The mini heatwave we’ve just had over the Easter weekend is the clearest sign that summer is on the way!

And with that comes the inevitable question you’re going to hear whether you’re in work, getting your hair done or just having a chit-chat with someone; “Going anywhere nice for your holidays?”

For anyone who hasn’t even spared a thought about where to go, don’t worry! We’re going to give you a little help, but not by saying where the sunniest spot or the cheapest resort is.

We want to spark holiday inspiration for those who want to do things differently this summer. How are we going to do that? By highlighting a collection of hand-picked city break destinations to try. While week-long holidays are always in high demand this time of year, city breaks are commonly quite cheap from late May to August. And to make the most of those cheaper rates, we’ve found some gems in places well-known, and those you might not have thought about visiting before.

Here, in no particular order, are some top European cities to visit for Summer 2019!

City No.1: Derry/Londonderry

Evening Times: credit: visitderry.comcredit: visitderry.com

Why Visit?

In the same way Games of Thrones has turned Belfast into a major tourist hub for Northern Ireland, the massive success of Derry Girls is hoping to do the same for the Maiden City (this, along with Legend-Derry are just some of the many nicknames the city has). With its location right on the Irish border, many people take long weekends to see the sights of the city and the coastal vistas or neighbouring Donegal.

Where to eat?

For a city its size, Derry/Londonderry has surprisingly few chain restaurants. Instead, it tends to support local eateries which all share a similar menu; items like tobacco onions and grilled chicken are everywhere on menus. There are some sparks though of an exciting food scene on the rise, with the likes of Pykes & Pommes leading the way. Starting off as a small food truck on banks of the River Foyle (the river that splits the city in two) they have recently opened their first restaurant, proving to be a major success.

Fans of Derry Girls can also buy cream horns from Doherty’s bakery, a Derry institution, on William Street.

Where to go out?

The city also has one of the best nights out in the country, with hilly Waterloo St, the main tourist spot on nights out with a dozen bars all packed into one small street. It also has the award-winning Walled City Brewery providing a gastropub experience that leans heavily on local cuisine.

Where to stay?

Shipquay Hotel; a boutique style hotel in the heart of the city. Airbnbs are also very cheap in the neighbourhoods around the city centre.

How to get there?

Flights to City of Derry Airport from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and London run daily.

City No.2: Paris

Evening Times: credit: Unsplashcredit: Unsplash

Why Visit?

The French capital has been on a lot of people’s mind recently after the tragic Notre Dame fire, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a city with a vibrant heart and incredible culture.

A short city trip in the French capital is just the palette cleanser you’d want if you only have a few days holiday this summer and can’t stray too far from home. We think June is the best time to go before it gets a little too hot for some in July and August.

Where to eat?

You could point at any restaurant in the city and make a safe bet you’re going to get a good meal. In the summer though, hover around the 9th & 10th Arrondissements and go hunting for Asian street food at the likes of Bêp Vietnamese, Street Bangkok, Pacific Street Food and    NIAM, who do bao buns that your taste buds will thank you for.

Where to go out?
Summer days in Paris are something else, and many of us forget it’s only a short flight away. During the summer, there are a lot of music festivals happening all over the city, as it has different pockets of big parks. Festivals to look up include Villette Sonique, We Love Green, Solidays and Lollapalooza Paris, the latter of which having a line-up that includes The Strokes, Martin Garrix, The 1975 and Clean Bandit.

Where to stay?

Fraser Suites Le Claridge is just tucked off the main Champs-Ellyses and is a good idea if you don’t want to be stuck in a tiny hotel room. They provide serviced accommodation, which is a bit of a combination between a hotel room and an apartment. Instead of everything in one room, your bedroom, living room and kitchen are all separate, so you don’t have to settle for a tiny kettle beside the TV.

How to get there?

You’ll be able to get cheap flights from every major UK airport, with flights being cheapest on Tuesdays. And remember that even though Charles de Gaulle airport is the biggest, Ryanair fly to Beauvais–Tillé Airport, which is much further out of the city, so you may want to weigh up the cost of flights over travel time.

City No.3: Milan

Evening Times: credit: Pixabaycredit: Pixabay

Why Visit?

While Rome may be the big tourist trap for anyone going to Italy, Milan is where you’ll get a real sense of Italian city life. It’s very high end, being as its is a major hub for fashion brands and the Italian financial sector, so it feels a little like an Italian London at times.

The shopping scene here is massive, and there’s a definite café culture that runs well into the night. Getting around is also incredibly easy with an integrated public transport system of subways, buses and trams. We recommend buying a 48-hour travel card from a vending machine as soon as you arrive, as they give you unlimited travel around the city for less than €9.

Where to eat?

Of course you’re going to get good pizza and pasta in Milan, but did you know you can get a more than a dependable burger without having to go near those familiar golden arches? If you come by one of the three Ham Holy Burgers in town, you have to get one. They bake their own burger buns every day, use extremely high-quality beef and do an incredible side of cheesy chips and sausage called a Wurstel & Patate that is phenomenal.

Where to go out?

You might not think Italian beer is the best if you’ve been let down in the past from what’s on offer in your local supermarket, but Milan has a very tasty local craft beer scene. Baladin Milano is like the Brewdog of Milan, being one of the oldest on the scene, while Birrificio Lambrate was the city’s first brewpub and is known for their legendary Aperitivo buffet that blows getting a few packets of crisps with a pint out of the water.

Where to stay?

When visiting Milan, we’d recommend not staying there. Como is only 30 minutes by train, so waking up by Lake Como every morning can’t be ignored. The area is like a little slice of heaven and extremely laid back. You can spend a day slowly going through the lake on a cruise boat, visiting little pockets like Bellagio and even go for a dip as it’s a freshwater lake.

How to get there?

Three airports service Milan. Most flights from the UK go to Malpensa airport, with direct travel routes taking you to the central train station in the city. Linate Airport and Il Caravaggio International Airport, near Bergamo may also be where you end up and would make it longer for you to get into the city.

City No.4: Ljubljana

Evening Times: credit: Pixabaycredit: Pixabay

Why Visit?

This last city is a bit of a curveball as many people don’t even know where it is, and it could most likely be an answer on Pointless, but there’s a good bit of charm to the Slovenian capital. Pronounced “lyoo-BLYAH-nuh”, it sits nicely between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia, so you know it’s going to have fantastic weather in the summer.

Formerly the Green Capital of Europe, the city uses its parks and tree-lined streets to its advantage, with there being somewhere to stop and watch the world go by on pretty much every corner. Tivoli Park, the biggest in the city and namesake of many theme parks around Europe, is dotted with quaint gardens and picnic spots. Taking a riverboat on the Ljubljanica is a must.

Where to eat?

Foodies should make a point of visiting in the summer. At Central Market Square in the middle of town, they have the Open Kitchen Market every Friday afternoon. It’s the perfect chance to sample every nuance of local cuisine and try out Slovenian food, one of the most underrated in Europe.

Where to go out?

The river is your friend on a night out. Stick by it, and you’ll come across bars and clubs every few streets. Some of the most notable include K4 (one of the oldest in the city) and Metelkova, a former army barracks that locals flock to at late night on the weekend.

Where to stay?

Ljubljanica is surprisingly cheap if you’re looking for a good hotel. Midweek rates can be as low as £30, with high-end hotels in the middle of town starting at around £60. If you’re visiting on a tight budget, look at hostels like Hostel 24 and C-Punkt.

How to get there?

Ljubljana Joe Pučnik Airport is closest to the city, about 17km outside of it. It has shuttle buses that go to various spots in town for an average of €5. British Airways is the main UK airline to have a route to Slovenia, although if you shop around some of the comparison sites, you’ll find cheaper transfer routes through the likes of Paris and Berlin.

Get packing!

We hope you found this selection of city break spots for summer useful to spark a little inspiration. Just remember that taking the time to look up places you wouldn’t normally think of going, can make for incredible city breaks.

This commercial content is compiled via expert opinion. Clicking in certain hyperlinks within this article will redirect you to a 3rd party.