Europe is home to some truly stunning sights, scenery, and things to do. From Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in Barcelona to Rome’s historical Colosseum, there are a number of things you can spend your time doing over a weekend break in Europe – regardless of the city you choose to visit. 

While it would be great to see as much of Europe as possible, we understand that budget limitations and time commitments don’t always make that a possibility. We have compiled a list of our six favorite European city breaks, making the choice easier for you when you do have the time and money to get away. 

Whether you’re looking for a foodie adventure, a couple’s retreat, or a family-friendly escape, here are some of our our most-recommended European cities.

weekend trips to europe toa heftiba
Photo by Toa Heftiba.

Barcelona

Amazing architecture, buzzing bars, creative cuisine – Barcelona has it all. This Catalan city is a must-visit for any explorer out there. With golden beaches and some of the most unique artwork in Europe, the city is one of the most popular destinations in the world and one of Spain’s highlights. 

Whether you choose to explore the serenity of Park Güell, channel your inner Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou, or stroll around Antoni Gaudi’s yet-to-be-completed Sagrada Familia, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a great time. Also, don’t forget to check out some local specialties, like tapas and sangria. 

Paris

While it is famously known as the “City of Love,” Paris is the perfect place to visit whether you’re a couple or not. Boasting iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe, the city is also home to bespoke designer shops and an incredible art scene. That’s not to mention the delicious food available too. Baguettes, croissants, macarons – you certainly won’t be going hungry during your visit. 

If you have children, Disneyland Paris is a short train ride away from the city center. It is the ideal way to keep them entertained and it offers multiple rides and attractions that rival its American counterparts. 

weekend trips to europe faruk kaymak
Photo by Faruk Kaymak.

Rome

Italy is home to some of the world’s best food, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than the country’s cultural capital, Rome. If you’re looking for great museums, a buzzing bar scene, and historic landmarks, Rome has them all in abundance. Head on over to the Colosseum for a look into the country’s ancient history, check out Michelangelo’s famous painting at the Sistine Chapel, and visit St. Peter’s Basilica – known as the largest church in the world. 

Make sure to get a pizza while you’re there too! We can pretty much guarantee it’ll be the best pizza you’ve ever had.

Amsterdam

Known the world over for its glistening waterways and bicycles, Amsterdam is the postcard-perfect destination for those on a weekend break. Also known for its bachelor/bachelorette parties, crazy nightlife, and infamous red-light district, the Dutch capital is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful sights and scenery – from the Bollenstreek tulip field to the canals and bridges. 

Venice

Venice is famed for its romantic atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re a couple, and the Italian city is made up of 177 canals, 400 bridges and 118 islands – each of which are jam-packed with history. 

St Mark’s Square is a must-visit at Venice’s center, as is taking a gondola ride around the city. Many tourists also like to take a short boat ride across to Murano Island – the home of Venetian glass making – and explore the various art galleries and markets the city has to offer. Burano is another island worth visiting for its colorful houses and tradition of lace-making.

london bridge yulia chinato
Photo by Yulia Chinato.

London

Enjoying a few days in London and soaking up the multicultural atmosphere of the city, can be a truly fantastic way to spend your weekend. It’s home to some of the most famous sights in all of Europe, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and the Tower of London. London really is a city that keeps on giving, even after spending years there.. 

Whether you choose to watch a Westend show, head across to Wembley Stadium, or take a long walk in Richmond Park – with so much to see and do, you certainly won’t be bored during your time in London. Plus, what would a weekend break be like without a traditional British roast dinner at the end of it? 

Where have your favorite weekend breaks been?

Header photo by Eddie Hooverfield.

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Annie Button
Annie Button is a Portsmouth-based writer, she enjoys sharing her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she's not writing, Annie loves to explore new places.