Thursday, 17 May 2012 3:54 PM
When you only have a few days to spare you want to be sure you get as much from your holiday destination as possible, which is why it is worth booking European cruises. Trips like this allow you to visit not just one but a few places over the course of less than a week.
For instance, you could book a ticket onboard a ship that will take you to the Channel Islands and Normandy in France, dropping anchor at the most popular resorts you pass. Guernsey and Honfleur particularly stand out as being worth a visit on a trip like this. To find out more about each, read on.
Get back to nature in Guernsey
The Channel Islands are situated so close to the UK that if you haven't visited before it is well worth doing something to alter this. Book a mini cruise across the Channel that takes you to Guernsey if you want to visit one of the most beautiful of these islands.
Guernsey is a popular destination with outdoor lovers thanks to the wealth of unspoilt countryside, miles of golden beaches and well maintained nature reserves, which attracts countless migrating birds each year. Indeed, twitchers have long flocked here to catch sight of some of the unusual species that visit the island, along with the native residents. If you're lucky, you may spot a purple heron, tawny pipit or bearded tit.
Once you have stretched your legs on dry land, you will be in the mood to relax with a good cup of coffee and you can do just that in the capital St Peter Port. This is a great place to appreciate the important role both the UK and France have played in the cultural identity of the Channel Islands, with buildings of both Georgian and Regency design lining the streets.
If you really want to treat yourself, make your way to the shops - and there's certainly plenty to choose from. You can pick up some bits and pieces from your favourite high street stores, buy souvenirs or pamper yourself with some luxury purchases at one of the independent clothing boutiques.
Admire the beauty of Honfleur
This is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Normandy - and with good reason. After all, the historic town is so beautiful it inspired the impressionist painters - particularly Claude Monet. You'll see why when you visit the harbour, where timber-framed houses are reflected back in the vibrant blue water.
It's worth talking a stroll around the harbour itself, with popular sights including La Lieutenance Governor's House - a stone building where the King's lieutenant lived and which incorporates remains of the stone walls that once protected the town. Another fascinating place of interest is Parish of Sainte Catherine, which is the largest wooden church to feature a separate bell tower anywhere in France. Inside the 15th century tower is a museum of religious art, so you could spend quite some time here admiring the works on display.
While you're in Honfleur, be sure to stop and grab a bite to eat, ideally at one of the al fresco cafes so you can watch the boats coming and going from the harbour as you dine. Le Champlain and Cote Bassin are both popular options as they are housed within historic buildings and serve traditional French fare.