What are the Best City Breaks in Europe

From Cork to Copenhagen, we explore some of the best city breaks in Europe with direct flights to Manchester Airport

best city breaks europe

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or newbie, we’ve got some great travel ideas lined up for you. There are many factors to consider when booking a short city break. How long is the flight. How expensive is it when we get there. Do we need a visa. All very important considerations yes, but the most important is. Do I want to visit this city?

The last thing you want to do is book simply because its cheap. Or because your friends loved it. We’re not all the same after all. We certainly don’t like the same things. For this reason we are going to keep this as general as possible. The experience you get from visiting the city, we feel, is the most important reason to go.

Okay lets kick this off without further ado. Here are our best city breaks we think you should take;

1. Cork

best city breaks europe cork
The river Lee at sunset in Cork city centre.

Forget Dublin, you’ve probably already been anyway so why go back again. Europe is a big place and we only live once. Cork is Ireland’s third largest city. After Sydney in Australia, Cork has the second largest natural harbour in the world. Its located 258km from Dublin in the south west of Ireland. It has its own international airport. Founded in 1720 Cork Yacht Club is the oldest in the world. In 1588 Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first potato in Ireland. Cork was the last port of call for the Titanic.

Ford Motor Co founded Henry Ford’s family is from Cork and its where he built the first factory outside of America. Cork has a population of about half a million and a vibrant nightlife. By day there is a lively café culture and wide variety of food outlets and restaurants. Not to mention over 955 pubs and bars, more than any other town or city in Ireland. The English Market, visited by Queen Elizabeth in 2011, is well worth a peruse. There are museums and walks aplenty. You could also take a short trip outside the city to Blarney Castle or Kinsale.

Flights from Manchester to Cork;

  • Aer Lingus from £74

2. Berlin

sunset berlin
The Berlin TV Tower is the tallest building in Germany.

Berlin is Germany’s capital and has been since a year after reunification in 1991. It still has two core centres, the old west and bohemian east side of the city. The city is packed with museums. They range from modern art and music to Jewish culture and German political history. Berlin is the capital of graffiti and the city spends €35 removing it each year. It has more bridges than venice and 180 kilometres of navigable waterways.

It’s nine times larger than Paris but much less dense. It’s Germany’s greenest city and has extensive parklands, woodlands, waterways and pedestrian areas. It also has 9 castles, 3 world class opera houses and over 150 theatres showing everything from cabaret to comedy. Getting around is super easy on the subway system, road and river buses, extensive cycle network and taxis. It has the longest beer festival in the world. Berliners love their beer and there are many variants and flavours to choose from.

Flights from Manchester to Berlin;

  • Ryanair from £71
  • easyJet from £128

3. Copenhagen

copenhagen european city
They don’t have motorway flyovers in Copenhagen, they have cycleway flyovers!

Copenhagen is the happiest city in the world, according to the WHR. From sushi to steak and vegan to vegetarian, this city has more Michelin stars than you can shake a chopstick at. Its bursting with museums, exhibiting everything from beer to Scandinavian culture. It’s the most eco-friendly city in Europe and plans to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Bicycle’s are the main form of transport in this city followed by the bus and tram system. The Stroget is the the world’s largest pedestrian mall. Tivoli, the first amusement park in the world, inspired Walt Disney. The Little Mermaid is a must visit too.

Fl ther ights from Manchester to Copenhagen;

  • easyJet from £53
  • SAS from £92

4. Nice

Located on the French Riviera, Nice is officially called ‘Nice la Belle’, which translates to ”Nice the beautiful”.

Nice was named after the Greek goddess Nike. It was first visited by tourists over 400,000 ago. Promenade des Anglais gets its name from wealthy English tourists. Its the playground for the rich and famous, just half an hours drive from Monaco City. Celebrities such as Elton John, Bono, Tina Turner and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones call Nice their home. After Paris it has more museums than any city in France. The city has Europe’s largest greenhouse, located in the its Phoenix Park.

Flights from Manchester to Nice;

  • easyJet from £62

5. Helsinki

helsinki harbour
Helsinki it is still one of the smallest capital cities in Europe.

With some of the cleanest tap water in all the cities of the world Helsinki even exports its water to Saudi Arabia. It also have very clean streets and public places. Its the capital of Finland and its largest city. Its made up of 300 islands connected by many bridges and ferries and is nicknamed the ‘Daughter of the Baltic’. The summer enjoys long days of sunshine while in winter it gets pretty cold. There is still plenty to do no matter what time of year you visit. The Castle of Finland is a sea fortress spanning six islands and is still inhabited today. It has an opera house, theatre and music hall, the Fins are a very musical race.

Flights from Manchester to Helsinki;

  • Finnair from £152

6. Brussels

brussels flowers
Audrey Hepburn’s birthplace, Brussels is home to some stunning flower gardens.

Brussels makes a lot of beer, chocolate and waffles. Its airport sells more chocolate than any other in the world. There are over 800 beers for sale in numerous bars, pubs and restaurants. It has a relaxed nightlife compared with other cities in Europe. Chips, or French fries were created in Brussels. Its home to the European and Belgium parliaments. Residents speak Flemish Dutch or French and very good English. With a facade 50% longer than Buckingham Palace, the Royal Palace of Brussels is well worth visiting, especially in summer to admire the gardens. Galleries St Hubert in Brussels is the oldest shopping arcades in Europe.

Flights from Manchester to Brussels;

  • Ryanair from £20
  • Brussels Airlines from £125

7. Bilbao

bilbao city centre
Bilbao, capital of Basque Country is fun, vibrant and artistic.

Like many Iberian cities, Bilbao has some stunning architecture. It’s a very cultural city located in northern Spain. It has an excellent public transport system so you’ll find it easy to get around. You can enjoy the Jazz Festival and other summer events the city has to offer. Museums such as the Guggenheim and Fine Arts Museum to name just a couple of many. The Basque Country is famous for its cuisine so its no surprise there are no shortage of fine restaurants. Don’t ask for tapas though, they call it ‘pintxos‘ in Bilbao.

Flights from Manchester to Bilbao;

  • easyJet from £102

8. Warsaw

warsaw captial poland
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland, but its not all skyscrapers and concrete.

With one of the largest palace and park ensembles in the world, Warsaw’s Lazienki Park should be on your visit list. It hosts free concerts every Sunday from late spring to autumn. The city has more theatres than cinemas, they love a good show here. The central square of the Old Town is a must see destination, with its market, cafés, bars and restaurants. It was rebuilt from scratch following WW2 thanks to the foresight of the Dept of Architecture. You should also visit the Palace of Culture and Science, a gift by the Soviets during the cold war.

Flights from Manchester to Warsaw;

  • Ryanair from £38

9. Istanbul

weekend break turkey
Istanbul is the gateway to Asia and a vibrant, multicultural city.

Its no secret that Istanbul likes its markets. It has is the biggest old covered bazaar in the world, The Grand Bazaar. The famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was written by Agatha Christie at the Pera Palas Hotel in the city. Istanbul is the only city in the world on two continents, Europe and Asia. So it’s definitely on our ‘best city breaks in Europe’ list. It has the third oldest subway system in the world. There are as many as 3,113 mosques in Istanbul. You will find plenty of restaurants and cafés to choose from and variety of hotels to suit any budget.

Flights from Manchester to Istanbul;

  • Pegasus from £84
  • Turkish Airlines from £225

10. Tel Aviv-Yafo

tel aviv yafo
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel boradwalk with the city sky line. Photo taken by 123rf.com.

If you’re looking for fun in the sun look no further. Tel Aviv-Yafo is Israel’s second largest city. Even though its technically in Asia, its still very much connected to Europe.  Its considered to be the city that never sleeps. Think Miami on the Mediterranean with museums. Visit the Beit Hatfutsot to see the history of Jewish culture worldwide. The architecture is 1930s Bauhaus in the White City district. It boasts miles of golden sandy beach. Voted ninth best beach in the world by National Geographic. Its packed with all the activities you would expect to find, from surfing to sunbathing. With over 300 days of sunshine a year it has a vibrant beach community.

Flights from Manchester to Tel Aviv-Yafo;

  • easyJet from £157
  • Brussels Airlines from £215
  • SWISS from £246

So there you have it. Our top 10 favourite city breaks in Europe right now. We will be delving into each city in more detail in upcoming posts. So keep checking back here at CHM Chauffeuring for more handy holiday tips.

When you’re ready travel be sure to get in touch to book Airport Transfers to and from Manchester airport. Quote CHMBLOG to get the best deals.

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