Dluxe Travel! The Top Five European City Breaks For 2017.
Do you need an excuse to leave the British winter behind? With the excitement of Christmas and the New Year well and truly over, taking a short city break doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it? What better way to escape for a long weekend than with a cultural city break to one of the top five European cities? Let our mini destination guides help you feel inspired…
Lisbon, Portugal: Flying Time: 2h 50m direct
On top of being home to some of the
world’s best seafood, Lisbon boasts a warm Mediterranean climate and a mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture. This capital city’s centre can get very congested, but what better excuse to explore it on foot? Soak up the city’s history and marvel at some of the ancient architecture such as then 16th century Gothic Tower of Belém or the Jerónimos Monastery, with its elaborate portals and serene cloisters. For a real taste of Lisbon, get lost in the Alfama district, a network of charming cobbled streets. Take a leisurely stroll to the promenade and relax in one of the many cafés, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, hop on the cable car for magnificent views of the city and its coast. By night, Lisbon’s wine bars are a hazy, alluring delight where you can nestle up with some of the country’s best wines and sample specialty dishes. You mustn’t leave without trying a pastéis de belém – heavenly crispy pasty filled with custard cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. Enjoy the city like a local and you will soon fall for its warm character and beguiling charm.
Madrid, Spain Flying Time: 2h 30m direct
Despite being Europe’s highest capital, Madrid remains remarkably clear-skied and warm in the sunshine during the winter months – a far cry from a British winter. Explore the city’s beauty on a stroll through one of its parks. See masterful art by Goya at the Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum or view 19th century paintings and furniture in the Museo del Romanticismo. Once you’re cultured out, warm up in one of the city’scosy, character-filled cafés. Order a café
con leche with churros and melted chocolate. Madrileños typically eat at 10pm after the afternoon siesta, so if you can wait until then, you’ll experience the city’s true spirit. Skip the touristy spots in the centre and venture out to the neighbourhoods of Malasaña, La Latina or Chueca to dine like a local. For an authentic Spanish atmosphere cosy up in Bodega de los Secretos, a maze of underground 17th century wine cellars, and catch an intimate flamenco show.
Málaga, Spain Flying Time: 2h 55m direct
If you’re planning a last minute getaway to escape the cold, Málaga is the perfect destination. Situated along the southern coast of Spain, it’s filled with beautiful parks, charming plazas and a climate that stays pleasant all year round – what more could you want? The city has a rich culture, boasting approximately thirty museums, including the Museo del Vidrio y Cristal with its stunning collection of glass and crystals and the magnificent works of Picasso in the Museo Picasso, who was of course born in Málaga. Although it may not have a coastline to brag about, Málaga’s cuisine makes it stand out from the crowd. The city has a range of climates and conditions, making it a hotbed for all kinds of produce which
are showcased in its gorgeous cuisine. With an impressive 22 stalls, Mercado Merced in the heart of the city showcases traditional and innovative producers. It’s the perfect venue to taste the local gastronomy and experience the authentic atmosphere. Málaga’s port and promenade provide a gorgeous setting for a stroll in the winter sun, with an impressive array of contemporary shops and eateries to stop at along the way. By night, the promenade transforms, offering a buzzing nightlife for partygoers. Sit and relax at one of the many bars or clubs, savour the local wine and look out over the glistening sea.
Barcelona, Spain Flying Time: 2h 15m direct
Barcelona has it all – celebrated historical architecture, endlessly vibrant culture, a stunning coastline – so much so, that
it inspired the likes of Dalí, Miró and Picasso. The rolling Collserola mountain range offers an alternative to the bustling city. Its protected park is home to some 190 different species and provides spectacular views over the Catalonian capital. The city is laced with a long and fascinating history that dates back to the Roman-era. With traces of the Gothic Middle Ages as well as 14th century cathedrals, old is mixed with modernist creations by the great Gaudi and his contemporaries. Barcelona isn’t short of places to eat or drink. Find any food from traditional Catalonian dishes, to pintxos Basque-style tapas, to avant-garde Japanese restaurants. You are equally spoilt for choice with bars, from sunny terraces offering panoramic views to cosy taverns with vermouth flowing and acoustic accompaniment. Barcelona is likely to inspire the wild side in you, so make the most of what it has to offer!
Hamburg, Germany Flying Time: 1h 35m direct
Home to Germany’s biggest port and second largest city, Hamburg is a tireless trader. Yet despite its somewhat harsh exterior, the city is full of naval charm. As diverse as it is charming, Hamburg’s maritime location plays a large role in its culture and cuisine. Its harbour welcomes thousands of ships from all over the world and brims with restaurants and shops. If you’re around on a Sunday, wander down to the Fischmarkt in St Pauli – listen to the market criers selling their wares amidst old German pop songs resonating from the auction hall next door. Explore the city by foot and absorb its fascinating architecture, from the famous redbrick warehouses that line the Speicherstadt archipelago, to the impressive Chilehaus, shaped like an ocean liner with staggered balconies. At night, Hamburg comes alive. It has lots of chic cocktail bars, dance clubs and live music venues. Sip on a cocktail while you watch the hustle and bustle, dance until the wee hours on board one of the popular river barges, or take a boat trip on Lake Alster, where you’re sure to soak up the city’s culture.
Birmingham Airport offers direct flights to each of these city break destinations with a selection of airlines. Escape the
British winter and you could be exploring one of these European cities in as little as 1 hour 35 mins!
Find out more and book now at www.birminghamairport.co.uk.