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Europe’s Top Five Laid-Back Cities for a City Break

Although we’re all looking longingly at a holiday in the Seychelles right now, asking your boss for a quick two weeks off for some glamorous sunbathing isn’t an option for most. However, don’t despair, because a city break can be a brilliant way to recharge your batteries and have some fun! Maximise your time by picking somewhere in Europe for the shortest possible flight times. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a European destination that you might not have thought of, but is well worth spending a weekend exploring. We think it’s very romantic, with Medieval fairytale towers everywhere you turn, and easy to walk around. The many canals earn it the name of the “Venice of the North” and it certainly has that same intimate atmosphere, with many narrow streets and hidden passages.

Venice, Italy

Or, how about Venice itself? It’s a city break to savour, and if you go now you’ll miss the high season and thus avoid both mosquitos and tourists. The water buses run year round and most palazzos (palaces), art galleries and famous churches are open all year too so you can see the breathtaking sights in an unhurried fashion. We recommend people watching with a coffee in front of you, because although no-one would accuse the Venetians themselves of being laidback, watching the locals bustle about while you relax is a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and is renowned for its music, food, culture and charming architecture. Speaking of music, it’s the home of INmusic, the biggest open air music festival in Croatia – which has been also named one of the top three music festivals worldwide by National Geographic. The festival is held on two small islands and it’s the location as much as anything that makes it a winner.

Athens, Greece

Athens is a world renowned historic city, and you can spend mornings wandering round the ancient Acropolis or other historic monuments, and afternoons on the beach. It’s also a lovely place to wander the streets and gaze at the old buildings set side by side with sleek new mansions. In the evenings there is a choice of lots of small, cheerful restaurants.

Madrid, Spain

Fine wine, delicious food, child friendly and the perfect temperature in spring – what other persuasion do you need to nip off to Madrid for a long weekend? If you like museums, the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza have been revamped and expanded in the last few years, and there seem to be cool new bars, cafes and delis opening every week. Added to that, the shopping is very good so there’s something for everyone here.

Whatever your preference, be it history, culture, food and even beaches, there’s a relaxing city break for everyone just a short hop away.