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Image of Florence city skyline
5 Dec

Some Twixmas Treats I have Enjoyed

Image of Valery on the ponte vecchio in florence italy

Travelling all year-round, as I do, is a great opportunity to visit some destinations at different times of the year. I have discovered that Twixmas, the period between Christmas and New Year is a good time to get away and avoid the summer heat and crowds in popular cities such as Florence, Tallinn and Budapest.

Florence, in Italy, is one of my favourite places and packed with things to do and see. It is a lovely city to walk around on New Year’s Day. The museums may all be closed but there are plenty of other things to do. Wandering through its streets admiring the magnificent architecture and strolling across the famous Ponte Vecchio are just two of them. Visit the courtyard of the Art Gallery Hotel, close to the bridge, to see what bizarre works of art are currently on display. This theme is often repeated in the famous Piazza della Signora in the centre of Florence where the classic statuary includes a copy of Michelangelo’s David. A brisk walk up several flights of steps takes you up to Piazzale Michelangelo. From its large viewing terrace visitors can admire the splendid panorama of the city below. A sight that is particularly beautiful at dusk as the city lights up. Or spend a day exploring the fabulous Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens – a snapshot of Florence in its heyday.

image of statue in piazza della signora in florence in tuscany Italy

Tallinn, capital of Estonia, could be the backdrop for a fairy tale. Encircled by grey turreted walls the compact medieval Old Town of Hanseatic origin is easy to explore. Pause for a coffee in the atmospheric Old Town Square. Visit the marzipan shop and admire the amazing creations on stock up on their delicious marzipan – a highlight for me! On the outskirts of the town is the Hotel Viru whose top floor was used by the KGB during the Russian occupation of the town. This floor is now occupied by the KGB museum. Book a tour and discover its secrets from a chambermaid who worked there during the occupation. Or did she? That’s up to you to decide.

Image of city walls of tallinn in estonia

Budapest is an extra-ordinary place and an exciting destination. This capital city is divided by the River Danube with Buda on one bank and Pest on the opposite bank linked by the Chain Bridge.  Both have their attractions, Fisherman’s Bastion in Pest the magnificent Parliament Building in Pest. Activities available include ice skating on the huge open air ice rink in City Park (Varosligeti Mujegpalya) with its romantic backcloth of the Vajdahunyad Castle. Warm up in the thermal waters of the city’s famous Széchenyi Baths. Some people decided not to swim and went off to do their own thing. The baths are amazing, 3 outdoor pools and numerous indoor pools with mud baths as well.  Then celebrate the city’s café culture with coffee and cakes in Café Gerbeaud one of the oldest and most famous cafes in Europe.

image of spa in budapest

If you decided to travel this Twixmas don’t forget your travel insurance! Our QuickCover insurance is the perfect option for those taking a short break in Europe for up to 5 days.

Have a lovely Christmas and all the best for the New Year – wherever you are.

By Valery Collins