Forget weeks doing nothing around a pool — the city break is where it’s at! We’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of mini breaks over recent years, with many opting out of traditional two week summer holidays in favour of jam packed weekends in some of Europe’s best cities.
So, why are so many people choosing a quick getaway over a longer, arguably more relaxing break?
There are a whole host of reasons a city break is the perfect option for your holiday needs. For starters, if you only have two or three days in a place you tend to pack much more in — you can enjoy more experiences and create more memories during a weekend in the city than you can in a whole week sunbathing by the beach! During a short break, you can also truly immerse yourself in the area and culture — you get to really ‘live like a local’. Add in the obvious cost saving benefits of opting for a weekend break and it’s really a no brainer; a city break should be next on your travel bucket list!
If you’ve decided to head off for a weekend of good food, culture and breathtaking sights, we’ve created guide detailing some of our favourite travel destinations for a memorable city break.
Unique and packed full of character, Barcelona is the ideal option for the artistic traveller looking for a sunny getaway. The capital of sunny Catalonia in northeastern Spain, Barcelona is famed for its eye catching architecture, vibrant nightlife and quality cuisine.
Take an afternoon and explore the Ciutat Vella Old City where you can enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate and discover stunning gothic architecture — Antoni Gaudi’s Art Nouveau buildings are a must see! Later on, head down to the waterfront and relax on one of several public beaches and take in the sights of the stunning, glittering Mediterranean ocean. When you’re feeling hungry, simply sit back in one of the harbours many bars or restaurants to sample the local seafood, beers, and enjoy the buzz of this thriving city.
What to wear in Barcelona
Barcelona is hot and humid throughout the summer seasons, particularly if you visit in August. You’re probably going to be doing a lot of walking, so staying cool and comfortable is key. Opt for loose, lightweight clothing and, especially if you’re planning on visiting the Barcelona Cathedral, keep it respectful! A lightweight vest top with a shawl to cover your shoulders if needed is ideal.
Barcelona Jewellery Picks
Let your artistic flair run wild with bright and colourful jewellery pieces that will add an instant edge to your look.
If you’re looking for dazzling historical sights and a beautiful summer climate, head over to Dubrovnik. This Croatian city looks like it has fallen straight from a history book, with terracotta buildings stacked up from the glittering ocean and ancient ruins around every corner. Pay a visit to Dubrovnik’s medieval Old Town — an area so full of picturesque monuments and turreting castle walls that it was used as the main shooting location for King’s Landing in hit TV series, Game Of Thrones — or treat yourself to a trip around the ancient monastery.
From the city’s many museums and art galleries to the unique architecture, Dubrovnik is a historical and cultural dream. Toss in a plethora of cafes and restaurants, a beautiful harbour and pebble beaches, and Dubrovnik has definitely earned its place on your bucket list!
What to wear in Dubrovnik
Attire around Dubrovnik will be reasonably casual, so don’t worry about dressing up too much unless you’re going somewhere fancy to eat. A loose cotton midi or maxi dress is the perfect option — it is light and comfortable, and can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
The cobbled streets of the city mean heels aren’t generally the best option — stick to comfortable sandals during the day and dress your look up with wedges in the evening.
Dubrovnik Jewellery Picks
Reflect the historic feel of the city with vintage inspired jewellery — think elaborate, intricate pieces that would feel right at home in a castle.
If you’re looking for something a little different from your usual city break, head over to the stunning city of Tallinn in Estonia. Tallinn offers the ultimate mix of Scandinavian, Baltic and Russian culture, with the modern and the historic fusing perfectly. The Old Town is one of the best preserved in Europe, filled with undisturbed 12th century churches, Russian markets, picturesque castle turrets and twisting, cobbled streets.
In the city centre you can discover a number of tourist friendly hotspots offering cheap beer and good food. To discover the real Tallinn, however, you’ll need to head slightly off the beaten track. In the Kalamaja district you can discover the Telliskivi Creative City; an abandoned factory complex that now houses a selection of shops, venues, exhibitions and cafes.
When it comes to dining, trying out the local delicacies is a must. Drawing on its position as a fishing port, Tallinn offers a variety of wonderful seafood dishes including the local favourite, Vurtsikilu — spicy sprats pickled then spiced with pepper, cloves and allspice.
For a touch of culture, look no further than one of Tallinn’s many museums and art galleries. With over 60 options to choose from, from the Estonian History Museum at Vanalinn to the Museum of Estonian Drinking Culture, you truly will be spoilt for choice.
What to wear in Tallinn
In Tallinn you will find fewer tourists than your usual holiday hotspots so if you want to blend in, dress as the locals do. The local women tend to dress fashionably yet in a way that is practical for the weather. The summers in Tallinn don’t get too hot, reaching usually around 18 degrees — light layers are perfect for this climate.
Tallinn does offer a number of local designers and vintage clothes shops, especially around the Telliskivi Creative City, so you may want to leave a little space in your luggage in case you decide to treat yourself!
Tallinn Jewellery Picks
Tallinn is a true mix of cultures. Reflect the contemporary Scandi influences with a cool and classic watch, and add interest with Russian inspired jewelled pieces.
There’s so much to see and do in Rome that you could quite easily spend a week or two exploring, however a weekend is definitely enough time to tick some key attractions off your bucket list!
Rome is best known for its richly religious past and present — from the Vatican to St Peter’s Basilica, there are a multitude of fascinating and beautiful churches to explore. The Colosseum too, of course, is a must see — settle into one of the many surrounding bars or restaurants, and enjoy good food with a stunning backdrop of these iconic Roman ruins. If panoramic city views are your thing, be sure to head up Palatine Hill to enjoy arguably the best perspective of the city.
Once you’ve ticked off your sight-seeing musts, step away from the crowded tourist hotspots to discover the true heart of Rome. Lose yourself in the city’s many cobbled lanes and piazzas, and soak up the art, history and culture that you will discover around each and every corner.
What to wear in Rome
If you’re visiting in summer, prepare for hot temperatures. Dress to keep cool, but also bear in mind that many of the major churches and the Vatican have a dress code. Be sure to keep your shoulders, midriff and knees covered if you’re likely to be exploring these areas. A loose, floaty maxi dress is the ideal option for keeping cool, modest and stylish.
Rome Jewellery Picks
Ancient Roman jewellery favoured statement cuffs and collar necklaces, or coloured gemstones set in rich gold or silver. When in Rome, right?
Wroclaw has well and truly been put on the map in recent years, with the Polish city winning the coveted spot of ‘City of Culture’ in 2016. Wroclaw — actually pronounced “vrots-wahf” — really does offer something for everyone, with a multitude of art galleries, museums, markets, bars, restaurants and social areas.
Wroclaw is located around the Odra River, which itself plays host to 12 unique islands, 130 bridges and an excess of beautiful riverside parks, restaurants and cafes. Nadodrze — a former industrial area which has now been made into a ‘DIY social / cultural area’ — is an essential spot, with the nearby City Centre Island hosting a number of summer gigs and screenings where you can sit outside and relax with a drink.
If stunning architecture is your thing, Wroclaw’s pretty Old Town is a must visit. Much of the city was destroyed during World War Two, and in every sense of the word was built back up from the remains. There are a number of buildings that survived, including the 13th century Town Hall, leading to a wonderful conglomeration of the old and new, with gothic architecture meeting contemporary designs. History buffs can visit the Museum of Allied Prisoners of War to learn all there is to know about the city’s rich and fascinating history.
For shopping, be sure to check out Rynek market square, and in the evenings head towards the city centre to take advantage of Wroclaw’s lively, cosmopolitan nightlife scene.
What to wear in Wroclaw
In summer, stick to lighter layers. The temperature in Wroclaw is mild, so anything from jeans to a dress or shorts is acceptable. On an evening, expect to see people dressed for a night out, so pack accessories that can easily transform your look.
Wroclaw Jewellery Picks
Wroclaw has a thriving night scene. Dress up your outfits in the evenings with glamorous necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Famously built on seven hills, Lisbon offers some of the greatest views in all of Portugal. This creative and colourful city offers something for every taste. History, culture, award winning food, nightlife, warm weather… Lisbon really does have it all!
This is a city that manages to expertly embrace contemporary culture without losing sight of its market town roots. Head down Lisbon’s winding streets and discover the Feira da Ladra — a flea market with roots tracing back to the 12th Century. Elsewhere the Praca de Figueira often offers an amazing food market where you can sample local chorizo, smoked sausage and black pudding.
If you fancy a spot of sight-seeing, the Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém are Unesco World Heritage Sites — here you can discover a stunning gothic cathedral which is the final resting place of some of the country’s most prominent historical figures. Sintra is also a short train journey from the city, offering another World Heritage Site. Described as “something from a fairytale”, Sintra’s beautiful forests, gardens and castles are world renowned, even historically praised by Lord Byron himself.
After a day taking in the sites, settle down in one of Lisbon’s many rooftop bars or restaurants, unwind with a meal and take in the amazing scenery. With an impressive six Michelin star restaurants and one — Belcanto — holding two Michelin stars, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to exquisite places to eat.
What to wear in Lisbon
Lisbon is the sunniest capital in Europe, so be sure to dress for hot summer temperatures. Locals keep their dress fairly understated, so simple and sophisticated is the way to go. Be sure to pack a pashmina or scarf to cover up and protect your shoulders from the sun — this will also come in handy at any religious sites that may ask you to cover up for modesty.
Lisbon Jewellery Picks
At its core, Lisbon is creative, cultural and colourful. Choose simple pieces with pretty pops of colour to embrace the feel of the city.
Wherever you’re headed this summer,at Joshua James we offer a stylish selection of ladies watches and jewellery that guarantee to add an instant edge to your look. Explore the full collection to discover your new must-have piece.