Europe is home to so many beautiful cities, each one vibrant, fresh, and dynamic. They each have something amazing and unique about them, yet they are close enough to home and to each other to make it worth visiting for a weekend getaway or a longer escape.
As a continent, Europe covers both snow-capped mountains and hot beaches, so there is something for everyone, closer than you think.
Choosing the perfect city break in Europe
When you are choosing the perfect city break in Europe, you should consider what you want to do, what you want to see, and what you are looking to get out of the experience before you get booking. Some things to consider that make European city breaks so wonderful include:
- Beautiful architecture, buildings steeped in history.
- Stunning surroundings of verdant hills or glorious oceans
- Exciting nightlife, parties, casinos, and dancing the night away
- Delicious restaurants featuring local specialities and Michelin-star chefs
- Unique experiences steeped in culture
- Romantic getaways exploring somewhere completely new
Let’s look at some of the best destinations for a weekend city break in Europe.
Straddling the Danube River, Budapest really is a city of two halves. On the Buda side, you’ll find calm and peaceful streets, the Matthias Church and the royal palace, and the Ottoman-era thermal baths. On the Pest side is where the city’s vibrant and lively surroundings include the majestic Parliament buildings, the renovated Jewish quarter, and a huge number of museums full of historic and cultural treasures.
Festivals take place throughout the year, celebrating Hungarian culture, while you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to other forms of entertainment like sports events and theatre performances. Take a beat and relax at Margaret Island, which is the ‘green heart’ of the city, before heading for a restaurant and sampling the local cuisine or grabbing some traditional street food.
Known as the art and history capital of the world, Florence is literally bursting with culture. From becoming the hub of the avant-garde back in the latter half of the twentieth century, Florence has blossomed into a place where you’ll find sumptuous art everywhere you look – from the basilicas, cathedrals and lavish palaces to the art galleries and the museums.
Choose a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and enjoy cocktails at sunset with the most stunning views or visit one of the many charming trattorias to sample some traditional Italian food with a welcoming ambience.
Of course, with such a stellar reputation for the arts, the city of Florence is a must for any cultural traveller, but it is a perfect destination for a romantic escape, especially if you want to eat at one of the designer restaurants.
Often voted as the friendliest cities in the world, it is no surprise that Dublin makes it onto the list as a city that you must see to believe.
The narrow streets are packed with history, from the Georgian architecture to St. Patricks Cathedral – the largest in Europe – and, of course, Dublin Castle.
Visitors to the city can wander into any of the local pubs for a warm welcome from down-to-earth people, share the craic and have a pint of Guinness, and join in with some singing and dancing.
Of course, with such a rich culture and history, Dublin is also a place to go to learn more about Celtic history and the Gaelic way of life, with legends and stories told about historical figures and pagan gods and goddesses.
Take a stroll across Dublin Bay for the chance to see surprising wildlife or settle down for dinner in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants for a bite to eat.
The nightlife in Dublin is a big deal – you can dance, you can drink, and you can visit a casino – although regulations are tight here, so you might be better off going online while you are visiting. The Irish love playing online casinos with the market booming here, locals and tourists can head to one of the many online casino sites that offer slots, poker games, roulette and many more exciting games.
Vienna is the home of elegance, and the birthplace of the waltz – so it is no surprise that visitors to the city are greeted with stunning baroque streets and beautiful palaces.
As the birthplace of Johann Strauss and the home to so many of his contemporaries, music and dancing is an important part of the culture, with symphony orchestras putting on performances. Tourists can take advantage of this love of music – where better to learn how to dance the waltz than in Vienna? Museums and art galleries abound, and the stunning vista of the city is dominated by the famous St. Stephens Cathedral, which has a presence and gravitas that really suits the refined beauty and rich glamour of Vienna.
The cobbled streets are lined with unique coffee shops, and the confectioners in Vienna are second-to-none – but for the gourmand, Vienna is the home of the biggest culinary event in Europe.
For sunseekers and culture vultures alike, Porto is a destination city that inspires and challenges in equal measure. Whether you are visiting to lounge on the beaches of the river Douro, or you want to visit the verdant hillsides for a wine tour, Porto is made for utter relaxation.
The architecture here is stunning, with a combination of modern bridges and historical buildings, including the Palacio Da Bolsa and Se Catedral. Scattered throughout are tumbling tropical gardens and quirky shops, hidden round the corners of labyrinthine streets.
Porto is a feast for the mind and relaxation for the soul, whether you are looking for a traditional cultural visit or want to get in to one of the many bohemian bars.