As an on-the-go Londoner who’s keen on exploring, you likely know your way around Zipcar’s local offerings. But did you also know you can zip around just as conveniently when abroad? With outposts across Europe, including in sunny, paradisiacal Barcelona and cultured, romantic Vienna, it’s just as simple to jump in a Zipcar and motor around the city’s top landmarks as it is here at home.
Let our whirlwind cultural guide to all three cities make your next holiday that much simpler.
No holiday, be it a lengthy affair or a speedy day trip, is complete without a meal worth remembering. Those who are motoring around London should set aside a few hours to visit The Fat Duck (High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ, +44 (0)1628 580333, http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/), a restaurant opened by Heston Blumenthal and at the top of numerous world’s best rankings. The cooking here, while taking influence from traditional British cuisine, includes curious molecular techniques that make for an unforgettable experience.
Those after something delectable in Barcelona, meanwhile, will be in luck: Spain is unarguably at the forefront of global cooking innovation. While the famed El Bulli has now closed, gourmands still have El Celler de Can Roca (Can Sunyer 48, 17007 Girona, +34 972 22 21 57, http://www.cellercanroca.com/index.htm) within reach of Barcelona. Number one on the 2013 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the modern Spanish establishment, helmed by three brothers, is devastatingly good.
And for exceptional Austrian cooking, there’s no better place to head in Vienna than the lauded Steirereck (Am Heumarkt 2A, 1030 Vienna, +41 1 7133168, http://www.steirereck.at/en/), located just on the waters of the Vienna River. Helmed by young chef Heinz Reitbauer, the restaurant uses his Styrian origins as inspiration – look out for inventive yet tradition dishes like char in beeswax.
Those after market shopping in London are in luck: the city’s Borough Market (8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL, +44 20 7407 1002), open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, offers a carnival of sights, smells, and especially tastes. Browse within the historic Art Deco structure for hours, nibbling as you go – the sensory extravaganza surely merits a trip to the South Bank.
In Barcelona, La Boqueria market might seem like the obvious choice, but its chaotic crowds and location on the pedestrian-only Las Ramblas makes it less accessible than some of the city’s other gems. El Mercat de Galvany (Carrer Santaló 55, 08021 Barcelona, +34 93 414 09 94, http://www.mercatgalvany.es/) is one good option: with almost a century and a half of history, it’s a lovely way to experience the Catalan way of life.
For shoppers in Vienna, the Naschmarkt (1060 Vienna, +43 1 240555) is a particular draw. Dating back to the 1500s, the market is a bustling affair, stretching for more than a kilometre and hosting around 120 different vendors. Feast on various snacks, and try to attend on Saturdays, when a flea market is also in session.
Although London has an almost innumerable collection of historic relics, those after a cultural day trip should plan a drive through flower-filled Kent to the historic town of Canterbury. Its cobbled streets make for relaxing ambling, while Canterbury Cathedral (Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH, +44 1227 762862, http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/) is a captivating landmark to discover.
In Barcelona, one of the area’s top sightseeing spots can be found just an hour out of town. The Dalí Theatre and Museum (Plaza Gala-Salvador Dalí 5, 17600 Figueras, Girona, +34 972 67 75 00, http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/figueres/en_index.html) pays tribute to Spain’s famous and famously bizarre artist. The unmissable, giant glass dome and colourful building in which the museum is housed are almost as notable as the exhibits themselves.
When visiting Vienna, it’d be a mistake not to venture to one of Austria’s historic castles. Schloss Esterházy Castle (Esterhazyplatz 1, 7000 Eisenstadt, +43 2682 6385412, http://esterhazy.at/de/schlossesterhazy/index.do) is one of the most accessible from the city. Located just a 45-minute drive away from the city centre, the 13th-century palace is a golden-hued beauty.
Alongside culture, gourmet dining and market browsing, the ideal city break has one final ingredient: the outdoor escape. Given London’s relative proximity to the sea, would-be amblers are recommended to drive down to Hastings in East Sussex, where the coastside Hastings Circular path is a beautiful and physically challenging way to pass the afternoon.
From Barcelona, one of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes is just a quick trip away. The peaks of Montserrat make for either advanced or moderate hiking, depending on the path you choose. The cable car, of course, is an even faster way to the top, where the views of Barcelona and the surrounding countryside are breathtaking.
Vienna isn’t exactly short on hiking options, or views either. Given its proximity to the outlying Alps and their foothills, a short drive is enough to bring visitors to the rolling peaks and evergreen forests of the region. The picturesque town of Mariazell, not even two hours from the city, is the perfect place to set off from. If you’ve still got energy at the end, explore the historic town and grab a restorative bite to eat.
Feeling adventurous? Book a Zipcar now & get out there!
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