Europe is home to some of the most fascinating cities on earth, boasting everything from cultural and historical significance to world-class shopping and fine dining. Whatever it is you seek from city breaks in Europe, you’ll find a city to suit your requirements across this diverse and wonderful continent. For many, the continent’s unique and diverse history and culture takes centre stage, and there’s no city that quite demonstrates Europe’s bygone legacy than Rome. As the capital of the Roman Empire and the home of the Catholic Church, splendour and fascination comes with the plane ticket. Meander around immense ancient sites, duck into the grandest of religious buildings and gorge yourself silly on the world’s finest gelato – all in a day’s exploration around the Italian capital.
Much of this ancient theme continues in the remarkable city of Athens, home to countless sites that provide a significant window into the world of Ancient Greece, in addition to an atmospheric way of life and a wonderful dining scene – don’t miss out on munching down some souvlakia after your discovery of the Acropolis. If a sophisticated and stylish culture is more your thing, you’d do well in spending your city breaks in Europe within the majesty and romance of the city of Paris. From quaint cafes and silent galleries, to incredible landmarks and the most famous of towers, this is a city that permeates intrigue, splendour and class.
If you’re struggling to pick between city break and beach escape, simply merge the two by hitting a city on the coast. Split your day between the sand and the silence of an engrossing museum, or swap the snorkel set for the shopping bags – appeasing both beach bums and culture vultures on city breaks in Europe. Barcelona is arguably the best example of this compromise, home to one of Spain’s finest stretches of sandy beach, as well as an endless list of architectural treasures – primarily from the genius of Gaudi – captivating old quarters and vibrant nightlife options, from quirky bars and classy eateries, to lively joints and pulsating nightclubs.
Venice continues this desirable theme, exposing visitors to a wealth of grand sites from St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge to the San Giacomo di Rialto and the Guggenheim Museum. Residing within the simply stunning make-up of the snaking canals and floating islands is Venice Lido, home to a great beach and some wonderful outdoor pursuit opportunities, providing some much needed respite from the museums, galleries and landmarks of historical Venice. Lisbon proves another fantastic escape for those seeking sun, sand and sea during their city breaks in Europe. In addition to its beautiful churches, striking architecture and informative museums, Lisbon getaways will see you soaking up the sunshine along the nearby Portuguese coastline.
As you head further east along the great continent of Europe, the history and culture of the countries that reside within the old Eastern Bloc become more fascinating and unique. The identity of these nations and their peoples change with every line on the map, painting Europe as a bigger picture to those eager enough to delve outside of the primary tourist areas of the continent. Head to Budapest, Hungary’s fantastic capital city, for your city breaks in Europe, split in two by the mighty Danube River; on one side you have the ancient roots of the city in the form of a remarkable castle complex, while on the other you’ll discover the heart and soul of Budapest, found in numerous monuments, grand buildings and fluctuating neighbourhoods.
Prague is another great option for those looking to head east. The city is typically cheaper than its western counterparts, allowing you ample opportunity to indulge in hearty Czech fare and superb Czech beer without too much of a blemish on your credit card bill. If you can drag yourself away from the cuisine long enough, don’t miss the remarkable Charles Bridge, the beautiful Old Town Square with its Astronomical Clock and the chance to explore the might of Prague Castle. Krakow is another popular stop for those heading east on their city breaks in Europe, famed for its iconic buildings surrounding the Old Town Square and the towering St Mary’s Basilica, oh, and you guessed it, cheap beer.