If you’ve not got your travel plans in shape yet for this summer, it’s time to get to it! Read on for our whistle-stop tour around Europe. Depending on your free time, budget and what you want from your trip, you’re sure to find a destination that suits your pocket and your schedule.
Historical City Break in Sofia, Bulgaria
We’re starting in Eastern Europe, where travel bargains outside the Eurozone are easier to come by. Sofia has often been overlooked by its more well-known Eastern European cousin, Prague. Sofia is a little more difficult to get to using low cost airlines, but there are some options, such as Wizzair and Easyjet.
The city has Roman origins and there are many churches, monuments and ruins to visit. Even though it was not completed until the 20th century, the Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral is pretty impressive for fans of domes and golf leaf. Sofia is quite compact and visitors can stroll around Bulevard Vitosha, which is pedestrianized. It’s at the centre of the shopping district and you can wander around cobbled streets, popping into the charming boutiques along the way, fuelled by pit-stops in the many cafés and bars.
Beach Break on the Adriatic Riviera, Albania
Although Albania probably doesn’t spring to mind when planning a beach holiday, the in-crowd has already moved on from Croatia and Montenegro to the so-called Albanian Riviera. This new European hot spot is centred around Porto Palermo and Drymades Beach, but stretches from Vlore to the Greek border.
Don’t count on five-star luxury and sophistication but you can expect beautiful, pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and hip beach bars.
Sunny Festival Break in Zadar, Croatia
If you prefer a more sophisticated scene, then head to Zadar in Croatia. It’s the major ferry port on the north Dalmatian port and the ancient capital of the region. Today, it’s a bustling mix of bars, cafés, art, architecture installations and summer festivals. The old town is really picturesque with a beautiful waterside promenade.
If you’re an arts fan, then the summer season in Zadar is the place for you. There’s solo and chamber music at the St Donat’s Musical Evenings and theatre and dance at the Zadar Theatrical Summer festival.
Finally, Zadar Dreams is a festival of alternative theatre, music and performances held in great locations such as churches and squares in the old town.
The Great Outdoors in Galicia, Spain
Head to the northern region of Galicia if you’re looking for an opportunity to recharge your batteries and get back to nature. The region borders the Atlantic Ocean at the northwest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. With its Celtic heritage and green landscape, some people compare it with Ireland. It’s certainly a long way away from the beaches and high rise resorts of the Costa del Sol. Instead, you’ll be able to take in a landscape filled with pine forests and rivers.
There is some coastal development, but untouched medieval fishing villages such as Cambados, Muros and Baiona still exist. You can still stumble across quiet, secluded beaches but you’ll probably need a car to explore the area properly.
The region’s most well-known visitor attraction has been attracting pilgrims for thousands of years and Santiago de Compostela is still a fascinating draw for both pilgrims and non-believers.
To reach the real, green heart of Galicia, you should head inland to the valleys of the Mino and Sil rivers, as well as the smaller towns of Pontevedra, Ourense and Lugo.
Stay in Touch
There’s no need to stress about the hassles of staying in touch with friends and family or making reservations when you’re on the road. We recommend an easy, one-stop solution for students traveling abroad – TravelSim prepaid SIM card for cheap international calls. Just buy your travel SIM card online before leaving for a new destination and use it all over Europe and the rest of the world, making roaming calls at a reduced flat rate. It will help you save up to 85% on your phone calls.