Top 5 places to stargaze in the world

Here is a lost of 5 of the best places to stargaze across the world.

Connemara, Ireland

This is an absolute gem of a place for people to go star watching as the skys are clear from urban light. In the village there is a lot of accommodation for stargazers as well as some nice little country pubs to visit in the evening before you stargaze.

Wiruna, New South Wales, Australia

This area holds a party each year called the south pacific star party where stargazers from the across the world come and celebrate.  If you are travelling in Australia and are into stargazing, we would definitely recommend you give this area a try.

Scotland

Scotland has one of the darkest skies in Europe and you can even see the northern lights from here if the weather conditions are correct. If you head to Edinburgh you can visit the Royal Observatory which provides yours and astronomy evenings. There are many “dark sky” areas all over the country.

 

 

Don’t forget to pack essentials like your travel telescope that will fit nicely into your suitcase. View a list of the best ones here.

Holiday in Spain? 10 reasons why you should book a holiday villa rather than a hotel

If you’re considering booking a holiday in Spain for you and your partner, friends or family, you’re truly spoilt for choice. Head to the Spanish Costas for endless sun, sea and sandy beaches all along the Mediterranean Sea and take advantage of a developed tourist industry that caters for every taste and preference.

Package holidays are the traditional way for us Brits to travel to southern Spain, and there are good reasons why this has become so popular over the decades. It’s easy – the holiday company sorts everything out for you. From the moment you step on to the plane, it’s all organised: flights, transfers, hotel rooms, meals, amenities, entertainment. Any problems and a holiday rep is on hand to help. For those holidaymakers who like structure and routine, who want no responsibility or decision making, preferring just to turn up and relax, it’s perfect.

However, there are limitations, and some of them may be deal breakers:

  • Resorts can be noisy and impersonal. They cater to the mass market, with a programme to match. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach that may not be what you’re looking for.
  • Hotels can be crowded places, especially in high season. How relaxing is it to have to queue up for breakfast or have dinner at the same time as all the other hotel guests?
  • Hotel rooms can be small. Imagine a family of four spending a 2-week holiday in a cramped hotel room with en-suite shower and tiny balcony.

Why don’t you consider the alternative? A Spanish villa holiday is a cost-effective option that provides you with all the flexibility that a hotel based package holiday simply can’t offer. No more scrambling around for sun loungers or sharing pools with other holiday makers – with a self-catering holiday villa you get all the peace, quiet and relaxation to do exactly as you please.

Here are our top 10 reasons why renting a Spanish holiday villa may give you the best holiday you could wish for.

  1. A holiday villa will give you much more space than a hotel room. Depending on the size of the villa, there will be several bedrooms, separate private bathrooms, large dining and reception areas, your own fully equipped kitchen, an outside terrace (usually with a private pool) and a garden.
  2. You have exclusive use of all the facilities: your own private pool, no noisy neighbours, no set routines, no sharing with other holidaymakers, no compromises or disturbances. You’re free to do whatever and whenever you like in the privacy of your home from home.
  3. A holiday villa provides the perfect balance needed for a relaxing holiday in the sun: space to share and space to be yourself. Get away from the tourist scene and discover the local area on your own terms, or simply relax in peaceful tranquillity. The choice is yours.
  4. Customise your holiday accommodation to your needs and for your convenience. Air conditioning, private swimming pools, satellite TV and a dishwasher may come as standard, but why not ask for a villa with breathtaking views and full internet access? Private gym? Housekeeping services?
  5. A holiday villa is the ideal choice for families, friends and any group of people who want to spend some time together. Planning a family reunion, a wedding celebration or a yoga retreat? Renting a luxury Spanish villa may be the most suitable, practical and relaxing holiday environment for you and your group.
  6. Holidaying with young children can be challenging at the best of times. A Spanish villa rental is a family friendly option, with plenty of safe space to play while the parents relax nearby. Most villas can be fitted with cots and highchairs, stair gates, inflatable pool toys and anything else you may need.
  7. Self-catering in a fully equipped modern kitchen will give you the opportunity to sample local delicacies bought at markets, rustle up a simple lunch for the kids, or stick to your preferred dietary regime without the need to compromise. If you don’t fancy cooking, take your pick of local restaurants and dine out in style.
  8. Holiday villas are rented on a weekly basis. Considering the space and amenities you’ll be getting, as well as the lower running expenses and overheads compared with hotel accommodation, they offer exceptional value for money.
  9. Add to that the price saving you will achieve by cooking for yourself and your group rather than eating out every mealtime, and you could save yourself a pretty penny there too.
  10. Renting a holiday villa in Spain means you have the freedom to shop around for the best deals for the most suitable flights, car hire and travel insurance. The growing popularity of low cost airlines has made flights to many holiday destinations cheaper than ever, making self-catering villa holiday in Spain a competitive alternative to traditional package holidays.

Written by Mike James, an independent content writer working with Marbella’s longest running real estate agent Panorama.es

 

7 Hidden Gems in Europe You Need to Visit Right Away

Picture credit: Flickr

When you think of European holiday destinations, where springs to mind? Some of the most obvious include London, Paris, Athens and Rome. However, Europe has so much more to offer than the usual, busy tourist hotspots. There are hidden gems practically around every corner. Don’t believe me? By the end of this post, you’ll be adding these seven destinations to your bucket list. Promise!

1. Lisse, Netherlands
Most people think of Amsterdam when considering The Netherlands, but there’s somewhere much, much better. Lisse is called The Garden of Europe, and for good reason too. In May, the entire town turns into a giant display of colour. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful sights and smells around ever corner, during their annual Flower Parade. If you’re craving a bit of nightlife, then Amsterdam is just half an hour away by car.

2. Rovinj, Croatia
This part of Europe is quickly becoming popular with tourists, so you need to get there quick. As it stands, you’ll find it relatively peaceful in Rovinj, even during the hot summer months. There are miles and miles of beautiful beaches to be found, in what is nicknamed ‘the blue pearl of the Adriatic sea’. Add that to the awe-inspiring buildings, and you’ve found yourself a real gem.

3. Delphi, Greece
If you thought Athens had some historical sights, just wait until you visit Delphi. This used to be the religious centre for Ancient Greece so you can imagine how important it was back then. The archaeological site is now a UNESCO World Heritage area that is well worth a visit. You’re not too far from Athens either if you want to make a daytrip.

4. Antibes, France
Many people think of Cannes and Nice when they think of Southern France, but those people are missing a trick! Antibes on the Riviera is just as nice as any of the other towns in the area. And packed full of stunning villas to spend your week in. The only difference is it won’t be swamped with tourists like the others will be! This means that you can lay back and enjoy this French region as it’s supposed to be enjoyed. With good food, wine, and plenty of sunshine.

5. Sintra, Portugal
One look at the Vila Palace and you’ll fall in love with Sintra, in Portugal. That’s before you’ve even got aboard a horse-drawn carriage up the green, lush mountains. Honestly, there are so many things to love about this hidden gem. You’ll want to return year after year. As it’s not very touristy, it is a lot cheaper than other places in Portugal too.

6. Brighton, UK
Get yourself down to Brighton Beach on a summer weekend to see what the fuss is all about. Okay, it may be a little packed but that is part of the fun. Explore the winding streets beyond the pier and soak up some quirky vintage ambience. Don’t forget to stop for some of the best cakes in the country, too.

7. Sylt, Germany
Did you know you can surf in Germany? Honestly, you can. Head to Sylt and you’ll find some of the most beautiful white sanded beaches in Europe. And perfect surfing water. If you’re not a keen surfer, then there are plenty of other water sports for you to try. This really is a hidden gem!

Book your flights and pack your bags! These quirky holiday destinations will ensure you have a summer vacation to remember this year.

Five Features To Demand From Any Luxury Hotel

When you’re going on holiday, you expect the best. That’s even truer when you’re paying for luxury. Posh hotels can seem a little unapproachable. The staff can appear pompous. It’s difficult to complain if there’s something wrong. It shouldn’t be. With the Internet, it’s easy today to analyse your potential hotels before you book. With that in mind, here’s a checklist of what to expect – no, demand – from any high-price hotel.

Location

Location is the key factor. That’s why it’s so often followed by two extra “Locations.” You want to be central to the action in your chosen city. There’s no point going to Paris and being thirty miles away from the Eiffel Tower. Who’d visit Berlin and stay in a hotel nowhere near the Brandenburg Gate? You wouldn’t stay in a Wolverhampton hotel that wasn’t close to the Sports World store. (OK, bad example.) Your hotel’s location should be central, and even interesting in itself. For example, the hotel at www.royalscotsclub.com is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Imagine that!

Decor

If you’re paying for luxury, you want a luxurious room. A good hotel room can be a model for other designs elsewhere. Let’s face it – if you wanted to stay in a substandard room, you could just stay at home. (Perhaps that’s just me.) We all want something special. Check out the rooms online first. Identify what kind of style you want. Are you after minimalist chic or finery and grandeur? It shouldn’t be difficult to find something that fits you like a glove.

Atmosphere

We’ve all been to those hotels that look like a dentist’s waiting room. One example I visited in Amsterdam resembled a morgue. That was in Amsterdam, one of the most fun cities anywhere in Europe. A hotel should be an enjoyable place to be. Look out for hotels that offer services besides just a room. They’re certain to be livelier than your average hotel. You shouldn’t aim to spend your whole holiday in the hotel. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have some fun while you’re there.

Comfort – and home comforts

We take comfort for granted. Home comforts are another thing altogether. It turns out that what most hotel guests want is WiFi. What that shows us is that hotel guests don’t want too much of an escape from modern life on their holidays. Make sure your hotel provides decent add-ons. A bed and a mini-fridge just isn’t enough anymore.

Price

This one might be a little difficult to secure. Luxury hotels don’t just give rooms away. In the era of price comparison websites, they still shouldn’t be too expensive. See if you can get a decent discount before you book. It’s worth trying, especially if the standard price is a tad high.

Don’t let luxury hotels take your business for granted. They’re in competition for your business. Make them work hard for you. Let them spoil you! You’ll have a much more enjoyable holiday if your hotel is earning your money.

(Image link – Google Images)