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Escape the Crowds: 4 Great Sidetrips from London

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If you’ve taken the plunge in London for the Olympics and are thinking you might need a quick break from all the festivities (or are just looking for an easy getaway from England’s largest city), Black Tomato’s Tom Marchant has four fantastic 48-hour European getaways that will leave you rejuvenated and ready to re-join the party on your return.

Venice
The romance, the glamour… the paddling? The water-based city is full of majestic cathedrals, beautiful squares, culture, carnivals and top-notch cuisine. A private kayaking tour is a great way to really experience the canals—the arteries of the city. Flights from London are very frequent and no more than 2 hours, making it an ideal weekend break.

Marrakech
For a short flight and “big experience” break, Marrakech can’t be beat, with its Medieval mosques, mud-walled kasbahs, and palatial ruins. With little streets overflowing with lively bazaars and warren-like mazes of souks selling an incredible mix of local treasures, you’d better make sure to leave space in your suitcase. You'll feel like you have traveled far further than 3.5 hours it takes to get there.

Croatia
If you're up for a weekend of indulgence on the glistening Adriatic, look no further. Head to Dubrovnik and enjoy a luxurious stay at one of my favorite hotels, Pucic Palace, right in the heart of the old town. Exploring the beautiful museums and tiny corridors that run through the city is the quickest way to get lost and best way to discover a tiny off the beaten path restaurant.

Iceland
And for something totally different, if the word “Iceland” has you thinking “cold” and “mysterious,” you’re right, but in a good way. What you might not know is that the capital Reykjavik is the ideal spot for a weekend of cool urban chic and hot natural springs in summer just as much in winter. The only way to see Iceland at its finest is to jump on Quad bikes and explore your surroundings.

Tom Marchant, 33, is entrepreneur and cofounder of Black Tomato, a US- and UK–based award-winning luxury travel company that specializes in cutting-edge tailor-made travel experiences that truly get under the skin of a country and its people—whether it’s hiking the Himalayas, hunting with San Bushmen in Namibia, kicking back on an exotic beach in Papua New Guinea, or swimming with whale sharks in Isla Holbox, Mexico.

Tom splits his time between his East London and New York offices. He regularly writes and talks on trends and the future of the luxury travel and lifestyle industries. Over the summer Tom will be giving us his hot insider tips for travel near and far—how to live like a local in London during the Olympics, his favorite 24-hour escapes, or how to get down inside a volcano in Iceland.

 

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