Six Last-Minute Trips for Your Long Weekend Away

From the storied streets of Sarajevo to the pristine natural beauty of an under-the-radar Austrian lake, these European destinations tick all the boxes for a last-minute Easter getaway – and all still have hotel availability.

Yet to book your micro-break for the incoming long weekend? Don't panic: there's still time to sort out a last-minute European spring escape. The trick? To opt for a spot that isn't on everyone's lips. Wave goodbye to Paris, say auf wiedersehen to Berlin and look to the continent's B-side destinations and quieter edges to find your perfect 11th-hour trip. Luckily, we've done the legwork for you, checking flight availability and calling up hotels to figure out where you'll still be able to book for the Easter weekend. Just send us a postcard when you get there.

Where to go for a quick spring fling this long weekend

The cathedral in Helsinki, Finland



Copenhagen all booked up? Switch the Scandi favourite for its edgy Finnish counterpart. Finland's capital is an electric city with a bumper list of offerings: Baltic Sea views, a burgeoning food and drink scene and, in common with Copenhagen, a keen eye for design. For architecture that wows, explore the area south of the centre, playing bingo with the contemporary greats, from the modernist lines of the Finlandia concert hall to the half-hidden dome of the rock-carved Temppeliaukio Church. Don't expect balmy weather - this is a European city break, not a beach stay - but if temperatures are a touch too low for your liking, head to the slatted wooden pyramid on the waterfront that is Löyly, for a warming introduction to Finnish sauna culture. Fuel up at 6K, a contemporary street-food take on the city's historic kauppahalli (covered markets) - or head to one of the many cosy coffee spots. Our choice pick is Café Succès, where the cinnamon buns are divine.

Where to stay: Hotel St George Helsinki

Sunset over Sarajevo


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Straddling east and west, Sarajevo is still often associated with the conflict of the early Noughties, but that does the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina a disservice. With a dramatic mountain location, a growing fresh-faced population and an edgy new direction that brings to mind Budapest's rise of around a decade ago, we're calling it: this is one of Europe's coolest new city-break destinations. Start in Baščaršija, the old town, trotting through cobblestoned streets overlooked by Ottoman-era mosques and stately Austro-Hungarian civic buildings, before grabbing sticky honey baklava and a strong Bosnian coffee from Teahouse Džirlo. Refuelled, head over to Kazandžiluk (Coppersmiths) Street to pick up your own copper coffee pot. The recently revamped National Museum can help shape your understanding of the country's history - it was reopened with funding from local residents after falling on financial hard times. For dinner, head to quirky Cakum Pakum on Kaptol Street. The diminutive eatery is dressed up in antique furnishings and tartan tablecloths, and serves delicious savoury pancakes, pasta dishes and steaks.

Where to stay: Hotel Aziza

A view across the lake at Wolfgangsee in Austria – the perfect destination for a last-minute long weekend getaway



Wolfgangsee is a study in Austrian elegance - all crisp mountain air and verdant forests edging the aquamarine lake. Think of it as an Austrian alternative to Slovenia's Instagram-beloved Lake Bled, with significantly fewer hashtags making it a tranquil choice for a long weekend. A trip to this mountain region is all about getting back to nature, so don't forget to pack your hiking boots. Pick a meandering lakeside trail and you'll be strolling past quaint alpine architecture as you lap the historic paddle boats chugging over the glassy water. Many of the paths lead up into Austria's high mountain plateaus, which, in early spring, will be on the cusp of putting on their annual frothy floral show. Finish your hike at a café set among the art nouveau villas of Strobl, with a slice of malakoff torte - an indulgent layer cake made with almond, sponge and cream.

Where to stay: Seehotel Berau

A beach on the Isles of Scilly, in Cornwall, UK

Isles of Scilly

United Kingdom

Look at photos of the Scilly Isles and you'd be forgiven for mistaking them for somewhere in southern Europe. The Cornish archipelago, with its bleached coral-coloured beaches and milky-blue waters more evocative of the Caribbean than the UK, and a climate that tips towards the subtropical, provides the perfect alternative to a crowded holiday weekend on the mainland. Explore diminutive rural roads, scoff top-class seafood at lo-fi beach joints and let the local wildlife entertain you (the seals are everyone's favourites). The five inhabited islands (of 140, in total) are dotted with stone cottages offering a little early-summer sanctuary. St Mary's - the only isle with an airport - is the easiest to reach.

Where to stay: Star Castle Hotel

A cathedral in Palermo, Sicily



Awash with crumbling medieval architecture, hidden thoroughfares and, in our opinion, some of Italy's best food, Palermo offers an Italian escape in miniature. Start your day at one of the city's food markets (try La Vucciria, a souk-like complex founded over 1,000 years ago by Arab invaders, inspiring Renato Guttuso's famous Vucciria di Palermo painting), then take yourself on a tour of the city's nymph-filled baroque piazzas, ending at the magnificent Palazzo Pretorio fountain. This is a city built around its churches, so peek inside any you stumble upon - the lush gilded interiors of the Palazzo dei Normanni's Cappella Palatina are jaw-dropping. A stroll through the colourful streets is the best way to discover Palermo, complete with stops for cheesy, deep-dish sfincione and, from Antico Caffè Spinnato, a refreshing coffee granita and a couple of biscotti.

Where to stay: B&B L'Olivella

A beach in Crete, Greece



No one's pretending that Crete is an under-the-radar destination, but, with its own airport offering ease of access and near-guaranteed warm April weather, we're sneaking it onto our list as a no-brainer for a last-minute long-weekend getaway. Take your pick from rustic villas tucked within sprawling olive groves, hotels perched precariously on the red-rock coastal cliffs or barefoot living on the picturesque coves that fringe the island. Crete charms urbanites, who'll find much to enjoy in the colourful streets of Chania, while satisfying history buffs, thanks to its historic monasteries and crumbling ruins. Book a stay close to a beach and find the nearest checked-clothed table at the local taverna - it's all you need for the long weekend.

Where to stay: Hotel Off

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