Up and coming Euro cities for a short break
With Easter happening in a few weeks’ time and then the usual two days off in early and late May there’s a few bank holidays coming up that you can use to bag a long weekend away.
But if you feel that Euro tourist hotspots like Dubrovnik or Barcelona are a little played out, or you just fancy going somewhere your friends haven’t been yet, then it’s time to turn your attention to the up-and-coming city break destinations that are still a little off-the-beaten-track.
From lesser explored countries like Georgia to hidden gems in popular countries like Spain, the Citybond team has pulled together a list of options for your consideration.
Sure, you could visit the capital of Valletta or the popular island of Gozo, but why not get off the beaten track with a visit to Mdina? A world away from the more modern cities, Mdina - an Arabic fortified city and Malta’s ancient capital - dates back to the 8th century BCE. Within its imposing walls you’ll discover exquisite architecture, from the baroque detailing of St Paul’s Cathedral to medieval houses and Roman ruins. There’s no party scene here, but if incredible historical gems in a tranquil, breath-taking city do it for you, you’re onto a winner.
After spending years being unjustly overlooked by tourists, the Georgian capital of Tbilisi finally has its moment in the sun. From the 4th-century fortress of Narikala, which looms over the colourful, mountainous cityscape, to the cobbled banks of the Mtkvari River it’s impossible not to be enchanted. Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, its proximity to the legendary Silk Road means historic hallmarks of rich and varied cultures are stamped all over the city. You’ll discover Eastern Orthodox churches and Soviet Modernist constructions alongside intricate Art Nouveau buildings. A thriving arts scene makes it a must for culture vultures. Arrivals at Tbilisi Airport increased by 44% from 2016 to 2017 though, so if you want to get there before every selfie stick-wielding Instagrammer visits, get booking that flight.
Yes, we know, at this point almost every single person has visited Croatia as they keep talking about it. But we bet they went to Dubrovnik or Split. So why not show off your superior travelling smarts by taking a trip to the fishing port of Rovinj? The gem of coastal Istria, Rovinj doesn’t have bags of sights, but you’ll be won over by the charming old town. Climb the steep cobbled streets, stopping for a refreshing beverage on the way, and visit the Church of St Euphemia for expansive views across the old town. As a destination worth visiting, Rovinj does get a little touristy in mid-summer; we recommend visiting in the shoulder seasons when the pebbly beaches will be quieter and the heat more bearable.
Think Spain, think Barcleona or Madrid? In fact, Spain has mucho más to offer. The ancient city of Cadiz, founded in 1100 BC, provides a highly cultural alternative and it’s perfect for a romantic city break. The ancient centre is surrounded by water, with the waves of the Atlantic lapping at large sandy beaches, while on its streets you’ll find endless seafood restaurants. Tour the city’s castles and cathedrals, or simply kick back on La Caleta beach, which boasts a view of the fairytale Castle of Catalina.
No longer one of Eastern Europe’s best kept secrets, tourists are flocking to Slovenia to hike amidst Lake Bled’s incredible surroundings and rack up kudos points by choosing the capital of Ljubljana as a city break. For extra trendiness, consider Maribor. Its evocative old town is delightfully jumbled, and the city centre is abuzz with life, its cafe culture firmly established. Along the riverfront in Lent, you’re likely to discover arts and cultural festivals taking place. Maribor is also a wonderful base for discovering Slovenia’s wine-growing regions of Mariborske and Slovenske, as well as the Maribor Pohorje: a verdant area where you can hike, bike and ski.
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Citybond Suretravel is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.
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