I bloody love a city break. If I’ve not got a long-term trip on the cards for a while, which you know happens when you’ve got bills to pay and general adulting to do, I like to have a few long weekends in Europe to sate the wanderlust for a bit.
I mean, when I lived in Australia I realised how lucky I was in the UK, so many amazing cities to explore, right at my doorstep! And with budget airlines about and such cheap package breaks available on the regs, it’d be wrong not to IMO.
Well the fab people over at Expedia are with me on this one and got in touch with me to ask me to share my fave European city breaks. And it seems like just the right time seeing as the two weeks of Summer that we get in the UK is definitely over, so why not get a bit of sunshine in mainland Europe with my pick of the top 5 city breaks to go on? You know, before that Christmas feeling kicks in and we start talking about Christmas markets (for the record this is not even the earliest in the year I’ve thought about Christmas). Ok, here goes.
I visited the edgy city of Amsterdam earlier in the year and completely loved it. Contrary to the idea that this is just a city for partying, Amsterdam is actually a beautiful place with pretty architecture and canals and lots of great restaurants. It is small enough to walk around but big enough to have plenty to do. And it’s so close to home! I visited in the winter but would love to go back in the summer so I can cycle round the city and see it in the sunshine.
I can personally recommend the Heineken Experience and trying the amazing pofferjes mini-pancakes, but if I return in the summer I’m keen to visit the tulip fields and Brouwerijhetij, the windmill brewery!
I was in Prague last month and was surprised at how beautiful it was! I had expected it to be gothic and dark and didn’t expect the colourful houses, lovely park and quirky things to do in this city. You may see the odd stag do or two but don’t let it put you off, there is so much more to Prague.
I would recommend seeing the completely underrated 360 degree view of the city from the Petrin Tower, seeing the colourful John Lennon Wall and obvs you have so get a nutella-filled Trdelnik whilst you’re there. It’s a must.
I went to Berlin last summer on a work trip but I made sure I used every waking hour I wasn’t at work to absorb this amazing city. It’s full of arty types, which you can see in the street art that covers not only the Berlin Wall, but most of the city. Its also full of culture and history, albeit quite a sad one. Still an excellent city break with great restaurants (plus street food in the form of currywurst) and museums to boot.
My fave spots in Berlin are the obligatory Brandenburg Gate, the Charlie Checkpoint museum and exploring the quirky bars in the cool Kreuzberg area. A great self-guided walking tour is to follow the old path of the Berlin Wall and you get to see both the tourist attractions and the real Berlin.
The city of culture, Florence is a really lovely destination with cobbled streets, amazing architecture and lots and lots of museums and galleries! And let’s not forget about the ridiculously good restaurants, honestly I had the bruschetta of my life in Florence. Although I visited in the rain so I REALLY need to go back and experience it in the sunshine!
My top tip is to get there super early if you want to visit the the Uffizi or the Galleria del’Accademia to see the big-time masterpieces because the lines can be up to four hours long! If you’re not too bothered, visit one of the smaller galleries for a more intimate arty experience without the tourists. Also make sure you see the awesome Il Duomo cathedral and try at least 3 flavours of gelato. It’s only right.
I feel like I’m not done with Barcelona. I’ve been twice and still feel like it has so many hidden secrets I need to discover. I mean, it really is the city that has it all – from amazing architecture in the Gothic Quarter to the culture of the Sagrada Familia, and this city even has a drop-dead gorgeous beach. You really can’t complain.
My fave spots are the Gaudi houses of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo which are so cool inside, as well as having a glass of Sangria al fresco in Las Ramblas. My top tip though is to do a cycling tour of Barcelona. You get to see the highlights from a different perspective and you’ve worked off the calories of all of the tapas you’re going to eat later…
There you have it, 5 glorious European destinations for flitting off on a long weekend break before the sunshine runs out. I love them all and I really ought to go back come to think of it… It’s only right…
What do you think of my pick of these amazing city breaks? Have you been? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Total Blogger Transparency: This is a collaborative post with Expedia but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that shorty.