4 Ways You Can Enjoy Great Food On Your Travels

Travelling the world and taking it all in is something that makes life worth living, so how can you make it even better?

If you love great food, then travelling is a surefire to exposure your tastebuds to all sorts of other delightful flavours and textures. The secret is to travel like a pro, and follow a few simple rules. Take a look at the rest of this article, and then get ready for a culinary experience unlike any other. Perfect for ensuring you make some memories that you’ll remember forever.

Eat Where the Locals Eat

The locals know their food better than anyone, and they tend to vote with their feet. Sometimes you’ll see tourist destinations bursting at the seams, and not a local in sight. Take a look at where they go to fill their bellies, and then make your way over there. You can be assured of a great meal the moment you sit yourself at the table and browse through the menu! It’s also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture by getting chatting and exchanging stories.

Learn About the Local Delicacies Before You Setoff

It’s all about the preparation when you want to get the most out of your travels, so plan ahead and get ready to enjoy yourself like never before. Taking the time to peruse the local delicacies online or in a guidebook is a great way to have an idea of what to look out for.

Don’t worry, no one is expecting you to become a master or a connoisseur overnight. But take the time to familiarise yourself and you’ll be amazed at how much more you get out of your travels.

Ignore the Big Chain Restaurants

Chain restaurants are okay, but there’s a time and a place for them. If you really want to get the most out of your experience immersed in a new culture, then heading to the nearest KFC isn’t the way to do it. Unless you’re in the US that is!

Find those small artisan eateries that have been family run for decades, and you’ll be able to treat your tastebuds to something the likes of which they could only have dreamed of. Just what you need when you want to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Look at Who Owns the Eateriesand Hotels Before Booking

If you want to enjoy some great food, stay at hotels or dine at restaurants that are owned by a renowned Hospitality Management Company to ensure a positive stay.

That way you know that you’ll be in for a real treat the moment you set foot through the door. Just what you need to fill your stomach after a long day on your feet exploring the local area. All you’ll need to do then is lie down, and let your food go down.

Cruise ideas for 2018

There aren’t many holidays in life that feel more luxurious than stepping onto a cruise ship, ready to be whisked off for a few days at sea exploring the area. With a wide range of destinations and cruises available, here’s my guide to the best cruises you should book onto for your holiday in 2018.

Cruise Australia

Southern Australia is magnificent in March as you can enjoy the warm climate of Autumn. Temperatures remain around 22 degrees and the sun continues to shine, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings without the searing heat or blazing sunshine of the summer.

Australia cruises

For your perfect cruise, choose Crystal Cruises Australia for your choice of liner. This award-winning company will take you on a trip of a lifetime on board their luxurious ships, complete with ballrooms, theatres, bars and opulent rooms. Their three-week cruise around Southern Australia starts in Auckland, New Zealand where you can explore this exciting city on the North Island. Aboard your ship, set sail along the western coast down to Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and finally Dunedin before making your way over to Australia. Cruise across the Tasman Sea before you see Sydney and its iconic skyline appear on the horizon. Believe me, it’s an emotional, unforgettable experience. Spend time exploring this fantastic city before making your way to Melbourne, where you must visit the set of Neighbours! From here it’s along the coast to Perth and Fremantle, your final destination. It’ll be three weeks you’ll never forget.

Cruise Singapore

Singapore is possibly the most suitable place to take a cruise from, with many of the cities buildings taking you back to a time when boarding a liner was the only way to explore far off destinations. March is ideal for a trip here as the monsoon season comes to an end and the temperature is cooler than the humid months that follow.

Cruises from Singapore

Board Crystal Cruises’ 2 week round trip to Singapore which will take you deep into the Indian Ocean. Explore the city before you depart, visiting iconic sites such as Raffles to sample a ‘Singapore Sling’, The Majestic and the Zoological Gardens. Once aboard your ship, set off south and start ticking off all the countries you’re visiting. Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and even India all in the space of two weeks of sheer unadulterated beauty and excitement before landing back where you started.

Cruise Dubai

One of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. Dubai is the self proclaimed “Pearl of the Gulf” and has positively bloomed over the past couple of decades from a coastal desert city to a world record breaking metropolis. Thanks to its location it also offers an increasing number of fantastic cruise options with a typically high quality approach that Dubai is now famous for.

Dubai cruises

There are plenty of Dubai cruises to choose from. Whether you want to tour the Arabian Gulf for a week or 10 days, visiting Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and beyond. Or if you want to tour more of Asia, maybe on to India, Sri Lanka and south East Asian island nations like Singapore. You’ll find lots of competitively priced options here. Personally I’d pick a cruise around the Arabian Gulf as its an area of the world that is widely misunderstood and has a very rich and colourful history worth exploring.

Cruise China

Spring heralds the best time of year to visit China, with temperatures at a steady and comfortable level. With the weather great across the country, there’s no better time to take a cruise along the Chinese coast. Passing through the South China, East China and Yellow Sea, take a cruise from Hong Kong to Beijing.

Here you’ll start and end in one of China’s most iconic destinations and will take in Shanghai on your way north. I found it simply remarkable just how many legendary sites this stretch of coastline holds. Being a culture lover, I was in awe of see Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Huangpu River and The Peninsula all in the space of a fortnight. Simply spectacular.

Cruise the Caribbean

The Caribbean almost feels as if it was made for cruising around. With a cluster of tropical islands in such a relatively small space, cruising is the ideal way to explore this lush region of the world. March is definitely the best time of year to do so as well, with weather at its sunniest, warmest and driest. It’s a popular time of year for tourists wanting to escape the winter.

Bahamas cruises

Take a 14 day Caribbean cruise that will see you start and finish in Florida. Take time to explore Fort Lauderdale and Key West which are both beautiful coastal cities. Your first stop in the Caribbean is the Bahamas, where life really does feel like it’s begun to slow down. After a day exploring, you feel immediately relaxed and in Jamaica, the clock might as well just stop! Your cruise will take you onto the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the most remarkable thing is that you’ll only have scratched the surface as to what the Caribbean has to offer.

A beginners guide to Ski holidays

February marks high season for skiing, with conditions perfect to enjoy a great holiday on the slopes. There are many myths attached to ski holiday and they can seem daunting if you’ve never taken one before. Here’s my guide to ski holidays for the beginner.

Ski-holiday myths

There are a number of myths surrounding the idea of a skiing holiday but there is honestly nothing to worry about. The traditional idea of a ski holiday is that it’s an expensive, luxury holiday that only the rich and famous can afford, but this is far from the truth. Whilst there are high-end ski trips available, there are ways of having a cheap ski holiday too. Book your trip well in advance to get a great rate or choose a small resort to save some money. Ski resorts with less runs often have cheaper ski passes. You can even hire ski clothes and helmets online. These days there’s lots of accommodation choices so with enough research and preparation you can bring the costs down dramatically.

As with any activity holiday, there is an element of risk involved but the resorts do everything they can to keep their visitors from harm. If you’re a novice skier, there are fantastic ski classes available across the resorts to give you confidence in the sport and to keep safe whilst on the slopes. The cheapest option is ski school where you learn as a group on shallow runs or “baby slopes” as they’re often nicknamed. For a more intense and rewarding learning programme its best to hire a personal instructor who can build your confidence quickly.

Where to stay

The idea of taking a ski holiday brings to mind staying in a log cabin or a chalet, but there are a number of varying accommodation to choose from in whichever resort you decide to visit. Hotels have sprung up in the resorts and towns and villages that surround them, but for me, a stay in a chalet provides the authentic ski holiday experience. Chalets can be small and intimate or large, which makes them perfect for a group holiday. Hire a self catering chalet to share both the expense and the cooking for a memorable trip with friends. Use a reputable site, such as PurpleSki.com to book your accommodation without worry. Chalets really are the ultimate ski holiday experience, gorgeous log cabins with warm and comfortable surroundings, the perfect place to return to after a fun day on the slopes.

What to pack

As a beginner, there really isn’t any point worrying about what ski equipment to buy and take on holiday with you. You can hire your skis and poles from the resort which will certainly lesser your luggage upon departure! Items such as helmets, boots and goggles are best bought to ensure a comfortable fit though they are also available for hire. If you plan on taking numerous ski holidays in the future then buying is always cheaper. Be sure to buy a helmet too and don’t worry about not looking cool! All the boarders are wearing them these days!

Other items to include in your suitcase include a warm jacket, trousers and thermal base layers so that you can stop the moisture settling in one place. Thick ski socks are also advisable as well as gloves to protect your hands from the elements. Sunglasses are vitally important as whilst it will be cold, the sun when it comes out on the slopes is particularly fierce. To this end, also ensure you pack suncream and lip balm. You’ll be surprised how much sun you’ll get while up on the slopes. Some people even sunbathe at the mountain top cafes and bars!

Top ski destinations for February

Europe and North America offer some fantastic opportunities to ski throughout the winter months. February sits right in the centre of high season so you’ll find many places primed for skiing and snowboarding.

Europe’s Alps offer some of the finest skiing in the continent. Stretching across France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, and Liechtenstein. The range is home to some of the tallest skiable peaks in the world including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Top resorts within the Alps include Zermatt in Switzerland which is home to the Matterhorn and a traditional Swiss village which makes for a picturesque place to stay. Les Trois Vallees is an impressive place to visit, home to the famous Meribel resort and a ski pass which allows you to ski across the interlinked valleys, one of the largest ski areas in the world.

If you’re looking to save on your trip, try Bulgaria for your skiing break. An up and coming destination, the prices here are substantially lesser than their Alpine neighbours. Borovets, nestled within the Rila Mountains, is a great place to take a family break or for a beginner to try their hand at skiing.

North America can certainly match Europe’s skiing resorts, with a number of iconic destinations clustered around the Rocky Mountains. In Canada, visit the resorts in Jasper and Banff for a trip into the Rockies amongst some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, including Mount Columbia, Lake Louise and  the Columbia Icefield. For somewhere less crowded, visit Red Deer to ski in the canyon which is every bit as thrilling but much cheaper than the well-known resorts. Within America, visit Colorado or Utah for your pick of top skiing destinations.

Experience Thailand’s Songkran Festival

April sees Thailand in full party mode as they celebrate Songkran, a traditional New Year festival. Celebrated across the country from 13th-15th April, this water festival is a fun experience, with water pistols and buckets out in force. Here’s the best ways to enjoy Songkran and Thailand during April.

Songkran

This water festival is the perfect way to cool off during the heat of April in Thailand. Celebrated across the country, Songkran dates back centuries and focuses on cleansing and new starts. For fun and also symbolically, people will shoot water from water pistols or throw buckets of water over each other. Whatever you do, just accept that for the duration of the festival, you’re likely to get very, very wet!

The festival is a great way to immerse yourself in the Thai culture. When you’re not being drenched in water, visit one of the local monasteries to pray and help cleanse the statues and icons of Buddha. This ritual is believed to bring good luck to those who participate. There are also pageants and parades to enjoy and of course a Thai feast, with street food being readily available to feed the crowds.

Chiang Mai

Located in the north, the city of Chiang Mai has possibly the biggest Songkran festivities. Running for six days, there are many events and rituals to experience in the city. Start with the procession where all the sacred images and statues of Buddha from across the city are put onto floats and paraded through the city. Starting at Nawarat Bridge, the parade winds its way through to the temple Wat Prasing. Many of Chiang Mai’s Songkran celebrations are focused at the temple including the depositing of sand and flowers beside the river. You’ll also be able to enjoy music and dancing and of course, a good soaking!

Once the festivities are over, there is much to see and do in Chiang Mai. There are over 300 temples, including the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which sits high in the hilltops. Spend the day exploring here, taking the tram up the mountainside to the temple. From the temple climb upwards to the Bhubing Palace and then further up to the Hmong Village to sample authentic village life. Chiang Mai is also a great place to see some of Thailand’s native animals in their natural habitat and there are many elephant  sanctuaries and farms to visit. I would definitely recommend the Elephant Nature Park where you can get up close to these majestic animals and be inspired by the conservation work the park is doing.

Bangkok

Surprisingly, Bangkok empties somewhat during Songkran as the Thais head back to their native towns to spend the time celebrating with their families. There are festivities through the city such as the Miss Songkran Beauty contest in the Wisutkasat district of Bangkok and the sacred celebrations at Sanam Luang where the Buddha image from the National Museum is taken. Head for Rattanakosin Island to experience the best of Bangkok’s new year celebrations by visiting the 9 sacred temples to witness the merit making rituals.

Thailand’s capital city is filled with attractions and must see sights. Take a cruise along the city’s canals through the Thonburi west bank and witness the floating market in Damnoen Saduak. On firm ground, you should also visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market which is popular tourist destination and the largest market in Thailand. Almost as popular is the famous Khao San Road  where you’ll find stalls, street food, clubs and bars as well as an electric atmosphere. For some culture and a sense of Bangkok’s history, visit the impressive Grand Palace which is still used for royal events to this day. Bangkok is extremely hot in April so I would spend a short amount of time here before heading off to the coast to cool off.

Check out our video from Songkran 2012.

Koh Samui

April is arguably the best time of year to visit Koh Samui if you’re a lover of the sun and hot weather, with temperatures averaging highs of 32 degrees. Sitting on the southern coast, Koh Samui is a large island filled with beautiful beaches which are the main draw for visiting here. For a beach set up for tourists, visit Chaweng and Lamai or alternatively, head for the west coast to find an idyllic sandy haven much quieter than those around the rest of the coast.

Koh Samui is home to many natural wonders such as the Na Muang 2 Waterfall and the iconic Grandmother and Grandfather rocks which you should definitely try to tour with a local to hear the legends behind them.  Other must see attractions here include the mummy at Wat Khunaram, the Big Buddha temple and the Secret Buddha Garden.

Epic Safari itineraries in Tanzania

Tanzania is the last remaining refuge of a wide range of African animals which have been rescued from the edge of the abyss and are now protected in their natural habitat. Safaris here no longer involve helping to push them over the edge, and all the shooting is done with cameras. The region includes the vast Serengeti Plain and ancient volcanic craters, which are like a lost world of truly stunning vistas, unchanged for millennia. February is the ideal month to come here and join a safari into the heart of one of the very few remaining wild places left on the planet, with professional guides making sure you get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime jaunt and experience African wildlife in all its unsullied richness.

Spectacles like the great wildebeest calving happen in February, when the rivers are still fairly high and migrant species of birds fill the skies to the horizon. The rains don’t return until April and the weather is only just starting to become hot, so the conditions are ideal for a great safari here.

Explore the legendary Serengeti and Ngorongoro

This unique park covers over 15,000sq km and is home to a staggering range of animals in their natural habitat, where man is for a change the intruder. The Ngorongoro Crater, covering over 8000sq km, is one of the largest wildlife parks on the planet and has its own species which have flourished here since the comet hit millennia ago. The best serengeti safaris will take you right to the top for awesome views across the surrounding plains before moving on through some of the most bustling markets in Tanzania and across vast plantations.

Zanzibar road trip

Travel by road on a Tanzania and Kenya road trip to the ancient island of Zanzibar, a name redolent of mystique and seeming to embody all the exoticism of an Africa that has all but disappeared. On the way you’ll get to see herds of elephants and other wildlife and stop off at villages for traditional hospitality and a taste of the local food. The road skirts the Indian Ocean, and with deep blue sea on the one side and dense jungles on the other the route is truly amazing and unlike any other. With its ultimate destination of Zanzibar, the semi-mythical spice island of East Africa, the Zanzibar road trip is an absolute must for anyone wanting to pack as much of Africa’s natural riches and ancient cultures into one heady ride.

The snows of Kilimanjaro

For Hemingway, Mt Kilimanjaro was a symbol for all his yearnings, and this is something that you too will come to appreciate on this Active trip across the great Serengeti Plain, which culminates in a trek to the cloud-wrapped summit of the fabulous mountain. It’s the ultimate buzz for combining the great outdoors, exotic wildlife and an energetic climb up a legendary peak. The Kilimanjaro safari holidays also takes in the Ngorongoro Crater with its herds of antelope, elephant and large predators.

48 hours in Singapore

As a focal hub for all South East Asia, Singapore is too often treated as a fly through city. January is a great time of year to visit Singapore as the weather is typically tropical with the mixture of cooling tropical rain storms and sunny humid climate. With so much to see and do on a holiday to Singapore, Cox & Kings makes some recommendations to make the most out of a two-day stopover.

Getting to Singapore from the UK

Singapore Airlines flies twice daily from London Heathrow and once from Manchester. British Airways and Qantas both fly daily from Heathrow.

Just arriving into Changi airport is a pleasant experience in its own right – it’s one of the largest terminals in the world and the first in Asia to offer five-star services. Amongst hotels, cinemas and a rooftop swimming pool, there is an impressive collection of shops and boutiques, gym and spa facilities and even a butterfly garden. For more info check out changiairport.com.

Where to stay in Singapore

The Mandarin Oriental is a slick hotel with great restaurants and one of the best spas in town. Ideally located on Raffles Boulevard, the Mandarin Oriental has great views of the city and the water from its guest rooms and the rooftop swimming pool.

The place to see and be seen in Singapore, Raffles dates from 1887 and is one of the world’s great iconic hotels. Its sizeable guest suites are decorated in colonial style with teak and marble. Elegant and stylish, Raffles is a haven amid the bustle.

The Fullerton is set on the Singapore River and its landmark building has had a colourful history, serving as a Post Office, Singapore Town Club and Chamber of Commerce before being turned into a luxury hotel.

What to see in Singapore

Take a ride of the Singapore Flyer, which opened on Raffles Avenue in 2008. The Flyer is 30 metres higher than the London Eye – on a clear day you can see Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the South.

Wander around the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which have been at their present site for 150 years and contain 64 hectares of beautiful horticultural and botanical displays. Don’t miss the National

Orchid Garden with its collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.

The Asian Civilisations Museum is well worth a visit, packed with interesting artefacts and ornaments from all across South East Asia. Have a look at the museum website for more information.

From just outside the museum, take an hour-long cruise of the harbour – recommended in the evening, when the city’s riverside monuments are lit up.

Where to drink in Singapore

The Singapore Sling cocktail was invented by a Raffles’ barman and can still be enjoyed in the hotel’s atmospheric Long Bar. Or try Loof Bar, an open-air rooftop bar on top of the Odeon Towers, which has some of the best views in the city.

Where to eat

La Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental has views over the city and the sea, and serves fine Italian cuisine, created by Michelin star chef Marco Pedrelli, alongside an impressive wine list.

Satay Club is a stretch of stalls, recently relocated to Clarke Quay, that sell a variety of meats, fish and vegetables all with the obligatory peanut Satay sauce. Each stall has its own special recipe and there is great vibrancy as they compete (in good humour) for your business. Each stall appears to claim its own accolade of awards, so choosing one can be tough. The hawker stalls in the Clarke Quay area are also well worth a try, and are a great place to sample more traditional Asian cuisine.

  • Remember: generally, the longer the queue, the better the food.
  • Check out what else is at Clarke Quay at clarkequay.com.sg.

Booking a Singapore holiday

A stopover in Singapore makes an ideal break en route to Australia, or as part of a luxury holiday to the Far East. It is possible to travel overland from Singapore to Bangkok, through Malaysia, on the Eastern & Oriental train.

Romantic getaways for Valentine Surprise holidays

St Valentine poses a problem for all lovers, trying to think of that perfect gift to best show just how much that special person means to them. This year, why not forget the flowers or the chocolates and give your valentine a romantic break that will give them memories to last a lifetime. Here’s my pick of favourite retreats to whisk your lover away to.

Florence, Italy

Make your loved one feel special by hiring one of the many luxury villas in Tuscany, Italy to stay in. Florence is a breathtakingly beautiful city nestled within one of Italy’s most luscious provinces and is the perfect place to stay. Temperatures average around a brisk but comfortable 10C (50F) and you’ll be treated to some Mediterranean sun which just adds to the atmosphere of this special place. Visiting out of peak season means you’ll see the sights without worrying about the crowds.

Whisk your loved one on a tour of the city’s art museums and galleries to see one of the finest collections of art in the world. I would definitely recommend The Uffizi, one of the oldest art museums in the world and home to paintings from Boticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. For more iconic artwork, visit Piazza della Signoria to see a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Take a scenic, romantic walk along the banks of the River Arno or climb to the top of the Bell Tower in the heart of Florence to admire the view of this magnificent ciy. It’s almost the perfect place to propose…

Aspen, Colorado

There’s some fantastic last-minute breaks available if a trip further afield would blow your valentine away. Aspen, Colorado is a magnificent venue especially if you enjoy keeping active on your holidays. This world-famous ski resort is a favourite break for Americans and offers a romantic winter break.

There isn’t much in life that is more romantic than a break away ti a wooden lodge or log cabin. From the decor to the roasting log fires, everything about staying here is utterly enchanting and you’ll be longing for the evenings to draw in so that you can relax in your wooden haven together. During the day, there’s much fun to be had with skiing, snowboarding and hiking available. Head to Glenwood Hot Springs to relax amongst the warm water of the pools. For something a little different, you can hire out horses to explore the area by horseback or book onto a camping trip and get back to basics sitting around the campfire and camping out underneath the stars.

Paris, France

We couldn’t ignore the most romantic city on the planet could we? This is truly a city for lovers and has arguably seen more proposals than any city in the whole world. In spite of this, any surprise trip to Paris is met with heart stopping excitement and will make your Valentine feel on top of the world. At just over an hour away from London by air or two hours by Eurostar, it’s the perfect place to spend a blissful weekend away from home.

There’s the obvious romantic spots in Paris. A trip up the Eiffel tower is a must, especially around sunset although this is the busiest time to visit. You can also ascend the Arc Du Triomphe which has arguably better views, mainly because you can see the Eiffel tower! You can have dinner at one of the beautiful Parisian cafes you’ll find all over the city and for lunch try Place de la Contrescarpe or my personal favourite Place des Abbesses.

Some cities just ooze romance and there is no better way to treat your loved one than an unforgettable romantic holiday.

Reasons to visit Brazil this April

April is a fantastic time of year to visit the South American country of Brazil. This massive country contains some of the most vibrant and colourful festivals on the planet and April is has its fair share dotted all over this tropical landscape. You’ll find stunning coastline, unique wildlife and friendly people everywhere you go in Brazil.

Why go in April?

Weather wise, Brazil’s “summer” runs from December to March and this is when you’ll find many Brazilians explore their country. Tourist destinations can become very busy so if you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle as well as avoid the bloated tourist prices then April is perfect. Catching the tail end of the summer and diminishing crowds gives you the best experience without the hassle. Expect temperatures in the mid 20s but of course this depends which part of Brazil you’re visiting. The north is nearer the equator so you can a expect hotter more humid climate. The south has cooler temperatures and being in the southern hemisphere winter is from June to September. You can find out more weather reports for Brazil here.

Where to go in Brazil?

Rio De Janerio

Such a vast country does of course have many destinations worth checking out but you’ll most likely want to start your exploration in Rio De Janeiro. One of the most iconic cities in the world and with Christ the Redeemer looking down from Sugar Loaf Mountain its one of the most scenic too. Spend a day on Ipanema beach for the traditional Brazilian past-time of people watching as both the men and women here love to show off their sun-tanned bodies. An excursion to the base of the Redeemer statue is a must and if you’re feeling adventurous I can highly recommend the paragliding experience from Pedra Bonita that offers spectacular views you won’t get any other way. You’ll land on Pepino beach and the trip is usually videoed to keep forever.

Sao Paulo

While definitely no where near as attractive architecturally speaking as Rio, Sao Paulo is the beating heart of Brazil’s culture and the place where you’ll really understand what makes Brazilian’s tick. It has more than its fair share of world class restaurants and some great cultural centres worth checking out. I’d recommend a visit to Museu do Ipiranga (Paulista Museum) where you can find out about the rich history of Brazil and understand more of its future too. Its also architecturally speaking one of the prettiest buildings in Brazil!

Salvador

For the ultimate mix of colonial history and colourful Brazilian culture Salvador is a must. One of the most photogenic places in Brazil the old town here is a UNESCO World Heritage site and due to the city’s slave history during colonial times there is a large cosmopolitan feel with some of the country’s most famous musicians discovered here. The best thing to do in Salvador is take a walk. The streets especially in the old town are so colourful you’ll be sure to take a lot of photos. You can also take a guided tour that will teach you all about the rich history here and explain more about the unique culture you’ll only find in Salvador.

Getting to Brazil

There are daily flights from most major airports thanks to TAM Brazil’s biggest airline. Flight time to Rio is around 11 hours 40 minutes from London. You’ll also want to fly domestically to places like Sao Paulo and Salvador so you can maximise your time at each destination. I’d highly recommend 2 or 3 weeks in Brazil and April is a great time to visit. You can beat the crowds and still make the most of this amazing country.

Holiday ideas for the month of March

While the dark winter months are perfect for skiing and some winter sun, the summer months enjoy peak tourism numbers and an abundance of festivals and culture. March sits at the end of the winter period and is often overlooked as a prime time to travel. Well here’s a few ideas for you if you’re looking for something to fill those spring evenings with.

Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum enjoys a mixture of cultures where the old world collides head on with the a new modern lifestyle. It’s not lost any of its character thankfully and the Aegean coast has no shortage of ancient history to keep you coming back. In recent decades Bodrum has become the place in Turkey for the rich and famous to hang out. With new marinas and promenades, night clubs and restaurants, it looks more at home along the French Riviera.

The most impressive landmark here is the Castle of St Peter which boasts some of the best views of the entire area. It also houses a museum of underwater archeology which is well worth checking out. Temperatures are around 17C with little rainfall, perfect weather for exploring.

  • Check out flights to Bodrum here

Honshu, Japan

Japan is well worth a visit in March and for one good reason. The cherry trees blossom with pink and white petals that are a sight to behold, attracting millions of visitors to the sub-tropical province of Okinawa. Think of it like trees covered in candy-floss. By the end of March the blossom is in full bloom as far north as Kyoto and Tokyo too. This beautiful occurrence lasts only a few weeks so be sure to make the most of the pretty parks and amazing Japanese culture too. Expect temperatures around 15C with occasional rain and overcast skies. This won’t detract from the beauty of the Cherry Blossom though so you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time in March.

Dublin, Ireland

A city that’s perfect for a short-break or long weekend and the spiritual home of St Patrick’s Day.  Be sure to check out the famous Guinness factory tour, worth doing even if you don’t like the taste of the black stuff. There’s some great city tours that cover all the major landmarks and teach you much of the history of this amazing city. During the celebrations there’s also street parades and you’ll see many of the city’s landmarks are light up green too.

Austin, USA

March is a great time of year to visit the city of Austin in Texas. Home to the ever-expanding arts festival known as South by Southwest, or SXSW as it’s often called. This ten-day festival is filled with everything from musical performances to film premieres, tech conferences and seminars, art installations and street parades too. While an official ticket to the entire festival will cost you around $600 there are a lot of fringe events happening that mimic much of the core of the festival. You’ll find every bar, venue and even cafes are getting in on the act with art events and music gigs. If you have the budget then the full event is well worth it but even if you don’t, Austin is the place to be in March.

Best time to visit Crete in Greece

The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete has long been a holiday destination of choice for many Europeans. It’s sleep villages and vibrant resorts give this island a wealth of all that you’d want from a sunny holiday. It also boasts some great weather even in the early months of the year. So here’s our guide to why we recommend Crete in April.

Heraklion

You’ll find most of the big resorts and hotels in the bustling Heraklion region. Famed for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants and some of the more popular beaches on the island. Its highly likely you’ll stay at one of the resorts here or even a boutique hotel in Crete. Its a great place to go shopping for some local items and there’s so many great restaurants along the coast here you’ll be spoilt for choice. Hersonissos, Stalis and Malia are the biggest resorts here.

Samaria Gorge

Known for its “World Biosphere Reserve”, Samaria Gorge is the perfect place for those looking for some easy treks, a nature excursion or other outdoor activities. You’ll find it in south-west Crete and its really easy to get to. There’s regular local buses or you can ask about excursions from your resort. The entrance fee is just 5 euros and helps to preserve this national park. Tours from  hotels usually cost around 20 euros.

Fun for the family

Crete is a great destinations for families and all the big resorts are well prepared for children. Many have family friendly pools and the large beaches offer a great space to let you kids run around. There’s also a couple of fantastic aqua parks here filled with pools, fountains, tubes and other entertainment to entertain the kids. The best is probably the Acqua Plus Water Park in Hersonissos. Easy to get to and costs 24 euros per person.

Traditional Greek towns

For something a little more laid back and Greek style head to the towns of Chania and Rethymnon. Chania has an abundance of pretty Greek architecture and if you’re looking to buy something local as a souvenir this is probably he best place on the island. It’s market is filled with trinkets and locally crafted objects. Rethymnon still retains its rustic and historic looks. The Venetian fortress here is well worth exploring and a walk through the town’s avenues and streets is a great way to unwind and get some exercise. You’ll find a few quieter hotels and guesthouses here away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas. 

Weather in Crete in April

April is a great time of year to visit as it’s generally a little quieter this time of year than the peak around july and august. Temperatures are usually in the low 20C with peaks around 25C and lows around 17C. While sunshine isn’t guaranteed all day every day you’re more than likely going to have a healthy number of days with sunshine and warm enough temperatures to sunbathe too. These comfortable temperatures lend themselves to exploring more of the island and getting some decent exercise too.

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