7 February 2015

1O Epic Weekends Out of London


Another new year has began and with it so many plans to get out there and explore the world. How many of you have told yourselves that you will travel more in the new year? Well we are in it now! Whether you live in London, around the UK or coming to Britain for a visit make sure you take the opportunity to explore surrounding European countries as London offers the perfect base for 'Epic Weekends Out of London. With RyanAir, EasyJet, BA and many other airline offering great deals, there is really no excuse to see the rest of Europe or the world for that matter. I am also throwing in a few destinations within the UK too. So 2015 is here and what better way to get you on your new years resolution of travelling more. With Valentines day coming soon, if you havent already booked a Valentines Day getaway then hopefully these will give you inspiration.

I have teamed up with global travellers to bring you 10 of the most kick-us weekend getaways that will have you chilled, partied up, feed your burning wanderlust and bring you back all relaxed and feeling super fresh. So whether you are after a bit of a romantic weekend, a bit of weekend adventure or just some much needed "away from it all" weekend then check out the destinations below. Dont forget to pin them to your pintrest wanderlust board! 



1. Budapest - Hungary


Escape to central Europe and explore the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary. Wander the historic streets of the Castle District, enjoy beautiful views from the top of Gellert Hill or get up close to the mummified right hand of the first king of Hungary in St. Stephen’s Basilica. A city built on thermal waters, achieve ultimate relaxation on your weekend getaway by soaking in one of Budapest’s thermal spas. Szechenyi Baths (Állatkerti körút 9-11) is Europe’s largest medicinal bath and is inside a beautiful building worth exploring.

Eat at Belvárosi Lugas Vendéglő (Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 15/A), located right behind St. Stephen’s Basilica, which offers traditional Hungarian food at good prices. Enjoy a drink or two at one of Budapest’s wine bars. DiVino Borbár (Szent István tér 3) which overlooks the square outside St. Stephen’s Basilica is a great option with a large selection of wine and people watching prospects. Or consider wandering the rooms and admiring the eclectic decorations at Szimpla Kert (Kazinczy utca 14), the most famous ruin bar in Budapest and a must visit. Rest your head at the Wombats City Hostel (Király utca 20). Centrally located with great prices for both dorm or private rooms, the staff are friendly and helpful, plus the hostel offers plenty of activities. Budapest is a fantastic city to getaway for a weekend. The city is full of history, delicious food and drink and lots of opportunity for great memories and adventure.

Hungarian travel inspiration from Adelina. Follow her travels at Packmeto

2. Lisbon - Portugal


Easily accessible in less than three hours from London, the capital city of Portugal may be the perfect destination for a quick weekend trip. What’s not to love about Lisbon? Stunning architecture, delicious food, warm temperatures, all in a city that will make you wander around its streets for hours and hours. You can visit the famous Belem Tower, taste pasteis de nata (two, three…or more!), admire the city from one of its many viewpoints (or as they are called, miradouro), have a glass of sangria or port wine and forget about all your worries. What’s even better is that the city is located half an hour away from Cascais, a resort town by the Atlantic Ocean where you will definitely spend a few hours on a beautiful beach. And when your colleagues will ask you over coffee on Monday morning what you did during the weekend, you can just say “oh, not much, I swam in the ocean in Portugal”.

Portuguese travel inspiration from Vlad. Follow his travels at Efitimonholiday

3. Edinburgh - Scotland


Scotland and more specifically, Edinburgh is just full of it! Full of amazing sights that is. It's city reeking with historical charm and mystery from every corner you turn. Most attractions are largely based on historic stories and legends, so don't be surprised if within minutes of arriving into the city you see people dressed in custom with a crowd in tow as they lively tell tales of noble men and women that came before them. So where does one even start in a city that's full of it - full of beautiful sights to explore. For more, you can check out my top 10 things to do in Edinburgh.

4. Brac Island Croatia


First of all, islands make a huge part of Croatian geographical and national identity. If you are coming to Croatia, you should definitely visit at least one Croatian island. And why not Brac?! Tourism on Brac started in 1923 in Bol. Bol has, with Dubrovnik, and Opatija, one of the longest tourism history in Croatia. And along with few other destinations, like Rovinj, Split, Plitvice, Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik, Bol remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia (Don’t tell me you’ve thought it was the off the beaten path destination). Zlatni Rat, famed beach in Bol, is perhaps the best known and the most beautiful beach in Croatia.

As locals like to say, it isn’t the only beach here. The entire south side of the island of Brac is dotted with gorgeous pebble beaches. Pebbles here are small, soft to walk on, and perfectly rounded. And the best part is that, apart of Zlatni Rat, other beaches aren’t crowded at all, especially as you get out of Bol. Islands seem to live at their own pace, and we always feel like stepping back in time when visiting any of Croatian islands. The veggies and fruits here taste better, their taste brings back childhood memories , olive oil is abundant here (Brac is particularly famous for its olive oil, lamb, sheep cheese, and mandarins), fresh fish is to die for.

Croatian travel inspiration from Frank and Vera. Follow there travels at FrankAboutCroatia 

5. Stockholm - Sweden


Beautifully situated over 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges, it’s not surprising Stockholm is commonly referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’.

Scandinavia’s largest capital city is dressed in style, charm and romanticism, with something to see and do on every corner. Only two hours away by plane, Stockholm is an ideal weekend getaway from the UK. You will discover a perfect blend of old and new as you explore the Old Town of Gamla Stan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest and most well-preserved medieval centres in Europe; walk further south to Södermalm to find contemporary Swedish design shops and hip pop-up bars and cafes, with most placing an emphasis on what’s local, delicious and sustainable. 

Wherever you go, and from any angle, Stockholm exudes elegance and there is no better way to experience it than by boat, hopping from one island to the other from Stockholm’s archipelago. But boat isn’t the only favourable mode of transportation: hit the underground. There’s a whole world beneath street level that begs for attention. To add a quirky, urban twist to this city, over 90 of the 100 underground stations have art work sprawling across the walls and tunnels, it’s something you have to see to believe. For the best examples visit the rainbow themed station at Stadion, the harlequin design at Kungsträdgården, and the hell inspired station at Solna Centrum!

Swedish travel inspiration from Shing. Follow her travels at TheCultureMap 

6. Amsterdam - Netherlands



If there is any high one must experience in Amsterdam its the High Wine Experiences in the heart of Nine Streets. Dylan Hotel is housed in a townhouse with a rich history and located on one of the most famous areas of Amsterdam; Nine Streets. A fashionable and unique shopping district with a mix of designer boutiques, from vintage to modern fashion, chic little cafes and restaurants in what is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

So if you are after a weekend with a difference then this is for you! Quite befitting of a place to house a stylish and luxury hotel that is the Dylan.  With darkness hitting the streets early on during this time of the year, the bridges around the canals come alive when the tunnels are beautifully lit up creating just the right ambiance for romantic evening strolls and the perfect ending for you and a loved one that will have lasting memories. For more check out my High Wine Experience At The Dylan post.


7. Mérida, Spain


A getaway to Spain's Madrid, Seville are great but have you considered a trip to Mérida, the capital of Extramadura.  Originally called Emerita, Mérida was founded in 25 BC by emperor Augustus. After becoming the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, it was once a very important city in the Roman Empire. Mérida’s Roman ruins were placed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1993 and are definitely worth seeing.  According to the Lonely Planet, it is “home to the most impressive and extensive Roman ruins in all Spain.”

Few things you can see in Mérida include the Teatro Romano and the  Anfiteatro. The Teatro Romano, built around 15 BC to seat 6000 spectators, it is still used as a theatre in the summer for performances of the Festival del Teatro Clásico. Anfiteatro Romano, located right next to Teatro Romano, the Roman Amphitheater was built in 8 B.C. for gladiatorial contests. It even could be flooded, to host naval battles.

Spanish travel inspiration via Jolanta at Casual Traveler


8. Marrakech, Morocco



Marrakech has such great energy about it, the vibrant colours, the bustling souks, the aromas of the spices, all the delicious food and the hospitality of the people.

Exploring the towns couldnt be easier as there are many tours on offer, visiting Djemma El Fna introduces you to the beautiful architecture, the mosques and the colourful buildings you will lay your eyes on while strolling around the old towns.  Another item to add to your itinerary is the Atlas Mountain. Red earth, cactus plants, desert landscape with the snowcapped mountains in the background. People had warned us it wasn’t a place to go with children, but our two loved it. They loved having fresh orange juice everyday, as did we! - Samiya

We went to Africa last year. For the weekend! At first glance it sounds ridiculous but Morocco is a mere 4 hour flight away from the UK, a whole lot cheaper than Europe and far more exotic. In a single weekend in Marrakech we slept in riads straight out of 1001 nights, feasted like sultans on aromatic lamb tagines and cinnamon dusted pastries, and stepped back in time amongst the lantern-lit alleyways of the old medina.

We strolled around crumbling palaces still adorned with dazzling Moroccan zellij tiling, haggled hard in the bustling souks for babouche slippers that we’ll never actually wear, and dodged snake charmers and henna tattooists in the main square, Place Djemaa el Fna. We even found time to fit in a spot of hot air ballooning over the Atlas Mountains and joined locals feasting at the famous night market.  By Monday morning we were back at work, hardly believing that just a few hours ago we’d been enjoying cool beers on the roof terrace of our favourite bar, overlooking the city walls glowing in the evening sun. You can experience Morocco in a weekend, but I guarantee once you’ve dipped your toes in the water you’ll want to return for more! -  Heather

Moroccan travel inspirations from Heather and Samiya. You can follow their travels at: SelimaFamilyRAASTA  and Conversant Traveller

9.  Cologne Germany



Germany is not known as a romantic destination so I was taken by surprise seeing all the beautiful locks on the Hohenzollern bridge. It appears the trend from Rome's Milvian Bridge on the Tiber not only reached the Parisian Pont de l'Archevech on the Seine but made its way to Cologne as well. As trains rumble over the Hohenzollern bridge so do thousands of hearts as row after row of padlocks decorate the stretch across the river with messages of love. 

Various shapes and colours of padlocks all engraved with names and dates of marriages, engagements combined add up to some 40,000+ padlocks hanging on what is now Germany's Love Locks Bridge or perhaps the bridge of love as I call it. Considering the tradition in Cologne only started in 2008 the number of locks left here has grown and to 2 tons in weight, and has been weighing heavily on the hearts of many local officials who questioned how long this tradition can be sustained for. After much protest from lovers in the city they have now decided that it will continue into the foreseeable future. So if you are up for a non-typical romantic trip then check out Cologne.  You can read more about my escape to Cologne here.


10. Reykjavik, Iceland




Whether you have a desire to chase the Northern Lights, go whale watching or explore unusual cuisine, Reykavik is the perfect weekend getaway. Spend the morning wandering around the old harbour, the Sun Voyager and Harpa Concert Hall before heading further into town to stare at the uniquely formed Hallgrimskirkja Church.  Whilst here, make sure you take the lift up to the observation tower to see the city and surrounding mountains from above.

See: If you want to explore further afield, head out to see the famous geysirs and waterfalls that make up the Golden Circle.  Along this route, stop off at þingvellir National Park, a site of historical significance and beautiful vistas.  This is also the location of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which is becoming increasingly popular with divers wanting to explore the crystal clear waters.
Do: Back in the city, as night falls, before heading in off search of the coveted Northern Lights head back towards the harbour to see the Harpa Concert Hall’s unique take on the Aurora Borealis.
A Must whilst in the city: Spend a morning at the Photography Museum on the first floor of the city library; it’s free and shows Iceland through the ages.  There are also several different exhibitions throughout the year highlighting many talented individuals.
Eat: No trip to Reykavik would be complete with a trip to Sægreifinn, a rustic seafood shack in the old harbour, to experience a big bowl of lobster soup.  Alternatively, for the more adventurous, head to Tapas Barinn for an unusual mixture of dishes including Puffin, Minke Whale and Blue Ling and then finish the night off with a Hot Chocolate at Café Paris.

Icelandic travel inspiration via Tamason at Travelling Book Junkie


Like this post? Please Share or Pin It For Later.





14 comments:

  1. What a great list of weekend ideas! My bucketlist just got longer :) Thank you for putting it together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely lovely post Bianca, I really need to do more weekend trips, so thank you for the inspiration. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Glad you have found inspiration. Travel sometimes starts with your own backyard especially if you dont have too much time or the bank balance doesnt much your wanderlust. Hence I why I always start from my own city sometimes :)

      Delete
  3. Great ideas for a weekend, specially my sunny Lisbon :)
    I just wouldn't count Iceland as a weekend getaway, I think one needs 4-5 days to fully explore its beauty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess any destination even Lisbon would need a lot more than a weekend so I guess you can just narrow down on a few places in Iceland you can comfortably do in the weekend and get RyanAir to drop you back home Sunday night to get ready for work on Monday :)

      Delete
  4. Morroco looks so beautiful!!

    xo,
    stella
    www.stelladorothy.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent round-up. Reykjavik has long been on my list, but all the others look tempting - especially the ones I've not been to yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know mine too! I will have to squeeze in Iceland one way or another just before the end of the summer.

      Delete
  6. What a fantastic list of destinations! It's cheapest to fly into London from Toronto, so I will have to try some of these out the next time I'm in Europe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely should, especially once the weather starts to get warmer but you need to be on the hunt for bargain tickets soon.

      Delete
  7. Great list..! London is one of the best bases to exploring more of Europe! Heathrow definitely helps with that, and all the low-cost airlines are very useful too! As a European, I'd go to London just to explore London and England, but can easily see myself visiting all these places out of my home base in Prague :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! Actually there has been plenty of times I have seen tickets much cheaper flying from Prague(a city I am dying to visit) than it is flying from London.

      Delete
  8. My amazing sunny Lisbon =) Great list, next stop is Marrocos, can't wait!

    www.thelisboners.com

    ReplyDelete