Stansted – London’s faraway airport. While it might seem like an outpost to other more “central” airports like Heathrow, Stansted is nothing to be sniffed at.
The express train to and from central London runs every 15 minutes, it has great amenities – we’re talking Krispy Kremes here people – and is a hub of budget airlines that fly to top destinations all over Europe and beyond. While many of the cheapest flights have an early morning departure, a Stansted airport hotel will sort that right out and get you to the gate on time. So tell us – where would you go, if you were flying from Stansted?
Ah, the city of love. If you’re looking to take your special someone off on a romantic mini break, it’s hard to get much better than Paris. The city boasts art and culture in abundance, and its most familiar landmarks have been celebrated by countless travellers from around the world. Still, for all that’s said about the French capital, it’s impossible to do the enchanting city justice without seeing and experiencing it for yourself. You can dine in decadent restaurants, do some afternoon philosophy in a sidewalk café, or shop French designers along the Champs-Élysées. If you’re looking for a more bohemian experience, Paris has that too – off the beaten path you can find local bars filled with artsy types who thrive in that shabby-chic environment.
The city on the water is one of the most beautiful in the world, the sparkle of the blue waters that surround it only matched by the crisp blue skies. Stockholm’s old town – Gamla Stan – is a particular favourite with travellers, and the cobbled streets and old architecture only add to the city’s charming appeal. Don’t be fooled though – Stockholm has a lot more to offer than just a quiet weekend away staring at architecture. The city is a vibrant hub of sleek design and cutting-edge fashion, attracting both young and old travellers who come to rub elbows with some of the most stylish residents in Europe. By day, the city’s cafes, boutique stores and art galleries are buzzing with activity – and when the sun sets Stockholm’s world-class nightclubs open doors for business and serve up sweet cocktails with unique local flavours.
A city of canals, Amsterdam is so much more than just the red light district it’s famous for. Venture outside of seedy Amsterdam and you’ll find world-class galleries and museums, picture-perfect streets and mouth-watering restaurants and cafes. It’s a city unlike any other – Holland’s bicycle culture has helped eliminate congestion on Amsterdam’s roads, and even in the centre of city you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural countryside with all the benefit of an exciting urban playground.
History and culture collide in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin. In its post-war life, Berlin has emerged to take its place as one of the most culturally diverse cities in all of Europe. Here, the posh and the punk each have their place, and an influx of creatives from around the world is leading the movement to make Berlin one of the most fascinating and exciting centres of fashion and design in the world. Museums, galleries and war monuments each tell another chapter of Germany’s history, while trendy bars and secret nightclubs offer visitors the chance to live like a local. The city is one that appeals to all ages, but is particularly popular with young travellers who come to absorb all that’s cool in the heart of Germany.
Denmark’s capital city is locked in a head-to-head battle with Stockholm to rein supreme as the coolest city in Scandinavia, and the scales might just be tipping in Copenhagen’s favour – the Danish city is buzzing with activity, celebrating its historical and architectural roots while still embracing the cultural revolution that’s taken hold in the last decade. The city is clean, safe and easy to navigate – the locals are friendly and the transport is accessible even for the most cautious tourist. Throw in buzzing cafes, shops and restaurants, and you’ve found yourself a winner.
Image by Karl-Martin Skontorp via Flickr
Bio: Ralph Cohen is a freelance travel writer on a mission to visit a new country every three months. Follow his adventures on Twitter