The Perfect European Getaway Guide
March 16, 2017 (No Comments) by Aidan Clarke

As heat and light begin to bathe the continent again after the rigours of winter and those pesky festive bills are almost a thing of the past why not treat yourself to a European weekend away?

The last/first season of the year is hard going. Feck all day light, getting overly intimate with random sources of heat, seventeen layers of clothes just to get to the chemist for something to relieve the man-flu. It’s a slog, winter is a slog.

the-perfect-european-getaway-guide

But it’s adios to that and on the regular mish-mash of seasons due to Ireland’s climatic goldilocks psychosis. You know, not too much of one thing or the other but rarely just right.

However it’s the location of this wild and green little lump of rock on the western fringe of a small continent that comes in fairly handy; few places in Europe are too far away for a quick break. But where and when you ask, well all of that and more is answered here in our very own European getaway guide.

Spoilt For Choice

This is where the problems start, where to go? How to get there, what to bring, what to leave behind? These are first world problems indeed.

Unless it’s a trip to the Isle of Man, a staycation or a booze cruise (remember them?) to Holyhead then it’s a flight. During the summer season, roughly late March to late October, a lot more routes open to so-called secondary cities in France and Spain etc. so there’s an opportunity to try a less visited city.

Destination Unknown

When it comes to booking flights don’t be afraid to use one carrier for the way out and another for the way back. Book in advance and do yourself a solid and put yourself on the mailing list for certain routes and airlines. Or be even more adventurous and just decide on a budget rather than a destination and click the everywhere option on Skyscanner. Also, pay more to fly closer to the city of choice. It’ll save precious time and probably precious spends too.

destination-unknown-barcelona

Now the harder part, when to go? Anytime is surely the answer but keep in a mind that a number of cities shut up shop in August so the locals can head off on holibops themselves. This is probably a blessing in disguise because the searing heat doesn’t do pasty Irish skin any good, no matter what anyone says about a burning red turning to a rich mahogany!

Act Like A Local

That’s not to say a weekend away is all about the heat. The old cities of Northern Europe really do become almost ethereal in the snow with Vienna apprehending that snow crown. Wrap up!

Try not to let the reputation of a city put you off. Paris isn’t that expensive, well it can be, but plan ahead and walk everywhere which one should be doing in Paris anyway, it’s quite a compact city. Eat like the locals.

act-like-a-local

This should be moot advice but it’s generally cheaper and nicer. Wear sensible shoes that won’t make you look like a tourist; this is advice no matter the destination. Speak some of the language as it’s really only good manners and shouting at someone in English hoping that it will translate in mid-air rarely works.

Leave Your Fears Behind

Don’t be afraid of going to Scandinavia, ok it can be expensive and the people are sickeningly beautiful but it doesn’t have to be the former, but it will always be the latter. Try and stick to a budget and follow the locals.

Don’t be afraid to hop on a big red bus if you’re short on time. You can bet your bottom dollar that even travel snobs, and we all know them, do this but forget to mention it while they’re busy Instagramming their way around Luxembourg.

leave-your-fears-behind

One of the key things to remember is that most cities in Europe, quite unlike Irish ones, are living cities. Where if you take a left turn off a main tourist thoroughfare, say Las Ramblas in Barcelona for example, you will invariably find yourself in a living, breathing neighbourhood. Dive in; these are the real parts of the city.

Lose Yourself

For the love of god repack that bag. Hairdryers do exist in other countries. They also have mini marts to buy things. If you ask yourself more than once if you need something you’ve packed then you don’t need it. You’ll need a passport to go anywhere except the U.K where a drivers licence will suffice. Don’t forget travel insurance or, at the very least, an E-111 card to cover emergency situations.

lose-yourself

Download an offline map of your destination and check out the ‘what’s going on’ section of the tourist office. Never know, there could be a random regional beer festival on in Brussels that starts with a strawberry mojito out of the back of a vintage van which leads to huge fun.

But, essentially, get lost; you’d never know what you might discover.

Aidan Clarke
Looking at becoming one of those interesting 40 year olds who still doesn’t know what to do, that’s the goal. In the meantime though, travel, mundane experiences filtered to death, notions concerning station in life and blooper reels keep this boat afloat.

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The Perfect European Getaway Guide
March 16, 2017 (No Comments) by Aidan Clarke

As heat and light begin to bathe the continent again after the rigours of winter and those pesky festive bills are almost a thing of the past why not treat yourself to a European weekend away?

The last/first season of the year is hard going. Feck all day light, getting overly intimate with random sources of heat, seventeen layers of clothes just to get to the chemist for something to relieve the man-flu. It’s a slog, winter is a slog.

the-perfect-european-getaway-guide

But it’s adios to that and on the regular mish-mash of seasons due to Ireland’s climatic goldilocks psychosis. You know, not too much of one thing or the other but rarely just right.

However it’s the location of this wild and green little lump of rock on the western fringe of a small continent that comes in fairly handy; few places in Europe are too far away for a quick break. But where and when you ask, well all of that and more is answered here in our very own European getaway guide.

Spoilt For Choice

This is where the problems start, where to go? How to get there, what to bring, what to leave behind? These are first world problems indeed.

Unless it’s a trip to the Isle of Man, a staycation or a booze cruise (remember them?) to Holyhead then it’s a flight. During the summer season, roughly late March to late October, a lot more routes open to so-called secondary cities in France and Spain etc. so there’s an opportunity to try a less visited city.

Destination Unknown

When it comes to booking flights don’t be afraid to use one carrier for the way out and another for the way back. Book in advance and do yourself a solid and put yourself on the mailing list for certain routes and airlines. Or be even more adventurous and just decide on a budget rather than a destination and click the everywhere option on Skyscanner. Also, pay more to fly closer to the city of choice. It’ll save precious time and probably precious spends too.

destination-unknown-barcelona

Now the harder part, when to go? Anytime is surely the answer but keep in a mind that a number of cities shut up shop in August so the locals can head off on holibops themselves. This is probably a blessing in disguise because the searing heat doesn’t do pasty Irish skin any good, no matter what anyone says about a burning red turning to a rich mahogany!

Act Like A Local

That’s not to say a weekend away is all about the heat. The old cities of Northern Europe really do become almost ethereal in the snow with Vienna apprehending that snow crown. Wrap up!

Try not to let the reputation of a city put you off. Paris isn’t that expensive, well it can be, but plan ahead and walk everywhere which one should be doing in Paris anyway, it’s quite a compact city. Eat like the locals.

act-like-a-local

This should be moot advice but it’s generally cheaper and nicer. Wear sensible shoes that won’t make you look like a tourist; this is advice no matter the destination. Speak some of the language as it’s really only good manners and shouting at someone in English hoping that it will translate in mid-air rarely works.

Leave Your Fears Behind

Don’t be afraid of going to Scandinavia, ok it can be expensive and the people are sickeningly beautiful but it doesn’t have to be the former, but it will always be the latter. Try and stick to a budget and follow the locals.

Don’t be afraid to hop on a big red bus if you’re short on time. You can bet your bottom dollar that even travel snobs, and we all know them, do this but forget to mention it while they’re busy Instagramming their way around Luxembourg.

leave-your-fears-behind

One of the key things to remember is that most cities in Europe, quite unlike Irish ones, are living cities. Where if you take a left turn off a main tourist thoroughfare, say Las Ramblas in Barcelona for example, you will invariably find yourself in a living, breathing neighbourhood. Dive in; these are the real parts of the city.

Lose Yourself

For the love of god repack that bag. Hairdryers do exist in other countries. They also have mini marts to buy things. If you ask yourself more than once if you need something you’ve packed then you don’t need it. You’ll need a passport to go anywhere except the U.K where a drivers licence will suffice. Don’t forget travel insurance or, at the very least, an E-111 card to cover emergency situations.

lose-yourself

Download an offline map of your destination and check out the ‘what’s going on’ section of the tourist office. Never know, there could be a random regional beer festival on in Brussels that starts with a strawberry mojito out of the back of a vintage van which leads to huge fun.

But, essentially, get lost; you’d never know what you might discover.

Aidan Clarke
Looking at becoming one of those interesting 40 year olds who still doesn’t know what to do, that’s the goal. In the meantime though, travel, mundane experiences filtered to death, notions concerning station in life and blooper reels keep this boat afloat.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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