Planning your Summertime break

With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to start planning last minute holidays in the sunshine. Work, family and financial commitments can make it hard to get away for a few weeks, but often a short European break of a few days can be just enough to relax and re-energise. The question is, where to go? Here’s three great destinations to wet your appetite.

1) Barcelona

Barcelona is a good all-rounder; not only does it have stunning architecture and a lively café and bar scene, but it also has a great beach. Spend a day wandering around the city and taking in sights such as Gaudi’s impressive unfinished cathedral, the Sagrada Família and the vibrant Parc Guell, then hit the sand for sunbathing and people watching. The summer sees Barcelona come alive with various festivals, such as Sonar electronic music festival, Festival del Grec for all kinds of performing arts, and the Sala Montjuïc outdoor film festival.

2) Lyon

Whilst most travellers opt for a romantic get away in Paris, France’s second largest city Lyon often gets overlooked. But as last minute holidays go, Lyon offers everything you need, minus the crowds. The newly refurbished docklands area is well worth a wander around, particularly the futuristic looking Musée des Confluences, which houses 2 million objects that tell the story of mankind. If the sun and the culture gets too much, cool off in one of Lyon’s well kept outdoor public swimming pools.

3) Porto

city of Porto

If you want somewhere slightly off the beaten track, then the eclectic city of Porto in northern Portugal is a great choice. Art-lovers will feel right at home in over a dozen galleries around Rua de Miguel Bombarda, while a guided food tour will give you a flavour of the country’s rich and varied culinary offerings. Even if you’re not a train spotter, take a moment to visit the stunning Sao Bento Train Station, one of the most beautiful stations in Europe. In June the streets come alive with parades, parties and fireworks for the annual St John’s Feast Festival.

With flights to Europe getting cheaper by the day, there’s no excuse to book a deal, pack your bags and start planning. The only problem with short breaks like these? You’ll want to go back for longer next time!

Image by David Kracht used under the Creative Commons license

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