A city break is a great holiday option suitable for the whole family or those travelling alone. Forget lounging by the pool, a city break is the chance to truly immerse yourself in a new city and experience the culture and atmosphere as you browse local stores, sample authentic cuisine, enjoy traditional drinks and explore the history and heritage of global towns and cities. Despite this, tourist hotspots such as Barcelona, Paris and Rome can soon see you out of pocket as you get tripped up on overpriced tat and caught out by tourist traps, instead, this year, why not opt for one of these lesser known European breaks where you can truly get away from it all and enjoy a new city at your own pace.
This Eastern European gem is bursting with plenty of quaint backstreet bars, cultural hotspots and stunning views. Whatever your holiday preference, Bratislava has something to offer, from globally-acclaimed opera to outdoor cycling trails. Here, you can be sampling fine, local cuisine whilst enjoying regal art and international performances.
You may be enjoying the prices that Bratislava has to offer, so if you feel like splashing out on an evening meal be sure to book a table at Le Monde, a central restaurant with multiple awards and a favourite of countless top critics.
For more affordable and authentic fare, visit Prasna basta, a hearty, local restaurant which offers staple, Slovak food at a budget-friendly price.
Budapest is a truly stunning centre of culture with fabulously ornate buildings lining idyllic streets. Not only can you spend the days photographing the beautiful architecture, you will also be spoilt with choice of galleries, museums and exhibitions. Budapest is also famed for its thermal springs, and one truly unique experience is to visit one of the many thermal pools located around Budapest.
To enjoy some serious shopping make sure you visit Pest, renowned as the most expensive part of the City. Here, youíll find traditional lac, pottery and crafts whilst the Great Market Hall is a wonderful experience for all the senses offering everything from design to spices; an authentic experience with a necessity to barter and haggle down those prices. Those not adept at getting stuck in to the local customs can easily enjoy this compelling atmosphere and buy their souvenirs from a more traditional gift shop.
Derry, Northern Ireland
For a city break a little closer to home, why not hop on a budget flight or enjoy the ferry and discover Northern Ireland. Derry/Londonderry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and has won the prestigious title of UK City of Culture 2013. This is a truly vibrant and contemporary city despite its rich culture and heritage, not many places can offer original remains of walls which used to cover the city whilst also having the youngest population in Europe, with 60% of locals being under 39. Itís not surprise that this is a capital of culture with vibrant history and strong traditions closely laced with contemporary arts and international performance.
Art can be viewed within traditional galleries from renowned artists or you can explore the cityís famed murals from lesser known artists and locals making their mark on the city.
Traditional Irish music can be enjoyed with tickets in one of the many grand concert halls or why not pull up a stool in a traditional bar and watch the locals do what they do best?
Finally, families can enjoy the countless museums and exhibitions aimed at young children or simply rent some bikes (or bring your own) and explore the great outdoors of Londonderry on your very own nature trail.