Can’t hold on until the summer for your next getaway? There are some great European city breaks available this spring to get you out of the UK and to a change of scenery. With flights to Porto, Valencia, Naples and Stockholm ranging between two and three hours, you’ll be enjoying your next holiday in no time from Birmingham Airport…
Known for being one of the oldest European centres, Porto has a thriving historical core. Its hilly, cobbled streets and bohemian character give it its alluring charm, and there is no better time to visit than in spring, when the temperature is mild. Enjoy the fun atmosphere and fresh produce at the Mercado do Bolhão.
If you’re feeling creative, take part in a workshop with local artists, where you can enjoy anything from tile painting and seat weaving to printing and glass fusing. A visit to Porto wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Port wine cellars, where you can sample the city’s namesake.
The southern neighbourhood of Ribeira, on the banks of the river Duoro, is the life and soul of Porto. Explore the maze of alleyways, plazas and tiled townhouses to discover some of the best restaurants in town, serving traditional cuisine with spectacular views over the river. Ribeira’s laid-back vibe is echoed in the cool cafés, hipster bars and general pace of life. Don’t
leave without sampling Portuguese wines and tapas.
UNWIND IN NAPLES
With one of the biggest historical centres in the world, housing over 400 churches as well as the iconic gulf and Mount Vesuvius, it’s a wonder Naples hasn’t received more attention. It enjoys a mild southern climate and temperatures reach 18°C in spring, allowing you to stroll the city’s streets without layering up.
Kick back and soak up the warm weather and sunshine in one of Naples’ green spaces. Stroll along the urban oasis of Villa Comunale, a leafy seaside strip dotted with gorgeous fountains and home to the Anton Dohrn aquarium. Also worth a visit is the neoclassical residence of Villa Floridiana, housing the magnificent National Museum of Ceramics.
The beautifully landscaped land and botanical gardens surrounding the villa provide a haven away from the busy city streets.
Visit Lake Agnano: what was once a lake on top of the Agnano volcano, is now home to steamy sulphur baths and picturesque walks. Take a trip to the Gulf of Naples, where you can admire the scenic beauty of the volcanic hills, the coastline and the Bay of Naples’ Islands.
From here you are within easy reach of Pompeii, the Herculaneum ruins and the Amalfi Coast.
A TASTE OF SWEDEN
Whether you’re looking for the stylish modern minimalism this Scandinavian city is known for or the rows of painted wooden houseboats which line the cobbled waterfront, Stockholm has it all. With a backdrop of futuristic skyscrapers, a busy commercial heart and one of the world’s hottest start up scenes, Stockholm offers visitors the perfect collision of tradition and technology.
Across Stockholm’s 14 islands you will discover leafy parks, serene walking trails, delightful swimming spots and bustling bars and restaurants. Head east of the city and out into the captivating Stockholm Archipelago, a vast sea of around 30,000 islands, islets and rocks, each with its own unique appeal. Take a boat tour around tranquil coves and through the open sea, explore uninhabited islands and walk through dense, ancient forests and fields strewn with wildflowers. Stockholm’s landscape is wonderfully unique and yearns to be explored.
The cosmopolitan Swedish port of Gothenburg is often referred to as the capital’s bohemian cousin, but a recent revival has seen the city become one of Europe’s top weekend destinations. Far from its ship-building days, Gothenburg today boasts quirky boroughs, tramclattering streets, hip cafés and gorgeous green spaces. There is no bad time to visit this vibrant city and with the weather warming up, the streets come to life once again.
Experience the real hustle and bustle of the city on Avenyn Boulevard. At one end of the boulevard stands the Gothenburg Museum of Art, and at the other, the oldest part of the city, with a moat. Lined with glitzy boutiques, restaurants and bars, you won’t be short of options.
Make sure to check out the side streets and street art jazzing up the walk . Hop on a kayak tour and paddle your way past the city’s magnificent sights. This is a unique and peaceful way to view some of the biggest tourist’s hotspots and neoclassical architecture. Alternatively, try out the Paddan Tours that tour the city’s moat and canals, whilst providing a detailed history of the city’s construction and defence.
All cities are easily accessible by a direct flight from Birmingham Airport. Flights start in March with airlines including SAS, Jet2.com, BMI Regional and Ryanair.