2 for the price of 1 – well – not quite -but you know what I mean. Even 1 extra night on to a mini break can allow for a split destination. Not, of course, at the cost of madly tearing around, trying to fit double the sights in to a crammed itinerary but if you get a good offer on a destination you’ve already visited, its nice to add a new dimension to the trip ….
…and especially when we get travelling again – you’ve rested long enough!!!!
So – what have I picked….. I’ve gone mostly for one major destination with an add on – anything from 40 minutes to 3 hours transfer time…. obviously, the closer together the better and with a direct link back to the original airport where possible…
1.Fly to Bilbao….
and even if you hate museums, you must visit the Guggenheim before exploring the Old Town and those wonderful Pintxos bars….
….and then head to
for the famous La Concha beach and more amazing food!
Ah those pintxos!
There are regular buses from Bilbao to San Sebastian, taking about 90 minutes. There is also a train service but its slower. Coming back, there’s a direct bus service from San Sebastian to Bilbao Airport (80 minutes).
With a morning flight, you could visit the Guggenheim in the afternoon and enjoy the Old Town that evening and the following morning. Head to San Sebastian for the rest of your trip.
If you’ve an evening flight, then allow 2 nights in Bilbao…..
2.Fly to Brussels….
and join a walking tour around the Grand-Place and city centre before tucking in to frites, waffles, chocolate, beer….
….and then on to
for those cobbled streets, endless canals, medieval squares and of course more frites, waffles, chocolate and beer!
The train between the cities takes about an hour. There is also a train service back to the airport from Bruges (allow about 2 hours).
You’d need 4 nights minimum for both cities. You could probably do it in 3, depending on flight times, but you really want time to just wander – especially in Bruges….
3. Fly to Bergamo….
and take the funicular up to the Old Town where you can stroll through the beautiful plaza, explore medieval buildings and enjoy the views……
…..and go on to
for the astonishing Duomo, the more astonishing Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and the even more astonishing aperitivos!
This is an easy one….you can take the train from Bergamo to Milan but we just went back to the airport (15-20 mins) and bought a return bus ticket from there to Milan. The journey takes about an hour.
We’ve flown in to Bergamo a few times and have stayed for 2 nights before moving on but that’s because our flight arrives late evening.
4. Fly to Vienna….
for those beautiful palaces, coffee houses and Klimt’s The Kiss
….and go on to
for more palaces, a wander through the old town and a gaze over the Danube.
This is one I’m going to do some time – We saw a lot of posters for Graz when in Vienna – It looks like a lovely place for a night or two.
We did this mini break at New Year. Vienna is brilliant on New Year’s Eve. We’d 5 nights – 3 in Vienna and 2 in Bratislava but flights times were good – early morning to Vienna and home at night.
The train journey between cities is 1 hr 7 mins. Of course the trip could be done in reverse, if you find cheaper direct flights into Bratislava.
Vienna > Graz – 2 hr 40 min
5. Fly to Malaga….
where you can switch between the old town and the trendy promenade, celebrate the city’s most famous son – Picasso, and tuck into that great food!
….and continue on to
for the city’s masterpiece – the Alhambra – and for a great tapas scene
to enjoy the beautiful architecture and monuments and experience a performance in this birthplace of Flamenco
I only discovered Malaga a few months before Covid. Its a beautiful city and makes for a great mini break on its own. One drawback is that, as a hub for holiday makers, it’s harder to get bargain flights.
The bus from Malaga to Grenada takes about 2.30 hrs. Malaga- Seville is slightly shorter at 2.15 hrs.
6. Fly to London….
for all those museums, shows, markets and shops
….before heading to
where you can visit the colleges, wander the streets and the Covered Market and go punting on the Thames
Oxford is just about an hour from London by train. It’s a popular day trip from the capital, I know, but it’s a lovely place to experience for even one night.
7. Fly to Dublin….
Visit the Book of Kells and explore the Georgian Streets before sampling the best Guinness in the world – this is – after all- the home of the Black Stuff
and then head north to
where you can visit Titanic and take a black taxi tour for amazing insight into the city’s historical conflict.
The Dublin – Belfast train takes about 2hrs 15mins. – The Aircoach from Belfast to Dublin Airport takes about 1 hr, 45 mins. One night would be enough in Belfast – if you arrive in to Dublin on a morning flight, you could head straight to Belfast, do Titanic in the afternoon, take a taxi tour the following morning and have a good walk around before getting an evening train back to Dublin. for the rest of your stay
Note – Belfast uses sterling while Dublin is part of the EU. Northern Ireland issues its own bank notes – avoid being stuck with leftovers since they are not accepted in the rest of Britain and can be difficult to change at banks back home.
8. Fly to Amsterdam….
where you can explore the city by canal cruise and bike, enjoy some fabulous museums and tuck in to an Indonesian Rijsttafel (Rice Table)
….and move on to
where you’ll discover more than cheese (although you have to visit the cheese market(Thursday mornings). There are more canals to enjoy, a wealth of historical buildings to gape at and lovely alleyways to explore. And don’t forget to sample a stroopwafel (syrup waffle)!
The Amstedam – Gouda train takes about 55 mins.
9. Fly to Lisbon….
and climb to Castelo de Sao Jorge for great views over the city. Munch on a Pastel Nata and ride the number 28 tram though the narrow streets before heading to Bairro Alto for the bars, restaurants and Fado.
…and then head for
for a day or two on the beach. Enjoy the marina at sunset and dinner in the alleys in the old town
The train takes just 40 minutes.
It typically takes about 90 minutes to get from Cascais to the airport – train back to the city and the Aerobus from there to the airport.
10.Fly to Hamburg ….
and explore the neighbourhoods and nightlife. You’re in for a busy time, trying to fit in over 50 museums, 45 theatres, and around 100 music venues and clubs.
….and go on to
for its lovely old squares, Becks beer and its famous musicians!!
Here you can refresh your school history about the Hanseatic League and enjoy some great marzipan!
Hamburg is a great spot for your Christmas Markets. The train takes 70 mins to Bremen and just 45 mins to Lubeck.
Remember that a place even just an hour away is really going to take a half day transfer, allowing for transport and relocating to accommodation….
A multi city trip involves a bit more planning. You’ll need a more detailed itinerary and there will be less time for spontaneity.
The best way to get to know any city is to join a walking or cycling tour, preferably on the day of arrival.
Prebook the major attractions if you can – the Last Supper(Milan), Titanic (Belfast) Book of Kells (Dublin), Alhambra (Granada)
Check up on specific events – can you get to Gouda for the Cheese Market on Thursday mornings? / are museums closed on Mondays or Tuesdays? – and try fit your schedule accordingly.
Some of the above combinations can be done in reverse when both cities are served by airports – check all options before you book anything. But – remember that cheapest mightn’t be best, time wise.