Take A City Break With A Twist - Part 3 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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7. Coimbra : Pay a visit Portugal’s oldest university town
With its cobbled streets, superb coffee, pastries and low numbers of tourists, Coimbra is a great alternative for a Portuguese city break instead of Lisbon or Oporto. It is a riverfront city in central Portugal and the country’s former capital. It is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra.
City break tours here normally arrange for you to stay at one of the many palatial quintas, which are inns, in this historic hub. You can then wander about the graceful Old Town, visit Santa Cruz Monastery, where Portugal’s first two kings are buried. Also, be sure you don’t miss the UNESCO listed University which is Portugal’s oldest. Especially make sure you see the baroque style library, founded in 1290 and home to a colony of bats that protects the books from bugs. Tours are run here year-round and are typically for 7 nights. As long as you travel out of the peak holiday season then this type of break will be around £700 which includes the flights.
8. Bologna : A break to snack on gourmet Italian food
Bologna boasts medieval architecture, stylish boutiques and, more importantly, some of Italy’s very best food. It is, of course, the birthplace of Bolognese though here they call it ragu. Its Piazza Maggiore is a rambling plaza lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio.
A short three-night Bologna trip, staying at somewhere like the Grand Hotel Majestic, wil give you time to discover what this Italian dish should really taste like, and prepare your palette for specialities such as mortadella sausage and Parma ham too.
These short 3 night breaks run year-round and staying in a better hotel will cost around £650 which includes the flights.
9. Istanbul : Sample traditional Turkish treats
A foodie short break to Istanbul will let you explore spice stalls and fish markets, sip rich coffee and taste local pastries in the company of experts. A couple of companies have now started this type of tour where your trip includes a foodie walking tour of Istanbul in the company of a Chef. They also normally offer cooking demonstrations as well, plus visits to the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. Another thing worth doing is continent-hopping by getting the ferry across the Bosphorus. A typical 5-day visit in Sept will start from £1, 200 including flights.
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