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Top 8 places we went in November

From relaxing on a beach in Barbados, to exploring ruins in Paxos, here at Travelzoo we like to get about. Here's our rundown on where we went in November.


Chris Webber, senior producer
What I loved: The hotel -- the 5-star Elysium in Paphos was amazing. Great property and fantastic staff.
Top tip: As we were travelling out of peak season, we found that everywhere was less crowded. Visiting the archaeological sites was also more comfortable as we weren't suffering through more than 30-degree heat.
Don't go without: Sunglasses, even in November. I did and had to buy a quality 5€ pair.
Off the beaten track: I didn't realise Paphos had quite so many historical sites -- as well as the Tomb of the Kings, there are a number of other archaeological sites, in addition to mosaics that were only discovered in the early 1960s.

Jamie Challis, head of business development, sales
What I loved:
Where can I start? The weather, the beaches, the seafood, the people, the nightlife -- in fact, there isn’t anything I didn't love about this place.
Top tip:
Use the shared ZR mini vans to get about -- they are quicker than buses and go everywhere, they cost the equivalent of 60p per person and you get to mix with the friendly locals. Also don't go to Barbados without a trip to the Oistins Fish Fry -- locals and tourists of all ages head here for drinks, fried fish, music and dancing, making for busy Friday nights.
Off the beaten track:
The Boatyard is a popular venue just south of the capital Bridgetown, frequented by expats and regular visitors such as cruise/cabin crew and it has a great atmosphere. The US$20 admission fee is used against food to that value, and also includes a free sunlounger on a soft-sand beach. Great food and cocktails are available, as well as an ocean trampoline, and iceberg climb and slide, and a diving platform.

Laura Miller, senior sales manager
What I loved:
The architecture was unbelievable.
Top tip:
Have a drink at the top of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
Don't go without:
Your bathing suit! There are plenty of beaches, waterparks and other opportunities to take a break from the sun.
Off the beaten track:
My favourite part of the trip was visiting Abu Dhabi, which is about an hour's drive away. We rented jet skis from the Dhow Harbour, next to the fish market. People have jet skis lined up on cars right next to all the fishing boats. I was sceptical at first, but after we got out of the harbour we were skimming across clear blue water with beautiful beaches on the side. It was a great way to see Abu Dhabi's incredible skyline, and we even got to jet around the new palace the Sheikh is building. Before heading back to Dubai, we were able visit Sheikh Zayed's Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is one of the few mosques in Muslim countries that allow non-Muslims inside.
Anything else that might be interesting:
We loved the Sundowner desert tour with Arabian Adventures. We were able to go dune bashing in the desert, ride camels, get henna tattoos, watch belly dancers, smoke shisha and have a traditional Arabian feast. As Dubai is so modern and fairly westernised, it was nice to get a taste of the Arabian culture. Usually I try to avoid tours, but this one was a highlight of my trip!

Amy Lindsay, senior producer

What I loved:
The Christmas market at Tivoli: glasses of glogg, twee Christmas crafts, vomit-inducing rides and enough festive fun to bring a smile to the face of even the most hardened Scrooge.
Top tip:
Don't be fooled by the fuss of the Michelin-starred restaurants -- this is a great city for foodies and most restaurants serve up gourmet delights without forcing you to wait three months for a table.
Don't go without:
A credit card with a generous limit -- this city is not cheap.
Off the beaten track:
Don't forget to make a pit-stop at Nyhavn, a scenic little waterside spot that is great for a bite to eat.
Anything else that might be interesting:
Save a fortune on taxis (and warm up in the chilly winter months) by hiring a bike. At present, 55% of all Copenhageners cycle daily, so there are plenty of safe cycle routes – plus you'll get to see the sights while working off those yummy Danish pastries.

Kirsten Powley, assistant producer

What I loved:
The friendly atmosphere and the historical significance of the place where the Pilgrims first landed in 1620.
Top tip:
This time of year, double-check your planned evening entertainment as many venues shut for the season. Summer is the peak time for visitors so you could find that some restaurants and bars have mysteriously closed up for the colder months.
Don't go without:
A big appetite and suitable shoes for the beach -- even in winter you won't be able to resist a stroll.
Off the beaten track:
The annual lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree. This is quite simply a Christmas tree-shaped structure made out of lobster cages with fairy lights and sea-themed decorations. The locals sing Christmas carols as it is lit in Lopes Square then head to the Lobster Pot for a bite to eat. It's a great community eventt to experience and starts off that festive feeling!

Nathan Ridgewell, sales manager

What I loved:
The people -- very polite and welcoming. I also liked the sights and sounds of the market and the back streets of the souks -- an array of colours, smells and mopeds trying to run you over.
Top tip:
Make sure you agree a price with a taxi driver before getting in the car -- there is no set amount so it's up to your powers of negotiation. Avoid the bigger taxis (mostly Mercedes) as they charge double the price of the smaller yellow taxis.
Don't go without:
Antibacterial hand wash -- in the souks, it is rare to have soap or fully running water in the sinks in the toilets.
the beaten track: If you are brave, wander into the souks, but make sure you remember your way back -- they are a maze of back streets that all seem to lead nowhere. But once in, and out of the touristy areas, it is well worth it.
Anything else that might be interesting:
The people of Marrakesh are so polite -- most speak Arabic, French and English, and are really helpful if you need some advice on where to go.

James Spackman, sales manager
What I loved: The Irish are friendly, embrace Christmas like no other nation and are all wearing Christmas attire.
Top tip:
Get away from Temple Bar -- on Baggots Street and around Trinity College there are traditional Irish pubs that won't break the bank.
Don't go without: A Christmas jumper.
Off the beaten track: Matt the Thresher restaurant. I had the oysters to start and a crab open sandwich as my main -- a must when visiting Dublin.
Anything else that might be interesting:
The open-top bus tour -- it's the best way to see Dublin and all the fantastic architecture.

Raphael Giacardi, producer

What I loved:
It's a little slice of paradise on earth, next to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach, one of the world's most beautiful.
Top tip:
A lot of the local accommodation is self-catering. If you fly from Sydney, or another big city, do your food shopping there, so you don't rely on the one and only (overpriced) supermarket on the island.
Don't go without:
Sun cream, sunglasses and a camera.
Off the beaten track:
Take the Hillside Trek to Escape Beach on the other side of the island. The walk (about 60 minutes if you're a fast walker) is a little challenging, but the beach is often deserted (we were the only two people on the beach)!
Anything else that might be interesting:
For $59 per person, the sunset kayaking trip is well worth the money (and includes a glass of bubbly).

See where we went in October.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Thursday, 2 January 2014
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Daniel Conway