We all know what a ‘Reading Week’ at university really entails. As well as swotting up on missed lectures and leafing through the heavy pages of course books, a reading week can be used to get out of the country and leave the stresses and strains of the studying lifestyle behind for a few days. For many it may mean an excuse to lie in until midday for a week, but for those bitten by the travel bug a reading week provides the perfect opportunity for a city break.
But where to go? With Ryanair flying to more destinations than ever before and Megabus offering trips to the continent for the price of a pint, it has never been easier to escape Britain or indeed harder to decide where to go.
Lap up the last sunrays of summer in Andalusia with a cheap Ryanair flight to Malaga. The southernmost city in Europe is located on the Costa del Sol and with November temperatures averaging a mild 15 degrees Celsius it is perfect for those who wish to while away time on a Mediterranean beach. Malaga isn’t just a haven for beach bums through. The city is also one of the oldest and most historic in Europe with archaeological remains dating from the Phonenician and Roman eras; the Old Town part of the city is essentially an open museum. Tourists are also drawn to Malaga’s cultural delights, spearheaded by the city’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso. You can visit the artist’s birthplace and explore his works which are held in the Museo Picasso Malaga.
Incorporating a city centre that has been declared a UNCESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, Bruges breathes history and medieval architecture but it also lives off its fame for Belgian beer and chocolate that has seen it become a hugely popular destination. Allow the old-world charms of the city take you back in time as you climb the 366 steps to the top of Bruges most recognisable landmark, the Belfort, and gain a stunning panoramic view of this old city. Taking a ferry to Zeebrugge is the best way to enter the city, but if time is short then the Eurostar will take you from London to Bruges in 3 hours. If you’re on a budget then the £4 Megabus to Brussels (from where you can take a train to Bruges) may be the best option.
The main city of northern Dalmatia is yet to receive the hordes of tourists populating other Croatian cities such as Dubrovnik and Hvar, and it’s a secret worth keeping. The large student population studying at one of Europe’s oldest universities keeps this historic city buzzing with plenty of bars and clubs and the day time can be easily taken up by exploring the city’s mix of Roman and Medieval architecture that lines the marble, traffic-free streets. On a sunny day, wandering around amongst the ruins of the Roman Forum is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or head to one of Zadar’s sandy beaches where you will find opportunities to sail and swim in the Adriatic Sea. Ryanair fly direct to Zadar from Stansted.
Sweden is famously expensive to travel around but with a student population that numbers 60,000, Gothenburg is easier on the wallet than most other Scandinavian cities. Thrill yourself silly with a visit to Liseberg, Scandinavia’s largest amusement park, or head out onto the water on one of the city’s free ferry crossings for a great view of this pretty city. Travel around the city on its famous trams and head out on a boat to the islands in the southern archipelago to get a real feel of this Swedish delight. Ryanair and Wizz Air fly to Gothenburg City Airport, the smaller of the two international airports yet closer to the city centre than the main airport, Landvetter.