City breaks have always been a very popular choice for a short weekend away, from the ever romantic Paris, the beautiful Italian cities of Venice and Rome or for some serious shopping in New York. In this article we highlight 10 city breaks that are firm favourites from around the world along with a low down on where to visit and what not to miss in these cities.
Nowadays planning and booking a short city break is very simple. You can either book your flights and hotel separately or look to grab one of many short city breaks from tour operators and online travel agents. By checking both of these options you are sure to get you the best city break deal.
1. New York
You'll never forget your first visit to New York, one of the world's most iconic and photographed cities. With its skyscrapers and sassy attitude, there's a real get up and go in the city and you will find the atmosphere very infectious. Characterised by its yellow taxi cabs, hot dog stalls and steam rising from the man hole covers in the streets, you will feel like you have stepped straight into a movie set. Stand in awe at the top of the Empire State building for spectacular city views, jump on the Staten Island ferry to see the iconic Statue of Liberty, browse through the museums and galleries and ride a horse drawn carriage through Central Park . A city break in New York will not be complete without visiting one of the many shopping areas such as Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue or Broadway or taking in a show in one of the many theatres.
Rome is just one of the amazing short city break destinations in Italy – a country steeped in historic sites to visit more than any other in the world. Famous for the Roman heritage of the Colisseum, the Pantheon and the Forum, Rome draws the crowds year round to see ancient history. The Vatican always draws big crowds – the centre of the Catholic Church that sits over the river Tiber from the Roman city. With the huge St Peter's cathedral at its centre, this complex contains an outstanding collection of fine art in what is the smallest independent state in the world. Add to this the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and fabulous Italian food from the many amazing restaurants and you have a very packed itinerary during your Roman city break to Rome.
With its stunning architecture, fine cuisine and some of the most fashionable shops, art and museums in the world, the capital of France is a firm favourite for city breaks, especially for a romantic getaway. Paris is such a classic city that you can come back time and time again and never get bored. And it's not just a city of romance. You can take a city sightseeing tour to include the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or the Sacre Coeur, a ride on the Bateau Mouche along the Seine, a stroll around one of the many galleries of world famous art such as the Louvre or a walk in the Bois de Boulogne.
As romantic city breaks go, Venice has to be up there with the most romantic cities in the world. Set in a lagoon on the North Eastern coast of Italy, it's made up of 400 bridges, 177 canals and 118 islands packed full of history, art and charm. Staying in Venice is a privilege in itself and once the day trippers leave you can really get a feel for the place. The city of Venice is centred on the Grand Canal and St Marks Square with its beautiful cathedral, but extends out to the Lido and islands such as Murano, famous for Venetian glass. Venice caters for many tastes from touristy gondola rides and expensive cafes to exploring on foot around quiet districts and discovering hidden gems. But you will leave knowing that you have visited one of the most amazing cities on earth.
Barcelona is located on the Mediterranean and is surrounded by hills. It's a busy city famous for Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, La Ramblas and home of FC Barcelona (the Nou Camp stadium), one of the world's most famous and iconic football clubs. Barcelona packs a punch in art galleries and shopping, and during the Barcelona Olympics the fabulous harbour area was redeveloped to offer a great array of restaurants, bars and nightlife. Not many cities boast having the beach on their doorstep so you can combine, sightseeing, culture, shopping with topping up your tan.
London as a city has so much to offer and a London city tour will take you on a journey to see all historic and modern London has to offer including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral, to name just a few. There are museums, art galleries, world class restaurants, cinemas, music and shops galore so a short break in London has so much to offer. Let's not forget the theatres with the world famous West End . Factor in parks galore and lots for the entire family to get involved in and you have one of the most rounded cities to visit in the world.
Dublin is a buzzing city to visit on a short city break with its lively nightlife in its bars and restaurants, the famous Trinity College and the Book of Keils. A visit to the Guinness Storehouse should not be missed – home to one of the world's most famous drinks and numerous bars along the banks of the River Liffey running through Dublin. As a city, Dublin has changed a lot in recent years and now has excellent shopping, good quality eateries and some chic hotels too. And being only a short hop from the UK it's a quick and easy city to visit for the shortest of weekend breaks.
Prague is one of the busiest city break destinations in Europe. Known as The Golden City, Prague is The Czech Republic's capital. Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You'll recognise the vistas from Hollywood Blockbuster movies such as Mission Impossible. Away from the crowds, Prague is a very romantic city with its bridges over the river such as Charles Bridge, Prague Castle on the hill, Tyn Church and Wenceslas Square. There are countless places to shop, and with the city flowing from ancient charm to modern buzz within a few streets, you can't help but admire the diversity of this classic east European city. Hearty European food and Czech beers keep you on the go.
The city of Stockholm is set on water which makes it visually beautiful all year round and full of very trendy places to shop and eat. Stockholm has a stunning old town called Gamla Stan, great to visit at Christmas market time as well as world class heritage attractions such as the Vasa Museum. The Swedes are friendly welcoming people and will certainly ensure that a weekend city break in Stockholm will be memorable.
An Istanbul city break blends a unique mix of Europe and Asia and gives you the opportunity to enjoy haggling in market bazaars, shopping in classy high street stores and experiencing the fascinating history of Istanbul.
Istanbul sits in a beautiful setting and has an atmosphere like no other in Europe. Mosques, minarets and markets abound within a city that has been established for 2,000 years. The cuisine is a heady mixture of east meets west with kebab shops and restaurants of all types. For those that enjoy being pampered can enjoy a traditional Turkish bath to cleanse the body and relax.
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