Many travellers limit their holidays to once a year during the summer months, when cheap deals, school holidays, and great weather lure them on their annual trip abroad. However, as the summer months draw to a close and passports are tucked away for their 12 month hibernation, daydreams of stunning beaches and metropolitan cities often still remain.
Holidays are a great way to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life, whilst also reconnecting with friends, family or partners, and exploring a new culture or experience; in the hustle and bustle of the modern world it’s fair to say that you’ve probably earned more than one a year!
Short breaks can be a great way to escape the daily grind in between your larger holidays, whether you have a tight budget or an appetite for luxury, a weekend or a week. Below we have listed our top 10 favourite short break destinations, which are perfect for people with little time to spare;
France – Nice
The South of France is absolutely perfect for anyone who wants to escape their daily life for a taste of luxury. Nice is one of the largest cities on the French Riviera, and therefore provides a winning combination of both French and Mediterranean culture. Nice is the ideal location in which to indulge in amazing food, wine, and admire beautiful celebrity homes and architecture.
Due to the nature of the attractions offered, it’s fair to say that Nice may be a better option for couples or groups of friends, as opposed to families with children; the pace of life may ultimately be too sedentary for them! For those in the UK that are desperate for a few relaxed days in the sun, Nice is a good bet!
France – Paris
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a taste of city life, Paris is the perfect location for your next long weekend. History, art, romance, architecture and culture all combine to offer something for everyone. A city of the size and diversity of Paris truly offers something for everyone, from superb dining opportunities, beautiful locations to explore, and family friendly tourist attractions.
Perhaps the one weakness of Paris as a short break destination is that it can be, speaking generally, a little bit too full on; Paris is an exceptionally busy metropolitan area, and can therefore be a difficult place to relax if you’re not used to such a fast-paced lifestyle. While certainly not a deal breaker, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.
Holland – Amsterdam
Amsterdam offers a wide variety of experiences and activities, and as the cultural and economic heart of Holland, displays a fine cross-section of what the nation has to offer tourists. Indeed, it’s very easy to lose yourself in Amsterdam while wandering its narrow streets on the lookout for the next shop, bar and café.
Amsterdam also allows you to explore the more sedentary aspects of Dutch culture; relaxing in chilled out coffee shops, floating down the canals, enjoying tulip gardens, or navigating Amsterdam’s narrow lanes on a rented bike.
Iceland – Reykjavik
Considering it is a capital city of a well-developed nation, Reykjavik is a pleasingly small, far more personal location for a short break. Indeed, despite housing 60% of Iceland’s total population, Reykjavik is over 10x smaller than London; and consists largely of buildings far smaller than you would ordinarily find in a city, let alone a capital.
The small scale, and comparatively relaxed pace of life around Reykjavik make it a fine place to visit with the family. In this regard it can also act as an ideal staging ground for further exploration of Iceland itself, with offering the opportunity to view picturesque glaciers, and catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. For those looking for a more social, fast-paced short break, Reykjavik is also famed for offering a varied and exciting nightlife.
Ireland – Dublin
You really don’t have to go as far abroad as Iceland for a superb staycation; there are many superb locations closer to home; with Ireland providing many convenient, exciting options. For both its numerous metropolitan attractions, and easy access to the beauty of rural Ireland, Dublin is certainly one of the better options. And that isn’t just for the Guinness brewery.
Beyond the vibrant nightlife, with the Temple Bar area in particular having achieved fame in this regard, Dublin is also a famed centre of arts in the UK. From Samuel Beckett, to Bram Stoker, to James Joyce, Dublin has produced its fair share of artistic luminaries; so why not pay a visit to gain some inspiration of your own.
Italy – Venice
There isn’t a great deal to be said about Venice that hasn’t been already; it’s a true marvel of civic engineering and architectural beauty, and will be a perennial favourite destination for years to come. A firm favourite with any lover of fashion, art, history, architecture and culture, there’s a lot to be said for simply wandering the city absorbing its unique atmosphere. It’s a bit of a cliché, but things often are for a reason; why not reconnect with someone special by hopping into a gondola for a romantic canal ride?
Scotland – Edinburgh
Scotland is the perfect location for anyone who doesn’t want to stray from the UK, but still wants a change of scenery; depending on your destination of origin, Edinburgh can be a fairly painless car or train ride away. Offering a similarly culturally rich experience to that of Dublin, Edinburgh is also host to Edinburgh festival, which alone is well worth the trip.
Landmarks such as Edinburgh castle and Holyrood palace all vie for the attention of visitors; though more modern attractions like Edinburgh Zoo and Dynamic Earth are equally worthy of a visit, providing an exciting day out for all of the family.
Spain – Barcelona
Home to many instantly recognisable landmarks, including the world famous, still unfinished Sagrada Família; as well as a multitude of museums and art galleries. If the likes of Casa Batlló and Park Güell don’t tickle your fancy, you could always sample the delights of Barcelona’s beach, which is regarded as one of the finest city beaches in the world.
As a cultural hub for both Spain, and the triumphantly resurgent Catalan culture, it’s unlikely that any artistically or historically inclined tourist will run out of things to keep them occupied, whether holidaying with family, friends, or even on their lonesome.
UK – Newquay
Cornwall is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to hop in their car and leave everyday life at home for a couple of days. Beautiful beaches, gardens, coastlines and harbours combine to form a place where you can completely relax or throw yourself head first into activities. Newquay is situated on the Northern coastline of Cornwall, and has some of the most prized beaches in England for use in surfing and other water sports as a result. Newquay is also famed for its vibrant local nightlife, which combined with the day-time enjoyment of local beaches, makes it a particularly popular domestic holiday location for young people.
As with Reykjavik, Newquay is a great place to use as a basecamp to explore the rest of Cornwall, placing you ideally to take in such exciting locales as mysterious Bodmin Moor, haunted Jamaica Inn, and more futuristic fayre like the Eden Project.
UK – London
Most of us are so over-exposed to London, and its most famous landmarks, that it’s often easy to forget just what it has to offer domestic tourists. After all, London is one of the most popular city break destinations in the world. There are many historic sights to see, as well as modern tourist attractions. It’s fair to say that even London locals could easily stumble across something new to enjoy, or somewhere new to visit.
For domestic holidaymakers especially, the convenient variety that London provides ensures that there are many diverse short break ideas to experience. Why not treat a loved one to a nice hotel in the centre of the city, tickets to a show in the west end, and a table at a great restaurant.
You may not be going far, but you’ll still need cover
Don’t get too caught up in the planning of your trip to book travel insurance; short trips to nearby destinations require just as much cover as longer trips to the other side of the planet! At the end of the day, if you’re going on holiday you’ll want to be prepared for the unlikely event that something doesn’t go as planned. For more information on the high quality cover that we provide for short breaks, please take a look here.