If you have been following us for a while you may know that we love a city break. As we both work, it can be hard to get time off work or find the time to travel long distance. So for us, city breaks are ideal! Not only do you get to see new little bits of the world but you also get to experience the hustle and bustle of a city other than your own.
There are so many cities that are on our wish-list (Prague, Vienna and Amsterdam to name a few) and luckily for us the UK is a short distance away from many European cities that don’t cost an arm and a leg to get to. City breaks further afield however mean that you need a few extra days to explore which isn’t always possible! So the likes of New York are special city breaks that we rarely get to enjoy. We are trying to tick-off the ever growing list by exploring, drinking and excessively eating in all these new places and are slowly making our way through. Here are some of our tips for planning the perfect city break.
If you need to fly Skyscanner is probably your best option for flight comparison sites, we go back to sky scanner every time, you can see where and what month is cheapest to visit. If you are travelling within your own country trains or coaches may be best. within the UK trains may not be the cheapest option but they are mostly reliable and easily accessible. Alternatively, if you are looking at a European city break the Eurostar now takes you to not only Paris but also Brussels, Amsterdam, Atwerp, Lille and a few other cities. Coaches are a lot cheaper than trains but do take longer so it depends how long you want to spend travelling to your destination. For the arrival in our city and finding your way around we suggest Citymapper. We would have been lost living in London with out this amazing app. Not only do they have UK cities but also many cities across Europe and America. Seriously a life saver! Before starting your trip always look to see the best routes to and from the airport/ train station as it will make things a lot smoother when you get there.
If public transport is available know where you need to get off and in which direction you need to go, trust us we have learnt from experience! Again Citymapper or an offline map can help you with this. When public transport isn’t available or you can’t bear to think of taking another train we would advise booking a transfer car to your hotel or if you are wanting to take a taxi make sure you research the usual prices and what taxi drivers should legally do. Don’t be caught off guard by scams.
When we are looking for a places to stay for a city break we often start by looking at hotels on booking.com, and comparison sites like Trivago, to see what area of the city we would want to stay in and to see what our money will get us in the city. Of course we look for reviews too on Tripadvisor of each hotel but we also use it for restaurants, cafes and things to see and do. Instagram is also a great source of inspiration for accommodation and activities in a city, just look under a few hashtags and Hey Presto! Places where everyone else can recommend (and most likely all insta worthy). If any friends or family have been to the same city why not see where they stayed and if they recommend it? If not can they recommend anywhere else or any areas of the city they would suggest to stay in? Airbnb is also a great alternative for accommodation. We used Airbnb for our city break to Copenhagen and it was so easy and was really great to speak to a local before we stayed in their home. For a city break you just need it to sleep and shower so sometimes we look for cheaper alternatives, which Airbnb is great for, or look into hostels as you may get a better room at a bargain.
As we said Citymapper is a lifesaver for getting around, we also recommend Marco Polo guides which come with really handy maps which are a lot easier to follow and have recommendations on them. But some of the best recommendations for food, culture, hotels and off-the-beaten-track things can be found on Instagram. Grace is great at scouring through Instagram accounts for the cities that we visit for food recommendations. Most of the time, apart from random places that we have stumbled upon, the places that we find on Instagram are usually some of the best places we visit!
Aside from the above and gathering a wealth of information from friends and family who have already visited, we also read a lot of blog posts and watch a lot of vlogs to get a better sense of the area that we will be visiting. What Olivia Did and Opium Teahouse have some cracking ones! We’ve done blog posts for Paris, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Berlin, Rome, Krakow, Copenhagen and New York if you are interested!