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5 great destinations for a weekend getaway: what to do and what to visit

5 great destinations for a weekend getaway: what to do and what to visit

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As summer heats up, the allure of a weekend getaway is hard to resist. Enriched with ancient history, vibrant culture, and unrivaled gastronomy, Europe offers a plethora of destinations for a quick, yet immersive, escape.

1. Dublin, Ireland

An enchanting blend of historic charm and modern vibrancy, Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, is an exceptional weekend destination. It's a city that straddles past and present effortlessly, offering a treasure trove of experiences for all types of travelers.

Day 1 - Exploring the Heart of Dublin

Begin your weekend getaway at the heart of Dublin, Trinity College. Wander the historic campus and marvel at the iconic Book of Kells, a splendid illuminated manuscript dating back to 800 AD. From there, make your way to the nearby Grafton Street for a spot of retail therapy and lively street performances.

Next, head towards St. Stephen's Green, a serene oasis in the city center. After a leisurely stroll, it's time for a bit of Dublin's famed pub culture. End your day with a pint at The Temple Bar, a beloved institution with live music, traditional Irish fare, and a vibrant atmosphere.

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Day 2 - Unearthing Dublin's History

Start your second day at the captivating Dublin Castle, a major player in Ireland's history for over 800 years. The stunning architecture and historical significance are awe-inspiring. Following this, visit the Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison that is now a museum telling the story of Ireland's struggle for independence.

Finish your day at the Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn the rich history of Ireland's most famous export, and enjoy a pint with panoramic views of the city at the Gravity Bar.

2. Salzburg, Austria

We suggest a very musical weekend. The birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop for 'The Sound of Music,' Salzburg is a picturesque city with a romantic old town, striking baroque architecture, and captivating musical heritage.

Day 1 - Historic Exploration

Kick start your Salzburg weekend by exploring the Old Town or 'Altstadt.' Start at the Residenzplatz and amble around the grand squares, visiting the Salzburg Cathedral, and admiring the baroque architecture. Afterward, visit Mozart's Birthplace for a glimpse into the early life of this musical genius.

In the afternoon, treat yourself to a slice of Sacher-Torte (famous chocolate cake) at Café Tomaselli. As evening sets in, enjoy a captivating Mozart concert at the historic Hohensalzburg Fortress that crowns the city.

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Day 2 - In the Steps of 'The Sound of Music'

Spend the second day following in the footsteps of the Von Trapp family. Begin at Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where the iconic 'Do-Re-Mi' scene was shot. Then head to the Leopoldskron Palace, the exterior of the Von Trapp family home in the film.

Afterward, take a short bus ride to the Hellbrunn Palace to see the gazebo where 'Sixteen Going On Seventeen' was shot. End the day with a traditional Austrian dinner at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, a restaurant operating since 803 AD.

3. Algarve, Portugal

Portugal's southernmost region, the Algarve, is known for its sunny Mediterranean climate, breathtaking cliff-lined coastlines, and sandy beaches.

Day 1 - Beach and Scenic Views

Begin your trip with a visit to Praia da Marinha, one of the most iconic beaches in the Algarve. The stunning cliff formations and clear blue waters are picture-perfect. From there, make your way to the charming town of Lagos, where you can explore the historical center and enjoy delicious Portuguese cuisine.

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Day 2 - Caves and Coastline

Rent a kayak and explore the Benagil Sea Cave, one of the Algarve's most famous attractions. If you prefer a guided tour, boat tours are also available. Round off your weekend with a breathtaking sunset from the cliffs of Cape St. Vincent, the southwesternmost point of Europe.

4. Santorini, Greece

Known for its stunning sunsets, white-washed houses, and blue-domed churches, Santorini is a dreamy island escape perfect for a weekend getaway.

Day 1 - Beaches and Archaeology

Start your day at Red Beach, famous for its unique red volcanic sand. After soaking up the sun, visit the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri, often referred to as the Greek Pompeii.

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Day 2 - Sunset in Oia

Spend your second day exploring the island's capital, Fira. Wander through its narrow streets, visit the Maritime Museum, and enjoy some local Greek cuisine. In the evening, head to the picturesque village of Oia, the best place on the island to watch the sunset. Don't forget to take your camera!

5. Nice, France

Nestled on the French Riviera, Nice is a glamorous city known for its vibrant nightlife, fabulous markets, and beautiful beaches.

Day 1 - Beaches and Old Town

Spend the day at one of Nice's private or public beaches. Enjoy the azure waters and pebbly shores, characteristic of the French Riviera. In the evening, explore Vieux Nice, the city's colorful old town. Dine at a traditional "Nicoise" restaurant, where you can sample local dishes like ratatouille or salade Niçoise.

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Day 2 - Art and Panoramic Views

Visit the Matisse Museum, dedicated to the French artist Henri Matisse, who spent much of his life in Nice. Afterward, climb to the top of Castle Hill for a stunning panorama of the city and coastline.

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Whether you're a history buff, culture enthusiast, music lover, or culinary explorer, Dublin and Salzburg offer an enriching experience in their unique ways. If you are looking for some rest, visit the rugged cliffs of the Algarve, and catch the sunsets of Santorini and experience the glitz of Nice. This diverse list ensures every traveler will find a weekend destination to suit their taste. Go onboard traveler, and enjoy your weekend as [you'll most likely] have to go to work on Monday.

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