Top Five European Cities
Whether you’re from Europe and have an interest in the cultural variety within your continent or are from elsewhere in the world, there are some really exciting European cities waiting to be explored. The diverse food, atmosphere and lifestyles that can be experienced in the continent mean that once you’ve seen one country you’ve most certainly not seen them all!
From those steeped in history influenced by WWII to the more liberal modern cities in Western Europe, there are some you simply have to put on your list of future city break destinations.
This romantic city has some of the most outstanding gothic architecture and is perfect for a romantic getaway with your other half. The beautiful river which runs through the small city is ideal for a guided boat tour on a crisp winter morning. The quaint coffee shops are ideal for a Belgian hot chocolate during the winter months and the traditional Belgian pubs offer some fantastic fruit beer brews for quenching thirst during the height of summer. Don’t be alarmed if you awaken on a Sunday morning to find a ghost town, the locals are very religious and the city soon starts to come to life after they’ve been to church.
Top Tip: Give in to temptation and explore the souvenir shops, in particular the beer one. There’s a whole wall of fruit beers, each accompanied by a glass – the perfect souvenir for the beer connoisseur back home or a little indulgence for yourself!
The city of London is rather mind blowing in terms of destinations. Don’t expect to see everything it has to offer in mere weekend break; although the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are often at the top of people’s list of attractions; don’t forget the beautiful Windsor Castle and Hampton Court which are perfect riverside towns to indulge in when the sun is shining. A short boat trip down the river in Windsor won’t cost you too much and is definitely worth the money. You also have to ride the iconic and incredibly efficient Tube and visit Soho, Camden and East London during the small hours to experience the more urban (and in Soho’s case, seedy) side of London.
There are many events to be experienced in England’s capital, from Wimbledon in the summer to the magical west-end theatre showing vibrant pantomimes around Christmas, there are hundreds of reasons to visit this city time and time again.
Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to stay in zones 3 – 5, you’ll find the hotel prices are considerably lower and the Tube is only a short trip. There are often night buses covering these areas too if you’re worried about getting home in the early hours.
Eastern Europe offers an entirely different experience of Europe, with a variety of up-and-coming countries. Poland may have a reputation for football gang wars, but the beautiful city of Krakow demonstrates a country from the wrong side of the iron curtain thriving in the modern world. Poland isn’t yet in the Euro and still has its own currency of Zloty, so expect your cash to stretch further than other western European countries! From Krakow you can take a day trip guided tour to the notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz, where many Jewish people tragically had their lives taken. It’s an eye-opening experience but not for the faint hearted.
Top Tip: If there was ever a place to sample Vodka without a mixer then here is the place, ditch the coke and lemonade for a solitary cube of ice and taste the delights of pure Polish Vodka.
Amsterdam has a lot to offer for many different types of people. Whilst it’s a popular choice of destination for stag and hen parties, families and couples of all ages can find something to enjoy in this rather liberal city. The Red Light District provides entertainment as you walk past the scantily clad women beckoning to every male that passes. The Coffee Shops also allow tourists to sample some Marijuana as its legal in the city, although a law is currently pending as to whether this will soon be restricted to locals only and will only be served after an ID card is shown. The Smallest Bar in Amsterdam is definitely worth a visit; the staircase to the toilet however, is one not to be taken lightly after a few too many Heineken’s.
Top Tip: If you’re staying near the main square don’t be afraid to take the tram and explore the neighbouring Leidseplein Square where the nightlife is lively!
The list wouldn’t quite be complete without arguably, the most romantic city in the world being added to this list. Paris offers some fantastic, once in a lifetime photography opportunities and The Eiffel Tower certainly isn’t one to be missed. If you’re into fashion then you won’t be disappointed by the world’s fashion capital! Of course, Disney Land is somewhere magical to take the children if Disney World, Florida is too far. If you’re someone who enjoys their alcohol beverages then it’s advised you explore some of the bars and coffee shops down side streets to get better value for money.
Top Tip: Watch the film Midnight in Paris if you’re apprehensive about splurging on the trip, the montage of Paris at the beginning of the film is sure to sway your decision!
Europe is a fantastic continent to explore and has some wonderful cities to appreciate and enjoy. Although it’s tempting to stick to some of the world’s most famous tourist destinations, don’t be afraid to explore Eastern European cities and some smaller cities in mainland Europe to get more of an authentic experience.
Stephanie Staszko writes for MF Airport Parking who have parking options at a variety of UK airports.