6 European Short Break Ideas

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6 European Short Break Ideas

When faced with a few free days and in need of a change of scenery, travellers in Europe are spoilt for choice, regardless of budget or taste. They can explore a new city, taking in the sights and culture, or relax in the peace and beauty of nature. Plus, there are beach holidays, tours, and themed trips: virtually anything is possible.

Before getting started, travellers should think about what kind of short break appeals to them: whether they want to rest, or are primed for a more energetic trip. They should also consider how much planning they want to do themselves: all-inclusive packages cover travel and accommodation, but it is also possible to buy everything separately. If travelling with children, make sure the destination is kid-friendly. Setting a budget at the very start helps narrow the choices and prevents the short break from breaking the bank. While a little planning is necessary, there are plenty of ways to be spontaneous with these short break ideas.

Idea #1: European City Short Breaks

Europe is chock-full of interesting, exciting, and beautiful cities, large and small. A city short break offers the traveller many conveniences, and a wide range of options to get the most from the limited time they have. Most destinations are easily accessible by plane, train, bus, or car; once there, travellers can choose to explore with their own vehicle, hire a car, or make their way by public transit, taxi, or on foot. Cities tend to have a range of accommodations for different budgets, from five-star luxury hotels to inexpensive hostels. Travellers can sample local cuisine at restaurants and markets.

Cultural offerings are diverse; researching what is on in a given city helps would-be holidaymakers decide on a destination. Travellers can scope out museums, and cap their day off with an evening at the opera, theatre, ballet, or symphony. However, many places do not include performances in all seasons, so if this is the main reason for the trip, plan ahead. The following are some of the most renowned cultural centres in Europe.


Characteristics and Attractions


Considered one of the cultural capitals of the world; numerous major museums including the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Musee Pompidou; Paris Opera; Notre Dame cathedral; beautiful parks and gardens, exclusive shopping


Ancient ruins from the Roman Empire; centre of Roman Catholic Church; Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; numerous monuments, artworks, and architectural points of interest


Noted as a cultural centre; a favourite destination famed for architectural beauty and historical significance


Divided by the Berlin Wall for nearly half of the twentieth century, the city offers a rich perspective on its history; attractions include the Reichstag, history and art museums, and contemporary art galleries

Needless to say, there are countless other options. Not only are individual cities culturally unique: they can differ dramatically in architecture, landscape, and atmosphere. Compare the modern village feel of Reykjavik with the Renaissance capital of Florence, or the archipelago of islands comprising Stockholm with the Acropolis dominating Athens. And while Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Istanbul, and Venice remain on the top lists of many travellers, smaller cities such as Lyon, Krakow, Dubrovnik, and Oporto are also favourites. With low-cost airlines opening up flights to less-travelled places, holidaymakers can tread their own path and discover Europe's hidden gems.

Idea #2: European Beach Short Breaks

When warmer months arrive, the prospect of a few days on the beach can be very enticing. Europe has many destinations for a short break on the shore, from UK favourites to exotic island retreats. Travellers should decide whether they want a quiet setting, a resort, or a city-beach combination. Cottage rentals in the south of France, or even UK destinations like the coast of Cornwall or Pembrokeshire are a great choice for families, groups, or couples. Warm, sandy beaches and charming towns can be found along the coasts of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bulgaria. Popular destinations also include Ibiza, an island just off the coast of Spain, the Grecian Islands of Kefalonia, Corfu, and Thassos, as well as the Canary Islands.

Coastal cities with beaches are a good choice for travellers who want a little excitement along with their relaxation. Barcelona, Naples, Dubrovnik, Nice, and Venice are among the top destinations that combine the cultural and entertainment options of a city with stretches of sand and surf.

Idea #3: European Mountain Short Breaks

A short break in the mountains is something that travellers can enjoy at any time of year. Whether for skiing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or simply relaxing and taking in the views, mountain settings soothe and invigorate with fresh air and a naturally majestic beauty. Accommodation options range from remote yurts and cottages to luxury hotels. Depending on the destination, there are often several activities for children, so this is an excellent option for families.

Alpine destinations are well-known and highly popular as winter and summer sport destinations. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Europe; located on the border between Italy and France, it has long been a destination for mountaineers and tourists alike. The Swiss town and resort of Zermatt boasts another top peak, the Matterhorn, and charms with its quaint village atmosphere.

There are many more choices when it comes to mountain getaways, including the Scottish Highlands, the Carpathians in Romania, numerous ranges in Bulgaria, Durmitor National Park in Montenegro, and more.

Idea #4: Exploring a Region

For the restless traveller who likes to keep moving and see new things, a short break might be well spent exploring a region new to them. To get from one place to another, they should look into hiring a car or opting for special rail passes that allow multiple stops. Regions within a country, such as the north of France or Bavaria in Germany, offer the chance to stop in small towns, take in the countryside, and relax in a less touristy setting. Alternatively, a whirlwind trip through several countries can give visitors an introductory sampling of the cultural heritage and natural splendor of a given region, such as Scandinavia, the Balkans, or the Baltic states.

Idea #5: Special-Interest Short Breaks

A different approach to a short break is to look for trips or packages connected to a certain interest. History, art, and culture enthusiasts have a wide range of options. Wine connoisseurs can choose to tour a certain region and sample from local cellars. Nature lovers may enjoy birdwatching tours or nature sightseeing trips, while cyclists can opt for a bike tour of a particular region. On the other end of the spectrum, a spa holiday gives tired travellers some special pampering.

Idea #6: Festivals

Festivals are a perfect way to get a concentrated dose of entertainment and culture whilst soaking in new surroundings, often in a smaller city or town. In summer, Europe is teeming with large-scale music festivals like Serbia's EXIT Festival, featuring major headliners and numerous other performers. Other niche festivals like KaZantip in Ukraine focus on a specific music genre, such as electronica. The setting, too, can be part of the magic: EXIT is held on the grounds of the 18th-century Petrovaradin Fortress, while others are on lush beachside locations.

Theatre lovers can see world-premiers from international and national companies large and small in festivals like France's Festival d'Avignon, the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and Fringe Festival, and the Vilnius International Theatre Festival ‘Sirenos' in Lithuania.

For a different type of festival altogether, Oktoberfest in Munich is the world's largest beer festival. Visitors can consume ample amounts of Munich brews and cuisine, as well as enjoy traditional cultural manifestations. For those who prefer less touristy events, there are many other smaller beer festivals in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Shopping for a European Short Break on eBay

When planning your perfect short break, eBay can help you find great deals on travel, accommodation, and package holidays. Start on the website's home page and type keywords into the search bar, such as "Prague hotel" or "beach short break". When you find a listing that interests you, be sure to read it closely and understand all of the conditions. Take close note of details like location, any date restrictions, the number of travellers allowed, what is included, and payment arrangements. If you have any questions, you can contact the seller through eBay.

It is also wise to research the seller ahead of time, to make sure they are reliable and accessible. Check their feedback score and read comments left by past buyers who purchased tickets, packages, or accommodations similar to the one you are considering. Top-rated sellers have a strong track record of providing excellent customer service.


A short break is the perfect opportunity to sample something new, visit a favourite destination, or just take a few days to refresh oneself in a relaxing, stimulating setting. Travellers in Europe have a wide range of choices when it comes to short break options.

Cities are a prime destination for short breaks; they are easy to get to, and offer maximum options for those with just a few days to spend. With so many uniquely special cities, travellers can explore a new place every time. Beach short breaks are another immensely popular option in the summer months. From rustic cottages to city-beach combinations to exotic islands, there is something for everyone. The mountains offer travellers fresh air, dramatic scenery, and the opportunity for sports and family fun. Regional tours can be a nice way to take in some countryside and sample the culture of a certain region, while those with special interests can research trips that cater to their passion, be it history, birdwatching, wine tasting, or more. Finally, festivals can be a great way to pack a good dose of entertainment and culture into a few days. The range of choices means that every short break can be unique and exciting.

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