Looking for a European City to Visit

I need help people. I’m trying to think of a place to visit over the Easter weekend in 2014. Some of you may think I’m crazy since it’s not even October yet. But it takes time for us to make plans and to find people to watch our boys (our dog and cat). I’m looking for suggestions for a city in Europe that is relatively close to London and not super expensive. We only have four days so would like a short train ride or flight. I would say three hours max. We have already been to Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Prague. Also since it’s a holiday weekend I would prefer a place that doesn’t shut down entirely to celebrate (which means I would like to be able to find some restaurants and bars). We don’t mind cold weather or snow as long as we are prepared for it.

Do any of you have any suggestions for a great European city to escape to for a long holiday weekend? Any and all help would be appreciated.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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95 Responses to Looking for a European City to Visit

  1. I can highly recommend Rome and Florence although being so central to catholicism I can’t vouch for their levels of openness over Easter although I imagine St Peters square in the Vatican would be a sight to behold on Easter Sunday

    • TBM says:

      I actually did think of St Peters Square. That would be an event to witness firsthand. And I would love to see Florence. Thanks for the tips!

      • I also recommend Rome or Florence. I just did a 21-day trip to Italy and slept three days in Rome and one day in Florence. I would LOVE to go back to both and spend more time at each, particularly Florence. There is so much culture and life here that your soul just feel alive! And the food is absolutely amazing.

        If the weather would be nicer, I’d suggest the Amalfi Coast. Amalfi, Positano and Ravello are small towns and give you a homey feeling. And the views are to die for. Plus it’s a short boat ride away from Capri which has many activities you can do.

      • TBM says:

        21 days in Italy sounds wonderful! Three days in Rome sounds good but I may have to go back to see it all. Hadn’t considered the Amalfi Coast. Will look into it. Thanks!

  2. bvdstravel says:

    Try Belgium! Four city trips in one week! You can visit four brilliant cities in a short period! Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges are in a radius of approximately 35 miles and easily accessible by public transport (train).

    • TBM says:

      Four in one weekend. That sounds like a bargain. Brussels is on the list, but hadn’t thought of doing more. You’ve got me thinking. Thanks!

  3. What about Rome? Should be getting to the good weather around Easter, and I don’t think the flight would be much longer than to Prague? I think you could do it without breaking the bank if you book far enough in advance 🙂

  4. niasunset says:

    Have you seen Wiltshire? There is a wonderful place to stay like a home, dear Sue and her husband are my friend, http://www.whitehorsewalking.co.uk/
    and also if you haven’t visited the historical old city Lacock, it would be so nice. This one came up my mind, actually I never forget…. Or, you can visit Bagni di Lucca in Italy, Dear Debra shie is one of our blogger friends on wordpress….
    Have a nice day dear TBM, love, nia

  5. How about a trip to York in the north of England? It is a historic city with great places to explore and it is only 2.5 hours on the train from London. You can visit the beautiful Minster which is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Europe, walk the Roman city walls, have a delicious afternoon tea at York’s legendary Betty’s tearoom and cafe… http://www.visityork.org/seeanddo
    Only a short bus ride away from the compact city is Castle Howard, a spectacular stately home with beautiful gardens and acres of country estate.

    Alternatively, I recommend Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. I have visited Edinburgh a few times and it is always a delight to explore. The Royal Mile, Prince’s Street, the Botanic Gardens, Holyrood Palace and the Scottish National Gallery are highlights.

    If you have any questions about either city, let me know! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      We are going to go to Scotland sometime later in the year to visit some friends who live there. We thought about going over Easter, but didn’t want to intrude on their family time. And I have been to York, but it was such a short stay I would love to go for a bit longer. I was outside of Minster but wasn’t able to go inside and take a took around. I must get back up there. And now I want to try Betty’s tearoom and cake. That sounds delightful.

      Thanks so much for the wonderful suggestions! Will let you know if I have any questions–seems like you know the areas well 🙂

  6. sarahclarkgarces says:

    Enviado desde mi dispositivo BlackBerry® de Orange.

  7. Sharyn says:

    I’m not sure if it’s less than three hours from London as I was traveling round Europe by train, but Krakow in Poland is awesome, and there are these phenomenal Salt Mines outside Krakow that are a ‘see before you die’ type place. I was there a long time ago but I imagine it’s still an amazing city. Budapest is also brilliant.

    • TBM says:

      Krakow and Budapest are on our places we want to visit. Someone told me that Budapest is even more beautiful than Prague. Hard to believe, but willing to go to find out myself. Thanks for the suggestions. Will look into them for sure and will have to remember the Salt Mines.

  8. Alastair says:

    Budapest – we have friend living there and although we have not been yet ourselves, it sounds good. Happy travels when they come 🙂

  9. Ooh how exciting! Was going to suggest Edinbirgh too but someone got there first. Any of the Andalucian capitals are a sight over Easter weekend with the processions – everything open as they go on looooong into the night, but very heavy on Catholicism and idolatry. How about Carcassone – but again, Catholic France, so you might find things shut – beautiful city. Or Ireland, or even one of the lovely British cities like Oxford, Bath, Canterbury?

    • TBM says:

      I love your enthusiasm! You have given us much to think about. We do like witnessing events so the processions might be fun. Will give it some thought. And I can’t believe we still haven’t been to Ireland. I mean it’s right next door!

  10. Budapest, Edinburgh (I know not for this trip but you must go), Istanbul (probably too far but will not close for Easter), Valencia – a gem – but can’t vouch for what is open at Easter.

    • TBM says:

      Another vote for Budapest and Edinburgh. Istanbul would be grand but I think I would need more time. Maybe I can finagle another day or two 🙂 And the first vote for Valencia! Thanks Robert!

  11. This is a nice problem to have!
    How about Bruges? I hear wonderful things about that city. It’s relatively small, good Belgian beer and steeped in history!
    I haven’t been there myself, so if you go I can live vicariously. 🙂

  12. bocafrau says:

    I have always wanted to visit Dublin – there should be plenty of bars around. But Vienna is a great city to visit – I really loved it there. Good luck with your decision.

    • TBM says:

      I have heard that many of the bars in Dublin might be closed on Easter. Will need to check that out. I’ve been wanting to go for some time, but now that it’s so close it gets put on the backburner. that’s unfair to a wonderful city. Ah, Vienna! I may save that one for the fall–I hear it might be good to have beer then 🙂

  13. bulldog says:

    Can’t help at all sorry…

    • TBM says:

      No worries, bulldog. When I plan a trip in your direction and hit you up then for suggestions. And if you ever come over here I do my best to make suggestions.

  14. IsobelandCat says:

    Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Winchester, St Ives, Belfast, Newcastle (either on-Tyne or in Co Down) Dublin….
    Florence, Bari, Milan, Salamanca, Malta, Stockholm, Antwerp, Brussels, Boulogne, Dieppe, Rouen, Bruges, Dubrovnik, Berlin….

    • TBM says:

      Ha. You just helped me plan the next 19 or 20 Easters 🙂 Maybe you should become a travel agent. Will consider all of the suggestions. I love being so close to Europe now, the possibilities are almost endless.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        And you know, London is pretty good at Easter too!
        You could take the train and head to an out of season Great Yarmouth, or Southwold. Then you could take Miles with you. And don’t forget the Isle of Wight, or the Channel islands.
        And if you could get to the Scillies the flowers are said to be magnificent.

      • TBM says:

        We want to do more weekend trips around here, but it’s hard since we can’t leave Att alone overnight. Miles loves to travel, but Att hates it and needs his medicine. Of course it helps us save money for bigger trips when we stay home on the weekends. Unless we go pub hopping 🙂 that adds up quickly.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        Have you found a sitter who will come and fuss him and give him his meds? Octavia is off to Oz on Friday, and Claude is going to a cattery in Purley as he is on a fair bit of medication. I think he’ll be spoiled rotten!

      • TBM says:

        Att hasn’t done all that well away from home, which is why we try and find sitters who will stay at our place. He can be a bit of a pill and won’t eat or drink when he’s away from home.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        A bit of a pill… Just like PG Wodehouse wrote. Or at least I think that’s where I know the expression from.
        Btw Celia is coming too!

      • TBM says:

        That’s great. I hope she’s doing well.

    • We’re off to Majorca next weekend so I’ll report back on that too

  15. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I know it’s not Europe but Marrakech is an absolute must and you would get some warmth. My other choice is Istanbul but I see you’ve dismissed it because of time. I spent a day there at the begining of a tour and nearly three at the end. There’s never enough time in any of the big cities but four days is pretty good in either.

    • TBM says:

      I’ll have to look into how long the flights are. I give you credit for thinking outside of the box. Maybe I’m limiting us and I need to do more research. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Emma says:

    Metz, in France. Beautiful cathedral, Roman museum, old churches, stroll on the river banks, classic theatre, shopping, narrow streets and medieval plaza. Gorgeous place.

    Or Lyon. Beautiful cathedral, old city centre classified by Unesco, statue of the Little Prince, the banks of two rivers, a park that could have welcomed Marcel Proust, the museum of cinema right where the first film was done, …And great restaurants. And so many other things to see and do.

  17. adinparadise says:

    Planning trips is always exciting. 🙂

  18. I haven’t traveled in Europe during Easter, so don’t know what will be open, but Rome, Florence and Venice are musts.
    Prague is more beautiful than Budapest, IMO.
    You definitely need more time for Istanbul!
    Lisbon is supposed to be incredible.
    Malta would be warm.
    Good luck with your happy dilemma. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      thanks for the suggestions. Will look into Italy, Budapest, Lisbon, and Malta. Yes, I love dilemmas like this one. There’s really no wrong answer 🙂

  19. I recommend Salzburg, Austria. Sehr Wunderbar!

  20. restlessjo says:

    You know I’m going to shout up for Krakow, don’t you? (did you see my latest post?) It’s a lovely city and can be too hot in the Summer. I first saw it at Easter 1998.
    Or I could highly recommend Porto. I loved it. 4 days were barely enough. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      The Better Half mentioned Krakow yesterday. It’s on the list. Will have to look into Porto. 4 days is never enough, but we try to make do. Only if I could travel all of the time.

      • restlessjo says:

        Don’t know if you saw Gallivance’s post today on Wroclaw, in Poland, TBM? Less well known than Krakow, with an equally spectacular market square and lots of gnomes to hunt for. I was there last August.
        Too many candidates, not enough life (or cash 🙂 )

      • TBM says:

        I didn’t see the Wroclaw post. Will check it out. Thanks! I know what you mean: too many candidates, not enough time or money.

  21. poppytump says:

    Thinking ont for you TBM 😉
    will be back …..

  22. Geoff W says:

    One of my best friends in the UK is part Czech and he always says to go there. Maybe go to Brno instead of Prague?

  23. How about Lisbon? Europe with a Moorish influence. I loved that city. I thought of Ireland too. Dublin is expensive though…maybe Galway?

  24. I wish I could give you some advice, but alas I have been nowhere :).

    • TBM says:

      I think you are planning a trip to come over here soon.

      • Yes, I should get on that right? 🙂

      • TBM says:

        Uh oh, are you dropping the trip-planning ball?

      • No, it’s just too early to book anything yet, so it’s hard to get into it. I have picked out 2 tours to do in England though. One is a day trip around London itself with a before hours tour of the Tower of London, and the other is a day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. I have also figured out we will be in London for about 4 days, Paris for 3, and 1 week in Scotland. So, I’ve started, but there’s still a lot to do of course :).

      • TBM says:

        Just a heads up, if you want to see the doll house in Windsor Castle the tour won’t allow enough time. At least that happened to us and one other person I know. I still haven’t been to the Tower of London. You’ll love Paris! And I haven’t been to Scotland. A friend of ours lives there so soon.

      • Yes, I remember you mentioning that before, but we will only have a few days to do tours, so I think we will have to forget about the doll house this time :). Thanks though – I need all the tips you have.

      • TBM says:

        I was a little sad about the doll house since authors from the time period created books for it. I can’t remember the names and it’s probably best that way. One day I’ll go back. Windsor is easily accessible by train from London and I happen to know a wonderful pub right across the street.

      • Well, that’s good to know. I was going through printouts of different guided tours last night that my travel agent from CAA gave me and found some really great ones. They’re pretty expensive, but I know from going on the school trip with my son that I will get a lot more out of a guided tour than just walking around myself. I learned so many fascinating things on that trip. One is a day long guided tour of London with entrance to the Tower of London before it opens for the day. I have been there, but we just walked around and therefore didn’t learn as much as we could have. The other thing I really want to do is take a tour of the catacombs in Paris. I read an article about them in National Geographic, and it was really interesting. Plus, in Scotland we are going to stay in Edinburgh, and I told Mike it would be too far to go to Loch Ness for a day trip from there. However, I found a 12 hour day trip that takes you up into the Highlands to see Loch Ness and other famous places. Now I’m getting excited!!!

      • TBM says:

        I love it. I want to visit the catacombs as well. We have it on our list each time we go to Paris, but haven’t made it yet. Maybe 2014 will be the year! You are going to be exhausted when the trip is done and have a million photos. Sounds like so much fun. What all does the London tour do?

      • “Private tour of the Tower of London with a Yeoman Warder before it opens to the public. View Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and panoramic drive, seeing Houses of Parliament, Whitehall, Downing Street and a photo stop at Westminster Abbey. Cruise on the River Thames. After a pub lunch, a guided tour of the St. Paul’s Cathedral including unique access to the Whispering Gallery before enjoying a flight on the London Eye.” That’s a little bit of everythingi eh?

      • TBM says:

        That’s all in one day? Did you say pub lunch? Which pub?

      • Calm down girl, they didn’t say which pub :). And yes, that’s all in one day, but I guess you don’t stop at every place. I thought it might be a good introduction to London for Mikey though.

      • TBM says:

        Are you kidding, that’s a great introduction. St. Paul’s is lovely. Will you have time to hike all the way to the top. The Whispering Gallery is about half-way.

      • Not sure – I need to get more details 🙂

      • TBM says:

        Ah, details.

  25. Rome, absolutely!
    Easter is the best period to visit Italy!

  26. The Guat says:

    I’ve never been, but I hear Italy is awesome! It’s on my list.

  27. Pingback: And the Winners Are … | 50 Year Project

  28. Daniel says:

    Living and traveling around Europe is and always has been my dream. Although I would love to visit all those places you’ve already listed, I understand that you would rather go somewhere new.
    Some places I would love to go, if I had the chance, would be: Reykjavik, Dublin, Milan, Berlin, Lisbon, Helsinki, Budapest, Bucharest, Dubrovnik, Prague and Rotterdam.
    Good travels!


    • TBM says:

      I love living so close to the European continent for all the travel opportunities. You have a wonderful list of places you want to visit. I’ve been to Reykjavik and Prague. They were wonderful. Thanks for the comment, Daniel.

  29. Valentina says:

    You are so close to Ireland. Have you thought of it?

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