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Maldives-Holiday

Happy birthday SENTIDO

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This year, our longest running set of hotels turn 10! Which ones could I be talking about? SENTIDO Hotels and Resorts, of course.

SENTIDO, which means “sense” in Portuguese, is exactly what our mentality is based on and what you’ll find throughout our resorts. We want every one of your senses to be filled with warm, luxurious feelings, leaving you with only one regret… Not booking to stay longer!

So, in celebration of our most well-established brand of hotels, we’ve put together our top 10 of what has made SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts the wonder that it is today.

Have you stayed at one of our SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts? If so, which one and why did you love it?

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Hideaway this summer holiday with Sheila O’Flanagan

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Beating the summer holiday rush with an early getaway this year? The Hideaway by no.1 bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan really is THE perfect way to hide away. The sultry Spanish location is wonderfully escapist with blue skies, orange groves and a romance written with pace and heart. Lose yourself this trip to a captivating, sun-soaked read.

What’s the book about?

What would you do if you discovered you were living a lie?

When a shocking news report shatters Juno Ryan’s world, she suddenly finds herself without the man she loves – and with no way of getting the answers she needs.

Juno flees to the enchanting Villa Naranja in Spain. The blue skies and orange groves – along with Pep, the local winemaker’s handsome son – begin to soothe her broken heart. But just when she begins to feel whole again, another bombshell drops.

Juno might have run away from her secrets, but the past isn’t finished with her…

Book a Spanish getaway

Sheila meets Thomas Cook! Find out what she had to say…

Sheila O’Flanagan

What inspired you to write The Hideaway?

Anytime I hear about natural or other disasters I always think about the people caught up in them and what might have been going on in their lives. The Hideaway came about when I was thinking about a recent earthquake in Italy and I wondered about the people who were there when it happened and what their stories might be. So, I thought about Juno and how her life would be shattered by a single event.

Why did you choose Spain as the setting for The Hideaway? 

I know and love this area of Spain very well and it seemed the ideal place to bring Juno as she tries to rebuild her life. The tranquillity of rural Valencia is absolute, and it’s just a beautiful setting for a book about finding yourself.

What’s your favourite summer holiday destination? 

Spain is a bit of a cliched destination, but I love it. You can be as touristy as you like on the coasts but if you travel inland, even by about twenty minutes, you’re in the most amazing countryside. In Valencia, one of my favourite areas, it’s all orange groves and olives, but in the north of Spain there are majestic mountains and wide open spaces. So, Spain is my favourite place to be in the summer, but I also have a soft spot for Antigua in the Caribbean as a place to completely switch off and “chillax”.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer? 

To be honest, that’s a difficult question to answer. Every author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way, whether by the brilliance of their storytelling or their use of language.

But I think I was given the impetus to try and complete a book by the wonderful Maeve Binchy who once said that if you wrote a page a day, you’d have a book written in a year. Somehow that made it seem an achievable goal.

Which of your novels have you most enjoyed writing? 

I honestly can’t answer that! When I write a book, I’m totally caught up in the dilemmas my heroines are facing, and I can’t think of anything else. So, each one at the time has been the most enjoyable to write. But the most fun in terms of research was What Happened That Night which is set in the world of high-end jewellery. Trying on a million-pound necklace was excellent research!

What’s your favourite book of all time? 

Another impossible question to answer. My go-to author for a great laugh is the late PG Wodehouse who was a master of the English language. Equally masterful in a different way is Hillary Mantel and I loved Wolf Hall and Being Up The Bodies.

What type of books do you like to read on a relaxing beach holiday? 

I always bring at least three books with me. A romantic comedy, a thriller and a non-fiction book.

If you were to write a book based abroad again, where would you choose? 

I’ve written quite a few books with overseas settings that include Spain, California, France and Sweden.  I’d love to visit Japan so that might be a possible location.

What book is currently at the top of your must-read list? 

I haven’t yet read Milkman by Anna Burns and I really want to get stuck in. On a lighter note… Sophie Kinsella’s books are always fun and I Owe You One is on my “to read” pile.

The post Hideaway this summer holiday with Sheila O’Flanagan appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Airtours: a great way to holiday

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BOOK YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY WITH AIRTOURS AND MAKE IT ONE TO REMEMBER

We’ve always been in the business of making holidays as easy to book as 1, 2, 3. And now it’s even easier to organise a holiday completely created by you, when you book through Airtours.

Choose from our wide range of 2-5 star hotels and select your flights from an airline that suits you, then add your holiday extras from room upgrades to transfers. We’re here for you 24 hours a day with our Connected Resort Service, so you know you’re in good hands with Airtours, the beach holiday experts.

Let us explain all the reasons why booking through Airtours is definitely something you should be looking into.

  1. Fly from your local airport: With 26 departure airports to choose from, we’re never too far away. Have a look below to see where you could be flying from
  2. ATOL & ABTA protected: For your peace of mind and financial protection.
  3. 24hr in-resort support: Here for you 24/7 with our Connected Resort Service, so you can focus on having the best holiday.
  4. 1000s of 2-5 star hotels to choose from: with hotels available to suit every person and every budget.
  5. Flexible holiday durations: short breaks or long breaks, book a holiday that suits you.

Airtours Holidays

Airports you can fly from with Airtours:

Belfast (BFS)
Belfast City (BHD)
Birmingham (BHX)
Bournemouth (BOH)
Bristol (BRS)
Cardiff (CWL)
Doncaster Sheffield (DSA)
Durham (MME)
East Midlands (EMA)
Edinburgh (EDI)

Exeter (EXT)
Gatwick (LGW)
Glasgow (GLA)
Heathrow (LHR)
Humberside (HUY)
Isle of Man (IOM)
Leeds Bradford (LBA)
Liverpool (LPL)
London City (LCY)

London Southend (SEN)
Luton (LTN)
Manchester (MAN)
Newcastle (NCL)
Newquay (NQY)
Norwich (NWI)
Prestwick (PIK)
Southampton (SOU)
Stansted (STN)

So, what would you do to create the holiday of your dreams? Where would you go, what would you do, what would you eat (more importantly)? Let us know below in the comments.

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Top 5 things to do in Split

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Over the last few years, holidays to Croatia have been on the rise, and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re looking for a fantastic city break or a relaxing beach holiday, this wonderful country, which is renowned for its natural beauty and historical heritage, really does have it all.

Split is the second largest city in Croatia, and it’s also one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. From winding streets and ancient walls, to stunning beaches and a vibrant nightlife, Split is the perfect holiday destination, with something for everyone.

To celebrate this wonderful city, we sent top UK travel blogger Wanderlust Chloe to explore what Split has to offer in just 48 hours. To give you some inspiration for your next holiday, here are her top five must-dos!

Climb the Bell Tower at the Cathedral of St Domnius

Located in the heart of the city is the Cathedral of St Domnius, one of Split’s most famous landmarks. Built in the 4th century, it’s said to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure. If you’re feeling fit and not afraid of heights, then be sure to climb the bell tower, where you’ll be greeted with spectacular views over the city. There may be over 200 steps, but it’s well worth the climb!

Towering above the city for 60 metres, the bell tower can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Split, so it’ll be hard to miss on a visit.Bell Tower at the Cathedral of St Domnius

 

Stroll Along the Riva Promenade

Stretching for 250 metres, the Riva Promenade is the perfect place to sit back and unwind after soaking up some of Split’s fascinating history. Watch the boats bobbing on the glistening water, before visiting some of the lively bars and cafes along the promenade.

The Riva Promenade is the ideal location to use your prepaid Lyk card too. Lined with huge palm trees, there are plenty of small restaurants to enjoy a coffee or a cocktail in, and an array of shops where you can buy a few Croatian keepsakes. You can use your Lyk card anywhere that accepts Mastercard® Prepaid, and if needed, you can top your Lyk card up straight from your smartphone.

Split Riva Promenade

 

Enjoy Split’s Food Scene

A trip to Split wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of Croatia’s finest cuisines. There are countless cafes and restaurants dotted around the city, all offering many delicious dishes, such as seafood, pastries, meats and more. Traditional Croatian food is a mixture of Italian, Turkish, Hungarian and Austrian, and includes popular staple ingredients such as paprika, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, oregano and so much more.

One dish that is a must-try in Croatia is Dalmatian Peka. Usually made from either lamb, veal or octopus, the meat or fish is placed alongside vegetables inside a dish with a metal lid, and then cooked in a fireplace. A great restaurant to try this traditional dish is at Konoba Varoš, located down a winding street just a five-minute walk from the Riva Promenade.

If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth then don’t worry, as you’ll find plenty of sweet treats at every turn in Split. Whether you fancy a daily dose of gelato or want to be adventurous and try a famous bubble waffle, you won’t leave feeling hungry!

Split's Food Scene

 

Climb Marjan Hill

If you only have a limited amount of time in Split, then you should definitely climb Marjan Hill, as you’ll get a bird’s eye view over the whole city. Although there are over 300 steep steps up to the flag at the top of the hill, the spectacular views are breathtaking. Marjan Hill has a rich history, with evidence suggesting that it dates back to Roman times. On your journey, you’ll pass twelve churches, each one offering something different and providing you with an unforgettable sightseeing tour along the way.

There’s even a café on the terrace about half way up, an ideal place to stop off and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat on the way back down!

Climb Marjan Hill

 

Explore Croatia’s Islands

Although Split itself is beautiful and you could spend days on end exploring the fascinating streets, no trip is complete without taking a day trip to one of the city’s nearby islands. One island that’s well worth a visit is Šolta, which is just one hour away. This charming island boasts glistening turquoise waters, numerous pebbled beaches and a small fishing harbour, where you can sit and watch the boats sail by. If you fancy a paddle, then don’t forget, you can also wear your splash-proof Lyk Waveband, which allows you to make contactless payments from the tap of your wrist.

Another popular island that is just 45 minutes from Split is Brač, the largest Dalmatian island. Filled with rocky coves, shingle beaches and a superb hilly countryside, it’s ideal for keen walkers. Brač is also famous for Zlatni Rat Beach, which has been named as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Explore Croatia’s IslandsBefore you go, don’t forget to take out travel insurance to help you with any unfortunate events, such as missed departures, lost luggage and personal accidents. You can get Roam Insurance straight from your smartphone, and there are three levels of cover available to give you peace of mind on your next happy holiday.

 

Have you been to Split before? What’s at the top of your list of things to see? Let us know in the comments below.

*All images courtesy of Wanderlust Chloe

 

Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Lyk ™ is issued by Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd (“WDCS”) pursuant to license by Mastercard International Inc. WDCS is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct electronic money service activities under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (Ref: 900051)

Roam is underwritten by White Horse Insurance Ireland dac, which is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. White Horse Insurance Ireland dac is a wholly owned subsidiary of Thomas Cook Money Limited. Thomas Cook Money Limited is an Appointed Representative of White Horse Insurance Ireland dac.

White Horse Insurance Ireland dac Registered Office: First Floor, Rineanna House, Shannon Free Zone, Shannon, County Clare, Republic of Ireland. Company registration number: 306045

Thomas Cook Money Limited Registered Office: 3rd floor, South Building, 200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD. Company registration number: 10344118

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Wedding

Thomas Cook Book Club: An interview with Dorothy Koomson

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This month for Thomas Cook Book Club, we’re celebrating World Book Night by inviting bestselling author, Dorothy Koomson, to talk to us about her book, The Ice Cream Girls: one of the official World Book Night books for 2019 and inspiration to the hit ITV drama. And here she is, on camera, to tell us all about it…

What’s the book about?

The Ice Cream Girls is an instantly gripping, emotional thriller about two teenage girls, Serena and Poppy. When they were accused of murder, one of them was sent to prison while the other was set free. Now, 20 years later, one of them is doing all she can to clear her name and the other is frantically trying to keep her secrets.

‘Got out hearts racing, our minds boggling and us page-turning like there’s no tomorrow’ Heat

‘Absolutely fantastic. From the first page you’ll be desperate to know exactly what happened’ Sun

 

Dorothy Koomson meets Thomas Cook! Find out what she has to say…

Dorothy Koomson

What inspired you to write The Ice Cream Girls?

The Ice Cream Girls is about two women who were brought together in their teens through their inappropriate relationship with an older man. When he’s killed they’re both put on trial, but one of them is sent to prison for the murder, while the other is set “free”. Twenty years later, the one who went to prison is released, determined to clear her name, while the other, who is married with children, is just as determined to keep her past hidden from everyone she loves.

When I originally had the idea for The Ice Cream Girls I wanted to tell the tale of two people who had very similar lives but were separated for a huge chunk of time, and then were brought back together. I then thought about why their lives had been extremely different and settled on it being because one of them went to prison. And why would a person go to prison for so long? Murder. Then I decided to have them both accused of murder but one go to prison while the other was set free, but only free physically – in her mind she isn’t free. As I thought the idea through, more elements of the story and themes that had to be explored cropped up. I suppose I was inspired by the idea that two people can start in the same place but end up leading very different lives.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

There isn’t one person who was heavily influential, but my mother taught me to read and write when I was in nursery, and my older brother used to read to me a lot before I started school so I think this is probably where my love of stories came from. I think my love of hearing and watching stories then grew into me wanting to tell stories. Writers who I admired and read a lot of when I was younger and in the years before I was published include Judy Blume, Jackie Collins, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, J G Ballard and Terry McMillan.

I think, for me, no one person influenced me because I couldn’t NOT write. Once I had written my first book at 13, I didn’t ever stop writing: I wrote short stories and novels even though I knew they weren’t going to be published. I don’t think I’d have been able to stop writing even if I hadn’t been published.

Which of your novels have you most enjoyed writing?

I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed writing every single one. Every single one of them has challenged me in different ways and, I always try to make the next book better than the last one. At the end of a book I will sometimes be exhausted and emotionally drained. But, you know, I love my job, I adore what I do and that makes creating every book a wonderful experience.

What’s your favourite book of all time?

Eek! I can’t answer that! The books l like change over time. Some are enduring but as I get older and learn more about the world, some of the books I loved back then are not books I love or would call my favourite now. I think books come into your life at different points and how you feel about them will change with time.

What do you see as the perfect destination to get a bit of sun in the spring?

I have all sorts of destinations in mind when I think about getting some sun. Ghana, the Bahamas and Australia are all places I’ve been that have enough sun to warm cold bones.

What type of books do you like to read on a relaxing beach holiday?

I don’t limit myself to one type of book. Being a writer means reading as widely and broadly as I can. Anything with a good narrative, gripping plot and great writing is what I like relax with.

If you were writing a book based abroad, what destination would you choose and why?

My quick reads novel, The Beach Wedding, was set in Ghana. I’d love to return there in my writing because it’s such an incredible place. There is so much to enjoy there – brilliant beaches, amazing food and so much culture to explore. I’m getting a yearning to visit now . . .

What book is currently at the top of your must-read list?

Probably Becoming by Michelle Obama. Technically it’d be at the top of my re-read list, but you know what I mean. I raced through it first time and I’d like to read it again to savour it this time.

 

A big year for Dorothy Koomson …

This summer there will be a HUGE launch for Dorothy Koomson as she releases her brand new thriller, Tell Me Your Secret. Set to be one of the hottest reads of the summer, it’s definitely one to order for your beach bag this year.

Find out more here.

 

 

The post Thomas Cook Book Club: An interview with Dorothy Koomson appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Events around the world – which should I attend?

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While temperatures might be heating up at home, events and celebrations taking place around the world will take it up a level. We’ve handpicked some of the more unusual events to inspire you to head out and chase the sun.

DAY OF THE DEAD, MEXICO
Who can resist this colourful display of costume and culture in celebration of those who have passed on to the other side. If
you’re in Mexico for the Day of the Dead, you’ll see calacas everywhere; a colloquial term for the depiction of skulls or skeletons dressed up in different ways, representing joyous festivity rather than anything otherwise gloomy. I bet you can guess the director who has a liking for calacas-like figures too. Here’s a hint… He made the opposite of a dream before Christmas.

MARATHON DES SABLES,MOROCCO

Described as “the toughest footrace on earth”, you’ll be hard pushed not to find the participants of this marathon courageous; or outrageous depending on your perspective. The Marathon des Sables expects competitors to race 156 miles over six days, through the Sahara Desert of all places. It looks like this arduous journey has really caught on too, with Fuerteventura in the Canaries and Peru coming up with their own versions of the event last year. And you thought the London Marathon was hard.

LA TOMATINA, SPAIN
Did you ever find yourself in the middle of a food fight at school? Feet stamping on the ground in wild camaraderie, spaghetti flying over Tom’s head, a stray baked bean sliding down Emma’s face? Well, in Buñol, Spain, upwards of 40,000 people gather, armed with 115,000 kilograms of tomatoes, and… well… chuck them at each other. What’s more, visitors from around Europe flock to the town to join in the fun. Hold my bag Mum, I’m going in!

SONGKRAN, THAILAND
Hailed as one of THE festivals to catch while travelling the Far East, Thai new year is celebrated with the Songkran water festival. In some of the hottest days of the year, people come together to celebrate and cool down by throwing water at each other. Water pistols, buckets, hoses; anything will do in this country-wide water fight. Be sure to wear something mucky though, as once the ‘din sor pong’ powder comes out, you’ll be covered in a white powder, paste-like mess.

Where’s your next adventure taking you? Let me know in the comments below.

*Your chance to win £1000. One prize to be won daily over 25 days. Enter at a Thomas Cook store. Entry is not free.  To enter, purchase travel money.  Buy back transactions are excluded.  For each £1 spent, you’ll receive 1 entry to that day’s prize draw.  A winner will be selected randomly and will be notified the next day (except when the draw falls on a weekend or bank holiday, when the winner will be notified on the next working day).  Open to all UK residents aged 18 years and over.  Opening date for entries is 9.00am on 29/03/19 and closing date for entries is 5.30pm on 22/04/19.  Multiple entries per person allowed.  Full terms and conditions can be found here. Promoted by TCCT Retail Limited trading as Thomas Cook.

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Wedding

Top 5 tips for planning your wedding abroad

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It’s the most exciting day of your life, and there’s plenty to do as the big day approaches. So, why not take a look at our top tips on planning your wedding abroad.

As seen in Weddings & Honeymoons 2019

1. Ceremony choices

For your ceremony you can choose a civil or religious service, or even a blessing. Try and find a destination that blends your traditions with what is respectful to the country, and match your setting.

2. Setting a date

Consider when your closest friends and family are free, especially if they’re in the military or in a profession like teaching, because without them, there’ll be no wedding party to speak of. Research the weather of the country on your chosen date, too. Organise your wedding a little later in the year because although summer in the UK is lovely, in places like Turkey it can be very hot during the day.

3.Guests

Think carefully about who you would like to share your special day with. It stands to reason that not everyone you know will be able to pack their bags, hop on a plane and join you for your wedding abroad, so, restrict your guest list to those that are closest to you. There’s  also a good reason for another party when you get back on UK soil!

4. What to wear

Choose your wedding dress based on where you want to go and what the weather’s like. For instance, in some churches or places of worship you may need to dress more modestly and cover your shoulders, and in hot destinations you’ll probably want something light and floaty.

5. Legal matter and must-dos

Do lots of research into the country where you’d like to marry. As well as residency, many countries have specific rules for weddings, especially for divorcees and same-sex marriages. Some require you to have held a civil ceremony, and most require specific documentation. Your wedding concierge will be able to talk you through all of these details and help to relieve any worries that you might have.

If you’re planning a wedding abroad, head over to our destination wedding page and find out all you need to know. You can also find details of our wedding concierge team, who really are the best people to talk to for all things weddings!

 


*Your chance to win £1000. One prize to be won daily over 25 days. Enter at a Thomas Cook store. Entry is not free.  To enter, purchase travel money.  Buy back transactions are excluded.  For each £1 spent, you’ll receive 1 entry to that day’s prize draw.  A winner will be selected randomly and will be notified the next day (except when the draw falls on a weekend or bank holiday, when the winner will be notified on the next working day).  Open to all UK residents aged 18 years and over.  Opening date for entries is 9.00am on 29/03/19 and closing date for entries is 5.30pm on 22/04/19.  Multiple entries per person allowed.  Full terms and conditions can be found here. Promoted by TCCT Retail Limited trading as Thomas Cook.

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Easter special: Best chocolate in Europe

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Easter’s come round quick this year, hasn’t it? I swear it’s only just been Christmas and I’ve barely got through the chocolate I received then. Don’t worry though, I can always fit more in…

While I dream of all the choccie I’ll be tucking into, let me help you dream of the wonderful European cities you can visit on the hunt for the best chocolate.

Prague

From cakes to truffles to pralines, the Czech Republic have a real taste for the cocoa-based confectionery. Luxury high-end chocolatiers found in Prague, usually set their sights on traditional Belgian pralines, and what a tasty treat to create. Head to Havelská Street and you’ll find Chocolate Monkey, a bona fide emporium of chocolatey delights. You’ll be able to enjoy the good stuff in the cafe, buy it from the shop, or make your very own in the workshop – just make sure you book your slot.

Now, you don’t always need to do eat chocolate to enjoy its velvety goodness; it’s just as good in warm, liquid format. Nestled in the heart of the Old Town is Choco Cafe, with the most delicious hot chocolate you could ever find. Don’t miss out next time you’re in Prague, you won’t regret it.

Paris

Paris ChocolatesOh the city of love. How could we pass Paris by when talking about everybody’s favourite treat for romantic occasions. Not to mention the fact some of the best chefs in the world come from France, so there must be a few that know a thing or two about milk and cocoa.

One great tip is to head to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, where you’ll find many of the city’s chocolate artisans, making everything from nutty pralines to creamy ganaches. You’ll also find one of the world’s best chocolatiers, Michel Chaudun. Try one of his scrumptious truffles while marvelling at the impressive sculptures he creates; this is no ordinary chocolate-maker, it’s an artist at work.

 

Krakow

If you want to eat the sweet stuff in style then Krakow has some really great offerings. As a matter of fact, E. Wedel Chocolate Lounge is renowned for it’s regally, elegant decor with a stunning, vaulted glass ceiling and portraits of Poland’s favourite chocolate brand’s founders, hanging throughout its decadent space. Cakes, chocolates and pralines are just a few of the tasty treats on offer.

If you simply want to walk away with an abundance of chocolates to share with the family, or to eat on your own, then you can’t go wrong with Kawiarnia Karmello, found on the Royal Route. Walk away with a selection of yummie treats, chosen by your fair hand, and enjoy some of the best coffee around at the same time.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam Chocolates

If you consider yourself a bit of a chocolate connoisseur, the Netherlands’ capital is the spot for you. Use your sweet tooth to up your Amstergram game and head for Punccini Bomboni. This delightful cafe and restaurant, combines chocolate and spices from the freshest ingredients. Although the variety isn’t enormous, the quality is truly amazing.

This family-run shop has a down to earth philosophy combined with a master knowledge of chocolate. Head to the center of the city to find out how the ingredients and best methods are put to the test, to give you an unforgettable experience.

 

 *Your chance to win £1000. One prize to be won daily over 25 days. Enter at a Thomas Cook store. Entry is not free.  To enter, purchase travel money.  Buy back transactions are excluded.  For each £1 spent, you’ll receive 1 entry to that day’s prize draw.  A winner will be selected randomly and will be notified the next day (except when the draw falls on a weekend or bank holiday, when the winner will be notified on the next working day).  Open to all UK residents aged 18 years and over.  Opening date for entries is 9.00am on 29/03/19 and closing date for entries is 5.30pm on 22/04/19.  Multiple entries per person allowed.  Full terms and conditions can be read at thomascook.com/fe-promo-terms-and-conditions/.  Promoted by TCCT Retail Limited trading as Thomas Cook.

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Introducing Thomas Cook Book Club: Welcome spring with Jill Mansell

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We are extremely excited to introduce our brand new Thomas Cook Book Club, in partnership with Headline Publishers.

Over the next year, we’ll be able to share with you, book recommendations, book reviews and even exclusives from fantastic authors, themselves. So, let’s dive right in with the latest offering from Jill Mansell.

Easter City Breaks

Spring into summer with Jill Mansell!

Booking a spring getaway soon? We have just the thing to put on your holiday reading list; the latest feel-good book from the bestselling author Jill Mansell – Maybe This Time is our first pick for Thomas Cook Book Club. Whether retreating to your armchair for some stress-free spring reading or jetting off for some early Easter sun, this is just the thing to help you say goodbye to cold winter nights and hello to brighter spring days.

What’s the book about?

Mimi isn’t looking for love when she spends a weekend in Goosebrook, the Cotswolds village her dad has moved to. And her first encounter with Cal, who lives there too, is nothing like a scene in a romantic movie – although she can’t help noticing how charismatic he is. But Cal’s in no position to be any more than a friend, and Mimi heads back to her busy London life.

When they meet again four years later, it’s still not to be. Cal is focusing on his family, and Mimi on her career. Then Cal dives into a potentially perfect new romance whilst Mimi’s busy fixing other people’s relationships.

It seems as if something, or someone else, always gets in their way. Will it ever be the right time for both of them?

Jill Mansell meets Thomas Cook

Jill Mansell

What’s your favourite book of all time?

Goodness, I’ve read so many books in my life. I shall say Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because it’s perfect.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

Oh, Jilly Cooper without a doubt. I just adored everything she wrote and longed to be able to write in a way that would entertain people as much as her brilliant novels have entertained me.

What type of holiday would you go on to help escape the winter blues?

We love cruises! So much! I like having lots to do on a holiday and big ships are full of activities and so sociable. If we’re escaping the winter blues, let’s sail the Caribbean!

If you were going on a beach holiday, what book would you take?

I would take several. But, if I’m really only allowed one, it would be AJ Pearce’s, Dear Mrs Bird, which is an absolute delight.

If you were writing a book based abroad, what destination would you choose?

Ooh, maybe I could set my next book on a cruise ship – every day a fabulous new location and plenty of shenanigans going on!

The post Introducing Thomas Cook Book Club: Welcome spring with Jill Mansell appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Introducing Thomas Cook Book Club: Welcome spring with Jill Mansell

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We are extremely excited to introduce our brand new Thomas Cook Book Club, in partnership with Headline Publishers.

Over the next year, we’ll be able to share with you, book recommendations, book reviews and even exclusives from fantastic authors, themselves. So, let’s dive right in with the latest offering from Jill Mansell.

Easter City Breaks

Spring into summer with Jill Mansell!

Booking a spring getaway soon? We have just the thing to put on your holiday reading list; the latest feel-good book from the bestselling author Jill Mansell – Maybe This Time. Whether retreating to your armchair for some stress-free spring reading or jetting off for some early Easter sun, this is just the thing to help you say goodbye to cold winter nights and hello to brighter spring days.

What’s the book about?

Mimi isn’t looking for love when she spends a weekend in Goosebrook, the Cotswolds village her dad has moved to. And her first encounter with Cal, who lives there too, is nothing like a scene in a romantic movie – although she can’t help noticing how charismatic he is. But Cal’s in no position to be any more than a friend, and Mimi heads back to her busy London life.

When they meet again four years later, it’s still not to be. Cal is focusing on his family, and Mimi on her career. Then Cal dives into a potentially perfect new romance whilst Mimi’s busy fixing other people’s relationships.

It seems as if something, or someone else, always gets in their way. Will it ever be the right time for both of them?

Jill Mansell meets Thomas Cook

Jill Mansell

What’s your favourite book of all time?

Goodness, I’ve read so many books in my life. I shall say Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because it’s perfect.

Who has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

Oh, Jilly Cooper without a doubt. I just adored everything she wrote and longed to be able to write in a way that would entertain people as much as her brilliant novels have entertained me.

What type of holiday would you go on to help escape the winter blues?

We love cruises! So much! I like having lots to do on a holiday and big ships are full of activities and so sociable. If we’re escaping the winter blues, let’s sail the Caribbean!

If you were going on a beach holiday, what book would you take?

I would take several. But, if I’m really only allowed one, it would be AJ Pearce’s, Dear Mrs Bird, which is an absolute delight.

If you were writing a book based abroad, what destination would you choose?

Ooh, maybe I could set my next book on a cruise ship – every day a fabulous new location and plenty of shenanigans going on!

The post Introducing Thomas Cook Book Club: Welcome spring with Jill Mansell appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Spiritual places around the world

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Holidays are always about taking time with family or for yourself, to relax and recharge. But, sometimes, we’re looking for something a little deeper that’ll touch the soul. Have a look through our favourite spiritual places around the world and see where your next adventure could take you.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, MexicoVenture away from Mexico’s coast and inland to find Chichen Itza, one of the “Seven Wonders of the New World”. Dating back a thousand years, the centrepiece, El Castillo, is a truly remarkable sight, with hidden secrets built into its design. What will really put you at one with nature though, is the three natural cenotes – or underground pools – that are sacred to the Mayan gods. Many people visit for the annual spring and autumn equinox, to refuel their souls with the reveal of the Mayan serpent god Kulkukan with the cast of shadows by the sun.

 

St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

St Peter’s Basilica Vatican City The story goes that when St Peter the apostle was martyred at Circus Nero, his body was tenderly cared for by those faithful to Jesus Christ, and buried in a necropolis. This necropolis is what we today refer to as St Perter’s Basilica; one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. St Peter’s remains were rediscovered in the 20th century, and after much forensic analysis, it was confirmed that the bones found were in fact that of St Peter. It’s unsurprising then that as one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, the Basilica is held as the spiritual centre of The Vatican.

 

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Mount Sinai EgyptAt the top of Mount Sinai, Moses himself is believed to have received the Ten Commandments, that many societies operate on the basis of to this day. Although never factually proven, many people flock to this site for its religious significance and, unsurprisingly, monasteries cover this area. For a views of a lifetime, head to St Catherine’s. You better pack those comfy shoes though, because it’s a at an elevation of 1,550 metres, with Mount Sinai itself sitting at 2,285 metres high.

If you have a couple of little ones running around, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can take them with you to yoga classes at our Sunwing Ocean Beach Club resort, so they can find their Zen. Have a read of this dad’s personal account of his yoga experience with his kids, who were joined by our lovable mascots Lollo & Bernie. Maybe it’ll inspire you…

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A Honeymoon to Remember

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Your honeymoon is the most special holiday you’ll ever take and what destination you pick is just as important as your venue for the big day; it’s where you’ll create those magical memories of your first days of married life and the only time that the focus is entirely on you as a couple.

Exotic escapes

Strolling hand-in-hand across white-sand shores while the waves lap gently at your feet and having a kiss under moon-lit starry skies; sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Or, how about seeing something new together for the first time, like gorgeous cityscapes from high above or a spectacular natural wonder? Whatever type of couple you are and no matter what you’re looking for, your faraway fantasies can become your reality on your honeymoon.

Share the experience of snorkelling under crystal-clear waters, spotting colourful fish between the coral reefs in Mauritius. Take up a cooking class and learn how to cook authentic Caribbean cuisine that you can recreate at home, to remind you of your magical time away. If you’re more of a adventurous couple, you could explore the ancient Chichen Itza ruins or zip line at Xel-Há park in Mexico. Why not head to the States for a sightseeing extravaganza, starting in the Big Apple and ending amongst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.

 

Romantic getaway but not too far away

 

Of course, you don’t need to spend long hours on a plane to have an amazing honeymoon; you could visit somewhere just over the Channel (and a little bit more!) and still have the time of your lives. Secluded coves in Croatia, intimate tavernas in Spain and some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes await in our closer to home destinations.

Take a boat trip to a deserted island and enjoy a picnic, just the two of you; relax after the big day with a couple’s pamper session in a spa; capture your special time together with a photoshoot within your hotel’s lush landscaped gardens. With places like the Canaries, Greece and Cyprus being a shorter flight, it’s quite easy to make your honeymoon a family affair. Meaning, you can take the kids along too and celebrate the lives you’ve created together, as well as you both tying the knot.

European cities of love

For something a little different, you could take a tour of some of Europe’s most romantic cities. Start in Paris, where all romantic excursions should begin. Pop over to Amsterdam and enjoy a Dutch pastry before heading out on a tandem bike ride. Let Berlin inspire you with its impressive architecture; from Brandenburg Gate to the German Historical Museum. Then, complete your tour of love in Venice. Another one of the most romantic cities in Europe, step onto a gondola and let the romance of the city wind you through its famous canals.

Make it extra special

Many hotels offer complimentary touches for those celebrating their honeymoon, to add a little extra something to make your stay as special as it should be.

Imagine arriving at your hotel to find your room has been upgraded, and there’s a chilled bottle of champagne with chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for you. You could be having an extra-long lie-in and morning snuggles when you receive a knock at the door to let you know that breakfast has been delivered; perfect to enjoy in bed together. Or, your last evening in paradise could be spent having a private dinner on the beach lit purely by candlelight. Each hotel offers something different to make it the honeymoon you’ve been dreaming of.

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How successful was your Veganuary?

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With Christmas long behind us and New Year resolutions in full swing, the big movement for the start of 2019 was many people trying out a vegan diet.

“Veganuary”, specifically, is a charity that promotes the benefits of cutting out animal products from your diet. The big reasons to do so are to improve your health, for the environment, nutritional benefits and, of course, for the animals.

Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts promo offerThere are many hotels and resorts that you can book with us, who are no stranger to the vegan revolution. So, if you’re looking for a holiday that can incorporate your new found, or long-held, dietary choices, why not try some of the delicious vegan-friendly dishes found in these stunning places.

Cook’s ClubFood in Cook's Club

 

Casa Cook

Casa Cook Food

 

Club Marvy

Club Marvy Izmir Turkey

  • Found in Turkey’s Izmir area
  • Organic food served in all restaurants, including vegan and vegetarian cuisine
  • Organic locally, produced wine

Have you tried a vegan diet? Or, have you been vegan for a while and would like to tell us about your experience? Whatever you’d like to say, share all in the comments below.

Promotional Code: HOTEL100*

*Save £100 (£1000 minimum spend)  :  Saving is per booking and applies to Thomas Cook package holidays that include accommodation at a Thomas Cook Resorts & Hotels property (branded SENTIDO, Sunwing, SunConnect, Cook’s Club, Casa Cook, Smartline or Sunprime) and flights with Thomas Cook Airlines departing between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2020, when you spend a minimum of £1,000.   Promo code must be entered on the payment page when booking online for saving to be applied.   You must search and book via the  “Holidays” tab on this website.  Saving applies only to those qualifying holidays displaying the promo code advert within the main holiday photo on the thomascook.com website. Only one promo code per booking can be used. Saving cannot be combined with any other promo code, offer or discount unless stated otherwise. Offer available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn or altered without notice. All holidays are subject to availability and tour operator booking conditions. In the event of any difficulty applying the promo code, please call 0844 879 8515 for assistance. Calls will cost 7p per minute plus network extras.

The post How successful was your Veganuary? appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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How successful was your Veganuary?

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With Christmas long behind us and New Year resolutions in full swing, the big movement for the start of 2019 was many people trying out a vegan diet.

“Veganuary”, specifically, is a charity that promotes the benefits of cutting out animal products from your diet. The big reasons to do so are to improve your health, for the environment, nutritional benefits and, of course, for the animals.

Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts promo offerThere are many hotels and resorts that you can book with us, who are no stranger to the vegan revolution. So, if you’re looking for a holiday that can incorporate your new found, or long-held, dietary choices, why not try some of the delicious vegan-friendly dishes found in these stunning places.

Cook’s ClubFood in Cook's Club

 

Casa Cook

Casa Cook Food

 

Club Marvy

Club Marvy Izmir Turkey

  • Found in Turkey’s Izmir area
  • Organic food served in all restaurants, including vegan and vegetarian cuisine
  • Organic locally, produced wine

Have you tried a vegan diet? Or, have you been vegan for a while and would like to tell us about your experience? Whatever you’d like to say, share all in the comments below.

Promotional Code: HOTEL100*

*Save £100 (£1000 minimum spend)  :  Saving is per booking and applies to Thomas Cook package holidays that include accommodation at a Thomas Cook Resorts & Hotels property (branded SENTIDO, Sunwing, SunConnect, Cook’s Club, Casa Cook, Smartline or Sunprime) and flights with Thomas Cook Airlines departing between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2020, when you spend a minimum of £1,000.   Promo code must be entered on the payment page when booking online for saving to be applied.   You must search and book via the  “Holidays” tab on this website.  Saving applies only to those qualifying holidays displaying the promo code advert within the main holiday photo on the thomascook.com website. Only one promo code per booking can be used. Saving cannot be combined with any other promo code, offer or discount unless stated otherwise. Offer available for a limited time only and may be withdrawn or altered without notice. All holidays are subject to availability and tour operator booking conditions. In the event of any difficulty applying the promo code, please call 0844 879 8515 for assistance. Calls will cost 7p per minute plus network extras.

The post How successful was your Veganuary? appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Will Brexit affect my holiday?

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There may be many things we’re not sure about with Brexit, not least our own government and the current political situation. But, don’t let the relentless messaging from the media get you down, because we can provide you with some certainty.

You might’ve already booked your travel plans for 2019, or maybe you’re researching for a holiday right now. Either way, you probably have questions as to what will happen with your booking once the UK leaves the EU. Well, if you book by 29 March 2019, we guarantee that the amount you pay for your holiday won’t change in any way with our Brexit Price Guarantee.

Making sure that your next break is the best one yet is our number 1 priority so you can be safe in the knowledge that your trip will remain unchanged. But, If you’re ever unsure, we have plenty of resources to give you peace of mind. Keep up to date with our approach to Brexit and get the latest news from the world of travel. Failing that, get in touch with our customer support team who’ll be more than happy to give you advice on any travel related questions.

So, what’s left to do? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the feeling that your holiday is secured and you’ll soon be enjoying somewhere like these gems…

Have you booked your 2019 summer holiday yet? Or, maybe you’re more into a winter getaway. Either way, let us know where you’re headed next year in the comments below.

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Roam Annual Multi-Trip: tailored travel insurance for all your adventures

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Are you a real adventurer? A traveller with a thirst to see the world? Well, while you’re busy planning your next trip, hopping, skipping and jumping across continents, here at Thomas Cook Money, we have your insurance covered.

Our new Roam annual multi-trip insurance policy will cover you for as many trips as you wish, in the UK or abroad, over a twelve-month period. Just choose from three different levels of cover; Essential, Select and Prime. Through the easy-to-use online booking process, you can tailor your insurance specifically to your needs and never have to worry about it once you’ve started your travels.

There’s plenty of times in life where you’ve prepared as much as you possibly can. For your holiday, you might even have a plan of where you’ll stay, what you’ll see and the amount of money it’ll take to do everything. But sometimes life gets in the way, and you just can’t predict the future. Holidaymakers who have had to cancel their holidays due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, will have lost the cost of their entire holiday if they failed to take travel insurance that included cancellation cover.

Well, with Roam’s new multi-trip insurance, you can cover yourself for cancellations, saving that money for the next time you’re free to fly. So, don’t unpack those bags just yet!

Whether you’d like to take additional baggage cover or you’d simply like an easier way of purchasing your insurance, our new digital way of insuring your holidays means you have more time to plan for your trip.

I guess the question is, where will your next adventure take you?

 

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The Canary Islands: a creative dream

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I could sit here and tell you all about how the Canary Islands offer fantastic temperatures year-round, beaches to die for and hotels with swimming pools you’ll never want to leave. But, did you know that this collection of islands has been inspiring the film and literary world for decades? Join me while I explore the Canaries’ creative charm.

As seen in Thomas Cook Winter Sun


Box office signIN THE MOVIES

Gran Canaria

Herman Melville’s world-renowned novel, “Moby Dick”, came to the big screen by way of Director John Huston in 1950. But, it was in fact Gran Canaria that featured in the closing scenes of this American epic.

Once you’ve explored the landscape where this movie classic was made, stay at Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront. The little ones will love having fun in our Lollo & Bernie Kids’ Club, and you can relax after a long day of exploring in the room you chose after using our Choose Your Room service.

Lanzarote and Tenerife

In late 1965, one of the most famous British-made films, featuring an iconic image of Raquel Welch in a fur bikini, was shot on the islands of Lanzarote and Tenerife. “One Million Years B.C.” required an active volcano, and, although Lanzarote and Tenerife are both volcanic islands, film makers had to fashion lava out of wallpaper paste, porridge oats, dry ice and red dye.

Fuerteventura

The 2014 biblical epic, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, starring Christian Bale, split it’s filming locations between Spain’s Andalusia and Fuerteventura. A number of locations were used on the Canary Island’s second largest island, including: Cofete, Punta de Jandía, El Cotillo, the valleys of Buen Paso and Los Canarios, Risco del Paso and Tebeto. Most impressive fact? The scene where Moses parted the Red Sea was filmed in Fuerteventura; how very holy!

 

Woman writing notes on desk INSPIRING A LITERARY LEGEND

Agatha’s refuge

After a traumatic few years for the British writer, it’s said that Agatha Christie retreated to Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife to complete her successful novel, “The Mystery of the Blue Train”. However, when Christie visited, Tenerife was deprived of any white sand beaches; something she greatly missed.

In search of those soft sands, Christie headed to Gran Canaria, where she began writing “The Companion”; one of the mysteries included in her collection of short stories, “The Thirteen Problems.” Within this story, inspiration she felt from the island is certainly apparent, particularly the beach of Las Nieves.

Landscapes on the Canary Islands have an almost chameleon-like ability to allow for backdrops and settings to be vividly portrayed; an inviting prospect for creative types. Offering sandy beaches, mountain ranges, lush vineyards and lively harbours, you’ve got to experience the magic for yourself. Who knows, it might inspire a great novel in you!

 

Has a holiday ever inspired you to get creative or start up a new hobby? I’d love to know in the comments below.

 

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North Africa: Uncover Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco

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As seen in Thomas Cook Winter Sun

As seen in Thomas Cook Winter SunEgypt, Tunisia and Morocco are just three countries that make up this beautiful part of Africa. Bursting with diversity, natural beauty and steeped in history there’s so much for you to discover here. For a last-minute break or a chance to enjoy some sun this winter, find out why North Africa is an ideal destination:

Egypt

Ancient Egypt has some of the richest history in the world, with pyramids, pharaohs and architecture dating back over thousands of years. There’s no better way to see it than on a Nile river cruise.

Offering captivating views of the Nile, passing by unforgettable sights and ancient architecture, delve into Egypt’s history as you step back in time. The Valley of the Kings, Temple of Luxor, Kom Ombo and the Temple of Edfu are just a few of the ancient wonders along the banks of the Nile.

The sunsets found in Egypt are some of the best in the world; watch the sun melt behind the pyramids or into the mountains from the comfort of your sun bed. Sailing between the idyllic city of Aswan and historical Luxor, a river cruise along the Nile is an unforgettable experience.

If you want to combine the Nile cruise with a stay in a luxury five-star hotel then choose the SUNRISE Royal Makadi Resort & Aqua Park, known for its stunning beachfront location and wide variety of pools, restaurants and its very own aqua park.


Tunisia

The golden sand beaches, endless deserts and extensive thalassotherapy (using seawater to beneficial effect on the skin) make Tunisia a popular destination for some winter sun. The mixed Mediterranean and North African climate means you can expect mild temperatures when it’s super chilly at home.

If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of this beautiful country, staying in Hammamet is the best way to experience authentic Tunisia. The traditional medina and the quaint old town centre, with its narrow cobbled streets, are filled with Tunisian magic. You can haggle till your heart’s content around here.

As one of the best places to experience excellent thalassotherapy spa treatments, Tunisia is great for relaxation and rejuvenation, with many of the hotels using seawater as a base for a variety of treatments. For those hours you want to spend enjoying some ‘me’ time, the SunConnect Delfino Beach’s spa offers a variety of revitalising treatments; from a Turkish bath to indulgent massages.


Morocco

On the doorstep of Europe, Morocco is oozing with colourful diversity. With its sweeping mountain ranges, bustling cities and captivating culture, this beautiful country is the crown jewel of North Africa.

As one of Morocco’s most popular destinations, Marrakech is a must-see when travelling to North Africa. Take a trip to the heart of this bustling city and visit the lively Jemaa el-Fna, a market square buzzing with local life, come day or night. The SENTIDO Kenzi Menara Palace sits only a short drive from this popular market, perfectly positioned for exploring!

Just minutes outside Marrakech, the Toubkal National Park is home to the highest peak of the Atlas mountain range. An ideal place for families, hikers and nature lovers to enjoy a day out, Toubkal provides Instagram-worthy shots wherever you look. With almost year round sunshine it’ll make those stunning views look even better.

The winter months in Morocco also provide ideal conditions for surfing. You’ll never struggle to find waves on the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Are you looking to escape for a bit of winter sun? Would you choose Egypt, Tunisia or Morocco? Let us know in the comments below.

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#noplaceforplastic: our promise to clean up the beach

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I think we’d all agree that there’s far too much waste in our seas and oceans. The fact is, eight million pieces of plastic pollution enter our oceans every day. This has devastating consequences; harming wildlife and washing up on the very beaches we want to enjoy while on holiday. What’s worse, the amount of plastic litter that enters the Mediterranean Sea increases by 40% during the summer months.

That’s why, today, we are launching our pledge on plastics.

Take a look at our promise in the video below…

Our #noplaceforplastic campaign will see us eliminate single-use plastic wherever possible and give a new lease of life to what otherwise would be thrown away.

This commitment is just the beginning. We recognise how much work needs to be done to understand how much plastic we really use. We’ll take immediate action by beginning with straws and stirrers found on our airlines and in our hotels; from SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts and Sunwing Family Resorts to the latest entry to our Thomas Cook family, Cook’s Club.

What’s more, you told us that more than a fifth of you are more likely to throw away plastic than recycle while you’re away. So, we want to raise awareness and find new ways to make it easier to breathe new life into tired plastics.

That’s why we’re also announcing a new pilot with designer’s, Wyatt and Jack. They’ll take our holidaymakers’ broken and discarded plastic inflatables, lilos and children’s armbands, and turn them into bags and holiday accessories to be used again and again.

The challenge is huge and we know how much we have to do. But, we also know we’ve got to start somewhere and we hope that by showing our commitment to make a change, we’ll be able to influence others to do the same.

To see our full pledge, head to thomascook.com/sustainable-tourism/

Join the conversation: #noplaceforplastic

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