Discover the beauty of Morocco

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

Discover the beauty of Morocco

Morocco is a country rich in culture, a land of adventure, wilderness and history. Few nations are as diverse as this North Africa jewel and it really does seem to offer something for everyone.

Moroccan cuisine is infused with herbs and spices and the tagine has become a popular Western method of cooking. Typical dishes include fish or chicken stew with couscous. The Imperial cities of Morocco are a big attraction for tourists, with Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakesh all being the nation’s capital at some point in time. These cities have numerous palaces, mosques and museums, which give the visitor a glimpse into the country’s ancient history.

With beaches facing both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco’s coastline is famed for beautiful views. The Mediterranean beaches tend to be somewhat stony, while those of Casablanca and Agadir are more family friendly. No trip to Morocco would be complete without a camel ride or quad bike tour across the desert. Camping is also a popular choice with tourists sleeping under the starry sky and awaking to the stunning desert sunrise.

The Rif and Atlas Mountains attract hikers the world over as they offer the chance to trek through caves and forests and really feel part of nature. The two mountain ranges are quite different and hikers can push themselves as little or as hard as they wish. Morocco also offers a vast and varied shopping experience, majestic riads with stunning gardens, a plethora of year-round festivals and infamous steam baths; perfect for winding down after a hard day of sightseeing.

MoroccoPicture: Sam Greenhalgh

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The Ryanair £10 trip to the USA

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 in Air Travel, Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

The Ryanair £10 trip to the USA

Well we are not sure whether this is another Michael O’Leary spoof or another gimmick to get some cheap publicity, but he is claiming that he could fly you from the UK to the USA for under a tenner! We are all aware of the Ryanair charges are we not, yes for sure you will get a ticket for the advertised price, but then there is tax and that could add up to £180 on some long haul destinations, the possible booking charge, plus of course baggage.

Now no one surely can go to America for two or three weeks holiday with hand luggage 55cm x 40cm x 20cm with a 10kg weight limit? Then of course if we are looking at America and we are presuming Florida, sitting on a Ryanair seat which does not recline would be pretty daunting, although as he could not fly his Boeing 737’s then new aircraft would be needed and possibly he would relent on the seats.

Now entertainment and food might be a nice little earner for Mr O’Leary and that would add up to another £15 to £20 for the food alone. And where in Florida would they choose to land, the main airports at Orlando would charge him a few pounds so it could be an airstrip 75 or 100 miles away from your chosen destination.

Adding all this up, British Airways and Virgin with all the extras thrown in for the price of the ticket may not be too bad after all.

RyanairPicture: Jens Erik Widen

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European ski resorts you can get to by train

Posted on Jan 20, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Ski Holidays

European ski resorts you can get to by train

Travelling to your ski resort can be stressful at times, especially when waiting in airport queues or when there are delayed flights due to the weather. Another often overlooked way to travel to a ski resort is by train. Having your own room is great for relaxing when you’re travelling and the fully stocked restaurants and bars mean that you can travel in comfort. The best thing is that it is a relatively cheap way to travel and doesn’t take as long as you would think.

Here are the best European ski resorts you can travel to by train:

For beginners

Claviere Ski Resort, Italy

ClavierePicture: Luca Galli

This small ski resort on the border with France is great for beginners. With over 400km of ski runs connecting Claviere with the neighbouring areas of Montgenevre in France and Sestriere, Sansicario and Cesana in Italy this ski resort has it all.

The Claviere Ski Resort is great for those who want a relaxing ski holiday without the rowdiness and late night partying that happen is other resorts.

Travel

The snow train departs from St Pancras in London and travels to Paris via the Euro Tunnel. From Paris you will take the Paris-Lyon TGV to Oulx; it is then a short 15 minute bus or taxi ride to the resort. The journey takes approximately nine and a half hours and train prices start from around £130 per person.

For intermediates

Les Arcs Ski Resort, France

Les ArcsPicture: Levent Ali

Several traffic-free villages make up the Les Arcs ski resort which includes a variety of ski runs for beginners up to experts. New skiers will want to start out on the ‘ski tranquille’ area above each of the villages, while more experienced skiers will want to try out the legendary Aiguille Rouge-Villaroger, one of the most well-renowned ski runs in Europe.

One of the newest villages, Arc 1950 has traditionally styled hotels and chalets and you can literally ski through the traffic-free village making it a great experience. Another option for those on a budget is Bourg St Maurice; this working town is only a seven minute ride up to the slopes each day.

Travel

St Pancras in London has a direct ski train to Bourg St Maurice which takes just under 10 hours, with train prices starting from around £200 per person.

For experts

St Anton Ski Resort, Austria

St AntonPicture: Paul Bence

If you want to ski hard and party even harder then the St Anton ski resort is for you. There is a magnitude of off-piste areas to explore during your stay, not to mention the challenging slopes that are perfect for the more advanced skier.

The ski train to St Anton takes you through the Arlberg valleys providing an enchanting view of ever changing lakes and mountains making it a great way to travel.

Travel

The snow train departs St Pancras station in London, from there you will change in Paris and head on to Basel via the Paris-Lyon train. From Basel you will head to Zurich on the Intercity train before taking the brand new Railjet train to St Anton. Rail and ski packages are available from around £980.

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Bali, the best value holiday destination

Posted on Jan 13, 2014 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

Bali, the best value holiday destination

Just where is the cheapest place to take a holiday? perhaps when self-catering, on a bed and breakfast, or touring with a hire car and you want the cheapest basket of holiday goods. The basket includes items like an evening meal for two, a cup of coffee and sun cream as examples.

Well not in Europe but a whole lot further, Bali has emerged as the best value holiday destination for British travellers this year, as a strengthening pound helps budgets stretch further in most resorts and cities. It turns out that Bali is the cheapest holiday destination overall, here the basket would cost £31.48 this compares with New Zealand where the same basket will set you back £115.06.

Nearer to home and a firm favourite with the British for many years is the Algarve, which has come out as the cheapest destination in Europe, with a basket of items costing £35.37. There are other places in Europe which are good value Cyprus, Greece and Italy, for example but, Italy still remains the most expensive destination in Europe with a basket costing around £81, which is twice as much as Portugal.

Taking a holiday you have to take into account not only the cost when we are there, it has to include getting there and associated costs such as car hire or airport transfers. It may be cheap in some places like Bali, but long haul air flight, along with the associated higher passenger taxes to get there, can be around £700 per person or more, whereas other nearer destinations may be reached for around £40 with budget airlines, one way and depending on the day of the week and time of the year of course.

Most places have seen a drop in prices due to the pound and also the prevailing conditions in the country visited, but it seems that Spain was the only country to record a significant price increase, with meal costs rising 22% on the highly visited Costa del Sol.

Bali

Picture: Kenny Teo

 

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Vienna City break

Posted on Dec 22, 2013 in City Guides, Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

Vienna City break

It is a beautiful and charming city in an equally stunning country, Vienna the capital of Austria oozes old world charm and it is no matter how many times you have been there is always something different to do and see. Enjoy a lively mixture of some of the coolest cakes, bars, galleries, shops and street markets. Getting around is easy too as Vienna has one of the best public transports systems which is very easy to use and is cheap. The network is in five distinct parts, five U-Bahn (underground train) lines, several S-Bahn (suburban trains) and numerous tram and bus services.

There is much to see on a short trip to Vienna, but all within reasonable walking distance by taking a stroll along the Ringstrasse  boulevard in a clockwise direction starting at the Vienna State Opera to the City Hall is one of the best ways go bck to a time before the fall of the Empire in 1918.

Here you can see and visit St Stephens Cathedral which stands very tall and proud and as Vienna’s most important Gothic landmark deserves at least a peek. Further along you will come to the famous Spanish Riding School where it is possible to catch a performance of the Lipizzaner stallions in the baroque Winter Riding School. Tickets to gala performances, usually Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, can be booked online in advance. For a livelier place then a visit to the Museum Quarter, here you will find yourself among a young crowd buzzing with youthful excitement. You can also see some great works of art at the museums there.

There is not a good or bad time to visit Vienna, just different ones, for example although it may be cold between December and March, you will find plenty of places to warm up street markets in particular and in full swing. April see parks and gardens blooming, whilst May through the summer months festivals and parties are well underway, you could even catch the three day festival or Donauinselfest which is Europe’s biggest open air party and it’s free!

Getting to Vienna by air is through British Airways and Austrian Airlines form Heathrow, EasyJet from Gatwick with other airlines operating from Manchester, Manchester, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Dublin.

Vienna

Picture: Peter M.

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The Grand Canyon

Posted on Dec 14, 2013 in Hoiliday Guides, Travel Destinations

The Grand Canyon

The USA has some of the most magnificent scenery anywhere in the world and can boast great buildings, as well as some engineering projects. The USA is a magnificent place to see and explore, you do not have to confine yourselves to the obligatory trip to New York or Disney World; go to places like Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and many more.

But regarded as one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon is in the high desert of northern Arizona, and always fills the visitor with awe and wonder at its magnificent splendour. Everyone who can should try and see it once in their lives; naturally it can have a touristy feel about it, but this can be left behind as you see the vast, magnificent and beautifully natural wonder.

Unless you have a lot of time you will not see it all as the gorge stretches 277 miles from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest. You will have a number of starting points which are the main entrances on the South Rim; these include the South Rim’s eastern entrance and the North Rim. The Canyon’s western edge, home to beautiful Havasupai Falls and the town of Supai, is also accessible via roads on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.

To see the Canyon you have a choice of touring the rim by a guided tour on a bike, on foot or perched atop a friendly mule. A favourite is the air tour from which you see canyon from high above with a helicopter or airplane tour. For the fit it is possible to take a hiking tour which consists of easy rim hikes to rigorous multi-day backpacking trips, Grand Canyon hiking has something for everyone. But for real fun and adventure, how about rafting the Canyon? Choose from motorized or oar-powered expeditions ranging from four days to two weeks.

Accommodation at the Canyon varies widely depending on your particular personal preferences, you can choose historic lodges and hotels to rugged campgrounds, the Grand Canyon has a wide range of places to stay, however it is wise to plan your trip book early.

You will never forget your trip to the Grand Canyon, see once, but do all you can to see it.

Grand Canyon

Picture: Markusnl

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Cruising for the disabled

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 in Cruise Tips and Advice, Hoiliday Guides

Cruising for the disabled

Many businesses and establishments have made certain changes to their services in order to accommodate the disabled, and this includes the cruising industry.  Many cruise ships now come fitted with bedrooms, bathrooms and general facilities modelled for the needs of the disabled and, as a result, they have boosted their reputation and their overall income, with many new customers able to join in the experience of cruising.

Many booking agents on the internet allow you to book cruises solely for the disabled, such as the Disabled Cruise Club, and can give good recommendations for holiday resorts that are disability friendly.  Regular travel agents will always take into account any special needs that a particular customer might have, such as acquiring a room close to a lift for wheelchair access, or picking a double room with two single beds for a carer and the disabled.  Do not be afraid to talk to a travel agent about your disability as they are there to assist you in whatever way they can, including getting to your cruise, and also by arranging flights for the disabled.

Cruise Ship

Picture: Barbara

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