Is Cyprus The Perfect Mediterranean Wedding Destination?

Cyprus is a fantastic holiday destination and has a reputation for its popularity among Britons. It’s a top choice for UK residents looking to move to the Mediterranean after retirement, and is widely known for its beautiful scenery paired with great tourist-friendly resorts. Over the last few years, Cyprus has also grown in popularity as a dream wedding destination, with couples travelling from all over the world to host their marriage ceremony and celebrations there.

There are so many reasons why Cyprus is pretty much unbeatable as a destination wedding hotspot. The large population of former UK residents there and the ever-growing interest in destination weddings on the island make it very easy to find fantastic wedding planners to help organise your big day, especially when it comes to booking a venue. Beach and hotel weddings are the de facto choice for young couples, but there are also many wedding chapels and churches available. A great wedding coordinator can arrange exactly what you need, and they’re easy to come by on the island. Whether it’s a civil ceremony in a hotel or a church wedding near the beach, getting married in Cyprus can be a breeze with the right team.

For another thing, there’s the sheer beauty of the place. It’s a Mediterranean island surrounded by spectacular coastlines, blue waters and golden beaches. What more could you ask for in a wedding destination? Well, how about being the on the Island of Love? That’s exactly what you’ll get here, as the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite was said to have first walked the Earth right here. You can actually have your wedding ceremony on the very beach where she rose out of the sea, according to legend.

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The Best European Countries For Road Trips

Europe is a fantastic, varied continent for exploring by road, so it’s no surprise that many people love to forget paying for expensive flights or trains and simply drive themselves around. This way, you get full control over your route and you can explore everything at your own pace, plus there’s almost no place on the continent you can’t reach by road (once you cross the English Channel, of course).

So what kind of trip are you looking for? Europe has everything, from rocky coastlines to sandy beaches, lush countryside to busy cities. Perhaps you’d like to see as much variation as possible? But in any case, you will need to plan a smart route. Here are some of the best countries for exploring by road, which might make your shortlist.

France – Pretty much the easiest continental country for UK residents to explore by road, France is just a short ferry journey away. Just remember to switch sides of the road when you arrive, and you’ll be able to explore whatever you like. Take a tour of the countryside in search of the finest French vineyards, drive up to some of the world’s favourite ski resorts, or take a tour of the glamorous holiday hotspots in the south.

Italy – With several famous, historic cities to visit, each packed with attractions both ancient and modern, Italy offers a great selection of man-made wonders. Its natural landscape is equally beautiful, though, varying from the snowy slopes in the north to the surprisingly green coastlines further south. Travelling by car is an ideal way to see it all.

Portugal – With a surprising history that most people know little of, Portugal has a huge amount to offer if you choose to explore it by road. Medieval wars, devastating earthquakes and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean have shaped both this country’s history and its geography. Beautiful architecture, delicious food and a friendly culture are all benefits of Portugal which you can experience for yourself on a road trip.

Britain – Of course, one option for Brits is to stay at home and enjoy everything the UK has to offer. What could be easier? Take a road trip to a part of the country you’ve never really seen, and find out what you’ve been missing all these years. You might be surprised how much natural beauty we really have, and there are many underrated towns and cities to visit across the country too.

The Most Impressive Palaces & Castles In Europe

Europe is famed for its fascinating and varied history, spanning a huge period of time and leaving behind many physical reminders of ages gone by. Many of these include grand castles, palaces and royal buildings which are dotted throughout most countries on the continent. Visiting all of them may be almost impossible, but here are just a few of the best places to see.

Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany

Bearing a striking resemblance to the classic Disney castle, this fairytale royal home is one of Europe’s most iconic and it would seem wrong to start our list with anything else. Dominating the landscape from its raised pedestal in the Bavarian forest, Neuschwanstein welcomes nearly 1.5 million tourists every year.

Château de Chambord – France

Incredibly, this extravagant castle was only constructed as a symbol of power, and was used as an elaborate show home but not properly lived in by its owner, François I, for more than a few days in total. The king’s grand design was completed in 1519, and is one of only a few French palaces which remains almost entirely the same today.

Palace of Pena – Portugal

Alongside the famous ruins of Sintra, not far from the capital of Lisbon, this impressive and colourful Portuguese palace dates from the 19th century. Although the building itself is truly unique and inspiring, the grounds were designed to be almost equally impressive, boasting hundreds of different types of trees.

Eltz Castle – Germany

The Germans really love their fairytale-inspired castles, and this beautiful example has sat in the heart of Eltz Forest for close to 900 years. Its wonderful blue roof tiles and timber-framed towers are immaculately maintained, so they look just as impressive as they would have in the Middle Ages.

Windsor Castle – England

As British castles and palaces go, you may find yourself somewhat spoilt for choice, with impressive royal homes from across the centuries dotted throughout the country. However, one of the most immaculate and impressive examples is Windsor Castle, which holds the impressive record for being both the oldest and the largest castle in the world to still serve as a reigning monarch’s official home. When The Queen isn’t at home, however, part of the castle is open to the public and is one of the finest examples in Europe.

Why Family Holidays Are Actually The Best Kind

Many parents love the idea of a romantic getaway away from the kids, or even a trip alone after a particularly exhausting period of being around family-non stop. It’s not always practical to do this, but it seem the vast majority are no longer despairing.

In fact, there’s never been a better time to enjoy your family holiday to the fullest and really enjoy some quality time as a group. Here are the reasons why you might find that enjoying a trip with the whole family is actually the best decision you could make.

Travel isn’t so pricey

In the past, the only way to keep transport costs down was to drive around in a car, spending every waking moment together in a confined space. No wonder this could sometimes be a recipe for disaster, and less than appealing for both parents and kids.

Now, it’s much easier to get cheap flights to European holiday destinations, and even many countries much further away. This means the options available to larger families on a budget are a lot more open.

Accommodation is better

Families are now catered for much better in most hotels and apartments. Adjoining rooms are easier to find, and you won’t be limited to the most basic, cramped suites if you’re willing to pay a little more. In fact, larger rooms often give you better value for money than simple double rooms. Services are usually available to look after and entertain younger children, too, and standards for these have improved over the years.

It’s easy to keep kids entertained

Technology today means it’s way easier to keep your kids happy on a long journey, and even if they lose interest for a while when you’re there. Handheld devices can provide music, video, reading material, games and contact with other friends and family so nobody needs to be bored, and this takes some of the pressure off the parents.

It’s not only the journey time which has been made easier than it used to be for kids, though. Most tourist destinations now realise the value of appealing to children more than ever, since this appeals to parents by extension and keeps their attractions going. Even museums, restaurants and other grown-up places tend to cater to children much more than they used to, even just ten years ago.

Quality time for family bonding

In today’s modern lifestyle, even though a few advancements have made family holidays easier, those same factors can limit the quality time we spend interacting with our closest family members in day to day life.

A family holiday with less stress is the key to enjoying each other’s company a lot more, so hopefully your family will be able to strike the right balance here. It’s important that parents and kids all get to bond with each other while they experience brand new things and enjoy their leisure activities, so take advantage of the chance while you can.

Where To Experience A Brand New Culture This Spring

We all have different reasons for wanting to travel, but it’s a natural human instinct whatever way you look at it. Some of us, for example, want to learn more about other people’s cultures and simply experience something completely different to their day-to-day lives. If this sounds like you, read on to discover some of the amazing places that are perfect for visiting during the spring time.

Celebrate New Year in Thailand

Although Thailand is already very hot at this time of year, that might not bother you if you love warmer climates and your sense of adventure won’t be dampened by the heat. If you venture further from the popular hub of Bangkok, you will most likely discover a lot more of the local culture in this beautiful country.

The great thing about this time of year, whether you’re in the capital or not, is that Thai New Year is celebrated in the middle of April. Due to the hot weather, a traditional public celebration will usually be centred around a huge water fight, so you can cool off while literally soaking up another country’s vibrant culture.

See the iconic sights in Rome

The weather is absolutely perfect in Italy during the run-up to summer, if you prefer things a little cooler than the likes of Thailand. Quite a lot of walking will probably be involved around the centre of Rome, so you won’t want to get too hot and bothered. The main sites are mostly within walking distance, but this could take you some time.

A few days is enough to wander around the partially-ruined Colosseum, visit Vatican City and experience the hugely popular Trevi Fountain for yourself. If you take the time to read and listen as you go, you will probably learn a huge amount of history from this European cultural capital.

Explore the hidden secrets of Jordan

This underrated destination is located close to the most western edge of Asia, and has more in common with Egypt than you might realise. It has a wide array of fascinating ancient ruins to explore, with incredible palaces carved into canyons which are best explored on the back of a camel.

Unlike Egypt, however, a large amount of Jordan is covered with lush, green nature including wild flowers and fruit trees. This is especially true during the spring, making it the ideal time to visit before the much hotter summer months. Overall, it’s a place not to be missed, and the rich culture here may well surprise you if you don’t have much knowledge of the country.

Common European Tourism Mistakes to Avoid

If your European holiday is still in the planning stages, it’s the ideal time to sort out ways of saving money and planning for potential situations where things haven’t gone to plan. Just because circumstances are unforeseen, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some sort of knowledge and backup plan prepared in advance. There are plenty of stories out there which should give you a general idea of the possible problems you’ll face as a tourist and the most well-known pitfalls to dodge. Some of those include the following…

Wrong

1) Taking on too much

If you haven’t been to somewhere before (and perhaps you think you may only go once in your lifetime), it can sound like a good idea to cram in as many activities as possible. However, seeing everything in a short space of time will make everyone rush by in a costly blur at best, and if you’re not used to travelling there’s a high chance you’ll also be exhausted quickly. Schedule some downtime and you will enjoy everything more, even if you have to cut something impractical from your plans.

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2) Renting a car unnecessarily

Most European cities are surprisingly easy to get around, if you haven’t learned this for yourself. People who are used to driving everywhere may find it hard to adjust, especially those coming from America where many urban areas are on a larger scale. Generally things in Europe are simply more compact and there is little space for traffic, so everything is accessible by walking or local transport. If you rent a car, especially in a historic city, the chances are you won’t get to use it enough to make it worthwhile.

rent a car

3) Booking the first hotel that appears

Using a supposedly impartial comparison site to find your hotel will not always give you unbiased results. Paid listings can be confusing and make it look like you’re getting a good deal when it’s actually on the expensive side. Spend some time looking through the available options and focus more on the reviews for a place than where it appears in search results.

hotel booking

4) Staying in an inconvenient place

Whilst it is good to save on hotel spending as we have established above, sometimes when you arrive you’ll wish you paid just a little more to be closer to the main attractions. If you have to spend time and money travelling to and from your hotel on the outskirts of your destination, you have not really saved any money at all.

 

The Cheapest Way To Use Your Phone While Travelling Europe

Generally speaking, it’s easier than you may think to use your mobile phone while travelling round Europe without racking up huge bills. How exactly you go about this will depend on the specific offers available at the time, and the country you are living in currently, but overall it shouldn’t be difficult to work out how to save money and still make and receive calls, and even use your data connection to access the internet. Here’s how it works.

Save phone costs

If you’re in the UK…

For UK residents, many phone providers will currently let you travel around Europe at absolutely no extra cost! For example, Three now offer data roaming with no fees or price hikes at all, so you can benefit from the same low cost that you pay at home from anywhere in Europe. On some contracts you simple have to inform your carrier that you are going to a different country, and they will check that your phone can work there temporarily. Sometimes you may have to pay higher prices, if you are on a PAYG plan or with certain providers including giffgaff.

If you’re in the US or elsewhere…

It’s not so easy for tourists from outside of Europe to use their phones in European countries, but it’s also not that complicated to set up. You have a few options to choose from.

Mobile typing

Firstly, you might simply commit to not using your phone much, and inconvenience yourself slightly rather than have the hassle of coming up with a dedicated plan. If you’re willing to keep your phone off or on “flight mode” for the entire duration of the trip this may be OK, but for many of us that’s not ideal. Since the costs of spontaneously using your phone abroad with no pre-planning can be fairly high, it’s best to consider another option.

You might decide to buy an international package from your current provider. This would be a temporary package that could include calls, texts and/or data to browse the internet. You can often get them as a one-off add-on that’s easy to setup, and it could work out at a good price if you plan to use your phone a lot. However, you could waste money if you don’t need to use as much as you buy.

phone wifi

The cheapest way to use your phone abroad, and probably the best for most people, is actually to wait until you get to your destination and buy a SIM card from a shop. This will work if you buy a card on the same network you usually use, or if your phone is unlocked you can go for any provider. You just have to insert it into your phone and then you can start using it n whatever local plan is the cheapest. This means since you’re paying prices meant for locals, you can get better deals in general. This option might require some extra research but it’s really the ideal way to be cost effective with this aspect of your holiday spending.

The European Tourist’s Complete Price Guide

When travelling around Europe, the choices are endless when it comes to how much you spend and how you spend your time. Countries within the continent, even those very close geographically, can vary wildly in terms of average cost and the kinds of things on offer. If you want to take on the increasingly popular challenge of touring round different countries and having as many different experiences as you can, then Europe is a great place to do this as long as you start with some research into costs. Here is a master price guide to help you know what to expect.

europe_travel

The cheapest option for somewhere to stay on a European holiday is going to be a hostel of some kind. This choice is favoured by the majority of backpackers who are happy sacrificing some luxury to save on cost and see many different places for a low total price. In the cheaper countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, you could get a shared dorm room for as little as 6 EUR per night.

If you go to a slightly more expensive country or you’re after a bit more privacy, expect to pay closer to 30 EUR per night on average. Upgrading to a hotel room might come closer to 50 EUR per night on average, and if you go to the most expensive and popular cities such as Paris, expect hotels to start from around 70 EUR per night.

travel_costs

In general, when it comes to food you should try to aim for around 10-20 EUR per day if you want to eat well. This could easily get you one or two restaurant meals in most places, as long as you avoid the most expensive tourist spots. In Western Europe, food costs about twice as much as in the East, so it depends on where you’re spending most of your time.

Transport will be your third major cost to account for. You can travel on local bus or train services for just a couple of Euros per trip, and in many cities you can invest in unlimited passes to travel on the buses or subway services. For example, a full week ticket for the Paris Metro system costs less than 25 EUR which works out to amazing value. To travel between cities or countries, trains could be a lot more expensive, although slower ones will be cheaper.

iloveeurope

Overall you can save a lot of money with simple tricks. It’s mainly about knowing what to avoid entirely, to save you getting ripped off on a regular basis as you travel around. Buying drinks in bars, having too many restaurant meals for convenience and opting for expensive hotel rooms unnecessarily are probably the top reasons that people accidentally spend too much in Europe.

Tips for Travelling to Romania

Romania is probably one of the most underrated countries in Europe. Many tourists from the west aren’t really aware of all the benefits of visiting this wonderful place, and don’t even realise how spectacular it looks, the variety of different places there are or even the sheer scale of the country itself. If you do decide to travel to Romania on holiday (and we highly recommend you try it once), here are the best tips for enjoying it and making the most of your time.

Romania Flag

1) Enjoy the cheap prices

There are no particularly amazing money-saving tips for travelling to Romania, but you won’t need them to save a ton of money compared to other more popular tourist destinations. Everything is extremely cheap, especially food and drink. Accommodation will also be very affordable especially in less popular cities where you can opt to stay in a hostel or similar.

2) Make the most of the weather

Romania’s landscape is very varied, and so are its seasons. In different places and at different times of the year, you could go hiking in snowy mountains or spend your days on a scorching hot beach. Choosing your destination and the time of year you travel will have a big impact on your activities.

3) See the religious history

Romania is one of the countries in Europe with the most religious history behind it. There is plenty of fascinating architecture to see, each with rich history to learn about. You’ll find interesting monasteries and cathedrals almost everywhere, and they’re all unique.

4) Spend time in Bucharest

The capital of the country boats hundreds of years of history, with impressive buildings and museums to visit all over the city. There are also plenty of modern attractions if that’s what you’re interested in. To experience the best of what Romania has to offer you should at least stop off at Bucharest for a while, although it’s important to see the rest of the country to get a complete picture.

Why You Should Visit Malta

The island of Malta is not the best known destination in the Mediterranean, but it is an incredible gem that you should really consider visiting. It has 7000 years’ worth of rich history, which is reflected in the architecture and incredible scenery all over the islands that make up Malta. In fact, many people have described the country as one giant museum, since there is so much to see and experience.

maltaa

One of the reasons Malta stands out from other similar destinations in the region, such as many parts of Spain and Greece, is that its historical areas have barely been affected by more modern developments. In fact, the vast majority of its impressive and historical buildings and ruins have been preserved very well over the centuries, so it’s still possible to see them in almost the same condition they would have been in many hundreds of years ago.

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