Where to Spend Your Remaining Days of Annual Leave

Where to Spend Your Remaining Days of Annual Leave

early starts, late nights and cramped commutes, it’s no
surprise that wide-eyed whimpers of “I need a holiday!” are
commonplace. So why is it that more than half of us fail to take
all of our annual leave? Prize yourself away from your desk (ft.
incessant Slack notifications and pseudo-jargon like “synergy”) and
book a minibreak with those precious remaining days. Because
really, your boss is never going to thank you for not taking
holiday (if they notice at all, that is).



Once touted as Europe’s most affordable capital, Sofia is an
ideal weekend break for those wishing to explore more of Eastern
Europe. While it hasn’t completely rid itself of its Soviet past,
peel back the brutalist block buildings to reveal golden-domed,
Neo-Byzantine architecture, while a surge of independent
restaurants and galleries that have recently taken root. Head to
the Central Market to try a steaming plate of Bulgaria’s national
dish, musaka, full of gloriously rich aubergines. For dinner, snag
a table at Made in Home, a modern eatery
serving up a mix of Middle Eastern, Turkish and vegan fare. After
dinner drinks should be taken up on the trendy Sense hotels rooftop with views
across Mt. Vitosha. Ask for a shot of rakia; Bulgaria’s national
drink is an eye-winching 40% fruit liqueur that’s often, somewhat
oddly, served with salads.

This image is on holiday



A shining example of Nordic innovation,
is a design-driven, smart city that suits those
looking for an inspiring mini break. The city itself is clean and
compact, easy to navigate and brimming with lovely things like
stylish skincare products, homeware and book shops. Start your
morning the Finnish way with a steamy sauna; on the waterfront
Löyly is a Helsinki institution that’ll
encourage you to take the plunge into the Baltic Sea before
sprinting back to the dry-heat saunas, convinced that this
bone-chilling ritual is good for the soul. Warm up over a cup of
piping-hot coffee at Helsinki Coffee Roastery Coffee Bar. A top
pick among caffeine connoisseurs, they buy their own beans directly
from farmers around the world before roasting them in house. Stop
by the Wild Café for a foraged mushroom pie before
retreating back to hotel Klaus K, where interiors pay
homage to Finland’s national poetry compendium, Kalevala.



The heel of Italy is prime for a long-weekend jolly. Fiercely
proud of their regional produce and responsible for supplying the
majority of Europe with olive oil (there are more olive trees than
people) and pasta, loosen trouser buttons and indulge in a
gastronomic tour. Hiring a car ensures you get to see the
sun-bleached walls of Ostuni, the “Florence of the baroque”

and the reincarnated
; home to former cave dwellings that have been repurposed
into a cultural haven. Gorge on platefuls of Mama’s orecchiette
(ear-shaped pasta), mopped up by rounds of focaccia smothered in
roasted cherry tomatoes and olives. Bed down at the 19th-century
farmhouse Masseria Fumarola topped with
trullis (conical roofs) for a tiny slice of rural, Italian



Mainland Greece is often overshadowed by its swankier island
neighbours, but don’t overlook a stay in
. The hidden peninsula perched in between Athens and
Thessaloniki is the ideal location to switch off and recharge.
Mega-resorts and thumping nightclubs are replaced by welcoming,
whitewashed Ottoman guest houses and jovial tavernas. Strip off and
take a dip in the Tiffany-blue waters of Mylopotamos beach, follow
the snaky path through the verdant pine tree forest to reach an
almost-always deserted stretch of bleach-white pebbles. Legend has
it that the 12 gods of Mt Olympus used to holiday here, so if it’s
good enough for Zeus, then it’s good enough for us too.



A recent facelift and the addition of a multi-million pound port
has raised
‘s profile in recent years. A thriving café culture,
boom in artisan galleries to join long, sweeping beaches has
allowed its cosmopolitan capital city credentials to shine through.
Get lost in its bustling back streets and Moorish medina while
hunting for traditional tea glasses, intricately woven cushions and
rainbow kaftans. Bartering is thirsty work; sit back and enjoy a
sweet tea with freshly crushed mint leaves on one of Café Hafa’s
tumbling balconies. A long weekend visit gives you enough time to
make the 45-minute drive to the neighbouring fishing village of

, known for its outstanding beaches. Be sure to visit the
striking Plage Des Coves.


United Kingdom

Avoid wasting precious annual leave days battling with budget
airline delays and strict baggage regulations and book yourself on
a London
staycation instead. Savings made on air fares can be converted into
sumptuous, luxury upgrades. If you haven’t checked in to the
capital’s latest all-singing and dancing boutique hotel L’Oscar, now is the time to do
so. Boudoirs are ravished with swathes of chocolate box purples,
emeralds and ruby reds with decadent gold-thread headboards.
Top-level suites boast fit-for-two freestanding bathtubs, marble
showers that transform into steam rooms and a 24-hour butler. Put
smartphones on airplane mode, summon champagne and enjoy being a
diva on home turf.

Discover More
The Best Budget Euro City Breaks