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Best city breaks in Europe

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Best city breaks in Europe

Looking for a new weekend city break destination? Whether you’re keen to explore the classical wonders of Rome or dip into the medieval old town and thermal baths of Budapest, some of the finest European cities are just a short hop from the UK

To help you plan your next trip we asked Which? members to rate the cities they had visited in the last year.

Some had booked their weekend break using the best and worst travel agents, while others had used the best travel comparison sites to find a good deal.

Our top cities offer a winning combination of historic charm, cultural interest, good places to eat and drink and excellent value for money. You also rated accommodation, shopping and ease of getting around, to give a complete picture of the city in question.

Europe's best cities, as voted by you
Destination Accommodation Food and drink Cultural attractions Shopping Ease of getting around Value for money City score
Kraków (97) 91%
Valencia (44) 91%
Budapest (117) 89%
Bologna (49) 88%
Berlin (195) 87%
Seville (106) 87%
Barcelona (130) 86%
Vienna (145) 86%
Funchal (92) 85%
Amsterdam (150) 84%
Florence (97) 84%
Lisbon (143) 84%
Palma de Mallorca (41) 84%
Porto (78) 84%
Rome (160) 84%
Venice (148) 84%
Verona (40) - 84%
Zurich (31) - - - 84%
Bruges (74) 83%
Tallinn (33) - 83%
Valletta (64) 83%
Prague (117) 82%
Granada (42) - 80%
Nice (58) 80%
Copenhagen (57) 79%
Oslo (39) - 79%
Paris (168) 79%
Stockholm (46) 79%
Split (35) - 79%
Dubrovnik (60) 78%
Salzburg (36) - 78%
Hamburg (36) - 77%
Madrid (71) 77%
Malaga (84) 77%
Milan (42) - 77%
Bordeaux (54) 75%
Helsinki (37) - 75%
Munich (31) - - 75%
Riga (36) - 75%
Athens (44) 74%
Reykjavik (44) 74%
Dublin (81) 73%
Cologne (40) 72%
Brussels (61) 69%
Naples (42) 69%
Lille (32) - - - 67%

Full features table

Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses to provide a rating. Cultural sights and tourist attractions Includes range, quality and price of historic buildings, galleries, museums, parks and city tours. Ease of getting around Includes range of public transport options, ease of understanding transport-related maps/information/ transport ticket pricing systems, ease of walking/travelling between sights. City score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the city as a holiday destination to a friend

Krakow - best for cheap city breaks

Krakow topped our table with its Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches on every corner, not to mention alfresco cafes strewn across street upon street of cobblestones. But the best bit? Krakow continues to resist the urge to shake down visitors with extortionate prices.

Krakow was the only city in our survey to score five stars for value for money. Not only is the average hotel price just £63 per room, per night, but eating out is also a steal. Avoid the main square rip offs and you'll get a good meal for less than a tenner, and a pint of beer for two pounds.

Find out which are the best and worst hotel booking websites and flight booking websites to book your city break with.

Valencia - best weekend break

Sharing the top spot with Krakow, Valencia is quirky, innovative and full of surprises. Even with its prime location on the Balearic coast and year-round sunshine, its lively Old Town is the star attraction. Don't miss the cathedral's Gothic tower, or the naughty gargoyles on the city's 15th century silk exchange.

Valencia is also far cheaper than Spain's other big hitters - Madrid and Barcelona. You can enjoy a glass of rioja for as little as €2.50. And a decent two or three-course menu del dia (set menu) will set you back around €12.

Our destination features are based on real insight from readers, who tell us their favourite places to visit before we go undercover to investigate. Find out more about Which? Travel

Budapest - best spa break city

More than 100 hot springs bubble beneath Budapest before bursting through at beautiful spa complexes like palatial Szechenyi and Art Nouveau Gellert Baths. Take your lead from the time-honoured ritual of locals, young and old, who slink in and out of the pools, each set to a different temperature. 

With spa access costing around £14 per day, and massages from £32 for 45 minutes, relaxing in Budapest is great value. And the average hotel room costs just £62 per night - the room rate of any city in our survey.

Tallinn - best new entry for a short break

If you liked Krakow and fancy another small city with five-star cultural attractions, try new entry to our survey, Tallinn. Within its medieval city walls lies a snow-globe scene of stone towers, hill top turrets, cobbled streets and domed churches, all set against the Baltic sea.

Tallinn is also great value. You'll pay a premium for food and drink inside the Old Town walls, but at around €15 for a main course, even Tallinn's tourist prices are palatable. 

Who to book your European city break with

Some of the biggest names in travel offer to take the hassle out of a city break by organising a package for you. 

We've reviewed the most used providers including British Airways Holidays, Broadway Travel, Easyjet Holidays, Expedia, Jet2 Holidays, Thomas Cook and Tui.

For all of our travel agent reviews visit best and worst travel agents.

Our research

In April 2018, Which? members completed an online survey about European cities they’d visited for leisure purposes in the past year and stayed in for at least one night. We reported on 4,353 experiences. The city score is based on a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending it to a friend/family member. Only cities that were mentioned by at least 30 members are included.

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