According to the Telegraph short breaks make people happier than one long holiday, and with two bank holidays in the month of May, it is the ideal opportunity to take advantage of the longer weekends and plan a quick trip abroad. We thought we would take a look at a selection of European city breaks ideal for the forthcoming bank holidays.
One of the most popular choices for a city break is Paris with its stunning architecture, amazing food, world famous art and museums. Visit the magnificent 300m high Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur church, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame or take a cruise on the Bateau Mouche along the Seine. For art lovers there is The Louvre, home to Leonardo daVinci’s Mona Lisa, the Picasso Museum and the Musee de l’Orangerie. Taste some of the exquisite French delicacies in the many restaurants or with some of the biggest names in fashions located in Paris, do a spot of shopping.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia in Spain and the country’s second largest city. Located on the Mediterranean and surrounded by hills, Barcelona is a vibrant city offering golden beaches and Catalonian culture and cuisine. As a lot of the buildings date back to medieval times, Barcelona has many historical landmarks which are worth a visit; Sagrada Familia church, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Columbus Monument and the many architectural masterpieces of Gaudi. Port Vell is the bustling harbour of Barcelona and Port Olympic is the home to some of the most beautiful beaches. Short half day trips to the magnificent Montserrat mountains are also worth a visit.
Rome, the historic capital of Italy is still a firm favourite with tourists. This beautiful city with its ancient history is visited by millions year after year. Famous for its Roman heritage, the magnificent towering structure of the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Forum are all places you should visit. The Vatican, the centre of the Catholic Church is another attraction not to be missed along with St Peter’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel, the Pope’s official private chapel, which hosts a number of paintings including Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Don’t forget to drop a coin in the Trevi Fountain or grab an espresso at the many cafes.
Prague, a thriving modern city, is the capital of the Czech Republic. Since the fall of communism over 20 years ago Prague has become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. It is packed with beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and traditional culture. Prague’s principle cathedral the St Vitus or Prague Castle, the largest castle in the world is definitely worth a visit, as is the Astronomical Clock that has chimed since 1410. Stroll along the famous Charles Bridge or for art, music and feasting take a walk to the Old Town, the Josefov. Visit one of Prague’s many museums including the Museum of Communism and the Mozart Museum, take a cruise down the River Vltava or take an educational day trip to the Terezin concentration camp.
Amsterdam, one of the smallest cities in the world, is relaxed and friendly attracting millions of visitors each year. With its gothic and art decor architecture and network of canals it is the perfect place for a weekend away. For the art lovers visit Rembrandt’s house, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum or to learn more about the city’s history go to Anne Frank’s house. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam, the Koninklijk Paleis, is situated on Dom Square, dominates the city centre and is open to the public most of the year. After exploring the city’s many museums, relax onboard a boat on one of Amsterdam’s elegant canals or take a trip to one of the city’s urban beaches. And at the end of the day enjoy Amsterdam’s vibrant night life with many live music jazz bars, casinos and trendy clubs to visit.
Dublin is one of the most accessible cities from the UK and it makes a great destination for a long weekend break. It is the capital and largest city of Ireland and was founded as a Viking settlement in the 10th century. Dublin is a buzzing city and offers a weekend of history, culture and all with a party atmosphere. Walk the halls of the world-renowned Trinity College, see The Book of Kells, and visit Dublin Castle or the Guinness Storehouse, home to one of the world’s most famous drink. Enjoy some of the Celtic’s amazing nightlife in Temple Bar, take a boat trip along the River Liffey or take a short day trip out to the stunning coastline of County Wicklow.
Berlin, a once divided capital city, has long been a favourite amongst tourists and has something for everyone with a wealth of history, culture and bustling nightlife. A multicultural cosmopolitan city famed today for its creative industry. Berlin has numerous museums and monuments of its past to visit including the Berlin Wall memorial and Checkpoint Charlie, the east west border control of the Cold War. Take in a panoramic view of the city from the the Reichstag building, the former houses of parliament for the German government, visit the Berlin Cathedral for a mix of architectural style of Renaissance and Gothic or take a trip to Museum Island. Berlin is one of the greenest cities in Europe with numerous parks, forests, lakes and gardens. The beautiful Botanischer Gardens or the Volkspark Friedrichshain, the oldest park in the city, are both worth a visit. Or just relax and enjoy the German way of life in the public squares packed with bars and cafes.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and home to Ikea has become incredibly popular as a weekend destination in recent years. Stockholm is a beautiful green city made up of 14 small islands. The picturesque historic Old Town (Gamla Stan) is the oldest part of Stockholm where you will find museums, galleries, churches, antique shops and boutiques. You will also see the baroque style Royal Palace which is the largest palace in Europe. One of Stockholm’s greenest and most interesting islands is Djurgarden which provides an oasis of calm near the city centre and is where the Swedish Royal family once hunted. There are numerous museums to visit including the Museum of Medieval Stockholm, the Vasa Museum and the Abba Museum, a must for all Abba fans! You can explore the city’s entire archipelago by boat or just relax in some of the funky bars and sample some of the local lingonberry and meatball dishes.
So recharge your batteries by booking that short city break and make sure you book your meet and greet parking to save time at the airport so you can make the most of your long weekend. And don't forget even the parking for your short break counts towards your free park so make sure you have registered with us to on our loyalty scheme.
By Sarah Anglim at 27 Apr 2015