21 City Breaks I would recommend with sample weekends

Spring and Autumn are the main seasons for short city breaks and it is so easy to do city breaks with so much choice of flights. I can offer a full ATOL or ATOL flight plus package to virtually anywhere in the world if it includes a flight to or from the UK and we still offer our financial protection if it doesn’t.

These are in no particular order

  1. Reykjavik

Reykjavik and Iceland generally has had its best ever summer this year. In summer on the long summer evenings it is full of adventure opportunities like whale watching, puffin watching, horse riding, jeep tours, hiking, caves and craters and in winter you don’t have to venture to far out of Reykjavik on a clear night to see the northern lights. Usually November to March are the best time to see the Northern Lights. Iceland is also one of the few places to see live volcanoes and geysers.

Sample weekend 12-15 Nov flights from Gatwick including luggage, shuttle transfers, Top Cityline hotel B&B, Reykjavik sightseeing & Golden Circle Tour, morning Whale Watching, Northern Lights Mystery Tour £563 per person

2. Budapest

Budapest is amazingly great value. You can get flights on Wizzair, Jet2 and Easyjet from many regional airports in the UK. You can get a very good 4*-5* hotel for less than a 3* in Paris. Budapest has some lovely Victorian bridges and architecture and in many ways it reminds me of London. There is some unique cave diving and also diving in an old brewery in the heart of the city. There are boat trips along the Danube, the castle and Fishermans Bastion on the Buda side, some great museums and Memento park which contains all the huge, scary looking communist statues that used to dominate the town squares.

Sample weekend 20-24 Oct flights from Gatwick including 20kgs luggage, private taxi transfers, Carlton hotel B&B, Budapest Panorama and Boat tour £330 per person

3. Gdansk

It is some years since I visited Gdansk in Poland. Flight options are a little more limited but cheap. It reminded me of Amsterdam with its tall thin houses and attractive harbour. There is the small but lively seaside town of Sopot just 15 mins away on the train. The Solidarity Museum is definitely worth a visit and a reminder how recently history has changed the face of Eastern Europe

Sample weekend 13-17 Oct from Luton including 23kgs luggage, private taxi transfers and 5* Hilton Gdansk B&B £376 per person.

 

4. Valencia

Valencia has some very good flight options from London. Valencia has a an old city, some wonderful museums, City of Arts and Sciences, L’Oceanogràfic to name a couple. Valencia also has a decent beach and lovely gardens

Sample weekend 7-10 Oct from Gatwick including 20kgs luggage, private taxi transfers and 4* Medium Hotel B&B, Valencia Gourmet Tour £310 per person

5. Avignon

Avignon now has a direct Eurostar service from London as well as  flight options from London City. It is a lovely walled city on the Rhone featuring the Pope’s Palace and the famous Pont D’Avignon

Sample weekend 23-26 Sept Eurostar from London, 3* Hotel Bristol B&B, Van Gogh in Provence tour, Chateaux and Domaines tour £407 per person

 

6. Cologne

Cologne is really easy to get to by air, rail or river. The main feature of Cologne is the one of the largest Gothic Cathedrals in the world, boat trips on the Rhine, some great bars and a lively music scene. Hotels are reasonably good value in Germany. It is also easy to visit nearby Bonn and Dusseldorf

Christmas Market trip 24-27 Nov flights from Heathorw including 23kgs luggage, flight snack and drink, private transfers, Mercure Severinshof 4* B&B £395 pp

7. Bilbao

There are fewer flights to Bilbao but it is a city worth visiting. The Guggenheim museum is impressive in itself, the stained glass in the station and various weird art installations round the city but most of all Bilbao is famous for food. Bilbao also has a decent beach nearby

Sample weekend 3-7 Nov flights from Stansted, private transfers, Mercure Bilbao 4* B&B , Bilbao Tourist Bus and Guggenheim Museum £269 per person

8. Athens

Athens has become a much cleaner city since the 2004 Olympics and very good value if you can get decent flights. Well worth going out of season when its still warm, less crowded and cheaper to get to. There is an impressive metro system but sadly although cheap, it is really underused by the locals who still prefer to use their cars to commute. The Parthenon and Elgin Marbles have been restored and cleaned up and the museum is really fascinating. You can use the metro to travel to nearby Glyfada and the beach.

Sample weekend 4-7 Nov, flights from Gatwick, transfers, Divani Palace Acropolis 5* B&B and Athens and Acropolis tour by 4 wheel bike £357 per person

9. Chania

Chania in West Crete is nice little city, easy to get to via Easyjet, a unique mix of Turkish and Venetian architecture. The harbour is really relaxing, a lovely place to sit, enjoy a very reasonably priced beer and people watch. There are lots of narrow streets with art and craft shops, galleries and colourful little shops behind the usual tourist shops round the harbour. There is a tourist train and buses to the tourist resorts nearby

Sample weekend 13-16 October (note flights don’t run in the winter) flights from Gatwick with 20kgs luggage and Kydon hotel 4* B&B £436 per person

10. Jerusalem

It has never been easier to get to Israel. Flights cost much less than they used to and although hotels are expensive there are some decent 3* options just outside the city walls, both Jewish and Arab and the standard is high. Jerusalem is an amazing city, the heart of civilization and one that I will always remember. The walled city is a fascinating mix of Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian cultures, it looks so familiar with the Golden Dome dominating the city and the Western Wall but being there is such an amazing experience actually being there and seeing and feeling the spirituality for yourself. Market stalls and shops each introduce their own cultures in their own quarters of the city. Wonderful food, great bars just outside the city walls, a mixture of cultures living side by side and. so much culture and history and lots of great memories.

Sample weekend 3-6 Nov flights from Gatwick including 20kgs luggage, transfers, Commodore hotel 4* B&B, Excursion to Dead Sea full day and Jerusalem Old & New £482 per person

11. Madrid

Flights to Madrid are very reasonably priced with Norwegian Air or Easyjet and there are some good offers out of season. Madrid is mostly walkable and easy to navigate. There are some good bars and plenty of tapas. Madrid has two famous art galleries Prado and Reina Sofia and the Royal Palace. Retiro Park has beautifully manicured gardens, a lake and a lovely rose garden, a lovely place to sit and relax. Although it is easy to get around by metro we found it easy to walk around. Further afield we had a lovely day in Toledo which is an hour away by train

Sample weekend 28Oct-01 Nov flights from Gatwick including 20ks luggage, Private taxi transfers, Mercure Madrid 4* B&B, Las Ventas Bullring, Real Madrid Stadium tour and Madrid Sightseeing £376 per person

12. Rome

The Eternal City is surprisingly compact and its easy to walk to most places if you staying in a central location. There is so much culture in Rome. If visiting the Colosseum the queue for Forum is much shorter and you can buy a ticket for both, get there early. Get to the Vatican very early and if possible prebook a Skip-the-Line to avoid a very long queue. There are some good and inexpensive restaurants in Rome. There are a few open top bus tours.

Sample weekend 18-21 Nov flights from Manchester 22kgs luggage, shuttle transfers, Mercure Roma Colesseo 4* B&B, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum Skip the line, Ancient Rome and Colosseum skip the line £485 per person

13. Belfast

One of best surprises ever. It helped that we had absolutely beautiful weather in late April. Flights are very cheap with Easyjet and we booked the very centrally located Ibis which was clean and convenient. Titanic Museum is a definite must, very well designed and visit the MS Olympia too. We did the open top bus tour twice and Crumlin Road Gaol which was eerie and fascinating. We took the full day tour to Carrickfergus, Carrick-a -Rede rope bridge Bushmills distillery and Giants Causeway via the beautiful Antrim coast. This was amazing value at £25. The street art tells a story of history and hope, a reminder of characters famous and infamous, Belfast has has some great bars, good music and a great craic.

Sample weekend 6-9 Oct flights from Birmingham including 20kgs luggage, Clayton Hotel 4* B&B £265 per person

14. Interlaken

I love Switzerland generally but Interlaken for me is the place I would go back to again and again. Interlaken literally means between the lakes so there are some lovely boat trips just using the local ferries across either lake, take the mountain trains up to the revolving restaurant or up to Jungfrau. It is really easy to get to Zurich, Montreux, Lucerne, Geneva or Berne by train. Just get a 4 or 7 day rail pass

Sample weekend 7-11 October flight Gatwick-Zurich-Geneva including 20kgs luggage, 2 x 2nd class 4 day rail passes, Bernerhof Hotel 3* B&B £535 per person. Suggested lunch stops in Lucerne on the outbound and Montreux on the way back

15. Vienna

I enjoyed Vienna. It is easy to get around by metro or tram and there is plenty to do rain or shine. There are some good museums and it is worth going to Schonbrunn Palace. We stopped at a coffee shop for coffee and a slice of delicious torte. We took the short train journey to Bratislava which is also interesting and it is also worth taking the tram out to the wine village.

Sample weekend 14-17 Oct flights from Gatwick, Private transfers, Park Royal Palace 4* B&B, Bratislava by bus with coffee and cake £390 per person

16. Dubrovnik

I really liked Dubrovnik. Hotels close to the city walls are expensive but there are some apartments that are fairly close to the city and cheap. We  liked to walk within the city walls morning and evening but it did get very crowded with day trippers and cruise ship passengers between 11-4. Inside those times  it is easy to get a bus to nearby Cavtat or take a boat trip to the islands or simply walk through the park away from the city walls. The walled city is really lovely in the evenings with art galleries, cobbled streets, nice restaurants from exclusive to pizza bars. There is a decent beach just outside the city walls.

Sample weekend 9-12 October flights from Gatwick including 20kgs luggage, shuttle trnasfers, Rixos 4* B&B, City Walls walking tour, Island Cruise £463 per person

17. Lisbon

Lisbon brings together ancient and modern, Bairro Alto with the old tram journey through cobbled streets to the impressive Oceanarium built for Expo in the new Parque de Nacoes exhibition and dining area. Venture up to Castelo de Sao Jorge for a wonderful views of the city and Tagus Estuary beyond. Wander up the main shopping street to Marques de Pombal for another lovely view of Eduardo VII park. Along the banks of the Tagus you can spot  Cristo Rei which resembles Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and the famous Monument to the Discoveries. Beyond Lisbon easily doable by train are the beaches of Cascais and Estoril. Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra is also well worth a visit, very picturesque with amazing views of  the Portuguese countryside.

Sample Weekend 12-15 Nov flights from Gatwick including 20kgs luggage, private taxi transfers, Holiday Inn Lisbon Continental 4* B&B, GPS Go car tour, Fado Show, Lisbon by Boat, Estoril and Sintra £320 per person

 

18. Tallinn

Tallinn brings together the cultures of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia from Communism to Skype and the Moomins. It can be a little tacky with men in lederhosen selling things and a weekend reputation of stag parties due to the inexpensive breweries in the city, but venture there midweek to appreciate the beautiful architecture Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox church, the medieval walled city which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. St Olafs Church used to be the Worlds tallest building back in 16th Century, the main square with the town hall and the scary looking gargoyles. Tallinn TV Tower outside the city is a really ugly communist building but the view makes up for that as you can see the countryside well beynd Tallinn itself. Tallinn also has some quirky museums. A fast ferry will take you across the water to Helsinki for a different experience

Sample weekend 10-14 Oct Flights from Gatwick, private transfers, L’Ermitge 4* B&B, Old Tallinn Walking Tour £303 per person

19. Prague

Prague is a really pretty little city, the focal point being Wenceslas Square with the unique and fascinating Astronomical Clock. Enjoy a cool Czech beer outside one of the many bars and cafes, explore the cobbled streets and the Jewish Quarter, the art galleries or enjoy a short river cruise or walk across Karlovy Most (Charles Bridge) and see the castle on the other side of the river.

Sample weekend 7-10 Oct flights from East Midlands with 22kgs luggage, private transfers, Caesar Hotel 4* B&B, City Cruise, Prague by bus, Black Light Theatre £386 per person

20. Dubai

Dubai is much further afield of course but there are some great bargains in the summer and autumn when the weather is “too hot” or during Ramadan. There is always a lot to do in Dubai, whether its shopping, indoor ski slopes, aquariums, bus tours, the beach. If you have time you could take in a desert safari or visit the  amazing Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi

Sample weekend 15-20 September flights from Heathrow, private transfer, JA Ocean View 4* B&B £757 per person

21. Boston

Hotels in Boston are much cheaper than in New York and the metro line goes out to the airport. Boston offers many shopping opportunities, a walking tour and the historic Boston Tea Party clipper. The railway offers the opportunity to get to some of the local beaches, Salem and New England without the need for a car.

Sample weekend 11-14 Nov flights from Gatwick, 2 piees of luggage and wi-fi, Doubletee Club by Hilton Boston Bayside room only £593 per person

For these and many other city breaks please call me on 020 3432 4740 or email cathie.odea@travelcounsellors.com for a quote. I can also include transfers to and from the airport, excursions, skip-the-line tickets, walking tours and much, much more

Please note prices are live and correct 27th August 2016 but prices can change very quickly according to flight prices and exchange rates

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