Flying all the way to America, Australia or anywhere further afield can be expensive and stressful especially for us students. So if your idea of the perfect holiday involves a city, lots of culture, tasty food and endless sights to see then Europe has the very best locations to head to right now. Whether it be the chic class of Paris or the mouth-watering pastas of Rome, we’ve investigated first hand some of the most popular destinations for any student dreaming of a city break this summer before the semester starts.
Top tip for the city: If you are not keen or confident using another country’s public transport then it might be a better idea to book a hotel in the main area of the city. When I visited Amsterdam last year I stayed in a hotel that was around 30 minutes from the train station. It was also around 30 minutes to Dam Square and even longer to the main tourist attractions. This was not an issue for me because I was happy to make use of boats, bikes and buses in order to make my way around the city but for some this may be a little daunting.
All things food: I fell in love with Amsterdam’s signature treat, the caramel wafer. These sweet wafers could be found everywhere in the city and I spent most of my money snacking on these instead of buying proper meals. I ended up buying three large packets of them at the airport before flying back to Liverpool and it’s safe to say the three packets did not last very long.
The #1 thing to do: Some may say the only and best way to get around the city is by bike but I have to disagree, the best way to see the city is floating down their famous canals. With a number of spots to join the tour along the canal side there really is no excuse not to get on board. Whether you use it as another mode of transport to get you from one side of the city to the other, as a relaxing evening setting for dinner during sunset or as a guided tour of the most famous sights I couldn’t recommend this enough.
Top tip for the city: Embrace the French life – eat cheese, visit markets, spends hours in the sun, throw a couple of BBQs and take things a little slower. France is my favourite country to visit whenever I want to escape the madness of life.
All things food: Paris is no longer the city of love but has become the city of food… well it has for me at least. French food never fails to impress whenever I visit the country. The baguettes, crepes, sweets, fries, pastries and wine; each one needs to be indulged in during your visit. And if that isn’t convincing enough the cafe culture is exactly what every student will love. Wherever you stay in Paris there is always a great local cafe where you can pop in for a coffee at any point in the day.
The #1 thing to do: Visit the Eiffel Tower – even if everyone has been there already. This may be an obvious choice for anyone visiting Paris but it is a beautiful piece of architecture and if you go at night then there is the light display which is even prettier. Remember to prebook your tickets in order to avoid the painful experience of queuing. Another must see is the Sainte Chapelle which has the most exquisite stained glass. And if you enjoy art and more specifically Picasso’s art then you’re in the perfect city for it – the city has around 5,000 of his works from paintings to sculptures.
Top tip for the city: Don’t get caught out at the most famous tourist spots with your clothing. Most of these locations require visitors to wear an outfit that covers the knees, back and shoulders. After visiting the city this summer I found at most sights there were individuals selling very high priced scarfs and cover-ups because tourists forgot to read the small print. Another important thing to remember is the hotel tax that visitors are charged per night per person. The rate for our hotel was 6 pounds and we stayed for seven nights so it worked out to be 126 pounds on top of our hotel bill.
All things food: If there’s one thing you can expect to be the best, it’s the Italian food. From fruity sorbets to freshly made pastas to stone-baked pizzas. I would recommend trying the seafood linguine, vegetarian pizza, marinara and coconut sorbet. Most restaurants we visited stuck to a traditional menu of pizzas, pastas, salads and seafood. When picking places to eat try and avoid eating at locations where famous monuments or tourist spots are because they charge a great deal more. Try the restaurants along streets further away from the tourist sights because the food is just as good and a lot cheaper.
The #1 thing to do: Where do I start? The monuments, the food, the art, the architecture. Rome really is the perfect city break. If you want to make the most of this beautiful city (and have no fear battling the crowds) head for Trevi Fountain. I visited Trevi Fountain at around 1 o’clock and this was a big mistake. The fountain was swamped with tourists attempting to take pictures and throwing coins. With this many people it made it impossible to properly see and admire the beautiful feature so a few days later we got up early in the morning and headed over at around 8 o’clock to escape the crowds. As predicted there were still lots of people who had the same idea but we could properly appreciate the sight and spend a lot longer staring in awe without being caught in the back of a selfie. If you have time one more place to mention is the catacombs – an underground ancient burial site – is an amazing location to visit especially if you are interested in history.