Page Name => wowcher : wowcher blog : Category : wowcher : wowcher blog : Travel => Article Title => wowcher : wowcher blog : Travel

Blog Categories: Travel

Top 5 European city break destinations!

sky and the sea of clouds.

Here at Wowcher, as much as we’d love to take a month off, fill up our backpacks with bikinis and head to Southeast Asia to ‘find ourselves’, we’ve had to reluctantly accept that our wallets – and our annual leave – just won’t stretch that far. Luckily for us in Britain, our little island is nestled in one of the most diverse, historical and fascinating continents there is, and some of the world’s greatest cities are just a hop, skip and a quick Wowcher deal away. Check out our list for the top five European city break destinations!


5. Rome

Roma Foro Romano

When you don’t want to just ‘fly and flop’, there’s nowhere that packs a historical punch quite as hard as the Italian capital. Nicknamed the ‘Eternal City’ for its timeless beauty and tangible past, just a few hours in bella Roma will have you racing to throw your wishing coins in the Trevi Fountain to make sure you return! Take a tour of Vatican City and add a whole new tick to your ‘countries visited’ list, marvel at the classical architecture or stay out until the sun comes out with one of the most glamorous crowds on the planet. With a millennium-long history of culture, power, fine art and fine food, this is definitely the city to head to for an intoxicating taste of ‘la dolce vita’!


4. Budapest

Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest.

After spending decades as a hidden gem, Budapest is now Europe’s worst kept secret – and after visiting for yourself, you’ll be able to see why! Embracing the banks of the Danube, you’ll find an achingly trendy atmosphere married with exquisite architecture and a historical feel that you can really sink your teeth into. Fans of the city reckon there’s no view more romantic than looking out from a bridge at the twinkling lights of the city, there’s no architecture more impressive than the Art Nouveau marvels that embroider the winding streets and there’s no party quite as exciting as those happening in the super-hip crevices of the Jewish Quarter. There’s a reason it’s known as the Paris of the East, dah-ling.


3. Blackpool

Blackpool Tower Illumination

The sparkling lights of New York City, the casinos of Vegas and the beaches of Thailand – all just a train ride away from wherever in Britain you call home. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Blackpool is certainly the crown jewel of England’s seaside resorts! If you like your tack flashing right where you can see it (who doesn’t, occasionally?) and don’t fancy braving airport check-in queues for your next holiday, there’s nowhere better to head than glittering Blackpool. With the neon lights of the illuminations, the retro seaside piers and the hugely entertaining Pleasure Beach, you can rest assured that even if there’s no sun, there’s sure to be fun!


2. Venice

Venice. View of Grand Canal at dusk from Rialto Bridge

As much as we love discovering a hidden gem, there’s no denying the classics are classics for a reason! Venice does romance, grandeur and beauty on an electrifyingly epic scale. From the grand Palazzo Ducale and the wondrous Basilica di San Marco to the local stone churches and charming statues that decorate the labyrinth backstreet, you can flock with the thousands of like-minded Italophiles or discover what makes Venezia special to you. We’re thinking about the lagoon sparkling as the sun sinks, quiet al fresco dining on a cobbled lane, local Prosecco on tap and stripey-shirted oarsmen serenading lovebirds on their gondolas. Cliché doesn’t get any better!


1. Reykjavik

Northern Lights over City

Seeing the Northern Lights still topping your bucket list? Us too! Whilst we can’t guarantee you any sightings of the Aurora Borealis, we can recommend somewhere that’ll give you a pretty good shot! We’re all for a beach break, but sometimes you’ve got to get out the winter woollies and try something a little different – so why not try Reykjavik? This is the heart of Iceland’s Viking history, and the coastal hub is pretty much picture-perfect from every angle, with a mountainous skyline, pretty pantone buildings and a thumping nightlife on an astronomical scale. What are you waiting for?

Wowcher Guide To Valencia

valenciaWhilst being bathed in sun almost all year long does make for a pretty good reason on its own to visit Spain’s third city, Valencia’s got plenty more to offer lucky visitors, from a lively city centre to the Mediterranean Sea on its doorstep. Our guide to the city is here to show why a trip to Spain’s sunny coast is a must:

Photo Opportunities
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, our guide to Valencia unsurprisingly begins at the masterpiece known as La Lonja. Constructed in the 15th century, the Silk Exchange’s late gothic style and sheer magnificence has made it a symbol for what is now regarded as the city’s Golden Age; the striking spiralled columns that dominate the main hall as well as the charming surrounding courtyards and the adjoining Renaissance chapel will no doubt impress. Also built during the 15th century, the Torres de Quart is described by Lonely Planet as ‘Spain’s most magnificent city gate’ – see if you can spot the dents caused by the French cannonballs during the Napoleonic invasion in the 19th century!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, La Lonja makes for a must-see.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, La Lonja makes for a must-see.

Restored to its previous glory in 2012, the enchanting Plaza Redonda’s eye-catching design makes it one of the city’s more unique hotspots. From the vantage point of the fountains in the centre of the round square, you’ll be able to catch a lovely view of Santa Catalina’s late baroque bell tower. Keeping on a similar vein, it would be a mistake not to pay a visit to the imposing cathedral on the Plaza de le Virgen. Built in 1238, the cathedral’s 207-step Miguelete bell tower is well worth venturing up for 360-degree city and skyline views. You’ll also be able to snap a few pictures of the two Goya paintings in the Chapel of San Francisco de Borja and a chalice that is claimed to be none other than the Holy Grail.

For easy travel around the city, make sure you pick up a Valencia Tourist Card that entitles users to free entry to public museums and monuments, public transport in zones ABCD and a 50% discount at selected shops and restaurants. That way you should have no trouble making your way between other must-see sites, including the modernist Mercado Central, the Plaza del Carmen and the fantastic Bioparc. More than enough to keep you busy!

Beach Break
Where to start?! Boasting an abundance of Blue Flag beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice for sandy spots to relax and enjoy the sun in Valencia. Stretching over 1000m, La Malvarrosa is considered by many to be the city’s main beach, though the quieter Las Areans just to its south may have something to say about that. Fancy visiting them both? Not an issue – both are located just a short walk from the city centre. You can even take a stroll down the connecting Neptuno Promenade and take them both in on one lovely lazy day by the Mediterranean.

Malvarrosa and Las Arenas beaches make for the perfect spots to soak up the sunshine

La Malvarrosa and Las Areans beaches make for the perfect spots to soak up the sunshine.

Just a 30-minute yellow bus journey away in the beautiful La Albufera National Park on the southern outskirts of the city, the 2.6km untouched sandy stretch known as El Saler beach is well worth the trip. A favourite of locals and tourists alike, the popular beach is regarded by many as the jewel in the crown of Valencia’s coastline, with sun-worshippers conveniently protected from the westerly winds by the surrounding sand dunes and pines. Unlike the previously mentioned beaches, you won’t find any sun loungers or parasols already set up there for you to use, so make sure you come prepared.

Fireworks, Festival and Flames
Valencia is famed for its fireworks, so naturally come festival time you can expect to see a whole host of inventive pyrotechnic displays that’ll last long in the memory. For five days each March the city comes alive for Las Fallas, a typically-Spanish celebration in honour of Saint Joseph. Each night, spectators gather along the Paseo de la Alameda to witness spectacular displays that never fail to light the city up in stunning style. Make your way down on the last night (the Night of Fire) for an incredible 30-minute showing that is the undoubted highlight of the festival (though you will have to get there early to snag a prime viewing position).


Valencia is famed for its fireworks, so naturally come festival time you can expect to see a whole host of inventive pyrotechnic displays that’ll last long in the memory.

Amongst the important ceremonial events and traditions that take place during the festival, the parading of giant, specially made papier-mâché figures is definitely the most remarkable. Often reaching up to 20ft in height, these impressive models (named after the festival) are later set on fire on the last day at the Cremà (or ‘the burning’), though one is spared and given a place amongst the growing collection at the dedicated Fallas Museum in the city.

Thanks in large part due to the city’s seaside setting, Valencia boasts a rich culinary heritage that leaves visitors absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to grab a bite to eat. Despite the neighbourhood’s uncertain future, we recommend heading to Valencia’s vibrant old fishermen’s quarter El Cabanyal in the east of the city for the best in authentic Spanish dishes. Amongst the beautifully tiled houses and art-nouveau stylings of the barrio, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants offering the freshest fish and tapas – keep an eye out for the imaginatively named El Cabanyal restaurant for what is described as ‘a real taste of Spain’, and the Bodega Casa Montaña in the very same neighbourhood for one of the best tapas bars in the country (booking in advance is recommended).


Rice is a staple ingredient in the city and the crux of Valencia’s many gourmet specialties, including its most famous food invention paella. Explore the surrounding villages and you’ll find each has its own preference for ingredients and rice mixes, though you won’t have to travel too far from Malvarrosa beach to find the city’s most famed paella hotspots. A favourite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, La Pepica’s walls are plastered with signed pictures of the restaurant’s most famous patrons, though an outdoor table with a view of the sea instead might be more preferable when dining during the summer. One of the restaurant’s many specialities is the authentic version of paella known as the ‘valenciana’, a spectacular dish made with ingredients from the garden rather than from the sea – just click here to read more about the restaurant.

So there you have it – a guide to the must-visit city of Valencia. For the latest breaks dead-set on taking you to Europe’s top destinations, make sure you stay with

Wowcher’s Guide To Brighton!

Battleground for the Mods and Rockers in the 60s, stomping ground of the legendary Fatboy Slim and Peter Andre, and an infamous playground for Britain’s dirty weekend, Brighton is one of the UK’s most colourful coastal crannies, well worth a visit no matter the time of year. Here, at Wowcher, we’re here to share the filthiest secrets of this outrageously endearing seaside town.

The Coast with the Most
A wintery wonderland in colder months and a slothful sunspot in summer, the coast of Brighton is gemmed with affordable bars, sensational seafood restaurants, penny arcades and of course, piers. Visit the turtles and rays at the world’s oldest Sealife Centre, dine on an oriental barge in the Marina or glug some grog at the pirate ship pub Fortune of War. If you’re brave, get a made-to-order donut or a bag of chips and see how you fare against an army of hungry seagulls. Small but full of life, Brighton’s seafront is a pebbled paradise perfect for families, couples and even stags in drag.

Pier to Pier
Once a town of three piers, now a town of one working pier and a hollowed-out shell of another.Brighton Pier is like the Catherine Zeta-Jones to West Pier’s Michael Douglas. Buzzing with rip-roaring rollercoasters and amusement arcades, the former is teeming with life and a great place to win a cuddly toy for your loved one. West Pier, on the other hand, has been deteriorating since 1975 and is simply a skeleton of its former self – still beautiful though, in a haunting kind of way.

Festivals Galore
As well as an annual supply of candyfloss, Brighton also seems to manage a festival every other weekend. No matter when you go there’s sure to be something going on. Hoards of classic cars can be seen cruising the promenade on weekends, local artists open their homes in May and foodies will be spoilt for choice with several food and drink festivals occurring throughout the year. Our favourite festival has to be Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival. The perfect concoction of cabaret, comedy, classical concerts, club nights, theatre and exhibitions – something for everyone!

The Royal Pavilion
So it may look like something you find in Sittingbourne’s Model World but this scaled-down Taj Mahal is the reason Hitler didn’t bomb our pretty Brighton boulevards (he wanted it as his headquarters!). Built for the Prince Regent in the 18th Century, The Royal Pavilion is one of the most striking structures in the world and well worth a visit. Marvel at the palatial domes from the gardens or take a trip inside the eccentric head of George IV and admire the Pavilion’s magnificent interior. The beautifully restored tearoom makes an ideal spot for an afternoon scone!

Bohemian, hedonistic and cosmopolitan, Brighton’s North Laine is full of independent clothes shops, cosy bars and award-winning restaurants. Whether it’s the freebie-filled food markets or the second-hand stalls on Upper Gardener Street, Brighton is a peruser’s paradise. In Snooper’s Attic, Brighton’s best loved antique bric-a-brac vintage and retro store, you can find everything from old taxidermy to go-go boots. For the more refined shopper, we recommend trawling the twisting alleyways of Brighton’s South Lanes for specialist and designer boutique fashion.

Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way
If you’re worried you won’t have a chance to see all of Brighton, go on the city’s newest attraction; the Brighton Wheel, London Eye’s smaller and younger brother. With panoramic views of the town’s famous landmarks and an informative cultural commentary by local hero Steve Coogan, you can rest-assured you won’t miss a thing. Some say that on a clear day you can even see France!

So there you have it, plenty of reasons to plan a weekend trip to Brighton this spring. Loved by Queen Elizabeth II for its £1 shots and mini golf opportunities, Brighton is a treasure trove of things to see and do. No matter what time of year you visit, people will be skating along the esplanade and kayaking round the piers. Just keep an eye out for fantastic deals and your window of opportunity to visit our nation’s favourite seaside town!

Wowcher Takes a Dip in the City of Bath

Once a playground for the rich during the glamour of the Georgian era, Bath’s natural hot springs and architectural marvels have paved its way to World Heritage status. Though small in size, Bath is immensely picturesque and holds many cobbled pockets of charm. Elegant crescents and terraces curve over and around the petite city’s hills, while steeples and spires rise above the steam from the ancient Roman baths. For a slice of continental charm, forget far-flung foreign destinations – take a dip in the spa city of Bath…

Take to the Water
Bath was built upon hot springs and is the only place in the UK where you can immerse yourself in the thermal waters that have bubbled deep underneath the city for over 2,000 years. To recreate the Roman experience (unwieldy armour and bloodshed excluded), visit the original ancient bathing house, The Roman Baths. Besides exploring the very changing rooms where our Roman conquerors got in their birthday suits before bathing, you’ll even be able to dip a finger in the naturally warm water of the thermal pools where the Romans would wash. Afterwards, if you’re craving a modern-day spa experience, head to the Thermae Bath Spa around the corner, where you can bathe above Bath in the rooftop swimming pool with unrivalled city views.

Tip: Book yourself in for a twilight spa package at the Thermae Bath Spa to see the sun set over the city as you soak up the mineral waters.


When in Bath, do as the Romans did…

Building Bridges
Bath’s enchanting cityscape is carved from creamy golden stone and boasts over 5,000 listed buildings and perfectly-preserved Georgian houses. To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park. You’ll pass the spherical Royal Circus, followed by the Royal Crescent, a curved sweep of palatial façades in perfect symmetry. Back in the centre, stroll to where the River Avon crosses Pulteney Bridge (modelled on Florence’s famed Ponte Vecchio) and browse the chic boutiques and cosy coffee shops that line the bridge – you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled to Firenze itself.

Tip: From Pulteney Bridge, continue along Great Pulteney Street to Sydney Gardens (the only remaining 18th century ‘Pleasure Gardens’ in the UK) behind the Holburne Museum (free admission).


Pulteney Bridge

Costume Culture
If following in the footsteps of Jane Austen (who lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806) has left you with a thirst for more of her romantic fiction, you can learn about the novelist’s life and work at Bath’s Jane Austen Centre. While you’re there, create your own Austen ambience by dressing up in the coats, bonnets, shawls and parasols provided, or treat yourself to a ‘Mr Darcy’ champagne afternoon tea at the Regency Tea room within the centre.


To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park

City Skyline
Along with Rome, San Francisco and Prague, the city of Bath was built into enfolds of seven hills. Encircling the city, the six-mile Bath skyline walk takes eager amblers through grassy pastures and beech woodlands to reach Richens orchard and an Iron Age fort, offering many glimpses of the golden city – not to mention rare wildlife – along the way. Once you’re back in the cobbled streets, rest your feet and refuel at one of Bath’s many Michelin-starred restaurants or gastro pubs, such as Georgian townhouse-turned-culinary kitchen, The Porter.

Tip: On the skyline walk, head slightly off route at Bathwick Hill to admire the arches and turrets of Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly.

Fancy hitting the heritage hotspot yourself? Check out our luxury overnight stay in Bath on Wow Go!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live!

The Wowcher Guide to Roaming in Rome

Saturated with fine art, architectural genius and delectable food, it’s easy to see why millions of tourists flock to Rome every year. Based on the banks of the River Tiber, the city was founded in 753 BC according to Roman tradition, with thousands of years of ancient history providing a rich backdrop to the Italian capital. There’s so much to discover in just a short mini break that unlocking the secrets of the city can feel like a challenge. Luckily, Wowcher has the key!

Architecture and Art
Tourists always congregate at the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and home to some seriously impressive architectural and artistic feats (plus Pope Francis, of course). Whilst marvelling at Michelangelo’s ceiling is a must, there’s much more to see than just the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums showcase tapestries, ceramics, mosaics, Renaissance masterpieces and much more, including the famous frescoes of the Raphael Rooms and a striking tapestry of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. You can also scale the heights of St Peter’s Basilica for views inside the Cupola and out across Rome.

If you fancy heading off the beaten track instead, take a trip to San Clemente. Tucked away on Via Labicana, the 12th century Basilica sits over a 2nd century pagan temple, with its initial foundations dating as far back as the Roman Republic. Visit the lower levels to peel back the layers of Roman history and you’ll be surrounded by the sounds of an ancient aqueduct filtering water from the Tiber, with a fountain of spring water bursting out of the wall. Forget the Trevi Fountain – throw a coin in here and make a wish!

Tip: If you want to beat the queues at the Vatican City, make sure you book tickets online before you go. There are lots of tour guides offering their services outside the gates, but be aware that some of the tours can be quite lengthy if you’re short on time.

The Heart of Rome
A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Colosseum. Constructed in approximately 70 AD and used for gladiatorial competitions, dramatic public spectacles and grisly executions, the extraordinary arena emanates a sense of grandiose history and forgotten glory. To the east lies the ruins of the Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Roman life and home to the remains of the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta, Arch of Septimius Severus and much more. The Palantine Hill offers a great vantage point for panoramic views of the site – a combined ticket to see it all costs just €12, so buy yourself a selfie stick and get snapping!


Tip: Nip into the Altare della Patria (the big white building on Piazza Venezia) and take the elevator to the very top. For just €7 each you’ll get 360° views across the entire city, including an amazing view of the Colosseum and beyond.

Escaping the Crowds
If you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre, take a leisurely walk up the Spanish Steps to visit the landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese. The parkland features a beautiful lake, surrounded by willow trees and presided over by the majestic 18th century Temple of Aesculapius. It’s the perfect spot for an Italian-style picnic (think antipasti and wine) or a romantic boat ride for two. If you’re an art fan, finish your afternoon in the Galleria Borghese and explore the stunning selection of sculptures, paintings and antiquities from the 1st-3rd centuries AD.


Tip: Segways, bikes and pedal karts are available to hire if you want to explore the park during the summer months. You can also rent roller blades if you’re feeling really flash.

Dining and Nightlife
For a truly magical dining experience with one of the best views in Rome, the rooftop restaurant of Aroma is located directly opposite the Colosseum and boasts a gorgeous vista of the historic monument at night. The restaurant serves a delicious (if slightly pricey) menu of classic Italian dishes with a gourmet twist. If you fancy something a bit more down to earth (literally), there are hundreds of options elsewhere in the city – cross the Tiber to get lost in the maze of cobbled streets and charming piazzas in Trastevere, renowned for its vibrant array of bars, cafés and boutique shops, or wander the backstreets around the Pantheon to find a tucked away trattoria. If you’re hoping to fulfil your lifelong quest for the perfect pizza, you can have a good go at Li Rioni, a classic pizzeria that serves up its dough the traditional way – thin, crispy and topped with plenty of fresh tomato and mozzarella. Delizioso!

Tip: You can’t leave Rome without gobbling down at least one gelato (yes, they will probably stop you at the airport if you don’t). We recommend the creamy treats from Il Gelato Di San Crispino, a local legend that you can find just behind the Trevi Fountain.

Outside Rome
If you’re planning an extended holiday, hop on a train from the central Termini Station in Rome to any number of hidden destinations on the Amalfi Coast. A 2-hour trip will get you as far as Naples, where you can take a scenic boat ride to the beautiful island of Capri. Sip on a glass of wine in La Piazzetta, the bustling square at the heart of island, or ascend the Belvedere Cannone for breath-taking views of the famous faraglioni rock formation. Naples is also an ideal gateway for trips to Sorrento, Positano or Pompeii, the ancient Roman town near the base of Mount Vesuvius. The possibilities are endless!


Tip: Termini Station also runs international train services to destinations such as Paris, Munich, Geneva, Basel and Vienna if you fancy going even further afield!

However you choose to spend your time in Rome, make sure you take some time to wander the old streets, soak up the relaxed atmosphere and experience the unique character that makes the city so special. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do…

Fancy making your way to Rome for a magical escape? Click here to check out the perfect deal for you!

Remember, when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, keep it trained on for more great deals to Rome and beyond! Please note – all deals featured may not be live! 

The Wowcher Guide to Britain’s Romantic Hotspots


“Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels”
– T.S. Eliot (from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Even the poet T.S. Eliot saw the romantic possibilities in an inexpensive couple’s getaway and that chap knew a thing or two about romance. He understood that passion can blossom in the cheap hotels, the muttering retreats and the half-deserted streets. The thing is, where can you find a brilliant lovers’ haven that is both passionate and affordable? Well, Wowcher is here to guide you through the sensual and passionate landscape of some of Britain’s best romantic break destinations…

The rugged coastlines, picturesque seaside villages and the vast array of golden sandy beaches make Cornwall a popular destination in the UK all year round. If romantic poignancy is your thing, then why not head to Lizard Point, the most southerly place in the UK. Here you can gaze wistfully together out over the ocean, to where the English Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean. Also, for the wilder at heart, Cornwall is home to Penwith Heritage Coast, with plenty of walks, hikes and climbs on offer to suit any level of wanderer. The mild climate of Cornwall also lends the county a Mediterranean air and if you fancy yourself as a champion surfer, head to the warm waters and golden beaches of Porthleven or Constantine.


The rugged coastlines, picturesque seaside villages and the vast array of golden sandy beaches make Cornwall a must for a romantic break

If you can’t make it to Cornwall, then the coast of Pembrokeshire in South Wales offers equally splendid romantic break potential, with Broad Haven and West Dale amongst the best golden sand beaches in the UK.

The Lake District
Stunningly beautiful views? Check. Rugged landscape and fresh air? Check. Friendly local residents and a quiet, relaxed way of life? Check. The Lake District is one of Britain’s most popular rural tourist destinations for good reason. From Kirkby Lonsdale in the south to Carlisle in the north, by way of Lake Windermere, Penrith and Keswick, the Lake District offers adventurous couples a romantic escape from the pressure cooker of urban life and a chance to spend time together alone in the great outdoors. For those who prefer modern comforts above the adventurous thrill of camping, there are an abundance of friendly family-run B&Bs throughout the Lake District where couples can relax and enjoy the famous warm hospitality of rural North West England.


Stunningly beautiful views? Check. Rugged landscape and fresh air? Check…

Brighton’s own tourist board proudly boasts that it is the UK’s flirtiest city and, whether you are in a relationship or looking for love, there can be no doubt that Brighton is one the UK’s most romantic destinations. Known as the location of many a summer romance and also as one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly places, Brighton offers the chance for a sensual weekend away where loved up couples can go for a romantic stroll along the sea-front or love-seeking singles can enjoy the pulsating experience of one of the City’s many renowned nightclubs.

On the romance front, the beautiful town of Stratford upon Avon has a lot going for it. Not only is it stunningly picturesque and a charming example of provincial English life, it is also the home town of the man from whose imagination the greatest love story in history sprang. William Shakespeare is of course Stratford’s most famous son and so beautiful and romantic is the town that it’s unsurprising it inspired him to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. What’s more, in honour of the great Bard himself, the town is now home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, who run a year-round programme of plays in their recently refurbished theatre, which makes a great venue for a special romantic date. Combine this with a stay in a cosy cottage and indulge in the rustic lifestyle Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer.


And finally…
If you’re looking for something seriously different for a romantic getaway, beyond the usual couple’s retreat-style weekend, then you can always find somewhere to satisfy your deepest curiosities and urges in the form of a swingers’ hotel break. Back in 2013, we ran a special deal for a break at a swingers’ hotel called The Vanilla Alternative and the ensuing interest almost crashed the site with half a million people logging on to view the unusual and…erm…’adventurous’ offer. It just goes to show that the demand is there!

So if you’re looking for a memorable couple’s retreat, or perhaps even something a little different to your traditional countryside break for 2, then keep on opening those emails from…

Wowcher Discovers the Best of Buda and Pest…

Set astride the Danube River, the city of Budapest is home to history, culture and an abundance of Camembert. Rich with opportunity, the city (and the Camembert!) ooze potential for new experience. From the stunning panoramic views visible from Buda Castle hill to the colourful bars and natural hot spas that bubble down below, visitors from all walks of life will find something to tickle their fancy in the Hungarian capital. Wowcher never settles for anything less than the best, which is why we’re bringing you the top spots of brilliant Budapest…

A little history…
Relatively short-lived as the city we now know, Budapest was born in 1873 from the unification of its older and wiser parents, Buda and Pest. Both dating back over 2000 years and host to battle, siege and recovery, the districts are separated by the Danube and each celebrate their own customs and history. Nowadays, travelling across the river by tram, metro or bus couldn’t be easier for tourists looking to take in attractions from all areas of the city. Whether it’s the lively bars and restaurants of Southern Pest or the grand Parliament buildings and rolling hills of Buda that competes for your attention, we reckon the only real winner is the lucky visitor to fascinating Budapest…


Offering the best views in the Budapest, the grand castle makes for a must-visit

Top spots…
For a view to rival all others, it’s all about the Buda Castle. Set atop the hillside and easily accessible by cable car or foot (we chose the first option), the historic Palace looks out over the city, river and bridges. Offering a panoramic view that certainly paints a pretty picture, you’ll need no filters to capture the sprawling cityscape and impress any number of Instagram followers. Whilst onsite, don’t pass up the chance to embrace Budapest’s rich history at the National Hungarian Museum, based within Buda Castle. Other notable city attractions include the triumphant Heroes’ Square, the Jewish Quarter and Dohany Street Synagogue, not to mention St Stephen’s Basilica where the breath-taking interior is only rivalled by the views from the top tower…

Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind.

Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind

Something different…
Thanks to the natural hot springs which bubble under Budapest, the city is the proud owner of more medicinal and thermal spas than any other city in the world. How’s that for a fun fact? Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind. We took a trip to the famous Szechenyi Baths where we braved the 3 degree temperatures and hurried to the delightful waters of the huge 38 degree outdoor pool. Including both a whirlpool and natural Jacuzzi function, the sensation of sitting back and admiring the unique ‘wedding-cake’ structure of the spa building through the rising steam was one that was truly unlike any other. Our tub at home certainly can’t top that!

Budapest offers a plethora of dining experiences to suit every palette

Filling the void…
A long day exploring the city will certainly work up your appetite – which isn’t a problem as Budapest offers a plethora of dining experiences to suit every palette. Whether it’s traditional Hungarian cuisine (think hearty meats and stews) served in authentic eateries, or the world cuisine now readily available in cafes and restaurants throughout the city, there’s plenty to fill you up. After enjoying savoury pancakes and traditionally prepared meat on the first night of our stay, we became distracted by the tasty Turkish and Thai restaurants near our apartment for the remainder of the trip – not to mention the tasty breaded camembert served with blackcurrant dip served in all Hungarian McDonalds. With a glass of wine and pint of beer totalling the equivalent of £1 in many local bars, the merriment in Budapest is second-to-none. Want to feel it for yourself? Click here to get booking your trip…

Wowcher Does Krakow

Evelyn spent a weekend in Krakow to offer us culture buffs some of the city’s quirkiest hotspots. Spoiler alert, these include scaling 1000ft underground to meet dwarves, as well as tales of a rather brutish dragon…

Krakow, admittedly, is somewhat overshadowed as a first choice mini-break destination by its neighbouring European cities, and is perhaps more famous for its close proximity to Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau than its seductive nightlife and culture. Winner of European Capital of Culture in 2000 and host of World Youth Day in 2016, however, make Krakow much more than a memorial site, as I discovered last month.

An intoxicating mix of traditional heritage sites and contemporary coffee-houses come edgy wine bars turn nightfall make it a hit with modern flaneurs; and everywhere from the cobbled streets extending towards enchanting Wawel Castle, overlooking Old Town and beyond, is worth exploring. Capital of Lesser Poland, home to Europe’s second oldest university, keeper of Wawel Dragon and built on aristocratic soil: Krakow glitters on any traveller’s bucket list.

Christmas Markets on the main square dazzle visitors with hearty dishes during winter months

Traditional Polish grub abounds in Krakow, but you’ll need to look further afield to strike gold. Tourist-driven food stalls on Market Square fail to deliver on taste compared with the city’s ex-Socialist milk bars serving home-cooked stews for less than £3 a dish, but don’t hold it against them. During November through January the square turns into a Christmas Market, offering a fantastic backdrop for scarf and hat-clad romantic evenings – and mulled wine is a bargain at £1.20. Take touristy snaps amongst sellers in Polish dress, admire the arts and crafts or simply soak up the festivities before sampling homemade Pierogi (a type of savoury dumpling) at Bar Gornik. For world cuisine, you’ll spot Italian-Polish, Indian to American-style restaurants off the main square, but for something extra special head to Manzana. If you enjoy freshly made nachos followed by sizzling chicken fajitas, this place offers the best Mexican dishes you’ll find outside the Americas, promise.

Bed Rest
Whether you feel comfortable in five, four or three star hotels, Krakow has it covered. I stayed at Hotel Petrus on the outskirts of Krakow in a package including breakfast, which didn’t disappoint – thanks again to the waitress for her recommendation of Weitliczka salt mine, but more on that later. Elsewhere, hostels can be found smack bang in the city centre, Flamingo Hostel being one which cropped up in conversation with fellow travellers for its cheery service and cheap prices for gap year folk.

Massolit Books houses some of Poland’s best works of Jewish studies and canonised works

Massolit Books houses some of Poland’s best works of Jewish studies and canonised works

Temperatures drop below zero come winter so finding a place to chill, or rather, warm up, is seriously important. I recommend getting acquainted with Charlotte, a French-inspired eatery decked out in Scandinavian design (think low hanging industrial lights, open pipe work, walnut benches), as well as Krakow’s best-loved secret, Massolit Books. The latter, a maze of English-language bookshelves specialising in Polish literature, Jewish studies and Humanities is a favourite bibliophile hideaway: alcoves are covered with paperbacks, antique chandeliers give off an atmospheric hue and the sweet aroma of baked goods from the adjacent café can’t help but seduce. Fancy something a bit more upbeat? Swap coffee for cocktails at U Muniaka, a legendary jazz den hidden inside a 14th century cellar, a stone’s throw from St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s first universities, is on the map for any culture loving travel buff

Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s first universities, is on the map for any culture loving travel buff

Wieliczka salt mine is hands-down Krakow’s quirkiest attraction: an underground metropolis of spiralling tunnels, salt lakes and chapels that attract over one million visitors each year – and it’s even listed on UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. During my trip, I snapped up a two-hour English-speaking tour in a group of around twenty, journeying over one thousand feet below ground. You visit three levels, crossing passageways deep-set with statues before arriving at Chapel of St Kinga, a grandiose-style church ornamented with hanging chandeliers and walls displaying various religious scenes, which are, of course, made from hand-carved transparent salt crystals. And the best bit? It’s got to be speeding up a miner’s lift at one-metre per second to the reach the surface!

Elsewhere, you can visit the Collegium Maius, commonly known as Jagiellonian University, one of the world’s earliest universities and a testament to both European architecture and Polish intelligentsia. Home to mathematician and astrologer Copernicus, it holds many priceless artefacts including an original 15th century globe and various astronomic equipment, as well as the famous Gothic courtyard (worthy of an Instagram shot, I can assure you) when you need time to relax.

So there you have it! Isn’t it time you explored the beautiful city yourself? Simply check our great travel deals here.

Please note – deals featured may not be live. 

Wowcher’s Ways to Win Hearts in Paris

Some sceptics have questioned whether Paris is the City of Love, but when in 2014 part of the Pont des Arts bridge collapsed under the weight of thousands of ‘love-locks’ left by smitten sightseers, the city’s reputation as a love nest was only cemented. From hand-in-hand strolls along the Seine to admiring the city skyline from Sacré-Cœur, Paris exudes amour – and who are we to deny its romance? To ensure your trip isn’t ruined by a fatal bridge flop, we suggest you twitterpated tourists steer clear of weighing down the Pont des Arts any further with your tokens of everlasting affection. Instead, follow our step-by-step guide to charming your chéri or chérie.

(The) LO(u)V(r)E
Take away the U and the R and Louvre spells love – coincidence? We think not. Since the château opened its doors as a museum in 1793, it’s been full of loved-up couples fighting to impress each other with their grasp of the art within. From Greek sculptures to Egyptian antiquities, the Louvre’s collection spans from about 7000 BC until 1848. No trip to the Louvre would be complete without laying eyes on the enigmatic Mona Lisa, so usher your lover to the museum’s most visited masterpiece and astonish them with a few facts you’ve practised in advance (for example, the Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 by an Italian criminal, returned only in 1913. FACT). Our top tip of all? Regardless of their gender, tell your treasure their smile is more mysterious than lady Lisa’s could ever be, while you peruse the painting.

Smothering Heights
Paris is teeming with sweeping ooh la la-worthy views, and there’s no better way to smother your sweetheart than to tell them they’re The One atop one of the city’s many viewpoints. Why not express your torrent of affection over a ride in the Funiculaire du Montmartre, or if you prefer the panting, sporadic approach, as you ascend the 1665 steps of the Eiffel Tower? Our favourite spot from which to contemplate the city with a loved one is alongside the grotesque gargoyles of Notre-Dame Cathedral. You’ll look utterly ravishing stood next to the surly sculptures as you gaze 115 feet down at Jean-Paul-II square, with beautiful views of the rippling River Seine.

Satisfying l’estomac
For a city frequented by canoodling, kissing couples, a fair amount of onion goes into the haute cuisine for which Paris is celebrated. Could this sweet pungency be traced to that certain je ne sais quoi that makes the French so irresistible? We’re not entirely convinced, but you mustn’t leave without trying classic French starter soupe à l’oignon, a buttery broth of silky onions topped with bubbling cheese. If that doesn’t get your senses stirred, slurp up another French favourite instead: oysters. The delicious aphrodisiacal dish is rich in zinc, thought to trigger sexual potency. Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters a day to fuel his seduction of a trail of virgin nuns. Need we say more?

Literary Love
If the real love of your life is literature, then grab your unsuspecting sweetie and follow in the wining and dining footsteps of writers that once graced the streets of Paris. Head to the Left Bank (southern bank of the Seine) to see the literary haunts of expat writers Hemmingway and Fitzgerald, along with remnants of the explosive jazz age. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood lines the Left Bank and was the core of the existentialist movement during the 1940s and 1950s, ruled by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Seated in the legendary Le Café de Flore from breakfast until dinner, the philosophers would draw crowds of intellectuals. Today the café is a tourist trap, where a croissant will cost you nearly the price of a checked-in bag on a Ryanair flight. But if your literary love is strong enough, you’ll shell out to soak up the artistic atmosphere of Le Café de Flore, leaving your luggage’s fate to the lobby boy you’ve affectionately named Pierre.

However you spend your stay in the City of Love, the most romantic gesture of all is to book a surprise trip to Paris for your lucky beloved. Make sure you look out for deals on Wow Go!

Fancy heading there yourself? You could win a 4* Valentine’s weekend in Paris for two including return flights by just clicking here!

Wowcherching’s Guide to the January Travel Rush!

The early bird catches the warm for a snip of the price! We like to call this one ‘Smug Seagull’

The early bird catches the warm for a snip of the price! We like to call this one ‘Smug Seagull’

The Ghost of Christmas Just-Passed has been haunting us for a few weeks now, and it’s high time we exchanged it for a dreamy, future Out of Office! Spirits aside, booking a holiday in January is a very practical move. It’s the perfect time to snap up a travel deal in the sale and secure your ideal ticket outta here, especially if you want to travel in peak seasons. Plus, imagine the success of your New Year’s health kick with the foresight of a bikini-clad you…

To help you go further with your budget, we’ve searched far and world-wide for the hottest offers about – and, in true Wowcherching style, you can earn cashback on every one! Plus, for every travel booking you make in January we’ll give you an extra 25% cashback bonus! See all our travel deals here.

Find you paradise in 2015.

If you’re not sure how Wowcherching cashback works, it’s really simple – just click through to a merchant via our website, e.g., then shop as normal; any transactions you then make at will be tracked and before you know it, you’ll receive cashback in your Wowcher Wallet plus 25% bonus, all of which can be spent on Wowcher Daily Deals! 

Anything-anywhere discounts
Perhaps the most obvious kind of January offer is the good old fashioned discount; and, believe it or not, it’s perfectly plausible to book every aspect of your travel with a hefty chunk knocked off. For example, you could pick up flights in the British Airways sale via, stay in a hotel with up to 50% off courtesy of, and rent a car from Avis with up to 20% off. Or perhaps you’d prefer up to 50% off a sunny beach holiday, packaged to perfection, from; complete with a coach ride to the airport for a fiver thanks to National Express, or a train journey with 43% off from You get the idea…

Free days, nights and flights
Some might say the best things in life are free, and in the following instances, said people would be entirely correct. Disneyland Paris has taken its priceless experience to the next level, currently offering up to 2 nights and days free, plus free hotel and park tickets for the under 7s; and, for a limited time, Sovereign’s luxury holidays in paradise are even more irresistible, with up to 40% savings, free dining and room upgrades, and free child places.

When your time off has been approved, you’ve saved plenty of dollar, and your holiday is so booked right now. Pure happiness!

When your time off has been approved, you’ve saved plenty of dollar, and your holiday is so booked right now. Pure happiness!

Low deposits
Can’t fork out for a holiday following excessive (and justly so) Christmas consumption? Don’t worry, that’s exactly what low deposits are for! Pontins has a super low deposit of just £10 – perfect if you want to catch one of the £59 apartments before they’re snapped up! To help those of you feeling tent-ative, Eurocamp has a low deposit of £99, and the rest can be paid in instalments up to 12 weeks before you go. And the lowest deposit award goes to the awesome tour operator, Intrepid, at just £1! A single spare quid later, and you’ve secured your 2015’s most unforgettable experience.

Parting tip: don’t forget travel insurance – take cover from the moment you book!

Bon voyage!

Wowcherching x

P.S. Please note that all the deals featured may not be live. Head to the Wowcherching site to view all our current deals rates and discount codes.