Not everyone automatically rushes for the beach when summer arrives in Europe. Hot sand, sticky sun cream and crowded resorts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But city breaks don’t immediately spring to mind when the temperatures rise across the continent. And to be honest, 3 days walking around Rome, one of my most favourite cities in the entire world, doesn’t really appeal to me in 35 degree heat either.
So, where can you go to beat the heat, avoid the crowds but still enjoy everything a city break should offer? Well, if you’re not looking for a bargain and want to head to cooler climes, then how about Scandinavia? Mid-summer temperatures in places like Norway and Sweden sit around the late teens and early to mid-twenties, perfect if getting about and sightseeing by foot is what you’re after. Prices in these countries will be higher than the Eurozone, especially if you plan out eating out. And alcohol prices are unbelievably high, so if you plan on sampling a few of the local ales then make sure your bank balance is looking extremely rosy before you head out.
If you don’t plan on blowing the budget, the looking further east is a great plan. Eastern countries that are part of the Euro are a great budget option for holiday makers and there are cities there definitely worth a visit. But it can get very hot in some places, so look more northern destinations like Estonia, Latvia and even Poland. Don’t be put off by tales of stag parties and debauchery, these places are dripping with stunning architecture, history and culture and are less likely to be packed with families on package tours.
Closer to home, Germany is a good option. Granted, it’s more expensive than Eastern Europe, but with the strongest Pound against the Euro we’ve had in 4 years and some great currency deals out there, your money will go a lot further than in recent years. Germany is a fascinating country; so much more than beer, bratwurst and lederhosen. And don’t listen to the stereotype, Germans are warm, fun and friendly people, eager to show you real German culture and make sure you leave with fond memories.
Finally, let’s look a lot closer to home. Ireland may not seem like the first choice for a city break, but anyone who has been to Dublin will tell you otherwise. But don’t feel a stay on the Liffey is your only option. Belfast is quickly catching up with its southern cousin as a place to visit and for good reason. With great nightlife, brilliant shopping, lots of summer festivals and events and plenty to see and do, it’s the perfect summer getaway.