It can be pretty difficult arranging holidays around your work schedule. You need to be strategic when planning your time and not everything can be explored within a couple of days.
What I’ve tried to do in the past, when possible, is to arrange a holiday within a long weekend. Basically, I’ll book the Friday or the Monday off which’ll give me a good three day window for a holiday. However, not everywhere can be seen properly within such a short space of time so planning it out and thinking about where might be good is always a good bet.
Here’s my top 5 places I’ve spent my long weekends on before, and managed to have a great time.
The Lake District, United Kingdom
Living in the city, sometimes all you want is a nice little trip to a countryside village where you can just calm down and chill. The Lake District is perfect for this and being from Manchester, it’s not far to travel either. Full of beauty and nature, it’s a great place to unwind.
There’s loads of little villages to go and explore around and there’s plenty of hills to go explore if you’re into hiking. Carnforth is a lovely little traditional town full of shops and things to do. You can even go visit the railway station where the 1945 film Brief Encounter was filmed.
Montpellier is the 8th largest city of France, and is great for anyone looking for a bit of culture mixed in with sunshine and beaches. It’s cheap and easy to get there from the UK with most low-cost airlines now offering flights.
Getting by in Montpellier is pretty ace too, their tram system is pretty on point and you can get day passes which allow you to hop on and off where ever suits you. My favourite things to explore were Jardin des Plantes, Montpellier Parc Zoologique and the Cathédrale St-Pierre.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s full of heritage and monuments yet increasingly contemporary and modern then you really can’t wrong with visiting Valencia. It’s a vibrant and fun city, and as it’s full of different personalities and tastes it really does have something for everyone.
Getting by in the city is quite a treat too, as most of the time you’ll be able to use the interconnected parks to get around which is really refreshing and relaxing in the sunshine. Check out the Valencia Cathedral for its romanesque and gothic elements and then the L’Oceanogràfic, which is the largest aquarium in Europe and is housed in a pretty space-like building designed by Félix Candela.
Tenerife, the Canary Islands
Tenerife is probably the place I’ve been to the most and I’ve still not managed to get tired of it. Perfect for any kind of trip as there are things to do for everyone whether it’s families, couples or solo travellers. Full of sunshine, culture and lots of sangria, it’s a great place to spend a long weekend.
Be sure to check out Mount Teide which is the highest mountain of Spain, the Castillo de San Andrés, and just be sure to fit in lots of sun-seeking and swimming.
Crete, Greek islands
Heritage, culture, sunshine and mythology can all be found in Crete – alongside great food. As Crete is an island, you’ll have multiple opportunities to jump on a boat and head out for a sail. Make sure you check out the capital city of Heraklion, which has a great port and also has the pretty cool Venetian fortress of Rocca al Mare which you can see in the feature image (thanks to Ricardo Mangual/Flickr).
If it’s mythology you’re looking for then be sure to check out the Psychro Cave, which according to legend is the birthplace of Zeus. An absolute must-see in Crete is Knossos, which is considered Europe’s oldest city and the largest archaeological site of the Bronze Age. Here you’ll see ancient ruins and awe-inspiring views.
So, there you have it. These are my top 5 places to consider if you’re looking for a long-weekend away. There’s so many different places around though, so I’d really love to hear what your best destinations are – I could always do with some inspiration for my next trip!