Jewel bright waters

We’re coming to the end of our Sardinian adventure but on the last day we see possibly the very best of this stunning island.

Hopping on a boat tour around the coastline from Cala Gonone we’re treated to some truly spectacular rugged cliffs and the most beautiful water yet!

22308650_10154797869567353_4866891824013531861_n

I can honestly say that I have not seen water this clear or this blue outside of Thailand.

In fact this is probably even better as it’s just a few hours from home and nowhere near as overrun!

Even swimsuit phobic old me can’t keep out of this gorgeous blue water.

22310460_10154797870272353_401139970133285854_n

22406181_10154797869557353_6708491709937220366_n

The lesser spotted smiling Marples is testament to just how invigorating and joyous it is!

22448108_10154797701237353_3606698761415861188_n

The limestone cliffs dramatically plunge into the turquoise sea, often erosion has created weird and wonderful sculptures such as the archway and Cala luna caves below.

It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous sight is only a short haul flight from the UK!

Then the boat drops us off on the lovely Cala Mariolu beach for a few hours of soaking up the sun and swimming.

 

Simply stunning

There’s no other words to describe our next Sardinian hot spot – simply stunning just about covers it.

22310424_10154796478762353_6398620872614263258_n

La Pelosa beach (Spiaggia della Pelosa) with its warm shallow turquoise waters and glittering white sands, is a true oasis of wonder.

22308620_10154796468352353_887593707356865179_n

It could easily stand as possibly the best beach I have ever been to, it’s that incredible.

The beach is 300 meters long – and up to 60 meters wide in some spots and is overlooked by an ancient sixteenth century watchtower.

There are two main inlets, each with its own small harbour: The old port is Minori (small) and the new port is Mannu (big)

These unreal azure waters and pristine sands are like a little taste of the Caribbean but just under three hours from the UK!

22308535_10154796466177353_2661806709807722396_n

The imposing stone tower, the Torre della Pelosa,  used to be part of Sardinia’s marine defense system but now just serves as yet more stunning scenery.

22308734_10154796467502353_5504183696106584957_n

With it’s shallow waters barely coming up to waist height, this beach is a magnet for families and tourists alike.

22308814_10154796466842353_1636044775393678322_n

As it’s October we are lucky enough to get the benefit of relatively warm weather but the bonus of sparse crowds. I would imagine in the height of summer this place is thronged.

I could wax lyrical for every and a day about the crystal clear waters with gentle ripples revealing the pure white sands beneath.

The sea, the glorious sea! In places turquoise, in others azure, teal and cadet blue.

 

Soft fine sand swirls beneath our feet as we wade through the shallow waters of the bay.

In short, as close to beach paradise as you’ll likely to come in Europe. No wonder the man is jumping for sheer joy!

22365443_10154796467492353_5029001940868487275_n

We’ll do our best not to look too smug, but hey! Who can help it when the view is this good!

22366708_10154796465472353_738345811997999538_n

If you’re heading to Sardinia then you’d be very foolish not to check out this slice of paradise. But try out of season to avoid the heaving masses!!

Les Sables Blanc

This post is mainly dedicated to the lovely Les Sable Blanc (white sands) beach close to our gite in Loctudy.

To the west of Loctudy, on the limit of Lesconil, the beach of Sables Blancs is the most beautiful beach of Loctudy and the biggest one.

It’s vast  – stretching for about 750 meters, in an arc of circle, composed of white sand and lined with dunes, it offers a magnificent view of Lesconil.

There are several campsites close by, the space is vast and one can easily find a place there.

On the other hand, there’s no life guarding equipment and swimming is not monitored.

However it is a stunning place to while away the hours. Windsurfing, cricketing, swimming and generally holidaying!

Ericeira

Picturesquely dotted across sandstone cliffs above the blue Atlantic, sunny, whitewashed Ericeira is our next  stop.

It’s a small fishing village whose name derives from sea urchins.

p1080691-2

The town’s main beach is Praia do Sul and while quite deserted in May it does get very hectic mid season.

The beach is also known as Praia da Baleia as a whale once washed up here. The bones can still be seen in the local museum in the Largo da Misericórdia.

In his guidebook, published in 1910, Baedeker described Ericeira as ‘a fishing village with excellent sea-bathing’.

In spite of burgeoning tourism this description still pretty much holds true today

The old village is a warren of whitewashed wall, intricate tiling and blue shutters.

Ericeria, although small, is making an impact on the world stage in terms of surfing.

The national champion, Tiago Pires, and many other surfers were born here. It currently hosts world championships such as the WSL World Surf League Tour and Quik Silver Pro Portugal.

Santorini, black sand and weddings

Ticking destinations off my bucket list right, left and centre this year with a fantastic week in the glorious Greek island of Santorini just completed!

P1040874 P1040881 P1040888

It was a truly family affair as we were all there for the wedding of my younger cousin who chose the clifftop overlooking the caldera for her nuptials.

P1040873

We decided to do the island via a package holiday (gasp) with Thomas Cook. Purely as we couldn’t do it any cheaper independently as there were three of us to cater for.

P1040875

We were stationed in the petite beach resort of Perissa, a small yet perfectly formed town with a beach front strip of bars, cafes and restaurants that face onto the black volcanic sands.

P1040889

The dark sands provided a change from the tropical white beaches that we’re usually on. Although mum wasn’t too keen on them (and they do burn your feet something awful!)

P1040890 P1040895 P1040898

In the background the dramatic brooding Mount Profitis Illias looms large.

P1040894

There’s plenty of beach loungers and umbrellas along the scorching strip of beach. Many of which are free for use if you frequent one of the many establishments along the beach front road.

P1040896

We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Gardenia. A mere five minutes walk to the beach in one direction and the main road and bus stop in the other.

P1040864 P1040902 P1040850

With its relaxing pool area, spotless rooms and lovely staff I can heartily recommend it. Neil also recommends the self serve 1 euro wine from the local supermarket!

P1040866
Next up we’re heading to the pretty capital town of Fira, the stunning cliff top village of Oia and we hit the roads with a quad bike for the day. Plus a stunning wedding to boot! All in all a fantastic time had by all 🙂

Around the headland

Having sat on the beach for all of half an hour I was predictably getting itchy explorer feet so decided to strike out for the headland and see what was around the bend!P1030855

I knew that the beach of old town Albuferia could be found via a cliff top walk and it was apparently was only twenty minutes away.

So off I trotted, just me and my trusty camera.

P1030857 P1030867 P1030856

While it wasn’t exactly a gentle stroll (more a a scramble and hike) I got to experience some of the stunning, rugged coast line that the Algarve is famous for.

11108875_10152731585032353_6912661049896450660_n

As it was just me and my camera you get treated to a rare glimpse of me (as the usual photographic human subject AKA the other half, wasn’t on hols with me!)

P1030861 P1030865P1030854

Dramatic ochre cliffs crumble and tumble into the deep blue waters below. The sunny April day was a perfect temperature for the climb.

P1030869

Along the way I spotted secluded little coves without a tourist in site, eroded rocks created bridges and pools while the sandy cliff path kept on winding its way ahead of me.

P1030870 P1030875 P1030877

It really was a beautiful walk.

11138095_10152731584612353_2555583089341217235_n 11156325_10152731584407353_609911373356430701_n 10641126_10152731584252353_7470095257816415958_n

I barely passed a soul as I trekked along the cliff top. It felt like I had the Algarve to myself.

11159956_10152731584567353_6944505610417006667_n

It got a bit hairy in some places where the path had literally dropped into the sea, leaving just a tiny section to inch your way along.

P1030879

But before long I had sight of the populated Albuferia town beach. A huge stretch of sand that is accessed via a tunnel from the old town. Here’s the steps down from the cliff I had just crossed.

P1030884

It was back to civilisation and goodbye to the empty rugged glories of the lonely cliff top.

P1030883

My destination was the old town of Albuferia.

P1030887

On the look out for my favourite snaps of peeling paint, old doors and architecture. The town perches on top of the cliff, all white cubes and parasols.

P1030886

Next up, some snaps from the old town!

Lindos

66552_10151066980262353_450068573_n

Next up on the Greecian odyssey is the adorable little sugar cube village of Lindos.

6070_10151066981922353_1326018189_n

The village is a sprawl of traditional white houses, many of which have rooftop terraces complete with bars and restaurants. Here’s the man pausing as we head up to the Acropolis.

581404_10151066586922353_648047408_n

The acropolis is a  natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans and the Byzantines.

525101_10151066584462353_640532893_n

The imposing facade of the structure seems carved almost from the rock itself. Some scenes from the famous film The Guns of Navarone, were filmed here.

539537_10151066977172353_884370153_n 46318_10151066980407353_2003086280_n 37801_10151066595242353_138808292_n

Below is the Doric temple of Athena Lindia. Before it’s off for a trawl of some of the narrow back streets and the colourful stalls. A particular favourite is the local olive oil soap in pretty packaging.

385159_10151066977592353_295194038_n 550691_10151066981667353_1209289280_n 404691_10151066982572353_1788484345_n

Piles of artwork and teeny tiny kitchen scenes and front doors attract my gaze.

318999_10151067207052353_730328460_n 424642_10151067179922353_292810421_n 536433_10151067179187353_1993874021_n

Not to mention the multitude of magnets, swathes of scarfs and more miniature views.

8077775047_35a5eaf953 8077802408_3139eb8aaa 8077752535_73decd30aa_n

Then it’s off for a well earned dip in the very pretty St Paul’s Bay.

311251_10151066978052353_237906789_n

It is reported that the apostle landed here during a storm.

22624_10151067181582353_579125851_n 227579_10151067182202353_2084371501_n 540990_10151067183467353_777315342_n

The turquoise water offers a well needed refresh from the steamingly hot day.

155281_10151067182712353_1811703948_n

We have to tear ourselves away from the tempting scene for a little more exploration.

416969_10151067184617353_373945580_n

As we potter around Lindos I can’t help noticing all the ornate door knockers. A particular favourite seems to be hands!

8077752732_c875380f43 8077729375_ce753c364d 8077738613_beeb4207b6

Enjoy this little selection of the knobs and knockers that adorn the village doors.

8077734061_8cf6213f97_n

Greecian memories

While I plan the next jaunt I’ve discovered a whole horde of photos from a trip I had completely forgotten to document (I know – how on earth did that escape me!)

It’s from back in 2012 and was a week of sunny bliss spent on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Now I’ve done a few Greek islands, Corfu, Lipsi, Lindos and Zante, and always enjoy the simple, almost spartan, Greek way of life.

This time we broke with recent tradition and took part in … a package holiday!

400875_10151066541327353_1765414812_n

We stayed in the Matina Hotel apartments  in the small town of Pefkos, about an hour’s drive from Rhodes town.

Here’s one of the local’s pressing his own tipple, while Neil channels Miami Vice in the hotel pool!

486883_10151066539417353_1407007429_n 397289_10151066542002353_1171097071_n 229494_10151066540087353_1486266370_n

The town is quite compact with a couple of small beaches and plenty of restaurants, bars and even a nightclub or two if that’s your thing. Plus the usual tacky tourist shops, including this t shirt stall – Neil blends in with the dummies . . .

598639_10151066538582353_623165144_n

We went in October so it was pleasantly quiet as it was nearly the end of the season. Plus this meant we didn’t have to endure any “entertainment” at the hotel complex!!

Here’s a few random shots of Pefkos beach, the pro tanner at rest and a knackered old window . . .

523138_10151066567747353_1223372390_n 253102_10151066537907353_1743892554_n 429323_10151066554037353_1090666543_n

Here’s me posing at the resort pool.

46479_10151066542917353_1603340414_n

Next up we take a day trip to the pretty town of Siana before heading to the lovely nearby resort of Lindos.

Beach life and taking a dip

Finally, back in Dubrovnik, we head for the iconic view point that inspired me to head to Croatia in the first place.

P1030065

It’s a place called Banje Beach. Part private beach bar and part public sunspot. From high up you can get the fabulous view across the beach to the fortress.

P1030064P1030063P1030066

No apologies for a variety of beach shots now! Just sit back and enjoy them…..

P1030068 P1030069P1030085

The sea is that beautiful shade of aquamarine that makes you want to hurtle head first into it.

P1030072

However it’s not quite as warm as it appears so we keep our distance and concentrate on viewing all the loveliness from afar.

P1030077

I also enjoyed the spectacle of the tourist galleon sailing majestically into the bay.

P1030073P1030088P1030096

Looks like the ship is making a sinister bee line towards my head in this particular shot . . .

P1030078

Luckily for me, and all onboard, the ship manages to make it safely to shore!!!

P1030094

Split sights and beachlife

After surviving the climb to the top of the bell tower, we headed out and about to grab a snapshot of the sights of Split.

P1020020Artwork nestles against the ancient mellow stones while a shoal of rainbow fish wiggle tantalisingly for shoppers.

P1010993

Bouganvilla blazes on every house and hides even the most broken down of ruins.

P1010969

Ramshackle little back yards can be glimpsed through half open doors and peeling paint tempts the camera.

P1010972P1010865P1010970

*Wikipedia interesting fact alert* The city draws its name from the spiny broom (calicotome spinosa; brnistra or žuka in modern Croatian), a common shrub in the area.

P1020032

From abstract artworks to labryinthian alley ways that abruptly turn into shady courtyards full of ancient artifacts, balconies and greenery, the city has plenty of hidden delights.

P1020014 P1020016 P1020011

P1010989

Split is said to be one of the centres of Croatian culture and its literary tradition can be traced to medieval times. In recognition of its importance, in 1979, the historic center of Split was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

P1020039

There’s also a strip of beach where all the locals meet up to play the hectic game of Picigin – a ball game played in in shallow water.

P1020064

Players stay in shallow water and hit the ball with the palm of their hand trying to keep it in the air for as long as possible.

P1020057

This ensures plenty of hilarity as players belly flop into the water in a desperate attempt to keep the ball in the air.

P1020053