With summer over and many of the crowds dispersed from Europe’s most exciting cities, now is a better time than ever to consider a city break abroad. Queues to the top attractions will be shorter and less crowded, hotels may well have reduced rates, tables at the best restaurants more obtainable and locals even more pleased to see you.
Not many places in the world can beat Paris for a luxury weekend break, especially if you live in the UK (around fifteen Eurostars a day set off from St Pancras, arriving in less than two hours). We recommend you not to worry too much if you don’t see the Louvre or get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, since you’ve probably already been and may well go again, concentrate instead on particular neighbourhoods, whether that’s the Left Bank or Montmartre. Paris comes hand-in-hand with fantastic art, superb sightseeing and excellent dining options.
It has to be admitted that Madrid has few absolute must-see sights compared with say its neighbour Barcelona, or even Paris and Rome, but there are still two excellent reasons to visit Madrid this winter. Firstly, Madrid can simply be too hot in the summer and secondly, it’s a fantastic time of the year to get the most out of less crowded museums and to get up close with some of the finest artwork Madrid has on offer, such as masterpieces in the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums.
Prague has acquired itself quite a reputation in recent years as a popular stag destination, but one must not forgot that the ‘Paris of the East’ has so much more to offer. Small enough to walk across in under half an hour, this gives visitors plenty of opportunity to take in the plentiful architectural delights largely undamaged during WW2, from Gothic towers to Renaissance buildings. Make sure to set aside plenty of time to explore the ancient castle.
Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands and the country’s largest city, has 1,000 bridges linking the land between hundreds of symmetrical canals lined with pretty houseboats. If museums are your main interest then you shouldn’t be disappointed as there are more than forty in total, including the Rijksmuseum which houses a huge collection of 16th and 17th century masters, the Van Gogh museum and the Stedelijk. The longest queues can usually be found outside Anne Frank’s house, at this time of year you shouldn’t have to wait too long.