36 unusual, alternative European city breaks for your next holiday

36 unusual and alternative European city breaks | PACK THE SUITCASES

I wanted to put together a post about alternative European city breaks because so often when people say ‘city break’, it’s just a byword for going off to the classic Paris/Rome/Barcelona/Berlin/Amsterdam options. But there are so many other alternative, more off-the-beaten-track cities that can still give you all the culture, sightseeing, shopping and (of course) eating that you want from a city break.

This post is a bit different from my usual inane ramblings. As well as sharing some destination ideas that I’ve loved myself, I thought I’d use it as a chance to get some inspiration for my OWN future city breaks in Europe.

So I asked around a load of fellow travel bloggers and they obliged me with a whopping 29 unusual European city break ideas. Always keen to have my own say, I added another seven of my own favourite up-and-coming city break options. And voila – here you have this huge list of 36 alternative European city breaks to give you some food for thought for your next holiday…

Put the kettle on. It might take you a while to get though.

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17 things to do in Liverpool at Christmas

17 things to do in Liverpool at Christmas | PACK THE SUITCASES

I’ve just got back from a magical Liverpool Christmas day out and wanted to share what I got up to. I’m trying to type this up as quickly as possible because I’m very aware of how close Christmas is now and for this post to be useful for anyone planning a Liverpool Christmas trip, it needs to go live ASAP. So apologies for it being slightly shorter than my usual mammoth essays, but I hope you enjoy it anyway and that it helps you if you’re planning a Liverpool Christmas trip.

Christmas is my favourite time of year. Although I no longer live there, I usually spend Christmas back ‘home’ in a village near Liverpool, where I grew up. I always try to cram a day out in the city centre in if I can, because it’s so good for getting festive and doing some Christmas shopping. But I love it at any time of year. If you want to read more about my general Liverpool recommendations (non-festive!), have a look at my best UK city break post, which has Liverpool at the top.

Anyway, let’s pour a hot chocolate and start planning a Liverpool Christmas trip with these festive things to do…

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24 gorgeous gifts for travel lovers

It’s nearly time for Christmas shopping, so I’ve put together this list of gifts for travel lovers, which would also work for birthdays and special occasions all year round to be honest. As someone who loves travel, I’d be made up with any of these things. In fact, I already have quite a few of them, so I can vouch that they actually are nice things to have.

Before you settle in to peruse my travel-themed present ideas, I just want to assure you that this list does not contain scratch maps, novelty passport cases or any other useless stuff that’s been done to death… Enjoy!

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3 days in St Petersburg, Russia: a complete city guide and itinerary

3 days in St Petersburg, Russia: itinerary | PACK THE SUITCASES

This mammoth 3 days in St Petersburg itinerary (and city guide in general) has taken me ages to write up. But it’s been so worth it to share all of my recommendations on what to do, see and eat in this gorgeous Russian city. Having spent an incredible 2 weeks in Russia this year and absolutely LOVING it, I’m now ready to convince everyone I know that they have to go. 

I actually spent nearly a week in St Petersburg after visiting Moscow, but only had a solid 3 days of full-on itinerary blocked in. The rest of the time, we winged it and found extra things as we went. So although you could cram all of this into 3 days and whiz through the city using it, you could also spread it out over longer. St Petersburg involves a lot of walking and you might want a few ‘rest days’.

Anyway, enough waffle from me. Get your glass of vodka and get reading the St Petersburg itinerary and city guide…

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10 things to do in Okayama city, Japan

I wanted to put together this list of things to do in Okayama city, Japan, because there’s very little out there about it. When researching the city for my own visit recently, I managed to find loads about Okayama the prefecture, but hardly anything about where to eat, what to see or things to do in Okayama city itself. So here I am, filling a wee gap in the market.

Okayama is a quiet and small city compared with others across Japan, so it’s probably not that surprising I couldn’t find much on it. It’s not very well known and people visiting the general area tend to go straight to Hiroshima, Takamatsu or the incredible art island, Naoshima. But Okayama actually makes a good base for visiting these places and is a nice little city, worth spending a day in in itself. I wouldn’t go mad and say you must visit Okayama like your life depends on it, but there’s plenty to get up to in one or even two days there.

Anyway, here are some of the things to do in Okayama that I enjoyed and a few places to eat as well (because when is food not the priority in Japan?!). Pour yourself a glass of sake and have a read…

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How to do a day trip to beautiful Burano island from Venice, Italy

How to do a day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s how to do a gorgeous little day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy – the island that’s home to a famously rainbow-coloured fishing village. Burano island is unmissable if you’re visiting Venice. Seriously. I’ve never seen anywhere like it and I absolutely get why tourists flock to it.

Originally, Burano’s fishing families painted their houses these bright colours so that they could find their way home on their boats after a heavy night out when thick fog descended on the Venetian lagoon. There’s not as much fishing going on these days, although they do still have some. But the bright colours have remained, much to the joy of photographers everywhere. Burano gives Cinque Terre a run for its money on the picturesque and vibrant front, and it’s only little so it makes the perfect morning or afternoon out on the water bus from the centre of Venice. 

Here’s my little guide to how to get to Burano, things to see there, when to visit, what to eat and just generally what to get up to on a Venice to Burano day trip…

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