10 city breaks to take this spring

From ancient Athens to Scandi-cool Copenhagen, these are the cities to have on your radar this spring

We’re swapping purely functional puffers for lightweight macs and drinking in beer gardens after 5pm. This can only mean one thing: spring is upon us. Emerge from hibernation in style with a celebratory city jaunt. It’s the perfect time to travel, thanks to mild weather, off-peak prices and fewer crowds. Scroll on for our pick of the best city break destinations to take this spring.


With its hip cafes, inventive eateries and world-renowned art institutions, the Spanish capital is never a bad idea. But the spring months are undoubtedly when it shines. Embrace the outdoors in one of the city’s green spaces like Madrid Rio, or take to a rooftop terrace (Madrid has them in spades) to sip on cocktails as you watch the sunset.

Stay: Mandarin Oriental Ritz


Old meets new in Athens, where layers of history meld to create one of the most interesting city breaks in Europe. There’s the Acropolis, of course, but there are also edgy bars and elegant fine dining institutions; boundary-pushing art exhibitions and sumptuous hotels. Visit in the spring before the stifling summer heat sets in.

Stay: Academias Hotel, Autograph Collection


Having just emerged from a dark, bitter winter, Oslo is an excellent option for a spring city break. Join the locals in sipping on their first utepils (beer enjoyed in the sun) of the season, take an evening stroll along the new nine-kilometre harbour promenade and soak in the views from the roof of the Oslo Opera House, before enjoying a world-class performance.

Stay: The Thief

Palma de Mallorca

Foodies, architecture enthusiasts and shopaholics alike will be smitten with Palma de Mallorca, the Balearic island’s capital. Visit before the busy summer season starts to experience all the city has to offer before the throngs of tourists ascend. Artisan interior shops, vibrant bars and excellent restaurants abound in the town centre, while a stroll by the sea or a 10-minute drive will take you to the fishing village of Portixol for a slower pace.

Stay: Palacio Can Marqués


Istanbul really comes into its own in spring, when the weather is still cool enough to tick off all the essential attractions – from the Grand Bazaar to the Hagia Sophia – without sweating buckets. Time your visit to coincide with the annual Tulip Festival, which features stunning displays throughout the city’s parks.

Stay: Vakko Hotel & Residence


Portugal’s second city is best known for the port wine cellars that line the banks of the Douro River, and while a tasting or two should definitely feature on your itinerary, there’s more to the city than fortified wine. Wander beautifully manicured gardens, stroll the iconic shopping street Rua das Flores and join locals and visitors alike to watch the sunset from one of the many grassy hilltops or rooftop bars.

Stay: Torrel 1884


Slovenia’s oft-overlooked capital is one of the greenest cities in Europe, making it ideal for outdoorsy types. With car traffic restricted in the city centre, the willow-fringed banks of the Ljubljanica River are free to explore on foot or bicycle. The warmer months see cafes set up al fresco terrace seating along the river and the reopening of the popular Odprto Kuhna (Open Kitchen).

Stay: Antiq Palace Hotel


Home of hygge and capital of cool, Copenhagen is a design lover’s paradise. There’s no better time to visit than spring, when the Danish capital is emerging from a long period of winter hibernation. Shop up a storm in the city’s many homeware stores, wander the royal palaces and gardens and sample some hyper-local seasonal produce.

Stay: Hotel Sanders

Santa Fe

The tiny New Mexican city of Santa Fe offers a unique fusion of Spanish, Mexican and Native American culture. With painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s legacy looming large, the city radiates an artistic energy through its craft markets and galleries. Don’t leave without sampling some Southwestern staples such as the fiery chilli-topped burger and grilled elk.

Stay: Bishop’s Lodge


Cologne is an excellent alternative to the more tourist-frequented German cities, and well worth a visit in spring, when you can make the most of its sun-soaked beer gardens and lively outdoor events. Fine weather also lends itself wonderfully to exploring the city’s iconic architectural gems.

Stay: Excelsior Hotel Ernst

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