Sinking your toes into blissful white sands, sipping cocktails on a private beach or taking a dip in an infinity pool overlooking an azure sea – sounds like a perfect slice of heaven, doesn’t it? So for those looking to indulge in an exclusive getaway in the sunshine, there are a variety of destinations across the globe to choose from, each with its own unique and spectacular appeal.

There are several places that spring to mind immediately when you’re looking to plan a luxury holiday in the sun. From lavish villas in Thailand to sun-soaked boutique accommodation in Morocco, take a look at some of the finest destinations across the world that boast a memorable and indulgent travel experience.

Sri Lanka

It’s no surprise this spectacular island on the southern tip of India is also fondly known as ‘the gem of the Indian ocean’. Its rich culture, luscious green rainforests and exotic coastal spots give you a travel experience like no other. There are miles upon miles of shoreline with the perfect opportunity to take a dip in the warm waters of this decadent isle, or sit back and relax under emerald palms in a luxury villa with direct access onto a private beach. The tropical ambience and welcoming hospitality set you in a personal haven that you’ll never want to leave.

South of France

The crisp white beaches, glistening turquoise waters and luscious groves of the South of France have attracted visitors to the region for many years. This captivating destination offers a relaxing escape in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Sip wine and bask in the Mediterranean sun in a luxury villa and admire the French coastline whilst dining al fresco with friends and family. This location is ideal for visitors looking for the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure as the nearby rugged hills provide wonderful walks and spectacular views across the region.

Kenya

Known for its breath-taking natural landscapes and abundance of fascinating wildlife, Kenya is also a hot spot for people looking to indulge in a luxury beach holiday. The south coast is a tropical paradise with small islands dotted in the turquoise waters and its stretches of white sands bordering captivating coral reefs. Luxury accommodation along the coastline also offers something truly beautiful – from its exclusive thatched beach houses to magnificent lodges set close to the virgin sands, you’ll discover privacy and luxury in traditional Kenyan style.

The Caribbean

It’s probably no surprise that the Caribbean islands have a wonderful selection of luxury holidays on offer. Its location creates a slice of heaven as its many islands, inlets and reefs glisten like jewels in the azure warm seas. You can take your pick of luxury experiences with a range of popular destinations such as St Kitts and Nevis, the West Indies and the British Virgin Islands creating a secluded and exclusive setting for your stay. Relax on quiet beaches with the warm ocean lapping onto the beach, or perhaps retreat to your beach villa and indulge in life’s little luxuries with 5* hospitality and decadent accommodation.

Mykonos

Europe may not immediately spring to mind for an exotic and luxury holiday experience but there are some hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Mykonos is a whitewashed haven, and is part of the Greek Islands, with a fascinating and lively culture, stunning coastal landscapes and crystal-clear waters. The island’s interesting history puts you in front of intriguing architecture and picturesque sights whilst during the evening, it comes to life with fashionable bars and trendy night spots packed with a friendly ambience. Whether you’re looking for a villa just a stone’s throw from the beach or accommodation overlooking its choice of serene bays in ultimate privacy, this luxurious island boasts many unique holiday experiences that cater for all indulgences.

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Experienced Travelers’ Best Kept Secrets

by Julie on July 17, 2017

The life of a traveler is rather simple. Keep on traveling. Don’t stop. Look for new interesting locations. Explore them to their fullest. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Many of the experienced bloggers keep a journey log. Some publish it online in their travel blogs, others store them on in their photo albums and diaries.

Nevertheless, regardless if they are more open to sharing your travel experiences with everybody, or keep them to themselves, many travelers have their best kept secret destinations.

Sometimes, a traveler discovers a little diamond s special, so unspoilt, that they really do not want to share it with the rest of the world. These diamonds don’t have to be completely hidden away. They can be very obvious, but out of sight for a regular tourist Joe.

Here are 3 sweet spots we decided to share today. For the rest of them, you’ll have to do some digging and exploring of your own!

Europe: Renting a campervan in Slovenia

Europeans are already used to it, but the rest of the world may oversee it for some other flashy locations. Nonetheless, Slovenia is one romantic country that needs to find its place on your European itinerary.

Located between Austria and Italy, it’s not that hard to add it to your stops.

But, where is that Slovenian diamond? It’s definitely in their beautiful nature that often gets neglected by the city tourists.

So how to meet your city thirst for one of the most romantic cities in Europe and Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and get to see their nature?

My secret is – renting out a campervan. There are many excellent services such as Vanvoyage that offer short-term lettings to roam around Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.

Get ready to dip your feet in the sea, and explore the Julian Alps!

Australia: Skiing in Thredbo

Yes, you read that right – why not go skiing in Australia?

Sure, that’s a country with a mild climate and many go to discover their wonderful urban cities and nature, but rarely do you hear people going to Australia to ski.

Skiing in Australia is a diamond for those who want a versatile holiday – you can go skiing and then hit one of the warmer places there pretty quickly. And, who doesn’t want to see what a winter in July looks like?

For a quick overview of what Thredbo has to offer, you can just have a quick search and find many apartments in Thredbo to book right away.

Latin America: Sun bathing with the natives in Puerto Escondido

“Hidden port” is not the most beautiful seaside place in Mexico. That title is mostly reserved for more fancy places such as Cancun and Tulum filled with American tourists all year round.

Playa Zicatela and Playa Carrizalilllo are the best offer of Puerto Escondido for fanatical surfers looking to relax and enjoy some waves.

So, if you are looking to avoid that craze and spend time enjoying sun and locally sourced fresh food with the natives, Puerto Escondido will give you a treat you’ll remember.

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Thanks to its mild climate, Australian continent enjoys rather warm winters and sees very little snow during the season.

Such a setting is perhaps the main reason why many ski lovers resort to Northern hemisphere during the winter season. But, Australia still has a lot to offer to those seeking thrill and a perfect winter getaway.

Snowy Mountains

Snowy Mountains will probably be the first pick for all adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers craving for skiing and snowboarding. The largest peak of the continent is also a part of this mountain chain, and it sits at 2.228 m above the sea level.

Recreational skiing was introduced to Snowy Mountains back in 19th century. Today, this is one of the most crowded ski centers in Australia, with the majority of visitors being students and Australian youth.

Peak Music Festival

Apart from skiing and boarding, Snowy Mountains host a large music festival every year in July.

Peak Music Festival officially kicks-off the winter season at the Perisher ski resort. Festival has 10 stages hosting numerous acts both from Australia and from around the world.

Finally, while you are here, don’t miss on famous White Christmas in July, where you can see Santa Claus himself sloping down one of the mountain’s ski lanes.

Victoria

If you decide to spend your winter holiday in Victoria, you will be able to choose from hundreds of different ski-runs across several alpine locations. Located on the very south of the continent, Victoria has become the most popular winter destination among Australian youth.

Mountain Buller

One of the most crowded tourist resorts in Victoria is definitely mountain Buller, located within three-hour car drive from Melbourne. It is saturated with ski and snowboard trails, with lots of material both for advanced skiers or beginners. Mountain Stirling is in close vicinity to Buller, and you can find even more cross-country and ski trails there.

Falls Creek

Sitting inside Alpine National Park, Falls Creek ski center is fully packed with action and definitely number one choice for young people. This is where Australian national team also comes to ski, and this fact attracts many wannabe pros to Falls Creek. Indeed, with 90 runs and 20 cross-country trails, you’ll hardly run out of things to do here. From expert super-steep ski slopes to hiking trails where your skis are barely moving – Falls Creek has it all.

Also, if you have that competitive character and you think you are good enough to participate, you can always take part in Kangaroo Hoppet snow sports event. Falls Creek host this event every August. And if you’re not keen on competing with professionals and semi-professionals, you can just take part in building a snowman, or you can explore the countryside in Nordic shoes or ride the snowmobile.

Lake Mountain

Lake Mountain has perhaps the most beautiful scenery in Victoria, mostly thanks to breathtaking glacial lakes. It is perfect winter getaway for all of them who are looking for somewhat quieter place than those mentioned above.

Lake Mountain distinguishes itself by giving visitors an array of possibilities to enjoy the snow. You don’t have to go down mountain slopes on skis or snowboard; you can also use numerous installed toboggans or jump in large lifesaver-like tubes to get down to the bottom of the slope. It’s up to you!

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beach party resorts holidaygems.jpg

 While some holidaymakers look forward to a few weeks of rest and recuperation, sunshine and good food, there are others who are planning to party all night long in the bars and beaches of their destination.

Beach parties are big business and attract large crowds. With the help of the travel experts at HolidayGems.co.uk, we see which beach party resorts have the best people, best music and best vibes across the whole of Europe.

Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza, Spain

No beach party list would be complete without a mention of the ultimate beach party Mecca of Ibiza. While the island has countless gorgeous bays and coves, beach parties are all about this stretch of sand on Playa d’en Bossa. Partygoers come here for the beats, cocktails and dancing – while revellers visiting the Ushuaïa Beach Hotel can enjoy the legendary club nights and luxury swim-up rooms.

Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa, Cyprus

This is Ayia Napa’s most famous beach – and lives up to its legendary reputation. Catwalk shows, live DJ sets, foam parties, carnivals and even weddings are all held on this beach which is located on one of the most stunning parts of the Cypriot coastline. Known for its happy, friendly vibe, there are various sections of the beach that cater for the lively crowd as well as those who want to relax in a more chilled out atmosphere.

Bacvice Beach, Split, Croatia

Bacvice Beach is the location where partygoers dance in the sea, while the beats drift off well into the horizon. Up to 10,000 people can fit on to this stretch of shore, and events like the Split Beach Festival are just one of the parties where maximum capacity is reached. The whole area is clubland, with the promenade holding some of the best bars and clubs in town.

Super Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece

Once exclusively a gay beach, the crowd is now a happy mix of people all after good times. There’s a nice blend of backpackers, models, clubbers, students and the jetset who descend to Super Paradise Beach for a non-stop party (literally, from July all the way to the end of August, there doesn’t seem to be a lull in the dancing and music). When you tire of the dancefloor, just head to one of the beach beds for some chill out time and a cold drink.

Praia da Rocha, Portimao, Algarve, Portugal

This beach is where it all goes on at night – a gorgeous location neighboured by casinos, bars, restaurants and nightclub. While it is very developed, the natural beauty of the coastline still speaks for itself and in high summer, the atmosphere is incredible. Beach volleyball, kite surfing, DJs and all the beautiful people gather on the sands for chilled out days and wild nights.

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The lush Ionian Islands are one of the most popular yacht charter destinations in Europe, with an irresistible mix of dramatic beaches, whitewashed villages, and fascinating cities of Byzantine palaces and Greek myth. On an Ionian Islands yacht charter, you’ll float through a lush green landscape where emerald and turquoise seas lap against pale limestone cliffs, and ancient temples lay crumbling among quiet olive groves. There is an endless selection of highlights here, so the only problem might be finding time to visit them all. We’ve hand-selected some of the most enticing options for discerning seafarers.

Zakynthos

Some of the best beaches of the Ionian archipelago can only be accessed by private yacht, including the spectacularly beautiful Shipwreck Beach on Zakynthos, where a smuggler ship rusts into the sand, surrounded by a vast arc of sheer limestone cliffs and iridescent blue water. Possibly the most spectacular beach on the planet, and certainly the most photographed, this beach is a highlight of a Zakynthos yacht charter. The famous Blue Caves of Zakynthos are just a short cruise away, with the limestone coast riddled with ethereal blue grottos to kayak or snorkel through. Here, you’re bound to see loggerhead turtles floating through the incredibly blue water as you cruise along the coast to Marathonisi Island, also known as Turtle Island.

Kefalonia

In Kefalonia you can attend an unforgettable classical concert in the Drogarati Cave among giant stalactites, or take the tender to Melissani Cave, a glimmering underground lake where legend tells of a nymph who drowned herself in sorrow after the God Pan did not return her love. Kefalonia is also the home of the spectacular cliff-lined Myrtos Beach, which features in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The breathtakingly pretty villages of Assos, Sami, and Fiskardo are the perfect spots for lunch in a waterfront taverna. Hiking, horseriding, and diving are also highlights of Kefalonia, while the harbour at Argostoli is the place to see the local loggerhead turtles waiting for the fishermen to empty their nets.

Lefkada

Lefkada’s modern port in the ancient town of Lefkada Town is one of the best you’ll witness on a Greece yacht charter, and the island offers a natural paradise of stunning beaches, high coastal paths, and waterfalls. When it comes to beaches, Porto Katsiki and Egremni are outstanding, while the Nidri waterfalls are a peaceful oasis of shady trees and bubbling water. Wine enthusiasts will want to visit one of the island’s wineries, while history and literature fans will want to visit the Apollo Temple Lefkata, where the romantic poet Sappho was said to have flung herself from the cliffs because of a broken heart.

Ithaca

Ithaca is said to be the place where Homer chose for Odysseus to find peace and end his travels. You can see why: this place is even greener, quieter, and more pristine than the other Ionian Islands, with pine and cypress forests that edge crystal clear coves and rise up into the gentle hills. This is a place to walk through sunlit olive groves and visit ancient monasteries, before sitting down for a delicious lunch overlooking the colourful fishing boats anchored in the blue-green water.

Corfu

The march of history is evident in beautiful Corfu, where the island’s Venetian, Roman, Byzantine and French rulers have all left their mark on this wild, romantic landscape. Stroll Parisian boulevards past Byzantine palaces and Venetian forts in UNESCO-listed Corfu Town, or escape into the mountains to hike the lovely 22km Corfu trail. The medieval village of Paleá Períthia is charming, and the clifftop castle ruins of Angelókastro make for stunning views. There are a multitude of excellent beaches and swimming spots along the coast, including the spectacular Canal d’Amour – a channel carved into the soft limestone cliffs by wind and sea.

M/Y SEALYON

A yacht charter in the Ionian Islands is one of the great yachting itineraries of the world. M/Y SEALYON is a superb charter yacht on which to experience the islands of Greece in the summer of 2017. This multi-award-winning 61.8m motoryacht from Viarregio Superyachts is packed with extraordinary features, including a split-level master suite with panoramic views, a dedicated media room, well-equipped gym, and split-level sun deck with cinema, rotating sunbeds, and misting systems for staying cool on hot summer days. M/Y SEALYON accommodates up to 12 guests in six extremely glamorous staterooms, and is available to charter in the Ionian Islands from EUR 325,000 per week.

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Why Visit Tanzania?

Tanzania is home to Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders, including the highest mountain in Africa and some of the largest and deepest lakes. Whether it’s the captivating wildlife or the amazing culture, Tanzania promises a truly enriching experience for everyone. That is what makes it the perfect place for a family vacation.

Let’s take a look at what you can do in Tanzania and why it should be your next family vacation destination.

Tanzania Lodge Safaris

Tanzania is home to some of the best lodge safaris provided by ContinentalSafaris that will surely satisfy your appetite for adventure. Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area that is also called the 8th Natural Wonder of the World is a main attraction for many tourists. It is where you will find herds of Zebras and other wild animals including lions and wildebeest lazing around during sunset. It gives families a chance to view endangered species up close and in their natural habitat. Besides wildlife experience, the lodges give tourists a chance to interact with the local tribes and witness how they go about their daily lives. These are truly some of the most beautiful parts of Tanzania, steeped in history and crowded with wildlife.

Unique Cultural Experiences

Families want to take their kids to places where they will learn about sustainability and provide them with a new cultural experience. Tanzania gives them that opportunity of interacting with the local communities and learning more about diversity that exists in the world. Tourists are encouraged to go on tours of local villages, farms and sustainable projects to see how locals are producing crops and using technology to improve their communities. Tourists can witness the rituals and be a part of celebrations. Families will get the opportunity to stay in sustainable accommodation built from natural materials and eat freshly produced food free of harmful agents.

A Trip to Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest mountain in Africa. The trip to it can be a great outing for families. However, the trip can be tiring for kids as the hike lasts 7-8 days and requires frequent stops. Interestingly, a 7-year old from India and an 85 year old from Canada have been to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you are looking for a family adventure that will be worth mentioning for the years to come then get trekking to Mount Kilimanjaro. In case you do not want a long excursion, you can choose to trek Mount Meru instead.

Beaches

Africa may not seem like a place where you can enjoy the beaches, but Tanzania is home to Zanzibar. The endless kilometres of white sand beaches and the lush tropical forests in the background make for a picture-perfect holiday. Families can go for a dive at the Menemba Coral Island where kids can swim with turtles and dolphins. Besides having great views of the beaches, families can enjoy some great seafood in restaurants near the coast of Tanzania. The coast is a treat for families looking to get away from their hectic lives and relax at an exotic location that isn’t extensively crowded.

Explore Untapped Terrain

Tanzania has just the right place for families looking peace and tranquillity. You are able to enjoy the wilderness, surrounded by the blue skies and rich woodlands. You and your family can sleep underneath the sky or go on a trek to explore areas that haven’t been ruined by our race yet. Other than the many National Parks and reserves, there are many private conservation areas as well. These areas serve as the home and breeding grounds for many species that are no longer found in other parts of the world. This side of Tanzania makes it a great country for parents who want their kids to discover something more fascinating than their devices and gadgets.

Try New Foods

A big part of any family vacation is into indulge in local cuisine. Tanzania has a great mix of traditional African food with strong Arab and Indian influences, epically along the coast of the country. Tourists need to visit the Stone Town Food Market in order to try the unique taste of the country. You can also visit the local markets where you will find unique spices and herbs used in preparation of those local delights.  If you are a family that is open to trying new things to eat then Tanzania is the perfect destination. If you are not, then you can easily find a continental restaurant serving your preferred dishes.

Tanzania can be the most perfect place to visit with your entire family. It has the best safaris in Africa and a safe and friendly environment for tourists from the West and other parts of the world.

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What are the first things that come to mind when you think of traveling to Kenya? Most probably, you imagine safari excursions, encountering wildlife, and experiencing a culture that’s opposite than yours.

But, have you ever thought of Kenya as a top beach destination?

Here’s the thing: Kenya’s coastline does not lack amazing, tropical beaches, each with its unique appeal. For example, Diani is perfect for a family vacation while Malindi’s strong winds make it ideal for water sports, such as kite surf or windsurf.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the most beautiful beaches in Kenya and what makes them so unique.

  1. Diani

With green palm trees leaning over the white sand and canoes anchored in a lagoon with water as blue as the sky, Diani is the quintessence of a tropical paradise. Although the area is developing at a rapid pace, there still are enough patches of pristine land where you feel like you’re on a deserted tropical island.

From beach resorts and hotels to tree houses, you have plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. If water sports are not your thing or if you ever get tired of lying on the beach, admiring this perfect scenery (not going to happen), you can visit the sacred Mijikenda Kaya forest nearby.

  1. Lamu

If you want to mix lazy beach activities with immersing yourself in Kenya’s culture and traditions, then Lamu is a perfect choice.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Lamu is a living museum of the Swahili people, an ethnic group inhabiting East Africa. You’ll get the opportunity to stroll along tree houses that are as old as five hundred years.

Although you get network coverage and everybody has a mobile phone, in a way time has stood still here. For starters, there are no cars and, therefore no infrastructure. Everything here moves at the speed of donkeys and dhow.

  1. Malindi

According to Tuko, Malindi is the perfect beach destination for a holiday like no other. Located at just a short two-hour drive from Mombasa, Malindi can satisfy almost every taste and preference. Surf lovers have the perfect spot to the north of the city while in the south there’s the Malindi National Park, a heaven for divers. People who just want to relax can do it on a powdery beach with turquoise water while for those who want to immerse in the history of the region, there are the Gede ruins and Vasco Da Gama’s Pillar.

  1. Watamu

With a unique coral garden, turtles, and a diverse marine ecosystem, Watamu has it all. You can enjoy the white sandy beaches, snorkel, windsurf or take a tour on a glass bottomed boat and admire the wildlife in their natural habitat.

Here’s another thing that makes Watamu so special: from November to February, you can swim with the whale sharks.

Don’t forget to also visit the Arabuko Sokoke forest for a short but delightful safari trip.

  1. Shanzu

With coconut trees towering the coastline and a coral reef that starts right at the shoreline, Shanzu is a picture perfect location. If you’re just looking for a relaxed holiday, with no hassle or adrenaline rush, then Shanzu is the perfect destination for you.

Make no mistake; relaxing doesn’t mean boring. There are plenty of fun activities you can enjoy, such as taking a trip to Fort Jesus, visiting Mombasa Butterfly House, and so on.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with your family, an intimate place for a romantic honeymoon or a place that is filled with adventures at every step, Kenya’s coastline has something for everyone.

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