Discover golden beaches, Gaudi’s masterpieces, Catalan cuisine, buzzing bars and an atmospheric gothic quarter on city breaks to Barcelona. Explore the serenity of Park Guell and the surrealism of Gaudi’s architecture before strolling around ancient alleyways filled with medieval relics in Barri Gotic. Relax on the golden sands of Barceloneta Beach and explore the bustling promenade up to Olympic Port. A short trip out of the city, you’ll find the charming seaside town of Sitges and the magnificent Montserrat mountain range. After sunset you can sample the best of Catalan cuisine in Barcelona’s tapas bars and show your moves in the city’s pulsating jazz and salsa clubs.
Combine Roman antiquities, great museums, fine restaurants and buzzing bars for the perfect city break to Rome.
Discover an ancient world in the Eternal City of Rome. Visit the gladiatorial arena of The Colosseum, a 2000-year-old temple known as The Pantheon; and the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. See Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel; explore the boutiques, artisan workshops and traditional restaurants in the medieval neighbourhood of Monti or head out of the Vatican’s borders to check out the high-end shops and smart squares in Prati.
Best known for its colourful vintage trams and coastal hills lined with pastel-tinted houses, Portugal’s capital offers plenty for a relaxing city break. Dance the night away in one of its traditional ‘Fado’ music houses, explore designer shops, or take in the spectacular historical sites and sea views, most notably, the ancient clifftop castle of São Jorge. Lisbon is also blessed with a collection of nearby sandy beaches, most of which are just a short train away, including the surfing beach of Carcavelos, and the blue-flag Tamariz beach, popular for its calm waters.
City of Love and a mecca for art lovers, Paris is one of the most elegant places on Earth.
Boasting icons such as the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe, whether you come to shop, eat, wander around or simply muse, there's nowhere quite like Paris in Springtime, or for that matter summer, autumn or winter either. Highlights include museums such as the Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre as well as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the elegant Champ Elysees. Located nearby for day trips are the Gardens of Monet, the Palace of Versailles and of course, Disneyland Paris.
The cradle of Western Civilization and capital of Greece, Athens, is famed for its ancient Greek structures and vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. Whether or not you love history, the iconic Acropolis is a must-see - perched on top of a rock in the city centre, these 2,500-year-old buildings dominate the cityscape views, particularly when lit up at night. For an authentic summer in Greece, check out one of the city’s outdoor cinemas: these are huge in Athens, there being almost 90 of them. The most striking is possibly the Cine Paris, with the Acropolis as its backdrop.
Italy’s wealthiest city, and capital of Lombardy, Milan, is flowing with historical, cultural and architectural landmarks, including the world-famous La Scala opera, medieval Sforza Castle, and dazzling Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade. The Duomo Cathedral, probably the most striking feature of the city, sits in its heart. Owing to the size and sheer complexity of its intricately-sculpted creamy exterior (the structure comprises 3,400 statues - the most of any in the world), the cathedral took 6 centuries to complete, and is part of a 2-decade long cleaning programme.
One of Turkey’s most important cities, Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world to sit on two continents, bridging Europe and Asia. This unique geographical position between east and west is evident in the city’s diverse landscape. The Old City transports you through the multiple empires that once ruled here, from the rare mosaics of the Byzantine Hagia Sophia, to the blue-tiled turrets of the Ottoman Blue Mosque. After exploring the sites, relax in a Turkish bath, or watch the sun go down over the city from the islet-tower of Maiden on the Bosphorus strait.
Southern Spain’s largest city, Seville, is famed for its flamenco and rich architectural legacy. Unmissable sites include the 15th-century Catedral de Sevilla, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, and the Plaza de Espana, a vibrant square paved with intricate ceramic tiles. For a typically Spanish setting, wander through the Old Jewish Quarter, the contrast of its scarlet geraniums against the whitewashed alleyways make it the perfect photo-op for your album. In the evenings, you can try a flamenco show (the Tablao El Arenal), or head to the city’s oldest bar “El Rinconcillo”, for atmosphere and tapas.
Visit the Red City on the edge of the Sahara for an exotic adventure. Marvel at the acrobats and snake charmers of the Place Jemaa El Fna. Stroll through souks hung with beautiful carpets, or lose yourself the tiled courtyards of the Bahia palace. Pamper yourself with a visit to a hammam, or take a respite from the heat in the enchanting Majorelle Garden.
When's the best time to book city breaks to travel to Marrakech? How about April for the Marrakech Grand Prix? Or read on for more great vacation ideas.
Explore magnificent art galleries and gothic architecture, sail along picturesque canals and indulge in ice-cream for an authentic Venice city break experience.
Stand in magnificent Piazza San Marco to admire St Mark’s Basilica, ride a gondola along Venice’s quiet canals or take a water bus down the glorious Grand Canal. Find an authentic taste of Venice at Rialto Market, visit gothic Doge’s Palace and follow the footsteps of past convicts over the Bridge of Sighs. Escape the crowds and go island hopping to Murano, Burano or Torcello, and browse local boutiques for Murano glass.
A favourite for quick escapes and budget city breaks, Amsterdam blends its cultural core with a hedonistic spirit.
This is a city where Van Gogh’s masterpieces hang in his self-named museum, and treasures of the Golden Age adorn the walls of the restored Rijksmuseum. You can join the locals and spin around the city on two wheels. Or get a different view and take a boat ride along Amsterdam’s picturesque canals. Whether you want to feel cosy in a traditional brown café or explore nature at historical Artis Zoo, there’s plenty to experience in the Dutch capital.
City of literature, music and conviviality, Dublin is a place to both unwind and to get the creative juices flowing.
Nightlife centres around the pubs and restaurants found on the cobbled streets of the historic Temple Bar where locals jam at impromptu gigs. By day head to the library at Trinity College, home of the famous Book of Kells and don't forget to take a literary tour of the city, following in the footsteps of Joyce, Beckett and Yeats. Further highlights include a visit to the Guinness Storehouse or a tour of the Jameson Distillery as well as the National Museum of Ireland and the Dublin City Gallery. This is a city which welcomes visitors with open arms, a place bursting with love and laughter.
With its mixture of Arabian allure and futuristic glamour, Dubai is a city like no other. Discover the historical centre of Dowtown and the Al Fahidi Neighbourhood. We dare you not to let your jaw drop as you take in towering landmarks like the Burj Al Arab, or steep yourself in the opulence of the city's spas. Sunset Beach offers a perfect place to relax, or you can go on a desert safari, drive a racing car or even try your hand at sky diving. Thanks to its crowded calendar, there's no bad time of year for a city break in Dubai. And remember to explore our other top city break destinations.
The oceanfront city of Copenhagen is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and picture-perfect rows of coloured houses. Its great transport system and multitude of bike-friendly roads make the city incredibly easy to navigate. The Nyhavn Waterfront is a splendid oceanside walk, where you can take in the salty air and gorgeous views. If you head a little further down the promenade, you can visit Edvard Eriksen’s Little Mermaid statue, as her gentle gaze watches over the city. There’s something for the thrill-seekers too at the vintage theme park in Tivoli Gardens.
The capital of Hungary, made up of Buda and Pest - divided the Danube, is one of Central Europe's true gems.
This city is largely famed for three things, fine architecture, fine dining and hot springs. Many of the buildings in central Budapest date from the city's Golden Age in the 19th century, making for an eclectic mix of baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau influences. Magyar cuisine is said to be amongst the best in Europe and can be discovered on any budget. The hot springs that were first used by the Romans are located all over the city. Further highlights include the Great Synagogue, the Royal Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Hungarian National Museum.
Nicknamed the “Big Easy”, New Orleans is famous for its nightlife, music and unique cuisine. The French Quarter is a quintessential neighbourhood with iconic Creole buildings and a vast market. Once here, try Cafe Du Monde’s “Beignet”, a sugar-coated, deep-fried delicacy. New Orleans has a deep connection with the arts, whether musical or canvas: in Jackson square artists gather to paint together, and the city even has a park dedicated to the late Jazz King, Louis Armstrong. To experience one of the world’s best music scenes, go to Frenchman street, an area absolutely buzzing with live jazz.