Sun seekers’ sensations!

By Helen Foster

While I love the feel of warm sand between my toes and the sound of the sea washing over me, a beach alone isn’t enough. My shores have to be fringed with interesting shops, iconic landmarks and be within easy reach of places that are oozing with character.

Although I love the perfect sun-soaked beach where I can unfurl my towel and lose myself in the murmuring music of the waves and the pages of a good book, I need that proximity to lots of other interesting places I can explore when the time is right to turn a page of my own holiday story.

The Algarve, Portugal

A highlight of the Algarve, for me, are the golden rock formations rising out of the bluest of seas at Ponta da Piedade. These magnificent limestone pillars and arches have been sculpted by the crashing winter seas and they give this coast, just two miles south of Lagos, a distinctive beauty. This wild headland is more cultivated for tourists than it first appears. Boardwalks and steps weave along the cliff tops and down into the hidden sandy grottos, allowing you to take in the views along the coast, or by looking up from below, dwarfed by the towering cliffs.

With a coast as spectacular as this, a boat tour to view the rock formations and secret beaches from a totally different perspective is a must. The locals who work the boats welcome you aboard with a genuine warmth you’ll find everywhere on the Algarve, while drifting around the rocky arches and outcrops transports you to a surreal watery world; one you will always remember. A bonus is a delightful café and restaurant by the car park at the cliffs where you can get your breath back over a tasty lunch and refreshing drink.

The stunning view from Ponta da Piedade Cliffs in the Algarve

The stunning view from Ponta da Piedade Cliffs in the Algarve

You don’t need to work as hard to enjoy the delights of the intimate Praia de Carvoeiro in the Lagoa region. This small beach is sheltered between two rocky headlands and surrounded by pretty fisherman’s cottages, many of which have been transformed into classy little restaurants and lively bars, ideal retreats from the heat of the midday sun. The sands are picture-perfect golden and the sea here isn’t tidal, so great for families. It is also a really short stroll from some of the best holiday shopping you’ll find anywhere. Carvoeiro’s tree-lined boulevards afford a cooling shade while you meander the elegant boutiques and select your fine dining venue for the evening.

There are so many beaches to choose from on the Algarve. For example, Alvor Beach is the longest stretch of sand with a boardwalk taking strollers through the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve with ease, while Praia de Benagil benefits from being close to the iconic Benagil Caves. Being every bit as stunning as its sister beaches, it is buzzing with boat trips taking tourists into the caves, and returning with the thrill of the boats being driven at speed from the sea straight up, high onto the sands – it felt very James Bond!

Málaga, Spain

Being a city girl, I don’t like to be too far away from the buzzing hub of civilisation, even on holiday. Málaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol, boasts as many as 20 beaches within easy reach of its city parameter. Playa de La Malagueta, a manmade crescent of yellow sand, is just a 10-minute walk from the lively Promenade of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, which will take you past a host of restaurants, bars, shops and other activities, where you can sample a little Malagueño culture and cuisine as you go.

Malaga's Playa de la Malagueta

Malaga’s Playa de la Malagueta

The 3,000-year-old city port is still evolving today and the Paseo del Muelle Dos, opened in 2011, is a snazzy shopping wonderland and home to Jose Carlos Garcia’s restaurant, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the city.

If this is too pricey for your holiday budget, there are lots of other eateries to suit all tastes and purses. So much in this beautiful city is free, and the Palmeral de las Sorpresas, or Palm Garden of Surprises is a stunning waterfront promenade with children’s playgrounds and activities, endless gardens housing 420 palm trees and 7,400 tropical plants, water features and more. This sleek new addition to the city’s attractions is very different from the ancient favourites, such as the Moorish Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle with its neighbouring Roman Theatre, but there are few better places to while away the hours as the sun shines or sets.

Just over an hour’s drive or bus journey from Málaga is Estepona. This exquisitely pretty town nestles behind a stunning beach with its 2.5 miles of wide sands snaking from the port, past the town and beyond. You will find some of the best fresh fish dishes served in the elegant restaurants and traditional chiringuitos along Estepona’s promenade. Often passed over for its glitzier neighbours, you will have a lot more room to spread out on the beaches here, even on the town’s main beach, Playa Rada, which backs onto the promenade.

The Old Quarter here isn’t just a step back in time, it is an explosion of invigorating colour, where the bright white walls of the houses are the perfect canvas for the profusion of coloured planters and cascading blooms which adorn the tiny lanes. The town’s plazas are also completely charming places in which to take some time out to enjoy a tasty Spanish tapas treat sitting on a terrace fringed by orange trees.

Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol and boasts 20 sandy beaches within each reach

The best of both worlds: Malaga is the city capital of the Costa del Sol and boasts 20 sandy beaches within each reach

Crete, Greece

It was a yearning to visit Spinalonga, an island off Elounda in northeastern Crete, that kicked off one of my best holidays ever. Victoria Hislop’s novel, The Island, tells a fictional story of a leper who was sent out to Spinalonga – Europe’s last active leper colony from 1903 to 1957. The lepers have long gone but I was moved to be following in their footsteps through the houses, shopping street and church – all there, as described in the book.

The ferry over to the island takes about 15 minutes from Elounda and costs around €10. The beaches on Elounda are pretty shingle suntraps and not overly populated. Elounda is a busy little town, complete with a picturesque clock tower and some spectacular seafront eateries.

You can’t help but love the way multi-generational families come out to dine together, and how the smallest, noisiest members of the group are made so very welcome by the waiters, waitresses and maître d’s. I don’t think I have ever visited a more child-friendly destination; it was wonderful to see everyone so happy and relaxed as they dined out together.

A boat over to Spinalonga Island costs around €10. Spend the day taking in the the history of these old streets and enjoy the clear blue sea surrounding the island.

A boat over to Spinalonga Island costs around €10. Spend the day taking in the history of the old streets and enjoy the clear blue sea surrounding the island.

Crete is a great place for waterborne exploration. If it is a fabulous, sizzling beach you want, then head for the beautiful seafront town of Ierapetra in southeastern Crete – it is an easy place to drive around – and hop on a ferry to Chrissi Island. Just 25 minutes later you will be in an island paradise of just 17 square miles of the best sand and sea you’ll see anywhere.

The only shade is beneath the grassy parasols by the sun loungers, so take some light cotton cover-up clothes, as well as your sunscreen. Thankfully, there are small beach shacks selling cooling drinks and snacks. Don’t forget that a dip in the azure waters here is a wonderfully refreshing experience.

Back in your rental car, a drive up (and down) into the forgotten rural world of the Lassithi Plateau proves a memorable adventure. The area is famed for windmills and Dikteon Andron, the cave where Zeus was born and for which you will need sturdy shoes to tackle the slippery steps.

The real pleasure is to take your lunch under the shade of the vines at a tiny café – that serves as the village shop, bar, and community centre – with the local farmers. Communicating largely by using mime, you can spend a couple of fun hours ‘talking’ with the laid-back and lovely people who live here, grow the food you are eating, brew the wine you are drinking and are openly amused by your fascination with their ancient tractors and farming tools!

Did I mention the truly breathtaking views? They come as standard in this destination.

Feel the sand beneath your toes at these destinations and relax back at your own self-catering apartment at the end of a fun-filled day with Apartments4you

Six top Tenerife day trips

By Mary Anne Evans – Food and Travel Writer

Enjoy one of these six day trips in Tenerife to make the most of your Canarian adventure.

With its sub-tropical climate guaranteeing year-round sunshine, its spectacular scenery and warm Spanish welcome, Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, takes a lot of beating as a hot holiday destination. Here are some of my favourite things to do on this small sun-kissed island.

A two-day trip is a pretty good way to get a good feel for Marbella, as it should give you enough time to see everything the city has to offer, from laid back squares to lively neighbourhoods, chilled out dining to exciting nightlife.

Feel on top of the world

Mount Teide, at the centre of the island, is a fabulously strange world. Drive into the 10-mile-wide volcanic crater and it’s like entering a science fiction movie – such as Clash of the Titans which was filmed here. It’s an easy drive on good roads, taking you past cafés above the clouds for a unique refreshment stop en route.

And for that last stage to its iconic tip – the cable car will whizz you up 1,200 metres (3,937 ft), above the crater floor for superb views over the island, the Canarian archipelago and way beyond.

Top Tip: Take a jacket, even in the height of summer, and good walking shoes, as you can take a path to the top to explore further.

Open daily 9am to 4pm.

Mount Teide towers majestically over Tenerife and is well worth the inland trip

Mount Teide towers majestically over Tenerife and is well worth the inland trip

Enjoy fun with the family at Siam Park

The large Thai-themed water park frequently wins awards and it’s easy to see why.

Siam Park is a real family-friendly attraction, with aquatic features that range from a wave park, where the surf gets up to three metres high, letting you ride the waves like a real professional, to the Singha, a ride over 240 metres (780 ft) long that bends and curls its way from start to end.

Set in an exotic tropical park, you can either enjoy the adrenaline-fuelled rides or be as lazy as you want to be. Why not hire a cabin for the day? Or, after exhausting both the children and yourself on the thrill rides, you can simply sit on the sandy beach or take a genteel ride down the Mai Thai River in a dinghy.

Open daily from 10am to 6pm from 1 May to 31 October, and 10am to 5pm from 1st November – 30th April.

 Siam Park is a waterpark to entertain the whole family, including a lazy river to relax and soak up the sun as you float

Siam Park is a waterpark to entertain the whole family, including a lazy river to relax and soak up the sun as you float

Go wild at Loro Parque

The sister attraction to Siam Park is famous for being home to the largest collection of parrots in the world. But don’t worry if those gaudy, noisy birds don’t rock your boat.

Loro Parque ticks all the boxes, with dolphins that pirouette and dive to entertain, and Orca whales which provide equally amazing moments.

There are jungle walkways in the aviary where you will come face to face with emus, kookaburras, cockatoos and more, plus the largest collection of lovable penguins outside the Antarctic region. This wonderfully wild experience is to be found in the northern capital, Puerto de la Cruz, an 80-minute drive from the south of the island.

Open daily from 8.30am to 6.45pm. Last entrance is at 4pm.

Go whale or dolphin watching

Book a boat tour from either Los Gigantes or Los Cristianos to take a gentle cruise through the warm crystal waters, on a mission to spot whales and dolphins cavorting around you.

Bottlenose and Risso dolphins, accompanied by Pilot and Sperm whales, are the resident species in these waters, who will happily dive under your boat and swim alongside in their pods.

You will soon feel the suspense at being so close to those magnificent creatures that you can actually hear them breathing – bringing you out in goosebumps! Take a long, lazy, lunch or dinner once back on dry land at one of the many delightful harbour-side cafés and restaurants while you contemplate the wonder of your day.

Visit Los Gigantes to join a whale or dolphin watching tour in the sunny Canary Islands

Visit Los Gigantes to join a whale or dolphin watching tour in the sunny Canary Islands

Take a hike in the hills

Tenerife is great walking country, particularly in the north-east corner where the lush green forests of the remote Anaga Mountains take you a world away from the beaches of the sultry south-west.

The landscape here is ruggedly beautiful, from misty forests to towering pinnacles, this is one of nature’s finest showcases.

Paths are well marked, making this a super family-friendly adventure. Hikes through the mountain ravines and rainforests vary in length, but you will relish every part of this ‘secret Tenerife’. Book with the walking company, Anaga Atrapiés, or buy a good walking guide book.

Wander through Spanish colonial history

A visit to the island’s former capital, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, is certainly rewarding. It is one of two UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Sites on the island and was its capital until 1821.

Do not be deterred by its sprawling urban exterior. The Old Quarter is, quite literally, a hidden gem of perfectly preserved palatial mansions from a mix of several different architectural periods, owing to the mixed nationalities of its wealthy inhabitants who built this vibrant and colourful city throughout the centuries.

Walk the ancient streets overflowing with buildings dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

It isn’t all about the history, however, La Laguna today is a lively university town, with pavement cafés where it is an absolute pleasure just to sit and watch the world go by. Head for the marble fountain in the lush Plaza del Adelantado, and turn into Calle Obispo Rey Redondo, a spectacular street that will give you a taste of traditional Spain. It may not have a beach, but San Cristóbal de La Laguna has the best of the rest.

Wander around Tenerife's La Laguna and admire its rainbow of architectural styles and colours

Wander around Tenerife’s La Laguna and admire its rainbow of architectural styles and colours

Tenerife is the perfect family destination all year round, with temperatures still reaching the mid-to-upper 20s in September and October. Take a look at our self-catering apartments in Tenerife here

*All opening times correct at 15.08.2017

The best things to see and do in Portugal and Madeira

By Lorraine Loveland

When looking for a winter sun break, Portugal and Madeira don’t always make it to the top of everyone’s list, and yet there are so many fascinating and fun things to do in this part of the world.

Here are the best things to experience in Albufeira, a coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal and Funchal in Madeira, part of the Portuguese archipelago most known for its outdoor offerings.

A whistle-stop tour of Albufeira

There are numerous beaches to choose from on this southern stretch of coast, each of them with their own unique characteristics. But a beach day here is particularly a must with over 20 beaches having the coveted Blue Flag status.

Albufeira boasts more than 20 beaches with the coveted Blue Flag status

Albufeira boasts more than 20 beaches with the coveted Blue Flag status

Even in winter, temperatures here are a comfortable 17 degrees celsius so you’ll still feel the subtle warmth of the sun on your back.

After easing into your holiday with some time on the beach, next up should be your own history trail. The city is rich with history and tradition, as you will uncover with a tour of the 18th-century Santa Ana Church. Though tiny in stature, this charming whitewashed church is fused with Moorish influence, typical in this old part of Albufeira known as the Largo Jacinto D’Ayet.

As long as there are no church services taking place you are free to wander inside – just be sure to dress appropriately given its religious significance.

When you are inside soak up the intricate patterns adorning the ceiling, and detailed wood carvings on the altar. And of course, revel in the heavenly peace of your surroundings with just the echoes of people’s footsteps as your soundtrack.

While you’re in the area, you should call in at the Museu de Arte Sacra, which is the home to religious pieces that were salvaged from local churches following an earthquake and tsunami in 1755 – which makes these artefacts particularly treasured.

There is a long tradition of accordion playing in Albufeira, so to delve in and discover more about this unique cultural aspect of the city, head for Casa Museu do Acórdeão in Paderne. The museum features over 1,500 pieces relating to the accordion.

Did you know that the city is known for its birdwatching offerings? Regardless of whether you are a keen twitcher or not, the diversity of bird life here makes for an interesting encounter.

The freshwater wetlands of Salgados Lagoon are a good spot to start and the boardwalks bring you close enough to get a good look without interrupting the natural habitat. Flamingos, spoonbills, herons, warblers and starlings are just some of the varieties to look out for at different times of the year, as well as the mighty falcons and kestrels. Time your visit for an early weekday morning to increase your chances of spotting some extraordinary species of wildlife.

And while you’re in the area, you can also get a different perspective with a genteel horseback ride on the beach.

Local guides will always impart some useful nuggets of information which allow you to really get underneath the skin of a destination, and see it through a local’s eyes. Book a Tuk Tuk Tour to enjoy a tour through the side streets of Albufeira which you won’t typically see by car or bus.

After a day of exploring on foot, horseback or by tuk tuk, you’ll have worked up a serious appetite and with over 700 restaurants in Albufeira alone, you have everything, from traditional Portuguese fare to Michelin-starred venues.

Open for lunch and dinner (closed on Tuesdays), Copos & Petiscos is a family run tapas restaurant in Tavira, where a warm Portuguese welcome awaits. Set away from the tourist strip, you can expect authentic food and wines which are the embodiment of Portuguese gastronomy. While there is a varied menu, opt for a seafood dish as it comes highly recommended on a number of review sites. Pair this with one of the crisp white wines, and you won’t be disappointed.

Bear in mind some restaurants do close during winter so do your research before you travel.

A colourful adventure in Funchal

If I had to define Funchal it would be like a box of crayons, with a rainbow of colourful attractions doodled across the city.

To get your break off to the vibrant start it deserves, the Painted Doors Project in the old town of Funchal should provide the necessary colour pop – sunglasses at the ready!

The Public Art Project has transformed the Zona Velha area into a permanent art gallery with doors, walls and premises decorated in a variety of creative ways. The works were created by a number of renowned creatives of the Madeira art scene, and notable contributors include the architect Paulo David and the designer Nini Andrade Silva.

Look out for the Painted Doors Project in the old town of Funchal

Look out for the Painted Doors Project in the old town of Funchal

Find your favourites from over 80 pieces of work located on Rua de Santa Maria, before stopping for lunch to run through your highlights with each other from the variety of amusing and edgy displays.

Just a short walk along the street you will find Galeria Restaurante, and if you’re in need of a hearty lunch, the steak is highly rated here. Vegetarian options include the asparagus and mushroom risotto, and it will be hard to determine whether you should eat or just photograph the desserts as they are quite the work of art!

After lunch, take the cable car to the village of Monte to see the Monte Palace Tropical Garden which presents Japanese-style gardens filled with koi ponds, red bridges and bright blue flora. And of course, when in Madeira, you should look out for the exotic Bird of Paradise, the island’s national flower, noted for its resemblance to a bird taking flight.

While in Monte, you’ll also glimpse traditional Portuguese Santana houses, featuring triangular thatched roofs, with colourful red doors and blue window frames.

What goes up must come down, so stroll over to Nossa Senhora do Monte Church to take the ten-minute ride back down to Funchal aboard a traditional wicker sledge. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, with the toboggans reaching 18 miles per hour as they career down into the outskirts of the city while being directed by two men called ‘Carreiros’ dressed in white and donning straw hats.

It’s one of the island’s most iconic attractions, and the activity dates back to the early 19th century when they were used as a means of transport for locals.

Either take a 30-minute downhill stroll back into the city centre, or book a taxi back.

If you’re not feeling too queasy from the ride, you should pick up a cup of tea and a pastel de nata custard tart. The creamy custard tart is a Portuguese delicacy and you’ll find them all over the island served with or without cinnamon.

It will be like your very own taste of history – the sweet treats were first created by Catholic monks in the 18th century in Lisbon. At the time egg whites were used for starching clothes with the leftover egg yolks used to make cakes and pastries.

With the impending closure of convents and monasteries after the 1820 Revolution, monks resorted to selling the pastries at a sugar refinery to make some money, before selling the recipe on to the refinery in later years, and it is still in operation today.

Pastel de nata is a creamy custard tart you’ll find all over the island

Pastel de nata is a creamy custard tart you’ll find all over the island

Following all your inland wanders, it will be high time to head for the coastline. The Lido Promenade meanders along the rugged coast, past gardens, cafés, restaurants and even natural pools. A small tunnel will take you to Formosa Beach – the largest in Funchal with phenomenal cliff views.

The walk takes less than two hours, and will bring you to Câmara de Lobos Bay. Try to time your arrival for sunset and be amazed at the stunning display of oranges and pinks as the sun makes its descent into the sea. This should provide the ideal finish to your rainbow tour.

The ultimate sunset spot: Câmara de Lobos Bay

The ultimate sunset spot: Câmara de Lobos Bay

Our self-catering apartments in Portugal and Madeira offer the perfect base to explore this beautiful country:

View apartments in Portugal

View apartments in Madeira

Explore all that the USA has to offer!

With its diverse regions and lively cities the USA has something for everybody. With many bucket list attractions and amazing landscapes it is no wonder that millions visit its states annually. It would be hard to list all those places which are worth to visit in the country but we have selected some states below to inspire you with holiday ideas.

California

Few states, if any, have more things to see and do than California. With its major metropolitan cities, majestic mountains, legendary national parks, trailblazing theme parks and, of course, remarkable ocean views, the sunshine state is best sampled in week-sized chunks. In all, California can be separated into 12 regions, each with its own distinct natural beauty and exciting adventures.

Head to San Diego for a slice of surf culture, a romantic dinner or a visit to one whale of a theme park. Head to Lake Tahoe and sample more snow-covered terrain than any other U.S. destination. Or head to Palm Springs, home of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the LG Skins Game, for a golf and spa holiday experience like no other. And when you’re done, you’ll realize you’ve barely scratched the surface of ways to explore the nation’s third largest state – and the No. 1 state for tourism.

Florida

From Florida’s “Space Coast” to the Gulf of Mexico, holidayers will find a little bit of everything their hearts desire: exclusive shopping, world class golfing, bustling beaches and warm ocean breezes, to name a few.
Along the west coast lies the Tampa Bay area, where residents and guests alike, it seems, are required to be outdoors. Tampa was recently named the fifth best outdoor city by Forbes, thanks to its clean air, vast parks and perpetually sunny weather.
Sanibel Island’s beaches are well known for their unspoiled beauty, tranquility and colorful seashells deposited daily by Gulf waters. Visitors to Sanibel are more apt to sunbathe, take a sunset stroll along the sugary sands – or perform the famous shell-hunting ritual that has come to be known the “Sanibel Stoop.”
Between the do-everything city of Fort Lauderdale and exclusive Palm Beach, lies culturally diverse Delray Beach, where holidayers can follow a day at the beach or tennis center with a night downtown among the galleries, restaurants and shows.
Farther south, sandwiched between the Atlantic and the Gulf, sits incomparable Key West. In the Keys, scuba divers, eccentric artists, anglers and partygoers all peacefully coexist, and it appears as if just about all of them gather nightly to view the magnificent sunsets. Although the Keys reside in the continental United States’ southernmost region, ocean breezes keep temperatures pleasant, enticing more than 1 million visitors each year to come and join the fun.

Arizona

The seasons blend into perpetually warm and sunny days here in the heart of the Desert Southwest, where golfers, explorers, power shoppers and sightseers know there’s never a bad time for making memories that last a lifetime.
Oases of holiday resorts dot the landscape, offering championship courses that challenge and inspire golfers regardless of skill level. Spas, meanwhile, conjure the healing powers of native desert plants to provide signature treatments that regenerate the body and nourish the soul.
Every area of this grand state is unique and special in its own way. With high-end retailers such as Tiffany’s, Gucci and Cartier – and more spas per capita than any other U.S. city – historic Scottsdale is a shopper’s paradise and a spa lover’s dream. There may be no better place to indulge yourself, or, as more than a third of the teams in the Major League have discovered, no better setting for spring baseball. 
Venture beyond the diamond to Sedona, and you’ll discover a surrounding landscape that includes ancient rock art, pueblo ruins and incomparable desert mountain views. We are your source for Arizona Holiday resorts.
While the rest of Arizona relishes the 365-day-a-year tee time, fresh powder awaits skiers and snowboarders atop Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks. From here, day trips to Grand Canyon National Park are possible.

New England

From the smell of the salty ocean air to the sweet summer breezes, New England has it all. Whether you prefer an active holiday full of sailing, skiing and cycling, or you want a leisurely getaway rich with history and culture, you’re sure to find more than you even imagined.
Romantic couples or families with children are equally entertained with New England holidays – at any time of year. In this part of the country, there are four distinct seasons, each bringing new scenery and a new set of activities.
Soak in the rays at a pristine beach or scream with delight on an amusement park ride. Take a bicycle ride down a leaf-strewn lane or take a drive along the famous Cape Cod seashore. Ski perfect mountain slopes or visit one of the region’s many historic sites. Sample an array of vintages at a top-notch winery or spot a humpback whale on a relaxing cruise.
At any time of year, indulge in the freshest seafood anywhere in the country, served at some of the best restaurants in the country.
With its natural beauty, deep cultural significance and myriad ways to spend your free time, you’ll want to come back to New England again and again.

Texas

People in Texas love their football. That much is true. But they love the great outdoors just the same. 
Whether your passion is golfing, hiking, hunting, boating, deep-sea fishing – or starlight shows reserved only for the widest of open spaces – then a Texas holiday should be on your next destination list. Catch a trophy bass on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, a beautiful, 114,000-acre stretch of clear, fresh water that serves as a regular stop on the pro anglers’ tour. Discover tranquility – and some of the finest golfing in the Southwest – just an hour north of Houston at Lake Conroe.
Explore the Texas Piney Woods at Lake Palestine, by boat, by foot or on an authentic steam train. Or head south to Texas’ southernmost city, Brownsville, which is home to historic U.S.-Mexico battles and a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the beaches of beautiful South Padre Island.
From Hill Country lakes to national forest trails to sandy Gulf Coast shores, your Texas holiday will have a little bit of everything for those who want to commune with Mother Nature.

Nevada

A Nevada holiday is so much more than a drive through the desert. A diverse climate offers plentiful sunny days that are popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts, but heavy winter snowfall in the mountains make Nevada a winter sports paradise as well. In this wild, beautiful state, visit historic Old West mining towns, enjoy guest ranches offering the cowboy lifestyle, or see a star-studded show and play the slot machines.
Las Vegas is world-famous for its round-the-clock neon lights, dining and, of course, world-famous casino entertainment. When it’s time to move beyond The Strip, travel 446 miles southeast to Reno. Nestled against the Sierra Nevada foothills, Reno offers a wide array of shopping, distinctive dining and year-round outdoor sports from skiing to golf and everything in between.

apartments4you have a wide range of self-catering holiday apartments suitable for all of the family. Take a look at the holiday apartments that we have available: www.apartments4you.com

Top 3 Places For A Family Holiday

There’s nothing better than a family holiday. It can sometimes be tricky choosing a destination that will appeal to everyone, especially if you have young children and grandparents to keep entertained, but there’s plenty of incredible places all over the world that are perfect for all types of families.

The wide choice of resorts available to apartments4you customers means that we have got everything covered when it comes to catering for families. Self-catering accommodation is usually more spacious than hotel rooms, and come complete with all the home comforts a family needs, including kitchen facilities, giving you a great dining in option if you would rather not eat out every day. That way, you can take your time and enjoy your holiday at your own pace.

Here are three of our top destinations for a great family holiday.

Tenerife

If you are looking for a family holiday that combines sun, sea and sand, Tenerife ticks all the boxes. With year-round sun, you can spend days at the beach, even in the winter when there’s snow on the ground in the UK – not many destinations are only a four-hour flight away from the UK can offer that.

CLC The Paradise Club, Tenerife

The south of the island is packed with tourist hotspots and beaches. If you relish fine dining and meandering gently through ancient streets then the beautiful Old Town of Adeje is probably your kind of place. The north is much more quintessentially Spanish, with beautiful old churches, interesting architecture, and plenty of restaurants serving traditional Spanish cuisine to savour a long and delicious meal. Lago Martianez, a beautiful and artful man-made lagoon, provides safe bathing, sun loungers, parasols and refreshments, just steps away from the attractive and sophisticated centre of Puerto de la Cruz.

Tenerife is a small island – you can drive the whole way around it in a day, comfortably – but it packs in more variety of landscape and holiday experiences per square mile than most other destinations I can think of.

Europe’s biggest water park, Siam Park, is one of the best family` days out in Tenerife. The Thai-themed water park is a world-class attraction. From the adrenaline junkies to those who prefer to keep their feet a little closer to the ground, Siam Park should definitely have something to please.

In the north of the island, Puerto de la Cruz is not only an elegant holiday base, but also home to Loro Parque, which happens to be one of the best attractions on the island for all ages. This zoo is home to hundreds of birds, mammals and fish, including dolphins, orcas, various species of monkeys and lots of different types of birds, notably its many colourful chatty and friendly parrots. You can even get a picture holding a parrot, which comes highly recommended.

Florida

Orlando in Florida – the US Sunshine State – is home to the greatest theme parks in the world! You’ll be pushed to find a more family-orientated holiday destination anywhere, and there really is something for everyone here, from the young to the young at heart.

Whether you’re skipping down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom or buying your Hogwarts’ robes in Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there’s something truly magical about the Walt Disney World and Universal Studios parks.

Photograph of Summer Bay Resort Orlando

Summer Bay Resort, Florida

Away from the parks there is so much to do, you could fill a whole other holiday if Disney princesses and wizards are not really your thing.

Spend evenings exploring Celebration Florida – another Walt Disney brainchild – filled with shops, restaurants and entertainment. Marvel at the dolphins in SeaWorld; or fly down a water slide in one of the many waterparks; or dispose of your holiday spends in a designer outlet. There’s so much fun to be had in Orlando, both inside and outside the famous theme parks.

The Sunshine State is more than just its capital. Daytona is one of the best places in the US for families, as there is so much to do. You can’t possibly think about going to Daytona without visiting the beach. There are over 20 miles of sand to play, walk and sunbathe on, so pick your spot and enjoy some of the warm Florida sunshine.

There is something rather nostalgic about a beach boardwalk and pier, and Daytona’s is the heartland of the city. Restaurants, shops, exciting thrill-rides and arcades make this a fantastic place to spend holiday time with the children.

Mexico

Mexico is often overlooked as a family holiday destination, but it is a perfect place to escape for a week or two away in the sun. Many of the resorts available are filled with so many activities, having round-the-clock entertainment for all ages, you don’t even have to leave the resort with your little ones – or older ones – to have a good time on this holiday.

Emporio Hotel & Suites, Mexico

If you do want to venture off-site, Mexico has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, including Playacar, which runs along the front of the resort. The crystal-clear Caribbean sea is perfect for snorkelling and scuba-diving if you have older children who want to meet the local marine life.

There are also the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – to explore. With its iconic pyramid architecture, this ancient place of worship provides a fascinating insight into Mayan culture and is a place that both young and old will find intriguing. It is a definite must-do day out.

Mexico is a destination that is rich in history, with plenty of sunshine and great beaches – what more could you want from a holiday?

 

apartments4you have a wide range of self-catering holiday apartments suitable for all of the family. Take a look at the holiday apartments that we have available: www.apartments4you.com

Canary Island Adventures

With year round sunshine the Canary Islands prove to be an ever popular escape for holidaymakers looking for a much-needed sunny break. Whether it is a winter pick-me-up or a family summer holiday, there is a Canary Island holiday for everyone.

Each island has something exciting and unique to offer. It can be hard to decide which island to holiday on, but why have one holiday destination when you can have two or even more? With journey times between the islands starting from just 25 minutes, you can choose to have a multi-destination holiday, or have one base island to excursion from each day.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the numerous exciting experiences on offer in this sun-kissed archipelago.

Tenerife

Sunset Bay at Torviscas, Tenerife

You may have heard of, and even visited Mount Teide, but did you know you can take a cable car to the summit of Spain’s highest peak? Visitors can witness the light illuminating the wonderful volcanic rock formations of this national park at altitude, spectacularly so at sunrise and sunset, taking in breathtaking views along the way.

Back at sea-level, there is so much to see and do on the largest of the Canary Islands. The sun-drenched shores of Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas are a perfect mix of beaches, bars and restaurants, ideal for seafront strolls. Kids will also love spending days at the Siam Park waterpark and Loro Parque zoo.

Gran Canaria

Club Cala Blanca, Gran Canaria

Feel like Lawrence of Arabia in Gran Canaria on a camel ride along the sand dunes, one of the most popular activities on the island. Pacing softly along Maspalomas beach, riders enjoy views of Gran Canaria’s diverse landscape of rugged ridges and soft sand dunes against the cool blue Atlantic Ocean.

Puerto de Mogán is at the heart of the action on Gran Canaria. An upmarket port with quaint shops to browse; time your visit on a Friday for market day to pick up some mementos, or simply watch the world go by against the backdrop of colourful buildings.

Lanzarote

Diamond Club Calypso, Lanzarote

With its Lunar-like landscapes, sunshine and cool breezes, Lanzarote is a haven for beach and nature lovers alike. Feel like you’ve stepped onto Mars with a trip to the Timanfaya National Park and see the stunning Fire Mountains.

 

 

 

Fuerteventura

Dunas Club, Fuerteventura

The second-largest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura is a beach-lovers’ paradise, with plenty of beaches to choose from. Many of the golden sandy stretches of beach are framed by stunning and dramatic mountains and all are inviting for sun worshippers and sandcastle builders, alike.

Located just one mile off the north coast of Fuerteventura is the tranquil nature reserve of Lobos Island. Lobos offers opportunities to see rare and endangered birdlife, species of vegetation unique to the island, walking trails and peaceful beaches.

The Canary Islands make a great holiday destination all year round thanks to their fantastic weather, great beaches and plenty of activities to enjoy. If you want to make these unique islands the base for your next holiday, search our self-catering holiday apartments…

https://www.apartments4you.com/

 

Must visit destinations recommended by our customers

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a summer holiday! If you haven’t booked yours yet, this blog will definitely get you in the holiday planning mood. Here are just some of the most popular destinations that we know our apartments4you customers love to visit. The destinations may sound familiar, but the different ways in which you can holiday there might just surprise you.

Tenerife

El Marques, Tenerife

As familiar as it is warm, there’s no surprise why Tenerife remains a firm favourite with British holidaymakers for both summer and winter getaways. With beaches galore, from golden sands with every amenity in Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos, to the coves filled with black volcanic sand in Playa de la Arena and Puerto de la Cruz, it’s no wonder holidays centre around the beach here. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that there is so much more to discover. At the island’s heart you’ll find the towering volcano of Mount Teide. Look to the north and discover Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz, sitting in contrast to the holiday hotspots of the island, this dynamic and sophisticated city is buzzing with life and rich in culture.

 

 

Florida

Silver Lake Resort, Florida

There really is something for everyone in this holiday capital of the world. If it’s a thrill-a-minute family holiday you’re after, Orlando should be at the top of your list, being home to the world’s greatest theme parks. This is just one reason to visit the Sunshine State. If you’re a nature lover, explore the sub-tropical waterways of the Everglades National Park, and if shopping is your hunting ground you won’t be disappointed. Whether it’s a pair of Mickey Mouse ears or that designer handbag at a fraction of the price, shops are aplenty. If soaking up the sun is more your style, then visit the pristine shores of Palm Beach or strut your stuff on the miles and miles of Miami’s white sand. A holiday in Florida is whatever you want it to be, and we’re sure that however you chose to holiday, you’ll be returning again.

 

 

Portugal

Macdonald Monchique Resort and Spa

Warm, welcoming and exuding traditional charm there are many good reasons why picture-perfect Portugal remains a firm favourite, embracing beach goers, culture lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. With a coastline as expansive as Portugal’s, there is no shortage of beaches for you to check out on your travels. If you’re more of an explorer, walks across the golden clifftops and boat trips to secluded caves with magnificent rock formations are a must. Look beyond the shores of Portugal and you’ll uncover fascinating histories and vibrant cultures. Portugal’s distinctive food and wine captures the charisma and traditional soul of the country. To top it off, it has a pleasant year-round climate, so your invite to holiday in Portugal will always be open.

 

 

Lanzarote

Diamond Club Maritima, Lanzarote

With sandy beaches, volcanic landscapes and quirky architecture, Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands’ biggest hitters. Local artist and sculptor César Manrique’s work has enhanced the island’s natural beauty, with his sculptures and architecture waiting to be discovered across the island. Make Timanfaya National Park your first port of call. The moon-like landscape here is made up of around 100 volcanic craters known as the Fire Mountains – pour water into one of the boreholes and it’s vapourised in seconds. On the east coast, Jameos del Agua and the Madeira Botanical Garden offer more examples of Manrique’s fascinating use of the island’s natural resources. Jameos del Agua hosts concerts in an auditorium cut into the volcanic lava. For the beach lovers, they can enjoy the 30 kilometres of sand that melts into the ultra-calm sea.

 

 

These are just some of our most popular destinations. With access to one of the largest collections of self-catering holiday apartments across the world- there’s something to suit everyone’s 2018 summer plans. To view all of our holiday apartments available this summer visit: https://www.apartments4you.com/home

TOP REASONS TO VISIT TENERIFE

As familiar as it is warm, there’s no surprise Tenerife remains a firm favourite with apartments4you customers for both summer and winter getaways. However you choose to holiday, Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, has a lot to offer and takes a lot of beating as a sunshine holiday destination. Here are just some reasons why Tenerife should top your holiday hit list…

Amazing beaches
With beaches galore, from golden sands with every amenity in Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos, to the coves filled with black volcanic sand in Playa de la Arena and Puerto de la Cruz, it’s no wonder holidays centre around the beach here. One of our favorite is Playa de las Teresitas! Make the most of Tenerife’s fabulous beaches!

Hotel Tropical Park, Adeje

Family Fun 
Siam Park water kingdom is a must for the kids with its great selection of slides and wave pools. The large Thai-themed water park frequently wins awards and it’s easy to see why, with aquatic features that range from a wave park, where the surf gets up to three metres high, letting you ride the waves like a real professional, to the Singha, a ride over 240 metres (780 ft) long that bends and curls its way from start to end.

There are also other aqua parks on the island, the famous Loro Park with a diverse range of animals and plenty of water sport opportunities to ensure some fun-filled days for the family.

Sunset Harbour Club, Torviscas

Shopping
Fashionistas are well catered for in Adeje’s trendy shops and its seafront promenade offers a great place for a refreshing walk or a backdrop for cocktails at sunset. Duty-free shopping is an added bonus!

Nightlife 
The south is where most of Tenerife’s action takes place, with quiet family resorts such as Callao Salvaje and Los Gigantes giving way to more lively destinations like Los Cristianos and the party town of Playa de las Americas. Both are packed with restaurants, bars and a variety of exciting nightlife.

Santa Bárbara Golf & Ocean Club, Golf del Sur

Exploring
At the island’s heart you’ll find the towering volcano of Mount Teide, the third largest volcano in the world surrounded by an unearthly landscape of solid lava. Take a cable car up to the summit to admire the views of the whole island. Why not take a boat trip to see the dolphins and whales in the Atlantic Ocean! Or if golf is your “cup of tee” then there are plenty of golf courses to choose from and all our resorts are ideally located so you are never far away from a 19th hole!

apartments4you have a wide range of self-catering holiday apartments in Tenerife. Take a look at the holiday apartments that we have available: https://www.apartments4you.com/