One of the areas of life that provides a great deal of satisfaction is related to the positive experiences that people go through in life. Travel is a leading experience that increases life satisfaction. Travel allows you to see more of the world, and it also gives you experience with people who look and live differently. You might feel that going on the trip of your dreams is outside the realm of possibility. It doesn’t have to be, though. Here are some tips that can help you save up for your ultimate travel goal.
Set Up A Vacation Budget
Your trip does not have to require seven nights in an expensive luxury hotel. Unless you’re planning to stay at a beach resort, it’s possible that you’ll spend very little time in your room. Plan accordingly. If you’re just looking to explore a city or two, a clean budget hotel might work. On the other hand, a beach stay might require a few more amenities to make your trip a memorable experience in a positive sense of the word memorable. You’ll also want to think about your mode of transportation and any attractions you intend to visit. Keep in mind that a five-day pass to Disney World will likely cost more than going to a couple of museums each day. Figuring out how much you need and then dividing it by the number of weeks or months until you plan to travel can give you an idea of how much you need to save each pay period.
Figure Out How To Meet Your Budget
You might have recently gotten a raise. Why not save that extra money toward your trip? If you don’t have much wiggle room with your budget each month, you might look to cut some expenses to save money for your trip. For example, calling around for car insurance quotes to cut the price of your car insurance or cutting back your cable package might be a couple of areas that you could save on. If you keep your home at 74 degrees in the winter or 68 in the summer, dialing back the heat or the air conditioner can be a way to save a few bucks each month. Riding the bus to work or taking your lunch a couple of days a week could also provide the savings that you need for your dream vacation.
Look For Ways To Save Money On Your Trip
Flexibility can pay big dividends when it comes to getting a good price for your airfare or lodging. Taking a trip to the Caribbean or Mexico in October or before Thanksgiving in November would likely allow you to take advantage of some off-season pricing. If you’ve had a few flights or hotels stays in the past, you might have some frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points saved up. These can help you save a few bucks on the cost of the trip. Additionally, if you have good credit, you could score a signup bonus with a hotel or airline credit card that could pay for your flight or a few nights in a resort or a chain hotel. Once you arrive at your destination, you might also check for a coupon book or online discounts for food or attractions that might cut your costs even more. Getting creative can help you cut down on your budget.
Going on your dream vacation is usually not as difficult a proposition as you might expect. By setting up a budget and then attempting to find ways to save on your travel, you can likely figure out how to make your trip work. The time to get started in the planning process is now.
There are times when you want to rough it and then there are times when you want to spoil yourself, after working hard. As you consider traveling through Australia in a motorhome hire, make sure to put Melbourne on your itinerary.
Not only is it a fascinating city, but it has some of the best luxury travel experiences around. You’ll want to make the most of your time in Melbourne and seeing the best that it has to offer is one way to do just that. Whether you rent a motorhome hire to explore the surroundings or try a more luxurious means of transportation, there are several experiences that you don’t want to miss out on.
Some places may be just fine to see while on a budget, but others are definitely worth taking the time to save up for. Melbourne is a city that you want to do right. As you start planning your trip and what you will do while in Australia, consider these following Melbourne luxury experiences:
Take a private helicopter tour over the city-What could be better than seeing Melbourne by foot? Seeing it from the air, of course. With several companies offering helicopter tours of the city, you can be sure that there will be opportunity for you to enjoy a view from above. From sunset flights to coastal views, it is truly a luxurious way to see one of the most iconic Australian cities.
Rent a luxury car to visit the Yarra Valley wineries-When visiting Melbourne, you don’t want to miss out on going on some wine tours. While there several different ways to do this (including cycling winery tours), one of the most comfortable ways is to rent a luxury vehicle and do the tour on your own (or with a driver, if you really want to taste as many Australian wines as possible).
Go on a hot air balloon tour-If you like to mix a bit of adventure-as in flying above land in a balloon-you will want to take a hot air balloon tour. Whether you choose to fly over Melbourne or would rather see wine country, there are several options for you. A hot air balloon ride is definitely a great opportunity to do something special, such as a proposal or birthday celebration. Whether or not you have something to celebrate, it’s certain to be an experience like none other. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
Eat at as many gourmet restaurants as possible-Eating is a necessity, but it can definitely be a luxury experience when you choose wisely. Melbourne is a city with plenty of variety and you’ll want to make sure to try said variety while in town. Make a top list of your gourmet favorites or get some help from a professional and enjoy the best that there is to be found when it comes to fine dining in Melbourne.
Take a 4WD tour of wildlife and rock art-While enjoying Melbourne is all well and good, what if you want to have a little bit of nature and adventure? After all, what could be more fun than riding a four-wheeler through the bush with an experienced guide? You can get to know more about the history of the area while having a fabulously fun time. Some 4WD tours even include local wines for the occasion, so after you’re finished exploring and having the time of your life, you can unwind with a glass of red or white.
Book a private tour to get to know more about Melbourne’s history-Maybe you aren’t the biggest fan of adventures and a good idea of fun for you is observing architecture. Fortunately, you can book private tours to visit some of Melbourne’s best galleries, museums, and historical buildings. Whether you get around town cycling with your guide or you ride in style in a classy car, you can be sure that it will be an enjoyable experience—and you’ll learn a lot of little-known facts about the world’s most livable city.
If you’re the average individual, you’ve probably done some backpacking during your time. While it certainly is a great way to see the world while spending little, treating yourself to a luxury vacation is definitely something that you deserve.
Melbourne, Australia is one of the world’s most desirable destinations. From the art to the culture, activities, and night life, there is something for every type of traveler to enjoy. Plus, you have plenty of natural destinations nearby to enjoy and explore if you want to get out of the city for a bit.
If you’re considering a road trip in a motorhome hire, make sure to consider spoiling yourself with one of the above luxury activities. You may have to spend a little more than usual, but you can be sure that it will be worth it.
A destination with a hundred thousand years of history, they say, but one that has made its mark on the tourist map very recently. Large swathes of barren deserts punctuated with lush, green oasis are what characterizes this young conglomerate of seven emirates. Beyond the glamour and glitter of Dubai, the most well-known of the seven emirates lies a multi-faceted region that’s waiting to be explored.
Abu Dhabi: The richest and the largest
By far the richest and sitting on huge deposits of oil, Abu Dhabi is the richest emirate and the capital city of the kingdom. Mind boggling skyscrapers, each of them an architectural splendor crowd the 14-kilometer long island. It is fascinating and the world’s most expensive hotel, the Emirates Palace should surely not be missed. Even if you aren’t staying there, do drop in for tea, just to soak in the amazing architecture. The finest statement in architecture is perhaps the largest mosque, the Sheikh Zayed mosque, which is also the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed, the visionary and the first president of the emirates that used to be a British colony before 1971. The mosque’s four minarets that rise to 107 meters are visible even from a distance. The 82 domes are an awesome example of the finest in architecture.
Fujairah: Of beaches, mountains, and markets
This young emirate has the most diverse landscapes. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Oman, the white sand beaches are a major draw for tourists. The clear waters also offer great snorkeling and scuba-diving opportunities. Towards the north, the majestic Hajar mountains separate the emirate from Oman. It is an easy day-trip from Fujairah to the beautiful but stark landscapes of the Musandam enclave in Oman. While in Fujairah, do visit the vibrant Friday Market, that’s a spectacle of color with vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to carpets and even antiques. The Friday Market, unlike what its name indicates is open until the wee hours of the morning every day. The Al Bidya Mosque, the oldest mosque in the UAE shouldn’t be missed too.
Sharjah: The Cultural Capital
The emirate is aptly called the cultural capital of the UAE. Museums housed in buildings that have been given a Renaissance look are its biggest draw. Most of the museums are located around the Cultural Roundabout and the Sharjah Art Museum is the biggest in the Gulf. The museum houses impressive pieces of Arabic and Oriental Art. A harbor front is a lively place and the traditional dhows moored on the harbor reflect the importance this emirate holds for trade with Iran. There used to be a souk just beside the harbor, but it has been moved to the town center and houses many shops selling wonderful souvenirs.
The Al Noor Island, an artificial island accessible by bridge from Corniche Street helps you escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The island itself has been wonderfully landscaped with gardens and sculptures. The butterfly house is an obvious attraction for the kids. The Sharjah Heritage Area is where you should head to catch a glimpse of traditional Arab life in these parts. The locality houses multiple museums and the Souk Al Arsah, a traditional styled market.
One of the best-kept secrets in Sharjah is the village of Kalba, an old fishing village and the southernmost village in the UAE. A thriving fish market on the seashore and the Al-Hisn museum are the major draws. The Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve is a natural wonder and is the northernmost mangrove forest in the world. The best time to visit this place is during spring and autumn when you can spot kingfishers, reef herons, and booted warblers as they make their annual migration.
Dubai: The World City
Captivating, enchanting, luxurious, Dubai is a city that many dreams of. A city where business, luxury, entertainment, and culture thrive together. Often called a city of fantasies, Dubai city is a unique blend of the old and the modern. Except for the months between June and August, when outdoor temperatures can reach as high as fifty degrees Celsius, the city does have an enjoyable climate.
Even though, Dubai is one of the most glamorous places on the planet, getting there is pretty easy. Many international airlines fly there, but also low-cost companies that offer cheap flights could be a great option. If you’re already in Saudi-Arabia, you should check out Dammam to Dubai flights to get the best deals with a variety of airlines, such as Sunstate Airlines,Emirates, Flydubai, and Saudi Arabian Air.
Dubai has something that appeals to all ages. Whether you are a business traveler, or a family looking to enjoy the sun and the beach, or one attracted to Dubai’s shopping glamor, the city wouldn’t disappoint you. The Burj Khalifa is, of course, the most well-known and glimpses of the downtown from the top are amazing. A lazy afternoon by the Dubai Creek exploring the shops and the souks or a show at the Dubai Opera is worth exploring when in the city. If you are the one who seeks adventure, a warm air balloon ride in the desert is a must and you could also try skydiving from the Palm Jumeirah. Dubai is also the place where you could savor world cuisine, but do not miss out on the experience of Emirati food at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Do try out the Arabic coffee.
You’ve finally booked yourself some much-deserved PTO days after months of saying you need a vacation. But after you hit “go” on your payment, the first question that popped into your mind was, “Will I be able to get Wi-Fi?”
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In today’s world we work hard for our time off but we don’t always allow ourselves as much time as we need to recharge our batteries. And when we do head off on a trip, we struggle to disconnect ourselves from the world back home.
However, when you go on vacation you need to put your mind into vacation mode. This allows you to recharge your body – emotionally, physically, and mentally. It gives you an invaluable perspective on your life back home and can boost your creativity levels immeasurably, too.
Don’t waste your time away by following these tips:
Adhere to a Budget
If it’s out of the question for you to go on a luxury vacation for two weeks, look at shorter breaks instead. You might even want to consider a resort that’s on your doorstep too.
In fact, taking these shorter breaks more frequently can have a more positive impact on your health than taking infrequent long trips. But ultimately, you don’t want to return home from any trip with a bank balance that’s into negative figures because this will cause you even more stress. If you do want to go on a luxurious vacation in your dream location, look out for last-minute deals to places like the African Pride by Marriott. This will allow you to fuel your sense of adventure while keeping within your budget.
Sort Things Out Before You Leave
If you spend your entire vacation worrying about that email you didn’t send or the deadline you’re going to miss, you’re not going to relax. So, make sure you’ve done as much as possible before you set off on your break. Try to put in a few extra hours before you leave, making sure everyone knows you’re going on vacation.
Set your out-of-office notifications while also providing people with another point of contact they can get in touch with while you’re away.
Don’t Think About What You “Should” Be Doing
In a world where we’re constantly updating our Facebook and Instagram pages, it can be easy to fall into the trap of doing what people think you should be doing on your vacation. If you want to be lazy or you want to be active, the choice is up to you, not all your “followers” on social media sites.
Redirect Any Problems
Unfortunately, stuff does happen, but if something does arise while you’re on vacation make sure it’s not you who’s tackling it. Pass on the issue to someone else, reminding yourself that you can do this because you’re on vacation.
Adjust Yourself Back into the Daily Grind
To make sure you don’t undo all the hard work you’ve done relaxing on your vacation, take some time to adjust yourself back into reality when you get home. Ideally, book a flight that lands you back at home on a Friday or Saturday so you’ve got the weekend to catch up on emails and focus on the week ahead. This will help relieve any pressure you may feel about going back to work. And try to continue integrating activities you enjoy into your life once you get home, so you’re not always relying on a vacation to de-stress.
For sure you’ve heard of self-catering accommodations before – they are getting more and more popular, after all, and for many good reasons. There was a time when you had to make sure your hotels were booked, that you knew when to check in and check out, that you had to check out the size of rooms and the meals – but all of that are in the past. Self-catering accommodations took care of that.
Self-catering accommodations offer many benefits, and if you’ve never experienced a holiday in such a house or flat, you may want to try it. Here are the essential reasons why self-catering accommodations are better for your family holiday.
A lot more freedom
The freedom that you get from renting a privately owned home or flat is much larger than the freedom any hotel, motel, inn, or resort will afford you – you are in a home away from home, and can truly do as you please. It’s a matter of making your own schedule (and hence, not having to adhere to one that is set for you), and it’s a matter of going where you please, when you please. In other words, it’s a matter of taking things into your hands.
Great for the family
When you’re with a family, you know that children can be a handful – and that’s often a concern or cause of stress when you have to visit public areas (such as dining rooms) or if you have to deal with many other people (such as is the case in a hotel). Self-catering accommodations such as the ones from www.edinburghpearlapartments.co.uk ensure you are not disturbed by other people and that you (or your children) won’t disturb anyone else.
Compared to a hotel room or other similar places, self-catering accommodations offer you a lot more space, and there are more rooms available for privacy as well.
You’ve got a great kitchen available, you’ve got your own living area, you may even get a laundry room and a terrace – just for you (and at a much cheaper rate than at a hotel).
A much better menu
You eat when you want to eat, where you want to eat, and what you want to eat. This is especially important if there are family members with dietary requirements.
All in all, it comes back to one basic thing: you get a lot more value for your money when you book with a self-catering accommodation – you get more freedom, a larger and more luxurious accommodation with great amenities, and you can plan your holiday just the way you want to. The next time you plan a holiday, do it differently. Go for self-catering accommodations and go to a home away from home.
Opting to take a ferry to France is a great way to save money when you’re on a tight budget. However you could save even more than you expect if you take several other factors into consideration before you book your tickets.
In much the same way airplane tickets tend to vary in cost based on numerous factors, so too do the ferries to France. As such, if you’re able to book the right tickets you could actually end up traveling for a fraction of the normal cost.
Choose to travel off-peak
Weekends and holidays are when ticket prices tend to be at their highest – so if you’re able to be a bit flexibly, try to travel off-peak. The best fares are generally to be had midweek, and late night crossings are often a lot cheaper than at other times of the day. That being said keep in mind that if you’re modifying your travel plans and extending your stay for better ferry prices, you may incur additional costs for accommodation.
Book very early, or very late
To get the best deals on your tickets you should either book well in advance, or try to catch a last-minute ferry. Of the two booking early is definitely the ‘safer’ option, as although last minute offers can be great there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get one, or that there’ll be space available. If possible, try to book your tickets at least a month or two prior to departure.
Try different ports
As you probably know, there are several ports throughout the UK where ferries depart to France. While Dover and Portsmouth are known to have the most competitive rates in general, it might not hurt to shop around and see what is available at other ports too. Just remember to factor in any additional travel costs that you may have to incur on your end to get to a different port too.
Compare fares between ferries
With so many different ferry operators there is certainly a lot of choice available. That is why it makes sense to compare the fares between ferries to find the best deals available. Nowadays there are websites that will help you to search the available rates across all the various operators, and if you vary the date and time as well as the ports you should be able to find some nice rates that you can take advantage of.
All said and done it really isn’t all that hard to find cheap ferries to France. Now that you’re aware of how the ticket prices can vary, all you need to do is start to look around and see if you can match your travel plans with some of the cheaper rates that are available and figure out exactly how much you could save by doing so. While that may take some effort, it will mean that you’ll have a bit more cash to spend enjoying your holiday in France.
Perhaps the single most important thing to remember when heading for a family cycling trip in Normandy is that the success or otherwise of your jaunt rests entirely with tantrum-prevention. Or to put it another way, if you can keep your kids happy, entertained and enthusiastic at all times, you are in for the trip of a lifetime – guaranteed. Much of this of course comes down to ensuring rest periods and eating times are spaced out thoughtfully and intelligently throughout the day, never forgetting that from around 2pm, you can forget being served in any local bars, restaurants and cafeterias!
Whichever way you look at it, Normandy is without any shadow of doubt one of the most outstanding cycling regions in the whole of Europe. Ever since the French government recently gave its official ‘voila’ to a new 443 kilometre cycling route that connects Mont Saint-Michel and Paris, families from all over the continent have been flocking to the region for dreamy weekend breaks. Brits in particular have extremely easy access to this glorious corner of France, with a quick hop on the overnight ferry with bikes in-tow being all it takes to soak up all that’s on offer.
The overnight ferry journey with Brittany Ferries never fails to prove exceptionally exciting for kids, kicking the holiday off on the right foot. By taking the overnight ferry, it is perfectly possible to cram three full days of cycling into a single long weekend. You’ll also find plenty of time to soak up the rest of the regional delights on offer, be it a horseback ride through a vineyard, sipping your way through the Cider Route or letting time pass you by on one of the region’s stunning beaches.
Back to cycling though, it’s regularly argued that the part of the route that runs through the Perche region of southern Normandy is by far and wide the most beautiful and enchanting of all. It stretches for a full 90km, which admittedly seems like quite the challenge, but is actually quite easy and manageable over three days – even with kids along for the ride. Most of the enormous route from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel is traffic-free and gentle on the legs – this particular route being supremely enjoyable.
Part of the region’s voies vertes– aka green ways – the route follows the path of now abandoned railway lines that remain flat, safe, easy and enjoyable the whole way. Not only this, but the area is so completely tranquil and far from the nearest source of heavy traffic that letting your kids stray pretty far in front need not be a cause for concern. Even in the depths of summer, there is still plenty of room and you will never find the paths to be overly crowded. However, find your way out to this neck of the woods during the late spring or early summer and there’s every chance you will have km after km of this extraordinary cycle path to yourself.
Along the way, you will encounter everything from enchanting forests to the abandoned huts previously used by railway workers and the kinds of old buildings that just beg exploration. Over the past couple of decades or so, this particular region of Normandy has earned a strong reputation as the short break hotspot of choice for discerning residents of Paris in search of true tranquillity and escapism. Each time you come across a village along the way, you’ll find yourself presented with nothing less than a picture postcard snapshot of the kind of France few visitors are privileged to lay eyes on. Sleepy doesn’t even come into it, but you will almost always find the most idyllic lunch spots and eateries along the way, largely without a tourist insight.
This particular route involves a trip to Condé-sur-Huisne and back, which is a round-trip of approximately 27km. On another day, it is more than worth heading to Mortagne-au-Perche – an absolutely fantastic 30km roundtrip which if taken at the weekend will give you the opportunity to check out the local market. Once again, it’s the kind of affair that definitely isn’t put on just for the sake of tourists, meaning what’s on offer is as traditional and authentic as it gets. If you can score a jar or two of the local jam, you will not be disappointed! If you have a third day available, Mêle-sur-Sarthe represents another incredible place to head to and back again, promising some of the most glorious vistas of the surrounding Normandy countryside along the way.
There are plenty of places that make ideal bases for short cycling breaks to Normandy. The long and short of it being that to select anywhere on the Véloscenic route – Boissy Maugis for example – is to situate yourself right to the heart of exactly where you need to be. The local gîtes and farmhouse accommodation options come highly recommended, but at the same time it’s worth remembering that the kids are usually even happier with a spot of camping.
Not that this is the only outstanding cycling route available in Normandy – you might also want to consider the following options:
One of the most popular and highly acclaimed of all cycling routes in France, Lonely Planet recommends a round-trip route that starts and finishes in Bayeux. Often referred to as the D-Day cycle tour, you will set off down a series of quiet and tranquil roads which will eventually take you to Omaha Beach and the world famous American Cemetery. Port-en-Bessin-Huppain makes the most beautiful place to stop for a spot of lunch, after which it’s a case of enjoying a beautiful coastal cycle to Arromanche and taking in the extraordinary views from cinéma circulaire – more commonly referred to as the Arromanches 360.
Les Iles Chausey
Take your bikes over to the Les Iles Chausey archipelago by the ferry that runs daily during the summertime and you’ll discover a side of Normandy that is even more beautiful than the mainland. Well, perhaps not more beautiful, but teaming with beautiful deserted beaches, a dramatic coastline and so much to explore on a fun afternoon with the family.
Le Pont de Normandie
Last up, a bike ride to Le Pont de Normandie also comes highly recommended. Once again, it’s a case of hopping on the ferry with your bikes to Le Havre, in order to soak up the sites of a supremely important feat of engineering which just so happens to also have its own cycle lane! Honfleur’s pretty harbour at the other end makes the entire journey more than worthwhile.
Over the past few years prices have been falling across much of Europe, making it a more attractive place than ever for family holidays. High-end destinations have become affordable for ordinary families and favourite beach resorts have started offering fantastic package deals. All this makes it easier to treat your family to an amazing holiday with something for everyone.
Dream destinations for kids
If you talk to children who have been on European holidays, you’ll find that these are some of the destinations they like best – and they all have something for grown-ups, too!
Salema, Portugal. This Algarve beauty spot may not be a big name but young children just love its long, golden beach, whilst clear, shallow waters make splashing around safer. It’s also great for finding shells. Stay in a local cottage and enjoy the unspoiled countryside.
Alghero, Sardinia. A mixture of sandy and pebbly beaches keeps things interesting and you can have a go at kayaking together. Stay at Monte Sixeri Farm where your kids can go wild in the playground or help feed the animals while you relax in the pool.
Arrieta, Lanzarote. Rugged countryside, a charming old town and secluded sandy beaches mean there’s a lot to explore. Stay in a yurt at Lanzarote Retreats where children will love the adventure playground, pool full of inflatable toys and friendly resident donkey.
Avoriaz, France. For something a bit different, check out this child-friendly ski resort that has some slopes safe enough for toddlers and horse-drawn sleighs to ride in. Stay in a spacious family chalet and take your kids to explore the Village des Enfants.
Devon, England. It may seem modest, but kids don’t care – they love fossil hunting on the beaches and exploring the souvenir shops in the villages, where there are many child-friendly eateries. Stay in a caravan at one of the many family-focused sites along the coast.
The dog comes too!
Recognising that your furry family members matter too, many of these locations are dog friendly. It’s increasingly easy to find pet-friendly hotels, some of which provide extras to make dogs feel welcome, and a high proportion of camping and caravan sites and rental cottages will let your pets stay too.
Make sure you take the time to prepare your pet for travelling. You’ll need to plan so you can find suitable food. Most basic medications like dog flea tablets, available from specialists such as Bob Martin Vetcare, are legal right across Europe but if your pet needs something more unusual then you should ask your vet for advice before you set off. Remember to pack familiar bedding and a few favourite toys to help your dog feel secure.
Planning your travel
Travelling with your children and the dog is always complicated. To cut down on the chaos it’s important to plan well around everything from rest stops (including ones where you can walk the dog) to packing snacks and water. You’ll need to check that your transport options can cater for everyone and you’ll need to find ways to make sure everyone has fun. Get it right, though, and nothing compares to the fun of being on holiday, all together.
Santorini is the jewel in the Agean Sea’s crown – a stunning island with a rugged landscape shaped by a volcanic eruption in the 16th Century B.C, its jagged cliff faces plunge into the turquoise sea while its beautiful beaches are made up of black, red, and white lava pebbles.
It’s not all about the coastline, though, and if you’re prepared to scratch below the surface or take a trip off the beaten track there are even more natural wonders to discover. Booking with travel-agents that specialise in the local area is a great way to get advice on the ‘insider’ things to do, away from the usual tourist destinations.
Here are 3 things you have to do if you visit though:
Check out the Caldera
The caldera is the underwater crater and the partly-visible rim of the volcano that formed Santorini and is one of the island’s truly natural wonders. It’s worth staying in one of the cliff-side villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli or Oia to make sure you have the time to take in this natural wonder.
And although not part of the island’s ‘natural’ beauty, the whitewashed, cubist buildings – some of which seem to be precariously clinging to the cliff faces – are perfectly at odds with the rugged rocks and add to what is a truly unique landscape.
You can even get up close to the caldera and its characteristic volcanic rock smells, by staying in any one of the cave houses, or Yposkafo, that were built by locals to protect against the high winds that sometimes batter the coast but now house luxury tourist accommodation.
If you’re feeling active then taking the seven-and-a-half mile clifftop walk between Fira and Oia is a great way to check out the breath-taking scenery this part of the island has to offer.
Hit the hot springs
You can get an even closer view of the volcano by taking a short boat ride to the centre of the caldera and the small volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Enjoy the stunning views from a different perspective while walking among the steaming craters and take a dip in the hot springs to reap the benefits of the anti-ageing properties of the water.
Experience a sunset
There are few things as beautiful or romantic as a sunset, and the weather in Santorini means you can enjoy breath-taking sunsets all year round from almost anywhere on the island.
If it’s romance you’re after, take a trip out to some of the more remote spots, like the lighthouse at Faros, or Vlihada beach where you can enjoy sundown from the shadows cast by the volcanic rock formations.
Pyrgos is great for sunset seekers as it’s one of the island’s highest points, while the Oia Castle offers one of the most popular vantage points.
Explore the beautiful beaches
The beaches of Santorini are truly unique and some of the best ones can only be reached by boat – White Beach, for instance, is a black pebble beach surrounded by chalk-white cliffs, while Red Beach has red and black volcanic pebbles and is flanked by imposing red rock cliffs.
A trip to Cape Columbo will take you to one of the island’s most isolated and quietest beaches, the only real downside being that this part of the island can get very windy and the waves pretty powerful – and it’s this wind and wave combination that has carved out the rugged coastline at Columbo.
The nights are drawing in; it’s dark by 4pm and the air’s taken on a bitter chill. It’s time to put away with the floaty dresses and shorts and pull out the winter coats, jumpers and scarves in a bid to stay warm throughout the winter months. At this time of year we prefer to draw the curtains against the gloom, crank up the heating and snuggle up indoors.
Of course, a lot of us like to take a bit of time out in winter and take a trip away. While it’s no longer beach season, there are still plenty of great places to visit in the UK, whether it’s for a week away or just a romantic weekend with lots of opportunities for comfort and warmth. Here are some of the cosiest places to visit in the UK this winter.
Millgate House, North Yorkshire
Millgate House is perfect for people looking for a cosy and intimate trip away. The B&B was once a Regency house, offers three beautiful rooms and a unique, warm décor full of quirky antiques and pictures, not to mention a fantastic breakfast. There’s an open fireplace too, ideal for relaxing during the long, cold nights.
Boathouse, Knotts End
Located in the Lake District, the Boathouse is a unique and incredibly lovely place to stay. Surrounded by forests and a glacial lake, the house is decked out in warm oaks and has all the amenities you need for an intimate trip to the Lakes. It even comes with its own rowing boat! The Lake District is full of cosy retreats for the winter.
Bailiffscourt, West Yorkshire
The ancient manor house, built by Guinness magnate Lord Moyne, is heavily inspired by medieval architecture, with original stonework and woodwork, creating a close space. The effect is a warm and cosy place complete with roaring fireplaces, a spa and four poster beds decked out in beautiful reds and golds. A great place for people looking for a more traditional experience in West Yorkshire.
The Feathered Nest, Oxfordshire
Situated in a little village, the Feathered Nest is ideal for people looking for the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Each bedroom offers its own unique and cosy quirks and there’s an open fire in the bar for those chilly winter nights. The converted malt house also has plenty of history for anyone interested.
Tan y Bwlch, Gwynedd
This little Welsh cottage is perfect for holing up during the winter. It’s largely unaltered from its original state and offers everything from a rustic fireplace to original wooden beams and floors. The interior has been carefully cultivated for historical accuracy, and it’s a great place to curl up and sit out the cold, dark nights of winter.
This is just scratching the surface of the cosiest and most intimate winter holiday retreats in the UK during winter, but there are plenty of ways to make sure your own home is a haven from the chilly weather outside. For one thing, making sure you have a warm and comfortable bed from Bedstar is a sure fire way to beat the winter blues; after all, what’s better than snuggling up under a thick, fluffy duvet and drifting away to sleep?