A budget break to Alicante

It seems the whole country is skint at the moment, with the economy still struggling to pick up again following the start of the recession more than four years ago. As a result, you may be thinking about cutting back on your spending on luxuries, particularly when it comes to your holiday.

Luceros3
Alicante holiday, SpainZarkos / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

But I would urge you not to forego a break completely – after all, it’s when times are at their most fraught that we’re in biggest need of a re-energising getaway. Instead look at some of the cheaper holiday destinations in Europe you can go to, even if it’s just for a long weekend.

Alicante in Spain is one such destination. With plenty of low-cost flights to the city available with carriers such as Monarch Airlines, accommodation usually good value and decent prices for food and drink, a holiday here doesn’t have to cost the earth. At the same time, you can enjoy the region’s excellent weather, plentiful beaches and local culture.

In fact, there are a whole host of things to do and see in and around Alicante, many of which won’t cost a penny with others charging only a very small fee. Below are some of the best low-cost attractions.

Santa Barbara Castle

Situated on an outcrop overlooking Alicante City, this 10th century Moorish structure is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe and covers the complete summit of the Benacantil Mountain. By taking a trip to the top, you’ll not only get to explore a fascinating piece of Spanish history, you’ll also be greeted with spectacular views over the city and beyond.

The castle itself has plenty to keep you interested, including cannons, a palace, dungeons, a moat, the ruins of a small church and lookout tower perched precariously on the edge of the cliff face. And best of all, entrance is completely free. Although if you want to take the elevator up to the castle rather than walking you’ll have to pay a small charge.

Guadalest Valley

One of the most enjoyable things to do in Alicante is explore the surrounding region’s stunning natural beauty, something you can do for nothing more than the cost of a bus or taxi ride. One of the most spectacular scenes can be found at Guadalest Valley, around an hour from the city. Here you’ll find deep, lush green valleys, overlooked by tall, rocky peaks, along with picturesque Spanish villages.

Guadalest Valley
Guadalest Valleykshilcutt / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Make sure to stop by at the stunning El Castell de Guadalest, a town perched on a rocky crag above terraced orchards and a reservoir and home to a number of interesting historical monuments including an 11th century Moorish castle.

Archaeological museum

To really get appreciation of Alicante’s long and complex history, visit the MARQ Provincial Archaeological Museum, located in a former hospital in the heart of the city which has been transformed into a state-of-the-art award-winning museum. The exhibits chart the entire history of Alicante, from pre-history right up to the modern era. There is an entrance fee, but admission costs just €3, with reduced prices for students, seniors and children aged seven to 15. Children under seven get in free.

Beaches

Finally, the holidaymaker’s favourite pastime – relaxing on the beach bathed in sunshine – is something everyone can do for absolutely free, and Alicante is as good as anywhere else in Spain for this.

The Galeon's Prow
Alicante Beachesdecar66 / Beach Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

Playa del Postiguet is the city’s main beach but for somewhere smaller and quieter check out Playa del Coco – just a short walk away.

4 Beaches To Look Out For In Majorca

 

Majorca beach
Majorca beach

Majorca is a typically the most popular holiday destinations of latest times. It offers affordable luxury holidays where we can benefit from the rich blue sea and stretches of golden sands as well as taste the neighborhood delicasy’s with the island. This article concentrates on the beaches that exist in Majorca as they are one of the main selling points with the island. When you are walking in Majorca your family will enjoy one discovery rapidly: there are plenty of beaches to see. Majorca has a fantastic collection of beaches of all varieties, and the great majority of the are picture perfect, complete with warm, azure water and white sand. If you discover it hard to select which beaches to visit and don’t want to overlook the very best ones, here is a collection of a number of the better to visit during your stay.

Formentor Beach

This can be a very well-known beach in Majorca since it is situated in front of the famous Formentor hotel, a popular destination to spot celebrities. The long, narrow, sandy beach is extremely attractive, and also the surroundings are picturesque – located by the end with the peninsular in the north with the island. The one thing to be familiar with is that it does have a tendency to get rather busy in peak season, however, if you don’t mind that then it’s a great destination to stop by at cool off after a day walking in Majorca.

Sa Coma Beach

This can be one other good beach in the east of Majorca with a lot of restaurants nearby, which is of special note as it may be awarded nowhere flag because of its quality. It is ideal for families, and it is lengthy so you won’t have any trouble finding some space for your towel here!

Portals Vells Beach

This can be a significant small beach a couple of miles from Magaluf, but it is very attractive rather than quite as busy since the two mentioned previously. A few handful of bars where one can get food and refreshments, and also the seafood comes strongly suggested.

Palma Nova

This is a beach for those who desire a extra action and excitement. It really is near to Magaluf and gets very busy, but features a pleasant promenade simply to walk along if you prefer a break from the sand and crowds. There could be a couple of a lot of fast-food joints for some people, but there are many better restaurants around if you’d rather try some traditional local cuisine also. Take pleasure in the Beaches of Majorca.

You will probably visit many beaches when over a holiday spent walking in Majorca. With so many beaches available, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to relax and cool off after having a hard day’s walking. The aforementioned is simply a small selection of beaches available where there are numerous more to find out, so attempt to visit up to possible during your stay – and keep on walking!

This article was written by Ricky May, on behalf of Puerto Pollensa Hotels, offering the best deals for your holiday to Majorca.

Barcelona Club Life: 5 of the Hottest Venues in the City

Barcelona´s Club Life is One of the Hottest in Spain
Barcelona´s Club Life is One of the Hottest in Spain

Not only famous for its architecture Barcelona is also well known for its club life.

Choose from relax lounge clubs with seafront decks or  go to one of the more discotheque like venues to spend your Mediterranean night out. Barcelona a bit of everything to offer.

Here are five of the hottest venues to experience in the city.

Shoko Club

This Oriental themed club and restaurant is one of the best places in Barcelona to enjoy your weekend. Located at Port Olympic, Shoko Club combines dining with dancing in a unique way. Grab your bite with one of their Japanese/Asian fusion menu´s and relax on the large seaside deck in an all Feng Shui/Buddhist like atmosphere until midnight. After midnight Shoko Club turns into a sophisticated dance club.

Sala Apolo

Famous for its clubbing nights Sala Apolo is popular with both locals as well as with students. You can find Sala Apolo in the Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona just a couple of minutes off the Ramblas. The club also brings you some stand up comedy during certain weekdays. Sala Apolo is kind of ´wallet friendly´ if you compare it with some other venues in Barcelona. With 3,50 a beer, it´s definitely one of the most ´normally priced´ clubs in the centre of Barcelona..

Carpe Diem

The Carpe Diem (officially called Carpe Diem Lounge Club) can be described shortly by  the keyword ´to watch and to be watched´. Also located at the Port Olympic section CDLC with its posh interior brings you a combination of restaurant, lounge bar and club. On Fridays it attracts a somewhat older crowd than most of the other clubs (25-35). The Saturdays are visited by a wide variety of people, from students and tourists to ex-pats flashing around in sharply dressed ´Ibiza themed´ party gear. Luxurious and chic, CDLC brings you a unique blend of the Orient and the Mediterranean.

Opium Mar

Being open until 6:00, Opium Mar is one of the hottest places for the later part of the night. Located just next to Shoko, Opium Mar is also sophisticatedly styled night club. Have you drinks at the seafront deck which overlooks the harbour and dance your way through the night on one of the dance floors. Often visited by models and playboys Opium Mar is the ideal place to posh. Just make sure you´re inside before 2:00 or you might pay an entrance fee up to 20 Euros (in the summer months).

Sala Razzmatazz

Got enough of the chic lounge clubs at Port Olympic? Try Sala Razzmatazz. This dance club is divided in five different areas, all with their own style of music, ranging from minimal house to rock. Very popular with students during the weekends, Sala Razzmatazz is also a concert venue starring popular bands like The Script and The Killers. If you come in early it is an excellent place to start your weekend at.

This article was written by Thomas Carter, a writer for Apartime, provider of Barcelona holiday apartments

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Ibiza Perfect Holiday

Breathtaking scenery, crystal clear beaches, amazing weather, crazy clubbing, and unlimited fun-filled entertainment—Ibiza offers the perfect vacation for lone wayfarers as well as for families. The idyllic Spanish island is home to 56 picturesque beaches with creeks, pine-covered hills, and white sand. The weather is clear and the temperatures stay around 28° C throughout the summer months, which make this traditional and historic place ideally suited for families. The island is small, which means that you don’t have to spend much time on the road, and can get around with kids without much hassle. The fun and entertainment assume a whole new dimension if you book one of the Ibiza luxury villas to rent.

Ibiza Perfect Holiday
Ibiza Perfect Holiday

The heavenly island first became famous among well-off travelers, hippies, and celebrities the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Yves Saint Laurent. This gave it a reputation of being a cool, stylish and expensive place, apart from an aura of being a place for partying, drinking and going crazy. The fact is that such activities are just a tiny part of an Ibiza holiday. Away from the neon signs and scantily clad crowds of party goers, Ibiza offers relaxation and fun for a perfect family vacation. In recent years, many families have discovered Ibiza to be an ideal holiday destination.

A rich history is one of the most enchanting attractions that the island offers. The cobbled streets of the old town remind you of the traditional European charm. The city is dotted with old cannons and drawbridges that add to the romance. The sweeping views of the surrounding bay and undulating green hills can keep you entertained all day. Kids love the place and would use their imagination to pretend as if pirates were ready to scale the ancient city walls. The experience is accentuated if you stay at one of the ideally situated luxury villas Ibiza.

luxury villas Ibiza
luxury villas Ibiza

You’ll never run short of activity and fun at Ibiza. If you have the energy, you could visit a different beach every day. However, the shallow, white sand beach of Las Salinas is an absolutely must-see attraction of the island. The Benirras beach in the North comes alive on Sunday evenings, with dancers and drummers flocking there to create a magical ambience. The city has many markets including the Hippy Market and the sprawling Wednesday markets of Es Caná, where you could shop till you drop.

Another family attraction is the Sunday fest at Greenheart in Casita Verde. It’s worth attending just for the sake of the enchanting drive to the center of the island, which will take you along the winding roads with sublime views. At Greenheart, you’ll learn many things about adopting a green lifestyle and how to do things in a more ecologically sustainable way.

Apart from the natural attractions, there are many manmade activities to immerse yourself in. These include family lessons in swimming, yoga, reikie, and even Bhangra for kids. The food is simply amazing at so many restaurants, which serve everything from tapas to continental and from healthy food to juices, including culinary delights even for those who live for eating. By the time your vacation comes to an end, you’ll be falling in love with Ibiza, and will feel like staying for another couple of weeks.

Volunteers In The World – Africa, Asia, Central or South America

Ever thought about volunteering? Don’t know where to start? Overwhelmed by the number of volunteering programs available on the internet? Then we are the organization for you. Does volunteering in Africa, Asia, Central or South America takes your fancy? Have you ever thought about working with turtles in Costa Rica? Working with children on educational projects in Nicaragua or Guatemala? How about volunteering in an orphanage in Honduras?

The range of opportunities and possibilities are almost endless, from volunteering projects in TV, radio, and the Press in Panama, to volunteering with Tibetan refugees in India. We also have two sustainable tourism projects in Ecuador and Guatemala. ‘Volunteers In The World’ provides you with the expertise, advice and support you need to have a life-changing volunteering experience, hassle free. We are a young dynamic company that aims to provide keen volunteers with the complete package to set them off on an experience of a lifetime. This includes support with flights, insurance, visas, Collaboration with the non-profit organization you are working with, in-country liaison, as well as an experienced Europe based manager. You can get involved in community volunteering projects and volunteer in orphanages all over the world including some of the most culturally diverse places on the planet such as Africa, Asia, India and Peru. If all of this isn’t enough to whet your appetite, we also have contacts to help you organize additional excursions and trips for when you’re not helping to make the world a better place, whether you fancy trekking into the jungle, or just popping to a local market.

Perhaps volunteering is not for you? If you don’t think volunteering is your cup of tea, why not learn Spanish? At ‘Volunteers in the World’, we also offer Spanish courses in Spain, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
We all know there is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself and you have the added bonus of learning about a different culture and way of life too.

So don’t hesitate, contact us for more information. No question is too small, we were founded to make your life easier, safer and more enjoyable, so that you have the opportunity to give something back to the world and have the
time of your life doing it!

Discover Manrique´s Lanzarote

Lanzarote is often wrongly regarded as just a sunshine holiday destination with little in the way to offer culturally. But such an assumption falls way wide of the mark – as the island is home to numerous museums and a host of attractions created by a famous artist called César Manrique, who was born on Lanzarote in 1919.

Lanzarote is located off the North West coast of Africa and as result enjoys year round sunshine and very little rainfall, making it ideal for a beach holiday. But away from the golden sands the island boasts a vibrant cultural life, much of it developed by Manrique during the 1960´s and 70´s.

Manrique was exhibiting his latest collection of paintings when tourism first started to take off here – but quickly retuned in order to ensure against the complete destruction of Lanzarote´s unique landscapes by unscrupulous property developers. Fortunately Manrique was able to call on friends in high places as his family were close to the island’s governor of the time Pepin Ramirez. He shared Manrique´s enlightened view that Lanzarote would be better served by developing unique visitor attractions that worked in harmony with the volcanic landscapes, instead of following the lead of other Spanish resorts and building high rise hotels and golf courses.

As a result the island today isn’t scarred by any high rise buildings or unattractive billboards at all. Manrique and Ramirez saw to this – drafting a law that prohibits the construction of any edifice taller than a Canarian palm tree. Strict planning controls also prevented the sort of resort sprawl so evident on the Spanish Costas, confining tourist destinations here to the south east coast.

As a result the raw natural beauty of Lanzarote has been left with room to breathe freely – and this approach is now paying dividends as more and more tourists seek to connect with the authentic and unspoiled nature of the island.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the north of Lanzarote where there are no tourist resorts whatsoever, just remnants of the islands agricultural past. Here you can explore delightful little villages such as Haria and Yaiza which retain all of their identity and traditions intact. As well as unspoilt coastal villages such as Arrieta, where a great beach hasn’t been scarred by the addition of any tourist accommodation.

Indeed anyone seeking to book Lanzarote villas or hotels will need to focus on the two main resorts of Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen, which is where the bulk of tourist beds are located. Puerto del Carmen is the older of the two resorts and revolves around its Old Town harbour area. Whilst Playa Blanca is located further so the south and enjoys better weather as a result.

Wherever tourists choose to stay they will find that Lanzarote remains a great holiday destination and one that is best explored by car. Car hire in Lanzarote costs from just €20 per day so it is also a cost effective means of getting around too.

Can you drive to the Costa Del Sol in less than a day?

I have recently returned from a holiday in Marbella on the Costa del sol. My wife has a fear of flying so we decided to drive.Costa Del Sol Map It took us 3 days to get there with one stop over in Bordeaux France, and one stop over in Jaen in Spain. We could easily have done the trip in 2 days with one stop, but on the way back I realised that the trip could actually be completed in 22 hours.

We left Marbella at 5 am and got to Bordeaux at 5 pm. Bordeaux to Calais can easily be done in 8 hours and if you catch the ferry right you can be back un the UK within 22 hours. You need a fast car obviously to do this, but we averaged around 70 or 80 Mph and stopped for short fuel and comfort breaks around every 2 to 3 hours.

A friend of mine has a couple of villas in Spain so we stayed at the one in Marbella. It certainly beats a holiday in the UK. Im sure we will be off again pretty soon.

Top 5 Stag Destinations in Spain

Barcelona
Barcelona

For stag weekends away, Spain comes up trumps for so many reasons: year-round sunshine, world-class football, short flights and fantastic late night clubbing. Stunning beaches and passionate party towns aren’t hard to find in Spain, but for guaranteed stag heaven, here are the top five.

Barcelona

Extraordinary architecture, superb beaches and fantastic footy – a Barcelona stag do has it all, and more. When the sun goes down, start off with a San Miguel at the buzzy bars on Las Ramblas, before heading into the maze of steamy clubs, traditional tavernas and swanky bars – getting lost is a given, so go with the flow.


Marbella
Marbella

Marbella

Join the rich and famous in the Costa del Sol’s celebrity playground. If you’re feeling flush, party on the exclusive ‘Golden Mile’ or flash your cash in Nikki Beach’s elite bars. Even in such luxurious surroundings stag weekends in Marbella don’t have to cost the earth. For a less pretentious side to the city, wander the narrow alleys, explore rustic bars and try freshly-grilled sardines; or charter a boat with your mates, go deep sea fishing and catch your own then see the night in with a beach barbeque and cold beers.




Madrid
Madrid

Madrid

Spain’s capital has more bars and restaurants per person than any other Spanish city – no wonder its people know how to party! 24-hour fiestas, traditional bull fighting and fiery flamenco dancers – Madrid has energy like no other capital. But don’t forget to save some for the pitch. Get the boys together and challenge the locals to a game in the Royal Park, or take a tour of Real Madrid’s awesome Santiago Bernabéu stadium.




Lloret de mar
Lloret de mar

Lloret de Mar

From fishing trips to foam parties, Lloret de Mar is stag paradise. This Costa Brava beauty is renowned for its stunning beaches, stack of sporting activities and massive range of bars. Spend lazy mornings on the beach, race round the go-kart track, or re-live your childhood in the waterpark, before hitting the legendary casinos, clubs and karaoke bars.






Benidorm
Benidorm

Benidorm

Five miles of golden beach, over 2000 bars and a micro-climate that means warm days all year round, it’s not hard to understand why Benidorm is so popular for stag weekends. With more clubs, cabarets, pubs and strip bars than any other, this is a passionate party town. Sleep it off on the stunning beaches, or clear your heads with an afternoon of downhill mountain-biking in the lemon-grove covered hills.



Spending Your Travel Money in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands boast a superb year round climate with winter temperatures being in the low 20’s (°C) whereas summers are hot but not uncomfortably so when they reach the high 20’s. This means that whatever time of the year you decide to holiday in Gran Canaria you can be sure that the weather will match your expectations. This in turn brings in other considerations we all have to think through when deciding where to go on holiday. One of these considerations is how far we can make our travel money stretch.If your biggest concern when booking a holiday is your budget, then the best time of year for you to visit Gran Canaria may be in December, January or February as prices will be cheaper during these months. The most expensive time for a holiday in Gran Canaria is usually during July and August when package holidays hit their peak season due to the school holidays in the UK. However, holidaying at this time can’t always be avoided when travelling with children.

Once decided on the right time of year to visit Gran Canaria to suit your budget, there are countless attractions to choose from to spend your hard earned travel money.

Big Thrills

Theme Parks are big business in Gran Canaria and great places to let loose with your holiday cash. For the more traditionalists who like the feeling of zipping round on a roller coaster or seeing the sites from the top of a Ferris wheel then Holiday World is the ideal spot. For something a little different, a trip to Sioux City could well prove the ideal day out. Here you will witness gunfights, enjoy time in saloons or relax at a western barbeque. This is a great place for live performances to keep the whole family entertained.

Capital Fun

If you want a little wining and dining while on holiday in Gran Canaria then a trip to the capital of Las Palmas is perfect for you. Here you’ll be able to enjoy authentic Canarian food or high standard international cuisine, in the most cosmopolitan of settings. Before eating why not spend some of your travel money in some of the many designer fashion outlets found in the city?

Amanda Hattersburg writes about everything travel related and in particular holidays to Gran Canaria. She writes frequently on these subjects and enjoys guest posting on numerous blogs throughout the Internet.

Free Guidebook for Lanzarote Tourists

Visitors to Lanzarote can pick up a free gift this Christmas – by downloading a copy of the Winter edition of Lanzarote Guidebook, the in depth island information guide.
 

Lanzarote Guidebook is packed with loads of useful information for tourists.  Featuring comprehensive guides to all of the islands resorts, towns and villages. As well as full information about of all of Lanzarote´s many attractions, excursions and sightseeing destinations.  Such as the breathtaking Timanfaya Volcano Park and the many creations of the island born artist and architect Cesar Manrique.
 

Lanzarote Guidebook also features a handy Essentials section containing lots of practical information from bank opening times and ferry timetables through to emergency phone numbers and tips on driving locally.
 

Written by residents, Lanzarote Guidebook is published every quarter.  Ensuring that information is always accurate and up to date.  And also includes maps to all of the main resorts as well as inside tips and information about upcoming events and fiestas.  As well as recommendations about where to eat, what to see and things to do.
 

The 104 page Winter 08/09 edition of Lanzarote Guidebook can be downloaded for free now at www.lanzaroteguidebook.com.
 

Online, visitors can also catch up on the very latest island news, check the latest weather reports, use interactive island maps and even seek free advice via the websites Tourist Advice Line.
 

In addition to booking their own holidays, flights, hire cars, villas and hotels in Lanzarote via island based companies – often at prices far more competitive than can be found in any High Street travel agency.
 

10,000 copies of Lanzarote Guidebook are also distributed entirely free of charge to tourists on the island via car hire and villa rental companies.  But everyone can get their hands on one by downloading a copy for free from the Lanzarote Guidebook website.