In the 18th century, it was fashionable for young men with a lot of money and no responsibilities to go on a “grand tour”. This was usually a journey through Europe, spent looking at art and experiencing a different culture.
The concept has largely died out these days, which is probably for the best. It would be lovely to have the time and money to do as those men did, but it’s rarely practical. If we want to see all of Europe, we tend to have to do it bit-by-bit these days.
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This tends to mean that we tend to want as much bang for our buck (or our Euro, or pound…) when we travel. As we don’t have weeks to dedicate to a grand tour, we want a destination that is going to be versatile. Somewhere that doesn’t just restrict us to one activity or sightseeing jaunt, but offers a feast of different options to be enjoyed throughout our stay.
Where then is a good place for our not-quite-so-grand-but-still-wonderful tour?
London: A Capital Idea For A Domestic Holiday
With a city like London, you can have three holidays in one trip. Want to enjoy wandering through nature, surrounded by lush greenery and quaint gardens? Then Hyde Park or Kew Gardens have the solution. Fancy ghoulish tales of human horrors past? Then the Tower of London or a Jack The Ripper tour will satisfy your thirst.
Or perhaps it’s something more regal, walking in the footsteps of royalty? Westminster Abbey has hosted many a royal wedding, while Buckingham Palace is a grand spectacle at the centre of British monarchy. It’s a varied, historical destination that might be nearby, but still has plenty to offer.
Scandinavia: A Miniature Grand Tour
There are more than fifty countries in Europe. This means that to visit it all in two weeks, you’d need to get through about four per day. Obviously, this is ridiculous.
Three countries in a week or fortnight however? Well, that’s beginning to sound feasible – and Scandinavia, though usually referred to as a collective, is three distinct countries. Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They share many qualities; a quiet, relaxed way of life and a temperate climate. The cultural delights of Oslo. The thrilling nightlife of Stockholm. The fairytale beauty of Copenhagen.
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Everyone will find their own favourite part of this trip – so group them together for a dynamic, exciting experience.
If you really want to push the boat out – literally – then consider day trips to Greenland. This Danish territory is fascinating, offering an island holiday experience that is totally different from the cliché of coconuts and white-sand beaches.
New York: Something For Everyone
If versatility is what you look for in a holiday, then there are few destinations that would have New York beat. It’s one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and interesting cities. Even a fortnight-long trip will allow you to do something different every morning, lunch and night. Sports fans, culture vultures, tech enthusiasts – there’s something here for everyone.
With a short trip to Long Island, you can even enjoy a beach experience (weather permitting).