Only two weeks from now and my younger sister is headed to Germany for her further studies, she told me that she will also tour Europe during her breaks. I have to admit that I’m kinda jealous 🙂
This led me to consider visiting London (making it my launch pad) and other European countries after I finish the Philippines.
London launch pad
London has always been Europe’s launch pad. Fly into Heathrow from anywhere in the world when European summer rolls around and you have the whole continent at your fingertips. These days, with flight routes opening up, there are more destinations than ever on offer. If you’re London bound over the next few months, and have a weekend or week up your sleeve, you might consider the following more unusual but excellent pit stops.
- Bulgaria: It’s probably not a location high up on the classic European trip itinerary but there’s a good reason for this. Bulgaria has come into its own as a tourist destination only in the past decade. While ranges like the Rodopi mountains boast excellent skiing it’s also a wonderful place to hike in summer. Sun, sand and sea wise, we’re talking about some of Europe’s last deserted beaches. Otherwise, make your way to the mysterious Veiko Tarnovo – the medieval tsar’s capital – and stay in the beautiful Preobrajenski monastery.
- Turkey: When picturing Turkey most think bustling bazaars and the ornately decorated temples of Istanbul. But this is also a country with a coastline complemented by mountains, white sand, brilliant bays and coves. In fact, Turkey offers so much and is such an extensive country to travel around it would be worth looking into tours to make the most of any time you had there.
- Lithuania: ‘The Baltics’ is not a location naturally aligned with summer holidays but when warmer weather hits the northern reaches of Lithuania the otherwise cold and somewhat grey landscape transforms into a delight of blue skies and green vistas. Who would have thought a country sandwiched by Poland, Belarus and Latvia, with a coastline that meets the Baltic Sea, would boast 60 miles of white sandy beaches?
- Slovenia: Piran, one of the most underrated seaside towns in Europe, more than makes up for Slovenia’s small slice of ocean front. A country of stunning beauty, it is often forgotten that, nestled in between Italy and Croatia (two ‘summer sun’ powerhouses), it has its own claim to the Adriatic Sea.
- Poland: There’s no doubt Poland attracts the history buffs. It has played host to some of Europe and the world’s most arresting times. But beyond this, it is also a country of great natural beauty. Like Lithuania, it has a Baltic Sea coastline and like Bulgaria it has the Tatra Mountains to hike in when the air is warm and the sun is shining. More than any other city in Eastern Europe, Warsaw deserves a mention for, in the wake of complete devastation, having reinvented itself as one of the most fast moving and ‘happening’ of them all.
To see these pit stops yourself you need to start combing for options. This is the perfect time of year to scan flights to London. You’ll be surprised at how many cheap flights are available. Leave the winter woolies at home and head into the sun.