Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Hidden Holiday Gems

As you might have noticed I'm well into holiday mode. When we get into Spring and the sun is shining a lot more I'm counting down the days to the time where I get to take that trip to Gatwick, get a new perfume from duty free and hop on a flight to somewhere new and exciting.

 It's lovely having the sun in London but given the option to swap the feel of the grass between your toes on Clapham Common for the sand beneath my feet on a beach in the Balearics I will jump at the chance.

I mean, are there many things that aren't improved by a little break away? If I have a bad day I'm looking at prices of flights or researching new places to add to our travel wish list. It's that feeling of escape and immersing yourself in something new.

I don't really like to visit the same place more than once. There's a big wide world out there and I want to experience as much of it as I can. Even when you talk to someone who's been to the same place as you you find out there's so much to see that you both had very different holidays by discovering different places to visit. Every holiday is unique.

The great thing is you don't have to go far to get a real change of culture. Short haul trips are so appealing as there is less time on the plane and more time for adventure! That adventure could range from discovering a new cocktail that tastes excellent but doesn't give you a painful hangover (we can dream) to visiting stunning cathedrals full of history- that's the beauty of doing things your way when on holiday. 

Even if you're on a package holiday you don't have to be restricted to your resort. 
I wanted to share a couple of places that surprised me while away on my travels over the years.

Stalis, Crete
Even if I opt for a more relaxed all Inclusive break I still like to explore my surroundings and get out to see what's nearby. We went for a break to Crete in October and spent most evenings or lunchtimes walking along the beach to try out the local bars and meet the locals. It was glorious, I'm an absolute beach-bum and the beach is my happy place.
 One restaurant that really stood out was the Ocean Bar in Stalis. The pale blue and white theme was completely my aesthetic. The seating area was made of old sailing boats and looked fantastic. Something so simple really gave it a magic touch.  I admit it was the fact it was so Instagrammable that drew me inside in the first place! There was a great selection of food and cocktails and it was right on the beach so had perfect views and excellent photo opportunities. It ticked all the boxes for me.


Everyone is so friendly in Greece. I'm slightly upset that we're not heading to any Greek islands this year actually, I love the atmosphere and it's all just so beautiful. Somewhere like Rhodes or Zante will be on the shortlist for next year for sure. 

Magaluf, Majorca
Given it's party reputation I was really surprised by Magaluf beach. I think I expected something  a little more tacky but it was so clean and modern. If you take a little stroll you find nice calm quiet spots which were perfect for the relaxing days to balance out the livelier nights that I was used to back in my youth! It's definitely not a place to go for the culture but if sun and sangria are what you're after this is the perfect location.  
Also.. FUNFACT The Inbetweeners movie was filmed there (not Malia which is where the film is set) so there's a little nugget of knowledge for you. Who said this blog wasn't educational? 

Sal, Cape Verde
We're off to Cape Verde this summer; It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for a few years now and I always hear really great things. The beaches look beautiful and it's such an up and coming destination. It's slightly further away but the flight time isn't as ridiculous as going to the Caribbean but we'll get to experience a complete different culture to anywhere in Europe.  Their motto is 'No stress' which is absolutely perfect for us. 
It was the chance of seeing some great wildlife out here that sold it to me; There's a charity that protects the turtles and you can see them hatch and head off down the sand to the sea which sounds incredible. The Turtle nesting season is from late June so fingers crossed we time it perfectly. There's some great chances to go whale watching too. 
Another place I'm hoping to visit while out there is ‘Olho Azul’, which in Portuguese means ‘Blue Eye’. It's basically a saltwater pool inside a lava-encrusted rock and when the suns rays hit the water just right, the cave lights up and looks like a gigantic blue eye. To me this sounds like the ultimate hidden gem! I don't like to wish my life away but I really want July to hurry up!

 I can't wait to visit some new places and discover a load more hidden gems this Summer!


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