Wondering where to go next but you only have one weekend? Wonder no more. Europe is full of vibrant cities and the locals are mostly happy to help you when you’re lost. There is something for the history enthusiasts, for the art lovers, for the foodies, for the nightlife fans.
Here are the 25 perfect weekend getaway destinations in Europe. Check out PART I so you don’t miss a thing!
14. Bergen, Norway
On the edge of the Norwegian fjords, the city of Bergen has a gorgeous setting along the waterfront surrounded by mountains. It’s a compact place that’s easy to walk around, but there’s still more than enough to do to keep you busy on a weekend getaway.
You can explore the old wooden houses in the historic Bryggen district, feast on fresh seafood in the fish market, or take the funicular up to Mount Floyen for a fabulous view. It’s easy to get out into the fjords too – you can take a ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ day tour which combines a trip on the Flamsbana scenic train through the mountains with a cruise along Norway’s biggest fjord, the Sognefjord.
Suggested by: Lucy, On The Luce
15. Berlin, Germany
Once a divided city, separated by a high concrete wall and countless miles of barbed wire, Berlin is now a vibrant hub of activity for everyone, whether you are seeking a relaxing break or a weekend full of culture and history. With an abundance of eye-catching street art murals, iconic buildings and a heart-wrenching history to delve into, Berlin is a city that you will want to revisit time and time again.
Take a moment to wander the empty streets first thing in the morning, seek out the local cafes hidden down the side streets and spend some time talking to locals over a slice of apple strudel. Once you are sufficiently full, head down Unter den Linden to explore the wealth of shops, both well-known and boutique, on your way to the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenbury Tor).
As the sun sets visit Alexanderplatz and travel up the Fernsehturm Tower. From here, the city is shrouded in an orange glow as the sun disappears behind some of the most famous sites in history. All at once, the city once again transforms; the bright, colourful lighting turning Berlin into a city for night-owls. With a variety of restaurants, bars and clubs this is a city that appears to never sleep and guarantees something for everyone.
Suggested by: Tamason, Travelling Book Junkie
16. Helsinki, Finland
One of the reasons why I love Helsinki so much, and why I think it’s perfect for a weekend getaway, is because it’s actually two cities in one. The city changes so much between summer and winter, but it is worth visiting in both seasons. In summer, you can explore Helsinki’s urban nature, enjoy the long Nordic nights and have a drink at one of many outdoor cafés.
In winter, the city is covered in snow and the atmosphere is simply magical. You can travel to Suomenlinna Island on a ferry scross the frozen Baltic sea, jump in the sea for an icy dip after a sauna and enjoy the beauty of the ‘blue hour’, the long twilight after an early sunset. Helsinki may have the reputation of being an expensive city, but there are in fact many (almost) free things to see and do!
Suggested by: Margherita and Nick, The Crowded Planet
17. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is a perfect city for a weekend getaway in Europe. Just a short 2-3 hour flight from UK and mainland Europe, Iceland is undoubtedly one of the hottest destinations (pardon the pun given the climate is generally cold) at the moment worth visiting. Spend a day walking around downtown Reykjavik, visiting the famous ‘church on top of the hill’ and Laugavegur, which is the main shopping street.
From Reykjavik, you can easily take the stunning Golden Circle tour that encapsulates all of Iceland with the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal park and Thingvellir National Park.
Suggested by: Heather and Chris, A Brit & A Southerner
18. London, UK
I don’t think any city in the world beats London, for a day, a weekend, or a year! But if you only have a weekend, you will be spoilt for choice. This is a city for those who love food and culture, history and fun. Walk by the Thames and marvel at the sights, from the Globe Theatre to Big Ben. Go up the Shard and see the breathtaking views, catch a West End Show and slot in a trip to a famous very English store like Fortnum and Mason or Selfridges. You won’t want to leave.
Suggested by: Sarah, Family Travel Times
19. Oslo, Norway
I’ve always wanted to go to Norway and when I found cheap plane tickets from Paris, I couldn’t say no to spending a few days in the capital city, Oslo. While I left wishing I had more time, you can fall head over heels in love with the city in as little as two days, making it a perfect weekend getaway. Oslo is a city where modern architecture meets history and nature so make sure you get a little taste of all of them.
You can visit the gorgeous Opera house (it looks even better in the evening!), see the Parliament and the Royal Palace, take a stroll around the Akker Brygge area and see a real Viking ship. Lastly, Norway is renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and you should take a cruise on the Oslofjord or go for a hike in one of the forests (named marka) surrounding the city. I came home from my trip to Oslo already planning to go back as soon as possible.
Suggested by: Vlad, Eff It, I’m On Holiday
20. Monterosso al Mare, Italy
Suggested by: Donna, High Heel And Suitcases
21. Marseille, France
I recommend Marseille in France as a best weekend destination! First of all, it’s a Mediterranen city so the season to visit it lasts from March until early November. Many historical sights can be visited there, like the Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the oldest district La Paniere or the fortress Chateau d’If, which is one of the settings in Alexandre Dumas’ novel ‘The Count of Monte Christo’. If you are not a sightseeing-type, you can visit one of nearly beaches or the calanques, which are also known as Meditterranean fiords.
What is more, near Marseille there is also one of the prettiest towns of Provance – Aix-en-Provence – a home town of the artist Paul Cezanne. Oh, I almost forgot! Also food lovers can find something for themselves! In Marseille it’s easy to find a restaurant serving not only French cuisine but also delicious sea food. And don’t forget about roasted sweet chestnuts! Marseille have it all!
Suggested by: Hanna, Hanna travels
22. Ibiza, Spain
Here’s your plan
1) Indulge in epic, late night/early morning parties at Pacha, Ushuaia or Amnesia.
Spending more than a weekend in Ibiza is a recipe for disaster (for your health and bank account), that is why it is the perfect weekend getaway for the young or young at heart.
Suggested by: Ben Warner, HugeParty Travel
23. Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw still seems to be kind of off the beaten path and is often overlooked by tourists who choose to visit other, more popular destinations in Central Europe. Yet the Polish capital has everything people wish for in the perfect weekend getaway. Warsaw is known as the “phoenix city”, badly destroyed during Second World War it raised from the ashes.
The recent history is widely seen and felt on each step, the rebuild Old Town is one of the prettiest in Europe, the food is delicious, the alternative scene is rich and the city is still a bargain. Everyone will find something for themselves in Warsaw and I’m sure the visit in the Polish capital will be a pure pleasure!
Suggested by: Kami, My Wanderlust
24. Lisbon, Portugal
Whatever the reason you travel for, Lisbon has it all! This city’s vibe is very simple yet perfect: you can just wander the streets, soak up the sun and end your day lounging by the river Tagus and watching the sunset.
For the History enthusiasts, the ruins of the Roman Theatre, the Arab influence in the older neighborhoods of Alfama and Mouraria and the Age of Discoveries landmarks in Belem. For the Art lovers, the impressive collection of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Berardo Museum or the paintings at the National Museum of Ancient Art. For the foodies, the Mercado da Ribeira (an old food market partly converted into a food court) or the area of Principe Real with restaurants that will introduce you to the cuisine and creativity of the new generation of Portuguese chefs.
For the nightlife fans, Bairro Alto where people hop from one bar to the other or simply stand outside in the street talking and drinking, the new hip bar scene in Cais do Sodre or Lux Fragil rated by The Guardian as one of the best 25 nightclubs in Europe.
Suggested by: Sandra & Danish, Tripper
25. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is a perfect exercise for your adventure’s spirit because there is no GPS or google maps that can help you through the city. Bosnian people are the best people of the world, they love everyone and if you need help, even though they don’t speak English, they will find a way to help you. If you search for essence (and not appearance) it’s one of the cheapest European city.
There are a lot of signs of the war but it’s a city full of joy and this contrast makes the city full of life more than all the others. You will come back home surely fatter but really happier. Sarajevo gives the possibility to go across Europe walking in the same street: the “Bascarsija” is the central street halved by a winds’ rose. There is a part of the street absolutely occidental and another one totally Eastern European.
Suggested by: Claudia & Pasquale, Due Cuori e Una Ciccions
BONUS: Manchester, UK
Sometimes overlooked because of the glorious city that is London, Manchester is the perfect place for a short weekend away for couples, families and solo travellers. Its big enough that there’s plenty to do but small enough that, (as the locals say) you can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes.
With museums scattered throughout the city there is plenty to see and do. The famous Museum of science and industry is a must see and you really shouldn’t miss the newly renovated Central Library. Manchester also has a great restaurant scene with the Northern Quarter having some top quality restaurants with something to suit every appetite. My personal favourite is Home Sweet Home, a cute and stylish restaurant that serves up some delicious hearty meals and incredible cakes! Its true that the northern people have a certain ‘northern charm’ about them. Its been my home for 3 years, make it yours for the weekend.
Suggested by: Leasha, My Trip This Year
If you can leave tomorrow, which one of these cities would you visit first?