Do you want to travel but only have one weekend to yourself? Discover our 12 best city breaks for a cultural stay!

Do you want to get away from everyday life for a weekend? Some of Europe’s most fascinating cities are only a few hours from France by plane. Capitals or lively cultural cities, you will have so much to see that you won’t be bored!

To help you in your adventures, we have listed for you 12 of the best city breaks for a cultural stay. All you have to do is prepare your luggage!

1. Edinburgh (Scotland)

View of Edinburgh from Carlton Hill

Edinburgh, Edinburgh… There is so much to say about this too often forgotten city! We will try to be brief. First of all, it is certainly the most beautiful city in Scotland with its magnificent medieval city and its more modern neighborhoods around. This tangle of narrow streets, vaults and incredible buildings is obviously listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In addition to exploring the Old Town, be sure to discover the Castle, Saint-Gilles Cathedral and some of the city’s museums such as the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Also take advantage of your stay to taste Scottish whiskeys or take part in the many local festivals!

2. Budapest (Hungary)

Parliament of Budapest

Rightly nicknamed the pearl of the Danube, Budapest is undoubtedly one of the best city breaks for a cultural stay! The magnificent Hungarian capital is indeed rich in culture and history. You can discover a multitude of incredible sites, such as the Budavár Palace, the Széchenyi thermal baths or the famous Hungarian parliament.

Recently named best destination in Europe 2019 by a tourist organization, beautiful Budapest can only leave you with unforgettable memories!

3. Krakow (Poland)

Castle in Krakow

Krakow is a concentrate of Central European history and age-old Polish traditions! Former capital of the country, this city was the cultural, scientific and traditional center for a long time. You will discover an exceptional heritage, such as the majestic Wawel Castle or the sublime buildings of the Place du Marché.

The city is also a place of memory. Because before the Second World War, a third of the population of Krakow was Jewish. Today, many efforts are made to preserve the city’s Jewish heritage, such as the Kazimierz district. In addition to these historical frescoes, do not miss discovering the exceptional culinary traditions and the sweet festive atmosphere of Krakow.

4. Berlin (Germany)

Sunset in Berlin

Berlin is a modern, historic and surprising capital! We do not come to the German capital to chain the monuments, but more to soak up its particular atmosphere. Marked by its tragic history, Berlin is a city of disordered architecture, where the strongest contrasts face each other, in a joyous mixture. People come here for its clubs and bars that never close, or for its cultural and artistic exhibitions.

Among the essentials to visit are obviously the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate, but also the Kreuzberg district or the Pergamon Museum, among others.

5. Prague (Czech Republic)

Prague old town

It is impossible to talk about the best city breaks for a cultural stay without mentioning Prague. The bohemian city is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Cradle of the Czech people and language, it was before and after the glorious reign of Charles IV one of the major cultural and economic poles of Europe. You will discover the many gems of Czech heritage, such as the magnificent Prague Castle or the Charles Bridge.

Don’t miss strolling through its delicious cafes, relaxing in its beautiful parks or getting lost along the banks of the Vltava! You will definitely not be bored during your weekend stay in Prague.

6. London (UK)

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London

For a cultural stay of a few days, London is obviously a destination not to be missed! Cosmopolitan, lively and dynamic, the English capital has no shortage of activities or places to discover. Among them, there are obviously the Tower of London, Big Ben, London Bridge, the British Museum, the Tate Modern or the Camden Market.

In addition to the many monuments and museums, you can also watch the changing of the guard, go to the sales or simply party there. The cultural richness of London has made it world famous!

7. Lisbon (Portugal)

Tram in Lisbon

Lisbon is obviously one of the best city breaks for a cultural stay. The Portuguese capital has all the assets to seduce travelers. From its relaxed lifestyle, to its lively and typical alleys, through its colorful buildings and its culinary specialties, Lisbon can only be a must for a weekend!

On site, you can visit the Belém Tower, the impressive Jeronimos Monastery or the Saint-Georges Castle and its watchtowers. Whether you are a history buff, a happy reveler or a fan of long walks, you can’t help but enjoy Lisbon!

8. Brussels (Belgium)

Brussels

Modern, beautiful and cosmopolitan, we can only recommend this destination for your cultural stay. First of all, the Belgian capital has the ideal size for a city break in Europe. You can admire the Royal Palace, the Grand Place or the famous Manneken-Pis.

Then, beautiful Brussels is full of exciting cultural activities: visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, discover the Parlamentarium, a free museum dedicated to the European Union, or continue the Comic Strip Route! Finally, you can combine the visit of Brussels with that of Bruges. This beautiful medieval town stands out for its canals, cobbled streets and ancient buildings!

9. Sofia & Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

Ctahédrale Alexandre Nevsky, Sofia

Often shunned by tourists, who prefer coastal towns or ski resorts, Sofia is a pleasant, modern and dynamic city. On site, you can discover the fantastic Alexander-Nevsky Cathedral, the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world, or even the oldest mosque in Europe, the Bania Bashi Mosque. During your stay, you can also experience Bulgarian gastronomy, admire the ancient remains of the city or discover its many museums. Overlooking the city, Vitosha Mountain can also be visited. This natural park is home to a very rich flora and fauna!

To complete your short stay in Bulgaria, you can also go to Plovdiv, elected European Capital of Culture 2019. This city is one of the oldest cities in the world! It is full of sites and vestiges to visit. You will discover there more than 6,000 years of history: Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman succeeded each other there. Together, Sofia and Plovdiv certainly form one of the best city breaks for a cultural stay.

10. Hamburg (Germany)

Speicherstadt, Hamburg

The perfect destination for a weekend, Hamburg is also one of the best city breaks for a cultural stay. Less well known than Berlin or Munich, Germany’s second city nevertheless stands majestically at the mouth of the Elbe, in the north of the country.

Founded by Charlemagne, the city has been a major economic center ever since. Home to the third largest in Europe today, it has many wonders from its fascinating history. You can admire grandiose churches, atypical architecture and above all, stroll along its two thousand three hundred canals, much more than in Venice or Amsterdam! Its port is also worth a visit, especially for its warehouse district, the Speicherstadt.

11. Madrid (Spain)

Fontaine Cibeles, Madrid
Madrid is a must in Europe! Overflowing with energy, the capital of Spain is obviously home to a number of sublime monuments and fascinating museums. In particular, you can visit the famous Prado Museum, discover the Palacio Real, the official residence of the King of Spain, and its sumptuous gardens, or even stroll through the alleys around the Plaza Mayor.

As you will have understood, Madrid can only be one of the best city breaks for a cultural stay. If you are thirsty for tapas, good humor and entertainment, don’t miss a visit!

12. St. Petersburg (Russia)

Horse-drawn carriage in front of the Winter Palace (winter palace) in Saint Petersburg

Founded from scratch by Emperor Peter the Great in 1703, Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city. Once an imperial capital, today it has an incredible and astounding heritage. Among the essentials to visit are the renowned Hermitage Museum, but also the sublime Saint-Sauveur-sur-le-Blood Cathedral or the magnificent Winter Palace and Peterhof Palace.

These three attractions are just the tip of the iceberg. The city is home to many other cultural marvels! His visit will gently introduce you to the Russian atmosphere and its particularities. The so aptly nicknamed Venice of the North, for its many canals and bridges, can only seduce you.

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