For the longest time, Lloyd and I sought out every way to try to travel the world as often as possible and one of the best ways we’ve found is to look to travel during the weekends. This is perfect if you’re working full-time (as we both were) because weekend travel requires you to use ZERO holiday days.
Living in Europe of course meant that going away to another European country was relatively easy in terms of journey times and thanks to this, with experience gained from years of looking for the best places in Europe to visit for weekend breaks, we’re pleased to bring to you 25 perfect place European weekend getaways.
1.) London, UK
London is always an easy win as there’s always so much to here! There are lots of places with amazing views, some amazing and unique restaurants to visit, not to mention 101 free things to do and secret spots you definitely have to see.
2.) Cinque Terre, Italy
One of the most colourful places to visit in Italy, Cinque Terre is an amazingly picturesque place to spend a lovely and relaxing weekend in. Unless you like to hike of course in which case, you’re going to the right place anyway. Here’s a complete guide on Cinque Terre and a some photos from the 5 towns – Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
3.) Paris, France
Paris as a city is another easy win though my personal favourite time to visit Paris is definitely in the summer. Summer in mainland Europe always seems a lot nicer and there are so many outdoor festivities, picnics and dinners just waiting to be had. Do check out these free things to do in Paris, dine in these restaurants with the best views in Paris, see these essential sights in Paris and have a little fun searching for these secret spots in Paris.
4.) Split, Croatia
Not only is Split an amazing city to visit (make sure you check out Diocletian’s Palace, especially if you’re a Game of Thrones fan), it’s also quite close to beautiful islands like Solta and lovely seaside towns like the Markaska Riviera. We’ve also got an action packed itinerary to help you plan what to do when you visit Croatia in general.
5.) Gothenburg, Sweden
This laid back Swedish city packs a lot of fun for a weekend away. You could always plan everything out though in our experience, this is one of those cities where you’re best throwing caution to the wind and playing the weekend by ear. If you have a bit more time, step away from the city and check out some of the neighbouring towns and villages.
6.) Budapest, Hungary
There’s so much to do here during the day and at night though one of the best part about visiting this city is how affordable it is. Affordability is relative of course but Budapest is unique in that the affordability doesn’t come at the cost of a lack exciting things to see, do and eat in the city (check out this list to help you plan a weekend in Budapest). It’s one of the cities where 5 star luxury accommodation is a lot more attainable and you can definitely splash out a lot more on.
7.) Florence, Italy
My love for Florence has been stated on here time and time again. With lots of sights to see, an abundance of amazing restaurants and stunning places with amazing views, it’s probably easy to see why a weekend away in Florence is just what you need!
8.) Venice, Italy
Venice is one of those cities where even if you’re the most cynical people in the world, you won’t be able to help but fall prey to Venice’s romantic charm. The beautiful side streets, gondola rides and venetian architecture will definitely see to that when you visit and although a weekend here will leave you wanting to come back, you can cover most of the sights here in a weekend here. Do check out this complete guide to all the sights in Venice to help you plan your trip.
9.) Edinburgh (Scotland), UK
Without a doubt, the very best time to visit Edinburgh is during the annual Fringe Festival. It’s also one of the most expensive times to visit but this month with lots of free stuff to do in the city, things tend to balance themselves out. The fringe festival is a month long festival with visitors from all over the world and the energy in Edinburgh is pretty electric. Edinburgh also has lots of great bars, restaurants and a whole host of amazing experiences just waiting to be had.
10.) Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is one of those compact cities that is easy to explore in a weekend however you leave feeling like there’s so much more to see (and you would be right about that too). To help you get the most out of a weekend here, check out this complete guide on everything to see, do and eat in Copenhagen
11.) Barcelona, Spain
Gaudi’s home city is famed all around the world and definitely lives up to the hype. There’s no other city in Spain quite like it and with its amazing sights to see, wealth of exciting restaurants to eat in and uber-cool vibe, a weekend in Barcelona is one that definitely feels like a good choice to make.
12.) Porto, Portugal
Porto is synonymous with good wine, delicious food and a weekend getaway where you can take in some real Portuguese charm at a leisurely place. It’s also a very colourful city and an amazing place to visit for a couple of days (or even longer).
13.) Oslo, Norway
This Norwegian city is definitely a fascinating city to visit though it’s also an amazing place to go to when you want to see the fjords of Norway as the train system here is pretty much on point and you’re no more than a couple of hours away at most from a stunning fjord. There’s also a lot to see and do in the city of course but Norway true charm lies in how cities and nature seem very intertwined.
14.) Prague, Czech Republic
Easily considered one of the most beautiful and most charming cities in Europe, Prague has a wealth of sights to see and free stuff to get up to that will keep you busy all weekend long.
15.) Flam, Norway
Flam is a gateway to three amazing fjords (which you can take a fjord safari through) and although there’s not really much in Flam, it’s the perfect spot for a nice and relaxing weekend getaway. The train ride here is also pretty epic by the way and one of the best train journeys in the world!
16.) Nimes, France
This city in the South of France looks like it’s straight out of Rome (or somewhere equally as grand in Italy). It’s got a strong Roman heritage (complete with colosseum) and some of the best creme brulee you’ve ever tasted.
17.) Berlin, Germany
I’ll just come out and say it, a weekend in Berlin is not nearly enough time to explore the city but this is not a bad thing. Visiting for a weekend and feeling like coming back is always a good thing when it comes to cities like Berlin. The city is exciting and ever-evolving and even my friends from Berlin feel like there are still so many parts of the city they haven’t discovered yet so you won’t be alone in feeling that way.
18.) Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is easily the one city we’ve visited the most of all the cities in the world and with good reason too. Every visit to Amsterdam exposes a new part of the city and news ways to explore the city that we’ve just leaned into this vibe now and have our next two trips to the city already planned. What does this mean for you? Even if you have been to Amsterdam, a trip back is pretty much guaranteed to be fun-filled!
19.) Reykjavik, Iceland
Even in winter, Reykjavik is a colourful city and although it feels like you don’t need much more than a day to spend in the city, Reykjavik’s greatest appeal stretches far beyond the city. It’s appeal lies in all the amazing natural wonders surrounding the city and just waiting for you to explore (here are quite a few you won’t want to miss).
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland soon, we’ve put together a 1 week itinerary to help you do so (even if you’re there for just a weekend, you’ll find a few things on there you’ll wanna tick off). Oh and don’t forget the food. Icelandic food is pretty great!
20.) Lisbon, Portugal
Forget a weekend – Lisbon is a city I’d happily move to for months on end and with good reason too. The city is fun, has amazing food (yes, I keep talking about food but it’s an important part of travel) and is quite easy to spend an amazing weekend in.
21.) Brussels, Belgium
Even if it’s just for the chocolate and waffles, you’ve got to take a weekend trip to Brussels. Of course there’s so much more to see and do here but I honestly won’t judge you if you wanna visit just for those two reasons. 😉
22.) Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds are one of the most beautiful places you can visit in the UK and every time we return, this only serves to re-affirm what we already knew. There are so many quaint English villages to see here which just make that list of reasons to visit the Cotswolds grow larger and larger.
23.) The Hebrides (Scotland), UK
A weekend here is all about getting lost in nature and far-often rarely-seen rural British life. The Hebrides are unlike anywhere else you can visit in the UK and are definitely an eye opener when it comes to how amazing and beautiful Scotland truly is.
24.) San Sebastian, Spain
This Basque Country city is a truly gem in Spain and although it’s one of the most expensive places to visit in Spain, a trip here is most certainly worth it. When you’re here, you can pop down to the beach, try pintxos at every restaurant/bar possible and have a generally great time just ambling around the city. If you’re planning a bigger trip around the Basque country (including San Sebastian), then do check out this 4 day travel plan to help you get started.
25.) Istanbul, Turkey
Although Turkey is technically in Europe and in Asia, Istanbul is still a worthy addition to the list of cities worth visiting for a weekend as it is exciting, vibrant and full of character. There are lots of great experiences you can have here though do check out the FCO website before you visit.