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18 Best European City Breaks From The UK (2024)

18 Best European City Breaks From The UK (2024)

Taking one of Europe’s city breaks is the perfect way to see some amazing European cities in a short amount of time.

A mid-week or weekend city break from London will allow enough time to travel to Europe and discover a destination’s unique history and culture.

International travellers can also easily combine a European city break with a more extended stay in any one of Europe’s great towns and cities.

Once in Europe, the opportunities are limitless. There is something to suit all budgets, from luxury city breaks in Monaco to cheap city breaks in Gdansk.

Each city break destination offers something unique, from the canals of Venice and dragon statues of Ljubljana to the glitz and glamour of Monaco and the rich history of Prague.

The cities are all incredible in their particular way, with the bonus being that most European city breaks have short flight times of around a 2-hour direct flight from London.

I have been fortunate to have had many European city breaks in all the destinations in this post and others, like Tromso, Cologne and Paris, and I loved them all.

So, in this blog post, let’s find the Top 18 Europe City Break destinations to see where your next break to Europe will take you.

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18 Best City Breaks from London to Europe

Venice City Break from London

Flight time to Venice from the UK is 2 hours and 5 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Venice is everything you could imagine it to be, and this romantic city is an obvious choice as one of the best city breaks for couples.

One of the world’s most beautiful, fully pedestrianised towns, you will never have to worry about traffic in Venice. Wander alongside the canals, admire the architecture of Venice’s historical buildings and feast on pizza, vino and gelato.

Watch the gondoliers glide along the waterways and immerse yourself in the romance of this fairytale city on the water. Take a boat trip to Burano from Venice to see the magical multi-coloured village in the Venetian lagoon.

Do you want to know more about Venice? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Venice 3-Night Itinerary Guide.
venice canal with buildings to each side
rialto bridge venice
Rialto Bridge

Florence City Break from London

Flight time to Pisa (the nearest airport) from the UK is 2 hours and 10 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

The train journey from Pisa airport to Florence is 60 minutes.

A Florence city break can also include visiting Pisa, so you are getting two cities for the price of one!

Florence is the perfect city break for art lovers. It is home to one of Italy’s most iconic sights, the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto.

Florence’s world-class museums are filled with Renaissance art masterpieces, and sculptures are everywhere. If you love cultural heritage, Florence is most definitely the city break for you.

Wander the streets of Florence and take in the sights and smells of The City Of Lilies, named because of its abundance of flowers.

Make sure to visit the Boboli Gardens and walk further up to the smaller Bardini villa gardens, where you will get the best view of Florence imaginable.

To visit Pisa from Florence, hop on a train and be there within the hour.

Pisa is small, and its main attraction is the leaning tower, but to get a photo holding it up with one finger is one of those touristy things you have to do!

Florence viewed from Boboli Gardens
View of Florence from Bardini Villa Gardens
The leaning tower of Pisa alongside Pisa Cathedral

Seville City Break from London

Flight time to Seville from the UK is 2 hours and 45 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Seville is one of Europe’s oldest cities. It is alive with history and culture, and as you wander the cobbled streets, you can feel the passion beneath your feet. Home to tapas, flamenco and fiestas, this beautiful city will charm any weekend visitor.  

Being the capital heritage centre of Andalusia means there are many unique things to do in Seville, making it one of the best cities in Europe for a weekend break.

See the modern architecture in the contemporary form of the Metropol Parasol, which claims to be the world’s largest wooden structure. Immerse yourself in cultural attractions like Royal Alcazar de Seville and Plaza de Espana, and enjoy something a little different at a flamenco performance in this fabulous Spanish city.

Do you want to know more about Seville? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Seville 3-Night Itinerary Guide.
Alcazar of Seville Gardens with palm trees and a pond
Alcazar de Seville Gardens
Giralda Tower in Seville
Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower

Ljubljana City Break from London

Flight time to Ljubljana from the UK is 2 hours and 5 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is next on my best weekend trips from London to Europe. With cobbled streets and bridges guarded by dragons, it is a charming place for a cheap European city break.

I admit I initially didn’t know where it was. Still, after researching that it had a fairytale castle, medieval streets and cute cafes, I knew that Ljubliana would be one of the most fascinating European city breaks to discover, and it was!

Ljubljana is a compact city to explore, so you will have time during a city break to visit the beautiful Lake Bled, the location of Slovenia’s iconic lake, island and castle.

Do you want to know more about Ljubljana? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Ljubljana 3-night Itinerary Guide.
Cobbled street in Ljubljana
View of a river running through Ljubljana, one of the cities in Europe for a short break
Ljubljanica River

Prague City Break from London

Flight time to Prague from the UK is 2 hours with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Prague in the Czech Republic is one of the best city breaks in Europe and offers visitors a packed city break itinerary from dusk until dawn.

Stroll across the historic Charles Bridge that spans the river and find yourself in the medieval streets of the Lesser Quarter. Stop at a bohemian cafe for coffee and a chimney cake.

Climb the steep stone stairs to reach Prague castle and gardens and unravel its secrets. Head back to the Old Town Square, marvel at the astronomical clock, and explore the Jewish Quarter to discover more about the history of Prague.

If you fancy heading out of Prague on a day trip, you can visit the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov.

Alternatively, take a spooky but fascinating wander around the famous Czech bone church in Kutna Hora. Or visit in December to see Prague’s beautiful Christmas markets.

Do you want to know more about Prague? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Prague 3-Night Itinerary Guide.
Charles Bridge Prague
View of Charles Bridge
Prague Rooftops

Brno City Break from London

Flight time from the UK is 2 hours with Ryanair from Stanstead.

After Prague, Brno is the country’s second-largest city. It is one of the best places to visit if you have already been to the Czech capital city and loved it.

Brno is much smaller than Prague, and travelling there in the winter months is not advisable. Many attractions are shut or have odd opening times, and it’s cold! However, summer would be the perfect time in Brno for a lovely getaway for a couple of days.

The city has the same Bohemian charm as Prague, so expect ornate buildings, orange rooftops, and a medieval castle perched on the hilltop.

In town, discover an ancient ossuary (tombs filled with skulls and bones), museums and modern art installations like the famous horse and rider in the church square.

While Brno is much quieter than Prague, it is still charming and has some unique attractions. It is also one of the cheapest European cities to visit as it still has its currency, the Czech Koruna, and has not converted to the Euro.

View of rooftops and church spire in Brno
Brno rooftops viewed from the Town Hall Tower
Modern art sculpture of horse and rider in Brno
Knight on horseback in Moravian Square

Dubrovnik City Break from London

Flight time from the UK is 2 hours and 45 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

One of the old walled cities in Europe is Dubrovnik, a beautiful destination with its terracotta roofs and narrow streets offering the visitor a glimpse into its colourful past.

To experience Dubrovnik’s main attractions, walk the city ramparts or head to the island of Lokrum, where peacocks roam freely.

Enjoy a meal in one of the many fabulous cafes dotted around the walled city and take the cable car up to the top of the mountain for a spectacular lookout.

For a day trip from Dubrovnik, cruise to the Eliphiti islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan to spend time on the beach or hike the pine forests.

Dubrovnik is one of the best European city breaks for young adults, as it also has one of Croatia’s beautiful sandy beaches to enjoy. It’s the perfect place for a short visit on 2-day getaway.

Do you want to know more about Dubrovnik? All the answers are in my post: 5 Reasons to Visit Dubrovnik.
View down to the Old town of Dubronik showing terracotta rooftops and a tall bell tower
Dubrovnik old town viewed from city walls
Rooftops of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s terracotta rooftops

Bruges City Break from London

Flight time from the UK is 1 hour 10 minutes to Brussels. Bruges is 60 miles from the airport and can easily be reached by train, making it one of the best weekend trips from London to Europe.

By Train, the Eurostar from St Pancras to Bruges takes 4 hours with a change in Brussels.

Bruges is one of the best short train trips from London to Europe and is one of the most perfect cities in Europe to visit for a 3-night city break.

A picturesque destination with plenty to see and do, Bruges offers pedestrian-friendly streets, beautiful waterways and medieval architecture.

Chocolate shops, waffles and beer tastings are a bonus for food lovers who will find that every turn will take them to gastronomy heaven.

In winter, Bruges’ Christmas market is one of the top attractions for visitors from all over Europe.

Do you want to know more about Bruges? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Bruges 3-Night Itinerary Guide.
medieval riverside buildings in Bruges Belgium
Medieval houses and river in Bruges

Monaco City Break from London

Flight time to Monaco from the UK is 2 hours and 5 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Monaco is a unique destination along the French Riviera and the second smallest country in the world, after Vatican City in Rome. Prince Albert II of the Royal Family Grimaldi is Monaco’s ruler. 

If you love glitz and glamour and are curious to see the wealth on display courtesy of the yachts, supercars and fashion, then you will enjoy one incredible day in Monaco.

Due to their proximity, Nice and Monaco are European cities that can be explored on the same short break, making this destination a favourite weekend trip from London to Europe.

Do you want to know more about Monaco? All the answers are in my post: The Best Monaco One Day Itinerary.
Monaco harbour with moored yachts

Port Fontvieille
Monaco city and harbour with yachts
Port Hercules viewed from the Prince’s Palace Terrace

Porto City Break from London

Flight time to Porto from the UK is 2 hours and 20 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick

Porto is one of Portugal’s fabulous destinations and one of the best city breaks in October due to its mild climate. It is the hub for the famous port wine cellars of the region, and a Porto tasting tour is a must when in the city.

Discover cobbled streets, elaborate churches, street art and boat trips on the Duoro River during your stay. Visit the Livraria Lello, the bookshop made famous by J.K. Rowling.

One of the best European city breaks for foodies is Porto. Indulge in the traditional Portuguese custard tarts, and if you have a hearty appetite, the Francesinha sandwich, maybe once tried, never repeated!

Do you want to know more about Porto? All the answers are in my post: The Perfect Porto 3-night Itinerary Guide.
A traditional fishing boat on the Duoro River with the Dom Luis 1 bridge in the background

Dom Luís I Bridge
view back to Ribeira from Vila Nova

Nice City Break from London

Flight time to Nice from the UK is 2 hours with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Nice is a fabulous place to visit on the French Riviera. The famous 7km seafront walkway, La Promenade des Anglais, is perfect for beachside strolls past cafes, restaurants and luxury hotels.

The old town offers a step into the past with colourful buildings, narrow cobbled streets and artisan shops.

Take time to explore the markets and churches and lose yourself in the historic streets around town before settling down on the beach for sea, sun and cocktails.

Nice is also a great location to see other towns along the Cote D’Azur. From the centre of the city, you can take a train ride along the coast to Cannes, Villefranche and even Monaco. It’s an easy way to travel between towns, and all the destinations are perfect as day trips from Nice.

Do you want to know more about Nice? All the answers are in my post: What to do in Nice, France in 24 hours.
Nice Harbour with a Mega yacht
The Old Port of Nice / Port Lympia viewed from Castle Hill
A city break in Nice town and beach viewed from above
Promenade des Anglais viewed from Castle Hill

Budapest City Break from London

Flight time to Budapest from the UK is 2 hours and 30 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

You will get the best of both worlds when you head to Budapest. The River Danube separates Buda’s old town and the newer cosmopolitan side of Pest.

Discover Buda’s Unesco World Heritage area with its castle and medieval streets, one of the prettiest districts in Budapest.

Take a cruise along the Danube to see Budapest from the water.

Explore Pest with its quirky bars, head to the famous New York Cafe for cake and coffee, and then escape to the spa baths just outside the city. Budapest has so much to offer for a short European city break.

Do you want to know more about Budapest? All the answers are in my post: How to Spend Three Days in Budapest.
Bronze Shoes on the Danube in Budapest
Shoes on the Danube Memorial
A view of Budapest parliament and the Danube river
Budapest Parliament Building viewed from Fisherman’s Bastion

Oslo City Break from London

Flight time to Oslo from the UK is 2 hours and 5 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Norway’s capital might not be the first place that springs to mind when planning a European city break; however, there are plenty of great things to do in Oslo.

Firstly, the Ager Brygge waterfront is filled with museums, historic buildings, art, restaurants, cafes and bars to satisfy any foodie.

If you want to visit some of the islands of the Oslofjord, it is simple to do from Aker Brygge and is a must-see in Oslo.

Wander around Tjulholmen, enjoy the outdoor sculpture park and even go for a spot of swimming from the jetty!

Take a look at Grunerlokka with its hipster vibe. This neighbourhood has street art, parks, vintage stores, coffee shops and fabulous eateries. It’s one of my favourite parts of Oslo.

And no trip to Oslo is complete without checking out Vigeland Sculpture Park. Just come prepared; it’s like nothing you’ve seen before!

Aker Brygge Waterfront in Oslo
Aker Brygge Waterfront
Akershus Fortress

Gdansk City Break from London

Flight time to Gdansk from the UK is 2 hours and 10 minutes with Ryanair from Stanstead.

If you are looking for one of the cheapest city breaks in Europe, Poland is a fantastic place to visit.

With several major cities, including Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk, you are spoilt for choice.

Gdansk is my favourite city and is full of historic buildings, cobbled streets, great restaurants and a completely eye-opening WW2 Museum. Even if you aren’t into history, this is one place you must visit.

Arrive in November and December, and you can enjoy the Gdansk Christmas market. It is not as big as the Krakow Christmas Market, but it is still a great place to enjoy seasonal Polish delights and pick up an unusual gift.

And if you visit Gdansk in summer, you can even swim at one of Gdansk’s beaches, such as Gdynia City Beach.

Overall, Gdansk is a great place to discover on a 3-day city break to Europe.

colourful buildings in Gdansk
Town Hall Building
Street in Gdansk
Royal Chapel

Brussels City Break from London

Flight time from the UK is 1 hour 10 minutes to Brussels.

By Train, the Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels takes 1 hour and 50 minutes.

One of the best weekend trips from London to Europe by train is to Brussels.

Visit Belgium’s capital and uncover the city’s history through its Flemish buildings. The Grand Palace is one of the most impressive and sits in one of the most magnificent city squares in the world.

If you like museums, there are over 90 or head to the Atomium, just outside the main centre and take in the views or have lunch in its restaurant. Plenty of urban art is dotted around the city for street art fans to discover.

If you are craving a shopping city break, there are plenty of shops, from global brands to independent stores.

And if you are planning a Brussels city break in December, make sure to coincide it with the Brussels’ Christmas markets to put you in the festive spirit.

Ornate building in Brussels
Grand Palace
garden laid out in green and red squares in Brussels

Copenhagen City Break from London

Flight time to Copenhagen from the UK is 1 hour and 45 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Christmas in Copenhagen is an excellent time for a short break to Denmark’s capital.

Firstly, there are many Christmas markets in Copenhagen to get you in the mood to celebrate the festive season, and secondly, the Scandi feeling of “Hygge” is everywhere.

Enjoy Danish glogg (mulled wine) as you visit the best Christmas markets to see the lovely Scandinavian crafts on sale. And don’t forget the highlight of visiting Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens. It’s a must-see for all visitors.

Of course, Copenhagen is one of the European city break destinations that is perfect to visit at any time of year.

There’s plenty to do in Copenhagen, including taking a cruise along the canals, visiting Christianborg’s Castle, strolling through the botanical garden and shopping on Copenhagen’s Stroget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets.

Illuminated tree and wooden hut at the Christmas Market in Copenhagen
Stroget, Copenhagen
Stroget

Rome City Break from London

Flight time to Rome from the UK is 2 hours and 30 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Rome is excellent for a weekend city break because of its fascinating history, ancient ruins and good food!

The Eternal City is very walkable, and there is a Rome attraction to see at every turn. The Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Spanish Steps are just a few of them.

Of course, the Vatican is one of the biggest reasons tourists visit Rome for the weekend. Step inside this beacon of the Catholic Church and revel in its magnificence. Also, enjoy the fun fact that you are now in the smallest country in the world, Vatican City!

Wander down Rome’s side streets for a taste of the real Italy in tiny family-run restaurants away from the main tourist haunts. And don’t forget to throw a coin in the Trevi fountain and make a wish to return to Rome one day. I have returned to Rome three times, so it must work!

Lastly, if you have time, take a day trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. It will be a full day from your Rome city break itinerary, but it is one of the world’s most incredible sights and is worth seeing.

Coliseum Rome
Trevi Fountain Rome

Tallinn City Break from London

Flight time to Tallinn from the UK is 2 hours and 48 minutes with Easyjet from Gatwick.

Little-known Tallinn in Estonia may not be as talked about as other European cities, but it is undoubtedly one of my favourite places for a cheap city break.

Tallinn is a Unesco World Heritage site rich in history and is known as one of Europe’s best-preserved towns from medieval times.

Walk along the city walls and see the many church spires which give Tallin its nickname, City of Spires. See the small artisan craft shops, eat the local Estonian food and immerse yourself in the delights of the medieval Old Town.

Jump on a tram, and you will be at the coast in a short time. Dip your toe in the Baltic Sea if you dare; it’s pretty cold (and I’m talking from experience!).

Church spires above rooftops in Tallinn
Old Town Square Tallinn
Old Square Tallinn

Helpful information about weekend breaks in Europe

From 2024, travel to Europe from previous non-EU visa-exempt countries (that includes the UK) requires an ETIAS visa waiver.

Flights to Europe

Most of my Europe city break flights were booked with Easyjet from London Gatwick Airport.

Choosing a direct flight that leaves at lunchtime means you will arrive by late afternoon. This will give you plenty of time to drop your bags off at your hotel and begin to explore your destination.

It also means you haven’t had to rise at dawn to catch your flight to Europe!

Choose the latest evening flight back to the UK. This will give you a full last day to explore the city centre you are visiting.

City Break Hotels in Europe

I booked all the hotels in these cities in Europe independently through Booking.com.

It is a great website; you can cancel up to 24 hours before arriving without penalty. Enjoy staying in a boutique hotel, chain hotel, hostel or BnB; there’s a wide choice of accommodations on a European city break.

Package European Weekend Breaks

Suppose you prefer a package city break where flights and hotels are pre-arranged. In that case, Jet2 and Easyjet Holidays travel to all these European city destinations and sell excellent weekend breaks in Europe suitable for all budgets.

Luggage Bonus

You will only need to pack light for a weekend break in Europe, therefore saving money on paying for hold luggage. Just take a carry-on for your city break necessities.

So there you have it, a complete guide to help you decide which destination is the best European city break for your next trip.

Please Pin for Future Travel to Europe

Are you looking for European travel tips? Please check out the following posts:

How To Shop Tax-Free in Europe as a UK Resident

19 Most Essential Travel Tips You Need To Know Before You Visit Europe

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Jay Artale

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

We missed out on our trip to Bruges .. it's been on my list for so long, and we were making our way up from France to go and spend three days there, but then our plans went awry ... I didn't realised that you could get there from the UK on the Eurostar, now that would be a great way to travel there. As I get older, I'm liking train travel a lot better than flying.

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Hopefully next year you will be able to get to Bruges. It is very easy by Eurostar.

Ann

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Oh I would love to Seville, Spain and go for a weekend in Monaco, and we have actually talked about both of them, but we never really came around to it!

Sue

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Great list & there are still a couple I need to check out. You picked some truly beautiful cities here & it just emphasises how lucky we are in the UK to be so close. Looking forward to when I can now discover Ljubljana & Monaco...fingers crossed not too long.

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Good choices Sue. Both offering very different experiences and both completely wonderful in their own right.

Emily Young

Thursday 5th of March 2020

Love this list! Can't wait to visit some of these cities this year :) Thank you for sharing!

WhereAngieWanders

Thursday 5th of March 2020

Glad you liked it. Hope you enjoy your trip.

Jenn | By land and sea

Thursday 6th of February 2020

We have visited a few of these spots ourselves. I think it must be so fantastic to live within good proximity of these beautiful places!!

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 7th of February 2020

Yes I am lucky to be able to get to most of Europe in a few hours