Top 10 City Breaks in Europe
Top 10 City Breaks in Europe
We’ve listed our top 10 city breaks in Europe, perfect for anyone planning a romantic getaway or short city break. Including some of the best stag destinations and hen weekends in Europe! So if you need some inspiration then read on…
Once you’ve decided where to go, head to Pays to Shop and get cashback on your flight, train and hotel bookings!
1) Visit Paris, France
There are so many iconic tourist attractions to visit whilst in Paris; Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle to name but a few. And of course, the Eiffel Tower! It’s a bit of a trek but the views make climbing the tower worth it.
The French capital has a great selection of museums and art galleries, but there are two that must be visited before you leave. Firstly, Musee d’Orsay; housed in a former Railway station, this museum boasts the best collection of impressionist paintings in the world and hosts spectacular exhibitions every year. And secondly, Musee du Louvre; the home of Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo, arguably two of the world’s most famous paintings, (it also played a substantial role in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code!)
Spend the evenings dining on French cuisine, and if the budget allows head to Palais de Garnier for a night of opera, for a true Parisian experience.
2) Visit Venice, Italy
Think Gondolas, gelatos and romance! If you’re planning on whisking a loved one away for a romantic getaway, then hop on a plane to Venice and start wooing! Grab a bottle of Venetian wine, a singing Gondolier and punt down the city’s picturesque waterways.
But you know, Venice isn’t all about the Gondola! For centuries it’s provided inspiration to artists, musicians and writers across the world – and there are signs of this dotted around the city. If you want to see the Venetian Masters, then a trip to the famous Gallerie dell’Accademia is a must. The city’s principle opera house La Fenice, hosts at least two concert seasons a year so if you like a bit of Vivaldi, it’s worth checking out what’s on.
Venice is famed for its beautiful seafood, so spend the evenings enjoying tasty dishes with a glass of Prosecco at a waterside bar!
3) Visit Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of the best destinations for stag dos and hen weekends in Europe, but it has loads to offer for couples, families and singletons too!
The city prides itself in their locally produced beer; most popular for the locals is Gambrinus, but Kozel’s Medium and Pilsner Urquell are equally loved. Have a read of Time Out’s feature ‘Prague’s beers, breweries & tank pubs’ for a comprehensive description of all things beer…
With a fusion of different styles and influences, the cityscape is stunning. Visit Prague Castle for a taste of this eclectic architecture; with towering, Gothic Spires, a Grand Old Royal Palace and a museum. The Castle is also home to many cultural events, including jazz evenings, exhibitions and theatre – so plan your visit ahead.
And of course, the clubbing scene! Prague is famed for its vibrant nightlife; clubs play tunes from dusk till dawn, so it’s the perfect place for all party goers.
4) Visit Dublin, Ireland
Dublin has a great music scene, and you won’t have to go far to enjoy a night of live music. Temple Bar is a great place to start, with loads of pubs and bars you’re guaranteed to stumble upon a local music gem! And for any Thin Lizzy fans, you can pay your music respects to a statue of bassist Phil Lynott (outside Bruxelles, a music bar on Harry Street!)
It would be sacrilege to go to Ireland and not visit the Guinness Factory. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to about the beer, and can enjoy a pint of the stuff in the Gravity Bar which has breath-taking views across Dublin city.
Full of character and charm, with an abundance of attractions and events, Dublin is a wonderful destination for a long weekend.
5) Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
If you can, book your short break in Scotland during the Edinburgh festival. The festival hosts a variety of art exhibitions, gigs & concerts, theatre productions, literature events and just about any other ‘artsy’ thing you can think of. The festival activities begin from mid-June and end at the beginning of September, so around this time the city is buzzing!
If you can’t make it during those months, then not to worry – there are plenty of things going on all year round. A trip to Edinburgh Castle should be on the agenda, as well as a walk up the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills to sit upon Arthur’s Seat. Take a picnic (and perhaps a wee dram of whiskey!) and enjoy the magnificent views of the city.
Talking of whiskey, no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without the Scotch Whiskey Experience Tour. Visit the whiskey shop, and go on an hour long tour to learn all there is to know about the Scot’s tipple of choice.
For dining, Edinburgh has loads of fantastic restaurants to choose from! If you’re feeling flash then Michelin starred restaurant, Castle Terrace is a good choice!
6) Visit Berlin, Germany
Germany’s capital embraces all that is cool, edgy, and fashionable. It’s the ideal location for a party weekend, or for anyone who wants to lose themselves in music, art and beer for a few days!
It also has an incredibly rich culture and is steeped in history, which you can see in the jumbled styles and influences of architecture and monuments. There is no better place to discover all that the city has to offer, than The Reichstag (home of the German Parliament). The glass structured roof offers panoramic views of the city.
If it’s the music scene you’re after, then Berlin has everything you could possibly want. Techno, Drum & Bass, Punk, Pop and Hip-Hop, there’s something for everyone on every-day of the week. And with after parties and day-time clubs, you can literally party ALL weekend!
There’s an abundance of activities and attractions that you can check out during the day too. Walking the Berlin Wall should be at the top of the to-do list; although demolished in 1990, part of the wall has been restored along the southern border of Wedding and Mitte. At Check Point Charlie, there’s a tourist centre where comprehensive display boards tell the wall’s story.
Berlin’s art scene is flourishing, with the Kulturforum housing world-class galleries. The best way to experience the Kulturforum is during the Long Night of the Museums, where you can explore the museums until 2.00am! (Check dates here!)
This is just a snippet of the wonderful things going on in Berlin, it’s a treasure of a city that needs to be visited to be fully appreciated…
7) Visit Rome, Italy
Rome was not built in a day, and you definitely won’t see everything it has to offer in a short weekend. But, throw a coin into the Trevvi Fountain and your return is inevitable! For that first trip begin with an open top bus tour of the city. It’s a great way to see the architecture, and visit the famous attractions without wearing your feet down. The Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Pantheon are just a few monuments of Ancient Rome that you must see.
If yours is a mid-week trip, make sure to visit the Vatican on a Wednesday morning for an audience with the Pope. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s a special occasion that will provide an unforgettable experience. And whilst you’re there, take the opportunity to admire Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and wander through St.Peter’s Basilica.
In the evening you won’t have to go far to experience wonderful food! Rich in flavour and character, Rome is famous for its delicious cuisine. So relax with an authentic Italian Pizza and a bottle of Frascati wine!
8) Visit Barcelona, Spain
When visiting a new city one of the best things to do first is explore its history. So, if you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, we’d suggest going to Museu d’Historia de Barcelona first; here you can explore archaeological remains of the city and learn all about its heritage. However, you don’t need to go to a museum to learn about Barcelona’s architectural delights! You’ll come across many works of Antoni Gaudi in particular, including the famous Sagrada Familia and the beautiful city garden, Guell Park, by just wandering the through the city.
After a day of site seeing, sit down to tasty tapas and an ice cold beer or glass of vermouth in one of Barcelona’s many bars and restaurants. Barcelona also has over 4km of beaches, with plenty of beach bars.
With a vibrant nightlife, a couple of days in Barcelona will have you feeling refreshed and relaxed!
9) Visit London, UK
A diverse and exciting city, a weekend in London is a great option if your time limits mean that an overseas trip is a no-no.
Book a ride on the London Eye, where you can view the stunning skyline, followed by a day visiting top London attractions like Madame Tussauds and the Natural History Museum. In the evening, make the most of the glittering West End and book yourselves a theatre and meal package (there’s lots to choose from at lastminute.com).
With so much to see and do, come the end of your trip you’ll no doubt be exhausted! So book yourself on a relaxing River Cruise along the Thames, sit back and relax.
10) Visit Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is fast becoming the place to go for a short city break. With hip restaurants, bars and galleries popping up throughout the city, and its rich cultural history to explore, there is enough to keep you busy for a few days!
Its wealth of architecture is a feast for the eyes, and as soon as you step foot in the city you’ll get lost in its charm and grandeur. Highlights include the Blue Mosque, an excellent example of classical Ottoman architecture, Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world, and the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest covered markets. There is more than enough to keep you occupied through the day, and at night time the city really comes alive…
For an evening of great food and drink head to Beyoğlu, or relax and unwind at one of the charming tea gardens that can be found in the back streets of Sultanahmet’s Old Town.
For a fantastic guide on how to spend your night in Istanbul (and the best places to get a recovery breakfast!), check out this article from The Guardian
We hope this has given you some inspiration! When you’re ready to book your flights, hotels or trains, head over to Pays to Shop to get cash back on your online purchases.