I'm looking for some travel inspiration from someone who is more of a globetrotter than myself.
I'd like to take my brother on a short break for his 18th birthday in February. He has a lot of aspirations for travelling but has only ever been around the UK, and to Spain. His life's ambition is to go on safari in Kenya but I'm afraid that will be beyond my budget.
We're based in London with easy access to any of the airports here. I can spend up to £2000 but would ideally like to spend less.
I've had a look at some of the easiest destinations - Paris, Berlin, Rome etc - but my boyfriend and I have already been to most of the major West and Central European city destinations and I'd prefer not to duplicate.
The criteria for my holiday will be:
- Time: 3 or 4 days (bloody work!)
- Flight time 6 hours or less (thereabouts)
- 3 people (me, my boyfriend and brother)
- 2 rooms (one double, one single)
- 3* ish hotels, no hostels
- Average cost for public transport, tourist attractions and eating out
- Weather not important - very warm actually a disadvantage for us pasty people
- Lots to see and do - not beach type holiday
Well, I am thinking that at least with 3-4 days (long weekend) one city, with an optional daytrip outside the city is recommended. So no touring around I mean, better to focus on one area. I won't help you with rooms or costs, but I'll try and name some possible and interesting cities which will not cost you an arm and a leg. Still, because it is February, things are still pretty cold in much of Europe, plus days are (although getting longer) pretty short still.
- Istanbul is really great! Good city to walk around as well, as distances are not overly big. It can be nice weather in February, but not warm for sure.
- In eastern Europe, there are loads of cities as an option: Riga, Tallinn and Vilinius are good value, still cold though in February. Prague and Krakow are easy trips as well, or Budapest for example.
- In southern Europe, Athens is just one of the options, or Lissabon/Porto, two really agreeable cities, which in 4 days can be combined, albeit a bit rushed.
- Marrakech has good weather, at least nice and warm in February during the day, and if you like skiing, the slopes are just a few hours away
- Sevilla/Granada/Cordoba in souther Spain, combi of 2 cities perhaps?
- Or rent a car and explore one of the Mediterranean islands: Sardinia, Sicily, Malta or Cyprus come to mind first.
- Further away I would not recommend with 3-4 days. All of the destinations above are within 3-4 hour flight range.
I haven't been there, myself, but some of my relatives visited the Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa) and really loved it there. It wouldn't be a long flight from London (closer than Bermuda or the Caribbean) and it would be a unique experience. Warm, too...
Something nice and warm in February, little rain and beautiful scenery to match....
Well within your budget.
There are several European low-cost airlines that'll get you there.
Forget looking at package deals and glossy brochures (in fact 'Do' look at the brochures, but don't book through the companies - unless you want to throw your well earned money away), build the holiday yourself. Get a flight, have a look at a few 1* or 2* hotels within a cheap taxi ride of the airport (taxis in Morocco are good VFM) and check in initially for just one night. If it's not to your liking, you've got all next day to look for something else - and you're not stuck at the 'Dump of the Month' for the duration of your trip, because you've paid in advance.
There are some great places to visit by both train and bus in Morocco. Again, don't fork out for any excursions in advance. You'll pay through the nose for the same outing, that you can buy locally for a snip of the agent's price.
Food in the country can be a bit challenging - but then again, so can North Africa. It's a wonderful destination and can be done on a very merry shoestring, if planned well in advance. If you need anymore help with how to build your own tailor-made trip - just give me the nod.
In Sri Lanka. From its lush mountainous regions, to its perfect beaches, from its incomparable wildlife population to its peerless historical monuments.
You've probably been there but for a short visit (and I don't mean a "city break") there is nowhere I would rather go than Lisbon.
It's got everything from global cultures to nightclub vultures. It really is a special destination as it takes its influences for Portugal's past links with the whole world. A Brazilian restaurant can stand right next door to a Mozambequian night-club, the music can vary from Tango to modern jazz just by walking into the bar next door.
Lisbon's museums can take you around the world without having to board an aircraft.
Anyway, I'm enthused and I can never get back there too often.
Hope this helps.
I would like to add one question here. How much would be the expenditure if I plan to visit Eastern Europe for a week. I am happy to stay at cheap hotels and use most basic form of transport.
'Eastern Europe' is a rather wide scope to actually quote a price on.
For instance, you'll find Prague a very nice city and full of things to do, but overall - it's a lot dearer than staying in a village in Central Romania. It'll be more convenient to get to (several budget airlines will fly you there non-stop, whereas you'll need a flight to a regional airport in Romania - there are plenty to choose from, then a train or bus to complete your one-way), but will empty your pocket quicker.
If you were to, perhaps - narrow your ideas down a bit, the planning and pricing will be easier to estimate.