Six of Europe’s Best Summer City Breaks

Six of Europe’s Best Summer City Breaks

the thought of sticky sun cream and sand in strange places
fills you with horror, head to one of these European cities for a
summer holiday that offers more chic than just a beach.



Ranked as one of the happiest cities in the world based on the
value they place on friends, family and generally enjoying life,
is a shining example of the ideal city break and never better than
in the height of summer. Best explored on foot, clean lines,
light-filled spaces and design-driven heritage seep into
coffee shops, concept stores and galleries around the city.
Effortless style extends beyond the homegrown designer offering
with a cluster of restaurants that regularly rank among the worlds
best. Noma is the holy grail of Nordic cuisine, but given
its credentials reservations are notoriously difficult to snag. Opt
instead to try the seafood offering at Kødybens
, which is much more diverse and just as good. Situated
on the coast and a good alternative to the Danish Design Museum,
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art divides rooms into hot
(well-known artists) and cold (emerging artists) in an attempt to
diversify guests experiences.



Known for its rhythmic flamenco shows and orange-scented
streets, the Andalusian capital of Seville
is a sun-soaked getaway combining Moorish architecture with tapas
bars and an energetic late-night scene. A more peaceful alternative
to the crowded Alćazar Palace, La Casa de Pilatos is a 15th-century
palace that blends gothic renaissance and romantic styles across
their perfumed gardens and rooms. Venture to Mercado de Feria to
sample some local fish tapas before finishing off in the Alfalfa
barrio where the liveliest of Seville’s bars operate. Order a
bucket of mojitos from any of the buzzy joints that line Calle
Perez Galdos and Plaza Alfalfa, then share among friends out on the
cobbled streets. Stay in Hotel Boutique Elvira Plaza, its
leafy terraces, palate of neutrals mixed with bohemian reclaimed
bedside tables and headboards, plus its enchanting plaza location
make for dreamy mini-break.



Shun the tourist-laden crowds this summer and head to Amsterdam’s
cooler cousin, Rotterdam. Open-minded and with a sense of humour –
evident in their treasured, giant erotic Santa sculpture –
Rotterdam doesn’t take itself too seriously, encouraging visitors
to embrace its eccentricity. Numerous urban renewal projects, such
as Roodkapje, have transformed disused sections of the
city. Located next to Rotterdam Central Station, it defines
Rotterdam’s progressive nature with its communal living room,
revolving calendar of punchy exhibitions and underground food,
music and art laboratory. Other community-driven spaces include
Aloha, a former swimming pool repackaged as a city
park, rooftop terrace and foliage-filled coffee roasters. Then
there’s Biergarten, an expansive sun-trap combining
Dutch craft beers with enthusiastic DJs. Weird and wonderful aside,
just a 30-minute boat ride is the UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kinderdijk where the uniform rows of windmills offer the chance to
capture that quintessential Dutch postcard.



While often visited during winter for the
Christmas markets
in the summer will undoubtedly seduce. Grand,
pastel-hued baroque townhouses that were once occupied by
Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert line the streets leading to some of
the most opulent and decadent architecture in Europe, best admired
via a stroll on a summer day. Shooting to the top of any itinerary
is the striking arched glass ceilings and tropical butterfly house
of the Palmenhaus, one of the world’s
largest botanical exhibitions. Despite its celebrated past,

is by no means resting on its historical credentials. A
mesh of emerging young designers and restaurateurs are diversifying
Austria’s capital city. Neni dishes up baked eggs, yoghurt and candied
nuts in homage to Israel street food found in
Tel Aviv
market bars, while local designer Barbara Linder
launched Alila, an upmarket, sustainable brand specialises in
upcycling Japanese vintage garments. One tradition that should be
preserved is the devouring of a portion (box) of crispy, flaky
strudel in the antiquated Café Prückel.



Since its 2013 UNESCO Capital of Culture title, France’s oldest
city has dramatically increased its artistic offering, positioning
itself as welcome alternative to the hot and crowded streets of
Paris. with an emergence of modern art institutions. Next to the
Museée des Civilisations de l’Europe et la Méditerranée, art
enthusiasts should stop by the striking Villa Méditerranée. The
waterfront building designed by Stefano Boeri boasts three
multimedia exhibitions that overhang a sea pool, which is visible
through the viewing galleries glass-panelled floor. Of course a
stroll down Vieux Port, the focal point of Marseille, is a must,
but for a less-commercial pastis aperitif experience head to Place
des Pistoles. Navigate your way through the cobbled back streets
before settling down in one of the numerous bars that occupy the
leafy square. Leave the bustling port behind and venture out to the
shiny shores of the
Côte d’Azur.
South of Marseille the Calanques (limestone cliff)
stretch for 20 miles providing ample opportunity to stretch those
legs. More relaxed patrons can rent a boat and dive between the
cliffs inlets – word to the wise, a cooler box brimming with
Provence rosé is considered obligatory.



After conquering the multi-coloured streets of Lisbon,
Portugal’s bejewelled second city makes for a laid-back
alternative. Favouring long lunches and afternoon strolls, Porto
is a European city entering its prime – and nobody can argue with
Portugal in the summer. Positioned on the steep banks of the Douro
River, you’ll be met with numerous viewpoints that stretch across
the top of the terracotta roofs and bold, primary-coloured facades.
Ignoring any plans of a summer detox, dig in to
second most famous export, the francesinha. The
meat-layered sandwich is smothered in melted cheese and hot tomato
sauce; devour one at Yuko alongside litres of sangria, an unlikely,
yet satisfying pairing. Occupying many of
historical buildings is a sea of hip drinking dens.
Converted ceramics factory Flow is a stylish option with
floor-to-ceilings windows and sparkling outdoor terrace. Claiming
to be the first and only open-air bar in the city (not counting the
numerous bars that spill out into the street come 3AM) olive tree
filled Base is a manmade park boasting novelty seating, including a
bath tub and several tractor tyres, alongside a disco