Corfu the green island

Discover Corfu

Corfu the green island

Located off the west coast of Greece, the island of Corfu is an idyllic destination for family holidays. Featuring mild weather, fabulous beaches and many local celebrations, Corfu will surely appease every family member.

For children, a Corfu holiday wouldn’t be complete without spending a day at Aqualand. Dubbed “The Most Amazing Water Park in Europe,” this privately owned property is home to giant water slides, crazy river, free-fall slides and large pool. On the dry side, the videogame room, adventure playground and mini cars will keep the children happy during any kind of weather.

Relax on a cozy beach in the tiny village of Kaminaki. Mainly untouched by tourism due to its location, the friendly atmosphere of the locals will lend a true picture of everyday life on the island. For those who prefer busier surroundings, the north coast beach in Sidari provides a large resort area with the merging of two small villages. Families looking for a Corfu holiday package deal will find every type of water sport, three beaches and a variety of excursions in addition to prime accommodations.

Plan a day of water activities right on the beach. Paragliding allows great views of the island, while snorkeling provides adventure under the azure ocean. Relax on a sunbed with or without an umbrella. Booking an excursion in Sidari is easy. Simply decide on an activity and book through the numerous travel shops in town. Horse riding is a popular family attraction. Either try Costas which is right in Sidari or opt for Trailriders, a short drive away.

Before leaving home, learn about Greek cuisine and their favourites. Visit Corfu to take part in a traditional Sunday lunch. Lasting several hours, this is the highlight meal of the week. Try a Taverna for a wide variety of selections to satisfy the whole family. Featuring homecooked meals and family owned for 160 years, Taverna Agni at Agni Bay boasts both signature and well known dishes. Popular among tourists and islanders alike, Stifado is a satisfying and tasty stew made from beef and baby shallots. For the kids, pizza and salad are also on the menu.

For a short four hour tour, the Achillion Palace in Gastouri is considered a magical setting with garden statues designed after Greek Gods. Complete with a tragic story, the palace was first built in 1890 for Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, who intended it as a summer home. Assassinated in 1898, the palace eventually passed into the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Visit Corfu during September to enjoy the Festival of Corfu, located in Corfu Town. Consisting of concerts, choruses and theatre, guests will also have the opportunity to sample authentic Greek cuisine.

Looking further afield? How about Fraser island?

Corfu lovely beach

Corfu 2012 Holiday

Corfu lovely beach

Ionian island of Corfu

The enchanting Ionian island of Corfu is the westernmost part of Greece. Ringed by sandy beaches and densely covered by olive and cypress trees, Corfu is host to numerous recreational, historical and cultural activities. The best time to enjoy your Corfu Villa holiday is May through June or September through October. The weather is pleasant and the island isn’t as crowded as during the summer months. No matter when they come, guests who visit Corfu will be amazed by all that the island has to offer.

Corfu is one of the most well known Greek islands. Visitors can soak up the summer sun or swim in the warm and inviting waters. You can spend a day on the family friendly beaches of Acharavi or enjoy water sports in Gouvia, such as paragliding, jet skiing or a charter boat excursion. Those looking for fun and excitement should experience all that Kavos and its wonderful views of the Greek Mainland have to offer. In Paleokastritsas, you can scuba dive the clear turquoise water, watch the local marine life during a glass bottom boat cruise or travel to secluded beaches backed by sheer cliffs, olive groves and cypress trees. Visitors who wish to experience the local culture and hospitality should visit the Sidari beaches. A Corfu Villa holiday will enable you to explore the wide variety of outdoor activities to be found along the coastline of Corfu.

Ano Moraitika

Tourists who visit Corfu should spend time in Ano Moraitika. Here you will be amazed by the brightly coloured buildings and flower adorned alleyways of a village suspended in time. Here, vacationers will find unspoiled villages that reflect the island’s Venetian, Byzantine, Roman and Hellenic pasts. You will be awestruck by the 13th century monastery located in Paleokastritsas. In Corfu Town, visitors can see the Venetian, British and French influenced architecture. Guests will be captivated by the picturesque St. Spyridon Church that contains many religious artefacts. Stop by one of the two Venetian era fortresses for thrilling panoramic views. You will find Corfu’s historic past by strolling through the streets of the old and new town as you relish the mixture of architecture and cultures. No visit to the area would be complete without stopping by two of the most photographed places in all of Greece, Vlacherna and Mouse Island. Vlacherna is the white Convent of St. Mary that has a single identifying cypress tree, and Mouse Island is where Odysseus washed ashore.

No matter where you go on the island, you will find an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, music, festivals, hotels and night life that appeal to every taste and budget. It’s never too early to start planning your 2012 Corfu holiday.

If you like islands, discover Fraser Island off the coast of Australia.

Cruise passengers taking a dip in the Caribbean

5 Great Caribbean Cruise Destinations

Stingrays swimming among people in Stingray City

With more than 7000 islands spread out in the Caribbean sea, there is a lot to explore. And what better way than to explore islands than by ship? You’ll be able to admire beautiful lagoons, coral reefs, tropical fish and soak in the hot sun on white sandy beaches, all at a leisurely pace.

Here is a guide to exploring the Caribbean islands on a cruise ship with 5 popular destinations described.

1. Bahamas

The Bahamas remains a leading tourist destination over the years, with tourists flocking to enjoy the hundreds of islands and 500 miles of the clearest waters in the world. The close proximity of the Bahamas to America means you will find lots of US tourists.

Nassau is the capital and one of the most popular places. It is situated on the New Providence Island where you can find the traditional Straw Market and historical landmarks like Fort Fincastle and The Cloisters in the Versailles Gardens.

Don’t miss a unique bird watching opportunity at the National Parks. If you are more of a hands-on person, you will enjoy water sports such as snorkelling and scuba diving or horse riding for those who prefer to stay dry!

2. Cayman Islands

The Cayman islands are made up of Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman of course. These 3 islands offer an enjoyable tropical climate and have some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Have you heard of the Seven Mile Beach? It’s voted time and again as one of the most stunning beaches in the whole world and is found in Grand Cayman. Scuba diving facilities are second to none in the Cayman Islands and for culture vultures, historical monuments await you.

Visit the Cayman Islands during spring to see the Batabano Carnival with its distinct Caribbean heritage and music. Something truly unique to the Cayman islands is the possibility to touch and interact with stingrays. Head to the north of Grand Cayman island for that where you will find a collection of shallow sandbanks called no other than Stingray City. Look for Caribbean cruise deals to the Cayman islands to enjoy them.

 

3. Aruba

Aruba is a former Dutch colony and has been somewhat eclipsed by its more famous neighbours as a top holiday destination. But all this is about to change as its tourist industry is growing rapidly. The island is located not far from Venezuela in South America and sees warm temperatures of around 30 degrees all year round. There is no winter but the hottest period is around July and August.

In the capital Oranjestad, you’ll be able to find casinos, restaurants, nightclubs and all the usual regular tourist attractions as well as a driv-in cinema.

Beyond the capital and artificial attractions, Aruba has a stunning nature it can be proud of. Excursions along the coast are becoming very popular and horse riding is often used as a way to explore these wild regions that have few roads. Don’t miss a guided tour of the Fontein Cave and explore the seabed amid crystal clear waters with scuba diving and snorkelling.

4. Jamaica

Jamaica needs no introduction. Even if it wasn’t for its famous record-breaking sprinters, Jamaica would still be known to many for its appeal as a holiday destination. Beaches, wild inland countryside, mountains and valleys as well as its culture all help to attract holidaymakers. Montego Bay and Port Antonio are two places well-known by tourists visiting this island. If you want quieter beaches, then head south of the country. All inclusive resorts are a popular option and you will find plenty to choose from. Try the Martha Brae River for an ideal place for rafting and other water-based activities.

One of Jamaica’s unique feature is Dunn’s River Falls. Iti s a beautiful waterfall situated near Ochos Rios. What is special to it is that it falls directly in the sea, one of the few in the world to do so. Plenty of tourists flock to Dunn’s River Falls to see this.

Dunn's River Falls in Ochos Rios

5. Dominican Republic

Not to be confused with the small island of Dominica, the Dominican Republic is known to having some of the friendliest people in the Caribbean. It is an island that has something for everyone and is great for relaxing amid the laid-back Latin culture.

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1498, Santo Domingo boasts the first cathedral, court and monastery of the Western Hemisphere. Unsurprisingly, it is the New World’s oldest city. In its capital, you’ll also find wild nightclubs, exotic restaurants and bars and plenty of music and dancing throughout, an important feature of the Dominican life!

Head out to the countryside and the coast for some more quiet explorations. There are over a thousand beaches for you to choose from. Will you be able to make up your mind? Sosua Beach in Puerto Plata is generally known to be the most popular. On the north coast at Cabarete, you’ll find beaches for windsurfing and kite boarding as well as excursions taking you to watch whales.

Watersports in Puerto Pollensa

Things to do in Puerto Pollensa

A world away from the bustling, lively resorts in the south of the island, Puerto Pollensa is an idyllic Mediterranean paradise set against the backdrop of the striking Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains. Fringed by olive groves and rolling forest, you’ll find secluded crags and coves, stunning beaches and whole host of fantastic activities from waterskiing to fishing, and scuba diving to golf – Puerto Pollensa holidays are set in a stunning resort and offer something for everyone.

Watersports in Puerto Pollensa

The marina

The resort is centred around an attractive marina and yacht club lined with plenty of bars, shops and restaurants that provide a wonderful spot to relax in the sun with a glass of local wine and watch the world drift by. Puerto Pollensa is one of Majorca’s culinary capitals and there is wide range of cuisines available, and those specialising in freshly caught seafood are truly exceptional. From the marina you can charter a boat and explore the stunning coastline, or join an organised glass-bottomed boat trip that gives you a glimpse of the diverse Mediterranean marine world. Alternatively, why not rent out a little fishing boat and catch something for dinner?

Watersports for all

Home to several breathtakingly beautiful beaches, Puerto Pollensa is one of the most attractive beach resorts for holidays in the Balearics. Although the fine white sands may provide the ideal sunbathing spot and the crystal clear waters the perfect place for a refreshing dip, it’s the vast range of water sports that make that make the beaches in Puerto Pollensa so special. You can try your hand at scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, waterskiing, windsurfing, pedaloes, parasailing, canoeing and much more! Remarkably intricate sand sculptures can often be seen adorning the beach. Also be sure to check out the picturesque lighthouse at Formentor, the views from the top are sensational!

Get active!

In and around Puerto Pollensa, outdoor activities are plentiful and varied, and guaranteed to provide plenty of fun in the sun! The spectacular rugged countryside, rolling trees and mountain scenery provide an almost unrivalled location for hiking, cycling and horse riding, with extensive trails surrounding the resort. Alternatively those who feel the need for speed and enjoy some thrilling quad biking, whilst those looking for a more leisurely pursuit will find the area is prime bird watching setting. Golfers will find numerous high-quality 18-hole course in the region, and kids will love the exhilarating go-karting track in neighbouring Puerto Pollensa!

Hidropark

Finally, Majorca is always a family favourite and for a fantastic day out for all the family head to the Hidropark in neighbouring Alcudia, which offers hours upon hours of watery fun in the sun! The water park features many slides including two gravity-defying ‘Kamikaze’ slides, a thrilling wave pool, several gentle pools for young children, three mini-golf courses and plenty of amenities such as bars and restaurants.

Woman lying on the beach in Palma Nova

Your guide to Palma Nova

Woman lying on the beach in Palma Nova

Spectacular beaches, thrilling water sports and outstanding amenities – Palma Nova has it all and it’s no wonder it is one of Majorca’s top holiday destinations. Adjacent to Magaluf on the southwest coast, Palma Nova may not be as lively as its sister resort, but instead offers a fabulous all-round destination with masses of things to do, and plenty of fun in the sun on offer for all ages!

Beach, beach, beach

Palma Nova enjoys a particularly beautiful slice of Majorca’s coastline, a big draw for holidays in the Balearics, consisting of three stunning beaches – Son Matias, Torrenova, and Playa des Carregador – all linked by a bustling seafront promenade with plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. Son Matias and Torrenova are two of the most popular beaches on the island and come with outstanding beach amenities such as sun loungers and parasol, whilst Playa Carregadoris a little more secluded and peaceful. All have pristine fine white sands, and are perfect for a spot of sunbathing. Water sports are very much in vogue in Palma Nova, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try your hand at waterskiing, windsurfing, jet skiing, canoeing, sailing, kite surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and much more!

Nemo the submarine

For a truly unforgettable way to experience the diverse and mesmerising underwater realm that is the Mediterranean climb aboard the wonderful Nemo submarine. The submarine will take you on a 50 minute voyage of discovery as you traverse the sea floor at depths of up to 20 metres, and take in the astonishing and abundant marine life that is rarely seen by human eyes. Not to be missed!

Go-kart and golf

If you prefer to keep you feet firmly planted on the ground, there is no reason why you should miss out on all the fun in the sun. Be sure to check out the thrilling high-speed go-karting track in neighbouring Magaluf, with karts of varying speed and size and a huge track full of twists and turns it’s a must for racing fans. If you fancy something a little more leisurely there are several high quality 18-hole golf courses in the area, as well as a fantastic 54-hole crazy golf complex! You’ll also find two fun-filled water parks nearby that the whole family will love.

House of Katmandu

Finally, an experience completely unique to Majorca, the totally interactive House of Katmandu is a one of a kind attraction that all ages will enjoy. Explore this ‘upside down Tibetan mansion’ and work your way through interactive games and puzzles featuring cutting edge special effects, illusions and robotics. Witness the mysteries unfold before your eyes before heading to the unforgettable 4D Experience Motion Cinema – a new generation of thrill-ride!

Dancing on the beach

Activities in Magaluf: fun in the sun

 

Magaluf is one of the most popular holiday destinations and has become synonymous with the lively party scene in the Balearics. Whilst Magaluf certainly has a vibrant nightlife, look beyond the surface and you’ll find a varied and beautiful resort with plenty of fun in the sun for all!

Punta Balena and clubbing

Dancing on the beach

The majority of visitors to Magaluf come to enjoy the legendary nightlife and it’s not difficult to see why – the resort is non-stop party paradise! The liveliest area of the resort is the famous Punta Balena ‘strip’, and here you’ll everything to pumping superclubs with top international DJs and foam parties such as BCM , to swanky cocktail bars via good old English pubs! Alternatively, there are plenty of family-friendly bars and pubs along the Avinguda de l’Olivera, many of which have live music. The island’s only casino is also situated just outside the resort. For a entertainment the whole family will love check out the amazing Pirate Adventure – a high-octane swashbuckling extravaganza featuring world class acrobats and gymnasts! There is an adult’s only show later in the evening. Magaluf is the no.1 party destination in Majorca and is known as a top clubbing  destination, but there is plenty of entertainment for everyone and you’re guaranteed to have plenty of fun in the sun!

Playa de Magaluf

The Blue Flag awarded Playa de Magaluf is the largest beach in the resort (over 1.6km), and it is truly stunning! Fringed with idyllic palms and scatterings of chilled-out beach bars, the fine white sands provide the perfect place for a spot of sunbathing. When it comes to water sport activities, you could not find a better beach than Playa de Magaluf – you can try your hand at jet skiing, waterskiing, scuba diving, kite surfing and much more! Boat excursions are a wonderful way to explore the picturesque bays and secluded beaches of Majorca’s spectacular coastline. Alternatively, you can rent out a small fishing boat and try to catch something for dinner! The most popular boat trips from Magaluf are to the beautiful and uninhabited Black Lizard Island, which is named after the local population!

The Marineland Dolphin Show

The Marineland Dolphin Show is situated just outside Magaluf and is an absolute must! The dolphin display is considered to be one of the finest shows of its kind in the world. Marineland is also home to sea lion and penguin, and kids will enjoy the hilarious parrot show. Alternativelya day out at the Western Water Park also promises a lot of fun for all ages with a wide range of thrilling slides and attractions available. From the spectacular ‘Big Hole’, the longest slide on the island to the children-friendly ‘Daky Park’ there is something for all here.

 

Thrilling holidays

Holidays to Magaluf are also great for golf, there are numerous outstanding 18-hole golf courses surrounding the resort, and what better way can there be to spend a sunny afternoon than to enjoy a few leisurely rounds? Racing enthusiasts and newcomers alike will love the resort’s awesome go-karting track that features go-karts of varying size and speed and a huge circuit. Finally, an attraction you cannot miss (literally), the famous Sling Shot stands head and shoulders above all other buildings in Magaluf at 360ft. This is the tallest sling shot in the world, and it hurls you into the air at over 100mph, before returning you back to earth. Thrill-seekers and adrenaline-junkies only need apply!

Beach on Fraser Island

Discovering Fraser Island

Beach on Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a long and narrow island, 120 km by up to 24 km wide, situated on the east coast of Australia. It has the honour of being the largest sand island in the world and the largest island on the Australian east coast. It was even visited by James Cook. The island owes its name from Eliza Fraser, a shipwreck survivor.

The largest sand Island

The sand from Fraser Island originates from neighbouring Australia and was carried across the sea by strong currents. A volcanic bedrock lying below the island provided a natural catchment area for the sand to collect. However, the same current responsible for the accumulation of sand is also causing the erosion of beaches, which will only accelerate as the sea level rises. The hills on the island are made up of sand; due to the combination of wind and sand, sand dunes shift 1 – 2 m every year.

Fraser Island is a favourite among tourists who come for its stunning natural beauty, whether it be beaches, forests or lakes. The island is a World Heritage site and the Great Sandy National Park which covers most of the island and is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, also serves to protect its wildlife habitat.Blue lagoon - Fraser Island

Beautiful scenery

The island boasts over 100 fresh water lakes, the second highest concentration in Australia after Tasmania and they are exceptionally clean. In fact, it is said that sunscreen and urine from campers are the major polluters of the lakes, many of which do not have any inflow or outflow of water. In a bid to keep pollution to a minimum, vessels with motor engines are not allowed on the lakes; this includes jet skis and motor boats.

Among the rich flora, one can find rainforests growing in sand, eucalyptus trees, mangroves and swamps. Wallabies, possums, bats, sugar gliders, large variety of bird species and rare species of butterflies, saltwater crocodiles are all among the rich variety of wildlife that live and thrive in the multiple natural habitats on Fraser Island.

Dingoes on Fraser Island

Fraser Island is particularly known for its dingoes that are claimed to be the purest across all of Australia. Dogs are not allowed on the island to prevent cross-breeding and the introduction of diseases which could reduce the population of the dingoes, now a protected species on the island.

Despite numerous rules to protect the island from negative human influence, there is a permanent human population settled there, circulating around 360 people.

For more popular travel destinations, why not have a look at Travel Blat or go to Australia’s mainland – Brisbane – for a date ?

View from Corps de Garde

A simple life in Mauritius

View from Corps de Garde

If you come to Mauritius for the usual 2 to 4 weeks of holidays, you may not have time to fully experience daily life on the island. A typical day for you will involve going out and visiting places. Yet, if you dig deeper, you might find that life on the island is much simpler there than in countries suffering from severe winters. Here’s why.

In the cold

Carpets are very popular in Europe to act as insulation and cover a poorly finished wooden floor. However, if liquids fall on carpets, it is not easy to clean them. As stains accumulate, it is either time to call a professional cleaner or change carpet. Cheap carpets don’t last long. In addition, carpets are a source of dust and many asthma sufferers have a poor time coping with them. You need a vacuum cleaner to clean a carpet and the good ones must be powerful and will be expensive.

Proper house insulation is crucial if homeowners don’t want to be burning money through heating bills. Energy bills rise steeply every year. Double-glazing windows are essential nowadays as a result. Not having them in a well-insulated house is like trying to heat it with the door and windows wide open. Yet double and triple glazing windows don’t come free. In addition, bathrooms need an extraction fan in order to remove humidity and prevent the growth of mould in winter. As usual cheap fans won’t do a good job.

Snowfall and freezing weather result in a lot of serious consequences for countries that are not prepared for them: burst pipes, abandoned cars, accidents on iced roads.  We all know how trains stop running in England for any reason, least of all snow. There are horror stories of Eurostar trains breaking down, people spending Christmas and New Year in airport lounges because the landing strips are covered deep in snow and schools unable to open. Salt must be imported and fleet of vehicles operated to grit major roads.

And in Mauritius

The intense heat on the island throughout most of the year means that rooms must be kept as cool as possible.  Ceramic tiles are an ideal material to cover floor surfaces every where. They are easy to clean, do not get stained and are hard-wearing and long-lasting. Unfortunately, they are quite brittle and can get broken suddenly. They are also expensive to buy and lay down. A very popular and cheaper alternative in Mauritius is the vinyl. However, vinyl tiles tend to get unglued with humidity so are not used outside. Just a simple broom is enough to clean these surfaces, no vacuum cleaner is necessary, although it is quite popular to use one. It is also possible to thoroughly clean these floors with a mop and a detergent.

There is no need for such a thing as insulation in Mauritius – no loft insulation and no double or triple-glazing windows to pay for. This means windows do not need to seal shut to block the cold, thus requiring a lower standard of finish. No insulation means no heating which means that inhabitants do not spend a single penny on heating bills or worrying about the rising price of energy. The time for sunset and sunrise change little throughout the year under the tropics so it never gets dark at 4 pm and there is no need to start switching on lights so early. Some people might invest in air conditioning or fans to keep their house cool.

A hot weather throughout the year also implies no issues whatsoever with snow and its consequences. No airports closing, no bursting pipes, no iced roads and accidents, grit that must be imported and spread on roads and so on. Perhaps the only natural disaster that may occur as a result of the climate is the formation of cyclones in the area. However, the country is well-prepared and experienced in such cases and has a system of warnings that everyone is familiar with. Apart from limited flooding, fallen-down trees and electrical cables on the road, there are few other consequences of the passage of cyclones. No damaged houses or roofs blown away as they are all made of concrete.

Such a simple difference in the weather – akin to summer all year round in countries experiencing harsh winters – leads to profound and positive changes in the lifestyle of the inhabitants on the island. Nothing is perfect yet life in Mauritius has nothing to envy from that in other countries. A holiday is too short to experience it.