Tempting Tenerife – What’s Not to Like?

Over the years, Tenerife has developed a reputation as a place for holidaymakers seeking blazing sunshine and a party atmosphere. While much of Tenerife’s pull on tourists has been the beautiful climate and fantastic nightspots, it has so much more to offer if you take the time to explore the island. Take a look at the following ways you can get the most out of a trip to Tenerife.

mountain 384528 640 250x187 Tempting Tenerife   Whats Not to Like?

Visit the Ancient Dragon Tree
No trip to Tenerife would be complete without experiencing the Ancient Dragon Tree. It is often referred to as the oldest tree in the world, with many locals believing it to be 1000 years old, but more accurately thought to be around 650 years old. Hire a car for the day and visit Icod de los Vinos to see the tree, and while you are there take in the Church of San Marcos and the Artlandya Doll Museum.

See the Highest Peak in Spain
Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain, 3718 metres above sea level. An active volcano, Mount Teide is an impressive sight when viewed against the bright blue skies of the island. If you don’t fancy climbing in the mountains, you can still appreciate the beauty of the Teide National Park, a World Heritage Site filled with some incredible animals and plants. The stunning volcanic rock patterns and formations are worth the trip alone.

Experience the Local Cuisinefood 406473 640 250x187 Tempting Tenerife   Whats Not to Like?
You may be familiar with traditional Spanish food, but Tenerife has its own unique twist with some African influences. There are plenty of general restaurants catering to tourists, but try to seek out the more traditional restaurants with a local flavour if you really want to experience the regional cuisine . Many dishes will include local fruit, vegetables and fish, grilled to create a lighter meal which suits the warm weather. Make sure to try plenty of Tapas and the Papas Arrugadas potato dish, famous within the region.

Have Fun at the Carnival
If you can make it to Tenerife in February, make sure to take part in the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The people of the island are known for their warm, friendly nature, so be sure to mingle and make plenty of new friends. The carnival is known around the world and features lots of musical entertainment, dancing and a big parade. Prepare a fancy dress costume in advance if you really want to fit in.

Get Out on the Water
Surrounded by water, it is natural that tourists to Tenerife have plenty of options when it comes to water-based fun. You can charter a boat for a day out at sea, take a Submarine Safari and go diving in the Atlantic Ocean, swim in the rock pools at Garachico or look for whales in the surrounding waters. If you prefer to stay inland, there are plenty of water parks for some family entertainment in the sun, with Siam Park being the best known.

London in the Summertime

London gets a bad rap for weather, which is sort of…deserved. But that’s not to say that you won’t get at least two glorious weeks of summer each year. Since the summer is famously fleeting, be ready to make the most out of it. When the sun comes out, so does everyone else. Although London gets part of its personality from the ubiquitous drizzle, it shines during the summer.

When you’re planning your trip, look at Hotels4U for London Hotels that are close to transport links so you can access all that the city has to offer. Most of central London is walkable, but there’s plenty to see on the fringe and for that, your best option is usually the train system. Here are just a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Richmond

Set on the banks of the Thames, Richmond is the perfect place to find a pub and claim an outdoor table for the afternoon. If you want to do some exploring before settling in, check out Kew Gardens or Richmond Park. You could also visit Hampton Court Palace on the way in or out of London. Bear in mind that when it rains in Richmond, it pours:

High Tide 2 London in the Summertime
Well, that’s unfortunate. But at least the sun is out!

Greenwich

On a sunny day, jump on the Docklands Light Railway to Greenwich, ground zero for the modern concept of timekeeping. This is where time starts, and you can get a photo of yourself straddling the prime meridian. Greenwich is its own little center of activity, with the Royal Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the world’s last surviving tea clipper) all within walking distance.

Covent Garden

If you’d rather stick to the heart of the city, head down to Covent Garden. It’s an old covered marketplace that is a constant flurry of activity. You can shop, watch street performers, eat, drink, and generally be merry. Is it touristy? Yes. But for good reason.

Notting Hill

Admittedly, I’m biased towards Notting Hill because I used to live there. It’s close to Portobello Market, a long street lined with a hodgepodge of shops and its main attraction, the Saturday market. It is rammed with people but don’t let that stop you. Get there early and investigate what the stalls have to offer – you could find anything, from trinkets to the best chocolate banana crepes this side of Paris.

London revels in its brief, blissful moments of summer. It’s a time when people break out the Pimm’s and (somewhat bizarrely) eschew the sunscreen, soaking up as much of the season as they possibly can. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are in London, because you’ll be able to sense the way people’s moods have buoyed. Pull up a chair and join them, but bring an umbrella – just in case.

High tide London in the Summertime
May as well go to the pub.

Aruba, Heaven in the Caribbean

There are a few destinations that would appear on nearly everyone’s bucket list. The Caribbean, and in particular the island of Aruba, would probably be high on most people’s list. If it is not on your wishful itinerary perhaps after reading this you will include it.

beach 26015 640 Aruba, Heaven in the Caribbean

Aruba has an enviable reputation when it comes to sparkling clear water, breathtaking beaches, and a near perfect climate. Aruba is even fortunate enough to be at a latitude below the hurricane belt which blights many other exotic Caribbean destinations.

Aruba has managed to hold on to the charms that attract visitors from across the globe. But not only does it attract visitors it manages to keep them. The island boasts a massive 65% of visitors return to the island. Far more than any other destination in the Caribbean chain

Off the Florida Keys

Ever since the Beach boys waxed lyrical about the island in their massive hit single “Kokamo” visitors have wanted to experience the joy of the island for themselves. It is a fact of life that the island has been developed considerably since Brian Wilson urged people to visit to a place “off the Florida Keys”

Multiple airlines and travel companies offer flights or full packages respectively. There is also a local airline Aruba Airlines that flies within the region. All flights into the island arrive at Reina Beatrix airport, a modern facility with many shops and eateries.

Palm Beach

 

In the north-west of the island you can be fortunate enough to visit a beach voted time and time again as one of the best beaches in the world. Palm Beach is a picture perfect beachside resort destination. It looks just like most people’s idyllic mental image of a palm tree-lined, white sand beach, fronted by crystal clear Caribbean waters. So much so it has an unreal appearance.

Palm Beach is the centre of tourism for the island, boasting many high-quality beachfront hotels. Here you will also find all kinds of shops offering everything from local crafts to boutique fashion. EagleBeach is another extremely popular beach resort area. It is the widest beach on the island and offers, beach huts and some incredibly comfortable shaded picnic areas as well as every conceivable water-sport.

Turtle Time

Another attraction of this particular beach is that for several months each year you will see red and white markers dotted along the shoreline. These indicate the presence of protected Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green and Hawksbill turtle nests. If you are fortunate enough to be there in the hatching seasons you may be witness to one of the most inspiring sights in nature. The nestlings make their awkward way to the sea around sunset, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to see an increasingly rare event.

Aruba is a Dutch territory, but over 80 ethnic groups call the island home. Because of this diversity which includes Europeans, Portuguese, South American Indians, Spanish and people of Asian descent the island has an eclectic selection of food possibilities.

Pancakes and Pastechi

American chains have left their mark, with delicacies such as KFC and Taco Bell available. But there are still a very an interesting range of restaurants and cafes in every corner of the island. One of the most popular is Linda’s Dutch Pancake House, a strange Dutch-Caribbean mix that produces such delights as chocolate-strawberry or bacon and apple pancakes.

Street food in this part of the world means “Pastechi”. This is a dough pocket which is fried while the chicken, seafood, cheese or meat filling cooks to perfection. The wonderfully named ‘Waka Waka Adventure Cafe and Cantina’ is another popular place to eat. This is a family-owned small restaurant which offers local and international food. On the menu you will find local fish soup, coconut shrimp, grouper and great barbecued ribs.

Aruba really is a dream holiday destination that will lure you in and capture your heart, and the chances are you will be one of the 65% who return again.

 

 

Rail Tours: Destination Checklist

If you thought rail travel was only about commuting to work or visiting family, think again. From desert odysseys to mountain adventures, city breaks to luxury safaris, railways holidays come in all different sorts of shapes and sizes.

Here’s a quick guide to just some of the many different kinds of trip on offer.

Short breaks

If you’ve only got a few days to spare or want to make the most of your weekends, a short UK railway break could be just what you’re looking for. Hop on a train in London or closer to home and be whisked to the Highlands of Scotland, the wilds of Wales or the beauty of Cornwall. Your travel and accommodation will all be arranged for you, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the view!

4703986442 1d0e91a2f4 Rail Tours: Destination Checklist
Train station in Berlin

Historic journeys

If you have a love of trains and a love of history, taking a trip on a classic steam train through timeless countryside could well be your ideal summer break. All around the UK, steam trains carry enthusiasts to some of the most beautiful parts of the country, but if you’ve got more time then you could even visit Belgium, Austria or Germany by rail.

For anyone interested in the battles of World War One, a train journey to the sights and monuments of the conflict would be a weekend to remember. Your guides will talk you through the momentous events that took place in these now peaceful towns and villages and give you a real insight into what life was like back in the early 1900s.

Exotic excursions

Those who want to travel even further afield may think rail journeys are out of the question – but they’d be wrong! Go on safari in South Africa, visit the temples of Sri Lanka or walk round the imperial cities of China with sensational rail journeys throughout these countries.

3936628067 dba65bcc37 Rail Tours: Destination Checklist
Tracks to adventures and travels still unknown!

Long haul breaks can last anywhere from one week to three weeks, but you can also arrange a custom-made trip and experience everything that your chosen destination has to offer at your own place.

If you’ve got a list of places that you want to visit, a rail tour is almost guaranteed to take you there. As train holidays let you travel around and experience cities, towns and villages at a more relaxed pace, you’ll come back with a deeper understanding and appreciation of what your destination has to offer.

From Spa Retreat to Golfing Paradise: The Allure of Punta Cana

Those searching for a luxurious family holiday will be pleased to know that the resort of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic boasts a modern-day paradise suited to all ages.

The area itself is positioned between 650 yards of private beach, beautiful gardens and a shady coconut grove. From enjoying a massage under a palapa to spending an entire day on one of the private golf courses, there’s an activity to suit all – possibly one of the reasons the area holds such a strong allure.

3190493796 dea0977477 From Spa Retreat to Golfing Paradise: The Allure of Punta Cana
Photo Credit: Flickr user Ed Yourdon via creative commons license.

 

Sports

Other activities include a variety of water sports, such as snorkeling in the azure blue waters, water polo, wind surfing and kayaking, as well as a number of land-based options. From volleyball to football, to yoga classes and an archery academy, there’s certainly something for everyone.

All-inclusive

Many of the packages available boast all-inclusive stays, which certainly takes the hassle out of your holiday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at regular intervals throughout the day and for those who find themselves a little peckish in between, a trip to one of the open bars, where you’ll find an abundance of snacks, is sure to suffice.

3187855972 31f1832f33 From Spa Retreat to Golfing Paradise: The Allure of Punta Cana
Photo Credit: Flickr User Ed Yourdon via Creative Commons License

Local attractions comprise the famous Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park, which sits at the Southern end of Punta Cana and boasts over 500 species of exotic plants, as well as 11 natural lagoons. Those that wish to view an abundance of the area’s tropical birds will find them at the Manati Park, whilst many of the local companies offer excursions in the shape of jeep safaris, which take you on a tour of the nearby tropical jungle.

Punta Cana is renowned for its many luxury golf courses; in fact, it’s been given the title of the Caribbean’s golf mecca. With more than 12 courses in operation, many of which have been designed by famous golfers, there’s a level to suit all.

 

As well as the many excursions and activities on offer, many quite simply visit Punta Cana for its stunning beaches, which have been consistently ranked as some of the world’s best. When you wish to delve into an activity that boasts the ultimate in relaxation, a trip to one of the resort’s many spas is a surefire way to forget all of your worries and woes.

To find out more about this stunning part of the world, simply visit the Club Med website.