Top 5 European Bank Holiday Getaways

Posted on Monday, 14 March 2017

Bank holiday getaways you can get to from Gatwick Airport in no time

With the August Bank Holiday fast approaching – too fast, some might say, as not only is it the last one of the year, it’s also a sign that this year is flying by, with little to no regard for us wanting a proper summer – we thought it would be a great time to write a blog about our favourite 5 European weekend break destinations that you can get to in no time at all.

So, whether a romantic break in Paris is what you’re after, or you prefer to immerse yourself in ancient history in a City like Rome, check out these 5 Bank Holiday getaways that you can fly to from Glasgow Airport in under three hours.

Berlin, Germany: 2 hours 5 minutes

You can be in Berlin in two hours. It takes longer than that to get from Glasgow to almost anywhere in the UK that’s worth going to.

Berlin is one of the largest cities in Europe, there’s so much to see there that it will definitely have you going back again and again.

Berlin is a capital city with something for everyone: it has a rich history, great shopping opportunities, a thriving nightlife – a veritable myriad activities await you when you arrive. Want to visit some museums? Done. Fancy taking in an Opera? Easy. Is beer your thing? You’re in the right place! There’s a zoo, as well.

The most central district in Berlin is, Mitte. Rock up here and you’ll be within a short walk of the majority of the city’s top tourist attractions, such as the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag. If you don’t feel like walking, Berlin is a fantastic city for cycling, too, with plenty of flat, wide roads that you can pedal down with ease.

If nightlife is what you’re after, Berlin is the place to be! The city is home to hundreds of brilliant bars, restaurants, underground music venues – showcasing the city’s up-and-coming music, and nightclubs, in Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain, that are open into the early hours.

Holidays without sandy beaches don’t sound like holidays to you? Don’t discount Berlin just yet, you can catch the U-boat to Pankow and be greeted by a simply beautiful selection of man-made beaches and floral gardens, Berlin really does have it all.

Dublin, Ireland: 1 hour 20 minutes

Are you after an even shorter flight time? Why not give Dublin a try?

You can take off from Glasgow airport at 8.50am and have your feet back on Terra Firma not long after 10am.

Dublin has one of the fastest growing populaces of any European capital, and it makes perfect sense, Dublin is stunning, and loads of fun, too! The city has a vibrant cultural scene, quirky and unique street markets, and of course… bars aplenty! Theirs is definitely something there to cater to every taste!

Guinness? Don’t mind if I do. If you’re in Dublin and fancy a pint of the dark stuff, where better to get one than on the world-famous Guinness Storehouse tour? While you’re there, you’ll be taught to pour a ‘proper pint’, learn about the history of the famous brewery. You’ll even get a couple of pints of Guinness as a reward – complete with magnificent views of the city, from the top floor of the Storehouse, no less!

Although Dublin might be somewhat lacking in the sort of impressive Imperial monuments that other European capitals are blessed with, it more than makes up for this with its nightlife. There’s live music at the Temple bar, loads of lively bars, pubs and clubs and even some pretty impressive street parties… just don’t expect to get home before 3am!

Paris, France: 1 hour 15 minutes

Paris is the city of love. And for good reason; widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it has a rich and romantic history. And, it’s only just over an hour away from Glasgow Airport.

As a bank holiday getaway destination, Paris takes some beating. Streets full of designer shops abut quaint delis full of fantastic food, and myriad museums – the Louvre is a must visit, housing what is possibly the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa! – that house world famous paintings and other iconic objet d’art. There is simply so much to see in Paris, that you’ll be left exhausted. But you’ll be left delighted, too.

Summer is slowly turning to autumn, and whilst the warmth remains, the colours are slowly turning russet and red – there a few better times to visit Paris. Amidst the lavish monuments, you’ll find the breath-taking Tuileries Gardens, filled with trees and flowers making their final beautiful eulogies to the summer.

With summer August temperatures averaging in the mid to high twenties, there’s every reason in the world to take a stroll to Canal St. Martin. This, once derelict, part of the city is now teeming with cool cafés and buzzing boutiques that will wow your senses. Call into a pavement café, grab a cup of coffee and a croissant (or my favourite, a pan au chocolat, or a chocolate croissant – they are different things!) and just sit and enjoy the awesome atmosphere of this amazing city.

Visit the Arc de Triomphe, standing at the Western end of the Champs-Élysées – a monolithic monument to those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, inscribed with the names of all the French generals and victories on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath the vault of the Arc de Triomphe, lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from WWI.

Finally, the Eiffel Tower, which simply must be climbed, for the most phenomenal, panoramic views across the entirety of this beautiful city.

Rome, Italy: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Rome, the Eternal City. It’s a must visit, without a shadow of a doubt! If you’re a fan of ancient history, architecture – of many eras and styles, literature, art, Roman Catholicism, even politics, then Rome has something for you. However, as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and it will be difficult to pack everything you will want to do, into a three-day weekend!

Don’t let that put you off, though! It’s nothing more than a good reason to go back.

Visit the Colosseum and see where gladiators fought, magnificent mock sea battles were held, stunning and exotic creatures were paraded (and often killed, by gladiators) and chariots were raced.

Take a stroll around the Roman Forums. Check out the Pantheon – a 2,000-year-old Roman temple. Visit the most majestic church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica.

Wander around the backstreets of Rome and find the Trevi Fountain. Visit an opera. There is more culture than you can shake the proverbial stick at, in this fantastic, beautiful city.

While you’re in the city that enraptured and inspired the poets of the English Romantic era, why not take a trip to the Spanish steps and visit the Keats-Shelley house, where John Keats lived, and died, aged just 25?

No matter how long you’re in Rome, or how many times you go, you’ll be hard pushed to see and do everything that Rome has to offer, in fact, the best thing to do, can often be just wander around and see what you bump into. You’ll discover something at almost every turn – monuments and ruins that you didn’t know existed will helpfully pop up for you, if you do this.

And the food… What is a trip to Rome without sampling as much Italian food as you can possibly engorge yourself on? I have to, at this point, give a special mention to the pizza – true Romana pizza is made using a different technique to that generally used in the rest of Italy, giving the base a moister, thicker finish.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: 1 hour 25 minutes

Amsterdam has so much to offer, that we’ve written, and will soon be posting, a separate blog, focused solely on our favourite things to do in Amsterdam. That, though, makes it no less deserving of a place in this blog.

With a plethora of sights to see, from capacious canals to city-exploring bike rides. From cheap bars and (generally not so cheap; for lower prices and higher quality, check out Rotterdam!) coffee shops, to the ever-intriguing, never sleeping red light district.

The offerings of the Venice of the North don’t end there, though! Amsterdam is stock-full of history and culture – from buildings to galleries and museums.

There’s the National Maritime Museum in the Plantage are, or the Rijksmuseum in Museumstraat (the museum square). There’s the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Rembrandt Huis. The list goes on, and on, and on.

There’s, of course, and perhaps most famously, the Anne Frankhuis. Her original diary is housed here.

Of course, Amsterdam nightlife is unmissable, whether you just fancy a drink, or you have a more relaxed outlook, Amsterdam has everything you need for a truly great night. In addition, there are bars, night clubs – trance is massive in Amsterdam, with industry leading DJs regularly taking pilgrimages to the city to play at the clubs there.

Finally, street food. Waffles, herring, pancakes… it’s all well worth a try while you’re in this truly unique city!

Airport Park and Ride

Wherever you decide to go on your European Bank Holiday getaway, this August, make sure that you visit Airport Park and Ride to get the best possible deal on your airport parking in Glasgow.

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