Monday, 20 February 2017

TOP 5 EUROPEAN CITY BREAKS


Morning guys! So as it's approaching the warmer months and as we're all thinking about our holidays this year, I thought I would put together my top 5 destinations in Europe ideal for a little break or a long weekend away! I'm always finding myself searching to leave the UK for an amazing city I've never been to before, and all I seem to want to do when I get home is plan my next mini adventure.

The destinations I've shortlisted are all just a short flight away, with endless amounts of sights to see and they definitely won't break the bank (too much). It was such a hard task to whittle them down to 5, as I have so many more cities I've loved and also want to visit for the first time. I've been to 4 out of the 5 cities so I've crammed in some useful information with some pictures of my own as well. You'll find what I paid/can expect to pay for flights, standard daily spending budgets, prices for a nice 4* hotel and any recommendations that I have! 

The good thing about these destinations is that they're all city based but they still make you feel as though you're a long way from home. This also means that you can visit them all year round, which can save you tons of money if you decide to go during low-season. I seriously urge anyone with a love for travel to choose one from the list and start saving for a little break away with your friends or someone special.

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TOP 5 EUROPEAN CITY BREAKS


1. Venice, Italy

FLIGHTS | £80-£120pp (return)
DAILY SPENDS | £100 (avg)
4* HOTEL | £120p/n (avg)

Now, I know I said these destinations wouldn't break the bank, but Venice is definitely not one for the tight with money bargain hunters. You can however do Venice on a budget if you do your research like I did. I've been twice and I have every intention of returning! The place is honestly magical, and because it's known as 'the city on water', there are absolutely no cars so everything is super easy to get to by either boat or on foot. You'll never be stuck for things to do there and a weekend is enough time to see the entire scope of the city. There are so many hidden gems within this city of love, but be wary of paying over the odds for gondolas, restaurants in St. Marks Square and certain attractions. Spend your money wisely by finding authentic Italian restaurants down the tiny side streets, there you'll find much tastier food and bigger portions at at least 1/4 of the price. We went during the beginning of high-season (June-Sept) so the prices were beginning to rise, but I know Venice is just as pretty in the Winter months. 

What I'd reccommend in Venice..
EAT & DRINK | Magnum Pleasure Store, Boutique Del Gelato and Dal Moro's Fresh Pasta 
MUST SEE | Grand Canal (via water taxi), Campinile de San Marco and the shopping district

Interested in going? Watch my Italy Travel Vlog here!

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2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

FLIGHTS | £30-£100pp (return)
DAILY SPENDS | £50 (avg)
4* HOTEL | £90p/n (avg)

A firm favourite for many couples and groups of friends due to its all-year-round appeal and cheap prices. I absolutely loved visiting Amsterdam during Christmas, and I know it's equally as pretty biking your way around it in the Summer. There are so many things to see and do. You have the Red Light District, canal cruises, museums, coffee shops, amazing restaurants and places to do some serious shopping! So I would definitely advise the Dam for anyone's first little break as you honestly cannot go wrong with it. I would recommend to anyone thinking of going to visit Ann Frank Haus. Even if there is a queue, it is well worth the wait and for only around 8-12 euros, the experience is priceless. It's excellent for anyone trying to stay within a low budget, I paid £40 return for my flight and came home with some spends left over which is always a bonus (they also have a-ma-zing waffles!)

What I'd recommend in Amsterdam..
HOTEL | Hotel De Hallen
EAT & DRINK | Lot 61 Coffee or De Hallen (next to hotel)
MUST SEE | Friendship Amsterdam Cruise

Interested in going? Watch my Amsterdam Travel Vlog here!

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3. Barcelona, Spain

FLIGHTS | £80-£120pp (return)
DAILY SPENDS | £100 (avg)
4* HOTEL | £110p/n (avg)

So you could argue that Barcelona isn't just a city break destination due to its incredible beaches, but either way, you're getting a 2-in-1. Even though prices rise during the warmer months, I would still opt to pay to go during these times as you can take full advantage of dipping your toes in the sand. Barcelona is full of amazing architecture, vintage shops, rooftop pools, swanky coffee shops and great nightlife. Although for spends I was told it can be quite expensive, again, if you do your research you can avoid spending over the odds. It has the best of both worlds in that it can be a much more relaxed city-break by opting to lounge by a pool or by the sea, but as it's also unreal for shopping, so I will say be prepared to walk a lot. 

What I'd recommend in Barcelona..
HOTEL | BHotel or Hotel U232
EAT & DRINK | Marmalade (amazing for brunch)
MUST SEE | Cathedral, Gaudi Houses and shopping in El Raval district.

Interested in going? Watch my Barcelona & Ibiza Travel Vlog here!

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4. Budapest, Hungary

FLIGHTS | £90-150pp (return)
DAILY SPENDS | £50 (avg)
4* HOTEL | £100p/n (avg)

I've never been to Budapest but its somewhere I've always wanted to go to and it's sure as hell at the top of my list! I've heard so many people say it's easily the best place in Europe in terms of value for money so how could I not include it in my top 5 list? The iconic thermal baths are a must for any tourist and the city boasts amazing culture! I've always wanted to see and walk across the famous Chain Bridge (the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest), but I've just never got round to booking my trip! I've heard great things about the amazing views, nightlife and restaurant scene, and I know there are many festivals showcased in Hungary's Capital too. I'd say it's probably best visiting in the summer, like most European destinations - just so you can soak up the sun in the baths! I'll hopefully be seeing you soon Buda..

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5. Rome, Italy

FLIGHTS | £50-100 per person (return)
DAILY SPENDS | £75
4* HOTEL | £90-£100 a night (avg)

The beautiful city that is Rome is last on my list, but certainly not least! Just like Lizzie McGuire experienced, Rome is an absolute dream. We went in June so our overall spends weren't too ridiculous and the weather was still great, although some attractions were through the roof in terms of price! Some of the best attractions I found were the free ones (St. Peter's Basillica in Vatican City, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps), so if you're not into museums or art then the extortionate entry prices can be easily avoided. The one negative with Rome I would say is that it is heavily, heavily touristy and you have to queue for absolutely everything. We queued for nearly an hour to get into the Colosseum, but if you have the time to see and do everything, start the day early to avoid the crowds. Another reason to visit Rome is the cuisine, it's like no other Italian city I've been to and it hands-down has the best ice cream and pizza - just be prepared to come home a little heavier.

What I'd recommend in Rome..
HOTEL | The Opera Hotel
EAT & DRINK | That's Amore (definitely book in advance - we went twice!) and Verde Pistachio
MUST SEE | Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, St. Peter's Basillica

Interested in going? Go and have a watch of my Italy Cityscape Vlog.

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