Skip to Content

15+ City Breaks in Europe Worth Taking Over a Long Weekend

Last Updated on 31st January 2022 by Sophie Nadeau

Coastal escapes, weekend breaks, and city excursions, there is perhaps no other place in the world where such a variety of countries can be found just a quick plane ride away as there is to be discovered in Europe. Here are 15+ city breaks in Europe you’ll want to take!

Looking for a European weekend escape? Here's your ultimate guide to the best city breaks in Europe that you need to take ASAP!

Antwerp, Belgium

Why you should visit | Antwerp is the city of Rubens, a great introduction to Belgium

Where to stay | Hotel FRANQ

Antwerp is a beautiful city in Northern Belgium, close to the border with the Netherlands. Known around Europe as a busy and bustling port city, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a weekend to getting to know Anvers (as it is so called in French) or Antwerpen (as it is known in Dutch).

Highlights of this architectural city include following in the footsteps of the Flemish artist Rubens, as well as beautiful vistas dating back centuries. For a true bird’s eye view of the city, make sure to head to the impossibly high viewing platform atop the Museum aan de Stroom.

Read more: Hidden gems and secret spots in Antwerp

On the historical trail of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp, Northern Belgium. The final resting place of Rubens, many of the locations he visited and a quick history of the Flemish painter.

Barcelona, Spain 

Why you should visit | Capital city of Catalonia, plenty of incredible Gaudi architecture, Roman ruins, the beach!

Where to Stay | Hotel Catalonia Avinyo 

Best-known for its Gaudi designed fantastical buildings, Barcelona is the capital city of the Catalonia region to the Eastern side of Spain. Home to countless bookshops, coffee shops, and beautiful street views, this is the kind of weekend break that even the most discerning of travellers will love.

What’s more, is that Barcelona is even home to its own beach thanks to its location alongside the Mediterranean sea. Nearby, Barcelona makes for a great base from which to explore the wider Catalonia region. Some of the best day trips from Barcelona include to Girona (a favourite among Game of Thrones fans) and Figueres (home to the Dalí museum).

Read more: A Free & Self-guided Barcelona walking tour

Casa Battló in Barcelona, Spain

Bergamo, Italy

Why you should visit | Hidden gem of Northern Italy, all the food!

Where to stay | Hostaria del Relais San Lorenzo

To the East of Milan, you’ll find a breathtakingly beautiful city characterised by its two-tier city, wonderful architecture, and picture-perfect vistas. Welcome to Bergamo, the hidden gem of Northern Italy. Often overlooked by tourists in favour of nearby Milano, this would be your first mistake when planning a trip to Italy.

After all, Bergamo is home to several ancient churches, an old town to rival that of the most famous small cities in the rest of Europe, and a charm that has since been lost in much of the rest of the region. While in town, be sure to take the vintage funicular all the way up to the Citta Alta, an area of the city filled with bars and home to views over Lombardia…

Read more: A guide to the best things to do in Bergamo

Best things to do in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy: view of Bergamo

Bordeaux, France

Why you should visit | foodie experiences, France’s wine capital

Where to stay | Yndo Hotel

Having rarely ventured to the South West of France for the first twenty years of my life, preferring instead to stay on the beaten tourist track and explore the delights of Paris and Provence instead, I can safely say that I wish that I had made the time to visit more of Nouvelle-Aquitaine much earlier!

Bordeaux is the wine capital of France and this is evidenced by the two museums dedicated purely to wine within the city limits, as well as the historic port. Elsewhere in the city, Roman ruins can be found, remnants of when the city was known as Burdigala.

Read more: How to spend a girls weekend in Bordeaux

Sunrise at Porte Cailhau, A Girls Getaway Weekend in Bordeaux Itinerary. How to spend three days in Bordeaux; what to see, where to go, what to eat, and the best day trips from Bordeaux, South West France

Dublin, Ireland

Why you should visit | Plenty of history, lots of friendly pubs

Where to stay | The Marker Hotel Dublin

Pubs, literary locations, and all the friendly locals: a weekend in Dublin is never a bad idea, no matter what the time of year. Though, if you’re looking for the best of the weather without the crowds that inevitably flock to the Irish capital in the summertime, plan a spring escape or fall break.

Once in the city, be sure to admire the iconic Trinity College Library, which also happens to be home to the medieval manuscript that is the Book of Kells. Also of note is Marsh’s Library, the oldest public library in Ireland, as well as countless historical, art-focused, and archaeological museums.

Read more: How to spend a weekend in Dublin

Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Dusseldorf, Germany

Why you should visit | Beer, a different side to Germany, lots of cycling routes

Where to stay | Hotel Friends

Located along the West Rhine, Düsseldorf might not be the first place that springs to mind when considering a city break in Europe. However, with its ease of access (the airport is on the outskirts of the city and cheap flights there can be found in abundance), centuries worth of history, and an incredible number of microbreweries, if you haven’t marked this Germany city on your map yet, then now is the time to!

Read more: A complete guide to visiting Düsseldorf

rheinturm dusseldorf germany

Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should visit | Literary locations, Harry Potter inspiration

Where to stay | The Balmoral

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh certainly has no shortage of things to do, and even more attractions to see. Easy to visit all year ’round thanks to its many international flight connections to cities across the UK, and the rest of Europe, visit in the winter for the Christmas Markets or in August for the iconic Fringe Festival.

At other times of the year, you can expect to be able to explore all of the hidden gems and secret spots that the Scottish capital has to offer. Aside from being the first UNESCO literary city in the UK, in Edinburgh you can also follow the Harry Potter trail or go vintage shopping!

 Read more: How to spend a weekend in Edinburgh

Dean Village, a pretty hidden gem in Edinburgh, Scotland

Bath, England

Why you should visit | Beautiful architecture, literary connections

Where to stay | Francis Hotel

If you want to experience England of the past and are a fan of all things Jane Austen and period drama related, then you simply must book a trip to Bath. All buttery stone and grand boulevards, this Sotuh West England city may be small, but it offers plenty to discover.

Best seen over the course of the weekend, so as to experience the city’s main attractions, as well as get to know the place on a more local level, some of the best things to do in Bath include walking around the Royal Crescent, enjoying the 19th-century architecture, or visiting all of the independent bookshops this fabulous British city has to offer.

Read more: How to spend a weekend in Bath

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the River Avon With Original Wild: A unique side to seeing Bath, England on the fastest growing adventure sports board in the UK

Gothenburg, Sweden

Why you should visit | Foodie scene, ease of access to the Swedish west coast

Where to stay | Clarion Hotel Post

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Sweden for the first time recently, and safe to say I’m already planning my return! When many people think of the Nordic countries, they often imagine the great Fjords of Norway or the coffee culture that is so synonymous with Copenhagen.

However, if you haven’t yet considered a European city break to Gothenburg, then I highly urge you to reconsider. As the second largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg is home to plenty of museums, a wonderful coffee culture, and the Gothenburg foodie scene to discover is sure to surprise and delight you in equal measure.

Read more: A foodie guide to Gothenburg

Feskekorka, Water's Edge, (Fish Church), Gothenburg, Sweden

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Why you should visit | Hidden gem of Europe, a picturesque old town, easy to visit nearby castles

Where to stay | Hôtel le Royal

Tucked away in a landlocked country in the heart of Europe, the capital city of Luxembourg is a hidden gem just waiting to be uncovered. The perfect European weekend break destination thanks to easy transport links to the rest of the continent, the city is home to a plethora of historical attractions, stunning viewpoints, and some pretty delicious eateries!

If you have a little more time while in the city during one of the best city breaks in Europe, be sure to take at least one day trip from Luxembourg. After all, the tiny size and great transport links within the country of Luxembourg mean that you can easily get from North to South in a mere couple of hours.

Read more: How to spend a long weekend in Luxembourg

ducal palace, Luxembourg: Best Castles in Luxembourg

Paris, France

Why you should visit | All the history, plenty of quirky locations, easy destination from which to explore the rest of France

Where to stay | Hotel Fabric

Of course, no article about the best city breaks in Europe would be complete without a nod to the capital city to top them all, that of Paris, France. So whether you want to eat your weight in French pastries in the ever-so-trendy Le Marais district of the city, or follow in the footsteps of artists past in Montmartre, Paris has you covered.

Some of the best things to experience on a weekend break to the French capital include a self-guided walking tour of the Latin Quarter, an exploration of all of the independent bookshops dotted across the city, or a step back in time in one of Paris’ most historic areas, the island of Ile de la Cité.

Read more: How to spend a long weekend in Paris

Secret Spots in Ile de la Cite & A Complete Guide to the best of unusual, offbeat, hidden, and quirky things to do in the 1st and 4th arrondissements in Paris, France

Porto, Portugal

Why you should visit | Hidden gem of Europe, plenty of stunning architecture

Where to stay | Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace

Located in Northern Portugal, Porto is one of the largest cities in Portugal (second only to the capital city of Lisbon). Other than ornately tiled façades and stunning views onto the River Douro, some of the best highlights of this stunning city include a historic old town, Port wine tasting opportunities, and Livraria Lello, a stunning bookshop that’s alleged to have inspired a room in the Harry Potter wizarding series.

Read more: The most breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in Northern Portugal

The historic city centre of Porto

Prague, Czechia

Why you should visit | Wonderful architecture, fantastic foodie experiences, great beer!

Where to stay | Aria Hotel Prague

As the capital city of the Czech Republic, it should come as no surprise that Prague (or Praha as it is known locally) is absolutely packed with exciting things to see and do. Thanks to the compact nature of the city and the fact that many of the main attractions are located close to one another (especially in the Old Town part of Prague), the city is best explored on foot!

And that’s not the only reason that Prague is one of the best city breaks in Europe! Instead, there are plenty of reasonably priced places to stay, a ‘Castle District’ that’s complete with fortifications, a cathedral, and wonderful panoramic views, and some of the best beer to be found anywhere in Europe!

Read more: How to visit Prague Astronomical Clock

How to Visit Prague Astronomical Clock, Czech Republic

The Hague, The Netherlands

Why you should visit | Unexpected Dutch city, easy base from which to explore the rest of Holland

Where to stay | Hotel des Indes

What many people don’t realise when they first book a trip to The Hague, is that there are two parts to the city. Yes, there’s the towering skyscrapers in amidst the older hofjes and cobbled lanes, but there’s also a beautiful sandy beach to be explored in the form of Scheveningen.

Due to ease of public transport in the city, as well as The Netherlands as a whole, The Hague is also a great place in which to base yourself for exploring the rest of the country. After all, the university city of Leiden, the ceramic city of Delft, and even the capital city of Amsterdam are all within a half hour train ride away.

Read more: Where to eat vegan and vegetarian in The Hague

Riding the Ferris Wheel de Pier in Scheveningen at Sunset, The Hague, the Netherlands. Here’s why you must visit the popular seaside resort of The Hague

Verona, Italy

Why you should visit | City of love, Romeo and Juliet, beautiful architecture

Where to stay | Hotel Due Torri

Ah, Verona. Could a European city break get more romantic than the city of Romeo and Juliet themselves? Most famous as being the location where William Shakespeare set his world-famous play all those centuries ago, today Verona is home to plenty of Roman history, lots of foodie experiences, and many cobbled lanes.

If you are are a fan of one of the more epic love stories of all time, then be sure to head to the ‘Casa di Giulietta’. Though it’s now known that the balcony was added as a tourist addition to the Medieval house during the 1930s, there’s something still so charming about the way lovers flock here come rain or shine for a glimpse of the ‘star-crossed lover’s’ location…

Read more: Searching for the real life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Verona River

Zurich, Switzerland

Why you should visit | The architecture, a great solo travel destination

Where to stay | The Dolder Grand

Though visiting Switzerland is a little more on the expensive side of things, thanks to its wonderful architecture, number of museums, and friendly locals, Zurich more than deserves its place on the list for the best city breaks in Europe.

Some of the best ways to explore the city over the course of a weekend include admiring the 12th-century Cathedral (known locally as the Grossmünster), exploring the many art museums the Swiss city has to offer, and taking yourself on a day excursion from the city to a nearby fairytale town.

Read more: How to spend 72 hours in Switzerland

zurich switzerland

Enjoyed reading about the best city breaks in Europe? Pin it now, read it again later:

European getaways: looking for the best weekend escapes in Europe? Here's your guide to the best cities and destinations to visit in Europe
City Breaks in Europe You’ll Want to Take. Weekend breaks and short city excursions in Europe you'll love: Zurich, Verona, Bath, Anvers, Paris, and more!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.