Europe is the second smallest continent of all, just after Australia. But when it comes to diversity, history, and city breaks, the region beguiles visitors. Europe is flush with bustling urban life, which is, however, nearby scenic escapes. If a relaxing holiday doesn’t strike your fancy, we have a city for every type of city break. Are you ready to soak in European city vibes?
Boarding a plane spontaneously for a city break can be expensive. But there are ways to travel cheaply. Apart from following some practical tips on how to travel on a budget, choosing an affordable destination will save you a lot on accommodation, food, and entertainment. But which cities are gentler on your budget?
Budapest is home to stunning architectural wonders with many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Besides the culture, you can pamper yourself in the city’s thermal baths, before jumping from one ruin pub to another for the rest of the evening. What are ruin pubs, we hear you ask. They are old, unused buildings transformed into unique pubs with history and personality.
Bulgaria may be better known as a winter destination for affordable skiing, but its capital city Sofia, has a lot to offer in the summer. What locals love the most during the snow-free months are their parks and public gardens. Outdoor events such as open-air cinemas, concerts, and street markets can keep you busy for most of the day, and they are usually free of charge.
Romanticism and Europe immediately bring one city in our mind: Paris, the City of Love. If you haven’t been to Paris yet, and you are seeking a place to enjoy your love, it’s a must-go. Strolling along Montmartre, wandering in the Palace of Versailles, picnicking with fresh pastries in the City Park, and leaving your mark on the Wall of Love.
Vienna is incomparably romantic with its imperial palaces, promenades along the Vienna Danube river, and traditional Viennese coffee houses. The city is ideal if you want to walk around holding hands, while time travelling into the past. These are the streets that Mozart and Beethoven have roamed.
Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance, goes all out for a romantic city break. You can spend hours on the banks of river Arno winding through the city, and flowing under Ponte Vecchio bridge. Celebrate love in the city’s cobbled streets or on the top of Duomo dome, overlooking the terracotta rooftops. Stroll through the Boboli Gardens, and sit for aperitivo or dinner at the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. Catch the best sunset from atop Piazzale Michelangelo.
If you are looking for an offbeat destination, brimming with local culture, Europe has plenty. Even though your friends may raise their eyebrows over your decision, you have good reasons to stick to it.
Besides being one of the best-value destinations, Belgrade is a beautiful city at the confluence of Danube and Sava rivers. On a sunny day, head to Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade’s forested seaside on the south bank of Sava river. Cross the river, and step into Zemun, which used to be a different city, but it’s now a district of Belgrade. Among others, Zemum boasts possibly the best nightlife in the whole Balkans.
Gothenburg, even though smaller and quieter than Stockholm, doesn’t luck the lively and vivacious vibes of the capital Nordic cities. Haga is the oldest district in Gothenburg and the place where the cool kids hang out. In this hipster area with all the independent cafés and boutiques, you will be spoiled for choice.
Perugia, built on a hilltop overlooking the Umbrian countryside, is one of Italy’s well-hidden secrets. The city is like an open-air museum, and the vibrant community of university students balances the past with the present. The city center’s steps, cobbled streets, and arches invite you to an authentic medieval experience. Plus, from Perugia, it’s effortless to visit Rome and Florence.
Travelling is a party anyway, but some cities can help you exaggerate fun. Amsterdam’s clubbing scene is vast. It couldn’t be otherwise considering that the Netherlands is the country of Tiësto and Armin van Buuren. Not to say that other types of music aren’t available, but electronic music is bigger than the rest. Check out the Amsterdam Dance Event in October for five days and nights of over 1000 events of electronic music.
Berlin offers pretty much anything you are looking for when it comes to night entertainment. The city doesn’t stop, and beer flows in abundance. What more can you ask for? After a crazy party night, get your energy back at Badeschiff (“bathing ship”) swimming pool. Swim in a cargo container floating on river Spree, chill on the lounges, and enjoy the views of the city. Note that you may end up partying again, as the pool is a common location for festivals and beach parties.
Adventure doesn’t necessarily mean putting your life at risk. An adventure can be getting out of your comfort zone, exploring new things, and interacting with new people. If you love surfing, head to Lisbon, and precisely to Praia de Carcavelos for a great experience. Lisbon enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate throughout the year. However, keep in mind that Lisbon lies on the Atlantic Ocean, and water temperatures can be chilly.
If you are a mountaineer, don’t let the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, slip under your radar. The city offers views to the mountains, which you can conquer by skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and rafting.
Are you torn between a city break and a beach holiday? Who said you couldn’t have both? Many European cities offer the hustle and bustle of urban life alongside stretches of sand and crashing waves.
You don’t have to embark on a ferry and sail on the Aegean Sea to enjoy the beauty of the Greek coast. A short drive away from the city center of Athens, and you are in the Athenian Riviera. From yacht-filled marinas and seaside bars and restaurants to palm trees and sandy beaches, the south suburbs of Athens luxuriate in blue skies and sparkling sea.
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Barcelona’s Barceloneta neighborhood offers everything you want from a city break with a beach element. Yes, it is busy, but don’t let the sea views deceive you — you haven’t left the city after all. Here, you can find fresh seafood, tapas bars, street entertainment, and even quieter picnic spots such as the Nova Icària Beach.
The image of cold Reykjavík may not be the first to pop into your mind when thinking of a beach. But with almost 24 hours of daylight during summer, the capital city of Iceland is a fulfilling beach destination. Nauthólsvík beach is a constructed lagoon where the cold sea meets geothermal water fuse resulting in higher water temperatures. Here, you can undertake recreational activities such as swimming and sailing in fairly high temperatures.
Before packing your bags and heading to a European city for your next city break, chat with our locals. Our family of locals has tons of original travel experiences for you, beyond the regular travel guide.
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