I am dying to jet away from my responsibilities and adulthood in Manchester to somewhere other than North Northumberland for a few days. I want to breathe in freezing cold air, say yes to a beer washed down with piping hot chocolate, pretend to be cultured walking around art galleries and ultimately feel Christmassy.
At this moment in time, I am toying with four potential European holiday destinations to celebrate the end of 2018 in. Some are all about the ~ Christmas vibes ~, others about the food and a couple are all about the traditionalism. I am a sucker for a good stereotype.
Warsaw, Poland –
Warsaw is the firmest winter holiday destination on our radar at this present moment. Not only does the architecture and general makeup of the city look chaotically sublime, but there seems to be a plethora of exciting places to explore and immerse ourselves within its walls.
The rebuilt Royal Castle – the original of which was utterly destroyed during the reign of the Nazis – a couple of the many Bar Mleczny (Polish milk bars) and the fairytale Christmas Lights Festival are just a couple of places and events which are already top of our hit-list.
As well as a smorgasbord of things to do in Warsaw, it appears to be cheaper than chips. Our Airbnb prices for four nights are staggeringly accessible as well as food and wine prices are to die for. Throw in the fact the Christmas Lights Festival will be putting on an excellent array of traditional Christmas Markets and we are potentially on to a winner.
Paris, France –
I might have barely scrapped a pass during my time studying GCSE French, but that does not mean I am unwilling to polish off my favourite phrases and give them a spin this winter in Paris. The Eiffel tower, the bright lights of the Sainte-Chapelle, dunking croissants in coffees and smoking menthol cigarettes on Juliette balconies… For me, experiencing Paris for the first ever time would be all about the stereotypes.
I want to feel the elation of witnessing a Monet, visiting the very place where Blair Waldorf met her not-so-princely Prince and even jump on the Eurostar to experience it *just* the once. If getting on an underwater train is one of the main reasons for visiting a city, then is that really a bad thing?
Ghent, Belgium –
A popular tourist city which is still remarked and classed as being an ‘alternative’ and ‘off the beaten track’ holiday destination; Ghent, in Belgium, is supposedly remarkable. Proclaimed as the vegetarian capital of Europe (my boyfriend shall not be impressed) Ghent, situated in the Flemish quarter of Belgium, is famous for its food markets, its coffee, its sporadic, pop-up gig nights taking place across the city and not to mention its sustainability efforts. Ghent seems gorgeous and it is sky-high on my winter travel list.
Zagreb, Croatia –
When it comes to cold weather travelling, I usually forbid cities and countries which are renowned for being hot destinations to be emitted from the list. However, I am breaking my rules with Zagreb. Nestled in the centre of Croatia, Zagreb at Christmas time looks phenomenal. Tourist Christmas trains, Vanilin kiflice (vanilla half-moon doughnuts), Strossmayer square and numerous outdoor Advent-themed exhibitions and concerts. Sign me bloody up, NOW.