Apr 8, 2016

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9 things you probably didn’t know about Tenerife

9 things you probably didn’t know about Tenerife

Yes Tenerife is a popular option with Brits for a year-round sunshine escape, but there’s a whole lot more to the island than beaches, bars and all-day-British-breakfasts, writes Andrea Montgomery. From above the clouds to below the ocean, there are myriad ways Tenerife will surprise you, and here are just a few of them… 1. You can dine in one of four Michelin-starred restaurants Tenerife’s foodie scene is firmly on the up, with ritzy restaurants and gourmet menus opening like parasols on a beach. The frontrunners in this burgeoning food scene are the island’s four Michelin-star restaurants, the only ones in the Canary Islands, of which two, MB and Kabuki, are within the fabulous Ritz-Carlton Abama hotel (Carretera General, TF-47, km 9, Guia de Isora Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife; +34 922 126 000). Just along the coast in Los Gigantes, the family restaurant of El Rincón de Juan Carlos (Pasaje de Jacaranda, 2, Los Gigantes, Tenerife; +34 922 86 80 40) finally got the Michelin star it has so long deserved in 2015, and last but not least in this fab four is the Japanese restaurant, Kazan (Paseo Milicias de Garachico, local 5, 38002, Santa Cruz de Tenerife; +34 922 24 55 98), in Santa Cruz. 2. You can enjoy close encounters with amazing wildlife Warm waters off the west coast of Tenerife are rich in microscopic marine life which supports 26 species of cetaceans who inhabit these waters or stop off to feed here on their migratory routes. Seeing these amazing creatures in the wild is one of those experiences that you never forget. There are daily sailings out of the harbour at Los Gigantes to see bottle-nosed dolphins and pilot whales swimming alongside the boat, and spot basking Bryde’s whales who come to feed on shoals of sardines. To get even closer to the marine life, Flyover organise shallow dives to swim with huge ocean turtles. 3. You can stay in a banana plantation Unlike the manicured gardens and infinity pools that surround five-star hotels in the southern resorts of Tenerife, it’s in the midst of banana plantations and fruit orchards that you’ll find many of the island’s most characterful and boutique rural hotels. Among them, on the coast below Garachico, nestling in a sea of banana plants, is the 16th-century...

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Apr 5, 2016

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Forget Oktoberfest! 9 of the best worldwide beer festivals...

Forget Oktoberfest! 9 of the best worldwide beer festivals

Oktoberfest is the undisputed heavyweight champion of beer festivals – there’s no denying that. But it’s not the only big beer festival in the world. Not by a long shot. Our planet is full of pale ales, pilsners, craft lagers and stouts; you just have to be willing to seek them out. Whether you missed out, went last year or just want a new location for your beer-inspired break, here are some of the biggest and best alternatives to Oktoberfest. 1. London Oktoberfest When: August TBC Don’t fancy leaving the country? What better way to celebrate Oktoberfest than by heading to London’s very own, albeit slightly condensed, version of the famous beer festival. Don your best lederhosen, grab your trusty stein and head down to either Green Common in Ealing and Millwall Park  in Canary Wharf, as London does its best Bavarian impression. For the sum of £10 you can pay on the door or there are plenty of food and drink combination deals that start from as little as £14.50. Of course, there’ll be all the elements that make Oktoberfest so incredible: live and loud Oompah bands, authentic German fare and thousands of happy revellers enjoying the atmosphere. Book hotels in London 2. The Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart When: starts September 23, 2016 “Oh, you’re doing Oktoberfest? I’m off to the Stuttgart Cannstatter Volksfest, instead. You’ve probably never heard of it.” No-one likes that guy, except that guy. But maybe this year he has a point? Avoid the mainstream and head to one of Germany’s lesser-known beer fests for some bratwurst and beverages. Well, lesser-known probably isn’t the best way to describe Cannstatter Volksfest, or “Wasen”; it is an absolutely massive festival with 200 years of heritage under its belt. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like Oktoberfest, though, does it? As well as 10 speciality food and drink tents, there’s also a huge flea market and one of the biggest fun fairs in all of Europe to keep you occupied. Book flights to Germany 3. Craft Beer Calling, Newcastle upon Tyne When: 2016 dates TBC “Eeeh man, ahm gannin te the booza.” Didn’t quite catch that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that Craft Beer Calling in Newcastle is one of the finest international beer festivals to strut on this malty scene in recent years....

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Apr 4, 2016

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How to book your next holiday with confidence...

How to book your next holiday with confidence

A new report released by the London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, ABTA and Get Safe Online has revealed that holidaymakers lost £11.5 million in 2015 as a result of holiday booking fraud. According to the report, the level of travel fraud has rocketed by 425% compared to 2014 – up from £2.2 million – highlighting how important it is to stay vigilant when booking holidays online. It revealed that the biggest areas for fraud included criminals hacking real...

Apr 4, 2016

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7 tips for slashing your costs on a city break...

7 tips for slashing your costs on a city break

With budget airlines offering £19.99 flights to somewhere in Europe that it would have taken our ancestors a month to reach in a horse and cart, city breaks can sound pretty tempting these days. Until, that is, you start to factor in accommodation, eating out, transport, entrance fees, spending money… suddenly it all starts to seem less affordable. The trick, though, is to stay cost-conscious throughout every stage of your journey. We’re not talking a Scrooge’s holiday here – in...

Mar 31, 2016

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What could a Brexit mean for our holidays?...

What could a Brexit mean for our holidays?

Despite all the political posturing and scaremongering surrounding the Brexit debate, very few clear-cut arguments to stay or go have been put forward so far. However, in terms of travel and what a Brexit could do to our holidays, there are a few things to consider in the lead up to June’s referendum. From consumer rights to the cost of a holiday, some things could change if the UK were to leave. So, with less than three months left...

Mar 31, 2016

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Why NOW is a great time to visit Costa Rica...

Why NOW is a great time to visit Costa Rica

Costa Ricans live by a beautifully simple mantra: pura vida. Roughly translated as “pure life”, it can be used to say hello, goodbye and everything in between, but generally, it just means relax and enjoy life as it comes – a feat that’s not too difficult when you’re on holiday in a place like Costa Rica. The country itself boasts everything from pristine beaches and dramatic rainforests to stunning wildlife, and is very well set up for tourism....

Mar 30, 2016

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Should I travel to Egypt?

Should I travel to Egypt?

As a result of a plane crash on October 31, 2015 in Egypt’s Sinai region that claimed the lives of all 224 passengers, the British government has suspended flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport. The situation left a number of British nationals stranded in Egypt, and, due to the nature of the incident, it may also be causing concern for those scheduled to fly to the popular resort in the coming weeks and months. UK carriers...

Mar 24, 2016

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Should I travel to Tunisia?

Should I travel to Tunisia?

Updated advice: The current state of emergency in Tunisia has now been extended until June 22, 2016. Please see the FCO site for further information. Following the deadly Tunisian terror attack in the resort of Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse, on June 26, 2015 – as well as the earlier atrocity in Tunis on March 18, 2015 – many holidaymakers will have had their summer holidays cancelled and may be wondering whether they should still travel to this popular sunshine destination in...

Mar 21, 2016

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Bag a bargain! UK spring escapes for £99 or less...

Bag a bargain! UK spring escapes for £99 or less

After a long, cold winter, the weather is getting warmer, the days longer and the sun is starting to put his hat on more often – spring has finally sprung in the UK! And when the weather is good in Great Britain, it really does take some beating in terms of good value, beauty-filled short escapes. We’ve really got the lot right here in our back garden. So, if you’re yearning for a sneaky, guilt-free getaway, we’ve rounded...

Mar 21, 2016

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Banish boredom! Fun-filled days out this Easter...

Banish boredom! Fun-filled days out this Easter

The Easter holidays are almost upon us. That means chocolate, chocolate and, usually, more chocolate. And if the thought of a week or two off with hyperactive kids on a sugar-high is filling you with dread, we’re here to help bust boredom. There are plenty of Easter-themed events going on across the UK as well as other fun-filled family days out. So we’ve rounded up some great holiday activities, whatever your budget. London: Lions and sweet treats London will be...