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les 100 ciels travels

Two extremes: Winter Destinations

By December 7, 2018 INSPIRATION, Travel
Holiday Blog

Winter has now arrived in the UK, with Christmas markets taking centre stage, shops busy with present buying and festive lights all around the city. It’s the most wonderful time of the year … when eyebrow raising festive jumpers become acceptable and mulled wine is flowing freely. It is that one time of year when you can take a long vacation and really relax. But as wonderful as home is right now, sometimes there is something exciting and fulfilling about being abroad for Christmas and discovering a new place and traditions and people. It can be just what is needed to breathe new life and energy to start a new year.  What if New Year wasn’t so much about a ‘new you’, as a new more travelled and experienced you?

Does skipping the cold winter blues and heading to one of the warmest destinations in the world sound appealing? Or are you more of a winter bunny? To help you plan your winter holidays, here are some suggestions for the hottest and coldest places on Earth to spend Christmas!


Warm destinations
 
Punta Cana – Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has long been the Caribbean’s cheap and cheerful all-inclusive option but, in recent years, it has been quietly developing its luxury side too. Located on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is famous for its beaches, upscale hotels and great golfing. With over 40 miles of  palm lined coast, that has earned it the nickname ‘Coconut Coast,’ Punta Cana is a tropical paradise, with stunning beach views, water adventures and family friendly conveniences. The region is warm and sunny throughout the year, although the mountainous areas of the island are significantly wetter and cooler.

Average temperature in December: 25-28 °C – 9 hours from the UK

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Montego Bay – Jamaica

Holidays to Montego Bay are a perfect introduction to Jamaica. Tropical white sands, pristine coral reefs, and vibrant Caribbean culture. If this is what you are looking for, don’t think twice! The weather this time of year is pretty much perfect, and there are plenty of water sports and other activities to keep you entertained during the day if you aren’t more interested in just relaxing.

Average temperature in December: 25-28 °C – 10 hours from the UK

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Boa Vista – Cape Verde

A series of volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, at first look Cape Verde seems a lonely prospect. But with ivory beaches, surfing activities and an intriguing lunar landscape, it has become a tourist favourite. Boa Vista island (translation: “good view”) still feels like something of a secret, characterized by infinite stretches of golden sand and charming, stone-hewn villas. Boa Vista is also the perfect warm destination without having to travel too far and is  considered one of the hottest and driest of all the islands due to the hot harmattan winds from the Sahara.

Average temperature in December: 25˚C – 6 hours from the UK

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Goa – India

Goa is an incredibly popular destination, with prices growing drastically year after year. That said, it’s still very cheap compared to other sunshine destinations and it offers a unique travelling experience. For more than four centuries, this western part of India was a Portuguese colony, and you’ll still notice a distinctly European character here today. Characterized by historical churches, delicious cuisine, and a 66-mile stretch of coastline running along the Arabian Sea, it is no wonder this state is known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’!

Average temperature in December: 25-30 °C – 9 hours from the UK

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Cold destinations
 

If mountains and chalets are your passion and snow flurries warm your heart, pull on your warmest sweater, and get ready to plan the ultimate winter weather getaway.

Prague – Czech Republic

If you can bear the cold, this stylish capital is brimming with grand historical and cultural sights. Prague’s ancient cafés, contemporary art and Christmas stands give the city a chilling beauty, blending the East and West together perfectly.

Average temperature in December: 1-2 °C – 2 hours from the UK

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Fairbanks – Alaska

Fairbanks is definitely an extreme destination, with the potential for -20 degree temperatures and short hours of daylight. However, don’t let that stop you. The colder winter months are also the best time of year to view the spectacular Northern Lights and experience unique cultural events for Christmas such as dog mushing and Ice parks. It is also a place to come to taste the cuisine, with crab legs and all-you-can-eat salmon and cod fillets baked over an open fire only a few of the diverse food options you will find here. If you are looking for an immersion into the nature, this is the perfect destination for you.

Average temperature in December: -8 – -13 °C – 16 hours from the UK

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Alta Badia – Italy

Located in South Tyrol, Italy’s northern province, Alta Badia, with its dramatic natural landscape, culture, mouthwatering cuisine and the lovely Ladin people, it is the ideal destination for a skiing holiday. A mix of cultures can be found here, with German, Italian and Ladin mother tongue living side by side since time immemorial, to create a unique mix of alpine traditions.

Average temperature in December:-2-3 °C – 1.5 hours from the UK

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A journey to Marrakesh

By May 3, 2018 Travel
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This week, Camilla, our Commercial & E-Commerce Assistant, is our guest blogger, sharing with us her recent trip to Morocco:

 The juxtaposition between utter madness and totally serenity.

For many travellers, the ancient city of Marrakesh (often Marrakech) is the first stop on a journey through Morocco and an absolute “must see” destination. Surrounded by the often snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, this bustling metropolitan oasis has everything a traveller could want, from crowded markets (souks) to narrow streets, where history literally comes alive around every corner. A few minutes in the Red city (named so for the red colour of the earth used for its walls) are enough to make you realise you have entered a different world. In Marrakesh there are many ways of either getting lost or finding oneself: in the streets and curves of the medina quarter, the flavours of traditional food cooked in tagines, the beauty of temple doors, the freshness of the gardens and the surprises of the ancient Moorish culture.

A labyrinth of aromas and colours

The history is present in the Medina of Marrakesh, a UNESCO heritage site, and it is really easy to get lost in this labyrinth of old buildings, crowded markets and alleys, so make sure you bring a good map! The souks are definitely the main attraction here, where everything is for sale: clothes, shoes, spices, but get ready to negotiate! It is part of Moroccan tradition and shop owners would find it strange to sell something without discussing the price! The Tanneries are also worth a visit, but be prepared to cover your nose as the smell of the untreated hides is quite strong. Don’t be discouraged by reviews that the area is scary, just be aware of where you are heading to! Also, an interesting spot I would recommend is Mellah, or the old Jewish neighbourhood, characterized by its wood shops, colourful spices and much quieter owners.

Riads, terraces and culture

The breath taking landscape of Marrakesh can be easily seen from the many terraces that encircle the Medina, through the different hours of the day. In the morning, I would suggest to start your day with a typical Maroccan breakfast served on your Riad’s terrace, for a total free stress experience. But what is a Riad? Riad means “garden” but it is applied to town houses built round a central courtyard. Following the Islamic idea of privacy and inward reflection, a Riad usually only have a few rooms (ours, The Riad le J, had 4) with no windows facing the outside. Following a visit to the stunning Jardin Majorelle, stop for lunch at Café des epices for a stunning view over the crowded Place des Epices, it really worth the wait!. After an afternoon spent visiting the main attractions such as Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace and the oldest koranic school – Ben Youssef Madrasa, walk north and ask for a mint tea at Le grand balcon du café glacier, a relaxing café where you can admire the never ending life in the main square, Jemaa El Fna. To conclude, have a romantic dinner at Le Nomad restaurant, but ask to be seated on the top terrace!

Marrakesh has so much to offer, with days and nights made of pure magic and should definitely be included as one of the most hectic but fascinating people-watching places in the country.

marrakesh

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SPRING BANK HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

By May 23, 2017 INSPIRATION
chelsea

Here are our top picks of things to do this spring bank holiday. For foodies, theatre goers, music lovers or adventurers, we’ve got your long weekend covered!


 

Open air theatre

Make the most out of the (hopefully!) good weather this long weekend with a visit to one of London’s many open air theatres. Regent’s Park Open Air is showing the timeless On The Town and Shakespeare’s Globe is showing Emma Rice’s uninhabited take on Twelfth Night.

Book tickets for Regent’s Park Open Air here.

Book tickets for Shakespeare’s Globe here.

open air


Chelsea Fringe Festival

Not going to the Chelsea Flower Show? Get your green fix at The Chelsea Fringe Festival with quirky events such as beekeeping workshops and guerrilla gardening tours. Healthy cookbook author Deliciously Ella will be popping up with a market garden in Exchange Square, Broadgate, where you will be able to pick fresh herbs and vegetables.

Running 23rd May- 4th June.

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Music in Alderney

Fancy getting out of the city this bank holiday? Head to the most northerly of the Channel Islands where the Performing Arts Festival is taking place. Immerse yourself in a medley of jazz, blues, classical music and opera whilst taking in the picturesque surroundings.

May 27-30; alderneyperformingartsfestival.com; event tickets from £12

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Long weekend walks

Enjoy the longer days and warmer weather on a walk with the family this weekend. One of our favourite walks with incredible scenery is across the Seven Sisters country park in Eastbourne. With a mix of dramatic chalk sea cliffs, dappled valleys and beach swimming, this walk is perfect for blowing the cobwebs away.

Seven Sisters Walk


Foodie Fair

Looking for fun for all the family? Head to the Feast at Dartington Food Fair in Devon to indulge in fresh food from over 40 local producers, as well as pony rides and clay pot painting for the kids.

May 29th-30th, free entry, 10am-5pm

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Looking for a mix of food and music? Head to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage spring fair where there are food stalls, workshops and live music. Kids go free and there’s foraging tours from John Wright.

27-29th May, River Cottage HQ, Trinity Hill Road, Axminster, EX13 8TB.

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