If you’re looking for fun in the sun with friends this summer, pick one of the world’s top summer party destinations for a holiday you won’t forget. Read on for a top three of the best European clubbing destinations to visit this summer.
It goes without saying that Ibiza is pretty much the capital of summer party venues. San Antonio is this Balearic Island’s second largest town and has held onto the unofficial title of clubbing capital of the world for some time now, so you know you’re not going to be let down when you come here for a clubbing holiday.
When you visit Ibiza you will generally take a bus to the main super clubs, although some, such as Ibiza Rocks and El Paradis, are walkable if you’re staying in San Antonio or San Antonio Bay, making the area an ideal location.
You can choose to stay in San Antonio itself in the midst of the action, in which case Ibiza’s Hotel Gran Sol is highly recommended. Or instead you might choose to is highly recommended. Or instead you might choose to stay in the slightly more peaceful San Antonio Bay, only a short walk away from the centre of the action and with plenty of accommodation to choose from.
Cyprus’s Aiya Napa has a well-earned reputation for being a party town, but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, before the 70s it was a quaint little fishing town. Now it’s a resort dedicated to package holidays and tourists who like some serious partying with their sun, sea and sand. There is plenty to keep you entertained all day and all night here, with numerous bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from and a multitude of hotels and apartments to stay in.
Be aware though that if you fancy a trip to Aiya Napa in peak summer season (July-August), you’ll be battling it out amongst loads of other people with the same idea, so book early unless you’re happy sleeping on the beach!
No list of top European party destinations would be complete without Majorca’s Magaluf. Many a stag and hen do have enjoyed messy weeks and weekends here, so if that’s the kind of holiday you’re after, you certainly won’t be disappointed. The mega-clubs, world-renowned DJs and epic foam parties are enough to keep party-hard holidaymakers coming back year after year.
For serious clubbers, buying a Magaluf Club Pass is a good idea as it’ll give you entry into the area’s top five clubs and save you a bit of cash; more to spend on cocktails!Scott on Google+
Amsterdam is one of the top stag destinations in Europe. The city offers gorgeous green parks and canals, wonderful coffee shops and a chilled atmosphere. But let’s face it – lots of men go for their stag party in Amsterdam for the weed and the Red Light District. If that’s not your bag, there are plenty of other more unconventional options which are more cultural, interesting and less sleazy.
An indulgent treatment
If you fancy organising a really luxurious treat for the stag and his friends, a health resort like Spa Zuiver is the way to go. Set in the middle of the woods on the edge of Amsterdam, it really is the perfect retreat. With a swimming pool, relaxing saunas and revitalising aroma baths you’re spoilt for choice. Treatments include hammam hot scrubs, massages and tanning sessions. One visitor said “This is not a spa, it is the pure paradise! I have never experienced such a great service and so many facilities. I would say that it is the best spa in whole Netherlands.”
This video, although spoken in Dutch, shows some of the main treatment areas in the spa:
A canal tour
Fancy a tour of the city by boat? On these tours your captain will escort you and fellow crew in open-air, low-sided boats perfect for navigating Amsterdam’s canals. Run by The Saint Nicolaas Boat Club, a group of volunteers, the tours are free, but you’re welcome to make a donation (and we suggest you do!).
Due to licence issues, the canal tours are now running through Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam, which is the best place to make bookings. Captains can be found at Mike’s Bikes before and after rides, but they ask that you do not phone the office with boat tour-related questions (face to face is best).
A brewery visit
Established in Amsterdam in the mid-1800s, Heineken is now one of the largest beer producers in the world. The former brewery has now been opened up to the public to allow beer fans to have an interactive tour through the history of the infamous drink. With amusement rides, a tour of the historic brew room and a tasting bar, you won’t be disappointed.
Dine with the Dutch
This is a brilliant idea that should be replicated in cities across the UK. It gives you a chance to experience Amsterdam as a local: register on the website and it’ll match you and your mates with a family who will invite you to their home for dinner! Specially selected hosts will cook you a three course meal and regale you with tales about Holland and Dutch culture. This will definitely be a unique experience and it’s a perfect way to find out about all the local haunts you might otherwise miss as a visitor.Scott on Google+
Seeing as i’ll be in New York in late March and i live in foggy London town, it seems only right to share this infographic from the guys over at Expedia. I love infographics as they quickly explain something complex in an easy to ready format. I would have to say i love NYC more, just because I have yet to venture over to NYC. I’ll be sure to post about NYC when i return , which may change my view.
Which city do you love the most?Scott on Google+
Where can you visit the smallest town in the world (according to the Guinness Book of Records), the island where the building blocks of the White House originated, and the best-preserved Roman amphitheatre outside of Italy’s capital? If you’ve read the title of this article, you might have worked it out: Croatia.
And while those three little facts may pique your interest in the country that grew out of the ruins of the Roman Empire in the early part of the 7th century, Croatia has much more to offer travellers of every possible persuasion, not least those who like to travel around on their own two feet.
The country has three distinct regions, each of which lends itself to exploration on foot, for different reasons. Its coastal region on the Adriatic Sea boast over 1200 islands and islets and countless beaches, coves and caves. Its lowlands – which make up the bulk of the country’s geographical area – are mostly found in the northern regions of Slavonia and house some fantastic geological structures as well as myriad forest, lakes and generally bountiful countryside. Finally, we have the mountainous region of the Dinaric Alps, which bisects the previous regions and contains (and is named after) Croatia’s highest mountain, Dinara.
With almost 2000 km of mainly west-facing coastline, you will never be far from the splendour of an Adriatic sunset in Croatia. With numerous fishing villages, vibrant harbours and all the seafood you could wish for, the coastal regions of Croatia – whether the Istrian Peninsula or the Dalmatian Coast further south – offer relaxation, fine food and wine and plenty for culture vultures to lap up in the form of art, music and a varied and interesting architectural heritage.
The Roman ruins, Byzantine basilicas and Renaissance palaces all have their stories to tell. As do the rebuilt buildings in the beautiful and entrancing city of Dubrovnik, the newer roofs on view as you walk round the city ramparts a chilling reminder of how recently conflict blighted the area.
Move inland and no walking holiday in Croatia is complete without a visit to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is argued by many to be one of the best areas of natural beauty in the whole of Europe, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1979. There are sixteen interlinked lakes in the park, surrounded by a large swathe of forest. Its ecological significance is vast, housing various microclimates that support a wide range of flora, and providing a haven for such fauna as European brown bears, wolves, various eagles, owls and wild cats.
The walking at Plitvice is varied with paths of different length and difficulty ratings available. If you want to get a good overall insight into what the park has to offer, take the 4-5 hour trail H. Waterfalls abound in the park – including some accessed through a cave, while no more tranquil a setting can be found than sitting beside one of the beautiful lakes for a rest and a picnic.
If you plan to visit the mountainous region of the country to do some serious walking, be sure to get local advice as there is a dearth of literature on the region (in English at least). It is a big, brash mountain range that is not to be trifled with lightly. Interestingly, most of Croatia’s islands belong to the mountain chain after much of the western areas of the chain were submerged when sea levels rose many years ago. So if you are not a seasoned hiker / mountaineer, we would recommend sticking to the islands. You could still tell people you scaled one of the mountains of the Dinarics… who’s to know you would be referring to one that housed a very nice beach terrace where you supped a cocktail as you watched the sun melt into the horizon?
So whether it is dreamy coastal walks in the setting sun, life-affirming strolls around beautiful turquoise lakes or rugged trekking in amongst some challenging but panoramically rewarding peaks, Croatia can satisfy your desires.
Oh, just in case you were wondering, the smallest town has just 23 inhabitants, is located in Istria and is called Hum; the stone used to construct Barack Obama’s current abode was obtained from the island of Brač; and the amphitheatre of note is in Pula, though it might not have been had the Italian fascist regime during the Second World War followed through with their plan to take the structure, block by block, back to Italy. Thankfully they abandoned the ill-conceived idea, leaving its splendour for you to enjoy when you visit this fine, varied and awe-inspiring country.
This article was written by David Hanson from activity holiday company Headwater.com – offering walking holidays in Croatia and further afield. Find out more at the Headwater website.Scott on Google+
Okay, so next up in our blogger interview series is the infamous Sam from Nomadic Samuel. And without further ado….
Hi Sam, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks Scott, for this great opportunity. I’m a Canadian expat travel addict who hasn’t shaken the travel bug after more than seven consecutive years on the road. I’ve worked overseas as an ESL teacher, photographer and location independent digital nomad sneaking in as much backpacking adventures as I possibly can.
Your main blog is NomadicSamuel.com – How did you get into travel blogging?
Before I started Nomadic Samuel I had been taking photos, creating videos and writing stories for my own amusement and to share with friends and family. When I realized there was a whole community of travel bloggers doing this more seriously, I decided I wanted to throw my hat in with them.
You run a number of blogs – Is blogging your main source of income? (sub question: If so, what recommendations would you give to bloggers interested in doing the same?)
I’ve funded most of my travels working as an ESL teacher and it has only been recently that I’ve started to make money online with my travel sites. For new bloggers starting out thinking they’ll hit the jackpot with their sites, it’s not the most realistic expectation. The truth is that it takes many months of consistent hard work before your site is able to earn any money online. I would like to suggest for those just starting out that if money is your primary motivation for blogging you would be better of pursuing something else; however, with that being said, if you are passionate about blogging you’ll reap the rewards over time.
You also travel with the lovely Audrey from thatbackpacker.com – How did you guys meet?
We knew each other through our blogs but the first time we met was in Seoul, Korea. We instantly connected and have been going out ever since. I must admit, I’m quite lucky she didn’t ditch me on the first date because I did an atrocious job of playing tour guide in an area of Seoul (Itaewon) that had totally changed since I had last been there.
How is it travelling with a partner ? Do you have any ‘survival tips’ to prevent fall outs?
Believe it or not Audrey and I have both done most of our trips solo in the past. We only have experience travelling together in Korea on weekend outings. I think though that giving each other space and not making a big deal out of small things would be some good general advice when traveling with a partner.
Where are you in the world right now ?
I’m currently in Fredericton, Canada relaxing at home for a few weeks. I’ll soon be heading back to Korea to meet Audrey as she finishes her one year teaching contract and from there we’ll be heading to Malaysia to start our backpacking adventures.
If you could be anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
I’d love to be somewhere warm right now. Lately the temperatures in Fredericton have dipped as low as -35 with windchill! I’m in desperate need of thawing out. Cuba would be a great fit.
Tell us a strange story from your travels.
Where do I even begin. Recently, I went with Audrey to visit Daejeon in South Korea. While we were walking through a wet market, an elderly Korean lady boldly came right up to me and tried to pick the freckles off of my arm. Sadly this isn’t the first time this has happened either. I suppose she though they were dirt. It made for a good laugh.
What is your travel itinerary looking like for 2013?
2013 is shaping up to be a year of exploration in Asia. We’ll be starting off in Malaysia with tentative plans to set foot in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, India, Bangladesh and Nepal if everything goes according to plan.
How can people get in touch with you?
There are a number of ways people can get in touch and follow along with our adventures. I run Nomadic Samuel Travel Blog and Smiling Faces Travel Photos. I also write on Backpacking Travel Blog with my girlfriend Audrey who is best known online as That Backpacker.
Great thanks, Sam! I look forward to following your blog throughout 2013 for some more great updates!Scott on Google+
Its very easy to suffer life-burnout – do you need a break from the daily 9-5 grind? The best solution often is a weekend getaway or better yet a week or even two-week vacation. Go anywhere – 50 miles away or the other side of the world. It doesn’t matter as long as you can disconnect! A small step away from your day-to-day away provides the perfect chance to find time for rest and relaxation. A trip out of town can help you forget about the stress of your job, and simply enjoy time with your friends or family. Planning a trip for a several days or even for a couple of weeks is not a difficult as you might think. It does not typically require months of planning.
Choose Your Location
The first step to escaping the 9-5 grind and starting your getaway is to choose a location. You should consider what type of activities you like to do, whether its something outdoorsy, sporty or just a spot of sightseeing, and choose a location that provides access to these activities. On the other hand, maybe there is a place that you have always wanted to visit, such as France, Ireland or Spain. Maybe you would rather stay closer to home with trips to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Jersey. Once you choose your location, you need to make reservations for your flight. There are several airports throughout the London area, with the most popular including London Stansted, London Gatwick, Luton Airport and Heathrow.
Make Hotel Reservations
It is easier to make your hotel or resort reservations before you travel to your destination. You want to choose a hotel that is conveniently located near all the different sites and attractions that you plan on visiting. You also may choose to select an all-in-inclusive resort that includes the meals and some activities in addition to your hotel room.
We’ve also discussed home rental alternatives, just like in my recent trip to Copenhagen where we rented an apartment through Wimdu. Overall, it was pretty straight forward and a nice change to a hotel or hostel bunk.
Keeping your assets safe
When taking a trip for a few days or a couple of week, it is important that you find a safe and secure place to park your car at the airport. Stansted airport parking provides a convenient place to park your car during your entire trip. It offers secured car parks that ensure your car is protected while you are away. Naturally, it is nice and close to the airport, allowing you quick access to drop off your beloved car before you leave.
Once you have made all the necessary arrangements for your trip out of town all that is left to do is pack your bags and get ready for rest and relaxation. Just remember to leave your work and stress behind, and just enjoy this time with your friends or family. If you have to take some work along, limit the time you allocate to work and make a commitment to spend the rest of the time enjoying your trip. You will be amazed at how just a few days away, or a week or two if you are lucky, will help you escape the hectic grind of your working work.
This is a guest post by Tom KavanaghScott on Google+
For me, 2013 really is the year of excitement and change. In the next couple of months my life will flip upside down (literally). I will be will be calling Melbourne my new home, leaving the lovely London in my wake to set up shop down under. I plan to document my journey along the way, as there are a number of loops and hoops to jump through to make sure it all goes to plan.
The main considerations so far have been:
Travel – Getting out there cheaply and efficiently.
Work – Getting some income in as soon as possible – How i’m going about it.
Accommodation – Where am i going to live and why?
Setting up the finances – Bank accounts, Tax File Number, Health Insurance, Visas and all that jazz
Other life maintenance tasks i cant think of right now – But primarily sorting out things this side of the ocean before i go. Dumping old clothes, sorting out my current apartment handover and seeing loved ones and family before i leave.
There are a number of reasons why my girlfriend and I have decided to take the step to moving to Australia. We discussed it a year or two ago, but decided to go for it late April. Our decision has been based on a few key factors.
Quality of life is an obvious one really. Australia is a very expensive country to live in (food and alcohol for example are very expensive), but this extra cost is offset by fantastic weather, friendly people as a whole and a whole lotta uncharted territory to explore. I love the idea of sitting outside and enjoying a nice coffee in the morning in the sunshine, rather than wrapping up in jumpers and scarfs to keep warm.
There’s also something to be said for venturing to the unknown - It’s kinda a big deal for those infected with a sever case of wanderlust . Knowing what will happen a week down the line isn’t as thrilling as that slight hint of uncertainty around the corner.
Australia is also much closer to alot of the world i have yet to explore. A weekend trip to New Zealand is no longer an impossibility when you live in Oz. A quick stop in Fiji – why the hell not? It also opens up travel to Asia and a raft of other countries that are on the ‘must visit list’.
The economy is also booming like no other. Australia is in a huge period of growth and development; both economically, but also environmentally and socially. Salaries for example in the industry I work in are roughly 40-60% higher than in the UK, which is great if you want to save up a few $$$ for a deposit on a house or for that next big trip.
All in all, its a new chapter in my life. I can’t really do this after i turn 30, so we may aswell go for it now. If it doesnt work out – we can always jump on a plane home. But for now – i cant wait!Scott on Google+
Next up in our blogger interview series we keep things a little closer to home and speak to Pete Stean from the Londoneer. Without further ado….
Hi Pete, thanks for chatting to us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well I moved to London some 23 years ago now and it’s beginning to feel like home. I’m originally from Dudley in the Black Country – I’ve been living that fact down ever since! I worked for many years in ICT (I still build my own PCs and have been using linux for some considerable time) but spent about ten years as a Civil Servant until quite recently – I used to work for the Department for Communities and Local Government, primarily in the Digital Inclusion/Engagement field but most recently I worked on the establishment of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the new Enterprise Zones
So you’ve lived in London for a good while now; How has London changed for you over the years?
Well it’s centres of attraction has certainly moved – when I first came here the most exciting places to be were Camden Town and Earls Court. Now Shoreditch and Dalston are in the ascendant – when I first came here you wouldn’t venture into those areas after dark if you could possibly help it, and certainly not on your own…
Can you share some of your favourite places to visit in the city ?
I really don’t like tourist traps – there’s a lot more to London than just the banks of the Thames. Some of my favourites for 2012 have been the Horniman Museum on Forest Hill in South London (which probably has the world’s largest collection of taxidermy), the Cinema Museum in an old hospital building around the back of the Elephant & Castle, and Fulham Palace – a beautiful set of old buildings that used to be the home of the Bishop of London. It has fantastic formal gardens.
When you are not in London, where do you like to go?
I like European travel – Lisbon, the capital of Portugal which I visited at the height of the summer, was a revelation and you really can’t go wrong with Germany. I love Bavarian towns and cities and if my German was fluent enough I’d certainly consider living in Berlin.
Your main blog is at Londoneer.org - How did that come about?
Back in 2007 I went to an early version of a social media conference – an ex-BBC journalist, Euan Semple, was extoling the virtues of blogging. I was so inspired that when I got back to London that night I set up the Londoneer.
Tell us one thing about you we might not know.
I’m a singer – with a break of a few years back in the late 90s I’ve been singing since I was a little boy. I’m currently a bass with the world’s oldest LGBT choir – the Pink Singers. We celebrate our 30th anniversary this year, but the choir’s history goes all the back to the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
What is your travel itinerary looking like for 2013?
At the moment it’s quite sparse as I’m not gainfully employed other than running the Londoneer, and international travel can be expensive (if anyone wants to offer me a paid position I’m all ears!). I am planning some trips down to the southwest of England however as I have a friend who lives in Bath. Despite having passed through on several occasions I’ve never really explored the Roman aspects of that city, which I’m looking forward to doing later in the Spring.
You are a prolific photographer – Could you share a few of your snaps with us ?
I take hundreds and hundreds of snaps every month, but I’m particularly proud of a few shots I’ve taken over the last year
What advice could you offer for aspiring travel photographers? Are there any bits of kit you would recommend?
f you’re travelling just ensure that you have your chosen camera with you at all times (even if it’s your smartphone) – you never know when that must-have shot is going to come along.
If you’ve got a discreet camera I always recommend charging more batteries or battery packs that you think you will need, and the same goes for memory cards – the more the better.
How can we find you online ?
Everywhere – I use just about every popular social media platform going.
The Londoneer site itself is here. http://londoneer.org
The fan page for the Londoneer on Facebook is here. https://www.facebook.com/
This is the Londoneer Twitter account. https://twitter.com/
On Google+ my profile page can be found here. https://plus.google.com/
If you have a mind to, you can also find me on Instagram and Pinterest.
Wow – great stuff Pete! Thanks and we hope to speak to you again soon.Scott on Google+
As someone who has spent several months travelling in South America, I can attest that what you pack and what you choose to leave behind is the difference between a great trip and annoying back pain. Before you start your journey, the storage challenges fall broadly into two categories: how to physically fit all your possessions into your travel luggage, and what to do with the stuff you leave behind. By overcoming these issues, you stand a much better chance of your trip going smoothly.
What to Take
We all know the maxim: “pack light”, so why can so few of us obey this rule? The answer is: fear of the unknown. How can we be sure we won’t need an extra towel/a hairdryer/our favourite shirt? The “take everything” approach might make sense on romantic weekend breaks, but interestingly this impulse is even stronger on longer trips (as your survival instinct kicks in).
One of the biggest considerations, in terms of packing, is number of activities. For example, you might need clothing for general day-to-day activities, exercise, going out in the evening, special activities (like hiking) and sleeping. They’ll also need different shoes (sneakers for day wear, running shoes for exercise, high heels/formal shoes for going out, hiking boots and slippers). Five pairs of shoes are going to be very heavy, so consider items that multitask. For the above example – I might take a pair of shoes that are good for both walking and light exercise, and another pair of smarter black daywear shoes that I can wear on more dressed up occasions too. Two pairs, done (sorry slippers).
Here are some other tips:
- Roll your clothes to fit more in, and pack layered clothing that can easily be put on/taken off as you get hotter/colder. Also consider what you look like with all your layers on together… savvy traveller or asylum escapee?
- Don’t buy a massive first aid kit unless you’re planning to do high-risk activities (find one that’s well stocked but compact).
- Bring extra plastic bags and small zip lock bags. You can never have enough of these.
- Make sure the day backpack you take has lots of compartments to help keep track of things (documents in one, guidebooks in another).
- Speaking of guidebooks, they’re usually heavy. Consider replacing one of your two paper guidebooks with an electronic edition. Even if you don’t have a kindle, you can download the kindle app on your Smartphone and read eBooks that way.
- Another great space saving item is a compact microfiber travel towel.
- Instead of a water bottle, pack a plastic bladder (takes up much less room when empty).
- Remember, it’s not just about weight; it’s also about ease of repacking (especially important if you’re moving around a lot on your travels).
What to do with the stuff you leave behind
The length of time you’re away will have a major impact on this. If you’re travelling for weeks or months instead of days, then investing in storage is paramount (you don’t want to come back to find your possessions missing or damaged). But even if you’re travelling for a few weeks, many people now rent out their house or room to help cover costs, so storage will be a consideration too. Self storage works great for travellers – its flexible, safe and a minimum stay can be as little as seven days. But there are several ways to make it work harder for you:
- Once you’ve decided on a storage room, maximise the space. The more organized the storage room is the more you’ll fit in. Stack lighter items on heavier, but leave room for last minute packing/unpacking.
- Label everything and be specific – “bathroom stuff” is too vague, and when you’ve back from your travels you’ll appreciate the time you took to name boxes
- Some storage facilities will discount “irregular” sized rooms (ones that aren’t rectangle in shape – they might have a small alcove, say, rather than just four walls). Ask the storage facility manager about “value” or irregular rooms and see if they have any discounts.
- Van hire can add another cost to your storage requirement if you don’t own a vehicle big enough to transport your possessions, but some storage facilities will refund the costs of your van hire – ask them.
- If you plan to store your items for a long time, you might be able to get an even bigger saving if you can pay in advance.
- Make sure you know where all the bolts/screws are to put things back together again
- Think about what you’ll need first when you get back after your travels and make sure these are easily available in the storage room.
Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. See their website for more information about cheap storage deals for travellers and other storage tips.
Scott on Google+