There are so many places in Europe that are worth being visited, from the big capital cities to the small and lovely towns. And all of them are great for a weekend getaway destination.
With all of these cheap flights around Europe how not to take advantage to hop on the plane and have a wonderful weekend in a new place, a new city. But where to go just for the weekend? Keep reading to discover the best Europe weekend getaways and your next destination.
I’ve asked some fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite places for a weekend getaway and their best tips for things to do in some of the most beautiful cities in Europe so you can have the most of your time.
P.S. Check this Europe packing list for inspiration and tips on what to take with you on your next Europe trip.
The Best European Weekend Getaways (Part 1)
One of the best European weekend getaways has to be Dubrovnik. With dozens of flight connections from all across Europe, it’s easily accessible and makes a great escape all-year-round.
Dubrovnik has turned into a must-see destination for travelers who are fans of the cult television series Game of Thrones, though it was popular long before the show. With breathtaking views overlooking the Adriatic Sea from the UNESCO-Listed city walls, and with a stack of day trip options to places like Lokrum Island, or perhaps Cavtat or Konavle you can’t pass up those discount airfares to Croatia’s most popular destination.
Tip: If you don’t want your vacay in Dubrovnik to cost a bunch, then look for great rates in hotels out of the Old Town and catch the local bus to the city center.
SJ Begonja, Chasing The Donkey
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Have you ever found somewhere you love so much that you almost don’t want to share it with others, for fear of it becoming too popular? That’s how I felt after visiting Lviv, Ukraine last summer.
Lviv is absolutely one of the best European weekend getaways. The city is gorgeous and feels more Western European than much of the rest of Ukraine. The city features cobblestone streets, fountains, city squares, and a truly gorgeous Theater of Opera and Ballet.
Also, there’s plenty to see and do. Though it may sound odd you should make sure to visit Lychakiv Cemetery- it has been around since the 1700s and some of the tombstones and sculptures are truly gorgeous.
For those not into visiting cemeteries, you can find lots of other great options including themed restaurants and even a chocolate museum!
Nathan, Foodie Flashpacker
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One of my favorite weekend getaways is Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city. It has everything I love about a city: a rich history, good food, and a beautiful outdoor lifestyle.
You can spend a morning wandering the old city, Gamla Stan, with its narrow medieval streets and pretty squares, then admire the pomp and circumstance of the Swedish Parliament and Royal Palace while you watch the Changing of the Guard.
Have an open-topped sandwich and a beer in one of Gamla Stan’s many restaurants and cafés, before catching a ferry to Djurgården, Stockholm’s island playground, to visit some of the world-class museums and admire the Nordic animals at Skansen. Or maybe take the ferry further afield into the Stockholm Archipelago and spend a few hours hiking one of the beautiful rocky islands, where you can always find a quiet spot to yourself!
Head back to Gamla Stan for dinner before leaning on a railing to admire the lights of the City Hall as they reflect in the waters of Lake Mälaren. It’s a pretty perfect weekend for me.
Jill, Reading the Book
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I believe Hamburg is definitely one of the best Europe weekend getaways. Although I spend only 24 hours in Hamburg, I fell in love with the city.
I haven’t even planned to visit the city but I’m very happy that things happened that way and I did. This proves to me once again that unplanned things are the best ones.
When visiting Hamburg you need to check out the Elbe Tunnel. A boat tour around the harbor is also a must. Hamburg is situated on the Elbe river and has the largest seaport in Germany. I also really enjoyed wandering aimlessly around the city. There is some very cool street art and buildings architecture is beautiful (I love how they reflect on the water). Hamburg nightlife is also great. So, if you go partying make sure you try their Mexican shots (mexikaner), similar to Bloody Mary.
Currently, there are many cheap flights to the city so this is another good reason for your next Europe weekend getaway to be Hamburg. The fun is guaranteed.
Find a place to stay in Hamburg: Get 10% OFF of Booking.com / Join Airbnb and save 25 EUR from your first stay Things to do in Hamburg: Check the best tours on GetYourGuide
Known for its cool credentials, Copenhagen has something for everyone and is perfect for a weekend away – especially as it has great transport links with air and rail links. In fact, arriving by rail from Sweden is one of the highlights as you travel via the iconic Øresund Bridge.
Although Copenhagen is quite a pricey city, two of the city’s most iconic attractions are completely free! The beautiful Nyhavn with its picturesque colorful houses is a wonderful place for a stroll and the most well-known symbol of Copenhagen, the statue of The Little Mermaid, is a short walk outside of the city center overlooking the harbor. Other great things to do in the city include theme park Tivoli Gardens and the Rundetaaen (Round Tower) but my highlight is Church of Our Saviour, a place of worship with a quirky spire which you can climb up to the top of – and the last few steps are on the outside of the tower!
End your evenings visiting one of the city’s brewpubs such as Warpigs, Brus or Bryggeriet Apollo and sampling some of the local cuisines washed down with locally brewed beer.
Kaleigh, Jollies, and Jaunts
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Berlin is one of our favorite European weekend getaways because it’s so easy to reach anywhere in Europe, full of culture, great nightlife and for us extremely gay-friendly. It’s also extremely romantic with some beautiful experiences for couples. Some of our favorites include:
- – concert and dinner at the rococo-style Charlottenburg Palace, where you can also have a 3-course meal and a tour of the Palace before the concert – the perfect date night.
- – watching a show at the famous The Friedrichstadt-Palast, which is billed as “the largest and most modern show palace in Europe”.
- – dining at the Fernsehturm Berlin TV Tower at Alexanderplatz. It is one of the most iconic buildings of the city. At 368m (1,207 ft), it is the highest structure in Germany and one of the tallest in the EU.
- – evening walks through the iconic sites such as Brandenberg Gate and our favorite, the East Side Gallery on Mühlenstrasse in the Kreuzberg area.
Stefan and Sebastian, Nomadic Boys
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I was super surprised by how much I liked Porto, Portugal and it surpassed all my expectations, in terms of food, drink, and things to do. I didn’t exactly have high hopes when me and my friends boarded a plane full of senior citizens bound to a city best known for what is essentially the drink of everyone’s grandma, port wine. HOWEVER, let the record state that I can sometimes be wrong!
Porto actually turned out to be a vibrant, fun and activity-filled city. And honestly, it’s impossible not to be happy in a riverside destination as picturesque as this, that’s filled with copious glasses of actually really tasty port wine and an obscene amount of the delicious, and rightfully famous, pasties de nata.
Yet aside from everything to do, eat and drink there, my main reason for recommending Porto as one of the best European weekend getaways is the easiest way to access Portuguese city. For now, at least, Porto remains pretty off the radar of many and is still blissfully underrated (in comparison to Lisbon, at least). Basically, go before everyone else finds out about this hidden gem!
Lauren, Northern Lauren
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Fancy spending your next Europe weekend getaway wandering around a UNESCO heritage site, which is jam-packed with historical significance from pretty much the beginning of Britain to modern-day?
Then look no further than the picturesque city of Bath. Just walking around Bath feels a little like wandering around a fairytale; with historic buildings, cobbled streets, and a majestic cathedral. One of Bath’s greatest attractions is the (amazingly intact) remains of the Roman Baths, where the city’s dwellers bathed and socialized way back in Roman times.
Other popular places to visit are the wonderful Bath Abbey; which was the site of the first King of England’s coronation, the Royal Crescent, and the Circus which are fine examples of Georgian architecture, and the beautiful weir over the River Avon. And don’t forget the various museums, including that of notable Bath resident Jane Austen…
Finish your time in Bath with a dip in the modern Bath spa, including aromatic steam rooms and a rooftop heated pool. Kick back and relax and relish the unique atmosphere of this charming city, whose wonder and beauty really has to be seen to be believed…
Claire, Claire’s Footsteps
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San Sebastian, Spain
When people think of destinations in Spain, they often think about Barcelona or the Costa del Sol. One place that doesn’t get mentioned that often is San Sebastian.
This beautiful city in the Basque region of Spain is arguably the most beautiful place in the country! The views across La Concha are incredible. Even better, are the views from the top of Monte Igeldo, as you gaze over the bay and look ahead to the nearby mountains!
San Sebastian is famous for its culinary traditions and is home to numerous Michelin starred restaurants. As well as La Concha, you also have Playa Zurriola within walking distance of the city center. Here, you can try your hand at surfing if you fancy a faster pace during your weekend getaway!
If you want to visit one of Spain’s hidden gems, then San Sebastian is somewhere you should definitely check out!
Tom, The Travelling Tom
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The north of Normandy, France a few hours from the historical WWII sites is a great place to relax for the weekend. You can enjoy the beach, the countryside, eat delicious seafood and drink wine – the perfect recipe for a best Europe weekend getaway!
Haute-Normandie (as it’s called in French) has a coastline covered in beautiful cliffs called Côte d’Albâtre (Alabaster Coast). Wander and hike along the cliffs in any direction and you’ll come across stunning views, vertigo-inducing drop off’s and breathtaking archways. This area was even one of the locations where Monet set up his canvas outdoors to recreate the coastal scenery.
Charming towns like Étretat and Fécamp along the coast are the perfect places to set off for a walk but don’t miss out on strolling their picturesque streets first. Palais Bénédictine in Fécamp, a gorgeous gothic style abbey home to its own famous liqueur is a must-see for any visitor to the area.
A trip to Normandy wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the local cuisine, which in the case of Normandy is seafood and lots of it! Top off your trip with a pot of moules (mussels) with fries and a glass of white wine.
Gabby, Boarding Call
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Here’s what I put together for the European weekend getaways collab you posted on FTB. Let me know if you’d like me to make any changes. I included a few pictures for you to choose from.
The tiny town of Hallstatt, Austria is nestled along the side of an Alpine lake, giving it a picturesque look that can’t be matched. There’s something for everyone there, and you can make it a relaxing, romantic weekend or an adventurous one.
The Salzwelten salt mine tour that takes you deep inside one of the mountains to view the site of ancient excavations. You descend partway by riding wooden slides through the levels of the mine. Before heading back down the inclined railway, make sure to enjoy the scenic views from the skywalk on the edge of the mountain. If salt mines aren’t your thing, you can also explore the Dachstein ice cave.
The town itself is full of beautiful old buildings, and in some parts where they’re built up the mountain, staircases take the place of city streets. It’s an incredible area to explore on foot and full of cafes and shops.
If you take a short walk out of town, you’ll come across a swimming area. Even in summer months, the water is chilly, but a refreshing dip is a great way to cool off during the afternoon. The beach is rocky and steep, but the water is beautifully clear.
Kris, Nomad by Trade
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The capital of Slovakia is simply perfect for a weekend girls’ trip or a couple getaway. You can get here by a low-cost direct flight, bus, or train, but its cute downtown can be also easily reached from Vienna airport by bus within one hour.
Once there, everything is within walking distance. Bratislava is rather small and offers a perfect opportunity to run away from the big city stress while enjoying a relaxed feel of colorful houses, quirky cafés, and local wines.
For active adventurers, bike lanes following the Danube river offer a chance to explore beautiful nature and adrenaline junkies will surely love to try out bungee jumping from the La Franconi bridge.
Those looking for history shouldn´t miss the opportunity to explore the castle of Devín, sitting on the rock above the junction of rivers Morava and Danube where the sunsets are particularly charming. If you are planning to visit, my local Bratislava guide with a map will help you find out more!
Karin, Girl Astray
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Even Europe has amazing off-the-beaten-path destinations. In the last 10 years, Ljubljana has flourished and the capital of Slovenia is now one of Europe’s greatest hidden gems and a perfect place to enjoy a long weekend. The historic city center has been fully pedestrianized and is lauded for its accessibility and eco-friendliness. The banks of the Ljubljanica River are lined with charming cafes, the perfect place to while away the afternoon after a morning spent exploring the museums and grounds of Ljubljanski Grad, a medieval castle perched on the city’s central hilltop.
On Fridays in the summer, keep an eye out for the Open Kitchen, a market of restaurant vendors from around the country, or join a walking tour with Taste Ljubljana to try some of Slovenia’s craft beers and wines. On Saturday, explore the wild street art at Metelkova Mesto, a former army barracks turned independent commune. Come back after dark for what will probably be the best party of your life. Spend your Sunday browsing the city center’s boutiques, or take a daytime excursion to Lake Bled for a little natural beauty. You’ll be hard-pressed not to fall for Ljubljana’s off-beat charm.
Danielle, World Smith
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Saint Emilion, France
Saint Emilion is 40 minutes away by train from Bordeaux. It’s a great fairy tale and definitely one of the best European weekend getaways. You can see everything in just 2 days.
My visit to Saint Emilion village remains engraved in my memory. The village offers magical vineyards, narrow streets, great cafes and patisseries, charming churches, and much more. The area is well known for the best wines around the world without any doubt. It’s best to arrive very early in the morning to enjoy its calmness and laid back atmosphere. During peak times and public holidays, the place can be really overcrowded.
The majority of the shops, cafes, museums open after 10.00 am. Arrive early to explore the village by foot and afterward visit the Tourist information center and book your tour around vineyards and the Monolithic church, where you can’t visit without booking. The Tour visit will take you from the catacombs to the chapel of the church, to reach the majestic bell tower of 68 meters, to enjoy one of the panoramic views of Saint Emilion.
Do not miss to visit the numerous cafes and the great Pattiseries offering the famous delicious Macarons!
Find a place to stay in Saint Emilion: Get 10% OFF of Booking.com / Join Airbnb and save 25 EUR from your first stay Things to do in Saint Emilion: Check the best tours on GetYourGuide
Brno, Czech Republic
Visiting the Czech Republic usually means visiting Prague. But there are so many more things to see in my country, trust me! Great choice Brno, the second-largest city, featuring lots of parks and cafes. It is famous for its student atmosphere and foreigners really enjoy living here. It’s the place to experience the Czech Republic without tourist crowds.
Brno is the perfect city for an enjoyable weekend trip. You can visit some of its sights during the day, and have a cocktail in the local famous bars during the night. There are fun things to do in Brno and yet not too many to be overwhelmed if you just have two or three days to pay a visit. By the way, If you get more time, Vienna or Bratislava is just behind the corner!
Veronika, Veronika’s Adventure
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I like Oslo because is quite small and cozy, not as busy as other European capitals. Everything is simple and easy, and it’s so refreshing, absolutely one of the best European weekend getaways. And on top of it, Norwegians are very kind and happy to help you when in doubt.
From the airport, there are frequent trains to the city, just half an hour ride. The main attractions are grouped together, and you can walk everywhere! Beautiful buildings, interesting statues, pretty parks, calming blue of the sea, all for free to enjoy. And if you don’t feel like walking much, buses are very reliable and there are no traffic jams.
I find Fram Museum inspiring, learning about travelers who dreamed about and explored some of the most remote areas on Earth – the poles. And if you are good with handling the cold, a ferry trip to the fjords can be a good idea to relax and enjoy nice views.
Daniela, The Lost Romanian
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Zakopane is in the deep south of Poland. To get here you’ll need to fly to Krakow before catching a train or bus but the journey is so worthwhile for a weekend.
Most places in Europe are a hotpot of cultures with tourists from around the world visiting popular destinations.
Zakopane is instead off the usual tourist bucket list – though it should.
Zakopane is a popular domestic holiday spot though so if you really want to get a taste of what the Polish are like, Zakopane is your ticket.
When you arrive, you’ll be somewhere near the walking street, which will be busy but you can easily escape the crowds by taking a side street or two.
When you’re ready, embrace the culture and you’ll see an array of street performers, street carts with interesting snacks to try, and plenty of restaurants to eat and drink.
What you’re really here for is the hiking (cue Instagram haven).
The Tatra Mountains overlook the city and when you take to the mountains yourself, you can opt for any number of trails depending on your fitness levels. Don’t forget the camera and get snapping, you’ll be in awe of the different views of the terrain you’ll see.
Jordan, Tiki Touring Kiwi
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When our expectations are low we are most likely to be positively surprised. On my trip to Lebanon, I had a long layover in Belgrade. Before I went I was wondering what I was supposed to do for a whole day there, but I ended up wishing I had more time in this city. A weekend would be perfect to explore everything that Belgrade has to offer. Let me explain, what I liked so much about Belgrade and why I love to come back for more.
Belgrade is still quite unknown, so you don’t see a lot of other tourists yet. It’s a pleasant city and the center is a beautiful mix of Austro-Hungarian architecture and Soviet-style buildings. The buildings speak of history and give the city an eastern European vibe, but inside the buildings are hip coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. One of my favorite places was the Kalamegdan Park and fortress. This is the perfect place to watch people. Young lovers come here during sunset and the old men come to socialize and play chess. Another great place to watch people is Zeleni Venac. A lively fresh produce market close to the main shopping street. Belgrade has something for everyone and is no doubt one of the best European weekend getaways.
Ellis, Backpack Adventures
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Which of these places do you wish to be your next Europe weekend getaway?
Thanks for reading,
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