Europe 2012: Rugby, Carnival and Valentine’s Day Adventures

The Rugby Six Nations

The Rugby Six Nations competition starts in February. Over six weeks France, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England will battle it out to be crowned winner. Games are played in all the competing countries so make the most of the HostelBookers January sale and book your nearby accommodation at a discounted rate.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy during my visit last summer 2010.

The matches in Rome are at the Stadio Olimpico – the largest sports facility in the city and the home of Italy’s rugby team. Sat 11th February sees Italy v England at the stadium and then Italy will play Scotland there too on Sat 17th March.

In Paris the Stade de France takes centre stage. The 80,000 seat stadium is the fifth largest in Europe and will be hosting the first match on Sat 4th February between France and Italy. A week later on Sat 11th February it will be France v Ireland and the final Rugby Six Nations game held at the Stade de France will be France v England on Sun 11th March.

Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh will host the matches for Scotland. It’s got the largest permanent big screen in the country and more than 67,000 seats. On the first day of the Rugby Six Nations – Sat 4th February – Murrayfield will host the first match for Scotland and England. Just one other match will be played there on Sun 26th February between Scotland and France.

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Twickenham Stadium in London and the Millennium Stadium in Wales are also playing host to matches between 5th February and 17th March. So save money and book your accommodation in the January today.

Venice Carnival, Venice

In 2012 Venice Carnival will run from 11-21st February. The traditional masked festival brings thousands of visitors to the island with parades, open-air stages and theatrical performances to entice them year after year. There are special events like themed dinners at casinos, burlesque shows and super indulgent feasts in restaurants. The usual food is served – sweet galani pastries, sardines in saor, cod in a salty sauce – just in much bigger quantities.

Venice carnival costumes

The island is buzzing with party goers hidden by masks. The finale is an impressive procession of gondolas down the Grand Canal lit up by candlelight and lanterns as everyone gathers to watch. There are a few hostels and hotels in Venice to choose from in the January sale.

Valentine’s Day, Amsterdam

Do something different for Valentine’s Day this year and treat your beloved to a weekend away in Amsterdam. You can make the city as romantic as you like, with a boat cruise, a show at the Pathe City Theatre, or a hand in hand ice skate at the Jaap Eden Ice Skating Rink. Or, you could even take a horse and carriage ride around the old cobblestone roads of Amsterdam to arrive at your dinner time destination for the evening. Move to one of the many pubs and bars in Amsterdam once you’re done, such as MOMO or Harry’s Bar, and enjoy a cocktail or three. All that’s left to do is make sure you’ve chosen the best hotel in Amsterdam from our January sale, and that’s your Valentine’s present sorted!

cruising in Amsterdam canals during our trip last August 2010.


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