Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Orlando: Beyond the theme parks

The popular holiday destination of Orlando is closely associated with some of the world’s biggest and most popular themes parks, which attract millions of people from all over the globe every year. But contrary to popular opinion, perhaps, there is much more to see and do in Orlando than simply hop on board the rides.
Here, we’re going to take a look at the top attractions that the city has to offer, beyond the well-known thrills and spills available at the theme parks. You can hire a car in Orlando and make the most of your stay.
Weeki Wachee Springs
If you’re looking to escape in the world of fantasy but don’t fancy paying theme park prices for the privilege, then Weeki Wachee Springs ought to feature prominently on your list of must-see attractions.
Located approximately one hour and 35 minutes away from Orlando in the car, this charming destination is definitely worth the travel time as it encourages you to believe in the surreal.
That’s because the spectacularly clear waters of the springs feature ‘mermaids’ performing underwater feats. Ever wanted to see a mermaid down a soft drink? Well, this is an opportunity not to pass up.
Among the best of the underwater shows on offer is The Little Mermaid, which takes place in a 500-seat theatre embedded in the side of the springs.
Flagger Beach
Golden sands and spectacular weather are probably what most holidaymakers think of when they close their eyes and think of Florida. And there are few beaches in the state that can match the splendour of Flagger Beach, which is a bit of a throwback to the days before condominiums and high-rise buildings.
The beach itself is distinguished by the reddish colour of the sand and the fact that despite its attractiveness, is considerably less busy than those seen elsewhere in the state. What’s more, it’s worth noting that while the area does not boast many malls or fast-food restaurants, it is home to a wonderful farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays, where you can pick up fruit and veg, among other items.
Located less than an hour from Orlando, this is one attraction that you will not want to miss, because – let’s be honest – it’s not often that you get the opportunity to watch a spaceship take to the skies.
There are a number of great locations in this part of Florida to watch lift-off. Of course, this is sure to be an exhilarating experience for all the family, but especially so if you have young children, who are unlikely to ever forget the experience.
Silver Springs
This set of springs offers a rare insight into life under the sea and in particular, the springs that make up much of the state's landscape. And doing so this way means that you needn't don a wet suit in order to enjoy an amazing view of the beautiful sights of Florida.
What's more, there is also a petting zoo for youngsters, as well as a series of shops and restaurants that can help make your visit all the more enjoyable. But what if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet? Well, the botanical gardens make for the ideal spot to relax and unwind, leaving your everyday stresses behind you.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Why the Med is perfect for last-minute cruises

Cruise Ship Infographic: 9 Superb Mediterranean Holidays In 1 Cruise
Cruise Infographic by Bolsover Cruise Club

Why the Med is perfect for last-minute cruises

We all know how it can be - life gets in the way when you’re trying to organise a getaway and before you know it the summer is upon you and you don’t have a holiday booked. Rather than scrabbling with everyone else for the best available package at a standard sun, sea and sand resort, go on a cruise.

We know what you’re thinking - ‘cruises are for old people’; ‘I don’t want to be stuck with lots of people I don’t know’; ‘won’t I get bored when I’m not visiting a port?’; ‘where can I even go on a cruise anyway?’.

Stop and throw all those preconceptions out of the window because not only are last-minute cruises fantastic value for money, but they could also introduce you to destinations you’d never otherwise have explored.

The Mediterranean is a classic example of a region that’s home to many hidden gems. Incredible beaches, cultural cities and fascinating heritage sites all await if only you’d give yourself the chance to try something different.

If you’re going for a last-minute deal, the Med is a particularly good choice because it’s so close to the UK. You won’t need to travel far, even if you opt for a fly-cruise option, before you meet your ship. Thanks to the wide-scale adoption of the Euro, you’re also unlikely to have to worry about exchanging your currency multiple times. And, of course, it’s an incredibly varied place to explore too.

For plenty of variety, go on an itinerary that takes in some of Europe’s most sophisticated cities and beautiful landscapes - a 14-day journey around Italy’s coastline, on to Croatia, Montenegro, Corfu and finally Corsica.

This particular trip really does feature a little bit of everything, with cities like Rome and Naples providing history in abundance. Florence and Venice, meanwhile, are renowned for being creative hubs and home to some of the world’s most spectacular artworks.

Spend time in Dubrovnik and you’ve got fantastic beaches just a short distance from the city’s amazing Old Town. Kotor in Montenegro is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful fjords you’re likely to see. And in Genoa and Corfu you can sample classic Mediterranean delicacies. Ajaccio in Corsica is the ideal place to relax, with its seafront promenade perfect for a gentle stroll and a profusion of pavement cafes where you can sip a coffee and watch the world go by.

As if fitting nine holiday destinations into one trip (without any stress or hassle on your part, we might add) wasn’t enough, you’ve also got several days at sea during which you can enjoy the delights of your cruise liner.

Modern cruise ships are huge and boast plenty of entertainment for all kinds of travellers. There are theatre shows, clubs, casinos and chic bars to keep you amused after dark, while the day time is reserved for leisurely trips to the spa, refreshing dips in the pool and working on your tan on the sundeck.

So, a cruise is part package holiday, part independent travel with a whole lot more thrown in. You’ll still come home from your break with a tan, but you’ll also have visited far more fascinating places than any of your friends who opted for a single-centre break - and you’re likely to be the envy of all of them once you tell them about your adventures on the high seas.