Planning a holiday can be exciting but also stressful. Not only do you have to ensure that you make the best plans, book hotels and flights, and pack a suitcase that has the right belongings, but you also need to find a destination that you are going to love and enjoy. A holiday is the perfect way to spend time exploring a country, new cultures, and create memories, whoever you are travelling with, be it your family, friends, or people you meet along the way. Therefore, to ensure that you and your travel companions experience a trip that is memorable and unique, why not consider visiting and exploring a lesser-known city in a beautiful European country?
Europe is renowned for its beautiful cities full of stunning architecture, picturesque streets, and scenic views. Depending on where you fly to, you can experience a wealth of museums, art galleries, and eateries. You may also be near a beach so that you can soak up the sun during the day and explore the city at night. But how do you decide which city is worth exploring when there are so many European cities to choose from? Read our following guide that is designed to help you decide which European city break is best for you.
What Makes City Breaks Europe so Great?
Europe is full of history, and European cities are brimming with beautiful and unique architecture that is older than certain countries! Visiting Europe and the many different cities scattered throughout the contentment can make for a very colourful experience as European cities are full of festivals, nightlife, and café culture that is sure to impress you. The reasons to travel to Europe are endless as you can experience a myriad of sights, drown yourself in culture, and witness natural beauty.
If you are lucky enough, you may also wish to road trip through Europe. The close proximity of European countries is what makes this continent so unique, and if you have the time and money to drive and travel between countries, this can be a wonderful experience that you will never forget. You may also wish to interrail, which is when you travel from European country to European country via train. This is an exciting way to see Europe as the trains will usually hit all major cities and you can see the scenery as you travel between them.
The Top 10 European City Breaks
While you may wish to know the less well-known cities in Europe, there are a few European cities that are deemed a must-see and are popular for very good reasons. While they may be tourist heavy, here are the top ten European city breaks everyone should try and visit at least once in their life:
- Paris, France
- Rome, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Florence, Italy
- Santorini, Greece
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Budapest, Hungary
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Berlin, Germany
- Naples, Italy
These cities are very popular with tourists, they still have a lot to offer. After all, they are popular for a reason. For instance, Amsterdam is renowned for its elaborate and intricate canal systems and artistic heritage. There is also a lot of history to uncover through walking tours and museums. Also, if you enjoy cycling, then biking around Amsterdam and discovering all the small nooks and crannies this wonderful city has to offer can be a great way to spend your time.
When booking a holiday to a popular destination, however, you will always want to book everything in advance – especially if you are heading there during the busy season. This means booking your hotel or Airbnb, your flights, as well as any tickets to visit museums and art galleries. You should also prepare yourself to have to experience larger crowds.
Unusual City Breaks Europe Ideas
The most popular and tourist-heavy European city breaks are not for everyone, however. So, if you are looking for a city break that is unusual but just as breath-taking as, say, visiting Naples on the Amalfi Coast, this guide is here to help. There are many hidden gems, and you may soon discover that once you have visited them, they will surge in popularity (much like Prague and Budapest). When this happens, you’ll be thankful that you experienced the city while crowds were low.
Italy will forever be a favourite destination for holiday-goers, yet many people will think to visit the big, popular cities like Rome, Florence, and Sorrento. While they’re beautiful and have a lot of culture for you to experience, why not head to a quieter part of Italy? By doing so, you may experience a more authentic Italy and manage to escape the tourist prices, too.
If you are a beach lover, then Calabria is your own personal paradise. This region is filled with rugged mountains, beautiful beaches, and dramatic coastlines that ooze history. You can visit many Italian cities within this region, such as the town of Tropea. You will also want to visit Catanzaro and Reggio Calabria.
Croatia has become a very popular holiday destination due to the hit show Game of Thrones, with many people flocking to Dubrovnik (known for its Old Town located behind tall stone walls) to experience the beautiful coastline and city’s history. Yet, there’s so much more to Croatia than the popular Dubrovnik and well-known city of Split.
Although Zagreb is Croatia’s capital city, not many people tend to visit the city and often end up going elsewhere. However, Zagreb has a lot to offer with its 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture and imposing gothic cathedral. Much like other European cities, there’s a variety of cafes and eateries for you to choose from, as well as an abundance of museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art or the Archaeological Museum. Zagreb is a colourful city, with walls covered in painted murals that have been commissioned by local street artists and a sea of red roofs that spread across the city.
The Best City Break Destinations Europe for Couples
Europe is incredibly romantic, so it comes as no surprise that Europe is a popular choice for couples. But rather than head to Rome, you should consider visiting a less popular destination so that it makes for a much more intimate experience.
Tallinn is Estonia’s capital, and it is also referred to as the country’s cultural hub. Like most European cities, Tallinn has an Old Town that features cobblestones, high walls, and turrets. The Old Town is incredibly enchanting and resembles a place described in a fairy tale, and with its majestic church bell towers and breath-taking courtyards, you’ll be captivated by this town’s gothic beauty.
Once you arrive at Tallinn, head to the viewing platform located on Toompea Hill. Here, you will be able to see the beautiful town in all its glory, being treated to an unobstructed view of the red and orange roof tiles, the harbour, and bell towers. Tallinn is a wonderful escape for couple who wish to add romance to their holiday.
Due to its located of being nestled against the German border, Strasbourg is a French city with numerous German qualities. You will find a mixture of French and German influences in this city’s architecture, food, and even language, making this a beautiful and interesting place to visit. What makes this a romantic place to visit, however? Well, Strasbourg has what seems to be endless half-timbre houses that scream romance when paired with its pretty bridges and cobbled streets. This is a wonderful city to explore while walking hand-in-hand with your loved one.
The Best Lesser-Known Short City Breaks Europe
Perhaps you are after even lesser-known city breaks, the ones that rarely feature in travel guides and blogs. If so, then consider the following destinations.
Brno, Czech Republic
Brno is not overrun by tourists, and for much of the year, there is a large student population that fills the city’s streets. Yet there is much to see when it comes to Brno. If you love wine, then there are plenty of neighbouring vineyards you can explore through tours. Plus, those who love architecture will want to witness the Spilberk Castle and Cathedral tower. For more unusual sights, head to the ossurary below St. James’ Church and see the bones of 50,000 war victims and those who lost their lives to an epidemic.
Unique City Beach Breaks Europe
Are you after a beach holiday but wish to avoid the large crowds that have you fighting for a spot to sunbathe? There are many unheard of and unique beach breaks for you to consider, so you can have a quieter and more secluded holiday.
Although located near the Amalfi Coast, Positano is a stunning coastal town that was a port in medieval times. While Positano fell on hard times and a lot of the town’s population emigrated elsewhere, it does make a lot of revenue from the few tourists who discover this gem. With its rugged coastline and beaches as well as its towering buildings, this is a unique and beautiful place for a wonderful beach vacation.
Europe has a lot to offer yet deciding on the city break that is best suited for you can be difficult. With so many options, how do you whittle it down? And how do you make the most of your holiday, too? The aforementioned destinations will make for a unique holiday experience due to their lack of tourism as you get to explore at a slower and more intimate pace.