Taking city breaks in Europe is a great way to travel for those who can’t take weeks or months off from work, and still want to experience as much of the culture as possible in a short period of time. In cities you can see and experience a lot in just one day, from the country’s history to culture and local food. But if you choose the wrong time or season to go on city breaks in Europe you’ll risk having such a bad experience that you’ll never dare to try it again.
Here are a few tips to make the most of city breaks in Europe
Taking city breaks in Europe is very different from the usual beach holidays: when planning beach holidays the number one most important factor is the weather. A rainy holiday in a beach destination could possibly end up being the most boring holiday of your life, so to guarantee a sunny vacation, people go during the driest and hottest months of the year – along with everyone else.
When it comes to city breaks however, these are often precisely the months you want to avoid. There is nothing more exhausting than being in the middle of a big city in 33 degrees weather, desperately looking for a shady square to cool down in.
Instead, aim for the months during the shoulder-season, spring and autumn are perfect for city breaks in Europe.
In spring the weather is warming up, the days are longer and flowers are blossoming. It’s a beautiful time of the year, and even Greece is green and colorful at this time before the sun makes everything turn brown.
The weather heats up earlier in southern Europe, so weekend breaks are great already in March, while northern Europe is at its best in May-June.
Keep in mind however that Scandinavia is an exception, where the hottest months are usually the best as the weather rarely goes above 25 degrees.
Events and attractions
Autumn is just as good as spring, with beautiful color shifts in nature, vineyards looking their very best and a great time for food festivals. It also has a quieter more relaxed vibe than spring. During the shoulder-seasons, museums are much quieter and lines at attractions are significantly shorter, so if you’ve planned some cultural sights spring and autumn are by far better months to visit – as long as you avoid Easter holiday and weekends.
Where you should go on a city break almost entirely depends on what you want to see and do – Berlin is often a great option because there is a good range of things to see and do for a four day itinerary, and plenty of cheap airlines fly there daily. Italy has a lot of cities that are perfect for weekends, and are often broken down into what you’re interested in. Generally, Venice is the beautiful city unlike anything you’ve ever seen, Rome is full of historical and cultural sights, Bologna is famous for its incredible food and Milan for the shopaholic.
One of our favorite city break destinations is Prague, a bit rough around the edges but so pretty, and kind to the wallet. It has a great mixture of culture and history, and four days is not overwhelming and yet not boring – just perfect.
It doesn’t really matter how you get to your city break destination, but choose the transport that takes the least effort and time. Flying may seem faster, but when counting in the time getting to the airport and all the preparations, train or bus might just be faster and easier. For accommodation, Bed & Breakfast places are our favorite choice for exploring cities, especially for short weekend breaks. Not having to worry about going out for breakfast will save precious time, and often B&B’s offer a more intimate and cultural experience than chain hotels that all look and work the same.
What is your favorite month for city breaks in Europe?