Five Best City Break Locations by Alice
Three best friends. One five-star hotel. Will it be the holiday of a lifetime?
Imogen isn’t used to luxury holidays. She’s used to juggling the pressures of her job while raising a four-year-old and trying to keep on smiling even when things aren’t easy. So, when her friend Meredith wins a VIP trip to Barcelona’s newest hotel, it’s her big chance to finally relax in style.
To celebrate the reissue of Jane Costello’s The Time of Our Lives, I’ve been looking into where you can have your holiday of a lifetime! Of course, as we quickly discover in the book, life doesn’t always go to plan, but at the very least, we can get off to a good start by picking the perfect location…
It would seem wrong not to start with the very setting of The Time of Our Lives. And why wouldn’t I include it? Barcelona is a city with its own beach, a perfect mixture of sun, sea and sightseeing. You can spend your weekend exploring the Parc de la Ciutadella, discovering Gaudi architecture, taking a tour of Picasso’s youth or just filling up on tapas and sangria. And although it isn’t the cheapest of cities, you certainly don’t need to stay in 5 star hotels to enjoy it!
There is so much more to this city than coffee shops, the red light district and a sex museum (yes, that does exist!). With the tranquil canal system and colourful buildings, it is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and the Royal Palace or spend your days sipping beers by the canal, cycling across cobblestone bridges and generally just enjoying the striking architecture and active nightlife.
You don’t have to go far to enjoy a great city break. Dublin is just an hour’s flight or two hour ferry ride away (spring for first class on the ferry and you get unlimited free wine!). As well as the Guinness Factory and some excellent public houses, Dublin is becoming increasingly known for its food culture. And we book lovers will appreciate that this Unesco City of Literature is just packed full of history, architecture and, well yes, a lot of very good pubs.
This vibrant Polish city has both a contemporary side, full of art and party spaces, and a historical one. The otherworldly Cathedral island is definitely worth a visit and will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into the past. Still primarily a place of worship and reflection, it is dotted with gothic architecture and religious buildings. Make sure to look out for the district’s famous lamplighter on his daily round, lighting all of the gas lamps by hand. On top of all of this, Wrocław was listed as one of The Standard’s 25 cheapest city breaks in Europe, so definitely worth a try!
This picturesque city must be at the top of a lot of bucket lists right now, as it is the main shooting location for King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones. And it isn’t hard to see why it was chosen, with its terracotta rooftops sloping down to the Adriatic Sea. Whether you spend your break drinking fresh pilsner at the old town bars or visiting an ancient (still working) apothecary at the Dubrovnik monastery, taking a cable car ride to the top of Mount Srdj or visiting the Museum of Modern Art, a city break in Dubrovnik promises to be magical. And it certainly helps that The Telegraph listed it as one of 15 cheapest European city breaks!
Those were the 5 city break locations I think we should all try out (hopefully with more relaxing results than Imogen’s). If you have memories of any of these cities, or think I have missed any gems, tweet us at #thetimeofourlives.