If there’s one thing that Europe is known for, it’s harbouring a rich history of art from all influences. Whether it’s hanging on a wall, painted as a mural or performed on a stage, this continent holds some of the greatest artistic artefacts the world has ever seen. Holding fast in an ever-changing field, European artists are continuously creating works that affect audiences worldwide – pushing boundaries and questioning the norm both in terms of materials and their subject matter. Experience this inspiration for yourself with our guide to some of Europe’s best alternative art festivals.
Situated in northwest Switzerland, near to where the nation meets with France and Germany, Basel’s location has served as a key trading hub for thousands of years. With a variety of diverse and vibrant districts to suit every taste, you’ll have time to explore each one even on a short break – thanks both to its manageable size and its excellent public transport network. The city is perhaps best-known for the world famous Art Basel festival – which sees leading artists from across the world flock to the city every June. But it continues to hold its own as one of Europe’s most influential cities not just in the art scene, but also in its global zoological projects.
Interested? For an unforgettable city break, read our guide to Basel.
One of the best ways to beat the dreaded January blues is to plan your next break. And with countless cities packed full of must-see sights, plus the added benefit of being close enough for a cheap weekend escape, Europe is always a popular choice. To help inspire your own adventure, we’ve carefully selected our favourite destinations for 2018 so you can start planning that dream getaway now.
Make a resolution you won’t want to break this year with a spot on one of Europe’s best foodie courses. Book a weekend away to immerse yourself in the art of cooking a boeuf bourguignon Julia Child would be proud of, sweet pastries fit for a patisserie window, or mix it up with a bartending course in the heart of Ireland. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to return home with a head full of ideas just rearing to get going in the kitchen. Here, we give you some of the best courses and workshops in Europe you can work into even a short weekend away.
What better way to shake off the January blues than by treating yourself to a quick post-Christmas getaway? Get the year off to the right start with one of our fantastic last minute deals – so you can enjoy a January escape without breaking the bank. Explore the sprawling winter landscapes of the Causeway Coastal Route, go looking for the best local produce across the hidden villages of France, or simply kick back and relax with an exclusive two-night minicruise to Bruges. Or maybe you’ve had your eye on a route for a while now – well this may be just the time to book it.
There’s so much to do over Christmas, but even the busiest among will be able to fit in one of these quick trips across the pond before the 25th. We’ve picked out some of the best destinations to roll a last minute festive break and Christmas preparations all into one. Only have a day? Affordable wine from France is just 90 minutes away, while real Belgian chocolate can be reached with an overnight crossing. If you have a little longer, hit the road for a festive dash for unique gifts from Germany’s best Christmas markets. Whatever you need, you’re sure to find it all and more in one of our favourite festive cities.
An offshoot of the classical music persuasion, opera is more than just a music genre – offering up a truly captivating experience for all. From its dramatic, emotive arias to the magnificent halls they reside in, there’s nothing quite like an evening at the opera. And Europe is home to some of the world’s most majestic, featuring opulent ornaments, stunning stages and beautifully immersive performances.
Picture this: you’re gracefully cruising down a white powdery slope against a pure blue sky, before gliding into a charming chalet to warm up with an indulgent hot chocolate or spiced mulled wine. Sound good? Then get away from the drizzly rain and head to one of Europe’s stunning ski spots. These may be a little further out that the usual destinations, but you’ll be surprised how much you can save on a family ski trip when you travel by car. Add to that the flexibility of not being tied to flight schedules – and breathtaking mountainous terrain to boot – and these are sure to become a regular favourite of the holiday calendar.
While Christmas preparations may be well underway, there’s still time for a quick break before the festivities go full swing. Whether you have a day or a whole week, we’ve picked out some of our favourite winter events that you can easily escape to – not to mention some great deals on your ferry crossing. Go exploring through snow-nipped vineyards, try tasty treats and ice skating at Europe’s best Christmas markets, or simply kick back and relax for an all-inclusive treat on our festive minicruise – you may even get some festive shopping in while you’re at it. Read on for our top tips and discounts for a cheap pre-Christmas break.
Despite being one of Holland’s oldest cities, Maastricht retains a different flavour from the rest of the Netherlands. It has wider streets, larger squares and its buildings are formed from a curious quilt of architectural styles. Maastricht prides itself on its international vibe, so if you’re looking to visit somewhere quintessentially Dutch, consider dropping by Utrecht or Haarlem instead. But with a past that spans 20 centuries, Maastricht is considered Holland’s premier melting pot and well worth a visit. Fans of history will love the city’s medieval relics and crumbling fortifications, while foodies will enjoy its cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Whatever you look for in a city break, you’re sure to find a long weekend’s worth of exciting things to in Maastricht.