Best City Breaks for the Summer

Usually when Summer rolls around the first holiday on my mind goes to (and in no certain order) – Sun, Sea, Beach, Pool, Wine & Paella. Whichever holiday can get me a combination of all of those is a winner.

However, if money, time or holiday allowance is permitting, sometimes a great alternative to an all you can eat/drink/sunbathe beach holiday, is to whisk yourself away for a city break for the weekend. When you think of touring a city in the height of Summer, you may imagine the heat, the stickiness of it all and general bleurgh (I have visited Marakech, Budapest and Venice both in the middle of Summer and the stifling heat held me back from enjoying both locations to their full potential), however that’s not always the case for all.

With this in mind I wanted to make a case for some of the best cities great for a long weekend away – if you can’t join your mates in Ibiza, or don’t have the pennies to jet yourself off to the Maldives, a little city break can still hit the spot. So without further ado, HERE WE GO…

Barcelona

The reason I have to mention Barcelona first is because this city has a beach, so you’ve got the best of both worlds, and can spend more/less time in each side as you wish. Not only that, but the city of Barcelona is gorgeous, budget-friendly and absolutely brimming with places to eat and drink.

Of course if you’re made of money, the hotel W is an iconic feature of the Barcelona skyline and would be incredible to stay in for the views alone. Although I have heard it’s possible to sneak onto the rooftop pool and bar if you can manage it, if you still want your by-the-pool fix. Personally, my favourite part of my trip to Barcelona was hiring bikes and cycling along the beachfront, stopping for a cocktail or two along the way…

In July you can also visit Benacassiam festival, which has an incredible line-up this year. You can either camp there – but peak weather can reach 30 degrees in July and August, so maybe a cool Airbnb nearby might be more suitable…

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Edinburgh

I have visited Edinburgh before in the winter months and whereas I had a lovely time and I think it would be amazing to visit in the Summer months. Peak weather reaches 19 degrees in July/August, so it’s not mega-warm, but still enough for t-shirt weather. I mean, it’s a city well known for it’s gin, so imagine the fun of sitting outside with a nice G&T, perfect!

Not only that but in the Summer time you also have the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s something that has always been on my bucket list, and I would love to go one year – if anyone has been before and has any advice for how to tackle the festival month let me know in the comments…!! What I do know is that if you want see a fav comedian of yours, or want somewhere to stay that’s budget friendly, the earlier you book the better!

Paris

My limited memory of travelling through Paris in Summer for my inter-rail trip was of walking down the River Seine in the evening and watching Parisian couples and friends sitting around with a bottle of red and some snacks by the river, basking in the warm weather. That memory is so dreamy for me it partially influenced our decision to book a trip back there in August (please pray for good weather for us..!)

I’ll be able to fill you in more depth about how Paris is in Summer months after my trip, but my experience with Paris has been so great I’m excited for what Summer will bring. I can’t wait to do some more exploring in the sunshine, and guaranteed you’ll find me by the river with my own bottle of wine and a baguette in tow.

At the moment Eurostar are doing some really good deals on return trips to Paris (and Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but more on those later…) so take a look as we found a return trip for only £50 that will take us there in the peak of summer for a little weekend away!

London

I couldn’t write up a post of best cities to visit in Europe on a sunny day and miss out my own! Granted, I live here so I see it every day – but there really is something special about London in Summer. I’m a North East London resident at the moment and I love it – In Islington, Hackney and Shoreditch you’re not short of a brunch spot, a good restaurant or something fun to do when the sun has gone down. Just recently I spent a sunny weekend drinking with pals, before eating a gorgeous (and cheap!) meal at Flat Iron before heading off to putt away at Junkyard Golf, a brilliant crazy golf course with frozen margaritas on the side (my favourite kind of margaritas if anyone’s asking…)

I write more about it in my Staycation guide to London, but there are plenty of places to visit. Richmond Park is a great shout if the weather is really good and you fancy some sunbathing, and maybe some deer spotting. Brick Lane is a great spot to visit on the weekend for vintage shopping or for mouth-watering food markets, and failing that you can go full-on tourist and take a walk down the Southbank to explore Borough Market for something to eat…

The weather in Summer in England can range (at it’s peak) from around 23-30 degrees, depending on your luck, but guaranteed as soon as the sun comes out everyone heads to the park for cheeky drinks and a BBQ.

Amsterdam

Another city from my Interrailing trip I always remember as being great to explore – even in the heat of August. Amsterdam may seem like an expensive city at first, but if you’re on a budget it’s still possible to navigate it. One of my favourite memories was having the afternoon to myself and hiring a bike to explore a little further.

There’s plenty to do outside – with their own Outdoor theatre – the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre or take a dip in one of Amsterdam’s urban beaches. A personal favourite of mine was just to explore along the canals – or even to take a boat cruise to take in the view of Amsterdam’s famous houses.

And that’s a wrap for my city break recommendations for this Summer, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and if you have any suggestions of something obvious I’ve missed out please comment down below! In the meantime check out my Instagram for future travel updates!

Thanks for reading x

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