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Summer might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to return to a routine
The weather is mild, school holidays are over, and the days are still long. A September city break is the perfect short trip to satisfy your travel cravings. These extraordinary European capitals are easy to get to, and full of rich culture to fill a weekend.
Just 250 miles from the UK coastline, Amsterdam is one of the most convenient options for a European city break. You can reach Amsterdam via cruises from Southampton and by ferry from the east coast, or flights run frequently from most UK airports.
With a reasonably small centre, Amsterdam is easily explored during a long weekend. Cycling is a popular mode of transport here, or you can sail your way around the city on the iconic canal network. There is a variety of museums and galleries to visit including Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gogh Museum, while just outside of the centre you will find idyllic windmill-dotted countryside.
Also easily reached is Paris. Flights and ferries are again an option, or Londoners can take advantage of the Eurostar train from St. Pancras which reaches Paris in just 2.5 hours.
France’s capital is utterly magnificent, from the grandiose buildings that lines the wide boulevards, to the exquisite cuisine that is praised the world over. Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a must for your itinerary, as is a trip to the Louvre and the city’s other world-class art galleries. Break up your sightseeing with strolls in the picturesque city parks, and a delicious cake at an authentic patisserie.
Slightly further afield but well-worth the flight is Budapest, capital of Hungary. This destination has risen in popularity in recent years and has benefitted greatly from the influx of tourists.
The city is divided down the middle by a broad river, with ‘Buda’ on one side and ‘Pest’ on the other. Elaborate bridges connect one to the other, and you can even stand between them by visiting the tranquil Margaret Island. Highlights of a city break in Budapest include the majestic architecture, notably the parliament building and St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the huge Szechenyi thermal baths.
Seeking the catch the last of the summer sunshine? Get on a plane to Lisbon which enjoys temperatures up to the mid-twenties all the way into October.
Portugal’s coastal capital is another destination that has seen a spike in visitors in recent years. Its sheer beauty attracts tourists of all ages, although older travellers may find the hilly terrain tiring. The riverside region of Belém is a favourite spot because of its laidback atmosphere and historic highlights such as the gothic Jerónimos Monastery. Make sure to stop off for a traditional Portuguese custard tart at the popular Pastéis de Belém.
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