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Lily Anderson

5 Instagrammable spots in Berlin you need to visit

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If you’re completely obsessed with taking pictures of everything from dogs and street art to food, then you’ll love getting snap happy on your next city break. Fill your feed with images from your next trip to Berlin and wait for the likes to roll in. It’s the perfect place to capture moments from history, uncover urban architecture and even visit an abandoned theme park.

What are you waiting for? Get out your camera or phone, and visit these five Instagrammable spots in Berlin.

1 Head for the metroYellow metroNew York City isn’t the only place to see iconic yellow transport; Berlin’s also famous for its sunny metro trains. While you’re waiting to explore your next spot, stop and grab a picture. A boomerang or a still shot will definitely brighten up your feed.

2 Explore an abandoned theme parkAbandoned themepark

Plänterwald closed its doors to the public in 2001; today you’ll find an overgrown forest with the skeleton remains of an amusement park. On a guided tour, unleash your inner photographer, and click away at the eerie Ferris wheel and rollercoaster.

3 Treat yourself to a coffee and waffle

Traditional German waffle

You’ll find incredible photography opportunities in every setting in Berlin. Head for a café and choose a traditional German waffle. This sweet snack can be topped with berries, apple sauce, cream or powdered sugar. Whatever flavour you choose, it’ll make a brilliant addition to your insta story!

4 Spend your time looking up

Berlin architectureAs the saying goes, “sometimes you miss what’s right in front of you”, and when surrounded by beautiful architecture, it’s easily done. There’s no need for filters, as all you’ll need to do is just look up to get some breathtaking pictures of buildings around the capital.

5 Walk back in time

Soviet War Memorial Treptow, Berlin, Germany

Capture a piece of German history as you walk through the weeping willows and uncover the largest memorial in the country. The sombre scene is a beautiful tribute, so please be respectful, as The Soviet War Memorial in Treptow is a place for remembrance.

Are you thinking about Berlin for your next city break, but want to learn a bit more? Click the button below for more inspiration.

Do you love taking pictures? Do you have any tips on where to take incredible shots in Berlin? Let me know in the comments below.

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8 reasons why families will love Sunlight Bahia Principe Costa Adeje

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Take in all Tenerife has to offer at the Sunlight Bahia Principe Costa Adeje. From incredible year-round weather to volcanic landscapes and family-friendly beaches, there are plenty of reasons to book your holiday to this great hotel. If that isn’t enough, this stunning resort is located right at the top of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

With thousands of hotels to choose from, you can spend hours researching and reading through reviews to make sure you’ve found the right hotel for you. Luckily, you can skip trawling through the internet because I’ve just unpacked my suitcase and have the inside scoop. So, put your feet up and take a look through my 12 reasons why you’ll love it just as much as I did.

1 24-hour snacks and soft drinks

Has your siesta run late into the night? Did you miss dinner after that splashing waterpark trip? Don’t panic! There’s an incredible selection of snacks and soft drinks available around the clock.

2 Bus to Playa de las Américas

Twice a day you can catch a hotel-run service to the southwest coast, where you can enjoy six sandy beaches or a trip to Mount Teide National Park.

3 Go putty for mini-golf

Challenge your family to a game of mini-golf! Have lots of fun around the course seeing who can get the most holes in one. Up the stakes and let the winner get extra dessert from the buffet restaurant.

Lollo & Bernie4 Lollo & Bernie Kids’ Club

Little ones aged 3 to 11 will have the best time playing, drawing and meeting new friends. Find our friendly mascots, Lollo & Bernie, around the hotel for high-fives and hugs.

5 Skim a stone

Put on your comfortable shoes and take a 20-minute walk to a beautiful pebbled beach in Playa Parais. When it’s quiet, teach your little ones how to safely skim a stone across the water.

6 Fun at the Junior Club

8 to 11-year-olds will love having their own adventures at the Junior Club. With exciting activities like face painting and water games, there’s plenty to keep them entertained for hours.

Spa Time7 Spa time for Mum and Dad

For an extra special treat, head for the spa where you can book a relaxing treatment like a hot stone massage. It’s a fantastic opportunity to look after your mind, body and soul.

8 Easy Check-In and Bag Drop

Check your luggage in at your hotel before you fly home with Easy Check-In. Meet our airline team at reception, hand over your suitcases and collect your boarding pass.*

Have you been to the Sunlight Bahia Principe Costa Adeje before? Have I missed anything from your list? Let me know in the comments below.

Spain banner*Available on selected flights between May-October 2019. Terms and conditions apply.

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Holiday like a local

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What does going on holiday mean to you? We’ve really seen a big change in the demand for people looking to explore further outside their hotel. Also on the rise, are activities that benefit the local community.

Not only does this have a massive impact on the area you’re travelling to, but it gives you more of an authentic experience. Did you know that half of all Brits are more likely to visit a market or support local business versus a decade ago?

If living like a local sounds like your ideal break, we’ve got some great news! This summer, we’re launching a range of ’Love Local’ experiences. All Love Local activities are designed to make a positive contribution to the area, improve the lives of local people and preserve traditions and locations. By summer 2020, we expect to have over 70 experiences on offer, with at least one Love Local activity based in all of our holiday destinations.

Here are three experiences we think you’ll love:

Mayan village ritual

  1. VENTURE INTO THE HEART OF A MAYAN VILLAGE

Take a guided tour in Yucatan, Mexico and take part in a traditional Mayan ceremony. This ritual will teach you about the healing powers of plants and the benefits they have to this community. End this excursion by joining residents for a refreshing dive into a beautiful, natural cenote.

 

Bananas

  1. TASTE THE LOCAL DELICACIES OF LA PALMA

If you consider yourself a foodie, you’ll love hiking up Time Viewpoint. Not only can you take in some breathtaking panoramic views of the banana plantations, but you’ll learn all about the banana industry. Plus, there’s lots of tasting to be done!

 

Biking holiday

  1. ON YOUR BIKE IN COSTA DORADA

Combine nature and action on your next holiday to Costa Dorada. Ride around the captivating Catalan national parks before stopping off at a family-owned vineyard. Find out about the Monstant wine region and how its wine is produced.

 

Learn more about how we are changing are holiday habits by reading our new Holiday Report.

Do you enjoy learning about the local community? What activity would you like to see on Love Local’s itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

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72 hours in Jamaica

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Last month, I travelled to Jamaica for the first time. After a ten-hour flight and a two-hour transfer, exploring this paradise island didn’t sound like my idea of fun… But, staring out of the coach window, I was mesmerised by the colourful shacks flashing before my eyes. There was no way I wanted to miss out on any time I had to explore here; especially as I only had 72 hours.

Mystic Mountain Jamaica

Mystic Mountain

Mystic Mountain is around a five-minute drive from Coho Rios. Which was great for me, as I could spend my morning exploring and still have plenty of time in the afternoon to relax by the pool at The Moon Palace.

There’s one thing you should know before you go, though: if you don’t like heights, don’t look down while you take the 700-foot chair lift into Mystic Mountain. If you’re an adventurer like me then you’re in luck, because the view of the jungle as you rise up is unbelievable; it’s by far the best way to see Ocho Rios.

After you’ve taken in the views, I’d recommend heading for the bobsled ride; this 1000m gravity-drive through the rainforest is a totally unique experience. Not only do you get to see some of the best views of the island, but you can also control how fast you go. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the rush of wind as we sped down the mountain on this amazing ride.

Quad Biking Jamaica

Chukka

The following day, my adrenaline-fuelled trip continued as I travelled to Chukka to try river tubing and quad biking for the first time.

I went with a group of friends to try river tubing , which was indescribable. Once our individual dinghies were tied together, the guide led us down river by leading from the front. Even though he had us singing songs and playing games while we tackled the ripples of the water, I couldn’t help holding my hands over my eyes as the exhilaration of the experience got the better of me. I really did love it, though!

After river tubing, we went off-track on a guided quad bike tour across the tropical countryside. We zoomed through puddles as high as my waist (or so it felt), and got the chance to stop and take in the views of the mystical mountains. The whole experience meant I really got a feel for the “real Jamaica”.

Dunns River Falls

I spent the rest of my trip in Ocho Rios, where I got the chance to go to Dunns River Falls. I was first to go on the first zip wire – there are three in total, which get longer each time. After the safety speech, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. As my feet left the tree ledge and the wire took my weight, I stopped to look down at Dunns River. I was overwhelmed with adrenaline, but the sound of the water flowing echoed around me and calmed me down. It’s certainly a memory I’ll never forget.

Once the thrill of zip wire was over, it was time to stretch my legs. The guide led our group up into Dunns River where the water started to get higher and higher. It was a workout, but fun experiencing the natural water slides. My favourite part was actually the natural massage, where the pressure of the water pressed therapeutically into your back.

Despite only spending 72 hours on this Caribbean island, I fell in love with Jamaica. I explored my adventurous side and it gave me a thirst to experience even more. I’d definitely like to go back and uncover more of the local culture.

Are you looking for an adventure holiday? What would you love to do in Jamaica? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Which Greek island should I visit in May?

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Life in Greece is all about taking it easy. Experience the laid back lifestyle at your own pace, but don’t forget to uncover the ancient history and Greek food while you’re at it. Is this your first time travelling to this beautiful country? Have you been before and loved it so much, you want to visit again?

Greece is one of my favourite places to go for a bit of sightseeing and ‘me’ time around the pool. The difficulty can be knowing which island is right for you. Luckily for you, I’ve seen the famous whitewashed buildings, watched an iconic sunset and drank ouzo in lots of Greek tavernas myself. From all these adventures, I’ve pulled together a guide on which Greek island to visit in May.

 

Kos

If you love spending your days under a parasol and surrounded by sand, Kos is the perfect place for you. Want to dive into some Grecian culture? Uncover treasures like the Roman Odeon of Kos. And when it comes to being family-friendly, it’s one of the quieter islands but still has plenty to keep the kids entertained. For a day out you’ll all love, head for the Aquatica Waterpark to cool off and make a splash.

 

Santorini

Calling all couples! Fall in love with the volcanic landscapes (and each other!) on one of our Santorini escapes. In the day, swim in the deep blue Mediterranean and gaze out at the lava-formed cliffs. By night, head for a chic wine bar, unwind under the stars and chat about how you’ve run off into the sunset.

 

Rhodes

Speaking of sunsets, make the most of ‘golden hour’ in Rhodes and enjoy the archaeological wonder, the Acropolis of Lindos. Whether that’s with your phone, camera or just admiring with your own eyes, the views are out of this world. When you aren’t being wowed by the magical sights, take it easy at SENTIDO Port Royal Villas & Spa. Here you can relax your mind, body and soul with our Holiday Plus Activities.

 

Are you looking for a last-minute escape? What’s your favourite Greek Island? Let me know in the comments below.

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Spa time in Sunprime

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I’m going to book a holiday to surprise my mum. She has a big birthday coming up and I wanted to do something special for her, while also treating myself. Any excuse, right? If you’re looking to unwind too, holidays have lots of health benefits..

Reducing stress, increasing creativity and sleeping better are just some of the benefits of jumping on a plane and exploring somewhere new. But, to really step back, relax and make the most of your time away from the office, head for the spa. Why settle for either-or? At our Sunprime Hotels, you can have the best of both worlds.

Our Sunprime Hotels are designed for guests aged 16 and above, making them the perfect adult-only escapes. There’s a feel-good atmosphere throughout, plus we have a dedicated Sunprime Spa; a space for you to be yourself, enjoy a treatment and relax.

SUNPRIME MONSUAU

Facial treatment Sunprime SpaFor sun, sangria and spa time, head for the Sunprime Monsuau in Majorca. Before putting on your swimsuit and heading for a treatment, stretch out in a yoga class or head to the rooftop bar* for a mocktail.

Once you’re in the zone, leave plenty of time to arrive at the spa-reception to check-in. Whether you’re getting a foot and leg massage, eyelash and eyebrow tint or a classic pedicure, make sure you’re here at least 10 minutes before any session.

If you’re looking for an extra special treat for someone’s birthday or just a nice surprise your partner, choose our most popular treatment, the Sunprime Ritual. It includes a full body massage, facial cleansing, face massage, exfoliation and a caring crème.

If for any reason you can’t make your appointment, cancellations less than 24 hours before will be charged at full payment. So, make sure you pop along and chat to our staff if you don’t think you can make it.

SUNPRIME PEARL BEACH

Sunprime Pearl Beach Spa TreatmentBrand new last year, the Sunprime Pearl Beach in Kos is a beautiful resort for couples and friends alike. The Zen vibes accompanied with beachfront location gives this hotel the ultimate chilled out atmosphere.

Continue the laidback lifestyle by heading to the Sunprime Spa. When you arrive at reception, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who can recommend the best treatment for you. If you’re expecting a little girl or boy, we have an incredible mother-to-be package that’s designed to meet individual needs during each stage of pregnancy.

But, you don’t have to be an expecting mother to reap the rewards here. We have everything from anti-ageing massage experiences to a paraffin bath and eyebrow shaping. If you find you’re out in the sun a lot, go for the Sun Face treatment. It’s beneficial whether it’s before, during or after spending time exposed to UV rays. This session includes a deep hydrating massage, a special hydrating face mask as well as a hand and arm massage.

When you’re fully relaxed, you’re free to head back to the pool area. Just make sure you drink plenty of water and regularly apply sun cream to the face and body. But before you go, head for the spa shop, where you can pick up a luxurious gift for someone special back home. Even shopping here’s a peaceful experience, as you can lose yourself in delightful scents and accessories.

Did you know that all of our Sunprime Hotels have spa treatments? They’re based in some of the most beautiful holiday destinations around the world. Relax at one of our resorts in Spain, Greece or Turkey.

How do you unwind on holiday? What’s your favourite treatment to get at the spa? Let me know in the comments below.

*Weather permitted during peak season

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Happy Earth Day

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As you’re lounging on the sofa enjoying your long weekend, counting down the hours until you go back to work, take a moment to help us celebrate Earth Day.

We launched our promise to clean up the beach in November 2018 and we have already made great progress.

Happy Earth Day from Thomas CookThis year Earth Day’s theme is ‘Protect Our Species’ and as plastic is a global problem, we want to help end plastic waste in our seas. We’re all too aware that every year eight million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans and this has to stop.

Our #noplaceforplastic pledge aims to makes a difference with every holiday, starting from home, on your  journey and even while you’re away. For more information about our plastic promise click here.

Join the conversation: #noplaceforplastic

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The best entertainment to try at our Sunwing Family Resorts

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Holidays come in all shapes and sizes. But, no matter what, all trips with the kids should be jam-packed with entertainment. Designed for having fun, Sunwing Family Resorts offer exciting activities from Lollo & Bernie’s Mini Land to family shows and fitness classes. Spend your days and nights playing, laughing and creating those special summer memories.

Found in destinations like Majorca, Rhodes and Tenerife, we’ve devoted over 50 years to making sure families have the best breaks possible. Before you catch a flight to one of our premium family hotels, find out what entertainment you and the little ones should expect. Psst… think dazzling performances, light-hearted competitions and so much more.

Lollo & Bernie’s Shows

Sunwing Side East BeachTake a break from splashing around in the pool and head for one of Lollo & Bernie’s Shows. Kids will love the warm welcome from our loveable mascots as they join in on all the action. Sit front and centre, clap along and get involved with all the excitement. Sunwing Family Resorts, Lollo & Bernie will wow you with tricks in the circus and amaze you with mystical magic shows.

Several days of the week, youngsters can get the party started at the Mini Disco.  They should bring their best moves and show their new best friends how it’s done. And, there’s even a Lollo & Bernie routine to learn!

 

Talent ShowsMinistar dance

Mini stars: It’s the chance for children to take to the stage and dance to their favourite songs dressed up in our Mini Stars costumes. 3 to 7-year-olds will join the show team to rehearse for their big moment.

Teen Idol: Teenagers can be a star for the night and sing a song to the crowd. The show team will rehearse with 8 to 15-year-olds* as well as help with their make-up and wardrobe. We might find the next Beyoncé or Ed Sheeran!

 

Family Shows

Sunwing Sandy Bay BeachFive days a week, our team put on an incredible performance for the whole family. Every day they’re singing, dancing and rehearsing to bring you a spectacular show.

With five fantastic musical extravaganzas to watch, you can pop along just once or return every night. Speak to your Thomas Cook Rep and find out when each will be on stage. Choose from Blame It on the Disco by Alcazar, Abba Fusion, Rock Candy, Spooky Night – a musical story or Holiday Road.

Want to take your toddlers along? No problem, curtain call is at 9:30pm so you can still put little ones to bed at a reasonable hour.

 

Have you been to a Sunwing before? What’s your favourite holiday activity? Let me know in the comments below. 

*Teen activities are only available during high season and school holidays. Otherwise, activities are available for teens up to 12 years.

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The best tapas to try in the Canaries

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Imagine… You’ve stepped off the plane and a gush of warm air hits your cheeks; there’s nothing quite like ‘that holiday feeling’, right? For me, it actually comes from experiencing something new. If you love eating (all the snacks) as much as I do, make your next trip to the Canaries all about the food.

Just like Spain, the Canary Islands are famous for small plate delicacies. I’ve eaten my way around the seven islands, and these are my tips on the best tapas to try.

 

Albondigas

Canarian meatballs are also known as albondigas. This traditional dish is made from pork, veal or beef, or a combination of all three. Unlike their Italian cousin, they’re small and designed to be an appetiser. Imagine eating these in a bar on the seafront, while the sea-salt air dances through your hair. Isn’t that what going away is really about?

Pimientos de Padrón

 

Gofio escaldado

Every island has its own recipe of gofio escaldado. Originally, this broth was a way to use up leftover ingredients. Today, it’s a savoury treat that you’ll find on café, restaurant and hotel menus alike. If you’re staying in Tenerife, this will consist of fresh fish. Or, head further south to Gran Canaria where it has a meat twist. Wherever you’re staying, this Canarian tapas is a goody you have to try; I promise you won’t regret it.

Pimientos de Padrón

Popular as a starter, these rare green peppers are only found in Spain. There’s even Padron’s festival that celebrates them every August. Top tips for eating these snacks are holding them from the stem. The unusual taste will blow your mind, as they’re sweet one moment and hot the next. Just make sure you have a Fanta Lemon or beer nearby to wash away the heat.

Papas Arrugadas

Papas Arrugadas

Also, known as Canarian wrinkly potatoes, this boiled potato dish is served as tapas or as a side to a main meal. Although potatoes aren’t native to these islands, it’s one of the most popular and traditional plates available. After a long day exploring volcanic landscapes or golden beaches, settle down at the dinner table and tuck into this number. Make sure it’s covered with mojo verde – a refreshing green sauce, busting with a garlic and coriander flavour.

Do you go to the Canaries every year? Is there a tapas bar or restaurant you love? Tell me about your favourite dish in the comments below.

FLIGHTS TO CANARIES

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Best places to get tapas in Spain

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Spain is home to siestas, sangria and summer holidays. With just a short flight from the UK, you can be sunning yourself on the beach in no time. As well as being a destination to escape the cold, it’s also an incredible place to try new food.

The Spanish cuisine is as much a cultural activity as it is a style of eating. Tapas originated as a free bar snack, which has now evolved and can be found on most menus across the country.  These are my top tips on some of the best places to get tapas in Spain.

Barcelona

Team your city break to Barcelona with a trip to Sensi Tapas. Just a few streets from Harlem Jazz Club and Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy, this tapas restaurant is the perfect stop for some appetisers. As soon as you step inside, you’ll notice the traditionally Spanish décor and the smells coming from the kitchen. Make sure you try the famous seafood paella, truffle ravioli or the sea bass fillet, you won’t be sorry.

 

 

Tenerife

Are you going on a family holiday to Tenerife? Leave the little ones with their grandparents and have a date night at Toro Tapas & Grill. Watch the sun go down over the ocean while tucking into fried squid with aioli, chopitos fritos or risotto. Quality time with your other half is the best way to end a fantastic trip to the Canary Islands; even if you end up bringing the kids along.

 

Ibiza

Just a short walk from San Antonio beach, Tapas Restaurant & Lounge Bar is one of the best places for a bite to eat on the island. It’s a great spot to share a couple of dishes with your friends; they serve something for everyone with hearty salads, juicy king prawns and deep fried brie on the menu. Even better, all their food is locally sourced so you know you’re getting authentic  Spanish dishes.

 

Benidorm

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On the east coast of Spain, you’ll find a hideaway that combines street food and tapas. Do you consider yourself a bit of a foodie?  If the answer is yes, you’ll love the Margem Restobar in Benidorm. Are you vegan or gluten-free? You’ll find lots of tasty treats here including vegan brochette, aka a vegetable kebab.

 

Do you go to Spain every year? Is there a tapas bar or bistro you love to visit? Tell me about your favourite dishes in the comments below.

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Once in a lifetime experiences in Turkey

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Spend a day pampering yourself at a Turkish bath. Go for lunch along a beautiful harbour. Stretch your legs on the golden sand. These are just some of the things you can do in the dazzling destination of Turkey. So, get to grips with the local culture and have a whirl at one of these unique experiences on your next holiday.

Sentido Holidays1) Visit the Ancient City of Ephesus

Izmir is home to the Ancient City of Ephesus; explore the remains of a thriving Greco-Roman city that was once the centre of trade and sacred worship. Feel like you’ve travelled back in time as you wander around the well-preserved theatre and Temple of Hadrian.

2) See the colours of the rainbow in Kuşadası

Once a sleepy fishing village, Kuşadası is now a popular beach resort for tourists. But, what is it that makes it so special that you’ll remember it forever? It’s an Instagrammer’s dream. Houses are painted in a way that makes it look like a rainbow is flowing across the hill of Tepe.

3) Explore one of the largest open-air museums in the world

Although the Göreme Open-Air Museum is a six and a half hour drive from Alanya, it’s well worth the trip. Discover some of the world’s oldest churches as well as Cappadocia, famous for its unique hilltops and caverns.

4) Unearth history at the Archaeological Site of Troy

Legend has it that the Ancient City of Troy was the location of the Trojan War. Walk in the footsteps of the gods and see ruins of theatres and bathhouses.

Psst… don’t forget to get a snap with the Trojan Horse.

5) Discover the Pamukkale Thermal Pools

If you’re looking for a spa day but want something a little out of the ordinary, head to the natural hot springs and mineral springs near Denizli. The art of bathing at these ancient marvels has been practiced since the Romans arrived in Hierapolis.

 

While planning what you’ll do in Turkey is really important, finding what hotel you’ll stay in is essential. If you’re travelling with your family, partner or friends, our SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts really will make your trip unforgettable.

For my last holiday, I stayed at SENTIDO Perissia in Side. The hotel has recently had a stunning refurbishment, just this year, and now has an ultra-modern feel. Its location is a dream, sat right on the sandy beach and just 3km away from all the nightlife.

Have you been to Turkey before? Is there anything you think I’ve missed? 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 read at thomascook.com/fe-promo-terms-and-conditions/.  Promoted by TCCT Retail Limited trading as Thomas Cook.

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Roaming around Rome

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Back in 2015, I went on a university trip to Rome with a few friends from my class, where I spent three days running around Italy’s capital being a stereotypical tourist. I walked away with a deep love for porchetta and limoncello as well as this ridiculous collection of pictures, which I’m reminded of yearly by Facebook memories:

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamt of visiting the Trevi Fountain and making a wish.  Although, it was being restored when I arrived, I was determined to still toss a coin into it, regardless of whether there was any water.

So, that’s what I did; I threw a coin into the empty fountain (over my left shoulder) to ensure my return to Rome, and it must have worked, because I’m packing my bags ready for my next trip here!

City breaks are my favourite type of escapes to go on because it’s an opportunity to get lost and explore somewhere new. Rome was like a playground of history, and travelling here sparked off my love for adventures.

Equipped with an old fashioned map, I spent time wandering around side streets and stumbling across understated attractions, like the Catacombs of Rome. “When in Rome” became the phrase of the trip. I used it as an excuse to eat gelato and pizza every day, as well as treating myself to a pricey new scarf from a boutique close to Via Condotti.

When I wasn’t indulging myself, I spent my days taking in the charming landmarks like the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel and Spanish Steps. By night, I uncovered the dazzling city on an open-top tour bus, stopping only to eat dinner at a restaurant, with seating overlooking the magnificent Pantheon. It took the phrase ‘dinner with a view’ to the next level.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t enjoy all of Rome’s beauty in one trip. It’s a place you can explore time and time again. This weekend, I’m planning to roam around Palatine Hill, see the Baths of Caracalla and admire the Roman Forum.

Do you love history, shopping and eating out? If the answer is yes, Rome is the best destination for you. Don’t wait to book a getaway to this ancient city, start your adventure here, right now.

city bannerHave you been to Rome before? Where did you enjoy going to most? Let me know in the comments below.

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7 romantic things to do in the Canaries

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You don’t have to choose between catching flights and feelings when you’re on holiday with that special someone. Going away is the perfect chance to get to know each other better, ramp up the flirting or bring back the spark. You don’t need to visit stereotypical destinations like Paris or Venice to find love in the air. You can inject passion into holiday favourites like Majorca, Cuba or Egypt. If you’re looking for something extraordinary year-round, here are 7 romantic things you can do with your partner in the Canaries.

Luxury escape banner1) Love at first bite

There’s nothing more sensual then having dinner with someone you love and cosying up with a glass of wine. At the SENTIDO Aequora Lanzarote, get to grips with the Spanish cuisine at Los Pocillos. Make sure you dress to impress at for this romantic dinner.

2) Stargaze on the beach

Bring a blanket and spend the evening stargazing on the beach. Head to Maspalomas the part desert, part dune nature reserve, which is guaranteed to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Plus, the mystical moonlight and sounds of the lapping waves will get you in the mood for love.

3) Turn up the heat on a volcano tour

Timanfaya National Park is perfect for getting those sparks flying between you and your significant other. A visit here is like travelling to another world with sand-like lava rocks and big boulders. This volcanic landscape is bursting with colours from black to orange and red.

4) Get hands-on with a surf lesson

Reconnect or get to know each other better by trying out a local water sport. The Canary Islands are famous for surfing, so grab a board and get a bit flirty in the sea. It doesn’t matter if you can’t ride the waves, you’ll have lots of fun putting the moves to the test.

5) Have a picnic in Garajonay National Park

Head to a local supermarket and pick up some goodies to take with you to Garajonay National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is littered with streams, springs and beautiful vegetation. If you’re a bird lover, it’s an excellent spot for watching wildlife while you tuck into your picnic.

6) Go on a wine tasting trip

Toast to your future together in a beautiful vineyard in Tenerife. Learn about the history of winemaking and sample a glass or two. Whether you prefer sweet or dry, get advice on what wine you should accompany your meals with back at home.

7) Pamper yourselves at a spa

Make sure to combine all the fun activities with some downtime. It’s great to have a day out to relax around the pool together. Take that one step further and get a spa treatment at the beautiful Sunprime Atlantic View in Gran Canaria.

Are you going on a romantic holiday to the Canaries? Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.

The post 7 romantic things to do in the Canaries appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Top tips for nervous flyers

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I love going on holiday, but one thing that I really dread is flying. From the moment I book my trip, I’m building my confidence to step on the plane.

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different things to help me overcome my fears. I’ve even spent an afternoon having a consultation with a hypnotist to try and cure it. Despite all this effort, the butterflies just wouldn’t go away.

I joined Thomas Cook two years ago and they’ve been very supportive in helping me to control my nerves when flying.  Last year, a workshop was put on in head office that was great for making me feel more at ease. So, I’ve put together top tips below, to share with you what I learned on the day.

Choose your holiday seat1 Don’t drink caffeine before you fly

I know it’s tempting to grab a cup of coffee, especially when you’re up for an early flight.  But, if you resist, once you’re in the air you’ll have the opportunity to get some rest and have a sleep, making the time go faster.

2 Speak to the cabin crew

On our Thomas Cook flights, the cabin crew are there to make your journey as comfortable as possible. They’ll answer any questions you have and will provide advice on the best ways to keep calm.

3 Watch a movie or series

Distracting yourself is the best way to keep your nerves at bay. Before a long trip, download a series or a couple of films to your iPad or phone, and then plug in as soon as you’re on board.

4 Focus on being on holiday

Focus on one of the fun activities you’re going to do while away on holiday. This way, you’ll tune into your excitement rather than thinking about any reservations you have about travelling.

5 Breathe

It sounds simple enough, but take a moment just to breathe slowly in and out. Focusing on something else will give you a moment to relax.

But, don’t just take it from me; watch this video from our lovely flight attendants to get some more tips:

Are you a nervous flyer? Do you have any tips that help you keep calm in the air? Let me know in the comments below.

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Where are you taking the kids this Easter?

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Treasure hunts on the beach sound amazing, right? Even tweens won’t be able to resist all the fun. But, if you’re on a staycation in Brighton, and it starts drizzling, it’ll definitely put a dampener on the day.

SHORT FLIGHTS TO SUN BANNERIt’s not too late to take your kids away on an exciting holiday abroad this Easter. Are you looking for the best Easter holiday destinations for families? While you’re little ones or teenagers are on a long break from school, find out what you can get up to if you stay at one of our incredible Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts.

Sunwing Resort Fanabe

Our Sunwing Family Resorts are premium holidays for the whole family and is home to our lovable mascots, Lollo & Bernie. At our Sunwing Resort Fanabe in Tenerife, you’ll love making waves in the pool and getting involved with exciting activities around the hotel. When the sun starts setting, retreat to your comfortable room  for some downtime.

What to expect:

  • Exciting Kid’s Mini Disco
  • 200m from Playa Fanabe beach

 

SunConnect HD Beach Resort

Take off to Lanzarote and stay at one of our SunConnect Resorts. Focusing on connecting the family, join in with all of the action-packed entertainment. Plus, there’s the Active Zone, which offers fun activities like the kids’ clubs, workshops and water sports.

You’ll love:

  • Teen lounge for older kids
  • Lollo & Bernie Kids’ Club
  • Choose Your Room available

 

SENTIDO Orka Lotus Beach

For a hotel where every day feels like a Sunday, choose our SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts. This is both a pampering and active holiday, that you and your kids will really enjoy. There’s plenty for your children to do, from a splashing ride down the slides at the onsite waterpark to finding hidden gems on the SENTIDO Treasure Hunt, the whole family are guaranteed to have the best time.

Special features:

  • Choose your favourite pillow
  • Have a lie-in with breakfast served until 11:30am
  • Holiday Plus Activities for mind, body and soul

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Wedding

A day in the life of a wedding coordinator

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We caught up with our very own wedding coordinators to get the lowdown on what makes destination weddings so extraordinary.

Being a wedding coordinator isn’t just a job, it’s a responsibility to make dreams come true. Each couple’s day is personal to them and the coordinator’s role is to make sure that every unique detail that makes that couple who they are, is honestly represented in their special day. After all, the memories of this romantic occasion will be treasure forever in the hearts of the couple. Wedding coordinators pick up exactly where our UK wedding concierge team left off, so you can feel supported throughout your preparations, as well as on the day.

GABRIELLA MASSIE

I was really excited to finally meet the couple I’d been arranging the wedding for. In the final six weeks, we’d decided on a town hall venue and bonded over ideas and Pinterest boards.

As soon as they arrived, we made sure that all the extra special touches were finalised, like their wedding music, before I left them to spend the next few days relaxing around the hotel pool.

When the big day finally arrived, I helped the bride by painting her nails and getting her into the dress. The preparation didn’t end there, I took pictures of the bridal party getting ready and gave the bride advice to calm her nerves.

The best moments was watching the groom’s reaction to his fiancée when he turned around to see the beautiful bride walking down the aisle; it brought a tear to my eye. As the magic continued into the night, I said goodbyes but kept in touch to share stories about their day.

MY TOP TIP

Trust your wedding coordinators! I know it can be difficult planning the most important day of your life, and putting a lot of trust into someone you may not meet until a week before the big day, but our wedding coordinators have a wealth of experience and will strive to give you the day you’ve always imagined. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

 

Wedding To Do ListELLOISE STREET 

A lovely couple decided to get married at my favourite hotel in Cyprus. I contacted them two months before their big day, and by the time I met them, it felt like I already knew the whole family.

A few days before the wedding, I introduced them to the registrar and finalised their paperwork. They asked if I could be a witness; how could I say no? I felt so honoured to have not only been asked, but to also be held in such high regard that they wanted me to be a part of it in any way. The celebratory dance was in full flow once I accepted!

When it came to the ceremony, I watched as all the guests welled up while the couple said their vows to each other. The service could only be described as breathtaking and beautiful. In that moment, I knew all my hard work was worth it, and I’d helped make their dream wedding everything they’d hoped for.

MY TOP TIP

Don’t worry about getting too hot in your wedding attire. You won’t even notice the heat when it comes to ceremony time, because all you’ll be thinking about is your significant other and how perfect everything is. Remember your wedding coordinator is on hand every step of the way, so you’ll never feel alone in the planning.

Do you want to get married abroad?  Do you have any questions about your big day? Let me know in the comments below. 

The post A day in the life of a wedding coordinator appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Wedding

A day in the life of a wedding coordinator

no thumb

We caught up with our very own wedding coordinators to get the lowdown on what makes destination weddings so extraordinary.

Being a wedding coordinator isn’t just a job, it’s a responsibility to make dreams come true. Each couple’s day is personal to them and the coordinator’s role is to make sure that every unique detail that makes that couple who they are, is honestly represented in their special day. After all, the memories of this romantic occasion will be treasure forever in the hearts of the couple. Wedding coordinators pick up exactly where our UK wedding concierge team left off, so you can feel supported throughout your preparations, as well as on the day.

GABRIELLA MASSIE

I was really excited to finally meet the couple I’d been arranging the wedding for. In the final six weeks, we’d decided on a town hall venue and bonded over ideas and Pinterest boards.

As soon as they arrived, we made sure that all the extra special touches were finalised, like their wedding music, before I left them to spend the next few days relaxing around the hotel pool.

When the big day finally arrived, I helped the bride by painting her nails and getting her into the dress. The preparation didn’t end there, I took pictures of the bridal party getting ready and gave the bride advice to calm her nerves.

The best moments was watching the groom’s reaction to his fiancée when he turned around to see the beautiful bride walking down the aisle; it brought a tear to my eye. As the magic continued into the night, I said goodbyes but kept in touch to share stories about their day.

MY TOP TIP

Trust your wedding coordinators! I know it can be difficult planning the most important day of your life, and putting a lot of trust into someone you may not meet until a week before the big day, but our wedding coordinators have a wealth of experience and will strive to give you the day you’ve always imagined. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

 

To do listELLOISE STREET 

A lovely couple decided to get married at my favourite hotel in Cyprus. I contacted them two months before their big day, and by the time I met them, it felt like I already knew the whole family.

A few days before the wedding, I introduced them to the registrar and finalised their paperwork. They asked if I could be a witness; how could I say no? I felt so honoured to have not only been asked, but to also be held in such high regard that they wanted me to be a part of it in any way. The celebratory dance was in full flow once I accepted!

When it came to the ceremony, I watched as all the guests welled up while the couple said their vows to each other. The service could only be described as breathtaking and beautiful. In that moment, I knew all my hard work was worth it, and I’d helped make their dream wedding everything they’d hoped for.

MY TOP TIP

Don’t worry about getting too hot in your wedding attire. You won’t even notice the heat when it comes to ceremony time, because all you’ll be thinking about is your significant other and how perfect everything is. Remember your wedding coordinator is on hand every step of the way, so you’ll never feel alone in the planning.

Do you want to get married abroad?  Do you have any questions about your big day? Let me know in the comments below. 

The post A day in the life of a wedding coordinator appeared first on Thomas Cook Blog.

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Spend Mother’s Day at the theatre

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It’s Mother’s Day at the end of this month, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by showing your mum how much she means to you. Last year, I treated my mum to a weekend away in London and used a Thomas Cook Gift Card to watch a glamorous production of The Women in Black.

TC gift cardFor years my mum had gone on and on about how she’s bought theatre tickets for other people, but she’d never been to the West End herself. It was made very clear to my Dad, my sister and I that she wanted to get dressed up and watch either a glitzy musical or a thought-provoking play, depending on her mood.

I’d trawled the internet for the best deal on last-minute booking websites, but I couldn’t decide on what show she’d want to watch. And, as it had been built up for years, I wanted to make sure the one I would choose was right. That’s why buying a Gift Card was good for me, because all I had to do was put money on it and pop it in her card. After opening her over the top, sparkly card on Mother’s Day, we took a drive to our local Thomas Cook store, and she got to pick what she wanted to watch. The staff at the Peterborough store couldn’t have been more helpful. Along with giving personal recommendations, they were super friendly and efficient.

Going to see The Woman in Black was a day with my mum that I’ll never forget. We started out by having dinner in Soho and having a couple of her favourite cocktails – passion fruit and prosecco martinis. After we fully indulged our tummies, it was time to head to the Fortune Theatre.

After a quick walk, a six-minute tube ride and then about a ten-minute stroll, we finally arrived at the theatre. There was plenty of time for us to find our seats in the upper circle and grab a cheeky drink. My mum and I giggled away to ourselves, while we waited for the show to start. And, once the curtains opened, a chair and a wooden box was staring back at us from the stage. I have to admit, the first half of the show was a little bit of a blur. I was torn between watching it and making sure my mum was enjoying her Mother’s Day gift.

As a self-confessed horror enthusiast, my mum chatted away in the interval about what was going to come up in the second part of the play. Although, we’ve both read the novel and watched the 2012 film starring Daniel Radcliffe, she still enjoyed predicting what would happen next. As always, my mum was right on the money. Without spoiling too much of the play if you haven’t seen it, she revealed plot twist after plot twist, as if she’d directed the play herself. As we stood up applauding at curtain call, she looked at me and said “nailed it” as if she’d just starred in the play herself.

Help your mum star in her own story by treating her this Mother’s Day with a Gift Card from us. She can put it towards a theatre break, booking a holiday, a pamper session at the spa or watching a sports match.

What’s your favourite Mother’s Day story? Let me know in the comments below how you’ve surprised your mum in the past.

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Top tips for flying with kids

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When flying with kids, it’s essential you plan out a few activities to keep them entertained in the sky. Not only will it make the time go faster, but it’s a brilliant opportunity to get them excited about the adventure ahead. Whether you’re travelling to Majorca or Cancun, there are lots of things you can do to keep the little ones from asking “are we there yet?” So, before you take off to 31,000ft, here are five amazing tips on how to keep your kids occupied on a plane.

Free kids places on holidays1 Choose your seat

Give your kids a chance to look out the window and spot the Alps or other great sights like the Caribbean Sea. To stop arguments over who gets the view, make sure you Choose Your Seat. On shorter flights, little ones should take it turns to look out and if you’re going somewhere more exotic, upgrade to our Premium Class. This will keep them occupied with our entertainment packages, food and drinks.

2 Bring your iPad or tablet

Along with downloading TV shows and films, iPads or tablets can be a great distraction with fun games, audio books or songs. Get your kids in the holiday spirit by trying out a free language app. You can practice some simple phrases together and test them out when you arrive. Don’t forget to invest in some compatible headphones, so your children can enjoy everything with the sound on.

3 Speak to the Cabin Crew

If you’re flying with toddlers and it’s their first flight, speak to the Cabin Crew and they’ll do everything possible to ensure your whole family has the best journey possible. If your kids are older and they are interested in air travel, staff on board can help with some fun facts. So, make sure they have any questions at the ready.

4 Don’t forget a pillow

If you’re up in the sky late at night, make sure to pack pillows and blankets in your hand luggage. It’ll make the journey more comfortable for little ones, and will give you all the opportunity to have a snooze before you arrive.

5 Bring a travel size game

Puzzles are fantastic for keeping the whole family entertained. Mum, Dad, Nan or Grandad can join in the fun by helping kids piece together their game. Not enough room in your hand luggage? Take a packet of cards and watch the hours go by when playing snap or go fish.

Where are you going for your next family adventure? Do you have any tips on how to keep your children entertained on a plane? Let me know in the comments below.

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7 ways to make the most of your holiday

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We all go, but do we actually know what it means to holiday? The literal definition from the Oxford dictionary states that holidays are “An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.” But, the meaning behind holidays is different for us all.

What defines a holiday for me isn’t exactly what defines it for you. So like me, you’ve probably spent years trying to figure out what you want. I’ve tried everything from a girl’s weekend in Magaluf to a city break in Budapest and travelling around Asia, but what I’ve found is there’s a simple set of rules to follow, so you can really enjoy it. Here are my top tips and seven ways to make the most of your holiday.

  1. Plan ahead with our My Holiday app

Before your trip, give yourself plenty of time to research. Download our My Holiday App for hotel information, so that you can start planning where you can grab a cocktail or find a waterpark. While you’re away, connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi for information about booking excursions as well as a contact number for your rep or our 24-Hour Connected Service.

  1. Make it your own with added extras

Whether you prefer topping up your tan around the pool or want to get out, and experience the culture, we have incredible added extras to make every part of your journey more comfortable. From airport parking to car rentals and transfers, we’ll give you the chance to travel in style. Don’t forget, before you’ve even leave home, at selected hotels, you can also Choose Your Room or Choose Your Favourite Sunbed.

  1. Really switch off from work

With work emails at the touch of a button, not switching off is harder than ever before. The temptation to check your emails while lounging around the pool is massive, and after you’ve been away from your desk a couple of days, you might be curious about has come into your inbox. Spending time and being present with your family is essential; it’s the reason you jetted off in the first place, right? So, turn off your laptop or phone and you won’t have the opportunity to look.

  1. Think about your mind, body and soul

Going abroad is a chance to breathe and take a moment for yourself. At our SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts, everything’s about tapping into your senses. The SENTIDO Holiday Plus Activities are designed to keep both your body and mind active; with Discovery Walks, yoga and cooking lessons, you’ll find a way a way to ignite your passions. Plus, for the best night’s sleep, choose from the SENTIDO Pillow Menu. With a variety of sizes and material, you can relax knowing you’ll have the perfect pillow for you.

  1. Spend it with the people you love

Whether you’re looking for a holiday with great activities for kids, a honeymoon to remember or a luxury winter escape, what makes going away special is spending it with the people you love. Once a year, you should organise a trip with your whole family. Bring your grandparents, cousins or friends along for a reunion. Not only can reconnect over old memories, but you’ll also create new ones when staying up all night talking, living like a local or splashing around in the hotel pool.

  1. Be prepared for anything

You can never be too prepared to go away on holiday. From writing a packing list to booking your insurance, you need to make sure you’ve got everything covered. That’s why at selected hotels, you’ll find our 24-Hour Hotel Satisfaction Promise. This hotel guarantee means if on arrival your hotel isn’t as we’ve described, you’ll have 24-hours to inform our rep service. From the moment you tell us about your issue, we’ll then have 24-hours to sort it out or offer to move you to another hotel of the same standard.

 Share your memories

There’s a lot of bad press about technology, but when you’re creating memories, it gives you the opportunity to capture them. One of the best ways to get over your holiday blues is by sharing stories about your amazing time away. Grab a coffee with your best friends and take them through your phone gallery.

We’d love to see these on our Facebook and Twitter pages. If you upload any snaps to your Instagram, don’t forget to use  #thomascook

Not found the right holiday for you yet? Click the button below to get some amazing deals.

 

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What is your idea of a perfect holiday? Are there any tips that you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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