Europe is absolutely not short of vibrant cities all waiting to be explored this summer.
But with so many to choose from the choice can often be overwhelming. Here, House of Coco lists our top 10 in the hope of making that decision a little easier…
Often overlooked in favour of Barcelona, Madrid is a fantastic Spanish city. It’s just the right ratio of big enough to occupy yourself for a few days, but small enough to get everything done without rushing. The abundance of Spanish food and drink makes it a great place for foodies to visit, with tasty tapas, Iberico ham and jugs of Sangria you’ll be spoilt for choice. Be sure to visit the famous food market Mercado De San Miguel to sample a bit of everything.
Vienna is jam-packed with museums to cater to all interests, from the Natural History Museum to the Museum of Technology to the Sigmund Freud Museum. Prater Amusement Park in Vienna is the oldest in the world and home to a famous vintage-looking ferris wheel, which will give you unrivalled views of the city if you’re brave enough to take a ride.
If pizza and pasta is your thing, then you have to visit Florence. You can indulge in some of the best food of your life in the authentic Italian restaurants hidden down the side streets of the city. As well as being home to some big tourist destinations that are definitely worth visiting (the Duomo of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Ponte Vecchio and Michelangelo’s David) it’s also a great place for people watching. The many squares of the city are lined with restaurants and cafes that are the perfect place to grab an Aperol Spritz and pass some time.
With many other Tuscan highlights, like Pisa and Lucca, a short drive away you can get loads done in a long weekend!
Did someone say sparty?! Yes, that is a spa party in Budapest’s most famous outdoor thermal baths. By day Szechenyi Spa & Baths is a lively but relaxing place to soak up the medicinal waters, but come Saturday night the baths become host to the city’s biggest party. Think nightclub, but outside and with lots of water.
On the flip side, the city has plenty to offer for those looking for a quieter time. The Buda Hills allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle and take a hike among the forest.
If you’re not necessarily looking for sun for your summer break, then how about a weekend in the mountains? Try skiing, hiking and biking or just take in the views of the iconic Matterhorn (the mountain that inspires Toblerone). Not to mention all the Swiss cheese you could eat…
Though Amsterdam is notorious for two things, “coffee shops” and the Red Light District, there’s actually much more to the city. Big parks are the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely bike ride and the network of canals offer many opportunities to take a boat ride and view the city’s unique architecture.
With 40% of the city consisting of green spaces there’s plenty of spots to enjoy some sunshine in Stockholm. These expansive parks are nestled into the city and encourage outdoor living. In the summer you’ll find locals relaxing, socialising, eating, exercising and even working outside.
When you’re done with parks you can explore the Old Town to see amazing architecture, take a boat along the network of canals or tour the city on the hop-on-hop-off bus.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is the creative hub of Northern Ireland, full of indie shops and a big live music culture – you’ll never struggle to find a singer or a band to enjoy with a pint of Guinness (other alcoholic beverages are available). The city is a great base point too, as you can drive to all destinations in Northern Ireland within a day and to Dublin in just two hours. The opportunities to explore are endless!
Ljubljana, one of Europe’s lesser-known cities, has everything you need for a successful weekend break; castles, food markets, museums, bridges and nightlife. The cobbled streets allow you to stroll for hours, gradually ticking off the must-see sights and tasting delicious food. Ljubljana is home to Metelkova, one of Europe’s largest and most successful urban squatting sites. The large expanse was once an army base but is now a neighbourhood in its own right and is the epicentre of music and art within the city.
Of course, we cannot leave our beloved capital city off the list! London is a wonderfully diverse and bursting with life, with the many different areas (Soho, China Town, Camden etc) offering its own unique vibe.
We also really know how to make the most of the sunshine and if you’re blessed with warmer weather when you visit you’ll experience the best of London; everyone in a great mood, parks full of people with picnics and bustling rooftop bars.