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Alternative European city break destinations

01 May 2019 07:11

Why not head to 2019's European Capital of Culture, Plovdiv?

Why not head to 2019's European Capital of Culture, Plovdiv?

Thinking of booking a last-minute trip this May Day weekend? Here are some great European destinations you might not have considered...

1. Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Think Amsterdam has a monopoly on being a great Dutch destination? Think again. The port city of Rotterdam has become one of Europe's hippest weekend spots and with a new direct train link to London it's never been easier to visit. Hire a bike and catch some of Europe's quirkiest architecture – don't miss the mesmerising market hall – or try some of the city's local beers by taking a pub crawl around Rotterdam's many craft breweries – just don't forget the fries and mayonnaise!

2. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

There's never been a better time to visit the ancient Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. Named as 2019's European Capital of Culture – a title it's sharing with Italy's Matera – Plovdiv is welcoming visitors from across the continent to enjoy it's unique charms. Explore the cobbled streets of the city's atmospheric old town, where many of the 19th century mansions have been converted to museums and hotels, or head to the stunning 1st century Roman Amphitheatre and catch an opera under the stars.

3. Bari, Italy

The lively harbour city of Bari is one of southern Italy's best kept secrets. While its smart waterfront is the perfect place for an afternoon wander, it's in the tangled streets of Bari's old town where the real magic lies. Grab a table on a piazza, order a few plates of the exquisite local food, known as cucina barese, and watch the city come alive in front of your eyes. If you feel like exploring, a 90-minute train ride south will take you to the ancient cave city of Matera.

4. Podgorica, Montenegro

You might not have heard of Podgorica, which means it's the perfect destination if you're looking to head off the beaten track. One of Europe's newest capitals, Podgorica actually dates from the 2nd century and a quick stroll through its compact centre will give you some idea of the various influences the city has experienced over the years. If you like your city breaks mixed with some outdoor pursuits, then the stunning mountains surrounding the city make for an ideal day trip.

5. Vienna, Austria

Walk along any of Vienna's imposing boulevards and you'll soon appreciate the imperial splendour of the Austrian capital. Once the centre of the Habsburg Empire, these days Vienna is one of Europe's most underrated destinations. A surprisingly affordable city, Vienna has a whole host of spectacular palaces, well-stocked museums and grand cafes once frequented by some of the 20th century's greatest figures. So, follow in the footsteps of Lenin, Freud and Klimt (amongst others) and enjoy a coffee and a slice of local delicacy, sachertorte.

Don't forget your travel insurance

Wherever you decide to go this May Day Bank Holiday weekend make sure you take out travel insurance that fits you and your plans. At World First we offer dedicated last-minute travel insurance that'll give you some peace of mind on your trip.