Algarve, Portugal

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The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is known for its sunny Mediterranean climate and its beach and golf resorts.

Odenza travelers – Celia’s trip to Belfast, Amsterdam, and London

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It’s always a great way to start a morning off with some awesome feedback from our customers!

“Hey! It was amazing! My favorite city was Amsterdam, and of course, I wish I had more time there! But we really enjoyed each city in their own way, they were all so different. Great idea going to Belfast- we really enjoyed walking through the town, talking to the people. Everyone there is sooo nice and we were super impressed by the restaurants there. We did a tour of the countryside and the Giants Causeway which was amazing! It was a great way to end the trip with such a relaxing and beautiful environment, rather than the hustle and bustle of a city. We ended up taking an air coach bus from Belfast to Dublin on Sunday morning (changed our flight from 9 am flight with a stopover, to 11:40 direct flight). The bus was about 14 pounds and took only 1 hour and 30 minutes in the early morning, and dropped us right at the terminal. Super convenient!

Amsterdam was gorgeous and I loved the relaxed vibe everyone had. We did a lot of walking around the city just getting to know the culture and the beautiful scenery. We did a nighttime canal cruise which was awesome! We also walked from our hotel to Vondelpark to see the I Amsterdam sign, went to eat at a fancy restaurant at a hotel nearby, went to a club, ate great pancakes and fries, did a ton of shopping. It was all so wonderful!
London was great and a nice way to start off the trip. We were so tired on Sunday when we landed so we walked from the hotel to Buckingham palace, Westminster abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, and then went back to the hotel to sleep! The next two days we spent exploring neighborhoods like Notting Hill, Carnaby Street, Shoreditch and did a lot of great shopping. The food was great here too, and we got really lucky with the weather. We took the tube everywhere, since it was so easy to follow, and so quick! It was a very successful trip, had such a blast, and now I’m sad to be back in NY and back to reality! Hope to do another trip again next year. I included some pictures of the highlights! Thanks again so much for all of your guidance and tips. Couldn’t have done it without you!
Thanks,

Celia”

Wild horses, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

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“Dieter and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to Kitty Hawk, NC.  It was off season, which was perfect for us, since we don’t enjoy crowds.  Also, the weather was great.  Cool evenings for sleeping and mid-seventies for sightseeing during the day.  As you see from the three photos I attached, we enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The ocean was rough and cold but great for walking the nearly deserted beach and watching the few surfers clad in wetsuits catch the huge waves.

Although Dieter said it was like seeing the horses graze in the pastures of our equestrian development back home, I was still fascinated by the of Wild Stallions/Spanish Mustangs we spotted along the beach and amongst the sand dunes in Corolla.  We enjoyed learning more about them as well as taking several photographs.

The second photo captured a view from the top of the Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head, only a short drive from our resort. The view was breathtaking or maybe it was the 276 stairs to the top that took our breath away!

We also toured the Island Farm in Manteo and the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk and have great photos from there as well.

The last photo was taken during a quiet stroll through the trails on the wooded property of our resort.  Although huge construction projects were underway and many services unavailable at the time of our visit, the future plans for the resort is absolutely stunning. We could see a beautiful pool area and club house as well as fitness center being renovated.  Our condo unit was old and outdated, but it was clean and roomy and as all the units were, it was nestled amongst the trees on a cul de sac off the main resort road.  Despite all of the renovations throughout the resort, our stay was quiet and private.  All of the units were in the process of being completely renovated and the wooded ambiance is a welcome change from the rows and rows of beach homes lining the streets and shores of the Outer Banks. As an added surprise, the beach is just at the end of the road on the back gates of the resort.  So convenient.

We truly enjoyed our time in the Outer Banks, NC.  Thank you for your follow up.”

14 Amazing Street Food Markets You Have To Visit In London

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Great travel and food blog! Those pictures are making me hungry!

http://handluggageonly.co.uk/2015/05/20/14-amazing-street-food-markets-you-have-to-visit-in-london/

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

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While Tenerife is the most populated of the Canary Islands, there are still many things one can do that are off the beaten path!

Tapas, local seafood and hiking: Discover the other side of Tenerife

Ten things you must do in Tenerife

1. Hike to the summit of El Teide, at 3,718 metres above sea level, or take the cable car to 3,500 metres.

2. Stroll along the seafront promenade that links Los Cristianos to Costa Adeje.

3. Explore the cobbled alleys and historic buildings of UNESCO World Heritage-listed La Laguna.

4. Enjoy the rides and slides at Siam Park water park.

5. Order the shellfish platter at Restaurante Los Abrigos for some of the juiciest prawns and most succulent squid you’ve ever tasted.

6. Snack on papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) dipped in some mojo sauce and washed down with a Dorada beer.

7. Swim in natural rock pools at Garachico.

8. Have a drink overlooking the waters of La Caleta – try the terrace at Restaurante Masía del Mar.

9. Sunbathe on a black-sand beach beneath towering cliffs at Los Gigantes.

10. Take the ferry to La Gomera and hike through Garajonay National Park to the island’s highest point, Alto de Garajonay.

http://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/473400/What-to-do-in-Tenerife-Canary-Island

Mljet, Croatia – a hiker’s dream come true

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“One of Croatia’s southernmost islands, it’s best known for exceptional local produce and wild beauty. There are great hiking opportunities around the two saltwater lakes in Mljet national park and it is possible to hire a sailing boat to reach the 12th-century Benedictine monastery on Melita Island.”

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/may/11/10-best-european-islands-holidays-greece-italy-france-spain

El Dorado Royal, Mexico

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El Dorado, will you marry me? Because I am in love with you!

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Wow, this place is class. The property, the staff and the visitors alike are truly the best of the best. The expansive property, connecting A number of Karisma properties, is filled with unexpected cozy (and romantic!) areas – hammocks strung between Palm trees that are light at night and that let in the breeze, day beds with white silk sides for privacy, are dotted throughout, not just on the beach, but in all areas. There is a lazy river that winds through the property, which is fun to follow on foot, across bridges, or even better, in the water, drink in hand.
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The atmosphere is friendly, visitors chatting in the pool and bars, and the personal concierge for every building is an added touch that helps answer questions and concerns.

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The restaurants are definitely gourmet, with fresh ingredients and prepared to order. We arrived and were recommended to start with a chocolate martini from the martini bar, that was a delicious way to start! The Asian restaurant wasn’t quite as good as the one at secrets, but the south west style restaurant was amazing, with set courses and the best server yet (the small lizards running around added a cool flare too!)

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The shows have been particularly awesome, with singers and dancers going all out – I even went on stage today (are you surprised?!)

We are here for only two nights and wish we could stay for a year.

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There are a lot of ads on the property for karisma resorts, and while it’s a little vegasy and in your face, it helped direct us to book a half day adventure at the el dorado maroma marina. It’s a 15 minute drive included in the package, and we did the ATV jungle tour, followed by a jet ski ride. Fun, but more adventurous than we expected!

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Will definitely write more about the good and the less good (like the glass bathroom door that doesn’t give you privacy, and the stuffy smell in the room), but all that aside, this place is heaven!

Secrets Playa. Day 3-5

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Hello again from beautiful Secrets Playa Mujeres! With a banana banshee (our favourite drink) in hand,  I’m writing after we have had a great couple of days here and will be sad to leave.

Since arriving, we’ve gotten to know the resort well. It’s small and easy to manage, with one section housing the lobby and most of the restaurants, and all the rooms, the pools and a few more restaurants close together in a separate section, near the beach. There is a golf cart that takes you between the two areas, and there is never any wait. Because the portions are smaller, we have also taken to restaurant hopping – eating at at two places for dinner, so that we can try everything in our short time here. On Friday night, it was oceanana and bordeu, the French restaurant (the duck dishes were amazing!). On Saturday, it was seaside grill and then himistu, the Asian restaurant, which was our favourite hands down. Tonight, we tried portofino, the Italian restaurant and for the first time, had to wait for a table for 45 minutes, and so checked out a mediocre Mother’s Day buffet, that had some incredible opera singers to serenade us.

Overall, the food was hit and miss. Quality varied, but the service has been excellent. Not having reservations for dining is nice, as we can decide what we are in the mood for, but they don’t always know how to manage lines. The room has been a highlight, as it is very big, well maintained, and quiet. Just be careful not to leave the do not disturb button on, or else your room won’t be cleaned!

A highlight was our day trip to Isla Mujeres, where we took the locals ferry to get there, rented a golf cart, drove around the island, swam with some locals in a hidden area between some rocks and bought some local jewelry.

A full review of the hotel and the island will follow after the trip with more dos and don’ts. And while this place was nice, we are excited for El Dorado tomorrow!!