25 Perfect Weekend Getaways in Europe (Part I)
Europe is full of quaint, modern or alternative cities. There is something for every taste. Most of the destinations can be explored even just for a weekend. Check out these 25 weekend getaways suggestions from experienced travel bloggers and if you still haven’t decided where to go next week, this is the inspiration you need.
1. Positano, Italy
Perched on the cliff-edge of Amalfi Coast, this seaside town is set amid the most splendid coastal scenery on the planet. While I jaunt on a boat from Salerno to the coast, the sheer pastel-painted houses lined up on the steep terraced cliffs, gets closer – it’s no surprise the region is also a vacation paradise for celebrities. Positano is brimming with tourists in summer, but for a change, the crowd was least of my concerns.
As suggested by the locals, I took a one way trip in a crowded bus ascending hairpin bends to the hilltop town of Ravello, but as I soaked my senses, I was prepared for a walk instead. From atop, the sun-kissed shimmering ocean with the Duomo of the Santa Maria Assunta makes for a perfect postcard-like picture. The island of Capri is just a few blocks away, as is Amalfi town – spending a few hours in this region just isn’t enough to shake off your fairy tale dream. With fine dining, spacious inns and dramatic vistas, Positano offers a myriad of attractions for a perfect weekend getaway.
Suggested by: Shilpa, The Satori Saga
2. Rome, Italy
Rome, the perfect city for a weekend getaway. It´s like a huge outdoor museum with its history everywhere you look. You can stroll along the streets, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, get to know the history about Colosseum, relax in the sun with a delightful gelato and of course eat a delicious pizza.
If you like markets: Every Sundays there’s a market in Trastevere (a medieval area in Rome that is separated from the central city by the river Tiber): Porta Portese Flea Market. While you’re in Rome, you can even visit another state: The Vatican City, the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world.
Suggested by: Monica and Jon, We Travel Together
3. Utrecht, The Netherlands
Now, many tourists will pick Amsterdam for their Holland Weekend Getaway. But I can guarantee you: Utrecht will give you a fantastic Dutch experience. Utrecht is a very old city, over 2000 years old. The city used to be a Roman settlement and everywhere in Utrecht there are traces of Roman times. The current road between Utrecht and Amsterdam (called: Amsterdamsestraatweg) was actually built by the Romans.
You can’t miss the most famous feature of Utrecht: the Dom. The big gothic church and tower were seperated in the middle ages by a big storm and it was never restored. If you decide to go on a tour and climb the tower, you can actually see the outline of where the middle part of the church once was. Just look for the darker cobblestones.
These days Utrecht is one of the most vibrant student cities in The Netherlands, resulting in fantastic pubs along the canals in the city center, great shops by young and quirky designers and a sparkling nightlife. After you’ve explored the compact city centre, don’t hesitate to check out the Wittevrouwen neighbourhood with its fantastic eateries, cafés and shady parks or multicultural Lombok where you can visit the world in just a few streets.
Suggested by: Esther, Mooistestedentrips
4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A short flight (or train ride) from many European destinations, Amsterdam is perfect for a weekend of sight-seeing, shopping and stop-offs at coffee shops (if that’s your kind of thing). Since everything is relatively close-by, you can easily hit off several of your ‘to-see’ list in just a couple of hours.
The Vondelpark, for instance, is just a short walk from the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, while the Heineken experience is just a few streets over. But really, the beauty of Amsterdam is that no set game-plan is needed. Just turn up with a good pair of walking shoes for leisurely canal strolls, and soak up every last inch of the picturesque scenery.
Suggested by: Emily, The Cosy Traveller
5. Dusseldorf, Germany
Most travellers to Germany stick to the same cities: Munich, Berlin or Hamburg – but those who head over to Dusseldorf will be rewarded with a chic cosmopolitan city. The perfect size for a weekend stay, Dusseldorf has a compact centre with a handful of must-see sights just a short walk from each other: Königsallee is one of Germany’s most upmarket shopping streets and is a great spot for window shopping; the city’s Altstadt (old town) is known by locals as “the longest bar in the world” and is home to hundreds of unique cosy bars serving up Altbier, the city’s speciality beer: and the Medienhafen is where you’ll find the Rhine tower and the Gehry-designed Neuer Zollhof – symbols of the city.
Other highlights include: brunch at one of the many stylish cafes on Tussmanstrasse, seeing the latest exhibit at the NRW Forum or going for a stroll in one of the city’s many parks, such as the Hofgarten or the Volksgarten. Dusseldorf makes a great weekend destination all-year round, but the city is especially lively during Karneval (February), the ‘Largest Fair on the Rhine’ (July) or during the Christmas Markets (December).
Suggested by: John, Continental Breakfast Travel
6. The Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds offer the tourist everything they could ask for in terms of natural beauty, history and tradition. The gateways to this wonderful area of English countryside are Bath to the south, Gloucester and Cheltenham to the west, Stratford-upon-Avon to the north and Oxford to the east (all worth a visit themselves). Within these borders, one can find the quintessence of English country life, the peaceful village built in the mellow local stone, often nestling among the hills and with the stream or river running through it.
Names such as Broadway, Winchcombe and Bourton-on-the-Water spring to mind, real jewels, but there are other lesser known gems dotted about, Bibury, Painswick, Stroud and The Slaughters to name but a few. You can even find Paradise here, described by Charles I as ‘the most delightful spot he had ever seen’. If it wins such acclaim from a King, then it, and its surroundings, must be worth a visit!
Suggested by: Victoria, Dovaston’s Diaries
7. Granada, Spain
Granada isn’t the obvious choice for a weekend away, but that makes it all the more inviting! While most weekenders head for Barcelona, Seville and Madrid, Granada remains largely off the radar. The Alhambra is, quite rightly, the tourist darling of the city, but there’s far more to Granada than its crowning glory.
A patchwork of Moorish, Jewish and Flamenco influences, you’ll find an edgy gypsy culture in the tangled cobbles of the Albayzín. Atmospheric Arab teahouses line Caldereria Nueva, while you can grab world-class churros con chocolate at Café Futbol in the city centre. There’s free tapas with every drink, so shoe-stringers are in serious luck. At sunset, head for the Mirador San Nicolás, watch the jugglers and listen to Spanish guitar while the sun sets over the Alhambra. It’s bohemian, beautiful and it’s a brilliant place to spend a weekend.
You can fly to Granada with British Airways direct from London City Airport and if you book head, you can grab some real bargains.
Suggested by: Bryony, Find a Happy Place
8. Vienna, Austria
Old world charm, new world thought: Vienna is the ideal weekend getaway. The grandeur of imperial residences and the pristine grounds of its flourishing gardens lend the perfect backdrop for a romantic stroll or picnic. The center of European history, you can spend hours roaming its treasury; fantasizing about their luxurious lifestyle.
Known for its cafe culture, enjoy a shot of espresso while listening to a live classical performance. A weekend in Vienna would not be complete without a schnitzel and beer! No matter where you go you are destined to find a quaint joint with Viennese cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds!
Suggested by: Andrea, No Money Will Travel
9. Thessaloniki, Greece
Our favorite weekend getaway is Thessaloniki, Greece. It is the second largest city in Greece but is way less visited than other parts of the country. Thessaloniki boasts amazing cuisine, stunning harbor views and awesome nightlife. This laid back city is all about leisurely chats over coffee along the harbor and then heading back to the harbor after dinner for some drinks and crazy nightlife.
Thessaloniki also has a long history, being Greece you cannot escape it, and you can visit ruins belonging to Ancient Greece, Rome, and especially Byzantium as it was the most important city second to Constantinople. The central city is easy to walk as the sites are close to each other allowing you to really soak up the history of the city while embracing its youthful modernity. Thessaloniki is the perfect city for a weekend getaway offering relaxing days exploring the town center and nights full of awesome food and dancing the night away.
Suggested by: Alex & Ashley, In Pursuit of Adventure
10. Prague, Czech Republic
We love Prague for its historic buildings, the little streets around the Old Town Square, the Czech Beer and the local food, the Vltava and the animated Charles Bridge.
During a weekend getaway in Prague one can enjoy a visit to the Prague Castle, take a cruise on the Vltava at sunset, visit the Petrin Hill, write something to be remembered by on the Lennon wall, chill out with your friends and a cold beer in Kampa Island, party like crazy on one of the five levels of Karlovy Lazne Club, wander around Charles Bridge and have a drawing made by one of the artists, enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the Old Town Hall and admire the animated figures of the Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square.
And if that is not enough you can always go visit the multitude of museums that Prague has to offer from the Museum of the City of Prague, to the Mucha Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Sex Machines Museum, the Beer Museum, the Wax Figures Museums, etc. In terms of prices Prague is truly acceptable and there are plenty of nice hostels that provide for cheap accommodation in common or private rooms. We rented an apartment in Czech Inn Hostel and we were more than satisfied.
Suggested by: Irina, Are You Happy Travel
11. Dublin, Ireland
For the perfect Weekend Getaway we highly recommend Dublin. It’s quite a small city so you can easily access all the must-see sights (Temple Bar, the Guinness Factory, the Leprechaun Museum etc) without exhausting yourself or your wallet. Furthermore, the city is pretty close to the airport with an excellent bus connection so you don’t need to waste any time actually getting to the place!
Dublin has a great, fun vibe which makes you feel at home right away. The food is great with the city having lots of access to fresh fish (and of course Guinness)! We recommend having a pint of Guinness and a meal at any of the pubs in the ‘Temple Bar’ area. There is great live music, a great atmosphere and quite often free and authentic performances of Irish dancing!
Suggested by: Laura & Tanbay, Travelling Weasels
12. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is the embarkation point for many large cruise ships, making it the perfect European location for a weekend getaway prior to boarding a cruise. Millions are drawn to this city ready to sail the deep blue Mediterranean waters and with its artistic architecture, world class attractions, favourable climate and delicious Spanish foods, there is something for everyone to do.
Whether strolling the winding lanes of the Gothic Quarter or taking an evening cable car ride from the Olympic Port to the hilltop of Montjuic, there is no end to the sights and activities to be enjoyed. Many visitors are drawn to the distinctive colours and unique designs of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera (or Casa Milà), and Park Güell, or the external skeletal qualities of Casa Batlló, the house of bones. No trip would be complete without sampling the local paella, tapas and churros, washed down with a sangria or two and I highly recommend you experience an authentic flamenco dance. But whatever you do, leave some time one evening to visit Montjuic for the Magic fountain show, a spectacular free show that combines water, colour, light and music and never disappoints.
Suggested by: Lyn, A Hole in My Shoe
13. Bergamo, Italy
Bergamo is located around 50 minutes by train from Milan. It is also served by it’s own airport, Orio al Serio International Airport which offers flights to and from many major cities in Europe. Bergamo is split into two parts, the new town (Citta Bassa) at the bottom and the old town (Citta Alta) on top of a steep hill. As the names suggest, the new town is the modern district with malls and offices etc, whereas the old town is like stepping back in time.
Bergamo is typically Italian and on a summers day it would be easy to stay in a street cafe for the whole afternoon just enjoying the atmosphere and soaking up the Italian culture. Finish the day by doing some trinket shopping in the stunning, narrow cobbled streets and enjoying dinner on a roof terrace overlooking the old town.
Suggested by: Rebecca, Rebbeca Richardson International
CHECK OUT PART II: 25 Perfect Weekend Getaways in Europe (Part II)
If you can leave tomorrow, which one of these cities would you visit first?
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