The first days of autumn are upon us. The windswept streets are covered with auburn and golden leaves, the days are getting shorter and the idea of a cosy cup of tea in front of the fire sounds like Heaven.
While the air has a scent of pumpkin spice emanating from coffee shops and we root through our wardrobe for the big coat and our scarf, it is the perfect time for a cheeky city break. Before the weather turns sour, why not enjoy a couple of days exploring one of the fine cities Europe has to offer?
From touring historical sites to tasting the local delicacies in ultra cool bars and restaurants – there is so much waiting to see. Here are our pick of the best alternative city break destinations.
If you think Majorca is all about family resorts and clubbing then think again as this king of the Balearic Islands is an excellent city break destination. Get ready to be bowled over by the majesty of the capital of Palma – a rich tapestry of diverse architecture, historical buildings, chic bars and restaurants and charming marina.
A far cry from the bustling resorts of the coast, Palma is Majorca refined. Given its somewhat diminutive size, you can see everything the city has to offer in a long weekend. Enjoy breakfast in the quaint neighbourhood of Santa Catalina before perusing the designer shops along Passeig des Born.
You can pop into the famous Catedral de Mallorca close to the waterfront and then enjoy a gastronomic feast in one of the elegant tapas restaurants close to Placa Major. Palma provides a holiday experience you may never have associated with Majorca before.
The Maltese capital of Valletta is a living, breathing work of art. Better known as The Fortress City it was founded on the instructions of Grand Master of the Order of St. John – Jean Parisot de la Valette. Upon its completion in 1566, this impressive expanse of bastions, fords and a cathedral at its centre, it was honoured as “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen”.
The beauty of Valletta has not dwindled in the centuries since. It is both a European Art City and a World Heritage City given its impressive Baroque architecture and historical importance. Visitors can take a stroll through the tranquil Upper Barrakka Gardens and admire the view over the Grand Harbour.
The city is also a hive of restaurants where you can enjoy delicious local food such as kapunata (a Maltese take on ratatouille) and watch the world go by.
When it comes to city breaks in Portugal both Lisbon and Porto reign supreme but a tiny island off the north African coast offers something a little different. The tropical paradise of Madeira with its secluded coves, palm-tree lined boulevards and cliff-top restaurants could easily be mistaken the setting of a James Bond film.
The capital Funchal brings together the traditional with the modern. The old town is a winding network of cobbled streets and 15th century buildings while the marina area is packed with designer shops and stylish clubs. Relax on the black sand beaches before sampling Funchal’s vibrant nightlife under the tinkling stars of cloudless skies.
The Costa del Sol is often associated with purpose-built resorts, All Inclusive hotels and beach promenades lined with English bars but Malaga provides the perfect rebuttal to this view. This vibrant, cosmopolitan city has inspired artists, been the home of historical figures and has an unquestionable charm that rivals the likes of Madrid and Barcelona.
As the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, it is only natural that Malaga has a huge art scene. You can see the work of the man himself at the Museo Picasso Malaga, admire abstract art at the Centre Pompidou Malaga or simply walk around the variety of murals dotted across the city. The architecture matches Malaga’s artistic flair with the stunning Cathedral of Malaga and Alcazaba serving as a reminder of a bygone era.
Did we mention the nightlife? Malaga has some of the best bars in Spain from rooftop cocktails, hipster craft beer pubs and bustling tapas restaurants. Perhaps take inspiration from Picasso and visit his favourite bar – Antigua Casa Guardia – an institute of Malaga since 1840.
Who says a long weekend break has to be in Europe? Give in to the ultimate temptation by jetting off for a whirlwind few days in Sin City. Las Vegas is a true one-of-a-kind destination with the glitz and glamour turned up to 11 and perfect for enjoying an unforgettable spontaneous holiday.
Kick it off with a picture at the famous ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign before heading into the Paradise and soaking up the sights of the famous strip. Stop at the Belagio and watch the iconic fountain show, take on the slot of Caesar’s Palace and then take indulgence to the next level at Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres.
You can swing by the unmistakable Lombard Street for a taste of old Vegas and even book a trip to the Grand Canyon – this is the ultimate city break.
Are you craving an autumn holiday? Have these destinations inspired you to jet off on a city break? Head to www.sunmaster.co.uk and take your pick from our huge range of long weekend and short break package holidays.