Some how I was convinced by friends that Croatia was the place to be. Initially I wasn't sold on the idea and for some reason I was adamant it was an 8hr flight, so I certainly wasn't going! Eventually she twisted my arm and we packed our bags and headed to the airport on our way to Zadar. Both times we've gone have been for festivals, but we ensure that we always take in the local culture and sights before coming home.
Flight times - Firstly it's not an 8hr flight it's less than 3hrs. Depending on which part of the UK you fly from, the airline and which part of Croatia you chose, flight times there and back can vary.
* Manchester - Zadar 2hrs 50
* Manchester - Zagreb 4hrs 20 mins with 1 stop.
* London Gatwick - Dubrovnik 2hrs 45 mins
* London Heathrow - Split 6hrs 1 stop
We stayed in the old town of Zcre which is not your typical old town my I add. it is a bustling HUGE town surrounded by the old walls and fortresses. On the other side you have the sea and a view to die for. There is so much to do in and around the town, I even found time to go to the Museum of Illusions. The Sea Organ is a must to see and hear. The Sun Salutation draws a big crowd round about sunset so get there early to get a good spot you won't be disappointed! Amazing food and the locals are so nice and accommodating. There's no pressure in to buying things or eating in restaurants you are just left to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful town. Friends have recently come back from sailing around the islands in Croatia and say how beautiful and clean the water and beaches are. Even more reason to go!
Currency - Although in Europe, the local currency is Kuna. We got a really good exchange rate when we first went (£1=10 kuna) They will still however accept Euros, but you get more for your money with their currency. Everything is cheap, food, wine, excursions. I think my friends paid £1.50 for a large glass of wine, which is a bargain and it tasted nice! Whatever you do, don't try the Black Wine, apparently it's an acquired taste!
National Parks - Before we left England we planned ahead on what excursions we wanted to do. On the top of our list was visiting one of the 5 National Parks (Croatia also has 3 Nature Parks). To be honest, we typed in google 'National parks in Croatia' and went with the one that had the best picture! They are all stunning, but we opted to see Plitvice Lakes. Its an 1hr 20 mins ride and slightly higher up in the mountains so take a jumper. We went ready for the beach and had to purchase bright green jumpers to stay warm! Wear sensible shoes as this guided tour consists of lots of walking.Our guide was brilliant and ensured we had a fantastic time whilst we were out there. I took 100's of pictures of waterfalls, trees, mountains. It's breathtakingly beautiful so my pictures don't actually do it any justice!
Miami Beach is the best area in Miami for soaking up some rays on a sandy beach and it is something of a legend in the city. The beach itself technically outside of the Miami municipality as it is located on an island. Aside from the beaches, the area is also known for its Art Deco district and the odd but beautiful buildings within.
I've wanted to head out to South beach for years, but each time another holiday takes precedent and I end up not going. I think I have done enough research online to last me a life time! It's on my 'To do' list, I just need to convince a few more of the girls to go and SAVE SAVE SAVE!
Friend who have visited Miami, have gone at different times of the year. Some have gone for Spring break (May) others have gone later on in the year (November) Al have said that 10 days is plenty , but take plenty money as it's not cheap!
Ocean Drive is a popular tourist destination night and day and offers a great opportunity for those with a special interest in the unique skyline and scenes Miami has to offer. What I love about Miami are its art deco buildings which give the feeling of being on a Hollywood film set! The mixture of old and new architecture is what makes it exciting and gives it that glamorous edge!
Where to stay - As I've mentioned, I have been planning this trip for ages, so I had already decided (if funds allow) where I want to stay when I do finally go. I fell in love with the Mondrian - I have champagne taste and rola-cola money btw! It sits just on the water front and has the most stunning view. The décor inside the hotel is out of this world and may not be to every one's taste but I love it. Failing that if I can't stop there, then my 2nd option was renting a villa/ apartment through AirBnB. I've used this site before and find the whole process pretty straight forward. As long as you read the terms & conditions of each host, house rules etc, then you are good to go! Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are wanting to go. If you do opt for a rental and are not really going for your honeymoon, I would suggest going with a few others to cut down on the cost.
Things to do - Apart from soaking up the sun and sipping cocktails , there's plenty to do and see whilst in Miami.
The design District is known for its sleek modern architecture, luxury boutiques and art galleries.
Take full advantage of the epic views at lounges like the Mondrian's Sunset Lounge where you can take in the panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and Miami's downtown skyline.
If you're not interested in paying expensive club entry prices, then head down to Miami Beach’s infamous Jazid, a jazz club hosting an impressive selection of local bands and talent seven nights a week. best of all entry s free!
There are also a lot of free events that take place through out the year, from street festivals, fashion shows and art fairs. Depending on when you decide to go on honeymoon, check out what will be on when you get there.
So your wedding is booked, venue sorted, save the dates have gone out, all there is left to decide is where to go on honeymoon.
Now there are no hard and fast rules as to where newlyweds should go, it’s entirely up to you and your budget. Some chose to spend it relaxing, soaking up the sun and doing nothing. Others prefer to spend it sightseeing, taking in the local culture (depends where you've gone) mixed in with a bit of relaxation. Then you have those adventurous thrill seekers who love nothing more than exploring, being spontaneous, and doing various activities on land, water or sky!
I've picked my favourite top 10 destinations (in no particular order). It’s a mixed bag of places I've been myself vs. my bucket list faves that I'll be posting over the next week or so! I've included images (courtesy of Google and my trusty iphone) as well as links to articles on line that can provide more info and where to stay. Enjoy :)
I've some how managed to make this my regular trip 3 years running! First time was for a hen party and I've not looked back since! Each time I go, I see something totally different that I missed before. It's a beautiful city with lots of culture, history and good food. Guaranteed sunshine if you go in August, but I've been in February and enjoyed 20 degree heat. As it's more of a city break, I would recommend doing a Tuk Tuk tour, that way you get to see more of the stunning city without wearing out your feet! Nightlife is great and no one goes out before midnight! We usually find ourselves by the harbour watching the sunrise just before we head back home to get some shut eye and do it all again!
We visited A LOT of sights in the 4 days we were there. If history, architecture and striking views are your thing, I suggest checking these places out:
* Ajuda Palace (Palácio d'Ajuda)
* Mosteiro de Jerónimos
* Jardins de Belém
* Torre de Belém (Belém tower)
* Mercado de algés
* Cascais waterfront promenade
I'm a bit of a foodie, so when my friend suggest we go to the indoor market for food, I was totally convinced! My experience of indoor markets are fruit and veg stalls, smelly fish and butchers shouting out the latest deals on meat...........total opposite at this market! Well it was evening, so the food stalls had shut, but this food court was impressive! Rows of tables and high benches, a plethora of different types of delicious food to chose from (dirt cheap too!), a bar and live music. It was a great atmosphere ! I highly recommend visiting the indoor market (see link below).
Rooftop bars, for views, food etc ( Recommended by friends that are yet to take me there!)
* Sky bar
* Rio Maravilha
* Rooftop bar
* Memmo Alfama Terrace
Where to stay - As I stop at my friends family apartment when i visit, I've not had to think about accommodation, but I have been told that the below are the best places to lay your head for the duration of your trip.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known for it's scuba diving and over water bungalows, Bora Bora is a popular luxury resort destination for many. The French Polynesia islands are home to 118 islands and atolls; including Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea and Papeete.
Tahiti and the capital of Bora Bora, Papeete are home to vibrant markets, culture rich museums and fantastic beaches.
When to go - November and April offer fine weather with temperatures ranging between 20- 30 degrees.
How to get there - As there's currently no airlines flying directly to Bora Bora from the UK you have to fly to Tahiti first. From there you can catch a flight using Air Tahiti. These run up to five times a day, and take 50 minutes. Expect to be travelling for some time, so I suggest that if you do plan on visiting this little gem in the Pacific Ocean, go for at least 10 days. That way you will still have 8 days to relax despite losing 2 days to travelling there and back.
Where to stay - With plenty options you can either stay at a resort, hotels or overwater bungalows.
While the best overwater bungalows are at the 4 and 5 star resorts, there are also some budget friendly overwater bungalows. To enjoy the true Bora Bora over water bungalow experience, you will want to stay in one of these. Be expected to spend a little bit more, but no doubt it will be worth every penny.
If being suspended over water isn't your thing then check out The Maitai Bora Bora. This hotel offers simple 'block' style of accommodation.The hotel has it's own small white sand beach, but it doesn't have a pool, gym, spa, or decadent sun-lounges to relax on. A well priced hotel for those on a budget.
The Conrad, the Four Seasons Resort and the St Regis Resort all offer world class luxury with dramatic views. Alternatively you can rent out a house or apartment. Make sure you check out the location thoroughly before booking, as most of them are not in the best locations for getting around Bora Bora.
AirBnB now advertises quite a few options for home-stays in Bora Bora. Before booking, make sure you check its location, and that the host offers help to get you around if it is located on a motu (little island). Otherwise you may find yourself stranded!