Liverpool: Shop Till You Drop

liverpool-from-the-merseyLiverpool is a fantastic destination for those looking to book a shopping trip. With shopping centres, shops and markets galore to pick up those last minute gifts, it’s a great choice whether you want to load up on designer purchases or bargains.
Save on your hotel room with budget accommodation and you’ll have more cash to splash on those presents.

Liverpool One
If you really want to give your credit card a workout then the Liverpool One shopping centre is a great place to start. With over 160 big name high street stores, you’ll find everything from bargain buys to designer wares at Liverpool One. It’s also a great place for a pit stop with restaurants and cafes on the Leisure Terrace offering quick bites and sit down meals.
Metquarter
Those who have some high maintenance friends and family on the Christmas gift lists should head directly to the Metquarter shopping centre in the Whitechapel area of Liverpool. With amazing aspirational brand such as MAC, Hugo Boss, Jo Malone, Armani and Diesel, it’s a great place to go if you’ve got cash to splash.
Liverpool City Central
City central is the main shopping and leisure area of Liverpool, boasting over 400 shops, five shopping centres and two department stores. If you can’t find the perfect gift there, it’s unlikely that you’ll find it anywhere!
Cavern Walks, Cavern Quarter
Those who prefer to browse independent boutiques rather than fight the masses on the high street should however forget City Central and head instead to Cavern Walks. Located in the ultra cool Cavern Quarter, Cavern Walks is a collection of designer boutiques and independent traders to guarantee a fabulous gift find.

You don’t have to ride the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk to find high style and fashion. If you’re in the know when it comes to the Liverpool celebrity scene then you’re sure to have heard of the designer boutique Cricket. You may not, however, have heard of Boudette and Boudoir Boutique, where you’ll find glamorous brands sitting alongside vintage Dior.

Patriotic peeps may also wish to splurge in Vivienne Westwood – that is, if you know someone who’s been especially good this year!
Refuel!
You’re never far from a good café or restaurant in Liverpool. At Cavern Walks try Chantilly for coffee and cake, or Lucy in the Sky for a Beatles themed pit-stop (yes, you’ll find a lot of that around the city!). In the Metquarter Café Rouge is a great option whether you’re after breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a quick café au lait – or, try Hamiltons, owned and run by Atomic Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton, for organic fayre.

Gorgeous Greek Getaways in Skiathos and the Aegean

skiathos holidaysWhen it comes to finding a gorgeous getaway that promises plenty of sun, sea and sand, you can’t go wrong with Greece. This magical destination is a scorcher in summer, serving up day after day of endless sunshine that makes its beaches glitter like gold, and its shores sparkle like precious gems. And thanks to the stunning islands that are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, there’s plenty of choice too – meaning you’re bound to find something that satisfies your holiday wish-list.

 

One destination that’s an absolute joy to visit is Skiathos. This lovely Greek island is like a painting – it’s home to lush landscapes and stunning scenery, where golden beaches are fringed by pine-clad hillsides and brightly-coloured boats bring in the day’s catch, ready to grace the menus later that night. Skiathos holidays really are quite special.

 

Elsewhere, the popular islands of Corfu and Crete make perfect family holiday destinations, as they’re packed to the hilt with child-friendly hotels and fun activities to keep all ages entertained. If you fancy something more upbeat, where you can party all night to the latest tunes and burn off the effects with a round of beach volleyball or a spot of watery fun the next day, the resort of Faliraki in Rhodes would be right up your street, as would Kardamena in Kos.

 

Whatever you fancy, Greek holidays don’t have to cost the earth. Thanks to the highly competitive holiday industry, you can book low-cost holidays in Greece without breaking the bank or upsetting your bank manager. It’s just a matter of defining your budget and finding something that strikes the right balance between affordability and value for money. Watch out for tour operators’ special offers too – such as late deals and early bird discounts – and you could soon be jetting off for a gorgeous Greek holiday to remember…

Australia

Traveling To Australia – Things You Should Know

Australia is a beautiful country to visit. The views are breathtaking; the cities are lively; and there are activities for everyone. However, before planning an Australian vacation, there are several things that every traveler needs to know.

Australia

What You Need to Do before Traveling to Australia

Before going to Australia, visitors will need a valid passport and Australian visa. Visas are available through an Australian embassy or the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The Electronic Travel Authority issues label-free visas that are valid for up to three months. The ETA is a quick and efficient way for travelers to get a visa in a matter of minutes.

If you plan to work during your stay, you will need to obtain a valid work visa. To be on the safe side, you should apply for this visa a few months before your trip. This is especially true if you are hoping to stay for an extended period.

Australia has it’s own currency the Aussie Dollar, you can exchange worldwide at airports, banks or other financial institutions.

Popular Vacation Spots

The most difficult aspect of planning a trip down under is choosing where in Australia to visit. Australia’s three largest cities are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Each of these cities are amazing cities that are visited by millions each year.

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and offers visitors a wide selection of attractions, beautiful beaches, and several National Parks. Melbourne is famous for it’s high-end shopping and is perfect for the traveling fashionista. Brisbane is a popular tourist destination, just a short distance from Australia’s Gold Coast.

If you are hoping to spend the majority of your time on the beach, you may want to spend your vacation in Queensland. Queensland is home to the Gold Coast, as well as Airlie Beach, Cairn, Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, Mission Beach, Palm Cove, and the Whitsunday Islands. The Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest living reef, is also located in Queensland.

If you are interested in hiking, camping, and back packing, you may want to spend your vacation in the Northern Territory. Popular tourist spots, like Kakadu, Alice Springs, Darwin, Litchfield National Park, and Ayers Rock, are great spots for the adventurous outdoors-man.

When to Plan Your Trip

Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian winter begins in May and lasts until August. The summer begins in November and lasts until March.

The most popular months for visiting Northern Australia are from June to August. If you plan to travel during these months, you will need to book all accommodations several months in advance. While the weather is beautiful, expect to pay top dollar for an airline ticket and hotel.

The most popular time to visit Southern Australia is during the Australian summer. Most tourists find Northern Australia to be too hot and humid during the summer. The southern states are much milder

Where to Stay

Australia offers everything from luxury hotels to extremely affordable hostels. Visitors that are planning on staying for a number of weeks may also want to consider staying with an Australian family, swapping houses with a local family, or renting a self-catering apartment. Renting a short-term apartment or staying with a host family is a great way to save money on a long stay.

Five Quick Tips for Travelers:

  • Tipping is not generally expected in restaurants and hotels. Tip for excellent service or at your discretion.
  • Bring a travel adapter and converter for electronics. Outlets are usually 240/250 volts and accept three prong plugs.
  • The Australian dollar is the accepted unit of currency. Restaurants and retailers will usually only accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, and Bankcard.
  • The tap water is clean and safe to drink. Beer is usually served chilled. Water is served without ice unless specifically requested.
  • Most hotels and banks will issue travelers checks in Australian dollars. Although, travelers may want to get their checks before they go.

There is a lot that goes into planning an Australian vacation. Travelers must choose a destination, book their accommodations, and gather various travel essentials. Fortunately, taking the time to carefully plan your vacation will ensure a successful trip down under.

Rio in Brazil

Brazil 2014 World Cup Destination – Just Do It!

Brazil is a fantastic destination for travellers, with a wealth of activities and adventures to be had within its borders, from wildlife watching in the Amazon jungle to joining capoeira dancers and colourful carnivals in the streets in Rio de Janeiro.

With the World Cup coming to Brazil, this is definitely one of the hottest destinations on the map. Still, there is much more to Brazil than just football – but hey, there’s also football!

Graphic provided by momondo

It is a great place for a hot and sunny winter break, with its peak season running from December to March, when the tropical beaches of the country’s coast buzz with international travellers. While the weather is at its dampest, coldest and most bleak over here, in Brazil the sun is shining and the cocktails flow. The fifth largest country in the world, Brazil has plenty of room to accommodate different holiday interests.

Its miles of sandy coastline and tropical islands provide a paradise of relaxation and indulgence for holidaymakers just looking to relax, unwind and soak up the sun. The beautiful archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is widely known for its paradise beaches, with white powdery sand and crystal clear water. One beach, Praia do Sancho, is reached through a narrow gap in a rock face, while Baía dos Porcos offers fantastic water for swimming and snorkelling. Copacabana has an international reputation, but try nearby Arpoador, past Ipanema beach, to get away from the general mass of tourists. For a completely relaxed vibe head to Caraiva in Bahia, a tranquil car-free spot where the fastest moving transport is the donkey carts.
Rio in Brazil
Travellers who prefer a more active holiday will find plenty to do in Brazil. The Amazon jungle supplies endless opportunities to trek, seeking out spectacular waterfalls and diverse wildlife. The winds on Brazil’s northeast coast provide great conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. No trip to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue, which watches over the city, but adventurous travellers might enjoy the challenge of a mountain climb up Sugar Loaf Mountain on the way to see this famous statue.

Brazil is known throughout the world as a brilliant place to party.
carnival dancers
Every year its carnivals, which take place before the beginning of Lent in February, attract thousands of visitors. Whilst Rio de Janeiro’s carnival is the most famous, it is also well worth considering Salvador in Bahia, or Olinda in Pernambuco, a fantastic long carnival that many Brazilians consider to be the best in their country. For a more chilled out carnival experience, try Porto Seguro in north eastern Brazil, a friendly and laid-back carnival that is still full of magic. Earlier in the winter, the best parties are to be found in Rio or Sao Paulo, where the bars retain the carnival atmosphere with great music and skilfully mixed caipirinhas. You can learn to samba in one of the many escola de samba(schools of samba) in these cities, then dance in live music bars such as Carioca da Gema, Café Cultural de Sacrilégio or Trapiche Gamboa in Rio, and Samba, Bar do Cidão or Bar Brahma in Sao Paulo. Culture lovers will appreciate Sao Paulo’s great range of museums and galleries.

For stunning home grown Brazilian art, head to the Museu de Arte Brasileira or the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea, or for a world-class collection of Goya, Raphael, Titian and Velázquez, amongst others, try the Museu de Arte de São Paulo. In Rio de Janeiro, the Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro offers a host of modern Brazilian and international art, while the Museo Nacional de Belas Artes and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, with its spectacular architecture, are also well worth visiting. A lot of museums offer free entrance on Sundays. There is no better place to shake off the winter blues than in Brazil, a country of endless possibilities for relaxation and excitement.

adventure cruises

Top 10 Cruises for Adventure Travel

Here are the top 10 Cruises for Adventure Travel

adventure cruises

1. Nova Scotia and Labrador Tall Ships, Canada
Cruises of Nova Scotia and Labrador Tall Ships last up to a week, the excitement of the wind through the sails of the ships will add you with seafaring heritage of eastern Canada

2. San Juan Islands, Washington
When you travel with San Juan Islands cruise from Washington, you can skip from island to island. Breathtaking views of beautiful wilderness are offered by the classic wooden vessels. You can also get gourmet meals which matches the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.

3. Pirate Cruise, Grand Cayman Island
Pirate Cruise of Grand Cayman is the Caribbean cruise, this is perfect for young and old children. This is duplicate of 17th century Spanish boat, it offers firing cannons, planks to walk and sword fighting as well.

4. Star Clipper to French Polynesia
Cruise lovers always dream about sailing between paradise islands. This cruise leaves from Tahiti and will take you to Huahine, Bora-Bora, Polynesian islands and Moorea, which lasts for seven days.

5.Junk Cruise, Andaman Sea, Thailand
Junk Cruise of Thailand travels through Andaman Sea. You can see rare seabirds, romantic beaches and popular limestone stalactites while traveling on this cruise. Andaman Sea has 3500 islands and all of them are beautiful.

6.Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay of Vietnam has some 3000 steeps, extraordinarily sculptured limestone islands are some of the important part of attractions of this cruise.

7. Seychelles Islands
To explore the unspoiled islands of the Seychelles, you should reserve a yacht, it is well known for its clear waters and clean coral reefs. Hiring a skipper and a crew is a good idea, they will do all the hard work for you.

8. Dhow Cruise, Straits of Hormuz, Oman
On this cruise, you can see the mountains which rise straight up from the sea, inlets created by them looks similar to Norwegian fjords, there are some dotted villages and can be only reached by boats.

9. Lamu Island, Kenya
Lamu Island of Kenya is a very good cruise destination. The importance of this island is reflected by its historic buildings, this place is used as a port by African, Arab, and European explorers and traders.

10. Évia Island Cruise, Greece
Evia Island Cruise of Greece will take you the Island of Evia Island, which is the second largest island. This Island has bumpy coastline of wide beaches and steep mountains.

map of ireland

5 Off the Beaten Track Destinations in Ireland

by Amanda Andrews
off the beaten track in IrelandIf you are planning a trip to the Emerald Isle there are a few places that are bound to be on your list of must-see attractions. Surely Dublin is right at the top of the list, followed closely by Blarney Castle and maybe the Ring of Kerry. While the tried and true destinations are definitely worth the visit, don’t think that this is all that Ireland has to offer. It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that there is something fascinating to see around every corner in Ireland. This little island is packed full of ancient historic sites that should really not be missed on your next trip.

The Rock of Cashel

In south Tipperary you will find one of the most impressive looking ancient castles to be found in Ireland. Perched atop a rocky plateau this fortress can be seen for miles around and is said to be where the King of Munster were converted by St. Patrick in the 5th century. Legends and myths abound here, but one of the most useful ones may be the legend that is your arms can meet around the large Irish High Cross found on the grounds you will never suffer from another hangover. Surely it’s worth visiting to give that a try!

map of ireland

Glendalough

Glendalough (pronounced like Glenda-lock) is a glacial valley in Co. Wicklow, and home to an Early Medieval monastic settlement that was founded in the 6th century. The monastery was founded by St. Kevin, a local monk and hermit priest, whose fame as a holy man would eventually attract many followers to the site. Today Glendalough is one of the most beautiful visitor attractions in Ireland, with ancient stone crosses blending softly into the landscape. Take a leisurely walk around the lakes, taking time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this ancient place.

Newgrange

You don’t come across history this old every day. The Newgrange passage tomb in County Meath is a Stoneage monument, meaning it was built around 3200 BC! Newgrange is part of the massive Brú na Bóinne (pronounced Brew-na-Boyne) UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes two smaller passage tombs at Knowth and Dowth. Similarly to Stonehenge there is no consensus regarding what the original purpose of these massive earth mounds was, though it is generally agreed that the site must have held some religious significance due to the passage openings alignment with the winter solstice sunrise.

Aran Islands

There is more to these islands than just knitting; they are a step back in time. The three islands, Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oírr, are situated off the westerly coast of Ireland, and offer visitors the opportunity to experience what life in Ireland might have been like generations ago. The majority of island dwellers, of which there are only about 1200 remaining, are native Irish speakers and the area draws people from around Ireland and the world who are interested in learning more about the Irish language and traditional Irish culture. The islands are also breathtakingly beautiful, making the Aran Islands the perfect place to visit on your Irish holiday.

Doolin

If you haven’t gotten your fill of Irish culture while on the Aran Islands (or maybe you’d prefer not to cross the choppy Irish sea to experience it), make a visit to the picture postcard town of Doolin, right on the coast of County Clare. Doolin is a hotbed of traditional Irish music (or just ‘trad’ if you want to sound in the know), and is well known for the nightly sessions that take place at the local pubs. Fancy yourself a bit of a musician? Well, bring along your guitar or tin whistle and see if you can sneak your way in. The town is also only a few miles down the coast from the famous Cliffs of Moher and a great place to catch a ferry to the Aran Islands from, so this is the perfect place to stay for a few days and explore.

Are you more interested than ever in visiting Ireland? Peruse the selection of holiday cottages in Ireland to rent and start planning your perfect Irish holiday today!

 

 

luxury in the south of france

Luxury Sun Holidays in th South of France

France is not all castles and romantic restaurants. It is also a place where you can bathe under the sun and enjoy the clear waters of the sea. Select any of these French destinations and be satisfied with the luxuries and pleasures it will provide. One way to make sure you have control of your own vacation destiny is by choosing France Villa and Apartment Rentals, of course, if you want hotels, there are plenty to choose from too.

 

Marseille

There are many beautiful beach places to visit in Marseille, one of which is Calanques, a place known for its steep limestone cliffs and crystal clear turquoise waters. You may take a two-hour boat ride and gaze at the wonderful natural white stone masterpieces of limestone juxtaposed the deep blue water of the sea. Ride a private charter and plunge into the deep for a remarkable scuba diving experience. It is the best place in France where you can enjoy several wild water activities including wind surfing, kayaking, and canoeing. Become one of the millions of visitors who have been captivated by its beauty and make early reservations for your Calanques adventure trip today.  (Hotels in Marseilles)

 

Normandy

This region of France is known for its D-Day Landing Beaches like Juno Beach, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach. You will find several commemorated monuments in its midst in remembrance of those who gave up their lives for peace and justice. Nevertheless, you will have more fun under the sun if you will visit Le Cotentin. It is a favorite spot of many wedding planners because of its scenic golden sand beaches, which acts as the perfect backdrop for any romantic walk. It is perfect for couples who wish to have an intimate time together.

 

Brittany

You will find numerous beaches in Brittany including Dinard, Benodet, and Carnac. All three will give you pleasure and memorable experience, thanks to its spacious villas, magnificent beaches, and plethora of entertainment activities. You are free to walk along the Pink Granite Coast, which are typically a few meters away from the beach resort for a relaxing swim in its water. These resorts took the initiative to prepare shade for all their guests who wish to enjoy the splendor of the beach and a few exciting treats that will make your stay unforgettable.

 

Now there are more reasons why you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to travel
to France. Aside from the historical destinations you would love to explore, you are always free to lounge at the beach and lie leisurely under the sun.

 

 

cricket tours

Experience the Thrill of England Cricket Tours

England’s cricketers have had their ups and downs in recent months, but they are still riding high in the world rankings, holding on to the number one spot in both test and T20 rankings. If you want to support England overseas in person, here’s how to go about it.

There are few things in this world that can compare to the thrill of travelling across the globe to support your national sports team. In the case of cricket, joining the team on tour also provides an opportunity to visit a number of exciting, exotic holiday destinations. Forthcoming matches are set to take place in Sri Lanka, New Zealand and India to name just three.

Although it is possible to follow a tour independently, doing so as part of an organised trip means you can sit back, relax and enjoy the cricket without having to worry about tickets, transport arrangements and the quality of your accommodation.

Notable names
cricket tours
If you’re traveling alone, an organized tour can make your experience far more sociable by providing the chance to spend time with a friendly group of people who share your passion for the game. You can even opt to go on tours where you can be personally escorted by some of the biggest names in the cricketing world, including the likes of Syd Lawrence and Barry Leadbeater.

Although watching live cricket will be at the heart of your trip, there will also be plenty of time for sightseeing and relaxation so you get to learn a little about the history and culture of the country you are in. When it comes to the actual matches, your tickets are always guaranteed and you will automatically receive the best seats available. Travelling to and from the venue will be arranged on your behalf, so you’ll be able to focus all your attention on the action.

The same companies that help cricket fans to follow their favorite team all over the world can also help to instil a love of sport in a new generation by arranging school sport tours. Featuring everything from hockey and netball to water polo and tennis – and of course cricket – these tours provide an opportunity for school children, clubs and universities to pit their skills against teams from all over the world.

Professional coaching

School and social club tours aren’t just about the sport itself. They provide the chance to meet and mix with people from different cultures, enabling you to experience how people live their lives in other countries. Tours can also be combined with an opportunity to assist with social or environmental projects, or can include professional coaching sessions.

Whether you simply want to be there to support your favorite team or find out first hand just what it’s like to compete in a foreign land, a sports tour promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience full of memories that you will continue to treasure long after you have returned home.

cruise in slovakia

What you need to know before you cruise to Slovakia

slovakian cruiseSlovakia is a land-locked country settling north of Hungary and south of Poland. With ancient castle ruins, traditional villages (such as the historic town of Bardejov) and mountainous national park; the country is full of places to explore for travelers looking for a place where traditional folkways and nature still hold sway. Based on a statistics released by the Official Slovakia Tourism website, there is roughly 3.4 million tourist visiting Slovakia annually. Although Slovakia is a land-locked county, there are various cruise lines that offer luxurious and memorable Slovakian tour for tourists.

There are various luxury cruises that offer world-class experience to their clienteles in Slovakia. Some of the famous cruise lines are sailing the Slovakian waters are the AMA Waterways River Cruises and the Viking River Cruises. These cruise lines come with various amenities such as on-board swimming pool, spa and state-of-the-art facilities including a reliable wireless internet connection.

This year, Viking River Cruises will unveil its new cruise line called “Viking Baldur.” It was designed by legendary naval architects Yran & Storbraaten. They were the same team behind The Yachts of Seabourn. These new vessel will voyage in the European waters from Passau to Budapest. The 8-day itinerary will take you through four of Europe’s most enchanting countries – Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia – along the storied Danube River.

Viking Baldur ship features:

· 95 outside staterooms including 2 explorer suites and 7 veranda suites (equipped with 40” flat-panel televisions)
· Sun deck with a 360-degree views and shaded sitting area
· Observation lounge and bar
· A restaurant with panoramic views
· On-board shopping boutique
· Library corner
· Aquavit terrace
· Elevator

Slovakia is a rapidly developing country yet it still continues to preserve its natural beauty hidden in its rural area. It’s not surprising to know that Slovakia has become a major tourist hub in the recent years. But to make your Slovakian travel more memorable, save a lot and plan your next cruise vacation to Slovakia.

Off the British beaten track – a road trip, outside London to the Chilterns

Exploring the Chilterns ccImage courtesy of netefect on FlickrEveryone loves a road trip and the fact of the matter is that there isn’t a much better place to take one than outside of London. If you are looking for rural market towns, beautiful English landscapes,and the beech forests for which England is famous…you don’t have to go very far. You just need to get out of London Town! There’s not much easier or more satisfying than renting a car in London. Life has remained unchanged for centuries amidst the rural folks who live among the woodland chalk streams and red kites of the Chilterns. Remains of the Iron Age and the Ridgeway civilizations aren’t far either and as you drive and see the unspoilt countryside, the ancient history of this beautiful region will overwhelm your senses and perhaps, like the forts along the ridge tops, you will need to shore up your defenses against history overload! Enjoy the cultural traditions and the local flavors of the smaller communities surroundin London and all just a short drive away. It’s not all history though – the towns of Amersham, Chesham, Berkhamsted, Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Princes Risborough, Great Missenden, Wendover and Tring are historic but also have plenty to offer in the ways of modern amenities. This area is known as the Chilterns and you only have to go about 20 miles to the Northwest of London to see this gorgeous region.

The counties of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire ring with the sound of romance and you will find them still to be filled with national and international treasures of history. Authentic historic experience combined with the many pleasures of the road mean that you can stop for a roadside snack, enjoy the local bounty of flavors, and then move on your merry way to the next town. Of cours, if you want to stay there are a wide variety of bed and breakfasts, historic houses, hotels, inns, and homestays available too. Part of the joy of this region is slowing down and enjoying the many gardens, parks, and rustic experiences of life. Cycling, taking long walks, or even just sitting with friends as the sun makes it’s way across the sky. And, I can’t emphasize this enough – it’s not very far from London at all. Once you are ready to head home, you can go back to London for a few more days or you can drop off the car at any London airport for a quick getaway…not that you’ll be interested in getting away after you’ve spent any time at all exploring the marvelous Chilterns.

Travel Friendships