All posts by Maria Holburt

Istanbul Nightlife – Here we Come

You might not appreciate it off hand but Istanbul has a nightclub and cafe culture as developed as any of those in the rest of Europe. Being one of the oldest cities in the world and located as it is on one of history’s most pivotal points in terms of trade, education and culture Istanbul has a thousands of years of experience of people coming together.

This fact is borne out by the size of the city and the variety in cultural hubs that you will see as you hop from nightspot to nightspot. I booked a great central spot with this site, so didn’t have far too trek back on those late nights out partying!

Despite the fact that Turkey is by tradition a Muslim nation the government is secular and what with all the European influences bars, restaurants, clubs and pubs all exist within the city, although nightclubs predominate on the Western side of the Bosphorus. However, beer, wine, raki and other spirits are all perfectly legal in licensed premises all over the city.

This being the case Istanbul has a night scene just like any other major European conurbation, there are venues that appeal to those who want to see a show, dance, party, watch bands, spot celebrities  or whatever else it is you choose to do with your evenings while on vacation.

If you want to play by the sea then the Ortakoy area is where you should be headed, where the three floors of the Anjelique await, There’s a nightclub on the top floor while the other floors are dedicated to Angelique’s restaurant and cocktail bar. People head here for the atmosphere and the music.

Alternatively there is Blackk, they describe themselves “With our elegant decoration and world-class music, Blackk is a unique night club in Ortaköy, Istanbul offering a magnificent view of the Bosphorus. On the upper floor, you can find a resto-lounge where you can enjoy the view of the Bosphorus as you dine or have a drink at the bar.

Then there is Suada, not actually on the coast but on a small island just off it. 165 metres from the European shoreline the nightclub and 6 restaurant s are just one part of a complex owned by Glatasaray Sports Club and is famous for its glamorous soirées frequented by internationally famous celebrities and sportspersons as well as its first class food.

Alternatively you might like to stay within the city’s precincts, for the best city centre nightlife you need to head over to Beyoglu. It’s here that you’ll find spots such as Al Jamal, a venue that defines what it is to be Istanbul, there is middle eastern cuisine, belly dancing, a harem interior with western music, food, drinks and live entertainment.

Then there is Babylon, a venue which exists for live bands to play in a small, intimate space, musicians and musical styles from all over the world including Latin, Jazz, Electo, Reggae and even Turkish can all be found here. Entrance is free, however, there is ticketed admission for concerts.

Confusingly there are four Buddha bars in Istanbul, The Buddha Rock Bar, Big Buddha and Little Buddha as well as The Buddha Bar. The Buddha Rock Bar caters mainly for students, it’s cheap and comfortable and a good place to start a night out. Big and little Buddha play a range of music from Latin and Blues to Techno and Jungle. The Buddha Bar plays alternative rock from the 90’s and 00’s.

If you want to sample some fabulous local cuisine while listening to Pop and Jazz performed by locals too then Hayal Kahvesi is a cafe bar you’ll want to check out.

That’s just a few of the best known nightclubs in Istanbul, local guidebooks or staff at your hotel will be able to give you a good idea of the best clubs and bars local to where you’re staying.

[Photo via]

Ibiza Boat Parties

Ibiza, an island just off the coast of Spain in the beautiful clear Mediterranean sea, beautiful sunshine most of the year round, white sand shores and wonderful rocky coves, it’s no wonder people want to be out by boat in these magnificent waters. You can have the picturesque island as the backdrop for either a tranquil drift in the calm waters, or as sweet eye-candy getting you in the mood for a wild party. You can unwind and feel unhinged like nowhere else when you are out in the ocean.

The pick of the crop

In Ibiza there are plenty of incredible and life changing boat parties to choose from. Fortunately for you I have compiled a list of all the top hottest boat party tickets. I would recommend:

  • Pukka Up- One of the longest running boat parties. It departs from Playa D’en Bossa on Tuesdays and San Antonio on both Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays excursions cost €65 which initially you might think is a little pricey, but it does include entry to the boat, and for this you will get a free drink and a free on-board BBQ. If that’s not enough you also get entry to Carl Cox at Space that evening, which is a great night, and no better follow up to a day out on the boat. The boat from San Antonio on Tuesday and Friday is €55, which again includes entry to the boat, either entry to Carl Cox or Come Together, both at Space, depending on which day you go. Also it goes without saying you will see the most idyllic sunset and fall in love with Ibiza no doubt!
  • Garlands- Liverpool’s Garlands boat party on Fridays is a very popular choice and good value. The tickets start at €40, and as well as including entry to the boat, will get you entry to Garlands that night at Eden plus three free drinks. A constant throng of fruity funky house all day, if this is your thing this is your ticket. The boat leaves at 6 and returns at 9 from the San Antonio area.
  • Ibiza Rocks the Boat- A new and increasingly popular choice, this party is on a Wednesday and runs only from 2pm to 5pm. However it only costs €35, or you can pay €65 which will get you into an Ibiza Rocks gig, and will even let you queue jump. They play the finest in Indie Rock and alternative music, a nice contrast and a breath of fresh air for the island.
  • Noah’s Ark- Sets off at 1pm in San Antonio on Saturdays. Tickets will cost €60, but as well as entry to the boat you will get entry to the Zoo Project and entry to the mysterious Zoo Project after party. Again not bad value and these trips are very popular and you are bound to meet lots of awesome new people.

Come on Party boat today!

If you are visiting Ibiza a boat party is a must as there is nothing quite like it. You can feel like kings and queens for the day, experience a vast and liberating freedom!

Come find out why Pamukkale is Turkey’s greatest hidden treasure

Pamukkale is a stunning wonder to behold and a very surreal experience for anyone visiting this amazing place. Etched into the Turkish hillside in Aegean, amongst the searing heat and sweltering sunshine lies the perfectly white mountains of Pamukkale. At first glance you may believe you’re staring out at the famous Rockies or the French Alps, as Pamukkale’s white, snow-like, appearance really gives it that chilling impression. This is what makes the Pamukkale Mountains such a surreal experience when you’re trekking along its trails, as you feel you should be cold being surrounded by so much white but you are most definitely not!

The Turkish summers are well renowned for being long, dry, and very very hot! Luckily Pamukkale has many beautiful pools of mountain springs you can cool down in whilst exploring this epic natural phenomena. Watch out though, some of the springs are hot so maybe not the best thing if your wanting to cool down. However, the hot springs are perfect if you are on a romantic, midnight stroll and fancy a dip with a bottle of champagne or two!

Now for all you geologist geeks out there let’s go in to how the amazing white mountains of Pamukkale were created and the hardcore facts. Pamukkale gains its white appearance from being made up of the rock calcium carbonate, which is deposited by the hot water springs that travel over 320 meters from the River Menderes, which is located deeper in the Aegean valley. When the calcium carbonate is despoiled on the surface, carbon dioxide is released and continues to do this until it is at a equilibrium with the water in the air. The chemical reaction between the calcium carbonate is intensified by the heat and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although it is hard for geologist to pin point exactly, they estimate that up to 4.9 square kilometres of the Pamukkale landscape is covered by the white calcium carbonate with a 1mm of thickness due to this constant chemical reaction between the rock and atmosphere.

Pamukkale meaning ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, has been a protected World Heritage Site since 1988 and was first discovered by the ancient Greco-Romans in the 5th century. The Greco-Romans were as mesmerised with Pamukkale as people still are today, as they built their famous city of Hierapolis very close to it. The Hierapolis ruins are still a major attraction as you can still explore the ruins of this wonderful city and swim over its huge ancient remnants in the Cleopatra pools located here.

The former Roman Baths of the city of Hierapolis are still in use today and have been converted into a Archaeology Museum since 1984. The museum holds many stunning artefacts and is definitely worth a peek whilst visiting this magical place.

So, if you’re in the mood for something different and wish to explore a place truly out of this world (and maybe even stay in villas in turkey), Pamukkale is definitely for you!

St Lucia, The Caribbean’s Hidden Little Gem

The Caribbean islands are world famous for being exotic, vibrant and full of reggae reggae rhythms! When you visit here be prepared to not ever want to leave, as you will be entranced like so many poor souls before you will its stunning natural beauty and energetic national character.

St Lucia has to be one of the most overlooked Caribbean islands in contrast to its popular neighbors’ Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua. But the island of St Lucia is in a league all its own, and due to its lower profile than its sistering islands it has a lot more unspoilt natural beauty and hidden treasures to offer the more intuitive traveler.

Unlike the other Caribbean Islands St Lucia is more renowned for Jazz than Reggae, and you’ll definitely be able to hear that intoxicating rhythm wherever you go. To sample a real taste of St Lucia’s Jazz delights, you should come to the island when they hold their annual Jazz festivals all throughout the summer seasons. Such events as ‘Jazz on the beach’ and ‘Tea time Jazz’ are acclaimed throughout the global Jazz community and see the likes of the Pantime Steel Band, Luther Francois and the amazing Black Ants Band rock the crowds here to the point of euphoric hysteria! Last year the infamous Shaggy graced the stage of this monumental Jazz scene, who has enjoyed international stardom from hits such as ‘Mr Boombastic’ and ‘You’re my angel’. The St Lucia Jazz festivals also allows amateur musicians to have a go at entertaining the Jazzed up crowds if you so wish to. So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Jazz musician, get in contact with the main orgainsers before you go, there details can be found on the St Lucia’s Jazz homepage.

St Lucia also holds annual Carnival events in July that have built up such a reputation, it now rivals the world famous Brazilian Carnivals. This is because St Lucia’s Carnivals incorporate many many different cultural forms from all over the world such as art, music, dance, theater and costume, but also with a unique style and touch all their own! Thousands of visitors flock to St Lucia every year for these special events and if you’re a fan of soca and Calypso music you will be in your utopia! They also hold a ‘Carnival Queen’ title, but beware the locals prepare most of the year hoping to win this prestigious honor so the competition is fierce!

If all the above hasn’t persuaded you to come to St Lucia yet, maybe the 19,000 acres of beautiful natural rainforest might tempt you a little more. From heavenly hummingbirds to swooping tree bats and a vast array of mesmerizing tropical plants and flowers, you will be in your element trekking through these magnificent jungles. There are lots of guided tours on offer when you get to St Lucia, all offering a variety of different walks and Jungle activities.

What are you waiting for? Come to St Lucia and have the holiday of a lifetime!