It's easy enough to book tickets to the first place you can think of, but it's another thing to make sure your holiday entitlement is well spent. Below are the top 10 European city breaks you can go on for soaking up stunning natural landscapes, experiencing local culture and ticking famous landmarks off your bucket list. If you want to cut down on travel costs, stay in a holiday rental, especially if your travelling party is big. Having self-catering accommodation means you don't have to spend much eating out, and you can choose a location that'll let you save on transport.
Marvel at Rome's ancient ruins
Rome's world-renowned sights often draw throngs of travellers to top attractions like the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Bear in mind though that there's no shortage of remarkable monuments and bustling squares in the city. If you want to escape the crowds, simply roaming the cobbled streets will often lead you to hidden gems.
Enjoy a spa break in Budapest
In Budapest, you can stroll by the Danube and see the show-stopping grandeur of the Royal Palace – it's especially striking when bathed in golden light at night – and visit the famed ruin bars. But if it's relaxation you're after, head for one of the Hungarian capital's thermal spas, many of which are historical attractions themselves. A prime example is the sprawling Szechenyi Baths, which have been open for over a century.
Gawk at Barcelona's striking architecture
Jaw-dropping' is a fair way to describe the renowned modernist architecture in Barcelona, famously exemplified by Gaudi's Park Guell and unfinished Sagrada Familia. You can explore the historic Gothic Quarter and the grittier neighbourhood of El Raval, then join the crowds along La Rambla, the city's most popular street. Hit the beach at La Barceloneta for a dose of sand and sea.
Be inspired by Reykjavik's stunning landscapes
Arresting views await you in and around the Icelandic capital. Grab brochures and book tours at the modern Reykjavik City Hall, which also serves as the tourist information centre, then stroll along the waterfront and visit the “Sun Voyager” steel sculpture. To really appreciate Reykjavik's dramatic landscapes, join Golden Circle tours that stop at Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Hot Spring.
Visit London's world-famous icons
London's top attractions are conveniently concentrated in the easily navigable heart of the city. You can visit Big Ben's clock tower, watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, snap photos at bustling Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, see the paintings and photographs at the National Portrait Gallery and watch a musical in the West End, all in one exciting day.
Gaze at stunning spires in Prague
It's easy to see why Prague is often named one of the most gorgeous places in Europe – and why it's called the 'City of a Hundred Spires'. Must-sees in the Old Town include the Gothic-style Tyn Church and its twin towers, and the intricate Astronomical Clock that chimes hourly. Check out the baroque statues lining Charles Bridge, and head to Letna Park or the hilltop Prague Castle for panoramic city views.
Bike along Amsterdam's canals
Cycling in Amsterdam is more than a traveller cliche – it really is one of the most popular ways for locals and visitors to get around. When you're not cycling along the charming canals or in the massive Vondelpark, look at Golden Dutch Age art at the Rijksmuseum or visit the Anne Frank House. Coffee culture is big in The Dam, but if you want something boozy, get a pint in a brown cafe, which means a traditional Dutch pub.
Go people-watching in Paris
There’s a lot to do on a Paris city break, from browsing the posh boutiques along the Champs-Elysees to jostling with the Louvre Museum crowd for a glimpse of Mona Lisa. Needless to say, visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must – after seeing it up close, hop over to the Trocadero gardens for even more splendid views. When your legs need a break, find a streetside cafe for a pastry and a spot of people-watching.
Experience Berlin's famed party scene
The decadent nightlife in Berlin is virtually unrivalled across Europe, so make sure you get enough rest for a long, wild night ahead. Warm up with boozy concoctions in one of the city's pubs and cocktail bars, then choose from a long list of famed nightclubs, led by beloved Berghain. If you'd rather go sightseeing, you can head for Museum Island or visit the 18th-century Brandenburg Gate.
Take in the sights and sounds of Marrakech
Whether you're buying souvenirs in Marrakech's traditional markets or browsing artifacts in the Dar Si Said Museum, you'll find stunning splashes of colour and detail at every turn. In the main square, Jemaa el-Fna, you'll see snake charmers and water sellers with brass cups by day, and a bustling food market by night. Koutoubia Mosque, the city's symbol, has a 253-foot-high minaret that can be spotted from 18 miles away.