If the buzz of a heady town centre lures you in more than rolling hills and roaring fires, a city break in Europe might be just what you need. The continent has a city for everyone – and with so much going on in each, you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Two days in a European capital can make twice as many memories than a fortnight on the beach, plus you can go whatever the weather. We’ve done the edit for you – so dive into these exceptional city breaks in Europe…
Don’t gloss over this historic city for Dublin: you can get a big dose of the country’s culture without the tourist swarms in Limerick. Handsome and lively, the postcard highlights of the Shannon river, jaw-dropping castles, and elegant Georgian architecture are sewn together on a simple stroll through this Irish gem. In between art galleries and foodie hotspots, stop off for a spa treatment at No.1 Pery Square Hotel & Spa. Overlooking the tree-lined People’s Park in the Georgian Quarter, it’s also the perfect place to stay for a glam city break in Europe.
There’s no better way to really get under Norway’s skin than booking a trip to Bergen. Get straight to the spirit of things at the famous Fish Market in Bryggen. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a bright blend of narrow alleyways filled with cafes, restaurants and unique crafty shops. You could easily while away a weekend here, but there’s still the Fløibanen Funicular to ride, the Hanseatic Museum to pace and the Bergenhus Fortress to snap photos of. Let Bergen’s most fashionable hotel swaddle you in luxury for a night or two: Hotel Bergen Børs looks right over the Bryggen, so you’re quite literally in the heart of the
Famed for harbouring some of the best quality of life in the world, this Swiss city gets to work on your soul the moment you arrive. Perched at the north end of Lake Zurich, there’s a sparkling air to the promenades and walkways around the city. Take a Saturday mooch around Swiss and international works at the incredible Museum of Art. You’re in good company – Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt, to name a few. Get lost in Altstadt (Old Town), eat lunch under the lime trees in Lindenhof, and rejuvenate your strolled-out limbs by sinking into a plush bed at 600-year-old Marktgasse Hotel.
Medieval at heart, the Welsh capital is a compact hilltop delight – perfect for a weekend city break in Europe. Ancient forts shine out with more old-world majesty in contrast to the steroid-pumped 21st-century architecture. Park yourself at a table in one of the city’s stunning fish restaurants, perch on the stool of a swanky bar or pull up a pew at the Llandaff Cathedral for a moment of still. Close to Cardiff is the luxuriously eccentric Holm House – a country-home-cum-townhouse in the picturesque Victorian resort of Penarth. Expect freestanding copper baths and full-on sea views.
Everyone’s talking about Stockholm. It’s an astonishing city, with everything you’d need from a city break in Europe. Snatch as many delicious morsels as you can roaming the old pastel-hued streets of Gamla stan, dodge through all 14 islands on a boat trip through the Swedish capital, stop off at the royal family’s palace, and squeeze in a work of art in galleries, underground and among the bookshelves of literary-heaven – the National Library of Sweden. Round off each day with a stay in the idyllic Villa Källhagen: 10 minutes from the city’s pulsating hub in a world of exceptional greenery, sunlight and riverside vistas.