Summer is nearly upon us and, of course, the idea of a nice city break becomes all the more enticing. What better way to melt your worries away than to lose yourself in the warm climes and immersive culture of a European city? Here, and in no particular order, are laid out some of the Top 10 city breaks that can be found in Europe.
The only item from the British Isles on this list, Dublin has to be featured thanks to its plethora of culture and beauty that pervades every corner of the city. In the day, take the time to visit the hallowed stacks of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle. At night, a visit to a pub is a must, not only for the whiskey, but also to revel in the traditional Irish music, usually played live, that invigorates an evening.
Prepare yourself for a classically European experience should you choose to visit Rome this summer. After exploring the sights (the Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, and the Colosseum to name a few), channel your inner Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck, and wile away an afternoon at an intimate café, before enjoying a whirlwind adventure through the streets of the 'Eternal City'.
A stunning city with a turbulent past, Granada is a favourite for those with a historical bent to their travels. Scattered around the city are throwbacks to its status as a Moorish capital, the most famous of which being the magnificent Alhambra, filled with Islamic designs and surrounded by lush gardens. At night, catch a traditional flamenco show in one of the many flamenco 'caves', before enjoying some traditional tapas.
Admittedly, to do Paris in a weekend is a bit of a tall order, however one can't write a list about city breaks and miss off this icon. With plenty to do - Sacré Coeur, the Louvre and Notre Dame for example - this is an excellent escape for all ages. To experience something a bit different, perhaps head to the 'Shakespeare and Company' bookshop, a pilgrimage point for literary-minded travellers the world over.
Once the gateway to the New World, the colourful city of Porto is the perfect place to enjoy a warm summer weekend. Of course, the main thing to do here is enjoy a tasting of Port, preferably at a tour of a port cellar. This sweet red wine is named for the city, and it's the perfect tipple to drink whilst delighting in a summer's eve in the warm Portuguese climate. Look out also for the stunning blue and white tiles - known as 'Azulejo' - that dot the streets and buildings.
This split city has pretty much everything a person would need for an ideal weekend. Bohemian Pest to the west of the Danube is a hub of trendy bars and cafés, as well as being home to the lively Jewish Quarter. Stately Buda, on the other side of the river, houses the castle district - perfect for history lovers. In the evening, enjoy the city from the water with a cruise down the Danube: the glittering lights make for a perfect backdrop to a luxurious weekend away.
Sat on the shores of the Mediterranean, the second Spanish city on the list is a must-do during the summer. Of course, visiting La Sagrada Família is a given. An as-yet unfinished masterpiece designed by Gaudí, featuring enormous towers and intricate carvings, this enormous cathedral looks pulled straight from a science fiction film and is quite the awe-inspiring scene to behold.
Florence is the cradle of life as far as the Renaissance is concerned. Once home to artistic, scientific, and political giants, the city is an explosion of priceless art, breathtaking architecture, and excellent food. If one only has a short time in the city, spend a large majority of it uncovering a myriad of Renaissance art at the Uffizi Gallery, once the offices of the scandalous Medici family.
An inherently musical city, Vienna is the perfect spot for culture lovers the world over. During the day, visit the museums within the University area of the city, wander along the banks of the Danube, or visit the Prater, dominated by a large Ferris wheel. At night, don your finery and enter the glittering world of the opera or take in a symphony.
Of course, Venice has to appear at some point on this list. Although summer may be its busiest season, don't be daunted by the crowds. Perhaps visit the island of Murano, famed for its glass, or cross the Rialto Bridge to explore the Venetian mask shops in the back streets of San Polo. Finally, visit Piazza San Marco at night, indulging in a glass of chilled Moscato as the musical quartets that play at every café regale you with a variety of music.
Have we missed your favourite city? What European cities do you particularly enjoy exploring? Leave a comment below.