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Valencia Region: Spain’s Top Destination for 2018

As 2018 approaches, many travellers seek a new destination to explore. For those who want the best experience, Spain’s Valencia Region should top your must-visit list. Bursting with natural beauty, culture, adventure and festive spirit, the region provides much more than sun and fun on the Med Coast.

A Spot of Winter Sun

For those hoping to escape the cold bite of winter, the Valencia Region offers pleasant weather year-round. Here, the water stays warm, and you can do almost anything on the shore. In fact, almost every town offers some sort of watersport.

If you prefer privacy, the Valencia Region also has spectacular beaches surrounded by lush vegetation—great for soaking up the sun and letting your worries slip away.

A Natural Paradise

Welcome the new year by reconnecting with nature. Whether in the countryside or near the coast, the Valencia Region’s nature tourism never disappoints.

For amazing outdoor adventures, start with Castellón. The province hosts many nature parks that offer exciting activities such as hiking, kayaking, horse riding and cycling. And while you can discover nature’s beauty at your own pace, guided tours ensure a fun and educational day out.

Active adventurers will also be satisfied with more than 5,000 km of certified trails that wind their way from well-known spots to remote vistas. You can spend an afternoon pedalling around Turia park, hiking through Penyagolosa’s mountainous terrain or strolling along the Vía Augusta, an Ancient Roman road.

A Culture Connection

For culture enthusiasts, the Valencia Region packs plenty of heritage. In Valencia city alone, you can tour 35 different themed museums, from history to fine art.

Families with young children shouldn’t miss Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences. Visitors can watch presentations, attend workshops, learn how the human body works, discover how robots are made or go on a simulated spacewalk. Within the museum, the Oceanogràfic houses more than 500 species of marine life.

A Festive Destination

From Alicante to Valencia and back again, there’s so much to do in the Valencia Region during the Christmas period.

In Alicante, families can visit the Santa Claus House from 6–25 December. Children will be able to watch fun animations and tell Santa their wishes. Located in the Parque de la Ereta, on the slopes of Mount Benactil, the Santa Claus House offers spectacular views of the fortress, old town and seafront.

Alicante also hosts mouthwatering gastronomic events at Christmas. Enjoy a walk to the Christmas market, where you can buy local toys, shoes, leather goods, Alicante nougat and wines with protected denomination of origin, Vinos de Alicante.

You can visit special Christmas markets in Valencia too, or follow a route to the best nativity scenes decorating public buildings and spaces in the city. On New Year’s Eve, the crowds gather at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to eat their twelve lucky grapes as the City Hall bell clock strikes midnight, as is the tradition all over Spain for good luck in the new year. Revellers can expect spectacular fireworks and a massive party to follow, with DJs taking over the City Hall’s balcony and playing music until dawn.

Whether you want to relax on the beach, enjoy nature, learn about a new culture or spread holiday cheer, the Valencia Region reigns supreme as 2018’s top destination.

Visit comunitatvalenciana.com for more information.

 

2018 Happenings Along Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have become Mexico’s newest hotspots as more tourists visit for the sun, sea and sand. But how can the neighbouring destinations keep up with the demand? Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have big plans for 2018.

The Hotel Bel Air in Flamingos, Riviera Nayarit, expands under the Krystal Grand brand. The property will transform into a top-tier seafront resort with 480 new guestrooms, one suite, a convention centre and 12 restaurants.

In Puerto Vallarta, the new 54-room Hotel Amapa gifts sun seekers with an authentic Mexican experience. The minimalist 9-storey property will boast breathtaking ocean views, a unique rooftop pool and bar, a spa pavilion, a restaurant and access to the nearby El Dorado Beach Club.

But Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit pack much more for 2018. An $870 million investment towards a new 630-acre La Mandarina Complex adds two polo fields, an equestrian centre, two obstacle courses, villas and hotels. Within the complex, the new One&Only Mandarina will redefine luxury in Riviera Nayarit.

Meanwhile, an interactive cacao and chocolate museum complements Puerto Vallarta’s bustling Malecón. Visitors can make chocolate treats, discover 4,000 years of chocolate history and learn how cacao beans are processed into delicious goodies, from chocolate bars and ganache truffles to cacao tea and chocolate fondue.

Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit offer a lot to holidaymakers, and 2018 promises even more.

What are you waiting for? Discover your paradise with a trip to Mexico’s Pacific Coast!

Find Your Personal Sanctuary at Abaton Island Resort & Spa

Travellers in search of your next summer hideaway, look no further. Find your personal sanctuary at Abaton Island Resort & Spa.

Opening April 2018 in Crete, this brand new five-star resort invites you to bask in the comfort of modern seafront accommodation, spread over 360 m of coastline.

A 20-minute drive from Heraklion International Airport, the property offers 152 luxury guest rooms and suites with endless sea views and 74 open air pools. Choose from 14 room types bathed in clean white lines and natural lighting while a personal concierge caters to all your needs.

To satisfy your desires, Abaton’s therapeutic spa, powered by Elemis premium skincare products, provides a pampering experience. Rejuvenate with a range of treatments designed in synergy with the body and mind; then relax and recharge in the heated saltwater pool and sauna.For fine dining, Abaton’s five restaurants and two bars will indulge your senses. Savour local Cretan dishes from land and sea to Asian gastronomy and fresh sushi to gourmet steaks, vintage wines and tropical cocktails. Or treat your taste buds to 24/7 in-room dining.

Complete your stay at the resort’s full gym and tennis courts as well as a boutique shop, jeweller and tailor. Guests looking to travel in style can make good use of a helicopter/ yacht service, while loving couples can exchange vows on a private beach or plan a dream reception with bespoke wedding and honeymoon packages.

For more information, please visit https://www.abaton.gr/

Greece’s Leading Hotel Unveils Waterfront Dream Line Villas

As Greece’s leading hotel, Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas satisfies the needs of all travellers, from couples and families to A-list celebrities and royalty. In 2018, the five-star property in Crete will unveil new Waterfront Dream Line Villas.

Overlooking Mirabello Bay’s deep blue waters, these sumptuous villas and suites elevate luxury to new heights. Each room exudes sophisticated design with clean blue and white lines, rich woods and natural fabrics.

Choose either open-plan accommodation or bedrooms with separate living rooms. Every waterfront villa features modern facilities and large terraces with direct access to the sea or private heated pools. Some rooms also include a fireplace for cosy and romantic moments.

Families will feel at home in new 2 or 3-bedroom villas on the water’s edge, only available at Elounda Beach.

Set on 40 acres of colourful gardens, Elounda Beach combines panoramic bay views with personalised services and award-winning cuisine. Treat your taste buds to signature Greek dishes, Mediterranean creative cuisine and Italian gastronomy by the seaside.

Within the hotel grounds, Espace Vitalité Chenot’s vitality programmes, beauty treatments and wellness facilities help you relax, restore and rejuvenate.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s ‘Village square’ houses a jewellery shop, kiosk and newsstand for your convenience.

A Leading Hotel of the World

Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas claimed the titles of ‘Europe’s Leading Resort Villas’ and ‘Greece’s Leading Hotel’ at the World Travel Awards 2017 – the most prestigious accolades in the hospitality industry.

Elounda Beach was also voted in the Top 20 Europe, Turkey & Russia hotels at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2017.

For more information, please visit http://www.eloundabeach.gr/.

 

Mexico’s Pacific Coast: The Region That Never Sleeps!

A holiday is always a cause for celebration, and a holiday to Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit in Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific Coast provides ample opportunity to celebrate in traditional, cultural experiences that are not to be missed.

Around this time of year, guests may already be aware of the Dia de los Muertos festival, or ‘Day of the Dead’, a holiday that honours deceased loved ones. At its core, it’s a macabre, sombre event, but to experience it is something else entirely. Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit put on a full week of events, including youth choirs and traditional street decorations, while locals prepare vibrant sugar skulls and dress in stunning costumes for the street parades. Taking many iterations, especially across the United States, the Mexican celebrations are an authentic, traditional event not to be missed!

Just a month later, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit’s Christmas celebrations are in full swing. Even with an average temperature of 23°C, visitors can still expect an abundance of Christmas Spirit, including decorated streets and classic Nativity scenes, and restaurants serving traditional fare such as tamales and ponche con piquet. 1st – 12th December is marked by the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which sets off a marathon of nightly parades and festivities across the region. From 16th – 24th December, the streets of Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are filled with the sights and sounds of ‘pastorelas’, or ‘shepherd’s plays’ and ‘posadas’, which sees families and children marching together in processions with lit candles to commemorate the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.

The start of the calendar year is also packed with local customs and traditional festivities to ensure you have a Mexican adventure with a difference. From the classics such as Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, guests will also find the Festival of San José del Cabo, an 11-day event that culminates in evening parties and music, and the Feast Day of San Antonio de Abad, wherein animals are allowed into Catholic churches to be blessed by priests.

For something a little different, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have you covered; National Margarita Day is celebrated every February 22nd and there could be no better place to find yourself. The Malecon in Puerto Vallarta is home to some of the best bars in the country and the popular Nuevo Vallarta region of Riviera Nayarit, which is located just 10 minutes from Bucerias, has outstanding nightlife, so you can rest assured you will be enjoying the best margaritas on this designated day.

When you are planning your next holiday, just remember that there is no bad time to visit Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. With a year-round tropical climate and so many incredible festivals and traditions to take part in, this Mexican paradise is sure to be the venue for the holiday of your dreams.

For a full calendar of events, www.visitpuertovallarta.com/events and www.rivieranayarit.com/calendar_events

Getting There

Direct flights to Puerto Vallarta International Airport are available via Thomson Airlines from London Gatwick and Manchester or AeroMexico via Mexico City from London Heathrow. British Airways runs direct flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, offering codeshare on its One World partner, American Airlines.

La Gomera’s Concert in the Mountains

If you love nature, you can’t miss La Gomera. As soon as you arrive, you’ll feel the magic of the place as it surrounds you. Keep looking and you’ll learn this energy is real. And if you listen closely, you’ll hear the beautiful chorus of La Gomera’s wildlife, especially its birds.

While the second smallest Canary Island dazzles visitors with its stunning beaches, volcanic mountains and the most beautiful natural parks in Europe, it’s also a privileged place for birdwatching, thanks to its six IBAs (Important Bird Areas).

Birdwatching requires minimal equipment and patience, and it’s a popular activity in the field of ecotourism. The pastime also aids in the conservation of birds and their natural habitat.

At night, you can have a front row seat to nature’s concert in the mountains and hear the song of pardelas —Cory’s Shearwaters— as they fly high above the thick jungle of Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Closer to the coast, the calls of shearwaters echo against the rock face of Los Organos, a natural monument resembling a church organ that rises 80 metres above sea level.

Cory’s Shearwaters spend most of their lives far out at sea feeding on small fish, but they also travel inland, singing along the way to locate their nests as their young respond with fainter chirps.

Right now is the best time of the year to visit La Gomera as the shearwaters hatch their eggs before migrating to Brazil. After two years, the birds return to mate and lay their eggs again. This time of year is also when the baby birds are learning to fly.

Unfortunately, street lights and other artificial lighting systems often confuse the shearwaters’ navigation and cause them to crash into obstacles. As a result, the government of La Gomera has announced the implementation of measures to prevent the fall of shearwaters due to the light impact in some public spaces.

Proposed measures include the reduction of power in the luminaries of public places, such as soccer fields or streetlights near coastal areas. In this way, the negative impact of lighting is reduced. These measures, done in coordination with the municipalities of Alajeró, San Sebastián and Valle Gran Rey, coincide with the breeding period of shearwaters when the presence of specimens in these areas peak. The dim lights also contribute to the magical atmosphere of the island, which is world-renowned as a stargazing destination.

As well as shearwaters, there are many other bird species to admire in La Gomera. And with the island hosting 5 Special Protection Areas (SPAs), 25 Special Areas of Conservations (SACs) and 17 sites belonging to the Canary Islands’ own network of Protected Nature Sites, the enchanting songs of La Gomera’s birds sound like music to your ears no matter where you are.

For more information, please visit La Gomera’s official website.

Region of Valencia: A Haven for Sports Fans

If you love sports, you can’t miss the Region of Valencia. Thanks to its pleasant weather, diverse landscapes and premier entertainment venues, the region is the perfect destination to enjoy outdoor sports and activities. Whether you want to catch a football match, test your mettle in a marathon or spend an afternoon at the race track, Valencia’s storied tradition of sports excellence never disappoints.

A Great Place for Football Fanatics

You may have heard of Barcelona and Madrid, but the Region of Valencia is another popular destination for football fans. The city of Valencia is the proud home of Valencia Club de Fútbol, one of the most successful clubs in Europe.

Valencia CF currently plays in La Liga, the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system. The club hosts their home matches at Mestalla Stadium with a capacity of 52,600 spectators. You can even learn about the stadium’s history on a 45-minute guided tour in Spanish and English.

Levante UD, a Spanish football club founded on 6 September 1909, is also based in Valencia City. The club plays in La Liga, holding home games at the City of Valencia Stadium.

Near Castellón, Villarreal has become a popular team even for UK football fans. Villarreal plays in La Liga as well, holding home games at the Ceramics Stadium with a capacity of 24,890. The club is nicknamed the Yellow Submarine due to its yellow home kit. As a low-profile team compared to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, who they have challenged for trophies over the last decade, Villarreal has been touted as an example of a small but successful club.

A Paradise for Watersports Lovers

For watersports lovers, the Valencia Region’s 450 km coastline offers ample opportunities for fun on the shore. Almost every town offers some kind of water-based activity.

Major nautical sports centres can be found at the Valencia Marina, Canet d’En Berenguer and Pobla de Farnals. These marinas are among the best in Europe, as demonstrated by their capacity to host prestigious sporting events such as the America’s Cup in Valencia.

Meanwhile, Alicante hosts the departure of the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s premier offshore race and an exceptional test of sailing prowess.

In the winter, the Brownlee Brothers, British triathletes and Olympic medalists, come to the area of Alicante to train in the winter. The municipality of La Nucía has incredible sports facilities where they train.

There is also the Tabarca to Santa Pola swim, among the World’s top 100 open water swims. The popular medium distance crossing spans 5,900 metres from an offshore island to the mainland. With 1,400 swimmers, the event attracts the highest number of participants in open water events in Spain.

A Haven for Sports Fans

As well as football and watersports, the Region of Valencia is a haven for all sorts of other sports fans. Throughout the years, the region has hosted major international sporting events and entertainment, such as the Formula 1 European Grand Prix, the Global Champions Tour, Moto GP and the Valencia Open.

Other popular sporting events in the Region of Valencia include cycling, tennis, triathlons, running races, equestrian events and golf. And of course, the Pamesa basketball club is always a source of national pride.

Upcoming Running Events

On 11 November, Valencia will host one of the most important running events in Spain: The Trinidad Alfonso EDP Valencia Marathon. The popular athletics phenomenon is held annually in the historic city of Valencia. With a flat circuit and perfect November temperatures averaging between 12–17 degrees, the marathon represents the ideal setting for a long-distance sporting challenge.

On 24 March 2018the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships will be the fastest course ever seen in Valencia. This year, Joyciline Jepkosgei set a new world record as the first woman to reach the finish line with a time of 1:04:51.

On 12 May 2018, Penyagolosa will host the 2018 Trail World Championships. The international trail running event will challenge your limits over impressive landscapes in the mountains of Castellón. Previous editions of this important sporting event took place in Portugal (2016) and Italy (2017).

Immerse yourself in the local culture of the Valencia Region through its sports! Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, you’ll have a lot of fun getting caught up in the fervour.

For more information, please go to http://comunitatvalenciana.com/

Christmas in a Cup: Coffee Island Launches Brand New Drinks Full of Holiday Cheer

The countdown to Christmas is finally upon us. It’s the time of year for glittering decorations, red berries, evergreens and sweet treats, bright lights, autumn colours, family time and carols in the streets. It’s also the best time for a warm, soothing cup of coffee.

And Coffee Island, London’s latest coffee craze, is sharing its holiday cheer with the launch of this season’s most festive drinks: The New Christmas Spice Collection.

Dedicated to the fine art of specialty coffee brewing, Coffee Island designed the seasonal beverages as the ultimate gift to customers: Christmas in a Cup.

“Coffee Island loves Christmas!” said the R&D team. “So we’ve gone the extra mile to perfect our new Christmas Spice Collection and make the holidays even more special. Treat yourself to Christmas in a cup, and you’ll be sure to leave with a smile.”

From November to January, two tasty creations will be available for customers to enjoy.

Christmas Spices Latte: Conjure the warmth of Christmas morning as bold espresso meets frothy milk, sumptuous cinnamon, ginger and sensual white chocolate.

Christmas Spices Chocolate: Ring in the holiday season by indulging in this mouth-watering mix of milk chocolate, sweet nutmeg, warm cloves and cinnamon undertones.

Coffee Island Knows Artisan Roasting

Obsessed with customisation and unique products, Coffee Island’s R&D Department set out to create new drinks that would make Jolly Old St. Nick proud.

Using traditional Christmas ingredients from Coffee Island’s workshop, the team tinkered and toiled with flavours bursting with holiday character, from cinnamon spices to ginger snaps and clove flavours.

Then, to make the ideal espresso base, artisan roasters used sophisticated brewing methods to extract the nuances of coffee, while experienced cuppers made precise tweaks to capture the most festive flavours and zesty aromas.

After the artisan roasting came the quality checks. During this process, the R&D department tested each beverage under strict criteria to satisfy coffee lovers while ensuring a joyous taste of Christmas on every sip.

Don’t miss out on Christmas in a Cup at Coffee Island. It’s the most delicious way to treat yourself, as well as your family and friends, to a Merry Christmas and a Happy Brew Year.

Drinks cost £3.20 each in 12oz cups and are available from mid-November.

For more information, please go to www.coffeeisland.co.uk.

WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS 2017: Grand Resort Lagonissi Named Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort

For the second year in a row, Grand Resort Lagonissi on the Athenian Riviera has won the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort’ at the World Travel Awards 2017.

A proud member of the Leading Hotels of the World, Grand Resort Lagonissi held off stiff competition before being awarded the title last weekend, cementing its position as a global leader in the hospitality industry.

“We are proud to be recognised as Europe’s leading wedding resort at this year’s World Travel Awards,” said General Manager Nikolaos Tzimas. “From all of us at Grand Resort Lagonissi, thank you for your support in making us one of the best hotels across the globe.”

Offering a large selection of indoor and outdoor wedding venues with catering potential for up to 1,200 guests, Grand Resort Lagonissi invites couples to exchange eternal vows amidst the azure sea.

Plan an intimate reception. Evoke romantic elegance in a beachfront ceremony. Revel in lush aromatic gardens by the poolside. Be wed on a spacious veranda under the sunset. Create memories that last a lifetime.

For more information on weddings and celebrations at Grand Resort Lagonissi, please visit http://goo.gl/IpW3Va.

The five-star Grand Resort Lagonissi is now nominated in the ‘World’s Leading Meeting & Conference Hotel 2017′ category, please vote for us here:

 

https://www.worldtravelawards.com/vote

WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS 2017: Elounda Beach & Elounda Bay Palace Win Top Honours

For the second year in a row, Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas and Elounda Bay Palace Hotel, two five-star properties in Crete, won top honours at the World Travel Awards 2017.

Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas was awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Resort Villas’ and for the second time awarded  ‘Greece’s Leading Hotel’, while Elounda Bay Palace won the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Seafront Resort’ for the second year running. These accolades are regarded as the most prestigious accolades in the hospitality industry.

Both properties held off stiff international competition before claiming the coveted titles last weekend, cementing their positions as global leaders in the hospitality industry.

“We are honoured to be recognised in two of the most competitive categories at the 2017 World Travel Awards,” said General Manager Manolis Rassoulis. “We appreciate everyone’s support in making Elounda Beach and Elounda Bay Palace leading hotels of the world!”

About Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas

From its exclusive waterfront location on the northeast coast of Crete, Elounda Beach is a Greek hotspot for families, friends, honeymooners, couples and prestigious travellers, including A-list celebrities and royalty.

Set on 40 acres of colourful gardens, the five-star hotel offers luxury accommodation to suit all tastes, combining panoramic bay views with personalised services and award-winning cuisine.

Multi-awarded Yachting Club Villas & Residences offer modern comforts and private infinity-edged pools. New this year are Waterfront Dreamline Villas designed to enhance the holiday experience and make guests feel completely at home.

For more information, please visit http://www.eloundabeach.gr/.

About Elounda Bay Palace Hotel

Next to the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas on its private beach lies sister property, Elounda Bay Palace Hotel. The five-star property invites guests to experience a dream holiday, with stunning views, aromatic gardens, luxurious seafront accommodation and complimentary access to the award-winning spa at the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas.

Seven restaurants and three bars offer a variety of fine dining options on the water’s edge, including Cretan, Mediterranean, Italian and seafood. Guests can relax and refresh by the infinity pool or take part in tennis, sailing, water-skiing, jet skiing and scuba diving.

For more information, please visit http://www.eloundabay.gr/.

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