Dora Christofi

/Dora Christofi
Dora Christofi

About Dora Christofi

I’m Cypriot, with a London touch, experimenting with photography, working in marketing, love cooking, reading books and wishing to travel the world. I currently live in Limassol, Cyprus and try to travel as much as I can. Visit the [Meet Dora] section for more.

European Shopping Destinations

This post is expected to raise interest to shopping lovers. Below you’ll find my favourite five European shopping destinations.  The following cities offer you the ability to make purchases ranging from cheap buys up to expensive designers – the choices are endless. London Oxford Street 1. London, UK London is one of the best places for shopping, specially during its big sales during the Christmas period. The best places are the famous Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden.  Other areas which are enjoyable for shopping include Russells Square (Brunswick) or Enfield Town (Palace Gardens). There are also many shopping malls e.g. Westfield and Hammersmith Broadway. Here you’ll find all the high-street shops with the best prices. Brent Cross shopping centre is another place you can go shopping in North West London. For more luxury purchases visit Knightsbridge and step into Harrods. Don't forget  Selfridge & Co in Oxford Street. For a more characteristic shopping taste visit Camden Markets in Camden Town. Sales Period: The big sales start on Boxing Day (26/12) and end around mid January.  Summer sales start around min June and end around mid July. If you’re in London beginning the sales period make sure to go shopping early in the morning. 2. Athens, Greece  McArthurGlen Athens Outlet I love shopping here. You can find anything from leather goods around Monastiraki area and its surrounding small markets - called Monastiraki Flea Area. You will find chic stores in Kolonaki and Tsakalof Street or by visiting Attica.  For more down to the earth shopping try Ermou Street and the Mall of Athens. If you wish to purchase branded clothing visit the McArthurGlen Athens outlet or the Factory Outlet.  I prefer McArthurGlen since it's big with many brands and it's surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Sales Period: Summer sales start mid-July and run throughout the end of August whilst winter sales begin mid-January and run throughout the end of February.   3. Brussels, Belgium Avenue Louise in Brussels In Brussels you can find all sorts of shops in Rue Neuve and Avenue Louise. In the lower part you’ll find exclusive designer shops (Avenue Louise) and in Rue Neuve you’ll find [...]

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 January 2nd, 2018|

Magical Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden is a flower garden and one of a kind in the region and in the world for displaying unique and extravagant outdoor recreational flower landscape designs. I had no idea about this place. I found it on Instagram accidentally. I saw an amazing photo with Umbrellas and viewed its location. I was so happy this was in Dubai since I had plans to visit Dubai after a while. So, I guess, if I didn't view that specific post on Instagram I would not have visited this beautiful place since all the people I know who have visited Dubai have never been to this place or have never heard of it. We went early in the morning and it was not very busy, also it wasn't that hot too (end of November). It felt very relaxing when walking through the garden, gazing at the amazing displays. I will not get into too many details about what you'll see here but I'm just going to show you the photos I captured. According to Wikipedia, the flowers are maintained by re-use of waste water through drip irrigation method with an average amount of 757,082 litres (166,535 imperial gallons; 200,000 US gallons) of water per day. The Dubai Miracle Garden operates from October to April and remains closed from June to September due to high temperatures with an average of 40 °C (104 °F), which is not conducive for flower viewing. Useful Information Timing: 9AM – 9PM, Sunday to Thursday and 9AM – 11PM during Weekends (Friday and Saturday) Entry Rate: Regular Rates: Adult (40AED), Child below 12 yrs old (30AED) and Below 2 yrs free entry Amenities include Food Kiosks, Souvenir Shops, Prayer Room, Eating and Sitting Areas, Club Car Hire, Wheelchair, Trampoline, First Aid Room Planted area: 72,000 sqm Pathways: 4km Number of flowers: about 45 million Useful info to have in mind: The use of professional cameras and drones are not allowed inside the garden. Flower picking or touching is strictly forbidden.

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 December 29th, 2017|

Best in Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

The annual bestseller, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2018, ranks the hottest, must-visit countries, regions and cities for the year ahead. Drawing on the knowledge and passion of Lonely Planet's staff, authors, and online community, it presents a year's worth of inspiration to take travellers out of the ordinary and into the unforgettable - firmly setting the travel agenda for 2018. As self-confessed travel geeks, from Lonely Planet collectively rack up hundreds of thousands of miles each year, exploring almost every destination on the planet. And every year, we ask ourselves: Where are the best places in the world to visit right now? It's a very hotly contested topic at Lonely Planet and dominates more discussion than any other. Best in Travel 2018 is our definitive answer. Inside, you'll discover : Top ten countries, regions and cities Best value destinations Best culture trips for families Best new openings and experiences Best new places to stay Top destination races, from walks and marathons to cycles and swims Top vegetarian and vegan destinations Top small-ship expedition cruises Best places for cross-generational family trips Best private islands that everyone can use

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 December 27th, 2017|

Reasons to book your hotel via Booking.com

I'm not going to try and convince you to use Booking.com but I'll just explain why I use it to book hotels and why I believe someone should use it based on my experience. 1. Incredible choice Whether you want to stay in a chic city apartment, a luxury beach resort or a cosy B&B in the countryside, Booking.com provides you a diversity of amazing and breadth of choice options to select from, all in one place. Booking.com 2.Great look and feel The look and feel of the website is stunning, providing users the best experience in finding easy what they need. The search form provides you a variety of creative filters, interactive maps and an optimized search engine that will assist you in finding the best accommodation based on your needs. You can filter your search by Budget, popularity, star rating, things to do, beach access, property type, bed preference, facilities, room facilities, neighborhood etc. Have a look at this search to see what options you may have.  3. Secure bookings Booking.com facilitates hundreds of thousands of transactions every day through their secure platform, and work to the highest standards to guarantee your privacy. I can guarantee you that I've never had any issues with them during the last 10 years I've been using them. 4. Faster booking process If you're a registered customer they already have your details on file so you don't have to enter them everytime you make a booking. Booking.com 5. Best possible prices Booking.com aims to provide its customers the highest customer satisfaction rate mainly due to the competitiveness of pricing, providing the best possible prices. 6. Secret Promotions As a Booking.com member you'll get access to secret promotions and discounts e.g. you'll get an extra 10% off at thousands of popular properties worldwide. Just look out for the Genius logo when you search. Genius accounts also get free travel perks such as late check-out and free airport shuttle. 7. Book now, pay later Booking.com allows you to book your hotel now and pay it upon check-in or check-out [...]

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 December 26th, 2017|

Cyprus Vavla Rustic Retreat: A Traveller’s Review

Vavla Rustic Retreat Booking.com Rustic means relating to the countryside; rural. Kelly, the owner, emailed me straight away asking me what time we'll be arriving, if we need wood for the fireplace, or dinner/breakfast in order for her to sort it out. We booked at Vavla Rustic Retreat since it had the best reviews and met our requirements. We needed a 2 bedroom country house in a nice village, with a fireplace and traditional  Cypriot feel. Friendly Owner We arrived at Vavla Rustic Retreat and Kelly was waiting for us. She toured us around the place and even showed us all rooms and told us the history of the old traditional family stone house. An old restored house This place has been restored though funding by the Cyprus Government and the EU. The rooms contain traditional Cypriot items which were used mainly for preparing and storing food e.g. bread. They have maintained the old traditional food scales, some cookware, traditional old sweepers, even in the garden there's the original water well (an excavation created in the ground to get water). The garden is amazing! It has the traditional stone oven where you can use yourself to prepare food - if you know how to use it of course. Breakfast Vavla Rustic cooperate with their neighbors Donna Marie and George for serving breakfast, lunch or dinner. Donna Marie and George are former owners of an award-winning restaurant in New York, and are excellent chefs and hosts. They primarily offer a traditional Cypriot cuisine, however are often open to requests, and can also cater to those with food requirements. Note that they serve on a reservation-only basis. Our Country House We stayed at the Anoi, a 2 bedroom apartment, cosy, warm and most of all comfortable and clean. The kitchen literally provides everything! Even a juice maker and a coffee machine. You don't need to take anything, just your food. All rooms are fully air-conditioned. You can purchase a big basket of wood for the fireplace, which costs 15 EUROS, that is enough to last all night and a few hours the next morning. BOOK [...]

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 December 20th, 2017|

The Global Top 10 Destination Cities

Mastercard, released the Global Top 10 Destinations cities which define that tourism is driving the economic engines of growth and development around the world. Since 2009, international travel and spending by overnight visitors to cities have grown faster than real GDP (Gross domestic product). To help cities understand key drivers and unlock the value of tourism, Mastercard released its annual Mastercard Destination Cities Index with Bangkok the top one with 19.41 million visitors. 2016 International Overnight Visitors Bangkok - 19.41 million visitors London - 19.06 million visitors Paris - 15.45 million visitors Dubai - 14.87 million visitors Singapore - 13.11 million visitors New York - 12.70 million visitors Seoul - 12.39 million visitors Kuala Lumpur - 11.28 million visitors Tokyo - 11.15 million visitors Istanbul - 9.16 million visitors   About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2016, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2017. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities. This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data. 

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 October 8th, 2017|

Top 5 Holiday Autumn Destinations

There's nothing like a last minute decision to spend a few days at a lovely destination before winter actually arrives. If you don't have schoolchildren, it's the best period to take your European spring/summer holidays in autumn. Sea and skies are still blue, everything is quieter and pricing wise, it's a better value. So here we are, proposing you 5 of our Top European Autumn destinations. 1. Verona, Italy 2. Seville, Spain 3. Krakow, Poland 4. Chania, Crete 5. Aveiro, Portugal

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 September 12th, 2017|

Mesa Potamos: Waterfalls, St. John Monastery, Picnic area

Mesa Potamos area, is located near Saittas, towards Kato Amiantos in Cyprus. You can spend a whole day here by visiting the Waterfalls, the Monastery and have a relaxing time at the picnic area. Mesa Potamos Waterfalls On the way towards to Monastery of St. John the Baptist you will find the Mesa Potamos waterfalls, situated on the Argolachanias river. From the main road you will have to park your car and walk a bit. The height of the waterfall is 7m and it’s located on an altitude of 1000km. The river flows directly into Kourris dam. Geology consists of gabbro.   Monastery of Timios Prodromos The Monastery of Timios Prodromos (St. John the Baptist) lies in the Troodos forest area of Mesa Potamos. The Monastery located amongst the mountains surrounded by pine forests, has springs of sweet water near.  The monastery has been renovated in 2003 and you can see that it’s well preserved. There are a few monks living there at the moment, and if you visit the place you might see them walking near the forest, seeking for a quiet place while visitors are visiting. It’s worth knowing that archbishop Makarios and Grivas were using the monastery as a meeting point during 1950 until 1955 in order to conduct the Unity Referendum. Further to that, it has also served as a hideaway for the EOKA fighters ending up damaging the monastery when British soldiers invaded to the monastery to arrest the fighters. Mesa Potamos Picnic area 7 km from Saittas and site road to the left before the Monastery there’s a picnic area.  It’s one of the 40 picnic sites managed by the Forestry Departments who make sure to provide all the necessary facilities (barbeque area, water, tables, washrooms) when visiting the place.  The picnic area is large enough to accommodate up to 700 visitors. The picnic tables are scattered from each other, offering visitors privacy. There’s a facility to make your own barbeque if you take your equipment. The forest in which the picnic area [...]

2018-01-30T08:55:30+00:00 September 4th, 2017|

Top 10 Cyprus Luxury Hotels

After receiving a few messages questioning me about recommendations on Cyprus luxury hotels I’ve made a research and found the top 10 five star luxury hotels which have been rated by visitors over 8.7 (on Booking.com). But first let’s explain what we mean with Luxury Hotel. A Luxury Hotel will provide you privacy, room comfort, great service, outstanding dining and a variety of activities to choose from. It will provide you extraordinary experience, it will exceed your expectations and will create life-long memories. Stay at the best hotels, enjoy the luxurious style, and enjoy the Mediterranean views and Cypriot hospitality. Columbia Beach Resort Rating: 9.3/10 Columbia Beach Resort is located on the 2km-long Pissouri Bay, a peaceful and rural area situated 20 minutes from both Paphos and Limassol.  The five-star beach resort has earned an identity for itself within the island’s wider hospitality sphere that is synonymous with exclusivity and exceptionality in regards to its facilities, its exceptional service and superb experience. All suites have stone floors, natural wood furnishings and shutters, and overhead ceiling fans to keep them cool. Each has a balcony with views of the gardens or the sea. Facilities include Nespresso coffee makers, Molton Brown toiletries, bathrobes and slippers. SHOW PRICES Four Seasons – Limassol Rating: 9.3/10 Four Seasons Hotel lies on a private part of Limassol’s sandy beach offering 5-star accommodation amongst tropical gardens with 2 free-form pools and 2 floodlit tennis courts. It features 3 award-wining restaurants and the exclusive Shiseido Spa. All rooms, studios and suites are elegantly furnished and come with a satellite LCD TV, safes and coffee makers. Most rooms open out to a private balcony. You can enjoy an exotic cocktail at one of the four bars and try freshly made Sushi and, Oysters at the Vista Terrace. SHOW PRICES Anassa – Paphos, Polis Chrysochous Rating: 9.3/10 Anassa Hotel features breathtaking sea views and a wealth of spa and leisure possibilities within a luxurious village setting. Anassa combines tasteful decoration with elegant furnishings for a [...]

2018-02-04T18:19:26+00:00 September 1st, 2017|

Cyprus Cape Greco Viewpoint

Between Protaras and Ayia Napa, there’s a magical viewpoint in Cape Greco area. The view point is located on the top of a cliff and from there your eyes will relax by just gazing to the infinite Mediterranean Sea. But let’s introduce the area to those who may have not heard about it. Cape Greco is located Between Protaras and Ayia Napa in the south-east corner of Cyprus. The area is divided into two parts, the military part and national park. Of course you cannot access the military part, however the national park is worth a visit. In order to reach the viewpoint, you will need drive up to one point and they you will have to walk a few meters to reach the top of the cliff. Cape Greco Viewpoint Map For more information regarding Cape Greko National Park visit ChooseYourCyprus.

2018-01-30T08:55:31+00:00 August 31st, 2017|