City Breaks

Need a break?   Why not consider a long weekend to one of our European city destinations.   Here’s a quick taste of some of the top dishes from Garda Travel Club’s eclectic menu of romance, culture, nightlife, history and captivating sights.

The Eternal City.   If one of your indulgences is an afternoon cappuccino then brace yourself for a culture shock.   Don’t be surprised if you receive a disdainful look from your barista if order your usual – the Italians consider it almost sacrilege to drink cappuccino after 11am.   A bit like ordering a well done steak in a French restaurant, it’s just not on.   And who are we to argue, they have been conducting a love affair with food and drink rather longer than we!

Anyway, enough diversion and digression.   Take a stroll and enjoy ‘Il gelato’ and you’ll be hard pushed to go back to a ‘99’ with a flake from your local Mr. Whippy.   And don’t allow long queues deflect you from your ice cream mission.    A bit like Dublin’s most famous chipper in Werburg Street, the queues are there for one good reason – the product is good.

Having seen the sights and the animated antics of the Romans during the day, at nightfall you can indulge in a dinner cruise along the Tiber or enjoy Italian gastronomic delights from a rooftop restaurant.   And why not round off the evening with a visit to the beautifully lit Trevi fountain.

The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph represent two of the most recognisable city landscapes the world over.  One look at either and you know exactly where you are.  Paris is a city of culture, romance and much, much more.

That most famous of museums, The Louvre, houses Da Vinci’s most famous work, the Mona Lisa, along with many more of his and other iconic artists works, including the statue of Venus de Milo.   But be warned, the museum is vast and you may not find fighting your way through the crowds to view Mona worthwhile.  It’s not quite ‘head down, elbows out and shove’, but it does get crowded.

There are alternatives, such as the Musee D’Orsay, where works of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and others are preciously cosseted.  There is also the option of pre-booking tickets to save queuing.   Musee D’Orsay’s busiest day is Tuesday, coinciding with the Louvre’s closed day.

Word of warning for the ladies – or should that be for the gents – Paris is not for shopping!   Whilst it is one of the homes of haute couture, clothes and accessories shopping is simply too dear!   And while we’re at it, don’t indulge in sipping a coffee or a pre-dinner aperitif on the Champs-Élysées, or you will pay the price – in excess of €6 for a coffee to be precise.

All this travelling to romantic and exotic locations can sometimes cause us to overlook our nearest neighbours across the pond in London.
Fed up of food orders being mixed up though misinterpreted language?   Dying to see in reality the pomp and ceremony surrounding Buckingham Palace?   Fancy seeing the original and best of waxworks in Madame Tussauds?   No fear of heights – why not take a trip on the London Eye, overlooking the Thames, Tower Bridge and all the famous sights of London.   A new attraction to equal and outdo the Eye, the Shard opened earlier this year.   It is billed, at a height in excess of 1,000ft, as being the tallest building in Western Europe, and if you have the eyesight, the binoculars, and a clear day you’ll be able to see for 64km!

You could also take the opportunity to take in a West End show, or if you’re a foodie and have the ‘shekels’, push the boat out and treat yourself to one of the numerous Michelin starred restaurants.

When one thinks of it, New Ross should be twinned with Berlin and not Hartford Connecticut, or Newcastle, Co. Down.
Berlin was dissected by the erection of the Berlin wall, where JFK gave his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, yet within days he was visiting the ancestral home in New Ross and of course we claimed him (along with every U.S. President since!)

The coming together of this great city since the fall of the wall in 1989/90 has made it very popular with visitors of all ages and tastes.  Following re-unification, it took over from Bonn as the German capital in 1999 and some argue that it has also become the Irish capital, post-Tiger.

Berlin is a city that is as hard or as easy on your pocket as you chose to make it.   The Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust memorial are just two of the ‘must visit’ sites.  You can stroll around the streets and squares, as you fantasise reviving Matt Damon’s role in the Bourne series.   If you are into nightlife, you won’t be lacking in Berlin and you can eat to how it suits your pocket.

Sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is easily navigated by boat or cycle and has excellent public transport – you don’t even have to leave the Schiphol airport building to access the railway station.   Seeing the sights can also be done by dinner cruise.  Explore the possibility of a day trip to Bruges, the picturesque town first brought mostly to our attention by Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in ‘In Bruges’.   Amsterdam is also renowned for its booming nightlife, so has something for all.

As always, being a member of Garda Travel Club means you can travel with peace of mind knowing you automatically have comprehensive travel insurance.   Contact us at 01-8822500 to book your city break now.



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