When it comes to booking a short break or holiday, there’s nothing like a personal recommendation is there? Here at SuperBreak HQ we’re constantly offering each other top tips on where to go next, and helping out with the kind of advice Google just can’t offer! Trying to decide where to go next on a European short break? Take a look at some of our favourite European city breaks and be inspired by people in the know…
Michael’s Top Breaks
I completely fell in love with Vienna. A break in the Austrian capital is the epitome of living the high-life; I could spend days wandering around just gawping at the stunning architecture of the city’s historical sights and imperial palaces. I think Schönbrunn Palace is a must – the summer home of the overthrown Austrian monarchy is as grand as it gets, and the grounds are home to the world’s oldest zoo. If you can, take in a show at the fabulous State Opera House, and to complete a cultural break in Vienna you should check out the modern art in the Albertina. Take a break from the sightseeing and help yourself to a slice of chocolate Sacher Torte or (my favourite) Apple Strudel served with lashings of vanilla sauce. Get off the beaten track by visiting the fascinating Freud Museum or the Third Man Museum, and sampling local favourites and delicacies at the Naschmarkt.
Clearly I’m a fan of my historical cities – and Rome is the big daddy of them all! Before I went a couple of years ago, I’d spent my whole life desperate to go; I was convinced that I’d love the food, the architecture and all the sightseeing. And I did! I think the thing I love most about Rome is that there’s something stunning on every street – whether it’s a church, a fountain, or a statue, walking around Rome is just a delight. The Colosseum and the Vatican are the must-sees, but I think the Trevi Fountain was my favourite spot in Rome – the hive of activity has the best concentration of Gelato shops in the city. It’s undoubtedly a generalisation, but the locals in Rome just seem to be that little bit cooler and better dressed than anywhere else I’ve ever been, so shopping here is a must! If you get the chance, head up the hill to Piazzale Garibaldi for the city’s best breath-taking view.
Probably the place I recommend to people the most, I think Amsterdam is the perfect short break destination. It has so much going for it – terrific museums, historical sights and places of interest, lots of markets and vintage shops, quirky cafes and a world-famous nightlife – there’s something for everyone! A couple of days in the Dutch capital is all you need to discover what a cool and cosmopolitan city it is. I could happily live there – it’s incredibly easy to get around on the cheap and efficient tram system, and going to Amsterdam and not taking a tour of the beautiful canals has to be some kind of sacrilege. The Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum (up there with the best art museums in the world) are the must-sees, and frankly I’d walk back to Amsterdam for the delicious pancakes I had in Pancakes! Amsterdam.
Vikki’s Top Breaks
As one of SuperBreak’s most popular short break destinations, I’ve been waiting to visit Bruges since Day 1 of working here. I finally got around to it this month by booking a 3 night minicruise from Hull with my other half and a couple of friends. I’ve visited Amsterdam numerous times via P&O minicruises so knew I’d enjoy that element, but wasn’t sure if the slower pace of Bruges itself would be enough to entertain us…how wrong I was! After our 36 hour whirlwind visit I was beyond exhausted, having toured the many museums, trekked to the top of the Belfry Tower and indulged in far too many tasty treats. The scenery, the history, the architecture and indeed, the waffles, made for the ideal short break, and I haven’t stopped recommending it to friends and family since!
It may seem like an obvious choice, but Paris holds a very special place in my heart so couldn’t go unmentioned. Having got engaged in the City of Love a few years ago my adoration of this incredible city has grown and grown. Aside from the obvious landmarks and attractions, Paris offers an atmosphere and vibe that I simply haven’t experienced anywhere else. It’s like home comforts and utmost luxuries all rolled into one… on one corner you have locals enjoying coffee with the morning paper, and on the next there’s people vying for the latest Chanel handbag. The food, of course, is up there with the best in Europe and even if you’ve visited many times before (as I have), you’ll always find something new to do/see/eat.
3. The Algarve
For a bit of sun, The Algarve is always near the top of my list. In fact it’s a running joke that no matter how many times I say ‘Hmm, where shall I go on holiday this year?’ the answer will generally be ‘Yeah I think we’ll go back to The Algarve’. It’s no surprise though – I’m not sure what else you’d need from a beach break! We usually stay around Albufeira, equidistant from the buzzing strip and the more traditional Old Town. Here we have the perfect choice of partying til the early hours or enjoying a relaxed meal and a few drinks by the harbour. The miles of pristine beaches and azure waters are what tourists come back for year-upon-year, and we’re no different… plus, we can’t get enough of the food and the view at Invictus Restaurant!
Hayley’s Top Breaks
Barcelona is what I like to call an all-rounder. It’s got a vibrant city atmosphere with tonnes of cultural sights, superb shopping, amazing Spanish tapas bars and an energetic nightlife to match. Barcelona also boasts a fantastic choice of sandy beaches perfect for catching a summer glow. During my time in the Spanish Catalonian capital, I spent many an hour sunbathing and paddling in the Balearic Sea at Barceloneta Beach. Although not renowned for being the best beach in the area, I found it a charming place to watch the world go by. My top tip for taking short break in Barcelona is to firstly visit the Sagrada Familia. This is a must! Secondly, pre-purchase your tickets online to avoid queuing for hours in the hot sun – I learnt this the hard way! Barcelona’s full to the brim of architectural wonders like the Sagrada Familia, with Park Guell and Casa Batllo also at the top of the list to see. With so much going on, you can have a city, beach and cultural break all wrapped up in one in Barcelona.
Budapest is without a doubt one of my favourite cities in Eastern Europe. With the Danube River running through the heart of the capital city and a unique blend of old and modern architecture to discover, Budapest is a truly picturesque and charismatic city destination. An evening river cruise is a great way to get a perspective of this historic ‘two-sided’ city, as well as seeing the famous Chain Bridge and glorious Parliament Building aglow at night. Exploring Budapest on foot will reveal the city’s many architectural gems including the neo-gothic Fisherman’s Bastian, Romanesque St Matthias Church and neo-classical St Stephen’s Basilica. Budapest is also widely renowned for its natural hot springs – I visited Széchenyi Baths during my time there and loved it! It’s one of the largest in Europe with a multitude of indoor and outdoor pools to choose from. It also boasts some truly beautiful neo-baroque architecture.
Venice, for me, firmly stands out in the crowd of European city destinations. With its many islands, an air of grandeur and a touch of mystery thrown in, this Italian city has a unique selling point you won’t find anywhere else. Separated by canals and bridges, Venice is a wondrous maze of hidden treasures where stumbling across a local delicacy or an authentic souvenir is easier than you think – it’s finding your way back that might be a little more challenging! But, that’s part of the magic of Venice – let yourself get lost in one of Europe’s most enchanting and romantic cities. Don’t let the many gondola’s deceive you in to thinking it’s the only way to explore the city. You can see just as much on foot, whether it’s climbing the San Marco Campanile for a bird’s eye view or people watching on the banks of the Grand Canal, your short break to Venice is guaranteed to be as unique as the place itself!
Where can you recommend to us? Tell us your favourite European short break destinations in the comments section below!