You can fill a city break with a wide array of activities, but you can also plan around a specific interest, like admiring world-famous artworks or stuffing yourself silly with local fare. You can tailor your accommodation to your trip too by choosing a holiday letting near the city's best art museums, for instance. Or, book one with a well-equipped kitchen and dining room where you can savour your freshest finds from the local market.
Culinary city breaks for serious foodies
Save the diet or the juice cleanse for when you get back. Some cities are best enjoyed by looking for literal local flavour, whether in the form of fresh sushi from Tokyo's famous fish market or a crepe from a Parisian street corner.
Gobble up the gastronomic delights in Tokyo
Tokyo serves up a veritable smorgasbord of superb restaurants, small eateries and street food stalls. Try specialities like monjayaki (cabbage pancakes) and yakitori (grilled meat on skewers). Rise at the crack of dawn for a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market, where you can have high-grade sashimi and sushi for breakfast on the spot, or buy fresh seafood to cook in your holiday rental later in the day. Shopping centres typically have fantastic basement-level food halls, which are perfect for post-shopping snacks.
Paris will please even the pickiest palates
Forget the iconic Eiffel Tower: the creme de la creme of Parisian city breaks is the food. Sure, that can mean splurging on Michelin-starred meals in haute cuisine haunts, but you can also indulge in scrumptious street eats at foodie favourites like Marche des Enfants Rouges and Marche Aligre. Paris is a place where you can certainly put your holiday rental's self-catering facilities to good use – you'll likely end up making repeat visits to the nearest boulangerie, fromagerie and patisserie.
City break destinations for culture vultures
In Europe alone, there are heaps of choices for travellers who like their holidays crammed with cultural stops. Art connoisseurs should consider visiting Amsterdam's museums, while fashion enthusiasts will have a field day in Milan.
Get schooled on Dutch Golden Age art in Amsterdam
With top-notch museums housing outstanding paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam offers a visual feast for art aficionados. Start at the prestigious Rijksmuseum, a national museum of art and history, where you'll find thousands of Golden Age paintings, including works by Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. The Stedelijk Museum displays modern art, while the Van Gogh Museum is home to the world's largest collection of the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter's artworks. Meanwhile, the Museum Het Rembrandthuis is set in the renowned painter's former home.
Marvel at the designer duds in fashion-forward Milan
Milan is widely considered the fashion capital of the world. If you're visiting to check out the latest trends and shop for top-tier designer goods, make a beeline for the Golden Triangle, a shopping hub where you'll find the most recognisable Italian fashion houses such as Prada, Versace and Dolce e Gabbana. Make the most of your sartorial city break by joining fashion tours where guides take you to the best boutiques in town (world-renowned or otherwise) and talk you through Milan's role in the fashion world. Some tours even offer insider access to secret showrooms and little-known ateliers.
Holidays with tons of historical appeal
You can explore ancient ruins in Rome and medieval monuments in Lisbon, but your holiday rental doesn't have to send you back in time as well. Enjoy a cushy stay in modern, well-equipped digs while you tick off all the time-worn sights on your itinerary.
Rome is rife with art and antiquity
For a city break with a generous helping of history, look no farther than the Eternal City, whose ancient ruins and awe-inspiring churches are world renowned for good reason. Obligatory stops include the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the 3-tiered Colosseum – walking around it is free, while paid guided tours include admission to the neighbouring Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. After all that sightseeing, you can reward yourself with a gelato while you sit on the Spanish Steps.
Lisbon has a long list of heritage attractions
The coastal capital of Portugal ranks among the oldest cities in Western Europe, so there's much for history buffs to see here. The Belem Tower, an icon of the city, and the ornate Jeronimos Monastery share World Heritage Site status and are among the many attractions in Belem, a parish that played a key role during Portugal's Age of Discoveries. Atmospheric Alfama, the city's oldest district, is bordered by the Tejo river and Sao Jorge Castle, which offers stunning city views.