bank holiday

Two-hour getaways that are perfect for your bank holiday weekend

With weather as unpredictable as ever in Britain this Bank Holiday weekend, a getaway to warmer climes would certainly be welcome.

It could also be the perfect opportunity to get a taste for travelling in preparation for your gap year. So here is a selection of our five favourite destinations that are only two hours or so away from the UK.

Bilbao – Flight time: 1 hour 45 (from London)

The Basque Country is known for its charm and Bilbao, the conurbation’s capital, is very much the beating heart of the region. A balance of beautiful natural spaces and industrial prosperity makes it an unmissable area to explore when travelling in Spain. When travelling through this cosmopolitan you will realise why the city has been hotly contested over time. Those looking for a new culinary experience will be delighted with the Basque cuisine on offer, which includes grilled seafood or cuts of meat and pintxos (a special type of tapas). The Guggenheim is a must for those looking for a cultured day out.

Bilbao's industrial city is surrounded by natural beauty
Bilbao’s industrial city is surrounded by natural beauty

Brussels – Flight time: 1 hour 15 approx (from London)

There’s nothing more enchanting than a city that has kept intact its historical city centre. In one area, it is possible to stumble across La Grand-Place—a fine example of Belgique gothic architecture as well as buildings in the Art Nouveau or Baroque styles. Those in the mood for some fairly unhealthy food will be in heaven as chocolate, fries and waffles can be found in abundance. It’s also worth heading to a bar if you want to try some strong lagers.

La Grand-Place lit up in the evening
La Grand-Place lit up in the evening

Amsterdam – Flight time: 1 hour 15 approx (from London)

We covered Amsterdam in the New Year as we recommended it as a top city break destination, highlighting how it is more than just a place to get stoned. It’s well known for its attractive canal-scattered City Centre, which is lovely to traipse around day or night and its museums are full of the finest of Holland’s and other international works of art of the past and present. Its strong cycling culture means that bikers rule the roads, making a ride around the city safe and enjoyable.

A boat ride around Amsterdam's canals is a pleasant experience
A boat ride around Amsterdam’s canals is a pleasant experience

Barcelona – Flight time: 2 hours approx

It’s a city that pops up time and time again, but it’s totally justifiable. It’s a sprawling city with beautiful areas. The architecture and city spaces are very distinctive, such as the stunning Sagrada Família church and Park Güell, which is perfect to watch the sun go down with a Cerveza. Its beach is also worth a visit and if you want to find a less noisy area, all you have to do is travel down the coastline—we recommend by bike!

Marseille – Flight time: 1 hour 45 (from London)

Whilst you can easily make it to Paris in under 2 hours, we have opted for the cheaper, sunnier and beachier second city of Marseille. If you’re looking for some no-nonsense recreational time this bank holiday weekend, Plage des Catalans is the place for you. It has a few bars, volleyball area, restaurants and a tidy view of the Château d’If—a medieval island prison. The city’s quarters, like Le Panier, are also great for those wishing to step back into history with ravishing building work everywhere.

The city is recognisable by its red rooftop skyline and medieval island prison
The city is recognisable by its red rooftop skyline and medieval island prison

Where are you planning to visit this bank holiday weekend? Let us know in the comments below.

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