Many of us are fans of a city break, that perfect pick me up between longer holidays. We can spend a few days enjoying the stimulation that comes from a change of routine. We might opt for a culture fix, the opportunity to try activities and experiences for the first time, or simply absorb the sights, smells and sounds of somewhere that once was unfamiliar. Choosing the ideal location for your city break is crucial, and successful decision-making will take a range of factors into consideration. Get it wrong, however, and you might wonder what all the hype was about. Here’s how to find the city break that’s perfect for you.
Let’s start with the weather. If you plan to pound the pavements to tick off the sights, the last thing you want is to do so in the pouring rain. Ditch certain cities during rainy season – Hong Kong, Bangkok and Shanghai have sultry summers that will leave you sweltering. Hot temperatures are similarly unattractive even if it’s dry; you’ll cover far less ground and spend a higher proportion of your trip seeking air conditioned interiors. Of course, if you’re happy to stay inside to visit museums and other indoor attractions, such weather won’t trouble you. Warm winter weather has a big appeal. Dubai is one city that capitalises on its higher temperatures. And don’t rule out a winter trip in colder climes: New York City on a crisp, cloudless January day is a real treat, as is Reykjavik or Helsinki under a dusting of snow.
One of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a city break destination is the time of year you plan to visit. Some places really shine in a particular season. Head to Tromso in northern Norway during the darker months to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from a husky sled or visit Munich in December for its Christmas markets. Popularity can also be tied to a festival, whether Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Oaxaca for Day of the Dead or Semana Santa in Seville. We’d recommend you plan early if you’re keen to visit a city in its peak season as hotels and ticketed events quickly sell out.
Luxe for less
Who doesn’t love the feeling of luxury? But it’s even better when we can achieve luxe for less. There’s no getting away from the fact that some destinations represent far better value for money than others. Seek out value for money alternatives to your ideal choice. For example, Eastern Europe is relatively inexpensive compared to its western neighbours, so consider Bratislava in place of Vienna. A stay in a beautifully renovated Moroccan riad in Marrakesh or an impeccably designed townhouse in Buenos Aires are other enticing options if you’re looking for affordable luxury.
It’s no secret that the best views are often atop hills and high rises. Visitors to Rio de Janeiro flock to Christ the Redeemer. The gondola up Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town is often packed to the gills. Bangkok and Hong Kong have long embraced the rooftop bar concept, and it’s easy to find a seat overlooking a glittering panorama. In New York City, demand is so high that there are multiple observation decks from which to choose, with old timers such as the Empire State Building joined by Summit One and Edge. Paris wouldn’t be Paris without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. London has The Shard. Dubai beats them all with Burj Khalifa. But sometimes you don’t need to ride an elevator at all. Just take a boat ride across Sydney Harbour or out to Stockholm’s island archipelago and you’ll soon see why.
Activities and experiences
Culture, art, history, food, shopping – there are so many things that encourage us to travel. Knowing what makes us happy is essential to the process of figuring out where to go. For history, it doesn’t get much better than Cairo, Rome or Athens. Music fans will enjoy Salzburg, whether Mozart or Maria is more their bag. Barcelona and Florence will delight arty types, while Lisbon and San Sebastian blaze a trail for Iberian cuisine. Istanbul’s another perennial favourite, blending the influences of numerous civilisations that have shaped this glorious city. And who hasn’t dreamed of shopping on 5th Avenue during a Big Apple city stay?
Days out and twin-centres
Sometimes, no matter how incredible a city is, it’s good to get out into its hinterland. Visitors to Berlin, for example, should make time for historic Potsdam, while city breakers based in Amsterdam will enjoy a day out among the windmills of Zaanse Schans. Thanks to affordable high speed rail connections, a visit to Cordoba’s magnificent cathedral is an easy add-on for Madrid-based tourists, and the delights of the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre can be combined with a plethora of Italian cities.
Likewise, combining a city break with a few days by the beach or hiking in a national park is unsurprisingly popular. For instance, pair a stay at the Grand Canyon with a few days chancing your luck at the tables on the Las Vegas Strip – far more rewarding than a fleeting helicopter ride. Meanwhile Toronto in Canada is so close to Niagara Falls that it would be a shame to miss out this impressive waterfall. Cape Town or Johannesburg in South Africa are the logical choice before or after a safari. Or how about spending a few days sunning yourself on the Portuguese coast at Estoril or Cascais after tackling Lisbon?
But how do you settle on the city break that’s perfect for you? Well, that’s where Mundana’s team comes in. We can create a bespoke city break tour that caters to your own specific needs and wishes. We’ll take your wishlist, recommend a hotel, suggest ways you can spend your time and work hard to create a holiday that will tick all the boxes. Why not give us a call today?