Travel Series: 3 European City Breaks Everyone Should Take
I love me a good city break. They're more affordable than a week long holiday and they usually involve shopping, eating and drinking, which are my three favourite things. You also get to do a lot of sightseeing and soak up new cultures which always helps me to return home inspired. I'm lucky enough to have crammed in quite a few European city breaks over the past few years and I've got a couple more lined up for this year. So I thought I'd do a little round up of three of my favourites that I think everyone should take - although this is really only the tip of the iceberg and there are so many more places to explore!!!
1) Paris - The Romantic One
Just because I've nicknamed this one the romantic one doesn't mean it's a city break just for couples! Nope, Paris is a perfect place to visit with your other half or with a gaggle of girls alike. The romantic bit comes into it because of the way it makes you feel - the architecture is breathtaking, the food is divine, and well, you sometimes feel a bit like Carrie from SATC.
Paris is probably the most Instagram-able place on the planet - think macaroons, iconic landmarks and the prettiest pastel shades. Teeming with culture, amazing shops and world class restaurants, a city break here has something for everyone.
See: The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral - both a little touristy, but definitely worth seeing if it's your first visit.
Eat: Le Relais de l'Entrecôte - they only serve steak frites (with the most delicious sauce!) and the waitresses wear cute 50s outfits. So Parisienne!
Shop: Shakespeare and Company - a Parisian institution based on the Left Bank, even F. Scott Fitzgerald used to buy his books here!
Drink: Bar Hemingway at The Ritz - expensive but SO worth it. Very plush and such an experience to visit The Ritz (their toilets are divine).
2) Barcelona - The Sunny One
I've been to Barcelona a couple of times now, and it's hands down one of my favourite places in the world. It really does have everything you could want from a city break - a lovely beach, cheaper than cheap cava, delicious tapas and a super cheap Zara. What's not to love?!
I love exploring the different areas of Barcelona - the vibe at Barceloneta is totally different to that in the Gothic quarter. And if you want to party, this is the city for it! The drinks are cheap, the bars are busy and the Spanish stay out very late.
See: The Sagrada Familia - it's still over a decade from completion, but the detail on this beautiful cathedral takes my breath away.
Eat: Tapas 24 - a budget friendly restaurant from Michelin star chef, Carles Abellan. Get there early as it fills up quickly!
Shop: Zara - it is soooooo much cheaper in Spain! Amazing Zara quality at Primark prices - not to be missed.
Drink: El Xampanyet - Cava on tap and the most insanely beautiful blue tiled walls. Try some of the little pintxos at the bar if you're hungry.
3) Berlin - The Hip One
Berlin is SUCH an interesting place. When you think about everything that has happened there in the course of the last century it's really hard to comprehend the transition the city has had to make to be the creative, hip location that it is now. It's one of the coolest places I have ever been - it's a city filled to the brim with new artists, achingly hip boutiques and new pop-up restaurants and bars. Music is also a big part of the creative scene here and you won't be stuck to find a gig to enjoy.
But you can also learn so much here - we explored the Jewish museum and also learnt a lot about the Cold War and the Berlin Wall from various other museums. Again, it's hard to imagine that such huge, dark parts of history happened in what is now a super fun city. You certainly won't be bored if you decided to take a weekend break here!
See: East Side Gallery - a gallery of amazing art painted over remainders of the Berlin Wall.
Eat: Monsieur Vuong - hands down the tastiest Vietnamese food I have ever eaten! The menu changes daily but everything is worth a try.
Shop: Hackescher Markt - perfect for a wander round the twee shops and a quick coffee break.
Drink: White Trash Fast Food - playing super cool rock music and serving up giant stein of beer. Also sell amazing burgers!