Mini-breaks are great, but those who can’t fit a few days holiday into their busy schedule – maybe you’re a parent or (already) short on annual leave – try a micro-break instead.
Catch an early morning flight and be sipping on a fresh cup of coffee and munching on pastries by 11am, with the whole day to explore one of the many European cities before heading home, all in less than 24 hours.
Instead of the rushed travelling experience planned with military precision you may be envisioning, you don’t have to forgo the indulgence of a restorative break abroad. Find inspiration and recommendations from TripExpert with our guide to perfecting the new way to short stay.
Easyjet offers early morning daily departures to Vienna from both Gatwick and Luton and is an treasure trove of culture, cuisine and architecture. See the city from above with a ride in one of the 15 gondolas on the Riesenrad Ferris Wheel that’s 200ft tall, stock up on cheese, wine and sausages at the culinary delight that is Neni Am Naschmarkt, pay a visit to Hofburg Palace and immerse yourself in some of the city’s top museums, art galleries and the Austrian film museum. Finish your day off with a pit stop at the Palmenhaus, the grandest greenhouse you ever did see with a restaurant and bar to enjoy a cocktail or two.
Find cheap return flights from Ryanair, Easyjet and Tap Air Portugal and hop over to Portugal and be back in time for dinner. Take in the sights at São Jorge Castle, sip on freshly brewed coffee and feast on custard tarts at Martinho da Arcada, Lisbon’s oldest restaurant and watch the sunset at Park, a rooftop bar in Chiado while DJs, cocktails and snacks keep you company.
Best know for its beaches, churches and museums, make sure to peruse the modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudi, treat yourself to a shopping spree along La Rambla - which FYI is home to the biggest Sephora in Europe, pick your way through Picasso’s masterpieces at the Picasso museum and top up your tan at the Barceloneta beach. Find flights with Ryanair, Easyjet and British Airways.
Easy to get to and guaranteed a good time, Amsterdam is perfect for a laid back weekend jaunt. Rent bikes and cycle round the city to work up an appetite for classic Dutch pancakes. Find the calm oasis that is Begijnhof, a secluded courtyard in the middle of a bustling shopping strip, hop on a pedalo for a canal ride you can customise and soak up the culture in the newly refurbished Rijksmuseum, not without forgetting to have a picture taken by the Amsterdam sign sign. In addition to the daily flights from most airlines, you can also book the Eurostar train.
Head east and take a trip to the city of Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. Book a culinary walking tour with Top Ljubljana Foods and enjoy a four-hour circuit of the finest food and wine the city has to offer, get your caffeine fix with a Turkish coffee from Slovenska Hiša on Cankarjevo embankment and swing by the Stara Roba, Nova Roba for a spot of thrift shopping with books, jewellery and toys for cheap, with proceeds going to homeless charities. Find early morning flights with Easyjet and Lufthansa.
Last but not least is Paris, especially if you’d prefer travelling by train from Kings Cross St Pancras and live in the big smoke. Stop off at the world class Louvre museum and a peek at pieces like the Mona Lisa and Raft Of The Medusa and go for croissants and a hot chocolate in the surround cafés. Enjoy an apéro and tapas al fresco at Rosa Bonheur. Finally get round to checking off your reading list at La Belle Hortense, a charming little bookshop that’s open until the early hours, and spend an eerie few hours exploring Les Catacombes and the sinister tunnels within them.
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase