Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Mini-Breaks - Destination Ideas

I've been on a bit of a mission to defeat the grimness of winter - my ultimate cure? A mini-break. Even one night away from home makes a huge difference to my mood and I always return feeling a mix of exhausted and revitalised from seeing somewhere new. The next best thing to going on a mini-break? Booking and planning one, of course!

I've rounded up my trips to provide some inspiration of where to go and what to see, depending on how much time you have to spare:

0 nights

While you can't see all of Berlin in a day, I had around 6 hours to spare and did my very best. Somewhere on my list of places to re-visit and maybe stay the night next time!

A piece of the Berlin Wall at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Oh, and I'll go back in summer because -2 degrees is pretty cold.
1 night

Two full days and one night if you time flights well - the ultimate short breaks for when you don't have any precious holiday allowance left. Edinburgh and Glasgow are short flights and pretty hassle-free given that you're not leaving the UK. Jersey might sound like an odd pick for someone under sixty but I loved it and came back feelings so relaxed. Bilbao is a compact and beautiful city - everything can be done in two days with time to spare for leisurely meals.

Michelle and I in Glasgow.
2 nights

One day of annual leave for three days of fun - not a bad deal. Beverley in Yorkshire is a lovely contrast to London and Lisbon is on the same time zone as London and has a beautiful faded charm. I went twice in 2015 - here and here.

The famous Lisbon tram.
3 nights

Three nights gives you a bit longer to explore. Prague is great if you're on a budget as its not in the Eurozone - my friend and I had fun despite being non-beer drinkers (cheap beer possibly explain why there are so many stag do groups...)! Barcelona can be done in four days - I can't wait to visit for a third time this summer.

The coolest rooftop in Barcelona. Even in the rain. 
4 nights

Some cities need a bit more time commitment to get the most out of them. Marrakech is a longer flight and so four nights gave us time to explore in a relaxed manner. Madrid's heat called for a slower pace - and lots of pool time. It has a very different vibe to Barcelona and is much less touristy. If you're an art fan then four nights in Florence is plenty of time to see all the galleries.

Florence rooftops.
Finally, a special mention has to go to Paris

I've visited this city around 10 times now, whether it's been one hectic day or a more leisurely four nights - the French capital has given me a lot of memories and this is the first year I've not had at least one trip planned since 2008 - a bientot, Paris! For food, Benoit has a great lunch menu (literally, the actual menu itself is pretty awesome) and Angelinas may be super touristy but its a must if you have a sweet tooth. If you're a Paris veteran then step off the beaten track - an afternoon petting cats at Cafe Des Chats or a stroll down the Canal Saint Martin. That said, I still whip out my camera for the classic sights (even alone on a rainy day). In 2015 I ran the Semi De Paris and had sunshine for the first visit in a long time! Want something a little more specific? My French pharmacy post is one of my most searched for and my veggie guide is here - L'As Du Falafel is a staple of every Paris trip.

Throwback to my caffeine addiction! Canal Saint Martin in the sunshine.
Coming up in 2016 - Amsterdam, Belfast, Barcelona and Porto! Where else do I need to add to my list?



  1. Oh you're so well travelled! I need to up my game I think. I really enjoyed my short trip to Iceland and want to do more of those mini-breaks. I want to go to places in the UK especially as I feel there's so much I haven't seen - like Scotland (though I was born there I only lived there two weeks!), York, Peak District, Dorset, etc. etc. For me it doesn't have to be about getting out of the country but just going to beautiful or interesting places (where there is good food of course!)

  2. What a lovely post! You've been to so many places. I really want to get back to Florence again, it's one of my favourite places.


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