It’s that time of year again; Britain has had its weekend of sunshine and, faster than our sun tan lotion could dry; the sky has returned to a miserable shade of grey and left us with thoughts of relaxing holidays without a hint of British rain.
With so much information being dumped on our doorsteps it’s hard to know where to spend our summers. Do we plan a fortnight lounging on the beach? Should we prepare our families for a summer of shopping? The simple answer is no; there is so much more to Europe, if you know where to look.
One of Europe’s favourite summer destinations is Amsterdam. Amsterdam breaks can be tailored to suit anyone and are perfect for a family getaway. Children (and adults!), will be enticed by Efteling; a theme park that is twice as big as California’s Disneyland, with just as much magic and wonder. Instead of meeting Disney characters wandering around the park, they’ll meet magicians, acrobats and inhabitants of the Fairytale Forest. On site, there is also a giant maze and several theme park rides; you’ll even find ones designed for the tiniest of guests.
If you’re looking for a more ‘grown up’ holiday, Paris is perfect for you. There is so much more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower; Paris is one of the most artistic and influential cities in the world. The Parisian streets are lined with magnificent museums and art galleries. With buildings like the Georges Pompidou, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris surrounding you, it is easy to become completely immersed in Paris’ deeply artistic culture. The city also has a thriving theatre scene; so whether you’re looking for an opera, a drama or a light-hearted comedy, there’s sure to be something for you to enjoy.
Another city bursting with artistic culture is Rome. Rome’s Modern Centre is much like any other European city; full of excellent shopping opportunities and several high-class restaurants. However, it’s when you delve deeper into the city’s several districts that you find out why Rome is one of the world’s most important cities.
The city is particularly rich with elements of Roman and Renaissance history, as well as being one of the world’s best archaeological treasures. The Vatican has an extensive museum that will fascinate and entice people of all religions and cultures, and if that isn’t tempting enough, a trip to Ancient Rome’s Colosseum will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
A city loved for its beauty and history throughout Europe is Austria’s capital, Vienna. Beloved home of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Haydn, Vienna has a musical heritage that is celebrated throughout the country. Another of Vienna’s strong points is the restaurant scene; local cuisine is popular in Viennese culture and celebrated in events such as Restaurant Week at the end of June.
Viennese cuisine is the only cuisine in the world to be named after a city and, though it draws influence from many surrounding countries such as Germany and Hungary, there are many completely unique dishes to be sampled from a Viennese menu.
If a change of climate is an important part of your holiday, decision Barcelona is an ideal European city for you. The summers don’t get unbearably hot and the winters maintain the warmth the UK can only dream of. The city is a metropolis but doesn’t look industrial; most buildings are celebrated pieces of architectural history. There are also seven beaches in Barcelona, which make it a perfect blend of ‘city break’ and ‘beach holiday’.
European cities are full of hidden treasures and wonderful memories that are waiting to be made; you just have to pick your favourite one!