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6 offbeat getaway ideas for a long weekend

By Emily Waddell
© Lofoten

So you want to get away from it all for a little bit. Your Instagram is giving you serious FOMO issues, and you need to have a break right?

But you don’t want to be cliche or obvious. Seriously, who wants to see the Eiffel Tower with 100,000 tourists bustling to get a good (let’s be honest, boring) picture? Luckily our KAYAK travel experts have come up with six obscure, interesting, offbeat and definitely not cliched weekend break ideas. So you can have an authentically different experience that you will remember forever.

#BLESSED – Camping in a Church

St Michaels All Angels Booton
The exterior of St. Michaels All Angels Church © Jules & Jenny/Flickr.com

If you think camping should only be reserved for festivals and that glamping is way too pretentious, then why not try out ‘champing’. Okay, terrible name but good idea. The Churches Conservation Trust looks after churches that are no longer used for worship, so rather than letting these often stunningly beautiful historic buildings gather dust – they’re renting them out to the public. A great idea for a long weekend with a group of friends or even for a romantic getaway, the churches are, like most churches, handily located in the centre of quaint and gorgeous British villages; so, pubs, walks and attractions are right on your doorstep.

Check Train TimesHire a Car

The interior of St. Michaels All Angels Church © Jules & Jenny/Flickr.com

KAYAK Tip: All Saint’s Church in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire is a champing favourite and like every champing location you’ll be given a cooked breakfast every morning. However, at All Saint’s it’ll be served by a local farmer, Tim, who sources all the produce from his farm.

Pining for the Fjords?

There’s no getting around it Norway is expensive, as a boozy benchmark, you’ll be looking to pay around £5-7 for a beer. Which is why kayaking in the famous Norwegian Fjords is the perfect way to explore Norway without breaking the bank. Stay in a gorgeous cabin in the middle of nowhere, like this Kolnes Skreveien Holiday Home in Eike in the Rogaland region. Then hire a car so you can drive to local supermarkets and stock up on supplies. Now you’re free to spend your days enjoying the beautiful view of the calm but impressive Fjords from your kayak or while hiking some of the unique routes.

Lofoten
Fancy a forage around the Fjords? © Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock.com

KAYAK Tip: Fancy splashing out on some local cuisine? Head to Lothes Mat & Vinhus for a taste of some authentic Norwedish fare; enjoyed with a great view of the river in the middle of Haugesund.

Lightning Bolt! Leeroy Jenkins! Other mid-2000’s Memes about LARPING!

Yes, we know Leeroy Jenkins is technically an MMORPG joke but give us a break, we’ve already lost most of our audience at the sub-heading. Poland is a beautiful place, full of fascinating history, gorgeous scenery and just some of the best and cheapest beer you’ll ever ingest. They also happen to host Oldtown, a perfect start for any new role-playing initiate into the big world of LARPING (Live Action Role Playing). Oldtown Festival is an apocalyptic, sci-fi, wasteland, fantasy world with twists of steampunk and western tropes thrown in for good measure. This is essentially a 72-hour party where you’ll have to come up with a character backstory, make your own outfit, build a camp and potentially join others to defend your faction. And your mum said your video game knowledge would never come in handy?

KAYAK Tip: So you love this idea of this but have no idea what to do next, Oldtown has an excellent player handbook for the uninitiated, and it’s got everything you could think of. Alternatively, you can simply work at the festival and watch the fun. Oh and fly to Berlin and take the train, it’s closer than flying to Poland.

Stay on your Own Private Island in Iceland

It’s not often you’ll get to experience the peacefulness of having a whole patch of land completely to yourself, that sort of relaxation is typically reserved for the rich and famous. However, just 2 hours from the UK lies Traustholtshólmi, 57 hectares of beautiful Icelandic land only inhabited by the owner Hákon, and his dog Skuggi. Now you can stay in this Icelandic paradise in two ways – one you can rent the Mongolian yurt, which is the only accommodation on the island, and enjoy preparing and catching a fresh seafood three-course dinner with Hákon. Or if you’re looking for an experience rather than a holiday, then you can volunteer to help Hákon with the work that is needed to keep a totally self-sufficient island running, which also allows you to stay for free.

Landmannalaugar
Iceland is the perfect getaway for the unique traveller © Jon Flobrant/Unsplash.com

KAYAK Tip: If staying on a private island with only one other person isn’t remote enough, then exploring the Icelandic Highlands is a guaranteed solo activity. Landmannalaugar is the closest place to explore from Traustholtshólmi and only a two and a half hour drive away. It’s easy to rent a car and there’s plenty to see on the way, as highlighted in our 48-hour Iceland Road Trip feature. Now get exploring!

Swim in Beer. Yes, really.

Austria loves a spa, in fact, Germany does, Sweden does, the list goes on. The UK is one of the few places that haven’t fallen in love with the idea of relaxation being part of everyday life. However, this spa is unlike any other. In the mountain village of Tarrenz, not far from Innsbruck, the Starkenberger Brewery has filled its swimming pools with 42,000 pints of freshly brewed beer for visitors to ‘ferment’ in. But you won’t be able to taste the product while you’re in it as its warmed to 32C°, but the beer is supposed to do wonders for your skin. The brewery also happens to be surrounded by the gorgeous Tirolean mountains, which means climbing, cycling and hiking isn’t far off, and hey afterwards, maybe treat yourself to a pint?

Tarrenz, Austria
Visit a classic Austrian village in Tarrenz © Michielverbeek/Wikipedia.org

KAYAK Tip: For perfect views and maybe even a touch of skiing then stay at Paulingerhof guest-house. If you want a taste of classic Austrian cuisine then you have to dine at Weiss; found at the foot of scenic mountains with a perfect terrace to view them from while you eat – you can’t go wrong.

I Vant To See Your House

Unless you were obsessed with vampire novels when you were in your teens (and who wasn’t), it’s unlikely Bran Castle, i.e. the castle described as Dracula’s castle in Bram Stoker’s titular novel, has been on your holiday to-do list. However, the crumbling castle described in the novel isn’t anything like the modern day Bran Castle, a perfect example of gorgeous authentic Romanian architecture flanked by an imposing forest is a real must-see. The castle had a fascinating history outside of the novel – a strategic military fortress, home to Hungarian kings and used as a hospital during World War II; it’s perfect place to explore for hours.

Dead but delicious, Dracula’s pad © cge2010/Shutterstock.com

KAYAK Tip: For a touch of luxury, stay in the 5-star Aurelius Imparatul Romanilor which boasts a fantastic view of the Braşov region plus an indoor pool, but no vampire protection, so bring your own stakes.

Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on July 10th, 2017.The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.

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