Need some inspiration for your 2016 city break? Whether you fancy the sizzling sunshine of Dubai, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, or you’ve got your beach towel at the ready for seaside cities like Barcelona, Malaga or Lisbon, lowcostholidays has plenty of city breaks to choose from. You’ll want your sunglasses in super-cool Paris or Berlin, and perhaps a handy guidebook to help you make sense of Marrakech’s exotic spice markets, Budapest’s imperial splendour and New York’s world-class culture.
City breaks are all about packing a lot in. It’s never been easier to grab a quick and exciting weekend away, or devote a week to exploring a wonderful new city. Perhaps the best packing advice of all would be to take a spare case for all the souvenirs you’ll be bringing home.
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There are many classic city break destinations which remain at the top of the traveller’s wish-list for good reason. And if you’ve been before, it’s always worth a cheeky return visit to rediscover these living, growing places that constantly boast new events, exhibitions, shows and festivals, plus new shops, restaurants and clubs to uncover.
In Paris, a cherry-blossom April is a whole different experience from the Champs Elysees lit up by Christmas fairy lights in December. Whenever you visit you’ll find one of the most eye-catching cities on earth, blessed with an elegant beauty that’s yet to be surpassed.
Barcelona has its very own, unique buzz. The trademark weird-and-wonderful Gaudi architecture still maintains its super-modern feel, and the city remains at the cutting edge of style and cuisine.
Amsterdam’s charms are more historic – canals flowing gently past in the shadow of tall, thin town houses, and for many visitors it’s a place to go wild. But don’t forget to visit the Rijksmuseum, one of the best in the world, the fantastic Van Gogh collections, or the deeply moving Anne Frank house.
In Malaga, you’ll find 14km of perfect sands to enjoy under the Spanish sun. There’s a 3,000-year history to explore too, and the city’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso, is celebrated in an excellent museum.
Lisbon will sweep you up in its steeply climbing little streets, looking down on the Tejo River estuary and the harbour from which Portuguese mariners dominated the Age of Exploration.
You might need to wrap up a little warmer, but Berlin is the hottest city in Europe right now, with the best clubbing, art and fashion bursting out from under the imposing elegance of Prussian Imperial architecture.
After last year’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of independence, there’s never been a better time to visit Singapore. And with a sparkling new 6-star Patina Capitol Singapore hotel joining the city’s famous sky scrapers, and a new National Gallery to discover, you’ll find plenty to do here. New York is exciting whenever you visit. The clichés of the city remain true – it’s big, bustling, and brilliant, with an unrivalled shopping scene, a monumental skyline, and some of the world’s finest culture, music, and entertainment.
Historic Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland, was uniquely unscathed by World War II, and its streets, squares, castles, churches and palaces have UNESCO World Heritage status. The Old Town is hugely appealing while its university-city status keeps Krakow lively, modern, and ready for a good night out.
Marrakech deserves its “exotic” reputation. Acrobats, dancers and storytellers liven up Jemaa el Fna, probably Africa’s finest city square, and the El Badi Palace, Saadian Tombs and Koutoubia Minaret add to the historic pleasures of the Red City. The souks and Medina are as alive as they ever were, and bargain hunters are still very welcome in an ancient trading city.
All those films and photos are no match for the real Venice, packed with historic treasures in its extraordinary palaces and churches which seem to float on the water. Early risers will avoid the city’s worst crowds, and some decent pre-holiday research can prove that it is still possible to eat and drink for good value prices in Italy’s most-visited city.
Cologne’s media and arts capital is diverse, liberal and laid back, and a top LGBT destination. The beautiful riverside has the best of the city’s sites. Elsewhere you’ll discover that the “Cologne is a feeling” slogan is very true.
There’s nowhere better to look than to the Middle East for a city break with a twist. The two great Gulf cities of the UAE – Dubai and the capital, Abu Dhabi – have become world-class destinations.
Traditional souks are recreated by British architect Norman Foster under the towering World Trade Centre towers, and the Sheikh Sayed Mosque is one of the largest places of Islamic worship in the world. Dubai has mushroomed too, and is glitzier than its neighbour. It is opulent and luxurious in a way that almost feels impossible, but you don’t need a platinum card to enjoy Dubai. The city still has a classic Arab Old Town and hubs of authentic bargains for the savvy traveller to dig out.
Budapest offers centuries of elegance and fine living to look back on. Hungary’s capital has a bright future too, with its quirky “ruin pubs” complementing grand imperial buildings and boulevards on a massive scale. Take your trunks and enjoy the steam baths and spas that are a core feature of city life.
Finally, the mention of Thailand may evoke images of beach living, but bustling Bangkok is within reach as a city break destination, too. Those who do go the extra air miles are rewarded by a city that both lives at a million miles an hour and can find time to seek silence in its beautiful Buddhist temples. A little bit of everything can certainly go a long way.