The Costa Blanca is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Spain. Its’ wonderful beaches are one of the main attractions and ideal for water sports for most of the year. Denia and Javea are both located to the north of Alicante and are wonderful towns found at the bottom of a mountain. The holiday town of Moraira is also a favourite choice. Some of the coastal towns such as Gandia, Denia, Alicante and Cartagena have lovely old quarters, which are worth visiting. One of the principal resorts in the north of the Costa Blanca is the holiday resort of Benidorm. It has the attraction of the Terra Mitica theme park, as well as the beaches and the very lively nightlife.
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and is situated among a plain of orange groves. Along with the city of Murcia they both have universities, picturesque cathedrals and an abundance of museums.
The south of the Costa Blanca extends to Torrevieja and La Manga del Mar Menor. Torrevieja, which is approximately 45 minutes drive south of Alicante, is much expanded and before tourism the town’s main source of income was sea salt from the large salt lakes which surround the area. There is a huge selection of accommodation to choose from along this coast from luxury Costa Blanca villas overlooking the towns of Denia and Javea in the north, modern holiday apartments in Benidorm at the heart of the nightlife to more rural cortijos and fincas just inland from the coast, yet close to all the activities.
A Costa Blanca holiday offers so much to do, the area is only second to the Costa del Sol in the number of Golf Courses it has, and we have a large selection of golf properties at the Villamartin golf resort and at La Manga. The courses at Villamartin, Las Ramblas and Campoamor offer exciting fairways with each golf course within 5 minutes drive of the other. The other famous golf course at La Manga is situated just to the south of the Mar Menor near to the sea whereas the golf resort of Ciudad Quesada lies inland from Torrevieja.
The Costa Blanca is served by 2 airports, 3 counting the one at Valencia. Alicante is the main international airport with numerous flights per day and the smaller airport of Murcia, next to the Mar Menor is well served with flights from the UK.
If you have chosen the Costa Blanca , Spain for your holiday travel, supposedly it is because it has been recommended to you by someone you trust, you have read about it and seems quite amazing and/or just love being in contact with nature, the natural environment that it offers, relaxation and fresh air. Wow! What a fantastic combination if you can get all that together. Just take out your map of the Iberian Peninsula which will show you Spain and Portugal, go to the Mediterranean Sea and look for Alicante. Now go down the coast to the south and find the villa of Pilar del Honradada, now start running your finger up to Torrevieja, going through Alicante city, to Benidorm, Altea, Calpe, Moraira and Javea with the last point in Denia. Well, all of this is yours to explore when you say that you want some Costa Blanca holidays.
Now that you have an idea of what villas you can visit, let’s start making plans. Firstly, the majority of the people choose summer for their vacation time, which is great, but you will need to book your flight in advance. There are a lot of scheduled economy flights when flying in from another European destination. England is one of the countries which has the most amount of flights in as much as frequency year round, airport availability with a lot of open timetables and very low prices. Between Alicante and Valencia, both serving the Costa Blanca as they are almost the same distance away, your travel options will be plentiful. As far as getting around, if your budget permits, a rent a car would be quite nice, if not, then there are many buses, trains or taxis making trips to and from the airports and major bus and train stations, connecting all the villas along the Costa Blanca.
Tradition, culture and landmarks is what differentiates one place from another even though they are neighbouring towns. Javea for example shares with Denia the Natural Park of Montgo, a solid massif right on the coastal line. Just the fact that the side facing the sea acts as a huge windsheild, blocking the marine winds and humidity, it does not have the same vegetation as the west side which is treated with warmer and drier breezes. Therefore, in order to appreciate the more than 600 different kinds of flora, you must make a complete circle round it. On doing this, you will also come across different fauna like the yellowed-legged seagull, eagles and royal owls. If that were not enough, there are also archaeological remains which are under study and that is probably one of the main reasons for this area to have been declared a World Heritage. But Javea is also curious because it has kept up many of its original tradition like the ball game, similiar to tennis but played in a very primitive way. There are no courts, just the streets, the ball is made with cloth, compactly held together with string and more cloth, their hands are used as paddles and the spectators are the judges or referees. At the weekends there are usually a few games going on so feel free to sit on the curb and participate. And if that is not thrilling enough, then plan your holiday when Javea is celebrating its patron saint in the summer. This is usually a week long festivity which includes bullfighting in the streets.
After this stay, it would be relaxing to just lay around on the beaches in Moraira or Calpe, sip some sangria made with good Spanish wine and feast out on fresh seafood, most of which you have never seen so close up or have probably ever tried. In Calpe, there is another treat for the nature lover’s- the Rock of Ifach, a small roky peninsula joined to land by an isthmus right in front of Calpe. Among the fauna you will see cormorants and hawks of all kinds and of course a completely different vegetation from other areas. The sea in Calpe is usually crystal clear, letting you see red corral, sea sponges and the sea anemone. Now onto Altea, an old fishing village which has grown considerably thanks to the amount of tourists and foreigners looking for a second residence. The villa of Altea is surrounded by various mountain ranges making the general view from almost anywhere nearby a special combination of a mountain backdrop and the sea. The waters are usually quite calm although the beaches are pebbly. They have a nice festive air when celebrating their Moorish tradition in April, a great firework display in early July and the local honouring of their patron Saint Ann in August. Cannot ever be bored there!
Other Kinds of Fun Parks around the Costa Blanca
Now your travel has taken you to Benidorm, which if we stretch our Spanish into English, it could mean ‘sleep well’. As that is what you will probably do after a long day of boat rides, skiing classes or theme park activities. You can go on all kinds of thrilling and daring rides, be they on dry land or going down long watershoots or hang out with the wildlife and then go for a splash in the same park or prfer completely dry land and smell the aromas in an area filled with exotic plants and birds. Alicante is just a stone’s throw away from Benidorm ( http://www.alicante-spain.com/benidorm.html ), and this city is where you can get a good dose of Spanish culture with its innumerous museums, cathedrals and castles. If you choose late June, you eyes will be amazed with when seeing the huge carton figures that are set up in the streets, beautiful girls elegantly dressed in the typical Alicantinian dresses and the partying in the streets until late hours of the night. ut then again, you can change atmospheres and sprawl out on the beaches in Torrevieja before ending you wonderful holiday in the Costa Blanca.
Like the Seville region, the province of Cordoba is landlocked, though that should not be a reason for the more adventurous traveller to not visit either for they both are fascinating. The region of Cordoba is split by the mighty Rio Guadalquivir on which lies the ancient city of Cordoba, founded by the Romans, though it flourished under the Moorish occupation and this is evident in the architecture found all over the city.
Built on a sharp bend of the river which is crossed by the Roman bridge, the El Puente Romano, the city was once a port. When the Moors were replaced by the Christians, the city’s beauty was left untouched and the Christian cathedral was built within the mosque, the Mezquita. The Mezquita dates back to the 12 century and symbolises the power of the Moorish Islamic influence on this region of Andalucia. Built in 785AD by Abd al Rahman, the mosque has been added to over the generations by both Christian and Islamic faiths as they each controlled this area.
At the centre of Cordoba is the old Jewish quarter where little has changed in centuries, narrow streets and garden plazas, tapas bars and restaurants, an ideal area to explore and relax in the Spanish way. The bull fighting museum and the cool and refreshing fountains and gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos are well worth a visit both being open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Move outside of the city into the area of Cordoba, and you’ll find it quite unoccupied, most of the population live in the city itself while the remainder are spread out in this large unexploited region. Summers here are dry and hot, so the best time of the year to visit is during the cooler spring and autumn months, where you will find villages that still hold on to their Spanish values, something that has almost all but disappeared from the Costas to the south.
Cadiz, to the south of Huelva province shares the same stretch of coastline, the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light), an Atlantic coastline, with long stretches of uncrowded pristine sand. Windsurfers and para-surfers will have heard of Tarifa, the most southern point of the Cadiz region, which as you would expect is renown for its constant breeze.
Inland, the area is dotted with pretty white picture postcard villages which during the cooler months lie in pleasantly green hills refreshed by the moist air brought in from the Atlantic, compared to the drier Malaga region.
One of the most interesting of the towns is Jerez de la Frontera, the capital of the sherry region and many of the bodegas offer visitors a tour of how the sherry is made. Gonzalez Byass and Pedro Domecq should be names known to those who appreciate a tipple. The famous white horses of Andalucia, are trained at the famous equestrian school, Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre.
Cadiz city is steeped in history, legend has it that the city was founded by Hercules, though more probably it was initially established by the Phoenicians in 1100BC. Over the centuries the city has been inhabited by Carthaginians, Romans and Moors. Set on a peninsula of land, almost entirely surrounded by the sea, Cadiz has often been the target of attack, mainly from the British with the first attack coming from Sir Francis Drake in 1587.
Cadiz is a wonderful place to explore, with many narrow streets and alleyways opening into market squares full of life.
Accommodation is usually of a very high standard, and whether you stay in a rural self catering rental in Jimena de la Frontera to sample the sherry or a cosy guest house, bed and breakfast in Cadiz, you’ll have a holiday to remember.
Tarazona has been called Mudejar City it’s unique in that the streets are laid out in tiers above the Queiles River quays. Because it was built at the foot of the Moncayo Mountain, there was little flat land to build upon anyway. The kings of Aragon lived here once. The Romans, as in most places in Spain, predated them. Today you can stroll the medieval streets fronted with tall facades in the barrios of the town.
Tarazona’s Gothic cathedral, started in the 12th century and completed in the 16th century, is its primary attraction. Despite the fact that it was completed well into the Catholic period of Spain, the Mujedar style is still very clearly present in the cathedral’s belfry and lantern tower. Its dome is quite similar to that of the Zaragoza cathedral.
You can also visit the Ayuntamiento, or Town Hall, with its reliefs of Ferdinand and Isabella as they conquered Granada together. This monument is on the Plaza de Espana on a hill overlooking the river, and if you pause here for a few moments, you can experience its marvelous view. The Ruta Turistica from here will take you to Santa Magdalena church, which has yet another Mujedar tower this tower is the primary landmark of the skyline, and can be seen for miles. The mirador of the church has a panoramic view. At the top of the hill is La Concepcion, another tower-blessed church.
Tarazona also, until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, had a vibrant Jewish population in the old part of town. Today, little remains that is recognizable. The alleys are fronted with Moorish and Spanish buildings, and some, called “hanging houses,” are built on top of natural rock formations, beneath which are caves once used by Tarazona’s Jewish population. In the center of the old section of town is a large ruined building with an ornate medieval door that researchers think once was a Talmud Torah with a mikveh in the basement a Jewish group is working right now to fully restore this house and convert it into a museum devoted to the Jews of Tarazona.
Another particularly interesting feature of Tarazona is the octagonal bullring, with its walls formed by houses that are still lived in today.
Where to Stay
The Brujas de Becquer is a half-mile southeast of Tarazona, on the road to Zaragoza. This hotel is modern and unpretentious, but it’s comfortable and neat and quite adequate for most, with private showers. In the dining room, you can take advantage of an excellent fixed-price meal.
Where to Eat
The food of Tarazona is known for its almost austere plainness this has been tempered lately by chefs who have brought an elegance to their cooking. Today, the food is still simple, but made of the freshest ingredients, and with subtle touches that give it a sophistication the food of Tarazona never had before.
El Galeon is a good example. They serve primarily Tarazona food, with their specialties being a simple stew and custard desert.
Many changes took place across the face of earth, since the globalization began to propel the world by the late 1980s. The emerging new world order had many fast growing economies and several new regional powers to be content with. New players in the world tourism were on rise too. While Greece had always been a preferred choice for holiday making, suddenly new players began to fill up this spot as well. Egypt and Turkey in particular had their tourism infrastructure upgraded and were now drawing away a substantial amount of the Greek bound tourism inflow. A majority of these drop outs hailed from the UK and Germany, two of Greece’s most influential neighbors. The two aforementioned countries were dragging them away by offering leisure and fun at slashed rates. A less occupancy rate in the rooms across Crete hotels told about this unfolding saga.
However, the same trend also saw new markets emerging from the erstwhile communist states like Russia, Lithuania and Slovenia. The fall of Soviet era and the emergence of a new middle class after the initial lull had seen them sending travelers across the world. The Cypriots were also not behind and were more than willing to travel to Greece during the same period. It should be noted down that the contribution of the Cretan tourism to the nation’s GDP is substantial, and it employs tens of thousands of Greeks throughout the year. Crete hotels, touring agencies, banking, maritime, airline operations and the ground support for all touring parties make up these jobs.
Figures for the period between 2002 and 2007 showed a 20% hike in the number of arrivals from Russia, an earlier non-entity in the annals of Greek tourism. The same stood at 64% for the Cypriots and 55% for the Slovenians, once again a pleasant surprise, keeping in mind their meager past contributions. However, the largest shot came from the Lithuanians, with an increase of 74%. According to the data available from the Crete hotels, the number of the UK and German arrivals, two of the largest Greek bound travelers, have slid down during the same period, but the East Europeans have balanced this slide – to some extent if not fully – by upping their interest for Greece.
It is widely known by now, that tour operators play a key role in diverting the flow of worldwide tourism. So for example, if they saw more profits, they might get some of the Greek bound flights canceled sell cheaper holiday packages to Egypt and Turkey to see packed up flights and hotels there. Even the Middle Eastern hotels would play a key role in charting out these events, since their tour packages, though comparable to those found in Greece, would be maneuvered to favor them. A German tourist may have to pay up to 500 Euros in Crete hotels, compared to 300-400 Euros for an all-inclusive week long stay in the four star Egyptian hotels.
The role of foreign tour operators is now being debated in Greece at length and some measures may be taken to reduce their future impact. In the meanwhile though, the Cretan tourism and the Crete hotels in particular can continue basking in the background of the help extended by their East European friends.
Thiva is an ancient name used to denominate part of Thebes, and is, without any doubt, one of the most interesting and appealing destinations in the entire country. The city of Thiva is situated on the northern area of the Cithaeron range, between Attica and Boeotia, in central Greece. There so many amazing antique spots and ancient areas to meet in Thiva that it is recommendable for tourists to count with as much time for visiting it as possible since this is an absolutely unique place which deserves as much attention and exploration as it can have.
The city of Thiva is related to many ancient legends and myths, a characteristic counted among its main attractions. These legends were not only important in ancient Greece times but also in the future since they have had a strong influence in areas such as literature and arts in general among others.
One of the main attractions in Thiva, as well as one of the most interesting places tourists could find in all Greece, is the citadel Cadmea. The ancient Cadmea was founded by Cadmus, a spot which was deeply explored in the year 1909 when many antique legends and myths became more clear after some discoveries produced in that place.
Several excavations in Thiva have brought to the light many amazing facts and elements from ancient Greece. These excavations have allowed historians, archeologists, and professionals from a variety of other disciplines to learn about ancient cultures and discover facts which are of major importance to not only Greece but the entire world as well. Among the elements and objects discovered in these excavations there are, per example, letters, cylinder seals, weapons, and many tablets with inscriptions of the type known as Linear B.
The main attraction offered by Thiva is its amazing antique history. This is a destination which those who like disciplines such as archeology, history, anthropology, art history, and architecture among others, should not miss while meeting Greece. This destination is one of the most amazing ones visitors could find in Greece and maybe the entire world, and therefore they should make sure of visiting it while being in this region.
Dubai is such an exciting and diverse travel destination that it attracts millions of visitors annually – particularly during the winter months when the weather is perfect for every single activity from sunbathing and scuba diving to camel racing and desert safaris.
If you’re planning a trip to Dubai here’s a guide to the types of attractions and activities you and your family can plan on enjoying.
First things first, as stated the winter months from November through to March are the most popular time of the year to visit the emirate. The weather is perfect with daily sunshine and high temperatures but the sun is not at its most intense which means that visitors can actually get out and about and not have to avoid the desert heat that radiates excessively in Dubai in the summer.
In January each year Dubai plays host to the now world famous Dubai Shopping Festival, a retail extravaganza that annually attracts in excess of 3.3 million visitors who come to enjoy the month long festival and associated celebrations.
The shopping festival is such a hit because the luxury bargains that tax free Dubai is world renowned for are available at sale prices for example, and every single day there are incredible prizes to be won from luxury cars to substantial cash lump sums! Add to this the fact that the Dubai Shopping Festival is a family experience and has daily events and activities for children and nightly firework displays for example and you can see why January is such a great time to be vacationing in Dubai.
Once you’ve shopped in the gold souk and the incredibly luxurious malls and marketplaces you might like to get away from the crowds and head out away from the emirate into the desert on a camel or jeep safari alternatively you could try sand skiing, dune or wadi driving and then have a desert picnic feast.
Heading back into Dubai there are two great ways to get to know more about this historic and incredibly interesting city – a visitor can either take to the air or the water ways and get a unique glimpse of the emirate. Taking an aerial tour of Dubai in a helicopter is a once in a lifetime experience or for those who prefer something more sedate why not cruise Dubai’s waterways in a traditional wooden dhow.
For those who’re after a more action packed experience from their vacation in Dubai why not try thunder bowl, horse riding in the desert, go karting, golf, ice skating or deep sea fishing? And for those with traveling to Dubai with children there are a whole host of exciting adventure parks to try from Dubai Wonderland to Wild Wadi, from Magic Planet to the soon to be completed Snow Dome.
Whatever type of event, activity or attraction you’re after Dubai can satisfy your every whim. With daily cultural events, nightly entertainment activities and a whole world within one emirate waiting to be discovered what are you waiting for? Book your vacation today!
The Greek town of Gytheio, often called the sea port of Sparta, is located towards the north western area of the Gulf of Laconia, in the Peloponnese. This is an ancient town which offers a variety of interesting spots to meet as well as many unique constructions and buildings dating from past epoques.
Due to its age, the city of Gythia has gone through a great amount of interesting and critical historical events. One of the first most critical events this city went through dates from the year 455 BC, when the admiral Tolmides burnt most of it during the Peloponnesian War.
Another important moment in the history of Gythio was when the city became founder of the union of 24 towns. This union was known as the Eleutherolaconian towns, and consisted on a group of communities who united their forces in order to fight again Sparta and keep their autonomy.
There are clear descriptions on how the town was and how it looked like during the rign of Marcus Aurelius. These descriptions explain about the Acropolis, the Agora, and the island of Crane, the precinct of Aphrodite Migonitis, the hill Larysium or Komaro, among other spots and it is recommendable that tourists learn about them in order to have as much information as possible at the time of visiting the town.
The Island of Crane, also known as Island Marathonisi is located near Gythio and has played an important role in its past. This island was the place chosen by Paris to marry Helen of Troy. This fact causes the island to have a special charm and tourists could learn more about this event while visiting it.
According to its modern history, one of the latest most important events that happened in Gythio was the opening of a port. This port started functioning around the year 1960 in what is known as the Sean of the Diocese of Gytheion and Oitylo. This has had an important impact on the town, and is one of the most interesting spots tourists can visit while being in Gythio.
Escape from the daily grind and combine a rejuvenating holiday where you can relax on white sandy beaches, take a swim with the friendly colorful reef fish that eat straight out of your hands.
Shop at the many duty free retailers and visit the local market and to top your day off why not head out to one of the many restaurants that provide a wide range of local seafood and cuisine.
Vanuatu is a land of rich lush tropical rainforests, beautiful blue lagoons, waterfalls and a myriad of hidden bays and beaches that range from snow white to volcanic black. Not forgetting the warm waters of aqua and dark blues with a fascinating underwater world of colorful tropical fish that live amongst magnificent underwater wrecks and coral reef formations.
The untouched tropical paradise, of the South Pacific lies only 2 hours from Brisbane, Australia. Meaning ‘Land Eternal’, Vanuatu is a chain of 83 islands from volcanic beginnings formed in a Y-shaped archipelago which stretches over some 800kms of the Pacific Ocean, half way between Australia and Hawaii.
The capital, Port Vila is a well developed tourist destination that boasts one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world. The town offers excellent restaurants, duty free shopping, and a colorful local market. Port Vila is a town that is never raced and never in a hurry. A gentle, peaceful place where the locals and visitors alike can simply take the time to enjoy just how blessed it has been by nature.
The rural areas of Vanuatu require a more adventurous spirit. Yet it is here that over 80% of the Ni-Vanuati people live in small villages, maintaining the Melanesian culture as it has been for thousands of years. The Ni-Vanuatu people are a gentle, loving, friendly and peaceful people, who enjoys life’s simpler pleasures in a country of diverse and unique customs and culture. There are experiences for the traveller not found anywhere else in the world.
Vanuatu is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There are small communities of French, British, Australian, New Zealand, Vietnamese, Chinese and other Pacific Islands people living in harmony with the Ni-Vanuati. This virgin tropical paradise of the South Pacific blue waters is of such beauty that one will never want to leave.
Treat yourself to 5 Star accommodation and relax in the luxury that is the DXGrand Hotel. Boasting stunning views of Port-Vila and Mele Bay, the DXGrand Hotel offers unsurpassed quality in features, comfort and service. Go deep sea fishing, put on your scuba gear and dive into the crystal blue water to view the amazing creatures, catch a short plane ride to a near-by island and take a walk up an active volcano to view the spectacular eruptions.
Why not take advantage of the great holiday packages available and come and experience the peaceful lifestyle of a relatively new country where the true island living can be seen while you are still looked after in style.
Perhaps you may wish to visit other small local islands and see the happiness and activity in the local ni-Vanuati people showing you their local craft and why not stay for the local feast of beautiful food.