City breaks are a wonderful way to unveil the true magnificence and character of any metropolis around the world. From charming glimpses of local life to intriguing architecture to some of the planet’s most iconic attractions, there’s much to see, experience and discover. Here is out power-packed list of 20 most interesting European breaks.
Italy’s fashion capital is also known for its illustrious food and drink scene. Apart from a slew of historical structures and swish fashion boutiques, there are hotels catering to every budget. Plus, Milan has done an impressive job of cultivating vertical greenery alongside its swanky skyscrapers. Carry a fat wallet and dozens of cards while shopping at the high end designer stores at Quadrilatero D’Oro district. Budget shopaholics need not be crestfallen! The city houses plenty of high street stores and small boutiques too.
Amsterdam is small and cozy enough to go wherever you feel like wandering by foot or the city’s favorite mode of transport – a bicycle. It can be one of the calmest yet liveliest cities you will ever visit. Take walk down its quaint canals, gardens and bridges or rent a bike for a few days (pretty inexpensive). Admire the beautiful architecture, vibrant nightlife and fascinating instances of a thriving culture of experimentation. The Anne Frank Museum and Rijksmuseum is not to be missed!
A fairy-tale like city with a beach, can it get any better? If you like sand, sunsets and the sea, there’s no better place than this versatile city. Visit the Olympic stadium or Camp Nou. Then there’s the iconic Park Guell and a flourishing café culture Las Ramblas. Heritage buffs woll enjoy a trip to Salvador Dali museum. You can also take a day trip to the Pyrenees. Check out La Barceloneta Beach, which is a short walk from the heart of the city, and is generously sprinkled with chic bars and street performers.
It is easy to understand why the charming Danish Capital always ranks high among the world’s happiest cities. If the modernist buildings and a full-fledged Danish breakfast don’t do the trick, the myriad boutiques and harbor vistas sure will! Boasting of 1,000 years of royal history, Copenhagen houses some of the most exquisite castles. Then there are the art collections, an emerging fashion scene and tons of museums. Don’t miss Tivoli Gardens, the famous Christmas Market and its pristine beaches.
Rome is unbeatable when it comes to history, architecture and heritage. Don’t even get us started with the food, fashion and good-looking men and women! Boasting of a civilization that dates back 3,000 years, there is much to explore here, including the iconic Vatican City, the Coloesseum and a fine array of ancient temples. Don’t miss the heady aroma of fresh coffee waffling throughout the cobbled city lanes that are packed with old-wordly cafes.
The breathtaking Swedish capital is a beautiful cluster of 14 islands connected by bridges, ferries and charming quayside boats. The Royal Palace is the tiara crown on Stockholm’s exquisite landscape. If you want to catch glimpses of the 17th century military glory of the region, visit Vasa. ABBA fans will dig the ABBA Museum that follows the legendary group’s rise to fame.
Yes we love Rome and Milan, but there’s no denying Venice’s subtle charm. What gives it so much character and makes it endearing among several other Roman cities is, the metropolis is built only on waterways. Yes, no pollution and no honking! It has several museums, churches and other structures dating back several centuries. Plus, an impressively emerging modern art scene! You can’t miss the customary gondola ride here. Also, don’t forget Murano Island and Venice’s glass factories.
Spain’s vibrant blue skies and dazzling sunshine translate into plenty of visitors throughout the year. The city has undergone a fabulous makeover during the past few years to appear swankier with its host of new fashion boutiques, eateries, cafes and hip gastro bars. Plus, it houses the continent’s only Michelin star Mexican restaurant. Spend time at Prado or enjoy lazying around at the Botanic Garden adjacent to Buan Retiro Park.
09. St. Petersburg
Though this erstwhile Russian Capital has experienced more war and political intrigue in the past century than any region in Europe, it is a marvelous cultural center. It is dripping with history of course in the form of everything from the Aurora Warship to the Tsar Peter statue to remnants of the Nazi annexure. However, there’s no denying its emerging hip and modern identity. Oh, and we haven’t started with how one of Fifa World Cup 2018’s semis will be hosted at the massive Krestovsky Stadium.
Located a short ride from Vienna, Budapest comprises two distinct cities Buda and Pest, divided by the iconic Danube Bridge, with each region boasting of its own distinct vibe. You can’t leave with trying Budapest’s signature baths that will wipe away all your stress with one clean sweep. Also worth visiting is the Japanese garden and Margaret Island smack in the middle of Danube. It may not be as illustrious as some of its other European counterparts but Budapest does have a few aces up its sleeve that leave you spellbound!
Mozart’s home city is one of the most sought after European mini-break destinations currently. And why not? It has waltz worthy music, lots of languid sightseeing options, a thriving art scene and unlimited cultural topping. Then there are cafes that resemble living rooms of the well-heeled. You can’t visit Vienna and not tuck into a heart piece of cake or sample the local favorite spicy goulash.
Though it houses only about 300,000 residents, Reykjanik can beat several other hotshot European cities hands down when it comes to a distinct character and atmosphere. From feasting of fresh seafood to catching a show at the famous Harpa Concert to going hiking atop its gorgeous mountains, the Icelandic Capital is never short of experiences. Plus, there’s the azure sea and the dazzling Northern Lights. Enjoy a relaxing bath in of the city’s natural spring pools or rent a 4×4 and go on an action-packed adventure.
Europe’s most famous artistic city features canvases of a plethora of artistic maestros such as Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli at the Uffizi Art Gallery. And yes, Florence isn’t just about art. There’s architecture, swanky restaurants and innumerable nightlife options along with high quality craft stores. You may want to walk around the Oltrarno quarter, housing several artisan workshops. Don’t miss hopping around the city’s wine bars or a trip to Mercato Centrale.
Lisbon is a mélange of trams and funiculars that hoot their way through steep, green hills. With the sea in its backyard, the Portuguese Capital will never let you down when it comes to fresh seafood. The erstwhile maritime superpower has transformed into a hip city with boasting of a vibrant nightlife. Shop at the beautiful and sophisticated Belle Epoque street or enjoy a relaxed evening at one of its Art Nouveau coffee shops.
Brimming with medieval castles, striking Old Town ‘wynds’ and the Georgian New Town, Edinburg is one of the planet’s most captivating cities. Yes, it has the famous film festival and the majestic Edinburgh Castle that sits pretty above the city. And then there’s the Royal Mile, a line-up of streets passing ending at the Holyrood Palace. Adventure buffs will have a gala time at the Snowsports Center, which happens to be the United Kingdom’s biggest artificial skiing slope. Take in breathtaking views of Edinburg’s rolling hills as you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing and other adventures.
There’s more to Dublin than Guinness Beer, an ultra famous pub scene and drop dead gorgeous looking folks! It has a dozen Michelin starred eateries, gorgeous museums and a multitude of art galleries. Sip on a stout pint at Temple Bar or head to the Guinness Factory for a sampling tour. The city is endearingly multicultural, so you won’t have trouble communicating in a variety of languages. Oh, the pub crawl!
Prague is considered one of the continent‘s most fascinating city’s and there’s little wonder why. It has hip bars housed inside centuries old structures that have their elegance still intact. Then there are high-end fashion boutiques in the narrow cobbled streets of restored Baroque neighborhoods. Visit the elegant cathedral overlooking the entire city or witness the iconic Babylonian tower. Grab a drink and plonk yourself on one of the city’s lively bars or check out the Charles Bridge Statues. The Czech Capital has several pastel hued structures and quaint homes to enchant even the most discerning travelers. Yes, your Instagram feed will be flooded!
Berlin is a city like no other. It has been divided into two parts by the famous Berlin Wall for close fifty years before crumbling in 1989.Explore the War Memorial, the Reichstag dome, and countless other historic remnants chronicling Berlin’s tryst with war. The river is sparkling gorgeous during summers, while neighborhoods such as Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg come alive with dozens of local bars and clubs post sundown. A city with a glorious past with a rock-solid emerging contemporary identity! Berlin is juxtaposed between its illustrious past and an interesting modern character.
You can’t talk about European city breaks and skip Paris. If it isn’t about getting down on your knees at the dazzlingly lit Eiffel Tower then it is about enjoying a relaxed boat ride with a loved one down the breathtaking Siene. You wouldn’t want to miss a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral or the Louvre Museum (yes, where the famous Mona Lisa sits pretty). Sip on succulent wine at Camembert. Since the city is hosting the 2024 Olympics, a citywide revamp is expected. Yes, it is an experience of a lifetime to dine at the restaurant located inside the Eiffel Tower. Oh, and how about a splendid dinner cruise or a night at the legendary Moulin Rouge.
London is just another overhyped city for someone coming from the United Kingdom. However, for those outside and even within Europe, it is a cultural, art, food and fashion haven. There’s something new and dazzling happening in the British Capital all the time. If isn’t a new Michelin starred restaurant helmed by a celebrity chef, it’s an art gallery or Museum. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to landmarks – London has everything from Buckingham Palace, House of Parliaments, a bevy of high street fashion hotspots (think Oxford Street), Big Ben, London Bridge, Natural History Museum and much more. Catch sweeping views of the city by taking a ride atop the London Eye or catch a West End performance.