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10 Best Luxury City Breaks in Europe


Every so often, you need a quick getaway to some where new and different. So whether you’re looking for a classic two-night holiday or the perfect three-night long weekend, Europe comes to the rescue.

There are so many European destinations to choose from that it is hard to figure out which is right for you. Here are my suggestions for some of the best luxury city breaks in Europe. I can assure you that visiting these places will have you longing for your getaway to last longer. Each European city has its best bits and I hope you will try some of mine!

10 Best Luxury City Breaks in Europe

luxury city breaks in Europe - Barcelona

1. Barcelona

One of Europe’s perennial weekend destinations, Barcelona has the perfect fusion of vibrant city life and laid-back beach days. Spain’s second city is really one of the best cities for a short break with its quirky architecture, local cuisine, and festive nightlife.

If you have shopping in mind, the Passeig de Gràcia is the place to be, and the El Born neighborhood has artisan workshops and smaller designer boutiques. However, for an exclusive luxury shopping experience, check out the Santa Eulalia boutique store.

Barcelona’s only three-star Michelin restaurant – Lasarte – offers the most refined Catalan cuisine. Consider a day trip and champagne picnic to enjoy the beautiful sunset views over Montjuïc Hill. And, if you like working on a tan like I do, lounging around Barceloneta Beach is the best for its sandy beaches.

There’s a buzz to Barcelona that you just can’t miss.

Best Bit ⭐ : After you’ve seen the touristy things, then get lost! There is no way you can’t find your way back, signs are aplenty!


2. Venice

You can’t get more romantic than the magical city that is Venice. It is definitely the cry with more than one luxury hotel to choose from!

Not only is the architecture glorious, but you are walking around a city that was built on water! The onyl one like it in the world. It goes without saying that a trip to Venice is incomplete without a classic gondola ride on the Grand Canal. 

Venetian food is fish based, but you can eat well whether you are a vegetarian or just a carnivore, as well. There is a great mix of local cuisine like cicchetti or fine dining. There are tons of great bars, wine bars and beer places.

If you’re a wine-lover like me, this place is a wine-heaven; walk into any traditional wine bar and relish delectable Italian cuisine with a drink in your hand. Hire a private boat taxi to take you everywhere.

Venice is also a shopper’s heaven; you can shop till you drop here. The best things to buy in Venice are glassware and jewelry. Walk past the branded shops – you can shop there when you get to Rome. Attending a live opera at the 18th Century Teatro La Fenice is also essential for first timers.

All of this makes Venice an excellent luxury city break and is really the city of love. Your next trip can be all about the islands, Murano, Burano, and Torcello!

Best Bit ⭐ : After you’ve seen the touristy things, then get lost! There is no way you can’t find your way back, signs are aplenty!

3. Rome

As of Venice wasn’t enough, the Eternal City, Rome, is another perfect place in Italy for a tailor-made holiday. It is the definition of an architectural wonder. With nearly 300 fountains and over 900 churches, you’re bound to be in awe at this city’s sights.

With its rows of shops, Via Condotti is the one-stop destination for your designer shopping cravings – think Gucci, Prada, Versace. Still, no walk down this street is complete without a coffee break at the historic Caffé Greco.

For the first-timer, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Vatican City with its Sistine Chapel are must-visits. For Baroque architecture, all you have to do is look around – almost every church was designed by rival Baroque architects, Bernini and Borromini. For luxurious culinary treat, I suggest the restaurant atop of the Hassler Hotel, which has stunning views, excellent food, and 60,000 bottles of wine.

A visit to the luxurious spa in Hotel de Russie is the perfect self-pampering on this luxury city break to Rome.

Best Bit ⭐ : The Sant’Ivo della Sapienza church by Borromini is a must! It’s only open on Sunday morning, so make sure you set your alarm!

4. Paris

Ah Paris! The French capital is all things luxury and grandeur. Rue Saint-Honoré, Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen flea markets, and Galerie Vivienne are the best places to start shopping! There are plenty of five-star hotels to choose from, like the Hotel Ritz and the Hotel De Crillon on the right bank and the Hotel Lutecia in the Left Bank.

You cannot miss a visit to the Eiffel Tower, teh Notre Dame Catherdral and the Louvre. Obviously, for a weekend break, it may be challenging to cover all. Two of the world’s most expensive restaurants are in Paris – Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée and Guy Savoy which not only serve some of the finest cuisines, but also have breathtaking decor. It’s Paris you can find fine dining restaurants on every corner.

A cruise on the Seine with dinner and wine will give you a glimpse of many famous landmarks. Visit the Théâtre des Variétiés for a comedy show or concert (make sure you see if they are in English as well) or the famous Moulin Rouge show.

For a city that brims with style, Paris makes an ideal luxury city break. There are also a few fabulous day trips from Paris if you have time: Versailles and Vaux-Le-Vicomte are just two.

Best Bit ⭐ : A trip to Paris is not complete without doing the Loop (or as I call it Le Loop). It’s my walking tour through both the Left Bank and Right Banks! Get your wallets ready – there are plenty of shops!

5. Florence

Not another Italian city on the list! The third of the trifecta is Florence! A city rich in high-end cuisine, boutique shopping, and the core and cradle of the Italian Renaissance is a great choice for a quick break. The Uffizi Gallery with its Renaissance masterpieces by Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo and the Academia (home of David!) are must sees and definitely worth visiting in Florence.

The finest Tuscan cuisine is undoubtedly at five-star Cibreo, but you could also go for the more casual trattoria at Cammillo and All Bettola. Among the many perfume shops in Florence, you can create your own scent with a masterclass from the Master Perfumer of Aquaflor. It’s a great souvenir to take home with you.

Best Bit ⭐ : If you head to the Medici Chapel, make sure you head downstairs where Michelangelo hid himself and drew on the walls! While you are in that neighborhood, check out the main food market!

6. Budapest

One look at the Hungarian Parliament Building at sundown by the Danube River is all it takes to make you fall in love with Budapest. But, of course, you can’t miss cruising the Danube River on your trip here, as well.

After a visit to St. Stephen’s Basilica and admiring its relics, it’s a good time for a bath. Not just a regular bath, I’m talking about one in the city’s iconic bathhouses. Try either the Szechenyi Baths and Gellert Baths – two divine hot springs.

A climb atop Castle Hill will bring you to the magnificence of Buda Castle. Then after, a short drive to Etyek can have you taste the finest Hungarian wines in a gorgeous setting. The Robinson restaurant and Stand25 Bisztro are some great places for a sumptuous meal.

After a short stay here, you will know why Budapest has been rightly referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’.

Best Bit ⭐ : Really do take a bath, it’s a fabulous experience!

7. Prague

Another beautiful city, lying at the heart of Europe, is Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, a fairy-tale travel destination. UNESCO described this as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and rightly so.

A perfect place to stay in Prague is the Mandarin Oriental for the ultimate feel of luxury and for its central location. For sightseeing, Prague Castle is a sight to behold with its sheer magnificence, and Old Town Square is the heart of the city. You’re bound to have the ultimate shopping experience on Parizska Street, which has a chic Parisian boulevard feel.

If you’re into Mediterranean cuisine, Borgo Agnese is a great place to dine. However, Cafe Savoy is THE place for breakfast (well into the afternoon, too) with impeccable service and local food.

Don’t miss Prague during the winter months, it’s a winter wonderland!

Best Bit ⭐ : Don’t miss the U Zlatého Tygra pub, the likes of Václav Havel was a patron!

8. Lisbon

The beautiful city of Lisbon is awash with culture and has spectacular views, natural beaches, and historical architecture. I’d recommend a stay at Vila Valverde, which has elegant rooms with elegant decor and sea views.

You must check out the postcard-perfect Torre de Belém for its architectural elegance. But, of course, everyone wants to take back a souvenir from the place they’ve visited; and Vida Portuguesa has authentic Portuguese souvenirs.

My favorite tourist attraction in Lisbon is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, with its ornate cloisters – a must-visit. If you’re fascinated by the iconic tiles of Portugal (Azulejos), you’ll most definitely enjoy a visit to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum).

You can experience the authentic Portuguese flavors by dining at the Tavares. A city break in Lisbon will get you re-energized with its hills, or definitely fitter!

Best Bit ⭐ : You could call this a worst bit or best bit – Lisbon is full of hills (7 to be exact). Take the funiculars where you can, but beware, a lot of times, they are out of service! ;)

9. Seville

The relatively compact city of Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is ideal for a luxury city break. There’s no place like the Alfonso XIII for your stay in Seville; it’s all things tranquil, traditional, and royal.

The most famous attractionis the Real Alcázar, built by Moorish kings, has spectacular gardens with serene fountains and freely roaming peacocks. The interiors are a treat for the eyes too. You can’t miss the majestic Seville Cathedral close by, which is the fourth largest Gothic cathedral in teh world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can shop to your satisfaction at El Corte Ingles – Spain and Portugal’s local department store. I highly recommend El Riconcillo for some delectable food; Hijos de E. Morales is great for tapas.

Best Bit ⭐ : The whole city is a best bit!!

10. Athens

The Greek capital, Athens, is the city that blends ancient civilization with modern delights. Although it’s a city steeped in its rich history, Athens is a modern city with world-class dining and great nightlife.

The Greeks love their food, and Ithaki is perfect for high-end seaside dining. The Electra Roof Garden restaurant on the fifth floor of the Electra Palace Hotel, with lovely views of the Acropolis, is perfect for a luxurious dinner or stay there and have breakfast up there every day!

Everywhere there are wonderful shops selling Athenian decorated kits – from T-Shirts to jewelry. If you love sailing, you can take a yacht out on the Aegean Sea or a day trip to the island of Hydra.

Best Bit ⭐ : No trip to Athens is complete without exploring the famous Acropolis and the Acropolis museum.

Best Bits to Leave You With!

Hopefully, this plethora of information on luxury holidays in Europe makes it easier for you to decide where you must head on your next short getaway. My heart is in Venice, but all of them are spectacular!

Take a look at some more of these Best Bits:

Great city tours to enjoy

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