Featured image by Heather R
The nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and before you know it you’ll be in the midst of the countdown to Christmas. If the thought of that is enough to send you into a cold sweat, then the half term holidays probably can’t come soon enough. So why not take make the most of the break by heading off on last family excursion before winter sets in?
Here at Europcar, we’re always on the lookout for great destinations both at home and on the continent. We also know how quickly these half term holidays can sneak up on you, leaving you scrambling for last minute ideas and inspiration. So to lend a helping hand we’ve pinpointed some of our favourite autumn activities and destinations and neatly packaged them into our guide to shaking up your half term.
And remember: you can keep your trip as hassle-free as possible from the moment you leave home by taking advantage of our Airport Connect service if you’re heading abroad.
City Break: Dubrovnik
A city escape to Dubrovnik not only enables you to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, but also offers easy access to Croatia’s picturesque coastline.
From the ancient walls surrounding the Old Town, to the plethora of palaces, churches and medieval forts scattered around the city, Dubrovnik has an abundance of cultural and architectural highlights. Cafes and restaurants line the narrow streets which weave their way through the heart of the town, whilst the sea front promenades are hive of activity both day and night.
And if that’s not enough, you also have the stunning Adriatic coastline to explore. Book a car hire at Dubrovnik Airport and head either north or south of the city where you’ll encounter a delightful mix of dramatic sea cliffs, sandy beaches and small fishing villages. The town of Cavtat, just 15 kilometres south of Dubrovnik, is a particular highlight thanks to its mountainous backdrop, stunning waterfront and excellent restaurants.
One for the kids: Halloween in Copenhagen
According to the 2013 World Happiness Report, Denmark is officially the world’s happiest nation. So what better place to take the whole family than the capital of happiness; Copenhagen? It also just so happens to be one of the hippest cities in Europe these days, thanks in part to its much heralded architecture, excellent cuisine and hundreds of bars and restaurants in which locals and visitors congregate for ‘hygge’ (a Danish term for a cosy or enjoyable atmosphere). But what makes it such a great family destination, we hear you ask?
The country’s most famous theme park, Legoland, may be several hundred kilometres away but Copenhagen has the perfect alternative. The Tivoli Gardens have kept the capital city’s residents entertained since 1843 and are home to adrenaline fuelled fairground rides, Ferris wheels and theatre performances to name but a few. Every October, however, the park transforms into a Halloween wonderland with giant pumpkins, witches, ghosts and other spooky creatures roaming free. It truly is a sight to behold and worth the visit for the decorations alone. Just remember to keep an eye out for those pesky zombies…
Europe’s most sparsely populated country is the ideal destination for outdoor adventurers, thanks to its vast landscapes of dramatic mountain ranges, waterfalls, hot springs and volcanoes. So where do you start? Pick up hire a car in Reykjavik, the nation’s capital city, and head for the Blue Lagoon; Iceland’s most famous hot springs. Since opening in the mid-1970s, locals and visitors have descended on the warm, mineral rich pools of water to relax and coat themselves in the springs’ silica mud. It’s regarded as one of the wonders of the world, and well worth a visit even if you don’t intend to submerge yourself in its waters.
The month of October also marks the start of the Aurora Borealis season, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. Learn all about the phenomenon at the Aurora Reykjavik centre before hitting the road in search of them yourself. The best spots in which to observe nature’s greatest light show tend to be away from the city lights, either by the sea or further inland. You can also join various tours from Reykjavik on most evenings.
The Outdoor Capital of the UK
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to leave the country to have a good time this half term. This is especially true if you’re fond of the great outdoors, and few places can match the Lochaber area of Scotland which is widely regarded as the Outdoor Capital of the UK. As well as having Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, on its doorstep, the region also boasts terrain which lends itself to mountain biking, hiking, skiing, golfing, canoeing and just about anything else you can think of.
In addition to the sporting activities, you also get the pleasure of taking in some spectacular scenery on your journey north. If you’re arriving in Glasgow by train or plane, the drive from the city up the West Coast is a particular highlight. Head north to the town of Fort William, an ideal destination for those aiming to climb Ben Nevis or take advantage of the countless outdoor activities on offer in and around town. Hire a car in Glasgow to experience it all at your leisure.
All set for your half term getaway? Check out some of our other posts for additional info and inspiration:
- Why you should spend summer in Scotland
- Practical tips: Driving in Europe
- Half term holidays for the whole family