Summer may be wearing a bit thin here in the UK, but it is alive and kicking in Europe. If you still want a bit of sun, fun, and adventure then there are plenty of places you can pop to for a few nights all across Europe through August and September.
The five cities listed below are a mix of my favourite destinations, and the most popular ones for British travellers (ie. the cheapest and easiest to get too!!), and for the next 2 months you can get to all of these cities for less than £180 per person including flights and hotels.
Rome is always popular: the heartland of good food, great wines, and ancient ruins. Not to mention an amazing nightlife scene of restaurants, cafes, and cozy bars down miles of cobbled streets.
Obviously the well-categorized landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and (of course) The Vatican are absolute must-sees.
The top three things to see whilst in Rome are:
The church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini was built between 1626 and 1631. It is located close to Piazza Barberini. The crypt underneath it contains the remains of 4,000 friars. The bones are arranged along the walls and ceilings in elaborate and ornate patterns. It’s really a sight worth seeing, but not for the faint of heart. There are a hefty number of skulls giving you the silent stare.
This unassuming little key hole sits in the huge doors leading into the Priory of the Knights of Malta. It looks like nothing very special, but if you bend down and look through it you will see the most beautiful picture perfect framing of St Paul’s Basilica.
Quite literally, The Mouth of Truth, this cheerful guy stands on the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in the Cosmedin church. Legend has it that if you put your hand in his mouth and tell a truth then you will leave unharmed, if you tell a lie however…
Heat, sound, music, and life are what you get when you step off the plane into sunny Barcelona. With a population of 1.6 million it’s a thriving city with everything to offer the curious traveller.
Also. Eat the paella. It's next level.
One of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces, Casa Batllo is not to be missed. There is nothing else like it anywhere in the world, and to visit Barcelona without visting one of Gaudi’s masterpieces is utter sacrilege.
If you are not a garden (or maze) person, then this one won’t be for you. However, it is a beautiful place to see in its own right.
In English, Royal Square, is a beautiful place to go to just sit out in the sun, drink some wine and watch Barcelona go by. You can people watch and really soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful sunny square in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
Prague is an utterly stunning city layered in history, culture, and architecture. It’s the kind of city where the buskers are four piece string quartets, or where you can round a small forgotten corner and find a tiny bric-a-brac shop selling every piece of beautiful glassware or silver antique you can think of. The top three things to do and see in Prague are:
This beautiful, peaceful, place is filled with hundreds of years of history. It’s the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe and dates back to as early at 1439. This cemetery and the people buried there are part of the history of the city, and to see it is to begin to understand Prague.
This clock is probably in every single photo that has ever been taken of Prague. It’s iconic. This medieval clock was installed in 1410 and every hour you can see crowds of tourists gather underneath it to wait and see it chime.
You learn the fascinating history or magic and occult in eastern Europe and get a good shiver down the spine whilst doing so.
The liberal, arty, and vibrant capital of the Netherlands pulls tourists from all over the world and from all walks of life. Whatever you want to do, you can be sure that you can find a place to do it in Amsterdam. Walk the miles of beautiful tranquil canals, rent bikes and cycle around the beautiful centre, or partake in a few indulgences in their famous cafes. The top things to do are:
If you’re looking for somewhere calm and peaceful to spend an hour or two then this little park is what you’re after. It can only be reached by water and so is a wonderful space to eat a picnic or enjoy an al fresco glass of wine.
There are a million and one companies offering various tours for various process along the Amsterdam Canals. It can feel a little overwhelming trying to choose the best one, but I assure you it’s worth doing. The canals are such an intrinsic parts of the city that in order to really understand the heart of the place, you need to get out there and experience them.
This beautiful square is at the historic heart of Amsterdam. The architecture and the bustling streets around it make it something you need to check out on your break. Because it lies at the centre of the city there is usually something going on there that is worth taking a look at, whether it be a festival, a market, or a funfair!
Warsaw is the unsung hero of European destinations. This beautiful capital city has everything going, and you need to go and experience it all.
If you are interested in modern European history then it’s really worth a look. The Polish resistance forces launched the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and last for 63 days before it was quashed. It was the largest military resistance undertaken by any resistance group during World War II. It is an effort worth remembering.
This is the street to go to if you want to experience the alternative vibrant restaurant and bar life of central Warsaw. It’s an area popular with tourists and locals alike and contains a great collection of restaurants offering a variety of food choices, as well as wine bars and cafes.
Often listed as one of, if not the most, important buildings in Poland, Wilanow Palace was established as a museum in 1805 and is the heart of the country’s artistic, cultural, and musical heritage.
All these places can currently be reached for less than £180, including flights and accommodation. Take a look and take yourself on a mega minibreak that won’t cost you the earth.