European City Break Index
If you’re looking for a city break destination, then look no further than Europe. The continent’s vast history gives each country its own distinct culture and feel, meaning that there’s something for everyone when it comes to a European city break.
From the classics such as London, Paris, and Amsterdam, to more underrated gems such as Seville, Florence, and Kraków, a European city break allows you to enjoy the sights, tastes, and experiences of this great continent in just a few days.
But where are the best European city break destinations? And which are the most affordable? To find out, we’ve ranked 50 of the continent’s top cities on factors such as things to see and do, the local weather, and how much you can expect to spend during your visit.
The best European city destinations
1. Palma de Mallorca, Spain - 9.49 city break score
Sometimes choosing a great city break means you have to compromise on other factors such as the weather, but the great thing about Palma de Mallorca is that it has it all.
As well as being amongst the top-scoring cities for things to do, Palma also enjoys beautiful weather too, meaning that if you get tired of exploring the historic city center and masses of great bars and restaurants, then you can relax on the golden sandy beaches instead.
2. Seville, Spain - 9.08 city break score
Another Spanish city that makes for a great city break is Seville, the capital of Andalusia. With its charming streets, hidden gardens, and links with flamenco dancing, Seville is a great city for a romantic getaway.
Seville is also the warmest of the city’s on our list, with temperatures averaging at 65.8°F over the course of the year.
3. Valencia, Spain - 8.13 city break score
Completing the top three best cities is another Spanish city, Valencia, with the excellent weather again playing a big part in this.
However, it’s not all just about the sunshine in Valencia, known for its thriving nightlife and striking architecture.
The European city break with the most things to do
Venice, Italy - 733.6 things to do per 100,000 people
One of the best things about a city break is that you can cram a lot of sightseeing into a short space of time, and nowhere is this more true than Venice, Italy, where there are 773.6 sights and attractions per 100,000 people. These include the Grand Canal thoroughfare, the Piazza San Marco, and St. Mark’s Basilica.
The best European city break for natural beauty
Venice, Italy - 24.8 parks & nature attractions per 100,000 people
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a couple of hours, then when it comes to parks and other natural attractions, then Venice once again takes the top spot. Venice is of course known for its canals and lagoons that carry people between the 100-plus islands that the city consists of.
The best European city break for foodies
Palma de Mallorca, Spain - 592.4 restaurants per 100,000 people
Discovering the local cuisine is one of the best things about going on vacation and the city with the highest concentration of restaurants to people is Palma de Mallorca. The city has a burgeoning restaurant scene that includes not just traditional tapas bars and the like, but also a number of Michelin-starred establishments.
The best European city break for nightlife
Prague, Czech Republic - 47.9 bars & clubs per 100,000 people
If you enjoy a night out after a day of sightseeing in the city, then Prague’s nightlife is world-famous, with more bars and clubs per 100,000 people than any other city that we looked at. Not only is the choice of venues amazing in Prague, but you also won’t have to stretch your budget too far to have a good night!
The best European city break for sun worshippers
Seville, Spain - 65.8 °F average annual temperature
If the weather is a deal-breaker for you when choosing a location for a city break, then a few days in Sevilla might be the best option, with an average annual temperature of 65.8 °F. In the summer, those Mediterranean temperatures can go as high as 95 °F.
The best European city break for avoiding the rain
Athens, Greece - 378mm average annual rainfall
If there’s one thing that can ruin a trip away, it’s being washed out by the rain, and the city on our list with the lowest average precipitation is the Greek capital of Athens. Athens has hot and dry summer, with the low rainfall due to the fact it is shielded by the nearby Pindus Mountains.
The most affordable European city break destinations
1. Istanbul, Turkey - 9.19 affordability score
When looking at the cost of things such as a hotel room, taxi, and meal in a restaurant, it’s the Turkish capital of Istanbul that works out as the cheapest of our European city breaks.
Istanbul is much more affordable than many other major European capitals particularly when it comes to taking a cab, with taxis averaging a cost of just $0.30 per kilometer.
2. Wrocław, Poland - 9.14 affordability score
Another affordable European city destination is that of Wrocław, in Poland. Here the average hotel room comes in at a bargain price of just $62 per night on a weekend.
The city is known for its Market Square with its Gothic Old Town Hall and huge astronomical clock, as well as Cathedral Island and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Centennial Hall.
3. Kraków, Poland - 8.98 affordability score
Poland proves to be a very affordable country for travelers, with Kraków coming in third place. Here, a meal in a no-frills restaurant will cost just $714, and you can pick up a beer for just $2.38
The city has a remarkably well preserved medieval core and old town, which is surrounded by a park, as well as what remains of the old medieval walls.
The most affordable European city break for hotels
Wrocław, Poland - $62 per average weekend nightly stay
Your accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when traveling, but you won’t have to worry too much about that in Wrocław, Poland, where the average weekend night costs around $62 at the local hotels.
The most affordable European city break for public transport
Tbilisi, Georgia - $0.32 per average one-way ticket
If you know what you’re doing, making use of the local public transport can be a great way to save money on your travels. This is especially true in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, where the average one-way ticket costs just $0.32. The city has recently invested heavily in its public transport, which includes a metro service.
The most affordable European city break for taxis
Istanbul, Turkey - $0.30 per kilometer
If you don’t fancy braving the public transport system, then the next best thing is to jump in a cab. The most affordable city when it comes to taxi fares is Istanbul, where you’ll only have to pay $0.30 for every kilometer traveled in a local taxi on average.
The most affordable European city break for a drink
Tbilisi, Georgia - $1.29 per pint of beer
If you’re going to enjoy a pint or two of the local tipple while you’re away, then the city where you’ll pay the least is, again, Tbilisi, where a pint costs just $1.29 on average. As its reputation as a tourist destination grows, so does Tbilisi’s nightlife, with a burgeoning nightclub scene that has attracted major DJs from around the world.
The most affordable European city break for eating out
Antalya, Turkey - $3.40 per restaurant meal
Finally, when it comes to enjoying the local cuisine, the most affordable city to eat out in a restaurant is Antalya, Turkey, at an average cost of $3.40. Some of the local dishes to have come out of this city include piyaz (a salad dish made with crushed sesame seeds) and şiş köfte (spicy meatballs cooked on a skewer).
Looking at 50 major European city break destinations, we analyzed the following factors to determine the best destinations, as well as the most affordable. For both, we gave each city a normalized score out of ten for each of the factors below, before taking an average of these scores for our final rankings.
Best city break destinations
Things to do
Nature & parks
Bars & clubs
Average annual temperature
The average annual temperature in Fahrenheit according to climate-data.org.
Average annual rainfall
The average annual temperature in millimeters according to climate-data.org.
Most affordable city break destinations
The average cost of hotels listed on Kayak on a Friday or Saturday night in the last two weeks.
The average cost of a one-way ticket on public transport, according to Numbeo.
The average cost of a 1-kilometer taxi journey, according to Numbeo.
The average cost of a pint of local beer, according to Numbeo.
The average cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, according to Numbeo.