Undiscovered Tenerife

UNDISCOVERED TENERIFE

 

It goes without saying that Tenerife is a destination for sun, sea and sand.

With amazing resorts and lively bars, beachfront restaurants and sunsets to die for, it makes for a pretty special holiday. That’s what we know Tenerife for best, so we’re here to tell you more about undiscovered Tenerife. Its beautiful scenery, friendly culture, high levels of sustainability and its exciting gastronomy scene has a lot to boast about and shouldn’t go unmissed. So, if you fancy doing something a little different on your next holiday, Tenerife could be your answer…

EXPLORE AND ADVENTURE

When it comes to exploring, you’re spoilt for choice on a Tenerife holiday. Get off-the-beaten-track and you’re in for a real treat, as there’s a whole array of hikes and treks on offer. There’s so many to choose from, but we’ve selected a couple of our favourite routes that will offer mighty views!

There are lots of easy walking trails in Tenerife that’ll show you forests, ravines, volcanic landscapes and the beautiful coastline. One of our favourites is the Santiago del Teide to Masca hike in the Teno Mountains, which is perfect for those looking to spend a morning or afternoon appreciating the lush and rugged landscapes of the island. Classed as ‘easy’, this point-to-point trail showcases the magnificent Teno Mountains – a walking route that some revisit again and again. Highlights include the unbeatable views through the mountains to the small town of Masca and Mirador de Cruz de Hilda lookout point and its panoramic views of the surrounding area plus gorgeous palm trees and shrubbery. There’s a café here too, so you can take some time to sit back and enjoy the impressive views.

Or perhaps you’re an avid hiker and looking for a real challenge?

If so, then Route 040 could be the trek for you. This is a landmark hike starting and ending on ground level at the sandy shores of Socorro beach, taking you through to the highest point in Spain – peaking at 3,718 meters high! At the top, you’ll be amazed as you look down onto the clouds. Whilst this isn’t a trek for the faint hearted, the beauty of the trail will reward you for those hard-earned steps (and of course, the fact that you completed it is a reward in itself)!

It’s the beauty of this challenging trail that attracts so many to give it a go each year – don’t miss the protected landscape of Los Campeches, Tigaiga and Ruiz in Los Realejos and the Natural Park of Corona Forestal as you go – the perfect places for a pit stop!

Oh, and when we say it’s not the faint hearted, we mean it! The whole trek covers a total of 27.7 kilometres, meaning that average completion time is around 12 hours. If you’re feeling super brave and fancy running the route, then it’ll take you around 4 to 6 hours.

 

SUSTAINABLE TENERIFE

This is a destination where sustainability comes high on the list of priorities. From a dedicated walking festival demonstrating the variety and richness of the landscapes and nature, and initiatives to release turtles back to the sea to ‘Respect the Mountains’ – conservation for natural spaces including path cleaning and removing debris from the surface of the sea.

Tenerife is also one of the few destinations in the world to certify the boats who offer whale watching carry the “Blue Boat” flag. This symbol certifies their professional authorisation to carry out the activity and ensures that the staff on board know all about these lovely mammals and can help visitors to understand their behaviour.

Lots of effort goes in to make sure that Tenerife is a destination that does its bit for the planet.

So much so, that Tenerife has recently been recognised as a Biosphere Sustainable Destination for its efforts and contribution to sustainability and has joined 32 other destinations in achieving a Biosphere Certification, as well as a Whale Heritage Destination for its sustainable whale watching operations and protection of the oceans and marine life. Well done, Tenerife!

On a holiday here, there’s plenty of sustainable activities on offer, including those mentioned above, and much more, so you can help with the great cause.

 

TENERIFE’S FOOD SCENE

It goes without saying that we all enjoy eating out on holiday, right? Well, you’ll be in for a real treat in Tenerife, as it’s not short of a restaurant or two. Whether you head to the well-known hot spots or prefer to discover somewhere off the tourist trail, there’s a couple of things that you just have to try!

Papas Arrugadas (otherwise known as Wrinkled Potatoes) is popular with the locals. Boiled in lots of sea salt water for around 30 minutes, they’re then roasted so that the skin wrinkles and creates a crusting of salt. Although simple, spuds grown in Tenerife are packed full of flavour thanks to the rich volcanic soil. You’ll find these tasty morsels in many restaurants in Tenerife – so be sure to give them a try.

Fish is a staple on most small islands, and Tenerife is no exception. Fishermen deliver all-manner of fresh fish to restaurants on a daily basis, including sardine, pollock, grouper and many more so you’ll have the latest catch that evening. If you’re looking for something super authentic, give Atún en adobo (marinated tuna) a try – it’s marinated with herbs and spices overnight before frying – and is delicious!

You’ll not struggle to find wonderful fish in Tenerife’s restaurants, from seafront spots with a relaxing atmosphere to those centred in the hustle and bustle of it all, you’ll not be disappointed.

And not forgetting the wines! Some may say that Tenerife’s best kept secret is its wine. There are a few wonderful wineries to choose from, including Bodegas Monje and Bodega Reveron, where you can try some of the island’s gorgeous dry and acidic whites and smooth reds.

Tenerife Vinyard

 

 

ALL YEAR-ROUND SUN

And finally, what we love about Tenerife is its mild winters and hot summers. So, whether you’re looking to escape the dark winter months or prefer to get away in the summer, the weather will be kind to you in Tenerife!

 

CONTACT US TO FIND OUT MORE

We’re on hand to package together the perfect Tenerife holiday – so whether you would like to find out more, get some expert advice, or you’re ready to book your next holiday, get in touch with us by email, calling or booking an appointment, and we’ll do all of the hard work for you.

Count On Us, Your Local Travel Agent

YOU CAN COUNT ON US, YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT

With so much choice and a variety of online booking platforms available, many people ask us how travel agents are still in high demand. But, with specialist expertise, an unbeatable, personal service and up to date knowledge of the ever-changing covid-19 rules – we can offer something that online providers can’t. Let us tell you more…

IMPARTIAL ADVICE AND PERSONAL RECOMMENATIONS

It’s our job to know the destinations we sell inside out and will have had face to face training on destinations and resorts that we sell to you. Or even better, we’ve often been lucky enough to experience the resorts and destinations first-hand so that we can provide you with our very own experiences and recommendations. We’ll also take the time to listen to your needs so that together, we’ll find the perfect holiday for you and your travel party.

YOU’RE IN SAFE HANDS WITH US

We value each and every one of our customers, and don’t just consider ourselves as your local travel agent. Your health and safety are our top priority, which is why we’re keeping up to date with testing advice and will help you make sense of travel testing requirements to your chosen destination. We’re also in the know of the latest travel regulations – and should your booking be impacted, we’ll be in touch straight away to talk you through your options, whether you’re at home or in-resort. Whatever you decide, you’re in safe hands with us.

1,000’S OF HOLIDAY OFFERS AVAILABLE FOR 2021 AND BEYOND

We have access to 1,000’s of great value holiday offers – so whether you’re looking for a city break in Europe, a tour of South America or a luxurious getaway in the Maldives, we’re on hand to find the right holiday at the best price. Not only that, but we only work with reputable tour operators, so you can sit back and relax knowing that everything is being taken care of.

STOP DREAMING, START BOOKING!

We’re sure that we’ll all agree that 2020 was a difficult year. But with a new year, brings a new start – and we for one hope that it will include more holidays than we saw last year! So, whenever you’re ready, we’re here to book that long-awaiting break that you deserve and give you something to look forward to.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll get to work in finding you that perfect break https://www.cbttravel.co.uk

info@cbttravel.co.uk

Tel 01706 250006

Beach at Sunset

HOLIDAYS ON THE HORIZON AGAIN

It’s no doubt that the last few months have been a strange time for us all, but now normality’s nearing, we hope that the latter half of the year can provide some hope and excitement after much unexpected change, whether that be seeing loved ones again, heading to your favourite restaurant or jetting off onto a well-deserved holiday.

NO ONE KNOWS TRAVEL LIKE WE DO

With planes flying through the skies once more, we’re delighted that summer 2020 has begun, bringing us an air of excitement and freedom that we’d forgotten not so long ago. But booking a holiday right now may seem like a minefield; what countries are safe? Will I need to quarantine? Will my travel insurance be valid, you may ask?

Booking your holiday is often half of the fun, and as experienced travel professionals, we’re keeping up to date with the ins and outs of travel rules so that we can answer your questions or concerns with confidence and clarity. That just leaves you to sit back, relax and look forward to your holiday!

BRINGING YOU PEACE OF MIND

We don’t just see ourselves as your local travel agent; we really care about our customers. Health and safety are just as important to us as the holiday itself, which is why we’re keeping our finger on the pulse to make sure we’re the first to know of any travel changes. Should amended regulations impact your booking, whether you’re home or in-resort, we’ll be in touch to talk you through your options so you can make a decision that’s right for you. Whatever you decide, you’re in safe hands with us.

ADAPTING TO THE ‘NEW NORM’

One thing’s for sure, we’ve come a long way over the last few months and the excitement around making plans again is something we can all share. Granted, we’ve all had to adapt and will continue to do so – and there are no exceptions when on holiday. Whilst resorts are open and welcoming us again, you may notice some changes; be prepared for face masks, social distancing and less guests for the time being – but rest assured that fun is still on the agenda! Resorts are going the extra mile to make sure that facilities are open safely so that you can enjoy your break just like before.

Plus, we’ll be with you throughout your whole booking journey, giving you the latest rules on your chosen resort, so there will be no hidden surprises when you arrive.

BACK ON THE HIGH-STREET

The ease of just ‘popping in’ with travel questions has returned, and we for one are thrilled! In our eyes, there’s nothing quite like a friendly face to put your mind at ease. Whether it be a current travel query, a booking amendment or you’d like to sit down and chat about where to travel to this year or next, we’re all ears. So, if you’re on the high-street, pop in and say hello. We’d love to see you.

WE’RE READY WHEN YOU ARE

Whilst we’re adapting to our new idea of ‘norm’, we understand that travelling isn’t at the top of everyone’s to-do list just yet. When you’re ready, we’ll be on-hand to give you the latest travel advice and find that long-awaited holiday you’ll very much deserve!

We’re very much open, so any questions about upcoming holidays or future travel, we would love to hear from you. Visit us in-store, give us a call or pop us an email and we’ll be in touch with all the information you need.

Grand Canyon

North America Vs South America: Which one’s for you?

Two huge continents with an eclectic mix of picturesque scenery, clashing cultures and renowned cuisines – how could you ever choose between the two?  

Well, we’re not asking you to. But, we’re going to home in on two of our favourite destinations – one from each continent, and which both offer an incredible holiday experience. What’s more, they couldn’t be more different if they tried!

LAS VEGAS

First up, Las Vegas. Everyone knows it for its mishmash of adult entertainment, fine restaurants and the iconic strip – full of the world’s best casinos! Once you arrive, you’ll soon learn there’s not enough hours in the day to soak up everything this unique destination has to offer.

But how can we persuade you to go ahead and book a trip to the destination that never sleeps? Well, take a look at our favourite things to do in Sin City and we reckon it’ll get you excited!

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Sign

Place a bet in a world-class casino

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to casinos in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace is a particular favourite and must-visit though – with a mix of past and present, this old-school casino is the epitome of the destination…and nothing like the casinos you’ll find at home. The atmosphere, the choice and the sheer amount of people (any time of the day) is what makes any Las Vegas casino stand out from the crowd.

Don’t stick to one casino though – make sure you try a few (even if you’re just putting on a small bet) and experience as much as you can. It’s a once-in-a-life-time experience after all!

If you’re not a regular casino goer, don’t fret – why not take a stroll to the Gamblers General Store in Downtown Vegas? There are plenty of ‘how to’ gaming books to get your knowledge up to scratch. Or of course, doing your research at home before you travel, will do just the trick too.

Watch a resident musician or band

The Strip is well known for its resident A-list musicians and bands – and it’ll be guaranteed that whenever you visit, somebody will be putting on a show. It could even be worth checking the calendar before you book to prevent disappointment – and you could soon be in the crowd waiting to see the likes of Celine Dion, Elton John, Cher, Lady Gaga, Backstreet Boys or J. Lo perform!

Indulge in the finest restaurants and bars

Ever heard of kobe beef? You may have, but it’s unlikely you’ll have tasted it, as only a select number of restaurants in the U.S sell it – and three of them are in Vegas. Seeing as it’s so exclusive, we reckon you should give it a try. Head to SWS Steakhouse at the Wynn, Jean Georges Steakhouse at Aria or Jose Andres’ Bazaar at SLS. Trust us when we say, it’ll be one of the best steaks you’ve ever tried.

We’re sure you already know, that a tipple or two won’t be hard to find in Vegas – but if you’re looking for something a little extra special, give The Rio Wine Cellar and Tasting Room a try. It’s home to an impressive $10 million worth of wine! But don’t worry, there are plenty of different vinos to try, for all budgets and tastes.

Take a trip to the Grand Canyon

If you’re unlikely to make the trip twice, then we highly recommend you take a day trip to the mighty Grand Canyon. Consisting of 277 miles of the Colorado River and an impressive landscape, it’s no wonder it hosts a mighty five million visitors each year.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to get to from Las Vegas – and there are plenty of options too; from buses and helicopter rides, to motorcycles and small planes, or you could even rent a car for yourself. Of course, the prices will vary depending on which type of transport you choose. 

To find out more about the packages we have available to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, contact us today by paying us a visit, calling us on 01706 250006 or sending us an email to info@cbttravel.co.uk and we’ll help you plan your trip.

CHILE

A long country, filled with differing climates and settings, Chile has an array of sights and cultures to get your teeth into. So take a look at what you can do while in Chile – and you’ll see why we’ve chosen it as our must-see South American destination.

Explore Santiago

What’s great about Santiago, is it’s mix of old and new traditions. Nestled within the Andes Mountains, the city’s influence of European cultures and South American charm is the perfect combination, making it a gem of a city.

Right in the centre of the city, you’ll find Plaza de Armas – the perfect pit-stop for people watching and appreciating the city. It’s also a great place to start your day and grab a coffee.

Make sure you enjoy some of the outstanding views on offer whilst here too. The beautiful Cerro Santa Lucia park is the perfect location to soak it all up. It may be a small park, but the views are anything but!  

Try the finest wines in a Valparaiso vineyard

For wine enthusiasts, you’ve come to the right place. Valparaiso hosts many vineyards, where you can try some of the country’s finest wines. Join an educational tour and you’ll gain an insight into the work that goes into making some of the finest Chilean wines – where an expert will share their expert knowledge with you. Of course, you’ll get to enjoy a number of locally produced wines, and the beautiful vineyard scenery around you too.

Visit even more of South America with Latin Routes

If you’re travelling all that way, why not see as much of South America as you possibly can? Peru, Brazil, Argentina all offer unique experiences and cultures that will add to your adventure!

Latin Routes, our favourite South America supplier, offer a range of fully inclusive tours to South America.

To find out more about Chile and all the other South America tours that Latin Routes offer, contact us and we’ll help you plan your adventure.

Call 01706 250006 or email us at info@cbttravel.co.uk

NORTH AMERICA OR SOUTH AMERICA?

With such unique sights and attractions, how can you choose between the two? In our opinion, you can’t possibly! They’re both worthy winners and should be on everyone’s travel list.

24 Hours in Paris

Fancy a break but don’t have a lot of time to spare? I recently spent a day in Paris and managed to see all the sights in one day.

Getting There

You can easily fly from Manchester either the evening before and spend the night in a hotel or catch an early morning flight to Charles De Gaulle and then train into the city centre. Alternatively, get the train to London and hop on the Eurostar which takes you straight into the city centre.

What to do when you are there

Once we arrived in the centre of Paris, we had a ticket for the Hop on Hop off bus which went around the whole city stopping off at the main sights.

Our first stop was The Arc De Triomphe and The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. You can pay to get the top of the Arc De Triomphe and see the views all the way down the Champs Elysees.

Arc de Triomphe

We jumped back on the bus and listened to the compare through our free headphones telling us all about the buildings and the history of Paris, before getting off at our next stop which was Place de la Concorde. This is one of the best places for a view of the Eiffel Tower and lots of group photos and selfies were taken here. You also have the wonderful fountains between here and the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

From here it is just a few minutes’ walk down to the Eiffel Tower, via a few souvenir stalls if you wish to pick up a few reminders of your trip. If you wish to go up the Eiffel Tower then you have the choice of lift or stairs, depending on how fit you are feeling. It is a few euros less to climb the stairs – phew!! As we only had one day, we decided not to go up to the top and just took a few more photos from the ground before getting back on the bus at the Eiffel Tower stop and heading off to our next port of call – The Louvre.

The Louvre

Louvre Pyramid

After watching The Da Vinci Code, we had to get a photo of the glass pyramid outside the Louvre. Not really arty people, we decided not to go in, though it would have been nice to have seen the Mona Lisa! After our early start we were ready for a bite to eat. We found a nearby pavement café and grabbed a café and baguette whilst watching the sights of Paris go by. Not too expensive to say we were in the centre of Paris.

After lunch we changed on to the ‘blue route’ and headed up to the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. It was a very warm day and was hot work walking up all those steps to the Sacre Coeur but was well worth it when we got there for the views over Paris. The people selling bottles of water for a euro were making a fortune that day!

Sacre Couer
Sacre Coeur

After taking in the view, we wandered around to the Place Du Tertre to see the artists at work and soak up the atmosphere. It is a great place to have your portrait done here.

After grabbing an ice-cream, time to head back to the bus and our next stop The Notre Dame. Unfortunately, you can’t go in at the minute, and from the back all you can see is scaffolding because of the fire, but from the front it is still an impressive building.

Now, getting towards the end of the day, just time to pop in a couple of shops then head back to where we were getting our transport home. We managed to find the nearest bar and enjoy a nice cold beer to cool down before we were picked up to head off home!

All in all, a great day and highly recommended!

By Lisa Mousley, Chic Boutique Travel

Sunshine and cultural delights await you in Corfu and Croatia

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to summer destinations; just a few hours flight away and we’ll reach turquoise blue seas, gorgeous white sands and a range of cultures that differ to our own. But this year, there are two destinations that stand out from the crowd – Corfu and Croatia. Why you may ask? Well, let us tell you…

CORFU, GREECE

An old-time favourite, it’s no surprise that Corfu’s one of our recommended destinations for a summer getaway. Surely the amazing cuisine, unrivalled sandy beaches, picturesque villages and warm climate is enough to sway anyone? We think so – but there’s more to the Greek island than what’s right in front of you, and that’s what we’re here to tell you about.

Ancient ruins you need to see

There’s 3,000 years of history to get your teeth into in Corfu – including the Temple of Artemis in the ancient city of Korkyra, the Monument of Menekratis in Garitsa and the ancient site of Palaiopolis – all very much showcasing the history of the island. What’s more, visit these monuments and get to know the local cities and towns too. Be sure to visit some of the local restaurants and get a flavour for authentic life in Corfu – it’ll feel like a million miles away from your holiday resort.

The greenest of the Greek islands

What we love about Corfu, is it’s the greenest of the Greek islands (and there are thousands of them)! Not to be confused with Ireland, Corfu’s often called ‘The Emerald Island’ due to its mesmerising vineyards, beautiful mountain peaks and simply for having some of the prettiest shades of green, turning the island into an emerald heaven.

Rural villages

You’ll not be short of a rural village or two in Corfu – and they’re all gorgeous and beautifully authentic. We don’t expect you’ll visit them all, and if you only get time to visit one – make it Paleokastritsa. You’ll find everything you need here; from charming tavernas, a stunning blue bay and six beaches to sit back and soak it all up on. You’ll also find the 13th century Theotókou monastery here, which many consider to be the main point of cultural interest. With culture and scenery rolled into one, what more could you ask for?

CROATIA

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a soar in visitor numbers to Croatia – and we can understand why, as its recently been named one of the top three most beautiful and affordable travel destinations! We think it’s got everything you need in a holiday; beaches, national parks, historical cities and plenty of opportunities to island hop. Still a destination that’s increasing its tourism, we recommend you go sooner rather than later – and we’ve listed our tips on where to visit.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Not only is this Croatia’s most popular national park, some consider it as Europe’s most breathtaking natural wonder. Just imagine stunning waterfalls, sixteen electric blue lakes and a forested canyon. Sounds incredible right? It’s set up for tourists too, with boardwalks and trails as well as shuttles for the less active traveller. There’s also the option to row across the calm waters! Whichever option you go for, we’re in no doubt that you’ll be wowed.

Historical Dubrovnik

This city on the sea has it all; centuries-old forts, a picturesque Old Town a collection of baroque buildings, alluring cliff views…and even a beach! Need we say more? It gets even better, as Dubrovnik is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. To get to see it at its best, take a cable car ride to the peak of Mount Srd and simply appreciate what’s around you – you may even see some of the Game of Thrones filming locations! Located near many of Croatia’s islands, it’s the perfect place to start your Croatian adventure too – we recommend you start and end your trip here, with some visits to your favourite islands in-between.

Bustling Split

Life doesn’t stop in bustling Split! From the outside, you’ll come face to face with an imposing walled fortress, but inside it’s bursting with a buzzing atmosphere – no matter what time of the day. You’ll find trendy bars, restaurants and shops in tiny narrow streets that you could wander around for hours – some even get lost – but that’s more opportunities to try a different local wine, we say!

      

CORFU AND GREECE WITH ADVANTAGE HOLIDAYS    

Advantage Holidays offer incredible holidays to Corfu and Greece, from 3-star breaks on the beach to 5-star luxury holidays combining excursions, cities and beach. Anything’s possible.

Whenever and wherever you want to go, contact us today and we’ll put create a holiday that’ll last long in your memory.

Where to see the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a sight like no other. The ethereal dance across the dark sky amazes those who spot them . We think they’re the world’s finest natural phenomenon. With that in mind, we thought we’d share our favourite places to witness them in 2019.

 

TROMSO, NORWAY

 

Tromso is at the centre of the northern aurora zone, meaning the odds on spotting them are definitely in your favour. We love Tromso because, while the main draw is undoubtedly to see the Northern Lights, there’s plenty to enjoy on the ground. Opt for adventurous excursions, including husky sledding, snowmobiling, hiking, kayaking and whale safaris.

Or head to Fjellheisen, the cable car behind the city’s Arctic cathedral. Once at the top, a number of delightful walks afford superb views of the city below.

We’ve not even mentioned the lively nightlife. From traditional Norwegian cuisine to more typical home comforts, everybody is catered for here. While for those who want to stay up after hours, Tromso boasts more pubs per capita than any other city in Norway. Skål!

SVALBARD

 

With a population of just 2,600 and three hours from Oslo by plane, Svalbard is remote, and it’s this that makes it the ultimate winter experience. In winter, the sun barely appears above the horizon, giving it an eerie, mystical feel. Its topography is both dramatic and beautiful. Think snow-laden peaks, towering glaciers and ice fields as far as the eye can see.

The total lack of light pollution makes for a terrific Northern Lights experience. Wintry excursions are all on offer here too, though Svalbard has an ace up its sleeve: polar bears. There are more of them than people,. So pack your camera and hop on a photography excursion. The month of September is best for combining both polar bears and the Northern Lights.

ICEHOTEL, SWEDEN

 

The name says it all, doesn’t it? Nestled in Swedish Lapland in the tiny village of Jukkasjärvi and dotted with glassy lakes, snow-clad fir forests and reindeer. The original ICEHOTEL won’t disappoint. It was, in fact, named as one of the ‘world’s greatest places’ for 2018 by Time Magazine.

After nights spotting the lights in the virtually pollution-free north Swedish Lapland, discover the incredible architecture of the hotel itself.  Sleep in an expertly carved -5 degree ice room, kept warm by reindeer furs and woken the next day by a glass of hot lingonberry.

Icehotel, Sweden

ROMANTIC ICELAND

 

One of the most popular and well-known Northern Lights destinations, Iceland’s delights are endless,  and ideal for a bit of romance. The ‘land of fire and ice’ is packed full of adventure, with everything from self-drives among epic waterfalls and erupting geysers to soaks in the famous Blue Lagoon.

If you’re looking for the ideal romantic retreat, Hotel Grimsborgir, surrounded by Iceland’s natural scenery and on the doorstep of UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, is unparalleled. This luxury hotel is ideal for the adventurous, with horse-riding, quad-biking, snowmobiling and glacier hiking on offer. Plus, its rural location means chances of catching sight of those famous lights are even higher – and can even be done from a private hot tub.

Why not combine Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle sights and south coast with the Northern Lights for the ultimate romantic break?

Iceland Northern Lights

 

GLASS IGLOO AND ICEHOTEL HOLIDAY, FINLAND

 

Some would say we’ve saved the best until last with this bucket list experience. You’ll start with a stay in the snow-carved rooms of the ICEHOTEL. Enjoy sauna soaks and hearty Lappish cuisine, before swapping to a heated glass igloo for the most magical of private performances,  seeing the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed. What’s more, if you do fall asleep, a “watcher” will act as an aurora alarm, so you don’t miss a second.

 

Alongside this unique accommodation, there’s plenty of winter activities to enjoy, too, from snow sculpting and ice fishing to snowmobiling and husky safaris; it’s the ultimate polar adventure.

Glass Igloo

Spotting the Northern Lights is high on many a bucket list and, combined with so many unique destinations and experiences, makes for a wonderful short break. Chic Boutique Travel can offer a range of unforgettable holidays to Scandinavia and the Nordics with tailor-made options throughout.

 

Call us to find out more about Northern Lights holidays in Scandinavia – 01706 250006

Rendezvous in Rio!

RioI recently headed out from London Heathrow with Latin Routes to explore the cosmopolitan South American city of Rio De Janeiro!  Wow! What an experience!

We arrived in the evening, and as we passed the world-famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches I firmly had Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ and ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ etched in my mind and would have for the entire trip!

We were given the most fabulous welcome by the Pestana Hotel – with Caipirinha’s cocktail and the most fabulous roof top views. From the distance we could see Christ The Redeemer appearing and then disappearing again amongst the clouds. It was most eerie.

The first two days I spent lots of time learning everything about this incredible continent, meeting representatives from all over South America.

Faye in RioWe were treated to an evening at Rio’s most photogenic night-spot, Rio Scenarium. The atmosphere was electric – with Samba beats. It is a quirky place, unlike anywhere I have been before. On each of the three floors there is an eclectic mix of antiques from the opulent to the unexpected (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs outside the ladies toilets!). A visit is a must.

On our final evening it was certainly dress to impress, to spend an evening at the luxurious Copacabana Palace. We danced the night away, and I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to be there!

The team at Latin Routes really did, for me, save the best until last. Our final day arrived and first up was a visit up in the cable cars to Sugar Loaf Mountain – from here the views overlooking the city and it’s gorgeous beaches was a sight to behold.

Then came the big one…. Corcovado, home to Christ the Redeemer. I believe in life, you occasionally witness something truly majestic that leaves you overcome with emotion. For me, this was it! As you approach him you can not help but be wowed by his sheer height and how his commanding position looks over the entire city, protecting it. Then clouds would appear and just has he had done on that first night, he disappeared and then would re-appear. Almost like magic, a rainbow appeared and this memory will last forever.

If you would like information on visiting anywhere in South America, call us to make an appointment – 01706 250006.

Written by Faye Blackburn, Chic Boutique Travel

beach

Best beach holiday destinations in Spain and Portugal

If summers on the coast, golden beaches, blue waters, friendly hospitality combined with amazing food appeals to you, Portugal and Spain are sure to have exactly what you seek for your next summer holiday. Short flights from home, affordable prices, suitable destinations for families, couples, nature-lovers, and culture enthusiasts alike, these countries have always been two of the favourites for a perfect beach holiday in Europe.

Read our experts’ pick of the top destinations in Spain and Portugal that are sure to be exactly what you seek for your next beach break.

A selection of the best places to go for a beach holiday in Spain

Europe’s sunniest country, with dry summers and warm winters, Spain is an obvious choice for beach vacations. The Mediterranean Sea will never disappoint you, and Majorca, Lanzarote and Ibiza are among the three favourite destinations to visit in Spain.

If you are looking for long days at the beach, attractions on your doorstep and a range of bars and clubs that are open until sunrise, destinations like Marbella, Barcelona and Ibiza are ideal for you.

Being the largest and most developed of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has always been a selected destination for those seeking both nightlife and some tranquillity. Home to one of the most important harbours in the Atlantic Ocean, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the bustling capital of the island. Spending a summer holiday here gives you the opportunity to not only enjoy a perfect beach holiday, but also spend days exploring quirky shops, museums, attractive architecture, botanical gardens and excellent restaurants, and unspoiled palm-lined beaches dotted with an expanse of golden sand.

The majority of the beaches in Spain are packed with tourists, but if you prefer to escape to secluded havens, usually only known by the locals, there are still places to get away from the crowds, that should be part of any avid travellers’ bucket list. Only a few miles away from Malaga, Nerja is one of the best kept secrets of the Costa del Sol. The water is exceptionally clean and teemed with fish, ideal for snorkelling, with a natural landscape of cliffs and hills characterising this beach, this is the ideal setting to spending a relaxed day enjoying the sun.

A good alternative to crowded Majorca is Cala Llombards, a stunning beach destination, surrounded by pine trees and bushes, where the water is clear and shallow, making it suitable for younger visitors, with plenty of water sports opportunities.

Located in the north-east coast of Menorca, Es Grau is a charming fishing village set within a protected nature reserve rich in marine life, with a beautiful unspoilt natural beach, perfect for those looking for a hidden gem, and ideal for families with children.

Llafranc is a more exclusive part of the Costa Brava and relatively unknown by tourists, which makes this the perfect destination to catch some peace and quiet, outside some of the more chaotic Spanish beaches. This beach is part of a larger urban area which means that you will have many facilities available including hotels, bars and restaurants to choose from.

Spain Offer

Where to go in Portugal for a beach holiday

Recognised for its rich marine heritage, cultural monuments, expansive sandy beaches, stunning views along the coast, charming villages, historic buildings and friendly hospitality, Portugal is an incredibly fascinating country.

With its popular resorts and the lowest prices in Europe, Algarve is one of the favourite beach location for holiday-makers. The beautiful coastline, golden beaches, modern hotels, and the range of restaurants and bars available make this a perfect choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a lovely chilled break, only a 3-hour flight from the UK. Portimao, Albufeira and Vilamoura offer a full range of facilities and attractions that have always been popular amongst tourists.

In the eastern coast of the Algarve you can find impressive islands such as Tavira and Armona, with many miles of sand, the perfect option if you are looking for a holiday in the sun tucked away from the crowds. Both islands can only be reached by boat, and are surrounded by glorious beaches with warm waters, providing amazing options for your next summer holiday.

The western Algarve, stretching from Lagos to Sagres is excellent for nature lovers and remains one of the least spoiled parts of the Algarve. Dramatic cliffs, breathtaking sea views and caves are the main characteristics of this area that will leave you amazed. Sagres is a truly tranquil fishing village with glorious beaches protected by high cliffs, a picturesque harbour at Baleeira, impressive hotels and a favourite destination for surfing, walking and cycling. This area of Algarve is cooler than the east side, providing a refreshing break from the summer heat.

Whilst the Algarve is very busy is summer months, a few miles along the coast is Costa Vicentina, an emerging affordable beach destination. The small towns of Zambujeira do Mar, Aljezur, Vila Nova de Milfontes and Porto Covo are coastal towns, that boast an overwhelming array of beaches, lovely seaside villages with traditional atmosphere and white picturesque buildings. Perfect to gateway to some incredible walks along the cost, enjoy breathtaking views, or just chill and unwind on one of the many hidden beaches. You may want to take the opportunity to visit Alentejo, an area sometimes compared with Tuscany, it is Portugal’s finest wine and food producing region with unspoilt villages, the perfect destination for wine and food lovers.

Going north, just a few miles from Lisbon, lies the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park, an area that boats stunning coastal scenery and secluded havens like Portinho da Arrábida and Galapos beaches, both still hidden secrets for many tourists.

Further down in the south with deserted sand dunes and magnificent views is Comporta beach. A holiday destination preferred by the wealthy Portuguese families, and famous names like Monica Belluci, Christian Louboutin and Madonna who have long been seduced by the charms of Portugal.

And you if you’re not content with just sitting back and relaxing, there’s plenty to do and see in Portugal too as it´s easy to combine a relaxing beach holiday with a cultural activity. Visit the capital Lisbon with its impressive monuments, cuisine and cultural activities, and dipping your toes in the nearest charming village of Cascais, a coastal town with sea front hotels, bustling beaches, impressive historic forts and variety of restaurants. A visit to this destination has to be high on any travellers list.

Special offer

If these beach holiday destinations inspire you and want to know more, speak with our travel experts to help choose your perfect holiday in the sun.

In the meantime, to give you a helping hand, we’ve picked out some of the best deals not to be missed in Portugal and Spain, from Advantage Holidays. With flexibility of duration, peace of mind that someone is always available to offer support if anything goes wrong, the ability to find low cost flights with a range of quality hotels from 3 to 5 stars, all of these reasons and more will make your holiday very special and give you peace of mind. Plus, you can book your holiday now with as little as £50 deposit, which means that you will be able to spread the cost of your holiday.

Parga Harbour

Faye’s holiday to Parga – Mainland Greece

My absolute favourite place in the World is Parga – but when I tell people this the first thing they say is, where is that?!

Flying into the tiny airport of Preveza, the stunning Parga is around a one hour drive away. Situated on mainland Greece – once you arrive in resort, you very much feel like you are on one of the Islands.

This time we stayed at the small, family run Alfa Hotel. The staff here are so friendly and welcoming, nothing is too much trouble. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the sea front from here, although it can take longer, when stopping to chat to workers who remember us from last time!

The waterfront in Parga is without doubt, the most stunning I have seen. An array of different coloured shop fronts – selling everything from “I love Parga” souvenirs to delicious Greek cuisine. The old town is worth exploring, too. The higgledy piggledy cobbled streets will take you to hidden little hotels and even an Olive Oil factory. As you begin the incline towards the Citadel, it would be rude not to stop off for a refreshing drink in one of the cool bars, offering the most romantic and pretty views.

When you reach the Citadel, the views are simply spectacular. It is there that you can truly appreciate the effort that has gone in to keeping the waterfront the jewel in Parga’s crown.

If you want to explore – there are the most incredible, if a little strenuous, walks to be done. If relaxation is for you, then the quirky little resort train will take you up to Ali Pasha’s castle – with a stop off in one of the nearby villages, en-route.

Due to it’s location – there are plenty of boat trips that you can take to the neighbouring Islands of Corfu or Paxos. If you want to see something majestic, I would highly recommend a coach trip to Meteora. The monasteries built on the top of these rock formations is a sight to be seen and something you will never forget!

If you like you night life low key, Parga is for you. There are so many delicious restaurants to choose from – you will simply have to return just so you can sample them all. Ending the night with a night-cap, some slow-beat music and a view out to sea is my idea of heaven – and here I get to experience my ‘heaven’ every night.

Will I be visiting again soon? ….. I don’t need to answer that!