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FEELING LIKE a change of scenery? Here are some of the best locations to visit for a break this springtime.
If you’ve always fancied a trip to the Balearic Islands, now would be a great time! Hoteliers in Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca have spent a record amount of money on a huge programme of improvements to the islands’ accommodation this year, the greatest renovation project for a decade. Nearly half of the island’s 1,000 hotels have upgraded their facilities and modernised their installations.
The improvements are taking place in practically every tourist area on the islands, but it is the small and medium sized hotel chains that have made the largest investment to prepare their premises for the holiday season.
Hotels have opted to improve the quality and service of their establishments to move up in category from two stars to three, three stars to four stars, and so on.
Low cost flights are available from Faro and there are various packages available including top of the range, up-market resort breaks.
Make a splash in Orlando
With the current dollar exchange rate, Florida is a great bargain for family holidays at the moment and Orlando’s latest wet-knuckle ride makes it a must visit location.
Wet ‘n Wild’s newest attraction, due to open this spring, is a 53-foot vertical drop that sends thrill-seekers plunging down a huge, swirling funnel of water. Riders on Brain Wash will experience lighting effects and video snippets as they get tossed about in rafts designed for two or four people. The ride, which has been in the works for more than six months, is set to make the biggest splash on the water park industry this year.
The park, located on International Drive, introduced its last major attraction in 2005. Disco H20 was billed as a “retro-raft adventure”, where riders travel through a time warp of 1970s disco sounds and lights.
Serenity in Seville silly season
Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair), a week-long celebration with flamenco, processions, fireworks and bullfights, runs from April 24 to 29.
Originally a cattle trading fair in the 19th century, the Feria de Abril is a week long festival, which takes place in the Andalucian city every year, attracting over one million visitors. It is a celebration of bullfighting, flamenco and horsemanship that grips the city just two weeks after the culmination of the more solemn proceedings of Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Locals dress in traditional Andalucian clothing – the women stealing the show with their magnificent and colourful flamenco dresses, the men wear wide brimmed bolero hats and short cut jackets. The main focal point of the festival is the Casetas city (large temporary tents) that is set up every year – where young and old dance the night away to the strains of flamenco.
If you want to experience this quintessential Spanish festival, why not stop in one of the many surrounding villages, such as at the Posada de Alajar, just an hour’s drive from Seville? Set in a deep valley, Alájar is famous for its imposing 17th century shrine of Arias Montano, which stands on a rocky peak high above the pretty village. And, while you’re in the area, you can explore the many more, equally handsome little whitewashed villages.