Hello all! I’m Sally and I blog over at Life Loving. My blog is my way to inspire others to get out and about and enjoy life more. I live by the motto ‘ketchup tomorrow, relish today’.
The lovely Katie has kindly let me put together a guest post about one of my favourite topics – travel. But today, I’ve given it a twist. I’m going to give you some inspiration for a green city break, so you can be a bit more environmentally-friendly, when planning your great escape.
One of the greenest options for travel is the train. We are lucky down here in Kent to have the Eurostar right on our doorstep. The travel time into Gare du Nord station in Paris is just over two hours, so it’s perfect for a day or two away. Eurostar trains also run regularly from London St Pancras. Paris is a wonderful choice for a city break. I love going up the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame. Paris is a city which you can easily take in most of the sites on foot. If you are visiting, I’d high recommend the lesser known Montparnasse Tower, as an option to see a different high-up view of Paris.
Keeping on the rail theme. Did you know you can travel all the way to Venice on a train? What’s even better is that you can travel overnight and wake up in your destination. You board a sleeper train at Paris’s Gare du Lyon. Your ticket will give you a bed in a cabin of either three or five other travellers. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-board. This will make the start of your city break really special, travelling in through France and Italy. Once in Venice, there’s a plethora of famous sites to take in including St Mark’s Basilica or heading up Venice’s tallest building, the Campanile, to take in the view. Whilst you are there, you must take a gondola ride – it’s iconic and if you go and don’t, you’ll regret it!
Taking a coach to reach your city of choice is really good way of travelling greenly and cheaply. Coach operators like National Express have fares to cities like Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff starting at just £5 one way. Manchester is a great city break in particular. There’s endless shopping opportunities, including the huge Trafford Centre. Manchester is also known for its restaurants and nightlife, so it’s quite a grown up city break. You can add to your green credential by travelling around the city via its famous tram network too.
This is a city which is famous for its investment into cycling. There’s plenty who would agree that the best way to see the city is by bike. Hire a city bike and you’ll get an electric bike, with built-in GPS and tourist information, so it’s really easy to get around and see what you want. It works out about £3.50 an hour to hire a city bike, but they are perfect to take in Tivoli Gardens or the Little Mermaid statue. If you are visiting in the summer months, make sure you head to the old port of Nyhavn. The surrounding houses are iconic as they have been painted in different colours. But it’s the restaurants you are after here. You can dine whilst enjoying great jazz music.
For my final recommendation for a green city break, I will draw your attention to the French Riviera. You again can travel down on train. There’s a high speed service from Paris which takes just under six hours. You can be walking down the famous Promenade des Anglais before dinner time. The old town of Nice is great for exploring on foot or if you fancy a more leisurely option, the open-top bus tour will take you round the sites of the city. If it’s sunny, and it often is in Nice, you’ll be admiring the views from the top deck.
I’d also recommend hopping over to Monaco. The train ride takes about a quarter of an hour and you can take in some of the famous sites that you see televised on the Grand Prix – the harbour, the casino and the Palace. If you time it right, as we did, you can be there just in time for the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place just before midday.
I hope this has inspired you to look at some different ways to explore some of Europe’s most interesting cities. If you can, I’d highly recommend looking for alternative ways to travel, rather than simply just flying or taking taxis. You really see more of a place when you use the public transport, whether that’s a train, bus, boat or bike. You end up using your eyes more and really understanding how a city works. Plus you’ll know how to get around!