Top Lesser Known City Breaks For a Romantic Weekend
The UK is spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic city breaks. On our doorstep is a choice of over fifty countries that are all within a three and a half hour flight.
With affordable air travel, take advantage of a tremendous value holiday in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are so many ways you can spoil your other half!
With the help of Nicky Cox, resident travel expert at HolidayGems.co.uk, we’ve compiled a list of the top lesser known romantic city breaks waiting to be explored in 2017.
What’s amazing about Tallinn is several free tours available to see the many points of interest.
This is a nation with a rich culinary history. The cuisine is hearty, heavy and very tasty – expect elk pies, cheese balls and pancakes the size of cartwheels.
Tallinn is also very good at piling its schedules with tourist-friendly activities, from screenings to festivals, fairs to markets. Plus there are free WiFi spots everywhere.
Small but perfectly formed, Vilnius is historical, eccentric and very inexpensive. The city is a mix of old town style and rebellious creative punks – the city even has its own self-styled republic in Uzupis, who have their own constitution and motto – “Man is Free to be Idle”.
Shaking off its Soviet shackles, Lithuania has got rid of its Lenin statue and replaced it with a bust of Frank Zappa, who is treated as a demi-god here. The more you get to know this slightly mad and wonderfully eclectic place, the less surprising this fact becomes.
When it comes to food, in true Eastern European style, you can eat well here for very little. The dishes may sound a little off-the-wall – pig’s ear pancake is a firm favourite – but are very tasty and filling.
A richness of culture pervades the city of Riga, as a new generation of Latvians has returned from education and travels abroad to set up businesses and raise families. This has created a new economy in Riga, away from the stag do territory, where bread makers, teashops and artisan breweries are capitalising on curious travellers making their way to the capital.
This has in turn triggered a renovation of docks, warehouses and new art centres, which have opened up. Check out the Miera iela – the cool quarter, which offers a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Riga.
Despite its tumultuous and often tragic history, the Latvian people have hung on to their own language – the determination to keep their sense of self is evident around every corner.
Budapest is the epitome of European grandeur, with fin-de-siecle architecture, art deco flourishes and neo-Gothic spires dominating the skyline. The city is easy to navigate, cut into two by the Danube, with leafy Buda in the west, and the more bohemian Pest in the east.
Sightseeing will undoubtedly involve the parliament building and the palace on the riverbanks, but it’s good to get lost in the winding streets, courtyards and boulevards of the city to discover some hidden gems. The thermal baths are also well recommended for a proper Budapest experience.
In summertime you can enjoy warm temperatures and warm evenings. Wintertime is best enjoyed around mid-November onwards where Christmas festivities seize the town.
The shimmering Adriatic, marble pathways and Baroque-walled town are enough to bewitch the most weary traveller.
Dubrovnik’s history rests on its role as a merchant port in the 16th century. The wealth of the city attracted refined tastes, which can still be experienced in a walk around the car-free city.
Soak up some rays on one of the many sandy beaches that edge the perimeter of the city, explore the old town, and enjoy cheap food and drink in the many cafes, restaurants and bars.
There are plenty of places to stay – and many hotels and guests house that look out on to the sea are inexpensive, great quality and ensure a stunning view.
Krakow deserves to finally shake off its ‘stag do capital’ reputation, as there is far more to the city than cheap beer and nightclubs. It is a sophisticated capital with a young, metropolitan buzz with a lot to offer.
Wawel Castle looks down upon a city that has – like many in this part of Europe – a painfully sad history, which they dignify with a good selection of tours, museums and exhibitions – a lot of which are free to visit.
Despite this, there is youthful, excitable atmosphere in the modern day Krakow, where music, food and the arts are embraced by the young and old.
Luxury hotels can be booked for a quarter of the price you would pay in the UK, and prices go down from there without the quality faltering. Wake up and enjoy breakfast in the yellow and peach coloured Rynek Glowny, which is officially Europe’s biggest market square – the perfect place to start your day.
Food-wise, no trip to Poland would be complete without sampling its legendary cheesecake, which is indulgent, delicious and available everywhere. Krakow is also famous for its milk bars (known as bar mleczny) where you can feast on pierogi, schnitzel and barszcz (beetroot soup).
You can burn off the cheesecake calories by getting around on foot, but if you fancy a ride on the tram, a single fare is around 67p. Visit the Jewish quarter, seeped in history, and now the centre of hip in the city.