Visiting large cities is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture, traditions, and history of a country.

City breaks have long been a way to do this. Three or four nights is usually enough to get a taste of what a city has to offer, and you also have the option of making your stay part of a longer holiday by moving on to somewhere else in the surrounding area.

So, with the summer holiday season just around the corner, read about seven of the great European cities you might want to consider including in your plans.

1. The wonder of Barcelona by the Mediterranean

Barcelona is a wonderful city on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second-largest city in Spain, and the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia.

It offers a vast array of stunning architecture including the utterly unique Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that is still actually being built over 140 years since it was started.

As well as the varied and historic buildings, Barcelona offers world-class bars and restaurants, and many open street markets to browse at your leisure.

The city centre itself around the Ramblas and Plaça de Catalunya is compact, and it is easy to go further afield on the clean and efficient metro.

There is also a beach nearby as well as a string of holiday resorts and beaches heading both north and south out of the city.

2. Experience Paris, the city of light

As the capital of France, Paris offers limitless events, attractions, and activities, and the history of Paris is very much the history of France.

As the closest city on this list to the UK, it is easily accessible by means of a simple train ride on the Eurostar. You also have the option of a three-hour drive from Calais if you want to take your own car and explore the surrounding area.

The list of historical attractions is endless, including the literally unmissable Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, and the Pantheon.

Then there are the legendary restaurants and bars, and the café culture on the Left Bank of the Seine. A boat trip on that river that runs through the city is a must.

3. Budapest, the Hungarian capital on the Danube

Bisected by the Danube, Budapest is a city of two contrasting districts, Buda and Pest, and it is worth setting aside time to visit both.

It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful European capitals, and along with Prague, one of the ones that suffered minimal architectural upheaval during the time it was behind the Iron Curtain.

Indeed, the architecture in Budapest is stunning, with the advantage that the location on the Danube makes it look even better when reflected on the river itself.

It is also known for the street food stalls you can find dotted around both districts, and a range of restaurants providing a fine meal, regardless of your budget.

4. A taste of Scandinavia in Copenhagen

Of all the cities on this list, Copenhagen is probably the smallest and most compact. Because of this, it is very much a city to explore on foot, with dozens of beautiful waterfront areas and green spaces.

It is also the most relaxed, with the added advantage that nearly everyone speaks English, which can be beneficial if you struggle with learning new languages.

You can enjoy the rich culture and architecture the city has to offer with highlights including Nyhavn, Tivoli Gardens, and Rosenborg Castle. There is also a varied range of museums and art galleries to enjoy.

The Danish capital is often described as one of the most liveable cities in the world, and the wealth of history and fine food make it a highly popular destination for visitors.

5. A city and beach experience in Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital and largest city in Portugal. Compared to other European capitals it is relatively small with a population of only 500,000.

The rich history and culture of the Portuguese capital make it a great destination for any tourist looking for an immersive experience in art and tradition.

It is also incredibly beautiful, with stunning architecture and extraordinary views of both the city and surrounding countryside, ensuring that there is something for everyone to appreciate.

As you would expect, the culinary experience centres around seafood, although everyone will find something to their taste in the range of quality restaurants.

Furthermore, as is the case in Barcelona, there are beaches within easy striking distance of the city centre, with the Praia de Carcavelos offering over a mile of sand and sea with surfing and leisure activities galore.

6. History, hedonism, and high culture in Berlin

As the capital city of Germany, Berlin has long been notable for its range of landmarks and incredibly vibrant cultural scene, which creates an aura of being relaxed and frenetic at the same time.

Those contrasts can be seen in the historical architecture, with old buildings rubbing shoulders with the modern as the past and present coexist.

There is also a similar contrast in the cultural life in the city as hedonism lives hand-in-hand with high Prussian culture.

Clearly, there are echoes everywhere of the war and subsequent partition into East and West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie and the outline of the Berlin Wall tell the story of a darker past in living memory when the western half of Berlin was a beacon of freedom.

While much of Berlin is walkable, there will be times when using the cheap and convenient public transport system will save you time and energy.

7. The unique charm of Venice

It would not be right to produce a list of this kind without including at least one Italian city.

You are rather spoilt for choice as Florence, Rome, and Milan all have their advocates, and all should be high on any list of places to visit.

We have opted for Venice, as the winding canals, striking architecture, and beautiful bridges make it an amazing city in which to spend a holiday.

It is arguably the most picturesque city in Italy, and the unique topography has driven some of the most wonderful art and architecture you can find anywhere else in Europe.

Get in touch

If you need advice or guidance when it comes to your financial planning, please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.

Email enquiries@dbl-am.com or call 01625 529 499 to speak to us today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.