When it comes to going on holiday, such is the clamour for the glamour of the Caribbean and other exotic destinations, and the frequent determination to get as far from these grey islands as possible, the sheer stunning variety of just what exactly is on offer on our own doorstep is often criminally overlooked. In particular, when it comes to city breaks, Europe is, or certainly should be, the envy of the world.
It’s easy to see why. Take a moment and just think of as many European major cities as you can. Are any two the same? Of course not. Each destination offers a different and unique experience, all for the fraction of the cost of a bank-breaking trip around the world.
Take The Netherlands, for example. The popularity of Amsterdam breaks is, of course, nothing new but the mention of the Dutch city is almost a cliché when discussing the perfect holiday. Infamous for its combination of liberal statutes and an unrivalled cultural history, Amsterdam ticks all the boxes for all kinds of demographics. For art lovers, the Van Gogh Museum is just about as good as it gets, while the renowned ‘academy of football’ at Ajax will have sports lovers purring. In addition, the compact nature of the city means all the main attractions are situated close together and can be taken in by an immensely enjoyable canal tour. As you’d expect, the nightlife is interesting to say the least.
Even if it’s sun, sea and sand you’re after, Europe is home to many destinations that can match the likes of the Bahamas. The long coastal stretches of locations such as Tenerife and the Algarve in Portugal are enough to satisfy any sun worshipper, while eternally-popular resorts such as Benidorm have everything in place to ensure the perfect break.
As stunning as the Bahamas may be, they simply cannot claim to be home to a beach, some of the world’s greatest architecture, one of the planet’s most iconic shopping areas and arguably the greatest football team in the history of the sport. Europe can. Barcelona breaks have remained popular among holidaymakers who really do want something of everything on their trip. The infamous Gaudi architecture lines the streets, while the original charm of Las Ramblas has not been lost among the modern day hustle and bustle of a vibrant city. Though the Nou Camp understandably and justifiably dominates the sports scene, the Olympic swimming pool, now open to the public, is also worth a visit. Take a cable car from the top down to the beach and, as you descend, marvel at just how quickly Barcelona changes from buzzing city to chilled-out beach resort.
Though the likes of Budapest and Krakow are becoming increasingly discovered by tourists, many uncovered gems also lie hidden in Eastern Europe. This incredibly diverse and relatively unexplored region remains the perfect place for all manner of holidays at bargain prices.