August Bank Holiday escapes within 2 hours of the UK Part 2
You dont have to go far to squeeze an exceptional foreign holiday out of 3 days off. In under 2 hours you could be across the ocean, lying on an exotic European beach, basking in very unbritish sunshine and spotting wildlife you simply wouldnt see on our little island.
If youve already booked the time off work on either side of the bank holiday (25th-27th August), then you can extend your break. If you havent, you might want to consider doing that. Why not give yourself a longer time away if it means youre not using up all your annual leave?!
Lets take a look at some of the exciting destinations you could be visiting very soon, either with a loved one, a friend, or even as a family.
Located in the centre of Italy and home to the melt in the mouth Florentine steak, Florence has been a seat of high culture since the Middle Ages. Among its biggest attractions is the Duomo; its impressive cathedral, which is an elegantly chequered riot of white and green and looks unlike anywhere else on Earth. The size of the place is astounding in itself, but once you walk around the outside and take in the detail of the exterior, youll gain an even better understanding of what makes the place so special. The interior is just as spectacular.
Its a good idea to visit the Uffizi art gallery, before you hit the Duomo, as the queues to get into this iconic home of Renaissance art are at their shortest if you can get there early. Once inside, your wait will be rewarded by the sight of some of the most treasured works of art in the Western world. Michaelangelos, Donatellos and Da Vincis are just a few of the treats in store for you.
You can also walk among statues of the all the great Renaissance artists just outside, in the square, as you make your way to the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge is lively and bustling with a curious mix of tourist stalls and high end jewellery shops. Its cosily lit at dusk, giving it a very romantic air.
Over the bridge youll find some of the citys best ice cream shops (although lets face it, is there such a thing as an inferior ice cream shop in Italy?) and then youll be able to take a leisurely stroll up to the Boboli Gardens. This is a sculpture park with a history steeped in Medici money and a glorious view of the city. Wander past the immaculate lawns and up to a plateau of hedged gardens at the top. Youll be glad you did.
Making the most of your Italian break
Fans of Italian cuisine will love the steak in Florence, but will that satisfy their quest to experience the wide range of incredible pasta, pizza and meat dishes that can be had in this culinary giant of a country? Here at Aspen Travel, we offer a huge variety of escorted tours around Italy.
Over the course of a week, or a fortnight, you can discover the stylish cities of the north, such as Milan and Rome, find out more about the influences on some of the central cities, such as Bologna and the infamous islands of Venice, as well as experience for yourself what sets the South of Italy apart from everywhere else. Heres a clue; its not just Vesuvius! Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast are all utterly unique and uniquely beautiful, which is why to gain a genuine insight into what makes up the Italian identity, a tour of a few different places is essential.
We partner with internationally respected tour operators, who specialise in guiding visitors to Italy through the most compelling highlight attractions of the country as well as some of the most intriguing and original off-the-beaten track beauty spots. Please get in touch with us for details.
Its only a couple of hours away, but culturally its worlds apart from the UK. Norway is a country of rolling hills, big outdoors and trees literally everywhere. Outdoor pursuits are championed here, so hiking, climbing, cycling or skiing your way around the country is not just permitted, but actively encouraged. The government has set up a scheme that allows you to make full use of furnished cabins, dotted around the countryside, should you find yourself far from civilisation for the night, as is quite possible should you be exploring it properly!
Must-see sights in the city of Oslo itself include the town fjord, which is fringed with high end cafs, upmarket shops, museums and galleries. You can make your way here, having strolled through the grounds of the Summer Palace, which is still actively used as a residence by Norwegian royal family members. Frogner Park is also beautiful. This is a public sculpture garden, with waterways and bridges, the most famous of which is home to the Angry Boy, upon which you are supposed to make a wish as you pass.
The Viking Ship Museum, Vineland Sculpture Park and Akershus Fortress are also very pleasant places in which to spend your August bank holiday, not forgetting of course, to try some of the local dishes. Oslo specialities include salmon, kjottboller (meatballs) and krumkake, which is like a rolled up pancake and ideal for those with a sweet tooth.
Extend your Oslo trip to include the Norwegian Fjord
The Norwegian Fjords are places of tranquil, serene beauty that are not replicated anywhere else on the planet. Picture steep walls, calm watery inlets and a view of perfect pastoral peace. We have been a booking partner of Hurtigruten and other respected tour operators who traverse the coastlines of Norway for many years and can book you onto a holiday that will not only help you experience all of the fjords, by also take you into the Arctic and under the colourful skies of the Northern Lights! Call us now on 0161 755 3081 to find out about all of our Norwegian cruises and escorted tours.
The city of Berlin needs little introduction. Its known during the winter months for its impressive Christmas markets, but during the Summer, its lively in a different way. Can you imagine yourself in pavement cafs, enjoying local beers and wines, in the shadow of historic buildings of such monumental importance, its almost difficult to believe youre seeing them in the flesh. Obviously the Reichtag and Unter den Linden are the big names in Berlin attractions, but the museums and art galleries also contribute to the cultural impact this city has on the continent and wider world.
Its not just during the day that youll enjoy the shops; a mix of high end boutique and quirky alternative stores, as well as the tree-lined avenues and picturesque waterways. At night, Berlin comes alive with a bustling bar and night club scene. Join throngs of party goers out on the streets, looking for fun. Like New York, Berlin is another city that doesnt sleep, unless of course, youre not here for the late nights.
Aspen Travel provides only high-quality overnight accommodation, so if you want to switch off and block out the noise of the nighttime, while you recline in your comfortable bed, in your fully equipped state-of-the-art hotel room, thats entirely possible!
Exploring Germany over the August bank holiday
Germany is home to diverse landscapes and fairytale castles. You can experience wild boar populated forests, grape-filled vineyards and cutting edge, modern cities with a very traditional twist. Wherever youd like to go in Germany, our experienced team can help make your German travel dreams reality. We can even help you sail along the Rhine, Moselle or Danube, with a view to venturing even further east.
If you fancy booking an August bank holiday break in any of the cities weve mentioned here, or in part 1 (insert link) of this post, please get in touch. The friendly and dedicated Aspen Travel advisors will be able to answer all your questions and find you a break that will perfectly suit your travel preferences and budget. We look forward to having an informal chat with you, about where youd like to go. Please get in touch.