Although there was a time when a two-week vacation to a beach destination was the de facto choice for UK holidaymakers, times and habits have changed significantly in recent years.
New research from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance reveals that while 13 per cent of adults are planning on going on a beach holiday in 2016, more than a quarter will instead choose to head on one or more city breaks.
As such, we have looked at the top five destinations for European city breaks for the coming year and what makes them so popular.
Food lovers and history buffs alike flock to Rome in droves to sample its culinary and architectural highlights, but there is even more to the city than meets the eye. The neighbourhood trattorias, designer stores, art galleries and cafes are Italian life at its finest, while the bustling streets are filled with the language of love, making it perfect for a cultural getaway or romantic trip.
Despite being one of the smaller capital cities in Europe, Amsterdam’s diversity more than makes up for it. The city really is one of the continent’s great multicultural hotpots, with attractions to suit all ages and tastes. The stunning canals, plethora of bicycles and historical landmarks such as Anne Frank’s house hark back to a simpler time, while the bars, lively squares and thriving nightlife ensure it can compete with the best Europe has to offer.
One of the best European city breaks does not even involve leaving the UK, with Scotland’s capital proving to be a perennial favourite for a weekend break. As well as being one of the most historically rich destinations in Britain thanks to its iconic castle and stunning architecture, Edinburgh’s love for its heritage extends to its Hogmanay, Tattoo and Burns Night celebrations, which seem to get bigger every year. Add in the seemingly never-ending festival, plethora of shops on the Royal Mile, sporting events at Murrayfield and the wonderfully accommodating locals and you have the quintessential UK city break.
Although the city’s football team are just as likely to top Google searches, there is no denying that Barcelona is a truly special city break destination. Walking its streets evokes memories of the Freddie Mercury song of the same name, with the iconic constructions of Jean Nouvel or Herzog and de Meuro only adding to its allure. The Nou Camp is a must-visit for sports fans, although anyone simply looking to savour Spanish city life will find pleasure in its tapas restaurants, cocktail bars and seemingly endless sunshine.
It is impossible to think of a European city break without thinking of Paris, and it remains the most popular destination for UK travellers, as well as millions of others across the globe. Paris literally has everything, from the finest array of shops in the continent, to a wealth of Michelin star restaurants, to a bustling café scene. The Metro system is easy to navigate, considering its size, while English is spoken everywhere for those who are not au fait with the local language. Add in a thriving sporting scene, Disneyland Paris and its close proximity to the UK, and it is easy to see why the French capital retains its allure year-on-year.