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Wowcher’s Ways to Win Hearts in Paris


Some sceptics have questioned whether Paris is the City of Love, but when in 2014 part of the Pont des Arts bridge collapsed under the weight of thousands of ‘love-locks’ left by smitten sightseers, the city’s reputation as a love nest was only cemented. From hand-in-hand strolls along the Seine to admiring the city skyline from Sacré-Cœur, Paris exudes amour – and who are we to deny its romance? To ensure your trip isn’t ruined by a fatal bridge flop, we suggest you twitterpated tourists steer clear of weighing down the Pont des Arts any further with your tokens of everlasting affection. Instead, follow our step-by-step guide to charming your chéri or chérie.

(The) LO(u)V(r)E
Take away the U and the R and Louvre spells love – coincidence? We think not. Since the château opened its doors as a museum in 1793, it’s been full of loved-up couples fighting to impress each other with their grasp of the art within. From Greek sculptures to Egyptian antiquities, the Louvre’s collection spans from about 7000 BC until 1848. No trip to the Louvre would be complete without laying eyes on the enigmatic Mona Lisa, so usher your lover to the museum’s most visited masterpiece and astonish them with a few facts you’ve practised in advance (for example, the Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 by an Italian criminal, returned only in 1913. FACT). Our top tip of all? Regardless of their gender, tell your treasure their smile is more mysterious than lady Lisa’s could ever be, while you peruse the painting.


Smothering Heights
Paris is teeming with sweeping ooh la la-worthy views, and there’s no better way to smother your sweetheart than to tell them they’re The One atop one of the city’s many viewpoints. Why not express your torrent of affection over a ride in the Funiculaire du Montmartre, or if you prefer the panting, sporadic approach, as you ascend the 1665 steps of the Eiffel Tower? Our favourite spot from which to contemplate the city with a loved one is alongside the grotesque gargoyles of Notre-Dame Cathedral. You’ll look utterly ravishing stood next to the surly sculptures as you gaze 115 feet down at Jean-Paul-II square, with beautiful views of the rippling River Seine.

Satisfying l’estomac
For a city frequented by canoodling, kissing couples, a fair amount of onion goes into the haute cuisine for which Paris is celebrated. Could this sweet pungency be traced to that certain je ne sais quoi that makes the French so irresistible? We’re not entirely convinced, but you mustn’t leave without trying classic French starter soupe à l’oignon, a buttery broth of silky onions topped with bubbling cheese. If that doesn’t get your senses stirred, slurp up another French favourite instead: oysters. The delicious aphrodisiacal dish is rich in zinc, thought to trigger sexual potency. Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters a day to fuel his seduction of a trail of virgin nuns. Need we say more?


Literary Love
If the real love of your life is literature, then grab your unsuspecting sweetie and follow in the wining and dining footsteps of writers that once graced the streets of Paris. Head to the Left Bank (southern bank of the Seine) to see the literary haunts of expat writers Hemmingway and Fitzgerald, along with remnants of the explosive jazz age. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood lines the Left Bank and was the core of the existentialist movement during the 1940s and 1950s, ruled by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Seated in the legendary Le Café de Flore from breakfast until dinner, the philosophers would draw crowds of intellectuals. Today the café is a tourist trap, where a croissant will cost you nearly the price of a checked-in bag on a Ryanair flight. But if your literary love is strong enough, you’ll shell out to soak up the artistic atmosphere of Le Café de Flore, leaving your luggage’s fate to the lobby boy you’ve affectionately named Pierre.

However you spend your stay in the City of Love, the most romantic gesture of all is to book a surprise trip to Paris for your lucky beloved. Make sure you look out for deals on Wow Go!

Fancy heading there yourself? You could win a 4* Valentine’s weekend in Paris for two including return flights by just clicking here!

The Wowcher Guide To Beautiful Cape Verde

capeverde4
Somewhere between the shores of Africa and the beaches of Brazil lies an arrow-shaped archipelago. You’ve reached Cape Verde, a mirage of windswept wonders and soulful serenades off the coast of Senegal. Geographically speaking, Cape Verde keeps its own company. A former Portuguese colony, many are surprised to know this unspoilt paradise lies just six hours from the UK. Here’s our pick of things to do and places to see during your stay…

Music
From lively lyrics to melancholy melodies, music is the essence of life in Cape Verde. Salsa, bossa nova and coladeira are all celebrated and much-loved favourites. You can enjoy the sounds of the island in the bars, in the cafés and on the sidewalks – it enlivens every corner. And while year-round serenades are to be expected, there’s no time quite like festival season to experience it best. We recommend the renowned Sao Vicente Carnival. An African take on the Brazilian carnival, the street parades begin on 17th February. Visiting in summer? Fear not. The Baía das Gatas Music Festival will see you partying under the August full moon. A midsummer night’s dream indeed… Read more

Wowcher’s Guide To Beating The January Blues


Through beverage-clouded vision and a mince pie-induced coma, it’s hard to see an end to the merry festive period. But now the New Year’s celebrations have drawn to a close, it’s back to reality and worse yet – back to work. So how to up your mood, keep memories of the good times bright and kick yourself back to fitness? Read on for Wowcher’s guide to surviving January… Read more

Wowcher’s Guide To Sicily


Serene Sicily is often thought of as the smaller sister to Italy, but the oft overlooked Mediterranean island is in fact overflowing with culture, history and charm of its own. Check out our highlights below and see if you can be tempted to visit the home of Mount Etna, stunning caves and the world’s greatest view…

Taormina
A fascinating historical town based on the east coast of the island, quaint Taormina boasts a lazy pace of life from autumn to spring and a buzzing city centre come the popular tourist season. Within the city walls are plenty of unmissable attractions ranging from the spectacular Duomo cathedral to the ancient Greek theatre. Surprisingly well-preserved and superbly situated, the theatre site overlooks the coast and offers views for miles around. With efforts in place to regenerate the ruins, you can even catch a show on occasion and let your imagination run wild with thoughts of ancient actors and times long gone. When the historian in you is satisfied, take a dizzying cable car down to the picturesque coast…

With Mount Etna in the background,  Taormina's ancient Greek theatre  makes for a must-see site.

With Mount Etna in the background, Taormina’s ancient Greek theatre makes for a must-see site.

Mount Etna
A towering reminder of past eruptions, Mount Etna stands close to the city of Catania. Not only is the volcano extremely impressive to drive by, it provides tours, hiking and walking opportunities too. Those who set off to explore will get to grips with geography and learn plenty about lava tunnels and flow, eruptive fractures and much more from the on-hand tour guides and geologists. Many companies offer helmets and head torches, giving travellers a chance to explore the nooks and crannies of the volcano itself. It might not be your average beach day or shopping excursion, but we think exploring Etna is a pretty fascinating way to spend a day…

We definitely recommend heading to Castelmola, frequently described as the best view in the world.

We definitely recommend heading to Castelmola, frequently described as the best view in the world.

Castelmola
Frequently described as the best view in the world, the hectic journey to the mountain village of Castelmola was certainly a worthwhile one. The small civilisation is reachable only by a three-mile winding road set into the hillside, punctuated with blind corners, sharp bends and on-coming traffic. However, once you’ve reached your destination, the views of the coast and sea seem to stretch out for miles until the coast of mainland Italy emerges on the horizon. A further reason to visit Castelmola is the sweet, heady almond wine produced in the town. With the views rolling out around you and a glass of the delicious tipple in hand, you’ll think you’ve travelled right to heaven itself!

With homemade pizzas more often than not enormous and baked in authentic brick ovens in front of you, it would be easy to dine on them alone if the menus weren’t packed with other delicacies such as locally-sourced seafood.

With pizzas more often than not enormous and baked in brick ovens in front of you, it would be easy to dine on them alone if the menus weren’t packed with other delicacies.

Dining
While travelling to major tourist sites is a key part of any holiday, experiencing the local cuisine is just as important when seeking out the true flavour of Sicily. With homemade pizzas more often than not enormous and baked in authentic brick ovens in front of you, it would be easy to dine on them alone if the menus weren’t packed with other delicacies such as locally-sourced seafood. We’d recommend tucking into flavoursome swordfish seasoned with fresh Sicilian lemon – a bonus if you’re dining with a sea view! A staple lunch dish also not to be missed was arancini: a hot, battered ball of risotto, cheese and vegetables. Healthy, perhaps not, but tasty? Extremely!

The warm Mediterranean Sea and stretching beaches characterise Sicily, so why not get up close and personal with a boat trip?

The warm Mediterranean Sea and stretching beaches characterise Sicily, so why not get up close and personal with a boat trip?

Take a boat trip
The warm Mediterranean Sea and stretching beaches characterise Sicily, so why not get up close and personal with a boat trip? We recommend embarking from the holiday town of Giardini Naxos in the east of the Sicily where the surrounding beaches, caves and snorkelling hotspots are easily accessible by boat, and plenty of locals are keen to take travellers on afternoon trips. Then, after admiring the volcanic rock cliff face and eerie caves, don your snorkelling equipment, jump in the crystal clear waters and surround yourself with colourful fish who’ll show no fear as they swim up and around you.

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Czech Yourself, Don’t Wreck Yourself!


Historical capital of the Holy Roman Empire and Bohemia, Prague is a cobblestoned library of surrealist beauty and gothic splendour. Wherever you walk, you’ll be spied upon by stone gods and gargoyles, playful puppets and prophets, immortalised authors and angels. Behind the peeling walls of the old Communist facade lies a culture that’s rich in old and new art forms, Moravian music and Bavarian beer, the beautiful and the downright bizarre. This is why we love Prague. Czech it!

Gods and Gargoyles
Whereas in Paris you need to keep a firm eye on the ground in case you step in something, we recommend you look up at the skies in Prague. Medieval warrens and saints, puppets and prophets, Kafka and queens are just some of the statuesque figures you may see looming above. Thirty Baroque sculptures alone line the sides of the iconic Charles Bridge, one of which depicts the testicles of a lusty saint after he’s been castrated by a dog. Sexy stuff. We recommend visiting at dawn to enjoy the glorious sunrise, and maybe even treating yourself to a hot dog for breakfast. Mmm…

clock

When the Prague Astronomical Clock strikes the hour, bells ring, wooden saints pop out from trap doors, cocks crow and trumpeters trump – well worth a visit!

The Prague Astronomical Clock
Ticking since 1490, this is the third oldest clock in the world and almost as impressive as that calculator wristwatch you had at school. It may not be able to give you the square root of 243, but it can give you a masterclass in medieval morality, as well as show you the phases of the moon and Babylonian time (useful stuff). When the clock strikes the hour, bells ring, wooden saints pop out from trap doors, cocks crow and trumpeters trump. It’s the most clock-related fun you’ll have since Hammer Time.

Dead People
One of the most eerie cemeteries you will ever visit, the Old Jewish Cemetery is a tiny patch of tree-shaded ground that contains over 10,000 bodies all stacked on top of one another. The ancient sandstone and marble headstones are crammed in like bodies on a rush-hour tube, and they remain a stark reminder of the lack of space accorded to the ghetto in the 15th century.

Prague is known for it’s nightlife, and we recommend checking out the industrial suburb of Zirkov. With more than 300 bars in 2 square miles, it’s almost certainly the densest concentration of bars in Europe.

Nightlife
There’s nothing more interesting than learning the local dance moves when vising a new city. Housed in a 1950s nuclear bunker, Bunkr Parukářka is an underground club that’s buried deep in a hillside. DJs play avant-garde electro-pop mixed with industrial music, so you’re sure to see some interesting shapes being thrown around – but don’t worry, there are a couple of ventilation towers to avert the risk of meltdown. If you’re more of a bar person, we recommend the industrial suburb of Zirkov. With more than 300 bars in 2 square miles, it’s almost certainly the densest concentration of bars in Europe!

Petřín Hill
Arguably not as funny as Benny Hill but certainly more beautiful and more manageable in large doses, Petřín offers a stunning view of the Czech Republic’s capital. Pretend you’re a giant next to the miniature Eiffel Tower, feed the squirrels in the landscaped gardens or admire your devilish good looks in the mirror maze.

The view from the Petřín observational tower on Petřín hill

The view from the Petřín observational tower on Petřín hill.

Beer and Boar
We may have Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry, but the Czech Republic’s national treasure is its beer. You may be familiar with Kozel and Pilsen, but what you won’t be familiar with is paying less than a pound for a pint of Kozel and Pilsen. Everything tastes a lot better when it’s cheaper! For the strongest brew in the Czech Republic, visit U Medvidku Beer Hall and get yourself a pint of X-Beer 33 – don’t go crazy though, it’s 11.8%!

The pub grub is equally cheap and tasty. Traditional goulash dishes served with wild boar and dumplings are often less than the price of a Snickers Duo, and they’re a lot more palate-pleasing. They are quite heavy though, so we recommend some light exercise post-feast…

There you have it – a short guide to one of the prettiest places on the planet, and we didn’t even mention the tourist hotspots like Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There is so much to do in Prague, you’ll almost certainly want more time to see it all, no matter how long you end up staying. It’s a cobblestoned cultural paradise and the perfect destination for a Christmas treat! And with affordable deals like this one, you can rest assured your Czech won’t bounce. ZING!

Please note – deals featured may not be live. 

Wowcher’s Guide to Picking the Perfect Perfume

We’ve all emerged from the perfume shop smelling like an explosion in, well – a perfume shop. Once you’ve spritzed three or four different types, it’s easy to get lost in a cloud of zest and musk and ultimately lose the ability to differentiate between them. Combined with bamboozling talk of base notes, top notes and eau de toilettes, you’re often left wondering how something as simple as scent can become so complicated. Another issue to consider is your perfume style. Just like taste in clothes or music, you’ll find that many people have a certain type of scent they prefer, be it fresh, floral fragrances or spicy, Oriental ones. So where to begin? Wowcher are here to get to the bottom of the jargon and assist you in your hunt for a signature scent… Read more

Wowcher’s Top 5: Christmas Markets in Europe

FRANKFURTXMASOnce your parents have stopped giving you stockings and slipping surprise chocolate coins in your lunchbox, the once blindingly bright lights of Christmas can seem decidedly dim. That’s why this year we’re swapping stale figgy pudding and even staler cracker jokes for a little continental magic, courtesy of Europe’s best Christmas markets.  Read more

Wowcher’s Guide To Dental Treatments


What do all A-listers have in common? Whether they’re heading to a snazzy film premiere or slapping a selfie on Instagram, they each have that deliciously inviting Hollywood smile: two rows of gleaming gnashers, all straight and shiny.

It’s hardly surprising then, that 32% of us mere mortals (that’s a whopping one third of the UK) feel ‘concerned by the look of their teeth’ – and why shouldn’t we?* Cosmetic dentistry has exploded during the last decade, as well as plenty of on-the-shelf teeth whitening kits, making it more affordable than ever to snatch up a pair of glistening pearly whites. So move over celebs, us girls are getting in on the action, and here’s what to pick from if you do:

Laser Teeth Whitening
Often touted as laser teeth whitening, this celeb led procedure doesn’t typically involve lasers, but is actually down to a nifty chemical compound called ‘hydrogen peroxide’. Once activated by strong light, the ingredient is broken down, which releases oxygen into the inner enamel to promote a whiter tooth appearance. Quick, easy and without the fiddly nature of home whitening kits, this ‘miracle treatment’ can have you in and out of the dentist’s chair in as little as 45 minutes! Lunch break treat? Oh, go on then…

‘Six Month Smiles’ Clear Braces
Sporting tooth-coloured wires for discreet wear, the ‘Six Month Smiles’ method uses clear braces to gently straighten and align your pearly whites over a period of six months. These ingenious braces are barely visible, so you won’t need to feel self-conscious when talking, smiling and laughing. A full consultation with your dentist is usually required, as is a scale and polish and dental hygiene appointment once your braces come off. You’ll also need to return every three to four weeks to have the wires tightened, but don’t worry – that sparkly smile will be worth it!

Dental Implant & Ceramic Crown
A vampy makeup look may get you hot to trot, but a fang-heavy incisor is definitely not one to show off. With a dental implant and ceramic crown, you’ll first get a full dental exam with any necessary mouth x-rays included, plus a cosmetic consultation with your experienced dentist. If all goes well, the procedure then takes place over several sessions, involving a small screw being implanted in the jaw, which is then anchored by natural bone growth. The tooth will be topped off with a ceramic crown, made to match the colour and bite of your teeth.

Home Teeth Whitening Kit
Easy-to-use home teeth whitening kits can be found on any supermarket shelf, and while they include everything you need to build up a whiter smile, these magic kits can be expensive. Here at Wowcher, you can save a doddle on popular home teeth whitening treatments that include in-depth instructions and a shade guide so you can track the change in colour of your teeth. Whichever kit you choose, each pack contains a savvy formula designed to bust stains from things like coffee, wine and nicotine – leaving you with a smile to be proud of!

Scale, Polish & X-rays
Sparkly gnashers aside, we all need a good mouth clean every once and a while – and according to the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 60% of us organised women get our teeth checked regularly.* But for those who might have missed one or two, a scale, polish and x-ray is definitely worth having. These hygiene check-ups begin with an initial consultation, where you’ll get 3D x-rays of your mouth, designed to identify any hidden problems with your teeth, mouth and jaw that can’t be seen with a visual examination. You’ll then receive a teeth scale and polish lasting up to 30 minutes, leaving you with that lovely clean feeling you can only get from the dentist.

So there you have it, five dental treatments that can lift your dull and dreary teeth to glittering perfection. For your chance to snap up some bargain dental deals, simply stay with Wowcher.co.uk!

*Statistics sourced from http://bacd.com/statistics

Wowcher’s Guide To Reykjavik

Get a raincoat ready and visit Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, where eager hikers can stand behind glacier ice plunging from a whopping 200 feet!

Iceland’s Reykjavík is a city that can bewitch even the most discerning travellers with its awe-inspiring natural wonders, unapologetic nightlife and bite for all things extraordinary. Let it seduce you this winter…

Blue Lagoon
Enveloped by lava fields off the Reykjanes peninsula, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most revered spots in Iceland. Soak up on silken pools pitted against turquoise terrain, before falling head over heels with a nourishing massage enjoyed on-site. Feeling indulgent? Hire the Exclusive Lounge for full spa access complete with treatment and lunch at Blue Lagoon’s LAVA restaurant: prices from only 117 Euros.

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