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Tenerife’s Top Free Attractions for Families Holiday On A Budget

With hours of sunshine all year round and some of Europe’s best beaches, Tenerife is an ideal destination for holidaymakers. There are also plenty of cheap flights available from all major UK airports, making it perfect for anyone travelling on a budget. They say the best things in life are free, so check out our guide to the best purse-friendly attractions Tenerife has to offer. The whole family will love it!

Beaches

It might sound obvious, but what better place to start than Tenerife’s famous beaches? The island certainly isn’t short of golden sands and clear waters where you can soak up the sun and enjoy a swim. After all, it’s completely free to relax, unwind and top up your tan!

Visit El Drago

Located in a park in the town of Icod de los Vinos, the multi-headed Drago Tree is certainly unusual and is said to be up to 1000 years old. You have to pay to get into the park where this huge knarled tree is, but if you head to the town plaza instead you can get a brilliant view of it completely gratis.

Teide National Park

Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to discover Tenerife, and some of island’s most fantastic views can be found at Teide National Park. Its surreal volcanic landscape really does have to be seen to be believed! Alternatively, enjoy a walk around one of the island’s many promenades and coastal paths where you can enjoy an ice cream, enjoy the breath-taking views and see some of the island’s fascinating flora and fauna.

Surfing

If relaxing on the sand isn’t enough for you, dig out your board and take advantage of Tenerife’s excellent surfing conditions. Forget paying for pricy water parks and head to Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz where you can brave the waves and enjoy all the thrills and spills of the water for free.

Sightseeing

Famous attractions like Siam Park don’t come cheap, so take advantage of Sundays on the island where entry to all of Tenerife’s publicly owned galleries and museums is free. Alternatively, if you’re not over there on a Sunday, try using a service like Cheapflights the online comparison website to save some money on flights for the sightseeing. It’s a great way to combine fun and learning for the whole family.

Fiesta!

Mainland Spain is renowned for its fiestas, and The Canary Islands are no exception! Canarians love a celebration and there are no less than 14 fiesta days celebrated throughout the year. Most shops close on fiesta days, but bars and cafes largely remain open and the main plaza is decorated with colourful bunting and a huge stage ahead of the celebrations. Once the sun goes down, local Canarian bands take to the stage to deliver performances of traditional music and singing, and the atmosphere is electric.

Food and drink flows freely and people descend on the plaza to join in with the fun. Canarians are also renowned for being welcoming and hospitable, so tourists are always heartily encouraged to join in too.

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A beach hopper’s guide to Nice

Nice is a well-known seaside destination in the south of France, making it the ideal place to visit if you’re after a bit of relaxation in the sun. While the city itself is home to several stunning beaches, it would be a shame not to explore some other parts of the coastline.

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The easiest way to do this is to hire a car when you arrive, as this will give you plenty of freedom to travel outside Nice should you wish to (check out this websitefor information about car rental). To give you an incentive to explore, we’ve put together a list of some of the top beaches in and around Nice.

One thing to remember about Nice’s beaches is that there are private and public seaside stretches, with the private options generally thought to be the best.

Blue Beach

Our first pick is Nice’s Blue Beach, a private cove that’s got excellent facilities and is renowned for its brilliant restaurant. As well as the high-end eatery that is a must-visit for gastronomes, there is also a volleyball court and a table tennis table, so there’s a lot to keep you from getting bored while you soak up the sun.

You’ll find Blue Beach just off the Promenade des Anglais and close to some of the city’s best hotels, such as the Palais de la Mediterranee.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Around a 20-minute drive to the east of Nice is the charming seaside town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which happens to boast some of the most picturesque beaches in the French Riviera.

You don’t need to look hard to find that perfect sweep of sand, either, as the main beach is wonderful. It’s around 1 km long and is made up of a mixture of sand and pebbles. Running along its entire length is a promenade where you can go for a leisurely stroll if you tire of lying in the sun.

Plage de la Mala

Plage de la Mala is in Cap d’Ali, which is roughly 30 minutes to the east of Nice. This is the ideal seaside spot if you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, because the steep steps you have to climb down (and back up again after your day of sunbathing) put many people off.

This secluded cove is well worth the effort to get down to, though, with azure-blue waters lapping gently at the shore and few people to fight over space with. There are private areas on this beach, which are backed by high-end restaurants – perfect if you want to treat yourself to an indulgent meal before heading back up the steps.

Eze bay

Our final pick is the bay in Eze, a delightful perched village that is worth a visit regardless of the quality of its beach. The village itself is located high on a hill overlooking the coast and dates back to the medieval era. At its highest point are the ruins of a 12th century castle – so drive up to the fortified centre and explore before hitting the seaside.

The beach is made up of pebbles but is very picturesque. There’s a private section – known as Anjuna Beach – where the restaurant and sun terrace are decorated to give visitors a taste of India and Bali. Head down on a Sunday and you’ll be treated to live music at the beach club as well.

 

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Faro Beaches & Nightlife

Faro is a lively and charming city, a superb choice of destination if you like to be in the heart of things. As a student and tourist town, it has a fun and vibrant nightlife, but there are many quieter bars and restaurants if you want to take it easy.

Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, the dramatic stretch of southern Portuguese coastline that fronts the wild Atlantic Ocean. At times spectacular and rugged, at others beautifully tranquil, it cannot be argued that the Algarve is not incredibly beautiful. Many visitors do not linger in Faro but head immediately to one of the seaside resorts.

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There is an argument to be made for this approach, especially if you are short on time. But Faro itself makes for a rewarding experience in itself, whether you are simply passing through or have chosen the city as your main destination. Take advantage of car hire to make the most of your time in Faro and get to places further afield.

Faro’s beaches can compete with the best in the Algarve. A series of sandspits, large deposits of sand that project into the sea, provide protection from the Atlantic waves; this makes the waters calm and safe for swimming in.

The beaches are nothing if not diverse. Faro beach itself, near the airport, is a busy and vibrant stretch of golden sand, lined by shops, cafes, bars and hotels. Colourful boats rock in the gentle waves, and there are opportunities for various water sports, including jet-skiing, windsurfing and water-skiing. It’s a great beach for those that like access to great facilities and don’t mind the crowds.

The sand spit island beaches, such as Ilha Deserta, Ilha da Armona and Ilha da Culatra, lie offshore and can be reached only by ferry or water taxi. Ilha Deserta has over six miles of glorious golden sands, so there is plenty of room to find your own spot. It is part of the Ria Formosa National Park, an important wetland site for birds, and amongst them you can see flamingos and terns. There is a restaurant and sunbeds and umbrellas can be hired if you are in the mind for relaxation, or you can follow the nature trail and take a dip in the warm, shallow waters. Ilha Deserta, as its name suggests, is the ideal spot if you are looking for peace and relaxation.

Ilha da Armona, another large, sweeping beach, has superb sand dunes that kids will love, and there are plenty of cafes and facilities, and even a campsite. Ilha da Culatra has a great sandy beach and is one of the few sandspit islands to be permanently populated; there are several cafes and beautiful bougainvillea-clad houses as well as a lighthouse. Unfortunately, ferries do not connect the islands together, but it is possible to travel between them by water taxi.

Spending a day at the beach can be tiring business, and in true Portuguese style you may want to have a lazy siesta before hitting the town. Faro is a superb spot to try out authentic Portuguese cuisine and join in the later revelries. The Rua do Prior and surrounding area is the centre of the action, and there are many clubs and bars here to choose from. Try Havana Club for a Latin vibe or Millennium III and Dux for top DJs and live music.

While the Old Town buzzes with activity at night, the Marina is a great place for a more relaxed meal, a gentle evening stroll or a leisurely drink beside the gently lapping waters. Try out freshly caught seafood and a local wine or dry white port served over ice in traditional style. Just beware of medronho, made from the arbutus fruit – it’s known as fire water for good reason!

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Top Rated Hotels for a Holiday in Side

Southern Turkey is home to one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. With perfectly turquoise Mediterranean waters, a nice mix of wide, sandy beaches and dramatic, rocky cliffs, and a totally unique and engrossing cultural and historical side, this region is the perfect holiday destination. But where to stay? Side, one of the most popular resort centers, has almost too many options to choose from. Here are ten of the best:

Alba Royal

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Want to escape children (your own or others’)? This is the perfect place. With no guests allowed under 13 years of age, the romantic possibilities open up endlessly, and vacations are that much more relaxing. Voted one of TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotels of 2012,” the Alba Royal offers an excellent selection of facilities, bars, restaurants, pools, and very comfortable and spacious rooms. It’s located right on the beautiful beach and has a distinctive and memorable character.

SENTIDO Perissia

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This excellent member of the SENTIDO chain of resorts is conveniently located for those interested in exploring some history and archaeology in addition to enjoying the sublime relaxation that a high class beach resort like this can offer. The SENTIDO Perissia is located at the boundary between the trendy, beautiful beachfront promenade that most of the resorts in the area share and the beginning of historical Side. Its wide range of amenities and activities make it a prime choice for couples or families.

Trendy Palm Beach

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If escaping the bustle of the resort center is important to you, the location of the Trendy Palm Beach may be especially appealing. The restaurants and bars here get extra marks, as do the beach activities like canoes and pedalos. As with most resorts in Turkey, its spa is particularly well-developed. Turkish massage is a world-famous art, and guests here report that it is especially blissful. And as you might expect from the name, the beach is beautiful.

Alba Queen

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Large, stylish, and full of fun, the Alba Queen is an excellent choice for family vacations. There are waterslides leading into its expansive swimming pools, there is a ten-pin bowling alley, and the whole resort is located right on the beach. Children are well cared for at the thoughtful mini-buffet, the playground, and the hotel-run “kid’s club.” If your family is active and likes to get around a lot on their holiday together, there are transportation options to Side, Çolakli, and other nearby centers.

Sunlight Garden

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If you’re looking for a more comfortable, homey feel, then Sunlight Garden may be the best choice for you. This resort takes a much heavier emphasis on apartment-style accommodation, making it much easier to feel at home and creating inexpensive options for large families and groups that want to stay together without paying exorbitant room rates. The community feeling here is heightened by the smaller size and overall layout centered around the two outdoor pools.

Voyage Sorgun

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This is another highlight on TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotels of 2012” listing, and with good reason. Voyage Sorgun is located at the edge of a pine forest, with a secluded beach and a private dock that make waterskiing, scuba diving, and other fun activities possible. If you’re hanging around the hotel, you can engage in bowling and pool, or catch a movie at the mini cinema. Between shows, you’ll have to choose between nine restaurants, six swimming pools, and 12 bars. This one’s a winner.

Kentia Apartments

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For those hoping to enjoy the luxuries of the top resorts while still being mindful of their budgets, the Kentia Apartments complex is a great option. By staying just 1.3 kilometers away from the beach (and enjoying easy transportation to and from it), your family can save a lot of money while booking accommodation. You’ll still enjoy great food, attractive pools, and frequent evening entertainment, as well. It’s definitely a smart choice for those that want to save their money for more traveling in the future.

Hotel Asteria

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Elegant, right on the beach, and full of amenities, the Hotel Asteria offers luxurious rooms and great activities in a central location. There is a sense of sophistication here that not all resorts manage to exude, but it is palpable. If you stay at the Asteria, you will enjoy great service, food, spa treatments, and more. Not that you’ll ever need to leave the resort for anything, but if you ever decide that you need a change of scenery, you’re not far from Side and other communities.

Crystal Palace Luxury Resort & Spa

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If you’ve come for comfort, you’ve come to the right place. The Crystal Palace Luxury Resort & Spa offers every indulgence you could ever require, in a full package that is stylish and downright heavenly. Getting massage and other treatments here will make you wish you could stay forever. It’s remoteness is part of the charm–you’re not far from the shops of Gundogdu and Çolakli, but are far removed enough from the main press of visitors to not feel overwhelmed. Of course, all the usual amenities are provided, and are as excellent as you’d expect.

Paloma Ocean Resort

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As the face of tourism changes in Turkey, hotels are adapting and upgrading. Formerly known as the Paloma Beach Resort, the Paloma Ocean Resort has received some major updates to prepare it for the next tourist season, and is one of the best of the family-friendly options. Featuring tons of activities for kids, modern decor, and friendly staff, this is an excellent choice. The waterpark comes highly recommended, as do the multitude of bars and restaurants.

Enjoying comforts like those offered at these hotels is one of the best parts of traveling. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to stay on the Turkish Riviera, and enjoy all that this great region has to offer.

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