We’ve all been there. You’ve had a hectic year at work, at home, or dealing with the kids and their school lives. All of a sudden, you realize that it’s summer and you’ve no plans for the family to take a vacation or any sort of break at all. You’d promised yourself last year that you’d do something extra special this year, but here you are again.
Well, not to fear, because there’s always a way to sneak in a crafty last minute trip abroad. You just need to speed up the planning process, and looking at a big continent such as Europe might make this prospect seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t need to. Here are some travel ideas if you’re dying to take a last minute vacation somewhere in Europe.
When in France.
Traveling to France is a great place to start, whether you’re looking to explore just one country in Europe or several different places. There are so many guides and tips on the internet regarding things you should do and see when you visit this stunning country in particular, however. Obviously, you should try to squeeze in Paris if you can, as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are both famous and glorious sites that need to be visited in the flesh to be truly appreciated.
If you venture a little outside of Paris, you’ll probably also want to visit Disneyland; whatever your age, the rides, the light shows, and the restaurants are all things that anyone and everyone can enjoy. Still, you may want to see a calmer and less tourist-oriented side of France. If you head over to Beaujolais in Burgundy then you’ll see some exquisite and wealthy little villages and also be able to drink some of the best wine in France (and the world, for that matter).
When in Italy.
Italy is a gorgeous country to visit, and it’s impossible to pinpoint a place to begin. Rome is obviously the hub of all culture, and it’s certainly a place you should pass through if you want to see some of the glorious ruins of the Roman empire, such as the Baths of Caracalla and the Roman Forum (possibly the most famous ruin). Still, you may fancy a history lesson mixed with a little more culture and modern day excitement; Venice is the perfect city to combine old and new Italy. It’s cultural, the streets are bustling and busy, and there’s so much to do.
Hopping on a gondola will probably be at the top of your ‘To Do’ list when you visit Venice, and they’re just as beautiful as suggested by glitzy Hollywood films. If you are going to go on a gondola ride then you might want to take the Venice food tour because you could combine an educational and cultural water-based journey across Venice’s Grand Canal with delicious food, such as Venice’s famous gelato (that’s ice cream, in case you weren’t hyped enough about that idea).
When in Spain.
It may seem a little mainstream to suggest this, but you need to see Barcelona when you’re in Spain. This is a city like no other, and you don’t have to feel like any old tourist if you know how you experience it properly. There’s so much to see and do in this unique part of the world that you don’t need to have the same experience as anyone else. There are popular beachside nightclubs, of course, if you want to get involved with the party scene, but there are also hubs of culture and beautiful artwork.
Gaudi’s influence on the art and culture of the city is impossible to miss, so just take some time to appreciate the colorful buildings line every street. La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s most impressive piece and definitely one you should see if you only have time to see one. There are also never-ending amounts of captivating cathedrals towering into the sky and beautiful restaurants packed into narrow alleyways surrounding Las Ramblas. You may want a detailed guide, but it’s really something you have to figure out for yourself; get a little lost, and see what you stumble upon.
When in Hungary.
Again, Budapest might seem an obvious choice for the traveler or vacationing family heading to Hungary, but there is a good reason for this; it’s the perfect combination of old and new, much like Venice or Barcelona. Budapest takes this idea to an extreme level, however. They’ve created ruin bars which turn a wreck into a modern paradise of trendy drinking culture and garden bars which combine unique natural design with a modern drinking hub. Even the accommodation combines old and new because the quirky historic hotels, such as a former aristocrat’s house now called Hotel Palazzo Zichy, have deceptive exteriors and otherworldly interiors.
In terms of what to actually see and do when you’re in Budapest, the baths are an obvious place to start, but there’s a reason they’re so popular with both locals and tourists. Their gorgeous thermal baths seem to lie at almost every corner and turn in this bizarre and intoxicating city. You could get yourself some Hungarian food from a rustic etkezdek, which is essentially a family restaurant, and relax in one of the welcoming baths whilst you soak up the view of this beautiful place. Sometimes the tourist favorites really are the best parts of a city.
When in Ireland.
Drinking, drinking, and more drinking; that’s what people expect to do in Ireland, and you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that there aren’t some amazing watering holes in this wonderful country, but there’s far more to it than that. Rather than heading to Dublin and seeing only a fragment of what this intriguing country has to offer, you might possibly want to take a different approach to visiting this place. Northern Ireland has the beautiful walled city of Derry/Londonderry, and it’s the last of its kind; walking across the walls is an experience you definitely don’t want to miss.