Bank holidays may seem lackluster when compared to the great headliners like Christmas and Independence Day, but they are a boon to working professionals and busy students. There’s nothing better than an extra day off without time-consuming holiday obligations attached to it. With that extra 24 hours of leisure, you are free to consider a myriad of options, ranging from road races to retail. Among the many possibilities, I would like to suggest a weekend getaway this Presidents Day. There are many accessible cities that are ripe for mini-vacations. After even a quick vacation, you can return to work, school and life with great stories, revived enthusiasm and unique perspectives. By using your long weekends for short trips, you can infuse your whole year with accomplishments and satisfaction.
Ready, set… travel! Three days of paradise is better than no paradise, at all!
There are a few simple guidelines for choosing a perfect long-weekend destination. The idea is to hop off a plane after a relatively quick flight, and land in a whole new world of unique scenery, tempting cuisine and fun activities. It can be a delicate balance, but what you want is a place completely unlike where you are right now, and you want to get there without losing an excessive amount of time to air travel. It’s important to keep your expectations realistic: in a short stay, you won’t be able to do every possible activity, but you can do a lot. If you are looking for a good starting point, here are a few great places to spend a long weekend, or longer!
Icelandic ponies are perfectly suited for the rugged terrain.
As far as exotic destinations go, it doesn’t get much more otherworldly than Iceland. Reykjavik is a small, hip city with a robust nightlife, geothermal hot springs and unparalleled scenery. This arctic capital is set among a breathtaking island landscape shaped by both volcanic and glacial activity. Given just a couple of days in Reykjavik, I would want to soak in the mineral-rich waters of the natural spas, gaze into the enigmatic northern sky, and take a nod to the maritime traditions and incredible wildlife of this proud seafaring nation with a whale watching tour. It’s also possible to rent some famed Icelandic ponies and ride into the jagged mountains at the outskirts of Reykjavik, or dance until well into the winter’s night at the plentiful bars and dance clubs in the downtown area. Kemwel provides convenient car rentals right in the Keflavik Airport, so you can get right on the Iceland roads. Both hot and cool, Iceland truly is the land of fire and ice.
Flight Time: Approximately six hours from New York*
Adventure awaits in the historic canals of Amsterdam!
Fun-loving Amsterdam has long been known as an intense city for revelry; however, it is more than merely a decadent playground. Among the rivers edge and fresh sea air, there is a wealth of history and beauty to experience in the lovely capital of the Netherlands. Hire a small boat and discover why they call this historic city the ‘Venice of the North’. Amsterdam hosts dozens of world-class museums, performance spaces and parks, so choosing the ones you hope to visit can be quite a task. In town, some of the must-see’s for beginners include the fantastic collection at the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. Those who are curious may want to take a stroll through the red light district, though keep in mind that doing so is much safer by day. With a rental car, you can take a quick journey to the historic De Gooyer windmills, which thirsty travelers will be delighted to learn is also a brewery.
Flight Time: Approximately eight hours from New York*
Hit the ancient cobblestone streets of Dublin’s bar district
Get an early start on the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day festivities with a long-weekend trip to Dublin. Start with an informative and tasty tour of the Old Jameson Distillery, and then make a nod to the deep literary tradition of this proud city which birthed such celebrated writers as Bram Stoker and James Joyce with a literary tour or pub crawl. To get a real sense of the Irish way of life, you can explore the outlying areas with a rental car. Walk the jagged cliffs of Howth and then continue just a little further north to see the roots of Celtic culture at the megalithic tombs of Meath, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For a quintessential Emerald Isle experience, be sure to catch the traditional Irish music and enjoy a fresh Guinness in a Dublin pub. Look to our helpful Ireland driving guide for tips on cruising the roads around Dublin!
Flight Time: Approximately seven hours from New York or Boston*
Soak up sun and sailing on the Barbados beaches!
As a relatively small island with only one city, Barbados is perfect for a weekend getaway. You can relax and warm yourself in the sun, ride some of the most powerful Atlantic waves, snorkel with sea turtles, or take on a round of golf in the island’s internationally renowned courses. Whether you prefer the nightlife of Bridgetown or the wildlife of the tropical coral reefs, Barbados is a gorgeous and welcoming island, perfect for either a long or short stay. Keep in mind, however, that once you sink your toes into the white sand beaches and sample the famed island rum, you might start having second thoughts about ever leaving this lush locale.
Flight Time: Approximately five hours from New York or four hours from Miami*
The hot city of Miami is known for it’s sizzling nightlife!
With only one word to describe Miami, I would choose “caliente.” From the sun-drenched beaches to the thumping club scene, this city is hot! Take in the pulse of Cuban drums in little Havana, explore the gorgeous greenery of lush Floridian parks and zoos, and catch an eyeful of the gorgeous and fashionable locals. If you’re able to tear yourself away from the surf and sand, check out the 10th century Ancient Spanish Monastery in its tropical new home, or catch a glimpse of the sweet life with a visit to the luxurious Star Island. Never leave Miami without dining heartily on the flavorful local fare, and keep in mind that you can always return to this city of sun.
Flight Time: Approximately three hours from Chicago or New York, six hours from Seattle*
Lover’s Beach at the gorgeous Land’s End of Cabo San Lucas!
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is the place to go for miles of luxurious beachside resorts beset by authentic Mexican culture and gorgeous natural scenery. Located at the southernmost point of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, this city is blessed by some of the best sport fishing, surfing and sailing in the world. You can explore vibrant reefs with snorkel gear or from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat or hit mountainous trails in a well-equipped dune-buggy. Cabo is a great city for young adventurers looking to swim in a sea of margaritas, but with a historic old town and the striking beachside rock formations, it’s also a worthwhile family destination.
Flight Time: Less than three hours from Los Angeles, less than five hours from Chicago*
When you only have a couple of short days to enjoy your chosen vacation spot, you don’t want to spend it waiting for busses or trains. Renting a car for your long weekend is a great way to save time when you travel. Kemwel provides a large selection of convenient rental car pick-up offices, a lot of which are right inside the airport. Book your rental car right on the Kemwel website, or call our reservation specialists at 1-877-820-0668.
*listed flight times are approximated for direct flights.
A visit to Italy demands a visit to Florence. The city is recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance and opera, the epicenter of the Tuscany Wine Region, and is a mecca of music, art and culture. Each of these factors contributes to its significant stature in the hierarchy of must-see Italian cities.. Get ready for an adventure of discovery that will satisfy and stimulate your senses as you tour Florence in your Kemwel car rental.
Though many holidays and events , in name at least, are celebrated internationally, each hamlet, town and city finds unique twists to incorporate into these events to make it uniquely their own.
Scoppio del Carro, the Explosion of the Cart, is a Florentine tradition that harkens from the days of the First Crusade and has taken place each Easter since. All the pageantry of the 15th century is brought to life in the affiliated festivities with the main event being the procession of costumed participants who wend their way from the Porta al Prato to the Cathedral Square, the Piazza del Duomo. For five centuries, the same antique cart has been wheeled along this path, laden with pyrotechnics and set off in the shadow of the cathedral as the culminating event of the parade. Learn more about the symbolism, ceremony and superstition associated with this dynamic event on your visit to the beautiful city of Firenze.
Scoppio del Carro, the Explosion of the Cart, an Easter Tradition.Sound
Live performances offer an entirely different listening experience to prerecorded music. I’ve heard artists over the years on the airwaves, LP’s, 8-tracks, cassette tapes and cd’s, who have not interested me in the least, then attended a live performance which blew me away.
Opera isn’t for everyone, but considering the small fraction of people “comparative to the population” who have never actually attended a live opera, I would propose that even if you never go again, while in Florence, the mother-city of Opera, make time in your schedule to attend just once, and you may surprise even yourself.
While I have no illusions that any great number of people will be converted to opera junkies from attending a performance, the raw vocal power and storytelling dramatization are moving to hear and see.
Touring the Tuscany wine region is a must!
We have somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 taste buds that register each burst of sweet, sour, salty and bitter we consume. Tease your palate with the delicious flavors from some of Italy’s best wines produced in the Tuscany region, of which Florence is the heart.
Wine tastings are a daily opportunity within the city of Florence, but why stop there? A rental car in Florence allows you to take a break from the city and visit the vineyards and wineries where they’re produced as opposed to a storefront. There are families that have been in the business of grape transformation for generations, and others with burgeoning careers and expectations in the wine business, all whose passion for the fruit of the vine are waiting to be shared. Being able to speak to the winemakers and farmers who work hand-in-hand to produce these noble beverages has the potential to be an interesting and informative activity, while also offering the benefit of a picturesque drive through the stunning Tuscan countryside.
Don’t rely on only photos, keepsakes and knick-knacks to remind you of your time in Florence, consider getting your hands dirty in one of the many activities available that will add a new skillset to your repertoire.
Culinary classes can teach you how to make a traditional Italian dish from scratch in a single day, or how to create an entire meal in more intensive courses. Options for beginners and advanced cooking students are typically available. You can elevate the education by choosing a school that offers immersion courses, which means a crash course, or a refresher in the Italian language, as you’re mixing and measuring. Pasta is an integral part of Tuscan cuisine, and just one of the delicious foods file away in your recipe book.
While walking the halls of the plethora of galleries and museums, taking in the works of artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello, you may be moved to try your hand at painting, drawing or one of the other mediums of the fine arts. The streets of Florence are your classroom as instructors gather their pupils to draw inspiration from their surroundings to create a personal work of art, offering assistance along the way.
Italian wines are a coveted commodity across the globe. Whether you’re a connoisseur of the intricate nuances of wine and its terminology, or have a more basic appreciation for sampling new vintages without the highfalutin lingo, it’s not only a journey of taste, but of culture, tradition and beauty.
Wherever you go, you’re absorbing information from that environment through your five senses without conscious effort. Our senses work in harmony together, feeding us details that influence our impressions as we associate them with familiar and new, good and bad, from our collected experiences in the past.
Your sense of smell is the last of these tools by which you make your way through the world. The bouquet of the wine in your glass, the savory smell of basil and acidity of tomatoes, the scent of acrylic paint and dusty plaster, they’ll all be reminders of your time in Florence.
Kemwel is here to offer hints and tricks, insight and advice, into the realm of international travel to pave your way. Helping you create memories that will last a lifetime is part of what we do. Renting a car in Florence with Kemwel ensures you’re working with a company whose proven record in the highest quality customer service is not sacrificed by providing you the cheapest car rental rates . Do it yourself, using our secure online booking engine, or confirm your rental car with a Kemwel reservation specialist at 1-877-820-0668 today!
Spain’s Best Beaches
Spain, one of the oldest and most beautiful countries in Europe, has a rich and diverse history. The heritage, stunning scenery and vibrant culture are three of the driving forces behind thousands of people who visit Spain every year. With the ease of travel between European countries since the formation of the European Union, it has become even easier and more convenient for travelers to make their way to Spain after visiting other countries in the area. With that in mind, what better way to escape winter’s icy grip than by planning a tropical getaway to one of Spain’s best beaches?
In addition to unrivaled access to some of Europe’s most breathtaking beaches, traveling to Spain will introduce you to one of the most unique and awe-inspiring countries in the world. Continue reading for more advice on finding Spain’s best beaches.
Finding the Perfect Stretch of Sand in Spain
Even though Spain does reside between Portugal and France, the majority of the country borders water. This means that Spain has expanses of coastline and a myriad of beaches to choose from. In fact, Spain has some of the most beautiful beaches and coasts in the entire world! So how do you go about determining which of Spain’s beaches are the very best?
Kemwel has put together a brief list of Spain’s best beaches:
- Las Canteras – A beach located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the ninth largest city in Spain. This is a beautiful 2.8 kilometer long stretch of beach which features surfing and fun right next to a major urban center.
- La Playa de la Arena – A system of dunes running between Zierbana and Miskiz, this is a beautiful and environmentally friendly beach. This beach is best saved for people who love out of the way attractions or who are looking for a bit of privacy in the comfort of Mother Nature. It is definitely not one of the most well-known destinations.
- La Concha – A beach located in San Sebastian, this is easily one of the best looking beaches in the country. The beach has a natural curve to it which takes in and reflects sunlight and, in certain weather conditions, presents onlookers with a beautiful mist. The city located beside the beach, San Sebastian, is a cultural and culinary hotspot as well.
- Illas Cies – Located in Galicia, this trio of islands is located in the northwestern region of Spain. On the inland side of the island are beautiful beaches with white sands, pristine water, and a number of attractions for visitors. Illas Cies has a little bit of something for everyone!
- Playa de Bolonia – This area of Tarifa is home to some of the most popular beaches in the country. It is nearly impossible to find a spot that has not been used heavily by tourists in this area. With that being said, if you are willing to go as far as Bolonia, a small fishing village in Tarifa, then you will find one of the most secluded beaches in the country. A bonus for anyone interested in history is the fact that the ancient ruins of Baelo Claudio are right beside the beach
Beach-Hop Through Spain in Style
With all of the wonderful coastal destinations to visit in Spain, the only question left is how you can see them all in one trip! Travel in comfort with the convenience and versatility of a rental car and you’ll be able to tour the balmy coast of Spain at your own pace and direction. Look to Kemwel to find you the best deals and specials on all sorts of rental vehicles and travel transportation services including airfare and hotels! Browse our rates online or feel free to call one of our helpful reservation agents anytime, toll-free and 24/7 at 1-877-820-0668. Your next fantastic adventure abroad is only a few clicks away!