Slovenia’s small capital Ljubljana offers an easily-managed alternative to larger eastern European cities for a short break. Wander through old town lanes of baroque buildings up to its city-top castle, which watches over the blue-green Ljubljanica River where the locals sup cappuccinos or beers on the banks. For out-of-town adventures, the exciting mountain peaks of the Julian Alps are only an hour away.
Bremen may not immediately spring to mind for a European city break, but mighty cheap flights make this German gem a tempting proposition. Admire the architecture in the chocolate box Schnoor quarter and look out for the legacy of the Brothers Grimm and their haunting fairy-tales, which spring up all over the city. Rest your feet and chill with a locally-brewed Becks on the Schlachte Promenade beside the River Weser.
Marseille is a thriving, exciting city ideal for a weekend break. Once more than a little rough around the edges, it’s smartening itself up in the run-up to being European Capital of Culture next year. Work up an appetite for an unbeatable bouillabaisse (the local speciality – a fish stewusing a mix of fish from this part of the Med) by exploring the atmospheric Vieux Port.
Prague has been described as an outdoor museum owing to its Old Town, which boasts sights such as fairy-tale Prague Castle and Art Nouveau masterpiece Obecni Dum. Pose for a photo on Charles Bridge, wander the cobbled streets around Old Town Square, Prague’s idyllic heart, or really go tourist-tastic and take a tour in a horse-drawn carriage.
Romance, fashion and art come together in a kaleidoscope of elegance in this city on stilts. With its famous canals, colourful bridges and marble cathedrals, Venice has a magic all of its own. With the world’s highest number of artistic masterpieces per square km, Venice is definitely a city for art lovers, and the food isn’t too bad either.
Although you might think classy Madrid would be an expensive place to visit, our recent research found that it was one of the best value cities in Europe. If you’re looking for a little late autumn warmth, a lot of fine food, bags of shopping, a buzzing live music scene and the chance to dance until the sun has come up once more, Madrid could be the perfect place for you.
Now that the stag do boom has waned, the more civilised attractions of Latvia’s capital are coming to the fore. Riga has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its world-class collection of Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture. Take a trip to the top of St Peter’s Church for an incredible 360 view of this Baltic beauty.
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