Europe is awesome. So many cities, all of which have something different to offer visitors. We love European City Breaks and have a list a mile long with the cities we want to visit on it, yet I am always on the look out for further ones to add. I almost always look to fellow travellers for their opinion on a place as they have actually been there. So with that being said, I have collaborated with a number of fantastic bloggers and pulled together three posts featuring their recommended European City Break destinations which will hopefully help you when planning your next city break and get the wanderlust juices flowing.
- European City Break Inspiration: From The Bloggers Who have Been (A-H)
- European City Break Inspiration: From The Bloggers Who have Been (I-M)
- European City Break Inspiration: From The Bloggers Who have Been (N-Z) – coming soon!
Kraków, Poland – Danielle, Escaping Essex
I am a massive history geek, so having the chance to experience Auschwitz was a massive pull for me. I also love charming European cities and Kraków definitely fits the bill! I visited in March 2016 and the weather was cold but not unbearable. We barely had any rain, so I’d consider it a great time to visit. Exploring the Old Town is amazing (everything is so pretty!) and I loved Wawel Castle as it’s so different to other castles that I’ve been to. However, if you’re in Kraków, you need to leave the city to explore Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mines. All of the articles that I’d read about Kraków said to stay away from restaurants in the Old Town as the prices are higher than in less touristy zones; however we found the whole of the city to be cheap! Eastern Europe is great value for money in comparison to the West. I’ve visited A LOT of European cities over the past few years and I don’t feel that I clicked as much with the city as other places, maybe if I visited in the hustle and bustle of Summer I would feel differently! I would still love to return. I would definitely recommend visiting. If you don’t learn about history and the atrocities that have happened, how can you expect to change the world for the better in the future?
Lisbon, Portugal – Victoria, Vic Advisor
I was looking for a cheap European city break to somewhere I’d never considered before – Lisbon came up on my search and it looked beautiful, so I found some cheap flights and packed my bags. I went at the end of June and the weather was glorious – we had a week of blazing sunshine which was perfect for visiting the nearby beaches, but if you don’t like it too hot I’d recommend going either side of summer, as it was just shy of 30C during our stay. In Lisbon itself I loved walking through the narrow lanes of Alfama (the oldest district in the city), climbing to the top of Belem Tower (a historic defense tower by the Tagus River), and having a drink on the many rooftop bars and terraces found across the city. One of the best things about Lisbon is also the great day trips you can take – I had loads of fun trying out stand-up paddleboarding at Cascais, and visiting the picturesque town of Sintra. Lisbon is very reasonably priced on all accounts. Most attractions cost less than €10 to get into, a 24hr travel ticket is €6, and our central Airbnb apartment was under £50 a night. I absolutely loved Lisbon, but if I had to pick something that I didn’t like, it might be the city’s steep hills which make exploring on foot a little exhausting! The amazing views more than makes up for that though. I would 100% recommend visiting.
Read more about Lisbon here – Complete Guide to a Lisbon City Break
Ljubljana, Slovenia – Ciara, A Wandering Blog
I chose to stop off at Ljubljana when I was backpacking around Europe. I’ve always wanted to visit Lake Bled but instead of staying in Bled I decided to make Ljubljana my base for the few days I was in Slovenia and I am so glad that I did. I visited Ljubljana in May and it rained the entire time I was there… So if you’re off to Slovenia around that time make sure you pack good walking shoes and an umbrella! Ljubljana castle is stunning and has the most amazing view of the city from above. I also loved St. Nicholas’ Cathedral – it’s the most peaceful place I have ever been so if you need an escape from the city for just a few moments this is the place to go. If you’d like a day trip to a beautiful island Lake Bled is only a short bus journey away and definitely worth the trip. I found Ljubljana to be quite cheap, compared to the other cities I had been to that month. Like everywhere else the tourist attractions can be a little pricey eg. 10-euro entry for the castle but it’s pretty much the same as everywhere else. However, a lot of what makes Ljubljana so stunning is actually free. It costs nothing to walk through the town, dander across the Three Bridges, admire the Dragon Bridge and visit the incredible churches. If you ever find yourself in Slovenia, you have to stop by Ljubljana. It is such a laid-back city full of cute cafes, stunning buildings and lots of free things to do. You’ll never be bored in Ljubljana.
Read more about Ljubljana here – Interrailing: Ljubljana & Bled, Slovenia + Travel Vlog
Maastricht, The Netherlands – Annelies, The Frugal Teen
Besides financial reasons, I decided to study here in Maastricht because of the culture of the city and the cultural differences of the population. The culture of the city has been influenced by Germany and Belgium, due to its location in the south of the Netherlands but also, more surprisingly, Spain and Italy. Around the city you can see Spanish and Roman ruins as well as WW2 shelters that have remained intact for all these decades; the history is just fascinating, I mean who hasn’t heard of the “Maastricht Treaty?!” There are also plenty of museums and churches, a beautiful cathedral in the heart of the city as well as a very prominent station which I believe is a trademark for every good European city. Oh! How could I forget! If you come here, you must go on walks along De Maas river and in the several parks scattered around. Another thing I love about the city is that everyone is bilingual and there is such a heavy presence of different nationalities. Defined as a “university city,” you meet people from neighbouring countries such as Germany, Belgian and France, but then because of the sheer uniqueness of the city, you can also meet people from Cyprus or Malaysia, Finland, Lithuania and more! The fact that one of the first articles I had to read for university was about “Multicultural awareness” just supports that. At the moment, I’ve only been here during late summer and early Autumn, but I find the weather is very similar to that of my home town in England. I happened to arrive on a rare, extremely hot summer with temperatures of over 30 degrees celsius but now it’s Autumn you can definitely start to feel the chill.
Madrid, Spain – Bethan, Wanderlust Bee
This trip was booked as a total surprise for my birthday! I was told the day before as part of my birthday present I was given a guide-book for Madrid! The best surprise ever for a travel blogger! We visited in mid-June and unfortunately the weather was not the best it was pretty overcast and windy but we did manage to get some sun and enjoy our rooftop balcony. The weather was better unfortunately after we left 😦 What was my favourite attraction? Can I say food? Because that is definitely what my favorite thing about Madrid!! With every drink there was some type of local delicacy that came with it whether Chorizo and bread or Spanish omelette to manchego cheese each one was delicious! Other than that wandering the city visiting Buen Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor and shopping on Grand Via. We mainly enjoyed local food and wine and they were very inexpensive we bagged some bargains in the city! I found it noticeably cheaper than Barcelona! The weather was the only downside for me but there were periods of sun and when I could I more than made up for it sunning myself on rooftop balconies ( and the day we left there was not a cloud in the sky- annoying) and only two days there three would have been perfect. I would definitely recommend visiting, I only had two days in the city with no time to plan and it turned out to be more of a relaxing foodie tour but I would love to go back and see more of Madrid.
Read more about Barcelona here – A Surprise Birthday in Madrid
Magaluf, Spain – Georgina, Georgina Does
We chose to visit as Magaluf has our favourite hotel chain and it was cheap so we decided to try it out! We have visited in both June and July – both were hot. Our favourite attractions were Port Adriano and Palma which are both a short cab ride away. Nikki beach is right next door and BCM Superclub is just down the road. It was expensive for Magaluf but cheap compared to London prices. You all know what Magaluf is known for but we didn’t really see much of that going on. We would definitely recommend visiting – we love it there!
Read more about Palma/Magaluf here – How To Enjoy Magaluf As A 20-Something
Milan, Italy – Charlotte, Memoirs & Musings
I chose to flights were £25 RETURN with Ryanair… so the question was more WHY NOT? In actuality, after visiting Rome last December, I fell in love with the architecture. I was eager to follow this up with a trip to the fashion capital of the world. I went over the last few days of April this year. The weather was absolutely perfect. I thought it’d be a little chilly but it ended up being warm with nothing but blue skies. My favourite attraction was the Duomo it’s magnificent. Food was cheap and tasty, you cannot go wrong really. Travel was also really cheap, I didn’t take a taxi once which is rare for me! Shopping was pretty much the same as London – but if you’re a beauty junkie like me, Sephora isn’t too far away. I live in London and am always shocked at how much more I get for my money when I leave this city. I suppose with any major European city you’re always going to have street vendors come up to you to try to flog selfie sticks and sunglasses. It’s just something you have to endure and respond with a simple ‘No thank you’. I would definitely recommend visiting for the following reasons: *Quick flight from the UK (Super cheap too – Ryanair often has really good offers), easy/cheap to get to the city centre – takes roughly around 45 minutes too and perfect if you want to experience Italy without too much of the touristy side that Rome offers.
Read more about Milan here – Memoirs: Me in Milan – Part One
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Munich, Germany – Anna, Made Up Style
I chose to visit Munich as my brother lives there so as well as catching up with him I took the chance to take in some sights and explore the city. I headed back to Munich in October this year, just in time to see the leaves changing. The parks were full of colour and there was a crisp chill in the air, perfect autumnal weather. Set in the hills, surrounded by trees the Neuschwanstien castle is a must see in Bavaria. It can be expensive to eat in Munich so avoid tourist hotspots and eat like a local. Head to breweries or ‘Kellers’ instead of bars for cheaper beer prices. Munich is a great city if you want a mix of culture, history and scenic views.
Read more about Munich here – Munich Photo Diary and Tips For What To See and Do
I hope these fantastic write ups have given you some food for thought, have you been to any of these cities? We’d love to hear your thoughts on them. Or have you visited anywhere (I-M) that you would recommend and why?
Thank you again to all the wonderful bloggers who were involved in producing this post!