There are a lot of different ways to get the most out of your travel experience. The kind of traveling that you really want to do is going to depend pretty significantly on the kind of person you are and the kinds of things that you really love. I’ve pulled together some of the Best City Breaks for Couples both in Europe and beyond. For some people, there really is nothing better than hitting the beach and laying on the golden sands.
For others, the best possible travel scenario has them getting off the grid entirely and experiencing all of the wonderful things that nature has to offer them. But if you really want to squeeze the absolute most you can out of any trip, particularly one that’s relatively short, there really is nothing quite like a city break. There are no other trips that allow you to pack in quite as many exciting and dynamic experiences into such a short amount of time. With that in mind, here are some of the best city break destinations in the world.
Read more: 5 European Destinations for Female Travellers
My favourite 11 city breaks for couples…
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? If you’re going to take a trip to any city in the world, it really should be Paris. Sure, there are those who might say that this is kind of an obvious choice but the truth is that Paris is as popular as it is for a good reason. Whether you want to explore the amazing history and architecture of the city, experience some incredible art at the Louvre, or just enjoy some of the amazing restaurants and shops all over the city, Paris really does have something for everyone, day or night. Highlights include admire the iconic Eiffel tower and its impressive structure, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and travel back in time, visit the underground world at the Catacombs and gaze at the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle.
The British capital is one of the largest and most influential cities on the continent, and it has a wonderful variety and diversity that makes it a great destination. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city. My top tips for spending 48 hours in London would be to visit Tower Bridge, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, Camden Market and Trafalgar Square.
Who says that you need to make the choice between a relaxing beach vacation and an exciting city break? Sydney is one of those places that really does seem to have it all. Amazing weather? Check. Beautiful golden sands and crystal blue oceans? Check. Amazing shops? Check. Dynamic and exciting nightlife filled with culture? Double check! And for anyone who feels as though a trip to Australia might be a little costly, there are plenty of business class flight deals to Australia available online. That way, you can take the trip of a lifetime without having to empty your bank account for it.
There are those who assume that Dubai is the kind of city that you can only enjoy if you’re incredibly rich. And sure, there definitely is a lot available in Dubai for those with cash to burn but even if you don’t you’re bound to find some amazing experiences in this one of a kind city. From amazing shopping malls to luxurious hotels, Dubai is the kind of city that can make anyone feel like royalty. Plus, it’s always changing and you’ll probably find that an entirely new skyscraper has appeared when you next go back.
The cosmopolitan Swedish capital is set over three main islands, and has a good balance between a modern city center and historic sights, many of which date back centuries to the heyday of the Swedish empire. The old town is filled with narrow cobbled streets that are great to explore, while the Royal Stockholm Palace and Drottningholm are grand buildings, and you can see the maritime history on the restored warship at the Vasa Museum. I have only been to Stockholm once as a kid, but I am so eager to return to this wonderful city. My top tips for visiting Stockholm would be sip a hot chocolate in Stockholm’s oldest square, catch a ferry to the city’s greenest island, Djurgården, rummage the vintage stores in creative Södermalm and get naked at Hellasgården’s lakeside sauna.
Some people want to get off the grid but why not get on the grid in a big way with a trip to the city that never sleeps. New York is one of the most famous cities in the world for a reason and that’s that it has things to offer you really can’t get anywhere else. Along with the obvious stuff like Central Park and Broadway, the real magic of New York comes from the fact that there are so many little alleys to get lost in and find wonderful hidden gems that you won’t see on any travel guide in the world.
Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes. My top highlights for spending 48 Hours in Rome are imagine ancient games at the Colosseum, make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, admire the many historical buildings, especially the pantheon and visit another country: the Vatican.
If you’re looking for a city break that still gives you the chance to go exploring in a new and exotic place then Marrakech just might be the perfect choice. With the desert right on your doorsteps, you can go from exploring the various markets of the city to witnessing some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. That’s not something you can get with just any city break.
Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities, and every time I visit I feel so at ease there. I love walking around the city, or jumping on a bike and heading off on a day exploring. For our 48 hours in Amsterdam we stuck mainly to the tourist attractions, but did also spend a morning and an afternoon in some lesser known neighbourhoods such as Jordaan and Amsterdam-Oost. My top tips for spending 48 hours in Amsterdam would be to visit: Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Amsterdam Cheese Museum, The Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Sex Museum and Jordaan where you can spend more time as a local would.
Before I headed off on a week long cruise last summer, I arrived in Barcelona for the day! My plan for the day in Barcelona was to explore La Rambla, head to the Gothic Quarter and then join a Barcelona Cookery Class for the evening! Firstly we headed to the Columbus Monument at the northern tip of the city, and then we slowly wandered down La Rambla, taking in all the sights and smells surrounding us. La Rambla was as busy as I remember it, with people everywhere. After a short stroll we crossed the road away from La Rambla in to the Gothic Quarter, where the architecture changed dramatically. The buildings became beautiful yet moody, mostly with brown shutters adorning their windows. My top tips for spending 24 hours in Barcelona would be to visit: Sagrada Família, Park Güell, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter, Casa Batlló, Montjuïc, Plaça de Catalunya, and the world famous Camp Nou.
Reykjavik, on the coast of Iceland, is the country’s capital and largest city. It’s home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history. The striking concrete Hallgrimskirkja church and rotating Perlan glass dome offer sweeping views of the sea and nearby hills. Exemplifying the island’s volcanic activity is the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, near the village of Grindavik. The city is incredibly different to many other cities listed on this blog post, but deserves a mention due to it’s uniqueness. My highlights for visiting Reykjavik would be Hallgrímskirkja, Harpa, Golden Circle, Whale Watching, Road trip around Iceland and The Sun Voyager.
READ MORE: The Beginner’s Guide to Europe Interrail Routes
How to travel around Europe
Fifty sovereign states. 10,180,000 sq km. 738,200,000 people. The word ‘Europe’ does little to convey the diversity found within, which can make it a bewildering place to travel. Europe is amazing and with its abundance of cultures, cuisines and access to transport, it’s no wonder every man and his wife is heading off on a two-week itinerary to Europe at the moment. It is the place to go, with the continent being as big as Europe, there being over 50+ countries to explore and cultures varying over a few hundred miles and you can use these top tips for interrailing on a budget.
For a long time, trains were the best way to get from A to B but with the introduction of lines such as the Orient Express, going on the train became a holiday in itself. The train lines that cross Europe grant travellers a similar freedom to roadtrippers in the USA, with a single golden ticket offering plenty of destinations to explore. Here is my beginner’s guide to my favourite Interrail Routes…
Plan Where You Can
One of the great joys of interrailing Europe is that you can choose a starting point and then plan as you go along. However, if you are new to the experience and looking for a more structured trip, planning ahead is going to reduce your stress, even if you can’t follow your curiosity to the same extent.
When you know where you are going, you should then look into accommodation. Sites like hotels-n-europe are great for finding places at the last minute as well as in advance so definitely worth looking at. You might also like to check out recommended hostels as they can be cheaper – just be aware that you might have to share your room with other travellers and while a room of 20 people is a lot cheaper, you won’t get a great night’s sleep!
Explore Less Popular Destinations
Europe is simply full of incredible destinations and if you are looking to get a feel for each country, it is tempting to go for the major cities: Rome, Madrid, London, Berlin. The only problem is that these cities tend to be the most expensive to travel to and aren’t necessarily where the action is. In every country, each destination has its own culture and vibe – don’t assume that the capital is where you will find the heart of the country.
Interrail Europe Global Pass
You can use this Interrail Europe Pass on 5 days of your choice during a set period of 15 days. Travel on back-to-back, consecutive days, or spread them out during the fortnight. It’s up to you. On each day, ride on as many trains as you like between midnight and midnight.
- Get a taste of a city in a couple of days, before boarding a train to your next destination.
- Take 5 long-distance rail journeys to 5 European countries.
- Perfect if you only have 2 weeks to hit the highlights.
Of course, it’s important to remember that these are just a few of the amazing cities that you could visit. One thing that tends to put a lot of people off the idea of a city break is the fact that a lot of cities can be incredibly busy. This is obviously very true of some of the more popular destinations so one of the best things that you can do is to try some places that are a little less well known. Sure, there’s sometimes a little bit of risk involved in taking a trip to somewhere you don’t know as much about, but it also gives you the chance to be surprised by somewhere amazing that you never knew about before.