Planning a Summer City Break? Try These Top European Destinations [Slideshow]
Do you love mysterious cobblestone alleys, world-renowned shopping, exotic cuisine and incredible architecture? Put a European city break at the top of your summer holiday bucket list.
During summer, the top destinations burst into life with festivals, entertainment and sunshine. Though it’s the height of tourist season, you’ll still find great-value travel deals and last minute holiday packages to get you there.
Whether you combine your city break with the beach in Barcelona, explore the Renaissance in Florence or indulge in seafood and sunsets along Marseilles’s Old Port, you’ll never be far from action and adventure.
How do you choose the best place for you? Check out our slideshow for inspiration.
There’s a reason why so many tourists flock to Venice in summer. Though you may have to compete with crowds, the brilliant light over narrow canals captivates all. After exploring bustling alleys, arts and crafts, churches and charming villas complete with flower strewn windowsills, head to Lido for sun and sand.
As the European City of Culture in 2013, Marseille is a rejuvenated hot spot, full of edgy art galleries, trendy restaurants and fabulous shopping opportunities. Visit the Cathedrale de la Major and stroll through the Old Port in the balmy summer weather.
Summer in Spain is a holiday dream come true and Barcelona beautifully blends city style with a laid-back beach vibe. The home of Antoni Gaudi’s eccentric architecture bursts to life, with festivals, events and plenty of opportunities for sunset sangrias by the sea.
Barbeques in the park, festivals every weekend, bohemian rooftop terraces and street markets characterise summer in Amsterdam. Don’t miss a trip to an open-air theatre. Be sure to float down the magical canals to explore historical architecture, with the summer breeze to accompany you.
From Botticelli to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Florence is one of the world’s greatest art cities. During summer you’ll experience festivals, exhibitions and galleries galore. When it’s time for a relaxing break, head to the rolling, Tuscan Hills to sample fresh produce among the olive groves.
Dubrovnik’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that comes alive in the warmer months. Alfreso dining and drinking, swimming in the clear, turquoise sea and sunset strolls on the city walls await. The main highlight is the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, with theatre, opera, concerts and dance in open-air venues across the town.
It’s all about fashion and design, in cosmopolitan Milan – and, of course, pizza. Summer brings music, with exciting concerts. Take a happy snap in front of the astonishing Milan Cathedral, shop in chic boutiques and dine alfresco for people-watching and delectable cuisine.
If you can’t get enough of café culture, Lisbon might just be the perfect spot for you this summer. Explore the winding, medieval streets of Alfama, ride a rumbling, wooden tram through historic streets and cool off with a dip in the Atlantic.
Festivals, food and wine top the list for summer-time fun in Vienna. The season offers great weather to cycle and explore, rooftop bars with panoramic city views beckon and dancing in the street is a common occurrence. Naturally, the classical music calendar is full, so don’t miss a show.
If you’re a night owl, get ready to pack your best outfit for long, fun-filled summer evenings in Madrid. Explore historic Plaza Mayor, café hop at Plaza de la Paja and tempt your tastebuds with tapas along Cava Baja.