Leaving work a little early on a Friday afternoon and spending the next two days in a beautiful and culturally-rich destination with good food and good wine – there are few things finer than a short break away from the realities of normal life. But if you’ve exhausted Barcelona, Paris and all the common weekend break destinations – we’ve put together a few alternative ideas for you to enjoy.
The Icelandic Wilds
Tourism on the small island country of Iceland is based mainly around the capital Reykjavik – but venturing a little further out into the wilds can offer a hugely unique experience. Completely unspoiled and often treated to the beauty of the Northern Lights – more rural areas of Iceland such as the (deep breath) Vatnajökull National Park provide some of the most stunning sights and experiences in the world.
The vineyards of Italy, Spain and France are hugely popular with holidaymakers from throughout Europe and beyond – offering a chance to indulge in a glass or two of wine in stunning settings. However, slow climate changes and advances in winemaking mean that England has slowly become a trusted source for the nectar of the grape. Even as north as Yorkshire, unique vineyard experiences can be enjoyed in England.
As millions of tourists flock from all around the world to Paris; Lyon in the South West of France offers respite to travellers who don’t want to traipse past thousands of tourists to pay €8 for a croissant. With more authentically-French cuisine than its capital; Lyon also benefits from rejuvenated dock areas on the banks of the Rhône and the Saône.
Additionally, being located 250 miles south of Paris – Lyon enjoys better weather during the spring and summer months of the year.
The Black Sea
Bordered by six different countries, the Black Sea is a hugely accessible body of water with a selection of holiday destinations located on the coast. The quaint Bulgarian town of Sozopol boasts two beaches on the Black Sea as well as a selection of authentic Bulgarian shops, restaurants and bars. Popular with Bulgarians; Sozopol benefits from being an hour south of Sunny Beach, which acts as a flytrap for the younger and less-salubrious of visitors.
Amsterdam and Antwerp Cruise
Specialist travel agent, Cruise1st are offering a three night cruise around Amsterdam and Antwerp. The capital of Netherlands is ever-popular with weekend-trippers but the Belgian port city of Antwerp is still finding its audience. With an emphasis on avant-garde fashion, Antwerp has set its sight on competing with Milan, Paris, New York and London.
For anyone who has visited Milan and felt let down by the industrial appearance of the city – Turin could help remedy and ill-feelings towards Italy. Blessed with almost endless art nouveau and art deco cafes and restaurants lining the beautiful arcades; Turin retains an authentic Italian flavour as more and more of the country’s resorts become overly touristy.
History buffs will also enjoy the Museo Egizio – proudly boasting one of the world’s largest collections of Egyptian artifacts.
Visiting the home of the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings franchise does not mean you have to make your way across the world to New Zealand – the UK has their very own version of The Shire. Acorn Camping and Glamping have recreated the homes of the hairy-feet heroes from Tolkien’s classic in Cornwall so you too can live like a Hobbit