7 of the best European city breaks

7 of the best European city breaks

Whether you’re looking to soak up some local culture or simply want to find the world’s greatest watering hole, city breaks give you a snapshot of a country. Perhaps you’re after an extension to a river cruise, a whistle-stop weekend or a lengthier city stay, the beauty of Europe’s cities provides opportunities galore for a city break. Some are rich with cultural splendour, others delicious food scenes and lively boulevards. Here’s our pick of 7 of the best potentials for a European city break.

1. Paris, France

Paris is one of Europe (and the world's) most beautiful cities. Boasting radiant sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees, there is nowhere quite as photogenic as Paris. Behind the iconic monuments, vibrant districts and lavish palaces, travellers can also discover cosy courtyards and gardens, food markets and cafés. Getting lost in Paris is half the fun and the only real way to explore the city. 
Paris, France

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a compact city, divided by a picturesque river and linked by stone bridges. Prague is dubbed the City of a Hundred Spires. Its superb skyline is sprinkled with medieval church turrets, while its streets are dotted with remarkable Gothic and baroque architecture. Inside the old town, you will find a maze of lanes and courtyards, microbreweries, grand cafés and chocolate-box houses. 
Prague, Czech Republic

3. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest has been known to lightly sweep people off their feet with its lavish architectural and historical vibe. The city has an unmatched mishmash of cultural and heritage sites, a vibrant foodie scene and thermal waters to wind down in after a day of exploration. Separated in two by the Danube, the city is made up of Buda on one side and Pest on the other. Buda is where travellers can find the popular thermal baths at the foot of Gellért Hill, the royal palace and Matthias Church. In Pest, where most of the action happens, you will find a lively scene of museums, Art Nouveau architecture, the iconic Parliament building, Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the Jewish Quarter and Palace District. Budapest has a highly developed cultural scene. You can find immense murals, quirky bars and world-class festivals. Margaret Island is the city’s green heart and considered by many to be one of Europe’s best city parks. It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing wander. 
Budapest, Hungary

4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sparkly waterways, abundant bicycles and bustling pedestrian streets, Amsterdam is postcard perfect. Along with small-city feels, the Dutch capital is equally cosmopolitan. The maze-like canals, drawbridges, townhouses and open green spaces create a great atmosphere for exploring. It’s a glowing city all lit up at night too. This is a city that, somehow, manages to entwine thought-provoking landmarks, such as Anne Frank House, with some of Europe’s best watering holes – perfect for those who want to balance culture with a hint of quirkiness on their city break.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5. Lisbon, Portugal

A visit to Lisbon will acquaint you with the simple charm and seafaring magic of Portugal’s capital. Set on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, this sun-kissed, hilly coastal capital with pastel-coloured buildings has an enchanting fairy-tale charm. Get around on century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that rumble their way through the city’s steep hills. Experience the former heritage in the Baixa district, where you can wander through the traditional herbalists, haberdashers and tailors. 
Lisbon, Portugal

6. Madrid, Spain

Madrid has undergone a transformation in the last couple of years. The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums have all undergone renovations, while the city centre is beautifying with new boutiques, delis, cafés and bars popping up all over. What the Spanish capital lacks in impressive monuments, it makes up for with an enthusiastic energy. Each of the city’s barrios has its own distinct character including art and architecture, antiques and vintage fashion and flea markets. There are family-run tapas bars and excellent Michelin-starred restaurants. Madrid offers the perfect culture-rich city break with delicious food and a lively atmosphere.
Madrid, Spain

7. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is the perfect destination for lovers and is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. One of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, Bruges is romantic with canals, cobblestone streets and gabled houses. You can wander from one side of the centre to the other in half an hour. And it's packed with museums, quality restaurants, moody bars and cafés, and delectable chocolate shops. If you love chocolate, Bruges is the city break for you with around 47 resident chocolate makers.
Bruges, Belgium
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