It's the start of 2014 and what better time to begin planning your travel adventures for the year? Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so you might be considering a weekend away with the one you love, or perhaps you've got a stag or hen do which needs organising. Whatever your reasons for booking a mini-break, we've got the top destinations for a long weekend abroad in 2014 – prepare to be inspired!
Yes, it's a complete romantic cliché, but there's something about Paris that ensures it's near the top of any list for a weekend away, particularly as February 14th approaches. Why not get off the beaten track and rent an apartment through a website such as Airbnb? You'll feel like true Parisians as you shop for breakfast at your local boulangerie and look out over the rooftops of Paris. Stay away from the tourist trap of the Eiffel Tower and instead take the one you love to wander around the Rodin Museum and Gardens for a perfectly romantic afternoon, followed by a stroll along the Seine or a movie at La Pagode, a Japanese pagoda which Francois-Emile Morin built as a gift to his wife in 1896; today it's an arthouse cinema.
If you've seen 'In Bruges' you'll probably already be in love with this fairytale inspired city in Belgium. There are plenty of cosy cafes to enjoy a drink in, or walk along the river with a cone of authentic Belgian frites (chips, to you and me). Bruges has a romantic ambience that's really something special, but it's also a great place to visit for the day if you're travelling with friends to Brussels. Did we mention it's also incredibly easy to reach – you can book an onward ticket if you're travelling to Brussels on Eurostar.
City breaks seem to be the ideal choice for a weekend abroad, but why not try life at a slower pace? The southern Italian town of Sorrento is just a stone's throw from Naples, and is the ideal place to spend a long weekend this spring. Off-season, hotels are affordable, and it's usually possible to pick up a great deal. Wander through the quaint, cobbled streets and enjoy shopping at the local markets, or head for one of the many amazing restaurants in town for a taste of authentic Italian food. Naples, Rome and Pompeii are all within easy travelling distance if you wish to see the sights, but sometimes the view from the bay is all you need for a great weekend abroad!
Hopefully these ideas have inspired you, whether you're jetting off with friends or taking a loved one on a weekend away. Don't forget to organise your travel insurance before you go – who knows what could happen!