5 Unique Weekend Getaways in Europe

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Many people who work a full-time job spend the entire year planning where to go on their annual vacation. And there’s nothing wrong with that – but travel doesn’t have to be so complicated or expensive.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need to jump-start your creativity, recharge your batteries, and come back feeling refreshed.

We’ve got a list of 5 unique weekend getaways in Europe that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for a new week. Whether it’s two days or a long holiday weekend, these destinations are perfect ways to spend your time abroad!

1. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Beautiful street in Belfast Scotland

Northern Ireland’s capital city is not just a historical and cultural destination. Spending a weekend in this city can become a memorable experience too.

Northern Ireland’s capital city is not just a historical and cultural destination. Spending a weekend in this city can become a memorable experience too. 

Belfast has been gaining popularity in the last few years as a unique city break destination. It’s a great place to walk around, with plenty of interesting things to see and do, especially around the Cathedral and Queen’s Quarter.

The Titanic Belfast museum is the most popular attractions in the city – and it’s not hard to see why. The museum tells the story of the ship, from its construction in Belfast to its tragic end. Even if you’re not interested in maritime history, the museum is worth a visit for its architecture alone.

it’s your first time in Belfast, take a Black Cab tour. This is a great way to see the city and learn about its history and culture. The tour takes you to some of the key sights, including the peace walls, which divide Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods.

For something a little more light-hearted, Belfast is also home to the Ulster Museum, which has an excellent collection of art and natural history exhibits. There are also plenty of great pubs and restaurants in the city, so rest assured that you won’t go hungry!

Best places to visit in Belfast. With limited time, you need a shortlist of what to see. These are traveler favorites:

  • Belfast Botanic Garden
  • Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
  • Titanic Memorial Museum
  • St. George’s Market
  • Belfast City Hall

Where to eat and stay in Belfast. Here’s a shortlist of some recommended restaurants and accommodations for your weekend getaway:

  • Edo
  • Muriel’s Café Bar
  • Tara Lodge
  • Bullitt

2. Santorini, Greece

The beuatiful blue and white buildings of Santorini adds to the calming effect of the Mediterranean

Considered the blue-white paradise on a volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, Santorini makes for an amazing weekend getaway for those who wanted to enjoy the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea while staying in one of its whitewashed, seaside villas.

Although they are slightly more expensive than the rest of the Greek Islands, if you want to stay in a villa in Santorini, you shall be rewarded every time you look out the window at the stunning views.

This destination is popular among European tourists and American personalities who embraced the emanating beauty of the island and the relaxation it brings from the warmth of the people and its semi-dormant volcanic activity.

Most organized tours on the island are more like island hopping and yacht tours. However, Santorini is best traveled without anything in mind. It will let you discover what this Greek island really has to offer. You’ll also find yourself wanting to stay longer, once you receive its relaxing aura and calming environment.

The sunset here in Santorini is what makes weekenders feel at peace after five days of work bustles. Enjoying the views from a boat brings the colors alive in a different perspective. Enjoy the views from a boat at sunset while sipping Ouzo or a nice Greek wine is the perfect ending to a day.

Recommended places and things to do when visiting Santorini are as follows:

  • Walking at the Nea Kameni volcano crater
  • Palia Kameni Island volcanic spa
  • Museum of Prehistoric Thira
  • Relaxing under straw parasols at Kamari Beach
  • Tasting local wines on a guided tour
  • Quad biking across the island
  • Sailing through the islands

Where to eat and stay in Santorini. Meanwhile, you can choose to dine and stay in one of the following locations:

  • Kapari Wine Restaurant
  • Stoa Santorini Restaurant
  • Andronis Boutique Hotel
  • Pezoules Villa

3. Bruges, Belgium

the belfry tower in Bruges

Bruges is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe, and its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is picturesque, with a network of canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings that make it feel like you’re stepping back in time.

As a Euro-trip stopover, you might want to explore Bruges historical richness over a can of Belgian beer and spend some time in the park. If you’re interested in learning about the city’s history, there are a number of guided tours available. These are a great way to see the sights and learn more about Bruges’ unique culture.

Despite its small size, Bruges has a lot to offer visitors. The best way to explore Bruges is on foot – there are plenty of things to see, and you’ll want to take your time to appreciate the architecture and atmosphere of the city.

One of the most popular attractions in Bruges is the Belfry of Bruges, a 13th-century bell tower that offers panoramic views of the city. The climb to the top is strenuous, but it’s worth it for the views!

If you enjoy art, the Groeningemuseum houses an impressive collection of Flemish art. Also visit the Church of Our Lady, which houses Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child as well as one of the world’s largest collections of Rubens paintings.

In addition to its historic sights, Bruges is also known for its food – especially chocolate! There are plenty of great places to get your fix, but we recommend trying a traditional Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce. And don’t forget to try the Belgian fries!

Recommended places to visit in Bruges include the following:

  • Minnimeer (Lake of Love) and Park
  • Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Canal tours around the city
  • Brugse Ommeland Castle tours

Where to eat and stay in Bruges. You can also choose to dine and stay in the following:

  • St. Christopher’s Inn
  • Snuffel Hostel
  • De Halva Maan

4. Scottish highlands

Cullen Scotland is a great location in the highlands of scotland as the sun sets on the city

Few people know that the wilderness in this beautiful corner of the United Kingdom has long been considered the playground of the royals and prominent individuals. Just like to Royals, you can enjoy a weekend in Scotland and experience some of the most beautiful parts of Great Britain.

Scotland is indeed a beautiful country with many epic lochs, cute coastal towns, and marvelously snow-capped mountains. The highlands can look like something out of a fairy tale and is therefore a great escape for those looking for a change of scenery.

Scotland’s meadows are an ideal place for you to practice horseback riding, since there are so many places where you will be able to explore the countryside on horseback.

If you simply want to enjoy the beautiful Scottish scenery while savoring a cup of coffee or traditional tea, check in at one of the beautiful castles, mansions, and estates, or spend your weekend getaway in Edinburgh. There is always something on offer.

What to do in Scotland for a weekend. Scotland has so many most-loved places that it’s hard to choose. Here are a few ideas:

  • Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Town
  • Ben Nevis trek and hiking trails
  • Loch Lomond
  • Horseback ride or hike around the Isle of Skye

In some places, you might also be greeted with a bagpipe march when you wake up in the morning. Many influential people have visited this country and totally loved it.

Where to stay in Scotland. If you’re looking for a place to stay, here are some recommendations:

  • Savoy Park Hotel
  • Sunbank House Hotel
  • Number One at The Balmoral
  • Aizle

5. Seville, Spain

colonnaded building at Plaza de España

While some people are happiest to enjoy some moments of peace during the weekends, those who are itching to party all night should head straight to Seville.

Seville has all that party-goers might want – old and new bars, DJs playing their mixes inside an old citadel, and even a good nightcap. There are some quaint wine and beer bars located around the city square (or “plaza” in Spanish terms).

This rich Andalusian city is home to a lot of architectural wonders, parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and more. The cultural value Seville offers is so off-the-charts that visitors always end up wanting to stay longer.

Even if you’re not a party animal, Seville will still manage to charm you with its unique atmosphere. The best way to get to know the city is by taking a leisurely stroll around its streets and marveling at the beautiful buildings.

You can take part in the following activities in the city:

Where to eat and stay in Seville. You can choose to stay or dine in one of the following:

  • Hotel Alfonso XIII
  • Hub Hostel Seville
  • Oasis Backpacker’s Place
  • Toby Eats The World
  • Espacio Eslava
  • Cocome

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Santorini blue and white houses with text overlay that says 5 great weekend getaways

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots.

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