There is so much to love about a European city getaway. Short-haul flights serviced by budget-friendly airlines make them ultra accessible without eating into your annual leave allowance. They also leave you maximum time to explore when you get there. So, if you’re on the hunt for the best European cities for culture on your next weekend away, check out this round-up, where I’ve tracked down five of the best.
From wine tasting to waterways and castles to capital cities, you’re sure to find your ideal itinerary among these European cities for culture.
Sail away in Copenhagen, Denmark
If you’ve not paid much attention to the location of Copenhagen on a map, you might be surprised to find yourself surrounded by water as you fly in to land. Then, as you weave your way through the city, you’ll pass more rivers, lakes and, of course, the sea. The proximity to the water doesn’t just lend the city a unique charm, it influences many of its cultural attractions, too.
You could stroll to Nyhavn, where you’ll find a twin row of rainbow-coloured buildings with a river dividing them. Here, what were once sailors’ taverns and accommodation have been transformed into luxury hotels and charming restaurants and bars. Eat lunch here then hop onto a boat for a tour of the waterways, with the chance to see the famed The Little Mermaid statue too. Just be warned that if you’re on the water, your view of the statue will be from the back.
Planning a trip for later in the year? Find out why the Copenhagen Christmas Markets are a must-visit here.
Wine tasting in Porto, Portugal
One of the greatest appeals of Porto, like Copenhagen, is associated with liquid pleasures. This time, though, we’re talking about the kind grown on vines and crushed from grapes. The clue is in this city’s name – Porto has a long history of producing port, seducing visitors from around the world with its full-bodied flavours.
The vineyards of the Douro Valley, which surround Porto, are also fast becoming favourites on the wine scene, with many luxury resorts opening to offer an all-inclusive getaway to savour some seriously good wines and visit the vines that made them.
Find out why autumn is the perfect time to visit Porto here.
Go gourmet in Paris, France
Changing the tune from food to drink, our next stop on this round-up of top European cities for culture has to be Paris. The capital city of France is renowned for many things – romantic architecture, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower… It’s also hailed as one of the world’s best destinations for fine dining.
You can travel the world and find French-trained chefs and French-inspired menus topping the culinary charts, so why not trace the gourmet greatness back to its origins? You could spend the weekend exploring Paris’s charming streets, popping into whichever patisserie takes your fancy by day. Then, as evening arrives, head to your choice of Paris’s most esteemed restaurants for dinner as you’ve never experienced it before. Just be sure to make your reservation well in advance – you won’t be the only people wanting to dine out in style.
Become a history buff in Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’re looking for the best European cities for culture and history, then Edinburgh should definitely be on your radar. Make your base as close to the Old Town as possible and pack good walking shoes. Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile will serve as the perfect introduction to the city. Allow plenty of time to meander down the old streets and soak up the historic buildings at every turn.
At the end, you’ll reach your next attraction, the Palace of Hollyroodhouse. Its architecture is grand, ornate and imposing in equal measure. Once inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of history to trace through the palace rooms. Continue the royal theme with a visit to Edinburgh Castle, arguably one of Scotland’s most famous attractions.
Edinburgh is also one of the best places in the world to be for New Year’s Eve. Find out why and get one step closer to a happy Hogmanay here.
Look for landmarks in London, England
One of the best things about choosing London for one of your European cities for culture to visit is the close proximity of big-ticket attractions. You could be taking in the views from the London Eye over the skyline and the river Thames one minute, and then just a short stroll later be stood outside Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. From there, it’s just a brief walk on to Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park and the iconic Mall.
Take half an hour before leaving the hotel to map out an itinerary. This will help you to make the most of every area you visit. Don’t forget your Oyster card, if you’ll be travelling further around the city, too.
What are your favourite European cities for culture?
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