More of us are choosing to spend our holidays on weekend city breaks; it’s hard to resist the temptation to book a quick weekend getaway and explore some of the incredible sights, cuisine and culture on offer just a short flight away. You can now fly to over 150 destinations direct from London Stansted Airport, and getting there via Stansted Express – with trains from central London taking 47 minutes – has never been easier. Here we’ve selected some of our favourite city breaks from across Europe.
The Czech capital is the perfect weekend getaway. Explore the Jewish Quarter, Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Visit the famous John Lennon Wall and enjoy a beer in one of Prague’s famous gardens before exploring the incredible nightlife the city has to offer. Flights take approximately two hours and 15 minutes.
Denmark’s second-largest city is just as vibrant as Copenhagen. Home to one of the world’s most beautiful universities, there’s also a theme park in the city centre and enough museums and galleries to satisfy your inner culture vulture – not to mention all the delicious Danish pastry you can get your hands on. Flights take approximately one hour and 40 minutes.
Now has never been a better time to visit Poland’s unofficial capital of culture. Not only is Kraków beautiful, there’s also a lot more going on that you might think. Head to Kazimierz for beatnik bars and cool cafés, and to the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a romantic stroll. Flights take approximately three hours and 40 minutes.
The Northern Italian city that gave the world Parmigiano cheese and prosciutto crudo is a foodie’s paradise. Even the most inconspicuous trattoria will leave you speechless, and if you can tear yourself away from the table, there are plenty of sites to discover, including the spectacular Teatro Regio opera house. Flights take approximately one hour and 15 minutes.
Zagreb is a great place to start if you’ve never been to Croatia. It’s quirky and cosy and has something for everyone. Take a stroll through Maksimir Park or visit the Museum of Broken Relationships – dedicated to unrequited love. Flights take approximately three hours and 35 minutes.
There’s almost too much to pack into one weekend but you can try! Romania’s capital is home to the world’s heaviest building, a reproduction of Dracula’s Transylvanian Castle and Europe’s largest urban beach. It is also one of Europe’s literary and artistic centres, with museums and galleries aplenty. Flights take approximately three hours and 10 minutes.
Moldova’s laid back capital has some beautiful public parks to explore, including Stefan cel Mare (The Park of Lovers), Valea Morilor and Dandrarium Park. This small, beguiling city was once home to exiled poet Alexander Pushkin; his former residence has become one of Chișinău’s many museums. Flights take approximately two hours and 50 minutes.
Bulgaria’s second city is purpose-built for summer. Visit the cobblestone streets of the Old Town and explore the street markets and boutique shops in fashionable Kapana. Head to Tsar Simeon Garden at night to watch the singing fountains in action. Flights take approximately three hours and 20 minutes.
The Greek capital is a vibrant mix of cultures and perfect for history lovers. Head to Syntagma for the changing of the guards and the Acropolis for unparalleled views over the capital. There’s also the Athenian Trilogy (National Library, National University of Athens and the Academy of Athens) to tick off your list. Flights take approximately three hours and 50 minutes.
Lithuania’s second city is a coveted getaway spot, and was recently voted European Capital of Culture for 2022. Take a stroll along Laisves Avenue for shops and traditional Nordic restaurants, and visit the city’s old town for stunning religious architecture, including Pazaislis Monastery and the Cathedral Basilica. Flights take approximately two hours and 30 minutes.
This city has seen a lot of action over the last century. The first shots of the Second World War were fired here and Gdansk also played a crucial role in the fall of the Soviet empire – which you can learn more about at the European Solidarity Centre. Take a walk down Royal Way in the Old Town and visit St. Dominic’s Fair during August for shopping. Flights take approximately two hours and 25 minutes.
Explore Lisbon’s incredible street art from one of the bright yellow trams that rattle through the city. Visit the neigbourhoods of Martim Moniz and Mouraria for great food and live music. Don’t forget to go and see the Jerónimos Monastery and Livraria Bertrand – the oldest bookstore in the world. Flights take approximately two hours and 30 minutes.
Montenegro’s capital is a nature lover’s paradise. Visit Njegošev Park in the city centre and Forest Park Zlatica – popular with amateur sportspeople. There’s also Podgorica’s wine region to explore, including Cemovsko Field and Radevic Estate. Flights take approximately four hours and 20 minutes.
This city in Northern Germany is fast emerging as one of Europe’s must-visit destinations. Check out the markets at Flohschanze and Marktzeit, and the alternative Sternschanze quarter. Hamburg is also home to Europe’s largest Japanese Garden and the Elbphilharmonie – a groundbreaking philharmonic hall on the river. Flights take approximately one hour and 40 minutes.
This city in Southern France became famous during the mid-1800s and has been a popular religious pilgrimage ever since. Explore the religious architecture and take part in a nightly candlelit procession through the streets. Climb the Holy Stairs and hike to the Château Fort for views over the Pyrenees. Flights take approximately one hour and 30 minutes.
Stansted Express runs between Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale and London Stansted Airport, with trains departing every 15 minutes and direct connectivity to the London Underground. For more information on train times and to book your tickets, visit Stanstedexpress.com.