10 top tips for planning the best European city break

Well hello to you my reader chums! It's safe to say I'm a massive travel addict and when I'm not on holiday, I will be planning my next trip away. One of my favourite 'holidays' is venturing on a city break to some of Europe's most beloved cities. Over the past 2 years, I've seen quite a few from Rome, Paris, Amsterdam to Barcelona, Milan and Cologne plus a couple more. As planning city breaks has become a good hobby of mine, I'd thought I would share my best insider tips.

Here are my top tips for planning the best European city break...

5 tips for planning the best European city break

Search for cheap flights - City breaks can come at a cost, depending on which country you're visiting, that it's handy to find a cheap flight. With websites like Skyscanner (my favourite ever), you're able to search for the cheapest flights across all airlines and dates, even comparing month by month of which would be the cheapest. It's a very handy tool and also offers plenty of last minute deals to take advantage of. The cheapest times to fly are generally during the week, outside of school holidays and low season dates. Booking around the 8 week barrier before, will give you the most affordable flight prices.

Only bring cabin size luggage - If you're going away on a city break, you usually don't need longer than a couple of days to soak up the best sights and city vibe that a cabin size suitcase will fit perfectly. By travelling light, you won't need to queue up at the airport to load luggage, pay for additional bags and can easily go straight through security. Plus - you can get those super cute Instagram snaps as you stroll through the airport with your stylish 4-wheeler cabin suitcase. Tripp ones are my favourite!  

Take advantage of public transport - In cities, one of the easiest ways to get around is by public transport, whether it's the metro system, buses or trams, all are convenient to travel to the best sights. Certain city main sights are located far away from each other, whereas others are in walking distance. If you're visiting a city like Paris or Amsterdam, consider buying yourself a tube pass, or for the Dam, a tram pass as it'll make getting from the tourist attractions much easier. A lot of passes can range from day options to weekly passes and cover a lot of different zones or areas. By using public transport also, you'll get a feel about what city life is all about in that particular area and how the locals commute everyday.

Dine away from top attractions - A big tip has to be about one of life's greatest pleasure, food. When it comes to dining, try to avoid searching for restaurants around tourist attractions because 1, they'll be overpriced and 2, you generally won't get the most authentic dishes. If you really want to delve into a country's delicacies, venture into the tucked away lanes or quieter neighbourhoods and you'll find some hidden gems serving up top-notch grub.

Research into the best area to stay - Every person wants a different city break experience to the next. Whether you want to be a major tourist, go on a foodie break, explore the nightlife or hit the shops, finding a convenient place to stay is key. I'm a massive researcher that when I head off to a new place, I look up what the best areas of that city are in terms of what I want to do and accommodation which fits in with my price range. Cities vary in size and the closest you get to a tourist attraction can typically mean a higher cost hotel or apartment. However with Airbnb, I always find much cheaper self catering options and Booking.com always offer deals of the day, that you're bound to find something in your chosen area.

Bring along a Polaroid - Ever since I received a Polaroid for Christmas, I've loved snapping away at some of life's best bits, especially on holiday. This will give you the chance to have some instant pictures to hang up in your bedroom or put in your travel scrapbook.

Write a rough agenda - I'm a big planner and when you're heading on a city break, whether it's long or short, you always want to make sure to fit in all the best bits. I like to figure out where everything is in the city and plan a rough agenda around that, to bullet point what I'll be doing each day. That way, you'll have a bit of an idea of what's expected, where you're exploring and how to get around before you've even arrived. Research is always key.

Learn common phrases - Even though English is a common language and in Europe a lot of residents understand it, speaking the language of the country you're visiting is very useful. It will come in handy when you greet people, ask about the area or order at a restaurant. Brush up on the common phrases before you head off or bring along a phrase book to help you out.

Read up on the city's tourist traps and etiquette - Each city is different from the next in its own way. However, they'll all have some sort of scams/tourist traps to look out for and things like tipping etiquette to be aware of. Depending on where you're going, it's always best to have a quick research on both of these before you go so you're not caught out on the trip. For instance in Paris, there's plenty of people around the main tourist areas who come up and ask you to sign a petition to help a cause. Then, they'll demand you give them some money. It's scams like this to keep your head low and turn a blind eye. 

Enjoy the city life - Last but not least, enjoy everything the city has in store. Whether it's visiting Rome's Colosseum, shopping till you drop in Milan, walking the canals in Amsterdam or admiring the art scene in Paris, Europe is full of plenty of treasures to set your eyes on. Roam around, eat the best delicacies and soak every bit of European culture on your city break.

I hope you enjoyed this city break tips post. What are your best tips for visiting a European city?

Thank you for reading <3

16 comments

  1. Love this guide, so cute. Always found tourist attractions to have the highest priced food! X

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    1. Thank you! It's the most annoying thing x

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  2. These tips are amazing! Lovely blog post, Della 😊✨

    Xoxo
    Shirley | https://shirleycuypers.blogspot.be

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  3. Loved this post - in the next few years I'm going to make it my aim to travel as much as possible.

    -Charlotte x
    myownblogofthoughts.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you lovely - I hope you get to travel as much as you wish xx

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  4. This makes me want to travel so bad! Haven't been on a city break in ages! X

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  5. There's so much great advice you've given in this post! I completely agree with taking hand luggage, it's so much easier and quicker to pack lightly!

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    1. Thank you lovely - and yes it definitely is x

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  6. One thing I would add is to find what the museums' and gallery's open days are and schedule your visit around that. You can save a ton if money on the entry tax, if you like going to such places! xx

    thedecemberdame.com

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  7. Awesome tips Della and OH MY GOSH! Why is food so expensive in tourist areas, so crazy!! Love this post xx

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    1. Thank you so much beaut! Honestly it's super annoying especially if you want to buy a bottle of water xx

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  8. Love these tips, definitely agree with dining away from attractions as they up the costs so much. You have one of the cutest blog names I've seen xx

    Gemma • Gemma Etc . ❤️

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