Top 10 places to unwind this Spring!

TakeMeAway is the card-swiping travel inspiration app. Available to download for Android and iOS.

The last month has proven one thing - predicting the weather in the UK is a futile exercise. One weekend it’s 20 degrees and the next we’re back to gusting winds and cold temperatures. But never fear, Spring is here! With the new season officially beginning on March 20th and the clocks going forward on March 31st, it is time to get ready for better weather. Except let’s be honest, ‘better’ is a relative term in the UK, meaning the only way to guarantee some sun is to jet overseas.

Sunshine, warmth and escaping the crowds are very much the themes for our latest blog and our Spring break selections are on hand to inspire! The TakeMeAway app now includes the latest temperature for destinations - so you have up to date information for your last minute break and ensuring you grab a tan!  

So without further ado we present our Top 10 Spring Breaks!

The Ibiza season begins on May 1st with some of the world’s most iconic clubs hosting unforgettable opening parties - for electronic and music lovers, this is one event not to be missed! If the party scene doesn’t appeal or if you simply want a quieter break, then take a trip in April. Off peak season is still a great time to fall in love with the island - with a minimum of 20 degrees providing the backdrop to some gorgeous beaches.

 

Nicknamed the ‘Kingdom of Sun’, leaving out Palermo from our list would be totally negligent. The Sicilian capital is noted for its cultural mismatch, but there are several quieter spots within close proximity - so rent a car for maximum flexibility. Mondello, a former fishing village is a must, especially in April as you’re still outside of tourist season. Lined with fabulous cafes and restaurants it is a perfect place to unwind. Also check out Capo Gallo, a nature reserve and Addaura.

 

TripAdvisor ranks Limassol third in their up and coming destinations around the world, and we have to agree - there is a lot to do in the south of Cyprus. You have ruins such as Kourion, Molos promenade full of entertainment and Akti Olympion beach just to name a few things in close proximity of the city. Driving out into the Troodos mountain range rewards you with some pretty villages for you to explore. Finally food - get to grips with the cuisine in the local tavernas and taste juicy olives, freshly made hummus and succulent seafood. What more do you want from a Spring Break?

 

One of our newly added destinations, Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. Frankly we have to apologise for not adding the island into our app sooner! But we’ve rectified our mistake just in time for Spring where things start heating up! As a relatively mountainous island, it is an ideal place to do some hiking. You absolutely must do the Samaria Gorge hike as you pass through an incredible gorge - an early start is required for the 18km hike which ends at the Agia Roumeli beach, but you will not regret it!

 

We selected Valletta in our Carnival list - primarily because the weather is never that terrible on Malta. And as the months roll on, it gets better and better. Like our other choices, we’re recommending avoiding the city - hire a car and head to one of the many beaches outside of town. Golden Bay is our pick of the bunch, with lots of amenities. If it’s a bit too busy, a short drive to Għajn Tuffieħa will give you a more secluded spot to lounge and relax!

 

Another new destination, Faro lies in the south of Portugal and is your gateway to the Algarve. With a picture perfect coastline full of little caves and grottos this is a great spot for some hiking, lounging on impressive beaches or try some surfing. We suggest hiring a car from Faro and base yourself in one of the towns littered along the coast such as Portimao and Lagos. Go explore!

 

Did you know that Madeira is actually built on top of a massive volcano? The volcano rises nearly 6km from the Atlantic Ocean floor with the highest point, Ruivo peaking at 1862m above sea level. All this means is that Madeira is a great place for nature lovers. When you’re tired from all the hiking, treat yourself to a glass of the famous wines and sampling some of the freshest tuna. Delicious!

 

If you’re willing to fly slightly further East, head to Turkey and you start getting proper warm weather! We’re picking Antalya from our Turkish destinations because of the gorgeous setting on the Anatolian coast. Though it can get busy in tourist season, visiting off-peak (like some of our other picks) can be extremely rewarding. There are many resorts available if you want some beach time or head to the Lycian Trail for hiking. Olympos, an old Lycian city is not too far from Antalya and you can see the famous ‘fire rocks’ - natural gas vents that are constantly burning….

 

When you mention Morocco, Marrakech gets all the attention. The souks, hustle and bustle are an experience in itself, but we need a more chilled out place for our Spring Break list. Sitting on the coast, Essaouira - which means ‘little picture’ in Arabic, is the perfect laid back alternative to Marrakech. The city is actually a great place for windsurfing due to a strong the coastal wind. Don’t let that put you off however, you will still have a fab time meandering the souks and boutiques. Essaouira has also become a bit of a creative and artistic hub, so go and check out one of the many art galleries in town!

 

If you need more sand than mountains, then the Spanish archipelago 400km south of Madeira has some of the best natural beaches for you to stretch, unwind and relax. The Maspalomas area on Gran Canaria is where most of the resorts are located. We recommend visiting the lovely dunes but there is a lot to do in Las Palmas (as pictured) - a great town to hang out in!

Fancy being in one of the above destinations? Then head over to the app stores and download TakeMeAway today to discover over 100 places to be for the weekend. Available for Android and iOS! And finally - we'd love to hear your Spring break stories - share them with us on Instagram and we'll feature them

Happy travelling!

 


The top 10 ski breaks for 2019!

TakeMeAway is the card-swiping travel inspiration app - available to download for Android and iOS.

Hello and welcome to our first blog post of 2019. On behalf of the TakeMeAway team, we wish you a happy new year and hope all your travel adventures are fulfilled this year!

The first such adventure on my wishlist is an epic winter sport holiday. Living in the big city, I cherish the fleeting moments when I can venture out to the mountains. The idea of waking up to a bright sunny morning after a nightfall of fresh snow is one of those delightful moments I yearn for whenever I go skiing (or snowboarding!). I am however not always the most organised individual and more importantly on a spending budget (a 2019 New Years resolution….), so I have to scramble and hunt down a last minute deal for my mountain escape!

Thankfully Europe has such a diverse amount of destinations for winter sports, that there are most certainly deals to be had. To showcase the breadth of opportunities, our huge list covers 10 cities linking to 15 ski areas! Most resorts are within a couple of hours drive from the airport - to ensure you maximise your time on the slopes.

We hope you enjoy chasing the freshest powder in Europe this season. All the destinations are available in the TakeMeAway app (forAndroid and iOS) - simply set your budget and swipe to see which of the following destinations fit your budget. You will be surprised!

 

The Alps loom in the background...

The newest destination in our app, Grenoble is the gateway to some fantastic skiing in the French Alps. Many resorts are accessible within a couple of hours of the airport ensuring you do not waste precious time travelling. Our pick is Alpe d’Huez (1.5 hr drive from Grenoble airport) which includes possibly the longest black run in the world 'La Sarenne'; at 16km long it is not for the faint hearted….

 

Enjoy the views of Mont Blanc as you ski!

Geneva is one of our favourite weekend break destinations because there is so much to do in and around the city. But we’re going to recommend leaving the city (and country!) immediately after landing and head straight to France and Chamonix. If you do not want to hire a car, there are many transfers available when you land at the airport.

What makes Chamonix so great is it has the feel of a proper town but with the idyllic setting of a ski resort (including views of Mont Blanc). With a cluster of ski areas (and excellent buses to get you to them) there is something for all level of skiers!

 

The Swiss Alps are simply breathtaking!

French ski resorts are undoubtedly popular and provide amazing skiing options, but they can be a bit crowded. Switzerland will offer you something different and Zurich has over 10 ski areas within 90 minutes of the city. Set a base in Zurich, hire a car (or even use public transport) and go explore! Flumserberg is only an hour away and even has a night slope for those wanting to try some night time skiing!

 

One of the many ski areas close to Salzburg

Austrian ski resorts tend to be cheaper than their French counterparts while still  offering classic Alpine skiing. Salzburg is also a great base to explore the various ski areas around the city - most are accessible within a few hours. Depending on how long you are going for, it maybe worth checking out Salzburg Superski Card which also gives you flexibility and access to the resorts in the province including the more famous resorts such as Zell am See, Saalbach and Obertauern.

 

Mayrhofen - for the skiers who need some apres to go along with their skiing

No list is complete without a few resorts where the focus is just as much on the ‘après’ as it is on skiing! Whether it is a piste side cafe or winding down with a few drinks after a hard day on the slopes, the Austrians definitely know how to party! There are two excellent examples close to Innsbruck - Mayrhofen and St Anton. Really we can’t pick them apart - with party options for everyone. If you do visit St Anton, be sure to stop by the legendary Krazy Kangaruh and Mooserwirt to enjoy some dancing on tables in ski boots!

 

The iconic Matterhorn in all its glory!

Turin is another new destination in the TakeMeAway app! Nearby Cervinia is the highest pisted ski area in Europe meaning you are pretty much guaranteed snow. Sharing the Matterhorn massif with Zermatt (on the Swiss side), you have some of the best scenery in Europe. In addition you have great pistes for all levels as well as the famous Italian ski hospitality when you need to unwind. If the weather holds it is possible to link to Zermatt and Valtournenche.

 

Can someone take me there?

We cannot mention Italy and not feature The Dolomites! The resort we recommend is Cortina d'Ampezzo (2 hours from the airports near Venice) - also known as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’. I enjoy my landscapes, and skiing on the slopes around Cortina is simply jaw dropping. Drink in nature at its finest! If you fancy something a bit different, try some bobsleigh on the old Olympic track in town….

 

Try skiing in Eastern Europe for something a bit different!

Bulgaria might not be the first place you think of for skiing, but the resort of Bansko is quietly building a reputation due to the combination of great snow and being quite a bit cheaper than the Alps. The top of the ski area may only be 2600m, but the cold conditions mean you get some thick, lush snow Situated only 90 minutes from Sofia, getting to Bansko is dead easy too. Our only advice - wrap up warm!

 

Make sure you take a detour and visit the home of Dracula!

Romania is home to some amazing mountains. Yours truly was fortunate to do some hiking and exploring over the summer. Whilst there I discovered that the country also has a vibrant skiing scene during the winter months. Brasov is the most popular resort being only 2 hours from Bucharest. There are a few smaller resorts close by including Predeal. Don’t forget to visit Bran’s Castle (the home of Dracula) as well!  

 

Go cross country touring through the idyllic forests near Oslo for the weekend.

Not everyone is a fan of downhill skiing and we’ve been guilty of neglecting the cross country skiers amongst you with this list. So our last feature is the king of cross country destinations, Oslo! Why not give it a go this winter and learn why our Scandinavian cousins are totally made for it! With more than 2,600 km (1,600 miles) of prepared cross-country ski trails in the forests of Oslo alone you won’t get bored exploring. Totally crazy and you can easily go on a weekend touring adventure while stopping off at cabins along the way. Epic!

We hope you have enjoyed this feature. Let us know in the Facebook comments how many of the ski areas you've visited as well as your other favourite snow adventures! Stay up to date with all our latest developments through our Instagram!

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7 Christmas traditions from around the world

TakeMeAway is available to download for Android and iOS.

I love eating. There I said it. I’m not ashamed to admit that Christmas is the perfect excuse to indulge in all those festive treats. And turkey. With lots of gravy. Delicious!

However the British spread is just one possibility for Christmas. Different cultures around Europe do things rather differently and we decided to explore this idea. Here’s our top 7 eating traditions that will get your juices flowing over the holidays! If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even take a last minute weekend break to these awesome places for that authentic taste. Our 7th pick may not be European, but it does illustrate the diversity point rather well. Besides we found it rather bizarre!

Before we dive in, a quick shoutout to our app - TakeMeAway. TakeMeAway inspires your next weekend break, all within your budget. All the destinations (well apart from number 7….) are available in-app. It's available to download for both iOS and Android.

1. Smörgåsbords, Stockholm

Picturesque Stockholm is beautiful all year round

Smörgåsbords are quite the Scandinavian tradition. Christmas allows the Swedes to ramp up their Smörgåsbord game with a special table called julbord (Christmas buffet). First thing to note is the meal is normally eaten on Christmas Eve and it’s a big meal - it’s about maximising the number of items on the table as possible. Therefore you’ll need all your family and friends to help you devour the meal!

Seafood is just one part of this Swedish feast

The food itself comprises of pickled herring, cured and smoked seafood and fish, cold meats - especially the julskinka (Christmas ham), maybe some reindeer, pate and terrine. And that is only the ‘cold’ course! The hot stuff includes meatballs, ribs, sausages and spiced cabbage. Finally desserts, with the pick of the bunch being the risgrynsgröt (rice porridge). Your Christmas Day hangover cure is also taken care of with the leftovers….

Flights from London to Stockholm are available from £60 return in December.

2. Pepernoten/kruidnoten, Amsterdam

Addictive goodness!

Yours truly has spent many years living in the Netherlands and so fond memories very much exist with the country. The Dutch do most of their gift giving on the 5th December to celebrate Sinterklaas (pub quiz fact - Santa Claus is actually derived from the Dutch….) and there are a few confectionary items that are eaten around the time.

Giving chocolate letters to friends and family is another popular sweet treat

One of these items is pepernoten (or kruidnoten, depending on how pedantic you are….). These small rounded biscuits of absolute joy are insanely addictive and I’ve spent afternoons and evening devouring these spiced delights. The biscuits date back to the 1600-1700s but recent innovations include covering them in chocolate and as well as an entire concept around pimping up pepernoten - making them even more addictive. What’s made it worse is that supermarkets are beginning to sell them as early as end September, so factor in putting on a few extra pounds….

I know it’s after 5th Dec, but don’t worry you can still get your pepernoten fix throughout December. Flights from London are available from £80 return.

3. Marzipan, Madrid

Anyone else a fan of these almond sweets?

Sticking with the sweet theme, we go to Spain where Marzipan is another popular Christmas sweet. I love almonds and this sugary treat is made from ground almonds and formed into various shapes. The best best marzipan is arguably made in Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a small historic town which has been influenced by many cultures and is only an hour away from Madrid. Having visited Toledo myself, it’s quite a picturesque place.

Flights to Madrid can be had from £100 return from London.

4. Reibekuchen, Bonn

The perfect accompaniment while browsing Christmas markets!

These literally translate into English as potato fritters/cakes. Our last blog post covered Christmas markets (links) and these are a staple at the German markets in particular. Potato cakes are so tasty because of their versatility. You can do them as a savoury dish served up with sour cream or cottage cheese; or as is traditionally done on the markets, with applesauce and rye bread. Moorish it maybe, but a great warm comfort food for a cold December when shopping for gifts.

Reibekuchen is more traditional to Rhineland in West Germany, so we think Bonn is a great break this month. You can fly there via Cologne from £130 return.

5. Natale feast, Rome

All feasts have to begin somewhere.....

It probably doesn’t come as a great surprise that the Italian way of eating at Christmas is an absolute epic. Let’s first start with Christmas Eve dinner - a lighter meal with no meat but a lot of seafood. The Italian-Americans turbo charge this idea with the ‘Feast of Seven Fishes’ with even more seafood and fish.

Having slept off and digested the night before, we get to the Natale feast proper for Christmas Day. Prepare to eat for hours. And hours. It’s a hard life really eating antipasto, pastas and tons of meat. The key must haves include pasta (of course), which are prepared differently depending on the region. Pasta is normally baked in central and southern Italy and filled in the north such as the ‘Tortellini in Brodo’ stuffed with Bolognese. The latter in particular is a favourite of Team TakeMeAway with a meaty filling with lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a velvety broth for the little goodnesses to sit in. It remind me, I need to find an Italian family to adopt me….

Bologna where the Tortellini in Brodo are popular has an airport which can be a bit expensive. We suggest flying to Florence (flights from £120 return) and taking the short train ride up.

6. The Christmas Carp, Bratislava

Did you know this cute Japanese carp isn't actually that tasty compared to its 'regular' cousin?

One thing I’ve noticed is fish being more popular than I realised at Christmas time. Slovakia is a great example though the tradition there is slightly eclectic. Let’s start with a week before Christmas. Tubs with cold water start popping up all over the country filled with carp. The carp is a bottom feeder, so there is a rationale behind putting them in the cold water - it helps to flush the fish’s digestive system.

A couple of days before Christmas, you select a live carp, take it home and put it in your bathtub until Christmas Eve, when you gut the fish and prepare it for Christmas Lunch. The whole family normally gets involved, kids may go as far as naming their carp! Nowadays most buy their carp dead from the fishmonger (boo!). To prepare, the fish is sliced, breaded and fried served with a cabbage soup and a potato salad. The Slovaks had me sold at deep fried fish!

If you fancy seeing the quirky tubs, you can get to Bratislava from £105 return from London

7. KFC ‘Christmas Chicken’, Tokyo

Fried chicken or turkey? Tough life choices....

This is not a joke. You read that right. KFC for your Christmas lunch! This may seem bizarre but it is the product of genius marketing from Kentucky Fried Chicken. In the early 70s KFC discovered that expats were going to their fast food chains on Christmas as they were unable to source a turkey in Tokyo. Not being a Christian country, Japan never really got into the Christmas spirit. Seizing on this opportunity, KFC launched the ‘Christmas Chicken’ marketing campaign in 1974.

It has become so popular in modern Japan, that families across all parts of society see KFC as a Christmas must. One has to place their orders weeks before the 25th December to ensure they have a spot saved in their local KFC. Getting into the Christmas spirit can truly span different cultures!

Sadly there are no cheap flights to Tokyo, with the cheapest starting from £515 return. If deep frying that turkey goes horribly wrong (if someone does try this, please let me know how it goes), you probably could pop into your local KFC to rescue the day. Preorders not required!

I hope you enjoyed this article! Our mission is to give you inspiration for you next weekend break. And please let us know your Christmas tradition on Facebook and Instagram. We hope you enjoy eating your way through December. Merry Christmas!

TakeMeAway is available to download for Android and iOS.


Europe's top 10 Christmas markets

TakeMeAway is available to download for Android and iOS.

The run up to Christmas should get everyone brimming with excitement. It is a chance to brighten up those gloomy winter nights as the end of the year approaches. One could easily argue that it’s never too early to get the party started - though admittedly playing your festive favourites from September may be a bit much for some! However we are in November now and with Christmas lights being turned on up and down the country, we can officially get into the festive spirit!

So what are the options for getting into the festive mood? One could begin ticking off shopping lists before the chaos and mad panic begins a week before the holidays. Another option is to go see some fireworks (anyone else notice they don’t seem to stop after the 5th November?). However the firm favourite has to be enjoying Christmas markets.

If you are not familiar with Christmas markets, you are in for a treat! A German tradition dating back to the 14th or 15th Century, it was the centre of a city, a chance to visit a ‘Nativity Scene’ as well as eating seasonal treats and keeping warm by sipping mulled wine.

As you have probably deduced, we’re big fans at TakeMeAway and love the atmosphere around Christmas markets. Over the years the concept has spread further than the Germanic speaking countries and now various countries have put their own cultural spin on the experience. Visiting a market is also a great way to discover a new city and is a perfect weekend break.

We’re going to cover 10 of the best markets in Europe; most are beginning on the 26-28th November and run all the way up to Christmas. So now is the perfect time to set your budget, swipe through TakeMeAway and see which of the following cities you could be in throughout the festive season (a shameless plug for our app which can be downloaded for Android and iOS).

Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

Our list begins with one of the most traditional markets, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. The old town is taken over in a thematic gold colour and must do’s include eating the famous gingerbread biscuits as well as a great place to find those stocking filler gift from all around the world.

Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom, Cologne

Cologne’s biggest and glitziest market is set under the famous Cathedral. Along with a massive tree and various handmade gifts, the local food is exceptional and of course do not forget filling up on gluhwein!

Vienna

Vienna was one of our top autumn destinations and it is no surprise that it features again. Street markets take over the city covering all the main squares. The smell of baking and mulled wine keeps your senses alive as you explore and search for trinkets. The market  backdrops on City Hall Square (featured in our picture) is a beautiful introduction to what Vienna offers.

Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the newest addition to the TakeMeAway app. Set against the backdrop of the Alps, it is a rather pretty sight, especially in Christmas market season. From the old town to the market square, wine and hot punch keep you going as you search for gifts. Our tip - visit Maria-Theresien-Straße, illuminated by modern light including the large mountain crystal towers over the boulevard  You must also take a Funicular up into the Alps and gaze over this gorgeous city!

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

Tivoli was this author’s first encounter with a non German Christmas market and in many ways the Danish have managed to outdo the traditionalists. Set in a theme park (with over 20 rides no less), come say hello to Santa and wander through some stunningly decorated gardens. The market is open from now all the way to Christmas so you have maximum flexibility to visit.

Trondheim

Taking place between the 7-19 December, one of our favourite winter breaks also plays hosts to a very traditional market. What makes it even more interesting is the 100+ shows ranging from concerts to theatre performances. And if the weather is cooperating, hire a sleigh and enjoy the snow…..

Bruges

Picture perfect all year round, Bruges’ town square contains a huge ice skating rink in the middle. When in Belgium we do like to eat - with plenty of stalls making fresh waffles and indulgent hot chocolate to stave off the cold. Yum!

Natal e na Fil market, Lisbon

Our list takes us to slightly warmer climates beginning with Lisbon. Not necessarily the biggest market on our list, Lisbon compensates with enthusiasm and bringing a southern flair to proceedings. Note the dates for the market which are between 5-9 Dec.

Mercados Navideño, Sevilla

Sevilla has four Christmas markets. Four! So running out of things to do on a weekend break is highly unlikely. We recommend starting at the Metropol Parasol and walking through to Alameda de Hércules, one of the hip districts in Sevilla. Oh don’t forget to visit the Gran Mercado de Navidad Nervión too, which is one of the best shopping areas in the city.

Fiera di Natale, Bologna

Italy has also embraced the Christmas markets spirit and we’ve selected Bologna out of the many options the country has to offer. Set next to the San Pietro Cathedral the market is teeming with gift ideas and handicrafts. Bologna itself should be explored on foot as you wander the medieval centre. It is also a university city with a young vibrant scene, so the cafe and bar scene is quite excellent.

Hopefully this list has given you some inspiration to make a Christmas market the focal point for your next weekend break. And if you fancy exploring a market outside of Germany, we’ve got that covered too!

TakeMeAway has a destination for you whatever your budget. Download our app, choose your weekend and how much you want to spend and swipe to find a weekend break this winter.

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Autumn is in the air!

We hope you've had an amazing summer! We'll be sharing some of summer stories over the coming weeks - the first part in our series can be found via this link - https://blog.takemeaway.io/discovering-hungary-part-1-budapest/; but for now we want to look ahead to the amazing places you could be this Autumn.

September marks 'back to work' and at the same time the leaves begin to turn and the hours of  sunlight starts dwindling. It all adds up to making us all feel a little glum. We think Autumn is a great time to discover new places and brighten up your mood! We've chosen 6 destinations we think will fit your budget. So download TakeMeAway (download for iOS and Android) and get swiping!

Bordeaux

Bordeaux has one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. After years of neglect, the former wet docks are the country's new hot spot, with a number of cafés, gardens, and museums springing up all the time. Apparently the wine is alright too....

Brussels

The capital of Europe may not be so popular, politically but that's no excuse not to visit!  It is an ever-changing city which grows to accept and enjoy every culture that settles there, turning it from a city into a home away from home.

Geneva

The gateway to the Alps is also a rather pretty city in its own right. People may think the city of diplomacy is a bit boring but the gorgeous lake, fantastic food and bohemian neighbourhoods make this a must visit city!

Bonn

Did you know that Beethoven was from Bonn? Yours truly certainly didn't and it is now firmly on my 'go to' list. One of Germany's oldest cities is full of history as well as being rather hip with a lively cafe and bar culture. And if that isn't enough, it's a great base to explore the Rhine and Eifel regions.

Vienna

Vienna is top of my list for this Autumn and I reckon it should be yours too! It's got all the Imperialistic grandeur from a bygone era and is still a leading city for arts and culture. What more could you ask for in a weekend getaway?

Basel

The city could be described as a bit eccentric, eclectic with a potential identity crisis. That's understandable when you border both Germany and France! We think it gives rise to a culture that is just asking to be explored. The Museum of Fine Arts is just one of the standout places to visit in this fine city.

Manchester

Manchester is our wildcard destination and we reckon under appreciated. The city's may be best known for its association with football, but there is a lively underbelly just waiting to be discovered. The city has had a particular influence on music with acts such as Oasis, The Smiths, Simply Red, The 1975 and The Charlatans all hailing from the 'Capital in the North'. So why not spend a weekend discovering the UK's second most populous city?

So download TakeMeAway, start swiping and book your next getaway, today.

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Discovering Hungary - Lake Balaton

Hi everyone! It has been some time since I last posted, unfortunately internet quality was a bit unstable in the countries I was travelling in, meaning uploading pictures proved to be problematic.  I am finally back home and over the coming weeks I’ll be blogging my journey. Suffice to say I have had an amazing summer travelling from Hungary all the way to Azerbaijan and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you! For those new and wanting some background on this series of posts, have a read of my previous post - https://blog.takemeaway.io/discovering-hungary-part-1-budapest/

This post is about  Lake Balaton. A few facts about Lake Balaton- it sits a few hours south of Budapest and is a popular tourist destination with beaches, resorts and nearby hiking opportunities. The lake is the largest freshwater lake within Central Europe with a shoreline of 197km.

I decided to visit Keszthely, which is town on the southern part of the lake. The town is close to some hot springs that supposedly have great therapeutic properties. I wasn’t so convinced by the smell - the rotten egg smell from the sulphur wasn’t quite for me; nor willing to pay the exuberant prices to access the ‘spas’. So unfortunately no pictures of the springs. This short series gives you an impression of the lake. I hope you enjoy, Budapest is also an available destination within the TakeMeAway app - who knows maybe your budget will take you there.

About TakeMeAway, the travel app where you set the rules

Planning a weekend getaway can be frustrating. It’s especially annoying going through the whole booking process only to find out the price is much higher than expected. So you either book the more expensive trip or have to rethink your entire plan.TakeMeAway gives you inspiration for your next getaway. And the best part? It’s all within your budget.

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Discovering Hungary - part 1, Budapest

It may not surprise you to know that we enjoy travelling at TakeMeAway - heck it was the travel bug that gave us the inspiration to create the app in the first place! But sometimes travel takes a back seat as we focus on our own job and lives - in this case working on TakeMeAway. We recently relocated the startup to London from Amsterdam (goodbye Netherlands, you will be missed!) but we have to admit, the hustle and bustle is taking some getting used to.

View over the Danube

So for the summer, one of our co-founders, Junaid has decided to escape city life and go exploring parts of Eastern Europe and beyond. Don’t worry - updating and improving TakeMeAway is an ongoing business which we’ll be continuing! Over the summer he’ll be sharing his adventures in various blog posts, which we hope you’ll enjoy!Hi everyone this is Junaid and I’m super excited to share with you my travel stories this summer. When planning this trip, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do nor where exactly I wanted to travel - I did however want to explore the outdoors and do some hiking along the way.

I settled on beginning my journey in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is bit of a crossroads city, fellow travellers seem to not venture much further east than Budapest when backpacking through Europe - they either turn back west or go south towards the Balkans. I thought it was the perfect starting point for going further east.

A strong Jewish community exists in Budapest

Budapest may have a bit of a notorious association (think stag-dos….) but there is a breadth of sightseeing opportunities and exploration available. Budapest is actually a city of two sides, Buda and Pest divided by the Danube river. You have a lot of the historical sights in Buda while the lively heart of the city sits in Pest. Here I share my photos from Budapest and hope you enjoy them. Next time I’ll post about Lake Balaton, such a breathtaking place!

Chilling on the steps
Not sure anyone gets tired of the views?
Parliament
Some rather important football matches were happening as well....
The new and the old....
The market building was an impressive setting
And the impressive architecture continued throughout the city

About TakeMeAway, the travel app where you set the rules

Planning a weekend getaway can be frustrating. It’s especially annoying going through the whole booking process only to find out the price is much higher than expected. So you either book the more expensive trip or have to rethink your entire plan.

TakeMeAway gives you inspiration for your next getaway. And the best part? It’s all within your budget.

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King's Day!

In our feature looking forward to Spring (catch up here), we mentioned Amsterdam as one of the best places to be this April. The Netherlands is a place where most of our team have spent some time living. so we know a little about what is happening in the country!

Today we showcase the standout event that will takeover the entire country - ‘Koningsdag’ or ‘King's Day’(Fri 27th April). The concept is a simple enough idea - a holiday that celebrates the King, Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Even though the King’s birthday falls on this day, tradition has meant regardless of the monarch, we celebrate the day in April.

Why April? The clocks are on summer time ensuring long days and the weather is (probably) nicer than January - the former Queen’s birthday. I mean no one really wants a street party in January, do they?

But Koningsdag is much more than just a street party. The day traditionally begins with locals selling their unloved belongings in a street market that can take over entire neighbourhoods. What is available for sale? Pretty much anything - from clothes to toys to sofas! If you do some digging you are likely to find some bargains. And some haggling may even get you a further discount; no harm in trying. We suggest heading to the neighbourhood Oud Zuid in Amsterdam to catch the best of the markets.

A Dutch street market on Koningsdag may differ somewhat to an Indian one...

After you have bagged your bargains, it is time to start the party! But with a day where so much will be happening, where should you start? We would say a boat trip down the Amsterdam canals is a must experience. Spend 3-4 hours on the river taking in the sights and sounds of all that is happening around you. The canals will be jam packed with boats and the banks lined with people enjoying the day.

Calm before the storm - the peaceful canals will be full on King’s Day

But the party doesn’t end on the boat. The streets along the famous canals are lined with various parties, bands and DJs. Enjoyment is guaranteed in the most random of places in the city! For a full agenda of what is happening why not check out the official agenda here.

Amsterdam is a featured city in TakeMeAway. So why not take an early flight on Friday 27th, enjoy Koningsdag, as well as a fantastic weekend getaway in one of Europe's most vibrant cities!

Available today for iOS on the App Store

Our app is now available on Google Play

 

 

 

 


Spring destinations this April

Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer and everyone is happier. Goodbye Winter! Cities across Europe are celebrating the turn of the season in many different ways ranging from festivals to flower shows. So why not spend a weekend away exploring how different cultures embrace spring?

We share with you a few highlights:

Amsterdam

We have to begin with the spiritual home of TakeMeAway, Amsterdam! It was here where we founded our startup and it’s also the place for Spring (in our very biased opinion!). So what makes the city ideal to spend a weekend in April? Let’s start with flowers, especially tulips! Visit the Keukenhof and breathe in the sights and smells of wonderfully crafted landscaped gardens. The Keukenhof is only open while the flowers are in bloom so make sure you catch them while they last.

If flowers are not your thing then take a boat trip down the famous city canals, a great alternative! Oh and one more thing, don’t miss Kings Day taking place on Friday 27th, the standout street party!

Copenhagen

The sakura trees and its flower the ‘cherry blossom’ are well revered in Japan. However you do not need to fly to the other side of the world to experience the event. A quick hop to Copenhagen for the weekend will make you think why you didn’t do it sooner!

The city comes out of hibernation and bursts into life as people fill out the city’s hot spots. Events include flea markets, street parties and gardens. Check out the top events here. Our tip - the Sakura trees in Langelinie Park.

Vienna

Classical music and Vienna may be a familiar association, but dive a bit deeper and you’ll find a rich, contemporary music scene. Take the ‘Blues Spring Festival’, running throughout April - the longest running blues festival in the world! Find out more here - http://www.viennabluesspring.org/

Bergen

Are you more of an outdoors person? Bergen is ideal for those wanting to mix nature and culture! ‘The Gateway to the Fjords’, April is a perfect time to book a cruise, go sightseeing or hike up one of the 7 mountains nearby; one thing is for sure you will not have a boring weekend!

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what Europe offers this April. Swipe through top destinations in our app and be inspired for your perfect weekend getaway! Where do you want to be this weekend?

TakeMeAway is available now for android - download today: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.takemeaway.takemeaway

Coming soon to iOS.


Frequently Asked Questions

We thank everyone who has downloaded TakeMeAway so far! We're excited by how you're using the app and also grateful for the feedback so far. There have been a few comments about providing an FAQ and we finally got around to doing one, we actually made two!

In the latest Android release (28th March 2018), you will find a FAQ which tackles any issues you may have with the app as well as a new and simple tutorial. On our site we've also provided a more general FAQ about us as a company and our app. You can also read it below. As always please email any questions and feedback to hello@TakeMeAway.io

Who are you people?

Our co-founders, Junaid and Tom, are travellers just like you! We found the user experience of existing travel apps wasn’t exactly what we were looking for – so we built TakeMeAway. Some random statistics about the team: we speak 11 languages between us, and combined we’ve lived and worked in more than 10 countries, and travelled to more than 60.

What is TakeMeAway?

TakeMeAway helps you to be in great locations for the weekend, all within you budget. We have two aims:

  • To make travel what it should be - an inspirational and exciting experience.
  • To let you control your budget.

What does a weekend mean?

In the Takemeway App, a “weekend” is defined as flying out on Friday and returning on Sunday. Our app lets you browse through destinations that fit your budget for ‘this weekend’ and ‘next weekend’.

Where do you get your offers from?

We partner with Skyscanner and Booking.com. Our deals are put together with TakeMeAway technology; that means we try and get you the best value for money deals.

Is it safe to book with you?

All booking is handled by our partners Skyscanner and Booking.com, so you can be confident your weekend away will be in good hands.

Where are you based?

Our headquarters is based in London, but like our app we have a European flavour with people based in The Netherlands and Switzerland.

Why have the prices gone up?

Unfortunately travel prices are dynamic, especially flights. We do our best to get the most up to date information, but at times we get it wrong. Let us know if an offer is off the mark by emailing hello@TakeMeAway.io

You emailed me the details and prices have gone up!

As mentioned above, travel prices are dynamic and can change between when we find the prices and when you book. To ensure prices are as low as possible, try and book as soon as you can.

How does searching work?

We search for flights from your nearest airport to our list of pre-determined destinations. You can select your closest airport in the Profile section, or select another airport nearby.

There is nothing within my budget!

Unfortunately some weekends are pricier than others! Why not increase your budget and treat yourself to that perfect weekend away :) You can also change the setting for your nearest airport; larger airports have a greater range of flight options that we can search for.

What markets do you operate in?

Our app is currently only available for download in certain countries within Europe, and we only search for deals within Europe. The following countries are supported:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Not all airports in these countries are currently supported however. If your airport doesn’t show up, email us (hello@TakeMeAway.io) and tell us to add it!