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27 Reasons to Go Travelling this Summer Before Brexit Ruins Everything

27 Reasons to Go Travelling this Summer Before Brexit Ruins Everything main image

By Amelia Hopkins and Mathilde Frot

With Brexit looming around the corner, an uncertain future of visas, flight restrictions, roaming charges and inflation awaits, so we need to make the most of Europe while we still can. Voted leave? We reckon these 27 pictures will give you a serious case of the bregrets...

1. Lokrum Island, Croatia

Eric Hossinger, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Zadar cost from £22 (US$26) to £72 (US$93), with the lowest fares between July and October. The costs of holidaying in Croatia, including accommodation, transport, food and sightseeing, should set you back between KN450 (US$69) and KN1400 (US$215) a day, depending on how lavish you’re feeling.

What to expect: Croatia is an absolute gem, speckled with fishing harbours and picturesque walled towns. You might want to go island hopping during your time here, as the coastline is jewelled with some of the world’s loveliest scenic spots and islands, like Lokrum (pictured) or Korčula, a sunny haven of vineyards, sandy and pebbled beaches, olive groves and woods.

2. The Prunksaal Ceiling, Vienna, Austria

Andrew Moore, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to Vienna cost between £25 and £49 (US$32-54), with the lowest fares between November and March. Holidaying in Vienna is perhaps not the most backpacker-friendly of destinations though, with daily costs, including accommodation, transport and sights, ranging between €100 and €180 (US$114-US$205).

What to expect: If your hobbies include commuting to work in your horse-drawn carriage, eating sachertorte with your silver cutlery, and inspecting your twinkling Bohemian chandeliers or your gran’s Prunksaall Ceiling (pictured), Vienna’s the place for you, my friend. Enjoy the city’s Imperial palaces, wood-panelled pubs and delicious Austrian cakes.

3. Brussels’ neon lights and wet cobblestones, Belgium

Jans Canon, Flickr

Costs: Flights to Brussels will set you back between £40 and £45, (US$51-58) depending on the date, with the lowest fares between the months of August and March. Total daily costs, including hotels, transport and sightseeing, sit between €100 and €200 (US$129-259).

What to expect: Not merely a staging area for Britain’s troubled relationship with Europe, Brussels is also a fascinating multicultural mishmash of Art Nouveau architecture, 19th century palaces and rundown concrete facades. It’s hip, cultured and home to an exciting array of museums and galleries, such as the Magritte Museum (great if you’re into surrealist art) or the Cantillon Brewery (if you prefer artisanal beer to Schrödingerian pipes).

4. Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria

Mike Rowe, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Sofia, Bulgaria, cost between £13 and £39 (US$16-50), with the lowest fares in November. Bulgaria is a very affordable destination, with accommodation and daily costs ranging anywhere between Lev49 and Lev385 (US$28-224), and the average domestic beer costing about Lev2 (US$0.70).

What to expect: Have you ever written Lord of the Rings fan fiction? If so, Bulgaria might be the EU country for you. With its medieval fortresses and Roman ruins steeped in history, dense forests populated by wolves and gorgeous snow-capped peaks, Bulgaria is the place where all of your nerdy teenage Dungeons-and-Dragons-type fantasies have come to die.

5. Limassol, Cyprus

Ozan Huseyin, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to Larnaca, Cyprus, cost between £36 and £51 (US$47-US$66), with the lowest fares in November. Daily costs range between €60 and €120, depending on how much you are planning to indulge (US$68-136).

What to expect: Do you know your hummus from your halloumi? With its Mediterranean herbs, local wines, baklava, fresh fish grillades, kebabs, and halloumi, Cyprus is pretty much a foodie’s paradise. Enjoy the wind-swept beaches, cliffs and crumbling Roman ruins, while eating fresh calamari by the harbour among the local cats.

6. Prague, Czech Republic

Jörg Schubert, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Prague will set you back between £19 and £87 (US$24-113), with lowest fares in September. In terms of accommodation and daily costs, you should expect to pay somewhere between €80 and €200 (US$91-US$228), depending on how extravagant you are feeling.

What to expect: You’ll get a chance to drink some of the best beers in the world, like Kout na Šumavě, Svijanský Rytíř and Velkopopovický Kozel, walk past spires and buildings several centuries old and indulge in the country’s bohemian cafe culture. The Czech capital has produced some of the brightest minds of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the novelist Franz Kafka, known for his sombre novels The Trial and Metamorphosis, and the Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak.

7. Copenhagen, Denmark

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Denmark range from €19 to €66 (US$24-84), with the lowest fares in August and September. Daily costs on the ground, including hotel and food, range between Dkr800 and Dkr1500 (US$120-US$120), and average price for a bottle of beer at Dkr40 (US$6).

What to expect: Consistently ranked the happiest city in the world, Copenhagen is a lovely medley of cobbled streets, pastel hued houses, third wave coffee shops… and there’s even a beach three miles south of the city center!

8. Ihasalu, Estonia

Kris Haamer, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to the Estonian capital city Tallinn cost approximately £29-£61 (US$37-US$79), with lowest fares in October. Daily costs range between €80 and €120 (US$91-137).

What to expect: With its baroque mansions and UNESCO-protected old town - an historic center dating back to the thirteenth century built by crusading knights - the Estonian capital Tallinn is an architectural gem. Elsewhere, Estonia’s wonderful sparsely populated countryside towns such as Ihasalu, pictured, are a refreshing and welcome oasis of peace for city-dwelling nature lovers.

9. Northern lights in Lapland, Finland

Remi Lanvin, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Helsinki range from £42 to £91 (US$51-118) with the lowest fares between September and June. Like most Scandinavian countries, Finland is fairly expensive, and daily costs like accommodation and food should be fairly steep, ranging from €120 to €250 (US$137-285), depending on the city and how lavish your tastes are, so be prepared to budget.

What to expect: The Finnish capital is full of locally sourced eateries, artisanal breweries, uber-trendy boutiques and galleries, but if you’d rather have a more adventurous experience, why not journey your way up to Lapland to witness the aurora borealis? Take the chance to go sled dog touring, board a snowmobile or try cross-country skiing.

10.Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France

Graziano Pasqualetti, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Montpellier (the nearest airport serving flights to and from London) cost between £75 and £89, (US$97-115) depending on dates, and transport from the airport to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer should cost you between £15 and £115 (US$19-149), depending on whether you go by train or by taxi. You could also choose to rent a car, which should set you back about £50 a day (US$64), depending on your age. Hotels in the region charge between £49 to £180 a night (US$63-233).

What to expect: Camargue, the very unique region of France where Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is situated, has a very distinctive and rich regional identity. Home to a thriving equine and provençal culture, it’s also a pilgrimage destination for the Roma people who gather every year in the lovely seaside town to honor their patron saint, Saint Sarah (colloquially known as the “black Virgin Mary”). An adorned, beloved statue of the Saint is carried down to the sea every spring and bathed, a tradition you’d be sorry to miss.

11. Berlin, Germany

Jonathan Adami, Flickr, 2012

Costs: Cheap flights from London to Berlin cost between £54 and £76 (US$70-98), with the lowest fares from August. While its affordability has certainly been somewhat overstated, it’s generally fairly inexpensive, with daily costs including accommodation, food and extras ranging between €100 and €200 (US$114-228).

What to expect: Berlin is everything London can never be: a laidback city that never sleeps, and where no one seems to hold down a proper nine-to-five, a joyous medley of electronic clubs, retro cabarets, and some of the best beer gardens you’ll ever see.

12. Enjoy old and new in Mykonos, but mostly sunbathe

hungrynerd, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to the Greek capital from London range between £62 and £134 (US$80-173), with some of the lowest fares between the months of August and March.

What to expect: Aside from the usual Greek stuff - mosaics, ancient archeological sites at every street corner, cascades of bougainvillea and meandering whitewashed streets - you’ll also stumble upon fabulous little rooftop terraces, restaurants and chic boutiques. Holidaying in Mykonos is a cliche for a reason, darling.

13. Budapest, Hungary

Curtis Simmons, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to Hungary from London should set you back somewhere between £68 and £78 (US$88-US$101), with some of the lowest fares between October and January. Daily costs shouldn’t be too much, somewhere between HUF15,000 and HUF35,000 (US$55-129), depending on how lavish your tastes are.

What to expect: Drink pálinka (surprisingly strong fruit brandy) and nurse your hangover at one of Budapest’s lovely hot springs or Turkish-era bathhouses. A cultural city with a very fin-de-siecle feel to it, Budapest will surprise you.

14. Dublin, Ireland

Jim Nix, Flickr

Costs: Cheap from flights from London to Dublin shouldn’t cost you more than £43 (US$55), while daily costs may range between €150 and €250 (US$171-285). One word of advice for you, if you’re planning on budgeting, avoid Temple Bar at all costs. The tourist area is notoriously expensive and avoided by Dubliners like the plague.

What to expect: The Irish capital is quite famously the subject and setting of the acclaimed experimental novel Ulysses, so you’ll get a chance to wander around James Joyce’s Dublin on a literary tour of the city. But if you’re more into alcohol than avant-garde literary modernism, why not visit Dublin for Saint Patrick’s Day? At the very least, have a pint at Grogans and sit outside the literary pub with a cheese toastie. You’ll probably spy a few playwrights or journalists furiously scribbling away.

15. Rome, Italy

Alexandre Larose, Facebook

Costs: Cheap flights to Rome from London may range from £45 to £75 (US$58-97), with daily costs, including hotel, food and extras, from €110 to €250 (US$125-285).

What to expect: Obviously, in Rome, there’s all the ancient stuff - the Vatican, the Forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon - but there’s more this city has to offer. There’s something unique about Rome, a certain way of life you just won’t find in other capitals. It’s also the best spot to people-watch and update your Instagram. Choose any cafe, order yourself a drink, a bowl of olives, and watch the world go by. You’ll find it marvellous.

16. Rīga, Latvia

kishjar?, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to the Latvian capital cost anywhere between £88 and £103 (US$114-133), but daily costs should be fairly low, ranging anywhere between €60 and €120 (US$68-137) depending on how extravagant your expenses are.

What to expect: The birthplace of the famous American painter Mark Rothko, Rīga - and especially Old Rīga - is basically all cobbled lanes, sherbet houses, spires and opera houses. Expect to find more than one decent cup of coffee in the Latvian capital, where cafe culture is still going strong, as well as decent galleries such as the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre and the Art Museum Rīga Bourse.

17. Vilnius, Lithuania

Asta Adamonyte, Flickr

Costs: Cheap flights to Vilnius from London cost between £87 and £104 (US$112-134), with low fares available from August. Daily costs should more than make up for the travel expenses, ranging between €60 and €120 (US$77-155).

What to expect: Imagine an old town evocative of the Baroque style, with crumbling walls, charming heights, panoramic views, cobbled lanes and Orthodox churches. Vilnius is also a city with a traumatic past, torn by war and genocide and still negotiating its violent history through peace, art and dialogue. We recommend you make a pilgrimage to the Tolerance Centre, an exhibition about the Holocaust in a building that used to be a refugee-centre, as well as a concert hall and theatre house.

18. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Vadim Timoshkin, Flickr

Costs: You can fly there for less than £50 (US$64), with prices more or less the same all year. Luxembourg City is generally quite cheap, with the average bottle of beer costing about €4 (US$4.58) and monthly transport pass costing €30 (US$34.32).

What to expect: Luxembourg City has a bit of a faded daguerreotype sort of charm. Its UNESCO-listed old town, leaning on both sides of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, is very hodge-podge, with plenty of zigzagging cobbled lanes, secret tunnels and nooks to explore. It has its fair share of decent museums too, such as Fort Thüngen, an historic fortification and museum located to the north-east of the city: an absolute must-see. 

19. Gzira, Malta

Ulf Bodin, Flickr

Costs: You can fly to Luqa Malta Airport for no more than £84 one way (US$108), but the island itself is fairly cheap, with daily costs ranging from €80 (US$91), if you stay in a hostel and budget, to €140, if you choose to sleep in a hotel and hire a yacht (as you do).

What to expect: Picture vast rocky stretches of coastline, azure waters, small fishing villages and vast, ancient ruins several centuries old. An absolute must-see is Malta’s underground necropolis, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.Tickets are about €30 each (US$38), and you’ll get to wander down underground chambers and passageways carved into the rock which date back to 3000 BC.

20. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Simon Schmitz, Flickr

Costs: Its proximation to the UK means flights to the Dutch capital are alarmingly cheap, ranging from £40 to £80 (US $51-103). While hostels in Amsterdam are popular and a good way to make friends, budget between €100–250 (US$171-285) per day all in if you’d rather sleep alone.

What to expect: Amsterdam is surreal, and not for the reasons you’re thinking. The laid-back spirit of the city is infectious and will woo even the most uptight of visitors. Cycle around the canals, take in the distinctive architecture, speak to Europe’s friendliest people and let this beautiful capital make you feel at home.

21. Warsaw, Poland

Vit Brunner, Flickr

Costs: You can fly to Warsaw from London for about £61 (US$79), with fares peaking in the summer to a fairly reasonable £71 (US$91) in July. Once you’re in Poland though, you’ll find it easy to save money, with daily costs, including bed, food, transport and a little extra for museums, ranging between zł200 and zł450 (US$50-145), so you won’t need to dip into your overdraft.

What to expect: There’s no ignoring the Polish capital’s past. From the sheer horror of its ghettos to the near-total destruction it suffered at the end of the Second World War, not to mention the decades spent under Soviet rule, the air in Warsaw is pregnant with meaning. It’s not all gritty though. Chopin’s birthplace is also, needless to say, rich with culture and art and dozens of fascinating museums, so be prepared to indulge your artistic sensibilities.

22. Lisbon, Portugal

Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Flickr

Costs: During the high season, flights peak at around £100 for a return (US$129). Visit during the cooler months for bargain tickets as low as £40 (US$51). Budgeting for around €60–€150 a day (US $68-171) will ensure a comfortable stay.

What to expect: With its lovely red rooftops, meandering streets, and white-domed churches and cathedrals, Lisbon is certainly a pretty sight. Enjoy a pitcher of Sangria with your mates and go for a dip in the Tagus River.

23. Bucharest, Romania

fusion-of-horizons, Flickr

Costs: With flights ranging from an incredibly low £20 return (US$26) in winter, peaking at a still reasonable £100 (US$129) in summer, Bucharest is one of the most affordable destinations on this list. Budget between £50-100 (US $64-$129) a day all included. The relatively cheap living costs of the country mean money really will go far here.

What to expect: Bucharest is only just becoming a destination of choice, which is a shame, because while the communist era-architecture may look imposing, the surviving old-town and the vibrancy and resilience of the culture make it a fascinating place to visit. Go after the stifling summer heat has passed. Our main tip: try the wine.

24. Bratislava, Slovakia

Creative Commons

Costs: Flights from London range from from £50 to £100 (US$64-129), with prices peaking in the summer. Thankfully, the city is equally, if not more, magical during the winter months, so take advantage of the cheaper flights for a Christmas trip to remember. Budget between £100-200 (US$129-259) per day for a truly thorough experience of the city.

What to expect: Bratislava may live in Prague’s metaphorical tourist shadow, but that doesn’t mean it offers anything less than its Czech counterpart. Slovakia’s capital city is a blend of old-town charm and modern metropolis, watched over by the magnificent 13th century castle. Climb to the top on clear days for views of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary.

25. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Tom Mrazek, Flickr

Costs: You can fly direct from London, with prices starting at around £40 (US$51) in the winter months, and reaching highs of £200 (US$259) in the summer. Thankfully, the relatively cheap daily costs of a trip to Slovenia make up for those pricey summer flights. €120 (US$136) a day will easily cover all your expenses.

What to expect: Ljubljana might not boast any famous attractions, but that only adds to its charm. Possibly the greenest city in Europe, it’s a haven for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The car-free city centre means tourists are free to roam, which is fortunate, as this is the only real way to truly soak up the Baroque architecture and peaceful atmosphere.

26. Merida, Spain

Les Haines, Flickr

Costs: A direct flight to the nearest airport, Badajoz, will set you back a cool £200 (US$259), but the initial cost is more than made up for by the reasonableness of costs once you’re there. Budget around €80-150 a day (US$91-171), including accommodation.

What to expect: Eschew the tourist-infiltrated islands and coastline for a truly authentic experiencia española. Merida is an untouched mecca of ancient Roman ruins, authentic cuisine and enticing wines. With ruins hidden around every corner, there’s no telling what else this pristine paradise city might be hiding.

27. Abisko, Sweden

Azchael, Flickr

Costs: No direct flights between London and the closest Swedish city, Kiruna, exist, but flights between London and Stockholm run at between £30 (US$38) and £60 (US$67) for a return. A connection from here to Kiruna will set you back an additional £60-100 (US$77-130). Scandinavia is notoriously expensive, so be sure to budget around £150 to £200 (US $194- 259) a day all in.

What to expect: Abisko is the destination for explorers and dreamers alike. The scenery is unmatchable, the northern lights are entrancing and the midnight sun is perfect for anyone afraid of the dark. Expect to meet hikers, cross-country skiers, outdoorsy types and the occasional polar bear.

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