island to take part in volunteer programmes to assist in the conservation of the animals. One of the most popular routes to this once-in-a-lifetime experience is through AWF (The Atlantic Whale Foundation, http://www.whalenation.org) , which offers the chance to volunteer as a research guide on whale-watching boats around the shores of Tenerife and on research projects, with weekends free to explore the island and maybe take part in activities such as … surfboarding and windsurf courses, diving courses, power boat, skippering, life guard courses, Spanish lessons, salsa dancing, water skiing, horse riding, jet skiing, marine filming and photography and walking…

2013 AWF projects include underwater filming trips to fund a whale tagging project, and an eco film festival being brought to the island from London.

Paid options

For non-volunteers, there are great opportunities for paid-for whale and dolphin watching. There are various whale watching tour operators on the island but if tours are booked through www.whalesanddolphinsoftenerife.org many operators will donate a proportion of the ticket price to AWF.

Cape Verde – best place to go in winter

Wouldn't you like a beach all to yourself?

Cape Verde is a group of 10 islands off the western coast of Africa. It is situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. What’s so special about Cape Verde? It’s the closest holiday destination from Europe that’s still nice and warm when Europe is in deep winter. Like now. And the other advantage? Few people have heard of it, let alone consider going there.

 

Romantic stroll  on the beach

Why Cape Verde?

If you are stuck in Europe in winter and are looking for some sun and sand, you’ll probably be looking far away to Florida or the Caribbean. These are invariably top destinations at this time of the year but they also cost a lot. Those who can’t afford it look closer to home, such as southern Spain, even Nice, North Africa such as Tunisia and Morocco or the Balearic and Canary islands.

 

The problem with Southern Europe and even Northern Africa is that they are still not warm enough for a holiday if you want to escape the cold. The temperature in the Canary Islands in mid-winter is on average 18 degrees and struggles to get above 20. In Tunisia, the average temperature in mid-winter is even lower, at 12 degrees. Who wants to spend good money to go to these places only to shiver again?

 

There is luxury in Cape Verde

 

How does Cape Verde compare? The average lowest temperature is about 20 degrees, with a maximum of 23 degrees. Not perhaps the 30 degrees you seek but this is the best you can get without crossing the ocean. Cape Verde is 6 hours flight from London.

 

The other alternative is Egypt, in particular Sharm el Sheik deep in the Red Sea but the lowest mean temperature there is 18 degrees. Cape Verde still wins! In fact, the best time to visit it is between November and May, outside of the rainy season for maximum sunshine.
The bonus of going to Cape Verde is that you’ll avoid the boozing crowd of Shagaluf and Faliraki. You can look forward to some real peace and quiet, R&R, TLC, however you want to call it. Or be active.

 

Wouldn't you like a beach all to yourself?

 

What you need to know on Cape Verde

Cape Verde has pristine beaches with the usual watersports you can expect, kite and windsurfing in particular. Or simply lie on the beach and work on your tan. You can also go island hopping, bird watching and hiking the volcanic landscape.

 

 

Nightlife is not comparable to Ibiza, but then if you wanted an active clubbing scene, you wouldn’t go the Cape Verde. Instead, you’ll find a very strong African influence in the music on the islands and the tempo of the Creole music is very popular throughout.

 

 

You might struggle with communicating with the locals however: the official language is Portguese while most people speak creole.
You’ll need a visa to gain entry in Cape Verde as this is not part of the EU anymore. But the visa is not hard to get and you can even apply for it upon arrival.
It’s also not too late to plan your trip there this winter. There are plenty of great deals to be had for last minute travel if you know where to look.
Talking of money, despite the weak pound, it will stretch far on the islands, with GBP1 worth about 126 Cape Verdean escudo (CVE).
We’ll let you discover the rest but if you want more information, try these fast facts from the BBC.

 

 

A far cry from the overcrowded beaches of Europe

Getting back to nature in Ibiza

White-washed cottages and the green side of Ibiza

Ibiza is no longer simply about hedonism, beach parties and toasting yourself in the sun; although of course, you can still accomplish all this and more by heading to San Antonio or Eivissa Town for your Ibiza holidays.

The island’s natural beauty has opened up many other avenues in recent years and eco-tourism, yoga breaks and outdoor ventures have become just as popular here. However unlikely a green holiday in the Mediterranean party capital may sound, here are a few tips on how to do it.

White-washed cottages and the green side of Ibiza

Holistic holidays

Green holidays can mean different things to different people and are not limited to holistic activities or ethical shopping trips. If this is exactly what you’re after, many Ibiza tour operators around places like San Agustin organise everything from meditation sessions to responsible snorkelling so it’s perfectly possible to be an eco-tourist here. With ecological centre Cassita Verde open every Sunday all year, you can dip in and out of herb-tasting sessions, try island-grown beauty products or sample the vegetarian cuisine, just a short drive away from San Antonio.

Nature parks

Prefer to make your own way? There’s plenty of nature to explore for yourself here, with Ibiza’s two national parks offering a blend of rugged coastal scenery and forested inland hills between them. Ses Salinas in the south combines an area both on and off-shore, made up of wide salt flats and tiny islands, which dot the cobalt sea. You might also spot fishing eagles and falcons as you walk the coast and gaze over towards neighbouring Formentera.

The south-west

The south-west of the island includes the Es Vedra nature reserve and the town of Sant Josep de sa Talaia, notable for the sweeping green vistas you’ll experience from Ibiza’s highest point: Sant Josep mountain. There’s much more to see around some of the best hiking terrain on the island, as you stumble upon solitary white-washed cottages and UNESCO-listed sites like Sa Caleta village. The grotto cave of Cova Santa makes a trip to the beach here more unusual and you might even witness an authentic folk dance while you’re passing through the region.

Closer to the ‘real’ Ibiza

As you might expect, the further inland and off the tourist paths you stray, the closer you’ll come to the ‘real’ Ibiza, the island of farming plots, olive groves, Spanish cooking and ancient coastline. Plenty of the more popular attractions like the hippy markets of Es Cana and San Carlos pay homage to Ibiza’s artisan roots and you can rent bicycles to explore around the bigger resorts like Santa Eularia and Eivissa town. The only difficulty in creating your own environmentally-sound adventures here is deciding where to start.

The best place to live in the world – Mauritius

Blue lagoon

Did you ever wonder where is the best place to live in the world? If you’ve travelled a lot, you must certainly have thought about that, as most people do. Deciding on what would be the best country or city to suit oneself is a highly personal decision. What suits me may not suit you but let me nevertheless share my top place in the world to live – Mauritius.

Blue lagoon

Strong attraction

This tiny island in the Indian Ocean has built a reputation for luxury tourism over the years. Warm weather and lovely beaches certainly attract a lot of tourists every year – over a million per year. That’s considerable given that the population of the island is nearly 1.3 million. But some people do chose to settle there. French is widely spoken and as a result, quite a few French people tend to come and settle there. This fact speaks highly of the country as just half an hour’s flight away is Reunion island which belongs to France and is in effect, part of the EU. If the French eschew Reunion island and even Guadeloupe and Martinique to settle in Mauritius, surely, there must be something attracting them…

Weather

If you hail from Europe, especially from Britain, then choosing a place abroad to settle will mean that the local weather will be a strong factor. Most British expats choose Spain, France, Australia and America as their destination and I bet in America it’ll probably be sunny California or Florida unless they have to go to New York for work. Well, in Mauritius, the warm sunny weather is a well-established fact used to attract tourists. There are occasional cyclones that break up the torrid heat and mild winters to give a respite from the constant humidity. Sometimes it’s good to have a little cold to freshen up the air and make us look forward to the next warm weather. Living in Singapore for example means being assailed constantly by the heat all year round as it sits close to the Equator. The downside with the tropical weather of Mauritius means that there are plenty of mosquitoes to drive you mad. There’s no escaping that when you’re outdoors, especially on the beach or in nature.

Money

Let’s talk money now, the deal-clincher! Here are the basic facts – the cost of living is high but the local currency, the Mauritian rupee, is weak compared to the euro or pound. So if you could somehow keep earning your income from Europe while living on this lovely tropical island, well, you’ll be as close to paradise as you can imagine, lacking nothing money can buy on the island, mostly rum! There are several international banks operating there, which means transfering your money over would be easier and cheaper. You could also do most of your work over the internet but the connection speed unfortunately still tends to be low.

Culture

There’s just enough cultural difference in Mauritius to make it exciting to live there and discover these differences without feeling like a complete stranger and being unable to integrate.The population of the country is varied – half are hindus, and the remainder is mostly split among Chinese, muslims and christians. There is strong influence consequently from the East yet the inhabitants tend to be western in their outlook and taste. Fashion is definitely western and jeans are as common as in the US. On top of all this, Mauritius is often associated with Africa, the closest continent, weather for sports or economic associations. The country is part of SADC – the Southern Africa Development Community. While this may not be particularly useful to someone who just wants a peaceful life, it does mean that culture is not homogeneous. There is also emphasis on attracting foreign labour, skills and investors and the international banks set up in the country facilitate that for everyone, whether it’s investors, workers, expats or simple tourists.

 Living la vida dolca

Language

I mentioned the widely-spoken language already – French – but English is the official language. Although not widely spoken, every Mauritian will understand you if you speak English. Being the official language, all official procedures and documents will be in English. So unlike Spain where the Brits need to hire a translator for anything official, you’ll get along just well with your English. But why this dual language in the country? This is due to historical reasons: the French first conquered the island a few centuries ago but the British captured it from them. During the treaty of Paris, which formalised the handover of the island to the British, the latter agreed to retain the custom and religion of the French on the island. So the French language remained.

For an idea at the easy-going lifestyle, see this piece on the simple life in Mauritius that makes a good comparison. For me, this is one of the most important reasons – the lifestyle – but I know for many others, the weather will be first on the list. The language and culture will certainly help with integration and who knows, perhaps call Mauritius a second home…

 

 

Family friendly accommodation on the Isle of Wight

Coastal view from Shanklin

Babies and children, despite their size come with an awful lot of baggage and require an awful lot of entertaining. They simply don’t appreciate the glory of spending a holiday relaxing, reading books and enjoying the scenery. Finding the right accommodation can be tricky, but on the Isle of Wight there are plenty of places that can cater for your young family, making your lives much easier.

Coastal view from Shanklin

Babies and Toddlers

If you’ve got a young baby or toddler it will help you to book accommodation that already provides you with sterilising equipment, travel cot and highchair. Oh, and then there’s the books and the toys. Not forgetting a TV that has Cbeebies, so you can put on ‘In the Night Garden’ at bedtime. Baby Friendly Boltholes has four lovely cottages to rent out that all come fully prepared for your little ones. In fact they go above and beyond the call of duty, providing buckets, spades, a ball pond, nightlights, baby crockery, potties and even a toilet booster seat. How lovely to not have a car full of the stuff on the journey!

Younger children

When it comes to taking younger children on holiday, the aim of the game is this – wear them out, so that they go to bed happy and exhausted at 7pm, leaving you in peace to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine. One of the best hotels for families is the Old Park Hotel near Ventnor. It’s set in 16 acres of wooded park land, and here’s the clincher – there’s a footpath down to the beach. If it’s a rainy day, the hotel offers plenty of entertainment for children, including a big soft play area. Can’t beat the swimming pool either. And finally when it comes to dinner, there’s even children’s own meal times with a separate menu for those fussy eaters.

Older children and teens

For older children and early teens, I’m afraid you can’t get better than that great British institution – the holiday park. Might not be to everyone’s tastes, but there’s always plenty to do for children. Landguard Park at Shanklin has accommodation for all budgets, from static caravans to luxury lodges. They also have pitches for caravans and camping. The kids club ‘Sparky’s Krew’ (with a shameful K), has activities all day for children up to 12 years of age. You can’t fault the swimming pools for a bit of excitement either. The flumes and water slides are cool no matter what age you are. Then for teens there are lots of organised activities such as kayaking and talent shows.

Sailing near Ryde

Alternatively, you may want to have freedom and flexibility when it comes to meals for the whole family. We know how children can be fussy with food.

Overall the island is a fantastic place to take your family. With so many beautiful beaches, lovely parks and the historic steam train, you can easily spend a couple of weeks enjoying your holiday. All you need to do is choose your accommodation!

5 top family activities in Montego Bay

Blue lounge chair on Montego Bay beach

Jamaica’s Montego Bay is one of the country’s most prominent tourist hot spots, boasting duty free shopping, picturesque scenery and a number of luxurious beaches.

If you’re looking at flights to Montego Bay for you and your kids, we’ve listed our top five family attractions below, ensuring everyone will find something to fall in love with.

Blue lounge chair on Montego Bay beach

Montego Bay Marine Park

Montego Bay Marine Park is a non-profit nature reserve that contains a vast selection of exotic sea life (including stingrays and barracuda) which is sure to keep your little ones entertained and stoke their imaginations.

Other attractions at the park include catamaran rides (with glass floors) and snorkelling tours – both unforgettable experiences that you and your kids will talk about for years to come.

White-water rafting tour

For the more adventurous families out there, white water rafting is an exhilarating way to acquaint you with Montego Bay’s rainforests and canyons.

As you cross the ‘Irie Bridge’ and hike through a short trail in the rain forest, you’ll experience the rush of your live, as you’re swept downstream over (small) waterfalls before heading towards the stunning Caribbean Sea.

Check with your local tour operators for locations and age restrictions, as some tours are unsuitable for children under 12.

Horseback riding

Tranquil and serene, horseback riding along luxurious beaches will prove to be one of the more relaxing ways you can enjoy the sights of Montego Bay, with tour guides who will recount Jamaica’s vivid history with you.

For those still looking for an adrenaline rush, some tours will take you across rainforests or along cliff tops, while other tours feature a swimming section, where your horse will take you through clear waters. Check with local tour operators for minimum age requirements.

Beaches

A sandy beach with clear, bottle blue water is one of the most enduring images of Jamaica, and for good reason; Montego Bay features numerous luxury beaches, the most popular of which is Doctor’s Cave.

Renowned for its turquoise waters, Doctor’s Cave Beach was owned by Dr. Alexander James McCatty, who opened a sanatorium in Montego Bay in the 1800’s. In 1906, the beach was donated to the community, becoming one of Montego Bay’s most popular tourist attractions.

Rose Hall Beach also boasts crystal clear waters and pure white sands. Considered more of a resort, this beach provides an abundance of activities, including relaxing spas, water volleyball and scuba diving; definitely a popular choice for families.

Aquasol Beach, meanwhile, features the only go-kart racing track in Montego Bay, which is sure to go down well with your children. Beep-beep!

Glistening Waters Marina

While most of Montego Bay’s family attractions are only viable in the daylight hours (it’s unlikely anyone would recommend white water rafting at night!), the Glistening Waters Marina offers something slightly different: sunset tours along the ‘Luminous Lagoon’.

The Lagoon features marine life that emit a luminous glow when the water is disturbed, creating a fantastical yet completely natural light show. It’s also possible to get up close and personal with the lights by swimming through the lagoon’s mineral waters, which is perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day.

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s Friendly City

Although Montego Bay is Jamaica’s Second City, it is first for tourism and arguably friendliness, leading to its nickname “The Friendly City”. Other parts of Jamaica are also highly recommended, including its vibrant Capital, Kingston. But remember that Jamaica is the third-largest Island in the Caribbean (4,442 square miles); so use the ‘Jamaica Destination Guide’ (from the Jamaica Tourist Board), for planning your itinerary. Like every country there are good parts and bad parts, and sticking closely to those recommended is a good bet. The final tip we’d offer is a simple phrase ‘irie’, which means ‘cool/great’ – we think you’ll be using this phrase frequently during your vacation.

Image: The McClouds @ Flickr

 

Hidden Beaches of Crete

Clear turquoise water

What do we look for in a perfect beach? Clean water, secluded from the weather, not too many people, and certainly no traders trying to sell us the latest in tourist tat. Somewhere perfect to sunbathe, listen to the sea lapping at the sand, and to read the latest John Grisham in peace and quiet. Hidden away on the Greek island of Crete there are some beautiful and special beaches that are pretty much perfect.

Voulissma, Lassithi

Damnoni Beach

On the south coast near Plakias is Damnoni Beach. Just don’t tell too many people about it! You wouldn’t want Leonardo Di Caprio turning up trying to start a commune. The sand is yellow and soft unlike many of the beaches on the south coast. The sea is a crystal green, coloured by the plant life on the sea bed. You won’t find ice-cream vans, so don’t forget to take your own picnic with you.

Milatos Beach

Milatos Beach in Lassithi on the south coast is a bit of a trek to get to – but that’s what makes it even more special. Access is via a dirt track down to the cove however, so it’s generally not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. The beach itself is pebbly and often has some big waves crashing against the cove rocks. It’s one for the romantics rather than the sunbathers.

Myrtos Beach

Also in the Lassithi region is Myrtos beach. What makes this beach particularly outstanding is the quality of the water. The sea is packed with fish, plants and wildlife, which makes it perfect for snorkelling. The small town itself gets few tourists as it doesn’t boast much aside from a few cafes and a church. You certainly won’t find a cash point here! That is partially the reason that the beach itself is often very quiet. The sand is a funny grey colour with pebbles , but the sea is a deep rich blue. Just remember to pack your goggles.

Bali Beaches

The town of Bali on the west coast isn’t one that you would first consider when looking for a quiet beach. The main stretch is made up of sandy coves which are secluded and very popular with families. If you’ve got young children and want to set up camp for the day, it’s very easy to find your own little cove and enjoy the cool waters from the springs that run into the sea. However if you’re looking for somewhere more out-of-the-way, Livadi, which is just up the road has two extremely quiet beaches. The Livadi beaches are only accessible via a footpath that runs towards Kouskouras.

Clear turquoise water

These stunning beaches are the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon having a paddle in the emerald waters. What more could you ask of your holidays to Greece?