Holiday & Travel Guide For Dalaman, Turkey

Shopping

There is some excellent shopping to be had in Dalaman City. This is an essential part of your holiday to bring home a bargain from the traditional Bazaars. After haggling the price down on a leather coat or purchasing designer clothing from the boutiques, you won’t be short of other shops and markets to visit selling everything from exotic fruit and vegetables to the traditional carpet shops where they have some quality handmade rugs. Outside of Dalaman there is more variety and a lot of larger markets and bazaars.

Beaches

Dalaman has its own beautiful natural beach that offers the usual tourist water sports with jet skiing and swimming in the warm turquoise sea. There are more than enough sun beds to relax on while the heat soars above 30 degrees during the summer months and with plenty of drink outlets close by you will be able to make sure you keep hydrated. A high sun factor is recommended especially for younger children. Malibu beach tends to attract the younger crowd so it can be quite lively and not necessarily ideal for those with families.

Nightlife

Dalaman comes alive at night with entertainment everywhere, from the bars and restaurants to family entertainment like belly dancing in your hotel. There is a cinema in the town as well as a decent theatre. For the young and lively then down town is the place for you to dance the night away in one of the vibrant nightclubs playing the international hits of R&B, trance and hip hop. Be aware that the local Turkish men can be a little over friendly with the tourists but they don’t mean any harm. For those wanting something less active then try some “people watching” as you eat a lovely meal from the variety of cuisines that are served in the fine restaurants to the area.

Things to do

There isn’t that much to do in Dalaman but it’s an ideal place to begin exploring the outskirts, where you will find so much to do and see you won’t know what to choose first. I suggest an excursion along the Kapda peninsula where you will be able to explore some Byzantine architecture or venture out to the mud baths. These are very popular, it’s quite an experience and the kids will love it. Then you can get a scrub down in the local Turkish baths. For the golf lovers then the Hilton Hotel has a great course. A must do is the ancient city of Ephesus, where you can see the gate of Hercules and the Temple of Emperor Domitian. It is approximately 4 hrs drive away from Dalaman but its well worth the journey. So is the one to Dalyan to see the loggerhead turtles that reside on the protected beach there. It’s an ideal trip for wildlife lovers as the area is also home to some other wildlife like the Sparrow Hawk. The most marvellous place that is approximately 53km away is the city of Fethiye, with the amazing tombs carved out of the rock face. There are some other ancient ruins for you to explore in this city too. For those of you wanting something risky and exhilarating Dalaman offers the popular activity of white water rafting. Be sure you are provided with safety helmets and a life jacket on this excursion.

Happy Holidays

Lake District Holiday Cottage Guide – A Focus on Elterwater

Never stayed in the Lake District before or looking for ideas for another Lake District holiday?

Here’s some ideas on things to do in the Lake District, a place to base your holiday, places to eat and drink, and a sample of things on offer for your holiday, with a focus on Elterwater.

My personal favourite spot is central to lots of the famous places to visit, as well as being handy for some of the best hillwalking, rock climbing or mountain biking spots in the Lakes. But it is also extremely peaceful if you want to just relax or ‘chill’ as the latest phrase seems to be!

Elterwater near Ambleside, is a superb place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Lakeland scenery. Elterwater is a charming village is in heart of the English Lakes, ideally located between the picturesque Great Langdale and Little Langdale valleys, and is the perfect location for your Lake District holiday.

The Lakes was voted as the most beautiful place in Britain and the scenery is breathtaking. If you have never been you will not forget your first visit, and if you have been, you probably will keep going back.
Whether you wish to hill walk, rock climb or scramble in the Great Langdales, meander over to Grasmere to Wordsworth’s home, drive out to the Lakes or Visitor centres, sail on the lakes or take a cruise, look at the quaint towns and shops, or just stroll down to the local village Inn, Elterwater is a super place to stay for your Lake District holiday and you can be assured of a relaxing, quiet and comfortable stay in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The typical Lake District Holiday Cottage will be slate and stone built, oozing with character and charm, and there is a large choice in many popular towns and villages such as Ambleside, Windermere, Keswick, Grasmere and Glenridding to name but a few. And you will find some superb cottages for your stay. But the quaint village, with one main street and one pub, lined with a row or two of stone cottages, for me, Elterwater has to be the jewel in the Lake District.

Things To Do when staying in the Lake District

For the energetic and adventurous – Walking / Climbing / Fell Running

The Lakes has a vast number of hills and crags and you will be spoiled for choice during your stay. There are plenty of guidebooks, the most famous being Alfred Wainwrights, and a good source of routes is published in the walking magazines such as TGO. But here are a few examples to whet your appetite. If you are an experienced hillwalker you will know that Elterwater is the perfect location for Lake District Hill Walks straight from the door, with the Langdale Pikes a short walk away. Set in the Langdales between the Great Langdale and Little Langdale Valleys, from Elterwater there is a host of routes up onto the Langdales for walking, climbing and scrambling. Langdale Pikes, Harrison Stickle, Pike of Stickle, Bow Fell, Loughrigg and Crinkle Crags are just some of the famous Lake District hills within walking distance. It is also just a short drive from Elterwater to other major fell areas such as High Street, Helvellyn, ScaFell Pike, Skiddaw and Blencathra.

We love Elterwater and one of our favourite fellwalking routes is a scramble up Jack’s Rake up onto Pavey Ark, then a traverse around High Raise and back home to Elterwater for a well earned pint in the Britannia Inn.

There are also many local, gentler walks across to Grasmere and around Chapel Stile too, if you prefer a more sedate lowland stroll. A wander down Langdale Beck from Elterwater to look at the Lake provides one of the most breathtaking views in the Lake District and is only 10 minutes walk from Elterwater. Skelwith waterfall is also a favourite gentle outing from Elterwater.

The classic hills of Helvellyn (from Glenridding or Patterdale) or ScaFell Pike (highest in England) from Wasdale Head are all excellent days out for experienced Hillwalkers and are great favourites in the Lakes. Numerous guides are available if you need help planning routes.

Please remember in the UK in the event of an emergency requiring Mountain rescue, dial 999 and ask for the Police, then as the Police for Mountain Rescue. Please support their excellent charitable volunteer service if you see them around. For guidance on hill walking if you are unfamiliar, before going out contact the British Mountaineering Council.

Sailing

Naturally the Lakes has a great deal of boating activities. If you want to sail dinghies…

If letting someone else do the driving takes your fancy, there are cruises on Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater. Windermere Cruises or Ullswater Steamers.

For the less energetic of us, other things to do in the Lake District…

Visit Lake district Villages and Towns and of course Lakes

If outdoor pursuits activity is not what you fancy, there are numerous beautiful and historical towns and villages nearby such as Ambleside, Windermere, Hawkeshead, Grasmere, Keswick and Glenridding to visit, and of course pretty Elterwater Village. Elter is Norse for Swan, so Elter Water means Swan Lake. It won’t take long to explore Elterwater, but the side of the beautiful Langdale beck, the Picture Gallery and the Britannia Inn are a pleasant way to spend a peaceful afternoon wandering around the village.

Ambleside is less than 10 minutes by car and has a wealth of gift shops, bars, restaurants, pubs and outdoor gear shops, not to mention coffee shops and picture shops.

Grasmere is a lovely walk from Elterwater over the fell, or a short drive if you prefer. Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home as England’s favourite poet, and the local gingerbread shops are well worth a visit in Grasmere, as is Heaton Cooper’s art gallery for some stunning prints of Lake District hills.

WaterHead and Windermere are just along the lake from Ambleside with regular ferry trips around the lake, or sail yourself if you prefer. And if boats, well float your boat, there is the boat museum in Bowness-on-Windermere.

If you have little ones to entertain then the Beatrix Potter Museum at Windermere or the steam railway at Ravenglass are all only a brief car ride away from Elterwater or Ambleside.

Keswick has more gift shops, cafes, pubs and gear shops and of course the famous Mute Hall, but the large Saturday market on Main street is also a pleasant way to drift around this lovely Lakeland town. Followed by a well earned pint of the local Jennings real ale at the Bank Tavern on the Main Street.

There are many fantastically beautiful and breath-taking lakes to see close to Elterwater, as you would expect in the Lake District! A must see list has to be the lake at Elter Water itself, Windermere, Rydal, Coniston (of the famous speed records by Donald Campbell and the Bluebird), Buttermere, Grasmere and Ullswater. Some lakes have steamers or pleasure boat trips where you can jump on and off to explore surrounding villages. Ullswater steamers and a sail from Glenridding to Howtown, with a walk back around the lake to Glenridding is another favourite of ours, stopping off at Greystones coffee shop in Glenridding for the best tea and cake in the Lake District (according to my waistline anyway).

Eating and drinking

The Lake District has a number of high quality real ale pubs selling Lake District brewed ales. We prefer these to ‘chain’ pubs as the quality using local produce tends to be better and has more character. The classic pub grub has to be the ubiquitous and waist expanding Cumberland Sausage. Some examples of what is typically on offer to eat and drink in the Lake District can be found around Elterwater.

Purdey’s at The Langdale Hotel is only a short walk from Elterwater and is nice for a special night out, Fellini’s or the Glass House in Ambleside are worth a visit. There are so many places to eat from pubs, to wine bars to Michelin star restaurants. Famous local pubs around Elterwater include The Old Dungeon Ghyll Great Langdale (3.7 miles), Langdale, Drunken Duck, Barngates (3.8 miles), and only half a mile away, Wainwright’s Inn in Chapel Stile.

There is the Elterwater Inn only half a mile away for a nice restaurant dinner or lunch. Lucy’s on a Plate in Ambleside is a Cafe & Restaurant in Ambleside (4.1 miles), and The Jumble Room in Grasmere (2.8 miles), are often in peoples’ recommendations.

If you have not stayed in a Lake District self-catering holiday cottage before, you should expect everything you need for a comfortable holiday to be provided and included in the price. The booking agent will help you and quality accommodation will usually have a website with pictures and a list of the features so you know what to expect. Examples are The Goodlife Cottage Company and Lakelovers.

Cottages should provide sumptuous bedding and towels and convenient parking right outside the door. Parking can be a premium in the Lakes and there is nothing worse than having to park away and carry your luggage, so a suggestion is to check parking proximity when booking. On street parking in towns like Keswick can be full in summer season.

In self catering, you should also find fully fitted kitchen if you wish to cook and in the Kitchen they should provide everything you may need to dine in, including oven, hob, fridge freezer, microwave, kettle, pans, utensils, crockery, glasses and cutlery and a bottle opener and corkscrew too! Lake District cottages can be small so please check the size of the dining area if you plan to eat in.

Also for your comfort most should have a modern Flat screen TV with at least Freeview, perhaps a DVD/Blue Ray player, an iPod/iPhone speaker or a similar music system. These days most should provide free broadband Wi-Fi, guide books and OS maps of the Lake District, and lots of other things that will add to your entertainment and comfort.

In each bedroom there should be plenty of storage and hangers, hairdryer, mirrors etc.

A nice feature is to look for a wood burning stove for those winter holidays. There is nothing better than the smell of wood smoke on a Lake District evening on the way back from the pub!

Most good cottages provide a welcome basket so you can have refreshments upon your arrival, and in winter, an initial supply of wood for the wood burning stove, with more readily available locally. All should have free heating throughout too.

Some offer Mountain Bikes for your use during your stay, but there are local hire places too and the booking agent will usually be able to help you. There’s a hire shop in Elterwater.

So once everything is provided, you just need to enjoy the things to do around your cottage!

There are a wealth of arts, galleries and crafts, picturesque Lake District towns and villages, markets, tourist attractions, restaurants, wine bars and pubs, and a wide choice all within a short walk or drive from Elterwater.

For an idea of things to do and what’s on in the Lake District, please see the “Go Lakes” website which is the official Cumbria Tourist information site.

For a guide to local weather for your stay, I prefer the Mountain Weather Information Service. The weather can be changeable in the Lakes due to the Mountains, and yes it does rain, but there are lots of indoor places to see as well as outdoor activities, and you just need to remain flexible.

Sample Hill walk from Elterwater

The Lake District is a walker’s paradise as you probably already know!

If you are not a competent hill walker do not worry as there are loads of low level safe strolls in the Lakes around the villages and Lakes themselves. Most cottages will provide a guide and the booking agent will help you. But if you are a hillwalker and want an idea of some walks if you choose to stay in Elterwater, one personal favourite is to walk up to Spedding Crag, then along to Lang How, under Great Castle How to Stickle Tarn. From there, you can extend the walk over the Langdale Pikes (Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle), or simply walk down to Langdale Beck and follow the Cumbria way along the beck back to Elterwater.

In an emergency in the hills if you need Mountain rescue – dial 999 and ask for Police, then ask the Police for Mountain rescue.

I Hope you choose to have a Lake District Holiday and stay at one of the many beautiful cottages and that this information helps you during your stay. (Apologies but I cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the information within – thank you for your understanding).

Enjoy your Lake District Holiday Cottage wherever you choose to stay!

Lake Taupo – Top Family Holiday Activities Guide

Lake Taupo is the perfect destination for a family holiday. Having fun here doesn’t cost much when you’ve got swimming, boating, walking, fishing, kayaking and mountain biking at your back door. And if that’s not enough to fill in your day, here’s our guide to some of the best family activities on offer at Lake Taupo.

Be an action star
Did you ever want to walk the circus high wire or do the flying trapeze? Well now you can at Taupo’s Action World. Here, thanks to their new airbag landing system, you can become a flying trapeze artist or high wire daredevil without a safety harness but still in perfect safety.

Does the thought of heights make you tremble at the knees? Not surprising because Action World reports that where children gladly tread, adults fear to follow. So if you feel more at home on terra firma, watch your kids from the safety of the ground while they learn to swing, jump, joust and fly through the air with ease.

With a Circus Trapeze, Jungle Swingz where you swing from trapeze-to-trapeze; a jousting pole 3 metres above the ground; a free-climb wall and the Big Air slide, Action World is a fun-filled day of excitement for the whole family.

Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk
Here’s a walk with a difference. Named for its moon-like appearance, the Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk takes you through a cratered valley seething with steam, molten rock and superheated mud. One minute you’re in clear air, the next enveloped in clouds of steam. A series of wooden walkways, purpose built to protect you from the heat, lead to several viewing platforms. Take in the views and marvel at the raw power of nature at its fiery best.

Enjoy a two hour cruise on a Steam Boat
Get on board the vintage steamer Ernest Kemp and take a two-hour cruise around picturesque Lake Taupo. This wonderful old boat dates back to early last century and has been lovingly restored and painted in classic steam boat colours of red, green and white.

You’ll cruise around the bays and beaches closest to Taupo including Acacia Bay and the 10 metre high Maori carvings at Okuta Bay. Kids can get the chance to drive the boat and even get a certificate for doing so. This is a wonderful way to enjoy some of the best scenery Lake Taupo has to offer and loose yourself in the magical history of steam travel.

See Trout and catch one
The Tongariro National Trout Centre, near Turangi is a ‘must visit’ for the whole family and keeps the kids busy for hours. You can learn about everything to do with trout, fishing and New Zealand’s freshwater ecology.

High on the agenda are the special children’s fishing days. These are held once a month and kids get the chance to try fly fishing with a guaranteed catch. Their catch is weighed, measured and presented together with a certificate to each child to take home. They will also fillet and smoke their fish on request.

Spend a day with farm animals
If your kids love animals, then they’ll love the Lilliput Fun and Animal Park. Set on 10 acres of farmland, here kids can hand feed over 25 species of animals including ducks, pigs, miniature horses, rabbits, alpacas, geese goats and donkeys. High on the popularity list is the barn where kids can cuddle the park’s baby animals. With wide open spaces, playground activities and lots of places for picnics, this is a great place to spend the day. And for adults, there’s also a cafe for the perfect caffeine fix.

The one and only Huka Prawn Park
There’s nothing like Huka Prawn Park anywhere in New Zealand. Here the geothermal activity in the Taupo area is used to create the perfect warm water conditions to breed and grow tropical prawns.

You can tour the hatchery, hand feed baby prawns and let the kids play on the park’s water features. See if they can run the Gauntlet without getting a bucket of water on their heads. But best of all, you can fish all day for prawns and then have your catch cooked at the restaurant free of charge. Imagine a mouth-watering plate of prawns. What a yummy way to spend a day.

Being in hot water was never so much fun
The geothermal activity in Taupo means where there’s heat, there’s hot water. And, plenty of it! Taupo AC Baths is the ideal all weather destination. With thermally heated warm and hot pools, private thermal mineral pools and hydro slides, kids will keep themselves entertained for hours.

The Tokaanu Thermal Pools are at Tokaanu on the southern side of the Lake. These pools have been used by the locals for centuries as a very welcome way to rejuvenate and still delight young and old with their warm soothing, therapeutic water. There’s also a short walk around the pools which takes in some of the geothermal sights of the area.

Holiday & Travel Guide For Jamaica

When you think of a holiday, what comes into mind? Glistening golden beaches? Tranquil picture perfect oceans, teaming with exotic fish? Well look no further than the island of Jamaica. Sitting right on the equator, the island boasts terrific sunny weather all year around, with rain typically falling only in the months of May, June, September and October.

This Island has everything for the perfect getaway for those who want to have a good time relaxing, as well as the holiday maker who is looking for a bit of adventure. Being the birth place of reggae, everything in Jamaica seems to move at a more relaxed and laid back pace, making it the best place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern rat race. There are many exciting and enthralling activities which a holiday maker can embark upon on the island of Jamaica, from diving and scuba diving to wind surfing and trips on boats. You can experience the best of the marine life in the area from both of these, and take in some really stunning scenes that lie just off the beaches all around the coast. Negril is one beach particularly recommended to try.

Swimming with dolphins is also a possibility in Jamaica. Many people find this a healing activity and jump at the chance to experience it. This can still be done in the wild around Jamaica, if you can find the tours that offer this. It is better, however, to head to Dolphin Cove at Treasure Reef, where you will be guaranteed the chance to swim with two dolphins, as well as experience other nature themed fun such as glass bottom boats, Shark and Parrot shows and a Jungle walk.

Other activities if you wish to be active include a fantastic tree top canopy tour. This takes you through history from when the island was first settled by the original inhabitants, to what we know as Jamaica today. This can be an interesting way to both learn and see some of the wildlife that is on offer in the Caribbean.

If just the thought of these activities gets you in a sweat, then there are also many more relaxing pastimes which are available on the island, including beach resorts supporting some top rated golf clubs and brilliantly relaxing spas. If the stunning scenery isn’t enough to relax you, these will definitely make you forget about all of the stresses and strains of modern life. Jamaica really does have an underrated charm which is incomparable to most other places that you will be lucky enough to experience on holiday.

Another great aspect of Jamaica is the food, the birth place of ‘Jerk’ and not something that should be missed. Trying authentic jerk meat is one of the delicacies which should not be turned down. The authentic taste of an open fire and the slow fusion of spices combine on jerk meat to make one of the tastiest dishes out there, so why not try it where it was originally born as a concept, so you know you have had the best?

Happy Holidays

Holiday Activities in Murcia, Spain

The Costa Calida is fast becoming a top hot spot for holiday rentals in Murcia Spain. With wonderful accommodation such as villas with private pools for rent, a host of beautiful beaches and all the conveniences you need, Murcia is a perfect destination for group and family holidays.

The region also offers a wide range of sports and exciting activities for everyone to take part in. Whether you’re after quad biking, scuba diving, horse riding or fancy a day of wine tasting, Murcia is the destination for you.

If you’ve chosen your villa to rent, booked your flights and are researching activities to do in Murcia, look no further. Connect Rentals has compiled a list of Murcia’s favourite sports and activities for you to enjoy.

Quad biking

If you’re after exciting action, then get involved in one of the local quad bike tours in Murcia. Located in Sierra Espuna, Quad Espuna offer affordable, guided quad bike groups tours in the region. Quality quad bikes, great weather and wonder views make Murcia an ideal quad biking location.

Walking, hiking and mountain climbing

The region of Sierra Espuna is also ideal for walking and hiking in Murcia. Offering varied walks with fantastic views, many dedicated walking areas are identified with national marked routes along the Costa Calida, and are ideal for all age ranges. The Costa Calida also offers rock and mountain climbing opportunities, with crag and multi-pitch available. Desnivel offer a website with rock climbing reviews.

Horse riding

From beginners to seasoned riders, Equipo Escuela offer Murcia holidaymakers a unique horse riding experience. Located in Alguazas, Murcia, trial lessons are suitable for adult and children, with ponies available for smaller children to ride.

Kayaking

If you want to take to the waters in Murcia, kayaking is a great option. The calm waters of the Mar Menor offer tranquil kayaking opportunities. The Espuna Adventure offer kayaking sessions complete with meals included, in the beautiful Barrancos de Gebas region.

Mountain bikingand bike hire

Murcia’s Sierra Espuna region offers fantastic mountain bike trails, with great views and terrain. Mountain biking in Murcia combines exercise with sightseeing, a great way to explore the area on wide and single tracks. Murcia bike hire is also available, with affordable flexible hire options.

Parasailing

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush on your Murcia holiday, you can enjoy gliding above the Sierra Espuna region with solo and tandem paragliding packages available. Sure to be one of the highlights of your Murcia holiday, you’ll be in safe hands with qualified instructors.

Sailing, yachtingand windsurfing

For holidaymakers wishing to sample the marine highlights of Murcia, the water sports centre located near the Mar Menor close to La Manga Club along the Costa Calida is an ideal destination. A small, professional centre, Aqua Adicta offer sailing, windsurfing and yachting opportunities.

Boat trips

For a truly memorable Murcia villa holiday, tourists can book a boat trip on the calm, warm waters of the Mar Menor. Charter Muffy provide a bookable service, enabling holidaymakers to visit islands, sail out into the waters to snorkel and swim, or simply relax and sunbathe on the boat deck.

Fishing

The Mar Menor offers great fishing opportunities. With an abundance of eels, mullet and place, sea bream and needlefish have all been sighted in the waters; even seahorse can be spotted amongst the algae. From equipment hire to fully inclusive fishing trips, Murcia offers fantastic fishing experiences.

Scuba diving

If you want to explore the fascinating underwater world, enjoy scuba diving in Murcia. Whether you’d like to learn basic scuba diving techniques or more advanced options, La Manga Dive School and Scuba4all offer affordable, exciting scuba diving experiences.

Wine tasting

If you’re after a relaxing day, head to Jumilla, just north of Murcia city, where wine tasting and tours can be booked for visitors. Visit the Bodegas Pedro Luís Martínez Winery, or Bodegas Silvano García, where you can sample Murcia’s indigenous Monastrell grape.