In search of the best European city breaks? Sometimes a short break is an ideal way to add travel into your busy schedule. Indeed, Europe is home to some of the most historic and charming cities on earth. From spectacular architecture to award-winning museums and ancient archaeological sites, a city break to Europe is the perfect excuse to indulge your interests. So, are you still deciding on the best European city breaks to put on your wishlist? Read on to discover our top picks for history and culture lovers, foodies and budget travellers alike!
Best European city breaks for history lovers
There’s no better destination for a short European break than Florence if you’re into history or art. The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, this city is bursting at the seams with incredible architecture and historic monuments. Trace the genius engineering of Brunelleschi at the Duomo Cathedral, marvel at the legendary works of Michelangelo at the Galleria dell’Accademia or admire the beauty of Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus” at the Uffizi Gallery. Furthermore, the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so simply strolling along its medieval streets is a captivating experience in itself.
When it comes to European city breaks, Athens is an excellent choice if you’re a history buff. Anyone with even the slightest interest in Ancient Greece will relish the chance to travel to Athens. Of course, visiting the Acropolis is a highlight. Home to the Parthenon, the Acropolis was at the heart of the Ancient Greek city and remains an emblem of Athens today. Sightseeing at the Acropolis Museum is another must-do, home to an array of priceless artefacts from the Hellenistic world. Furthermore, the marble Panathenaic Stadium and Ancient Agora of Athens are sure to transport you back to the city’s heyday as the centre of the Greek world.
Best European city breaks for foodies
Undoubtedly, Portugal is up there with the best when it comes to foodie destinations. Fresh seafood, mouth-watering pastries and authentic Mediterranean flavours ensure your tastebuds are well catered for. Whilst you’ll find great food across the country, Porto is a wise choice for a Euro city break thanks to its most famous export: port wine. The cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia are world-renowned for their full-bodied wines and visiting Porto is the perfect excuse to explore this Portuguese tipple for yourself! Book a cellar tour and tasting session to sample the wide varieties of port wine and then hit the city centre to dive into Porto’s eclectic restaurant scene. You won’t be disappointed!
This European hub is foodie heaven. One of the best European city breaks for great eats, Brussels offers more than just waffles and fries. Along with indulgent Belgian chocolate and world-famous beers, Brussels is a multi-cultural city, and this shines through in its foodie scene. Eat your way around this city and you’ll find flavours from around the world represented in the city’s restaurants and cafes. One thing Brussels offers in abundance is sweet treats. From delicate sugar-coated crepes to a high-end French patisserie, if you have a sweet tooth you’re in the right place! On the other hand, Brussels boasts incredible museums, galleries and a charming historic centre. All-in-all a fantastic destination for a short European city break!
Best European city breaks on a budget
With an immaculately preserved medieval old town and postcard-pretty architecture, Krakow is one of the best destinations for a European city break. The best part? It’s also extremely wallet-friendly. If you avoid the crowded tourist eateries, you can easily enjoy a full meal with a refreshing pint of Polish pilsner for less than the cost of two barista coffees back home! The currency here is the zloty, and a little goes a long way! Furthermore, sightseeing is top-notch, with highlights including the Market Square, Wawel Castle & Grounds and the old Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz.
Have you visited the Baltic States yet? Well, Vilnius is a great place to begin your discovery of this region and it’s one of the most budget-friendly European cities. Renowned for its medieval old town and Baroque architecture, the Lithuanian capital is well worth a visit. There are plenty of things to do here to fill a long weekend, from walking tours to exploring the trendy ‘independent’ neighbourhood of Uzupis, filled with street art and artists’ studios. Like Krakow, Vilnius is also home to a historic Jewish quarter and several excellent museums. Furthermore, eating out is incredibly affordable and accommodation is also wallet-friendly. A stay in Vilnius is often included in multi-city European vacation packages.
Best European city breaks for culture
When it comes to experiencing Irish culture, Dublin is an excellent city break to consider. With countless pubs hosting near-constant live music performances, it’s a haven for music lovers. Listen to authentic Irish ‘trad’, taste Guinness in its birthplace and experience the warm Irish hospitality this country is famous for! It won’t take long before you’re enjoying the ‘craic’ with the locals or delving into the city’s literary heritage at Trinity College Library. Plus, Dublin’s cultural calendar is packed with events, from music festivals to the incredible St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Architecture lovers will relish the chance to explore Barcelona! Famously, this regional capital is home to the architecture of Gaudi, including his mesmerising Park Guell and Sagrada Familia. But, this city’s artistic heritage doesn’t stop there. In fact, throughout Barcelona, you’ll encounter an array of prestigious galleries, from the contemporary MACBA to the popular Picasso Museum. On the other hand, Barcelona is a place where you can experience authentic Catalan culture. Go tapas bar-hopping, watch the locals form human towers at Gracia Festival and join in the summer street fiestas. If you’re in search of one of the coolest cities in Europe, Barcelona ticks all the boxes!
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