Enjoy Naples to Seville!
Of all the places you can head to in Italy for a needed city break, go to Naples.
That may come as a surprise to some as Naples isn’t as popular as some of its more famous Italian neighbors, although that’s changing. And while it makes a perfect base to visit Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi coast, as well as less-explored places like Procida just a ferry ride away, Naples has a distinct feel all its own. Start out by setting the stage for your entire stay and tasting the food that Naples is famous for: pasta and seafood dishes, unique sweet desserts, and of course Neapolitan pizza, where you’ll be ruined forever when you eat it here. Try it on the go, quad-folded in a paper cone, as you explore the city. You’ll find well preserved Roman and Pompeiian antiquities and national treasures in countless museums and tucked away in quiet neighborhoods, like the priceless and breathtaking “Veiled Christ” at the Museo Sansevero. There are bustling restaurants and markets, and churches galore, but the people are perhaps the most interesting reason to come – loud and engaging, vibrant and authentic – they make Naples a city like no place else in the world.
Image via Pixabay
Nashville may not be high on your list of bucket list city breaks, but it unexpectedly stole my heart, and my crown for favourite US city. It has more of a small town, cowboy feel than a big metropolis ambience, but for music lovers there is no better place.
From dawn to dark, you can sit in an endless array of bars and listen to interminable acts of all genres. People associate Nashville with country music which is understandable. After all, this is the home of country, but during a weekend break in Nashville your ears will be assaulted by rock, blues, jazz, country and more. It’s a musical kaleidoscope!
If you can bear to tear yourself away from musical indulgence, head to the Ryman Auditorium for a step back in time. This beautiful, aging building will be familiar to fans of ‘Nashville’ or ‘Walk the Line’ and its creaking stage has hosted many of the legends of country. There’s something special about this building: in the way you might feel peace within a church, this theatre imbues you with a musical reverence which is hard to shake!
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Voted by Livcom as one of the worlds best cities to live in 2009, and my favourite city in New Zealand.
Walk anywhere within the city of New Plymouth, and you will be watched over by the towering mountain, Mount Taranaki. This beautiful conical shaped mountain, dressed in snow in winter and wildflowers in summer, is a reminder that both skiing and hiking are just a twenty -minute drive away.
Known for its sunny climate, art galleries, cafes and parks, New Plymouth hosts various festivals throughout the year. The Arts Festival, the Garden Festival and, perhaps the most popular, the summer Festival of Lights. This free festival transforms Pukekura park, one of New Zealand’s premier botanical gardens, into a beautifully illuminated night-time wonderland, providing free entertainment every night throughout the summer in the form of national and international performers.
Spend your days browsing the local craft shops. Eat at one of the many excellent cafes and drink award-winning coffee before heading to the foreshore walkway. A thirteen -kilometre sea edge promenade that stretches the entire length of the city. Here you will watch waves crashing, under the gaze of the mountain and I promise, you will be glad that you discovered New Plymouth.
New York City, USA
One of the best aspects of New York City that make it an ideal location for a city break is that i’s got something for everyone and every taste.
Want to catch a showing of the winner of the Serbian film festival? The city’s got it. Want to indulge your craving for Salvadorian pancakes? You came to the right place. From world class culture to cuisines from every corner of the world to unparalleled nightlife, it is an embarrassment of riches.
My favorite experience is dinner at a restaurant serving food I’m not very familiar with and a show at one of the many jazz clubs – especially in Harlem. If I can somehow squeeze dancing into this favorite experience, so much the better.
I fall in love with New York every time I see it; again and again and again. There is always something new and the city never disappoints.
Palawan has been voted twice as the best island in the world and rightly so because it is the gateway to paradise in the Philippines. Located in the last frontier of Luzon Island, it is slightly more than an hour flight from the main airport of Manila. There are about 3 main airports in Palawan, Busuanga, Puerto Princessa and El Nido, that all serves as drop off points to great adventures. If you like a quiet weekend getaway, pristine beaches, wreck diving, being one with nature or on a party island mode, then Palawan is the best place to be.
I particularly like El Nido Islands for it’s magnificent sea view, limestone cliffs and rich marine life. Among the 45 islands and islets in El Nido, Palawan uncover a secret beach, where you can frolic all you want. On a lazy afternoon, disconnect from everything and just chill at one of the beach front cafes where reggae is blasting while you enjoy beer on a sundown. If this is not the best weekend city break, then I don’t know what is it anymore.
Paris is my favorite city in the world because it really lives up to all the hype! The architecture is stunning, the city is clean, and there are so many sites to experience.
Paris is also relatively affordable to get to from North American and easy to get to from European cities so stopping for a quick city break is perfect. You can also choose to spend as much or as little money as you want. If you have money to spend, stay wherever you want! If you are on a budget, stay in the Montmartre district! You can find fantastic ‘entire home’ Airbnb’s for $45 per night!
Don’t miss walking along the seine….it is stunning and completely free! Paris is one of the most magical cities in the world and once you go you will see why!
There are places that you get to discover by accident. I always wanted to visit Perugia because one of my Italian professors in college was from there and she always told us in class about the chocolate factories in the city. When I needed to go to Italy just to catch a plane, I found it was a great opportunity to stop by. I must say I fell in love with it at first sight.
Since that time, I have been able to visit it 3 times. In 2016, I spent my birthday in the city and took the Chocolate Factory tour the day I became 27.
The reason why I recommend Perugia to anyone who wants to travel to Italy is for being an underrated pearl. This is a college city, which is filled with international students, and if you’re visiting during the school term, there will always be something going on. If you’re a Sports fan, there are Volleyball and Soccer teams.
Every October, Perugia hosts the Eurochocolate Fest concentrating many chocolate brands in the city centre. These are the reasons why definitely, Perugia is my favorite city to visit.
Plovdiv has always been one of my favourite cities and one of my favourite city breaks.
The city has a unique atmosphere and vibe and it’s also the home place of ailyak. Ailyak is a special Plovdivians word, which means someone who is relaxed, don’t do anything and doesn’t worry about anything. And when you visit Plovdiv you will feel ailyak, like the locals do.
You can have a perfect day in Plovdiv as a day trip from Sofia. I love doing this every once in a while.
Plovidv is Europe’s oldest inhabited city and there are many great things to do. The Old Town and the Roman Theater are absolutely essential to your visit to Plovdiv. Both are favourite for me, along with getting lost in ”Kapana” and hiking the city hills for some awesome views!
I always knew I’d love Porto. I only realised how much when I visited for the first time last year.
Spread over two sides of the estuary of the Douro, the Porto in my mind was 90% focussed on the heritage and production of Port. No bad thing, but the reality is so much better. Without Port the City would still have a fine history, a wealth of stunning architecture, amazing seafood and a people who welcome visitors with open arms. Spend time in the Port Houses of Vila Nova de Gaia and learn about the history of this fortified wine which is the result of a long-standing friendship between the Portuguese and the British. It is wine that was developed to be used as a substitute for French wine during the 100 years’ war and at the time and for years afterwards many of the Port Houses were run by British.
But don’t neglect the main city where you’ll find a wealth of architecture, stunning tiled buildings and even the bookshop which is said to have inspired J K Rowling to write Harry Potter.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic is the perfect size for a city break destination. Prague is best seen by just wandering on foot or on a street car. Getting lost in Old Town’s short, twisting, turning pedestrian-only streets is pure joy.
Make sure to carve out time to visit both sides of the river, as they have distinctly different personalities. As you make your way up to the Castle, see how many symbols you can spot, turnips and lobsters and violins hanging over stores and homes, a throwback to ancient times. Tackle the Charles Bridge first thing in the morning, when the soul crushing crowds are still in bed and ponder the statues in solitude. Wander over to U Fleků for a dinner of traditional Czech food and endless foamy mugs of dark beer (just beware of the “complimentary” liquor shots – they’re strong and they’re not actually free!). Dive into the Czech Republic’s history by chatting with locals at their well-known coffee shops (my favorite: Café Louvre) or over a traditional chimney cake.
Prague is perfect for a romantic weekend away, but safe enough for a female traveling solo.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Vibrant and chaotic, but also quiet and enchanting, Queenstown is one of those places that easily make the perfect destination for a city break all year-round. There is no way to properly explain why, but whatever you’re looking for you can find it there, literally.
Let’s start with the food, Queenstown has some very cool places where you can taste delicious food, from the well-known burgers at “Fergburger” to the sweet chocolates with lake view at “Patagonia”. The views are just amazing and somehow romantic and with “The Remarkables” and the blue “Lake Wakatipu” as background you really can’t go wrong.
There’s also a relaxing gondola that quickly brings you to the top of the Skyline where you can either have a lovely dinner at the restaurant or spend the afternoon hiking, biking or go-karting with lake view. More into adventures? Then you just need to pick one of the many activities the city offers: skydiving, bungee jumping and rafting are just some of them. And if you happen to be there during the winter, there are ski-fields close by with fantastic views over the city. Queenstown is just as magic as it sounds!
Riga, Latvia’s capital, is a fantastic and easily accessible city for a short break. The city has several distinct areas, of which the most photogenic is the old town. Winding cobbled streets and chocolate-box houses make it an easy place to wander, while Town Hall Square is home to the Blackheads House, one of Riga’s highlights. Drop into one of the many small restaurants for local Latvian cuisine, and perhaps a taste of the traditional Black Balsam liqueur, a strong herbal spirit which is particularly wonderful mixed with hot blackcurrant to warm you in the winter months!
Outside the centre, the city has a wonderful 18th century new town with wide boulevards and beautiful architecture. Don’t miss the orthodox Nativity Cathedral with its icons and onion domes! Then head across the Daugava river to the more modern Riga, where the few remaining wooden buildings compete with Soviet apartment blocks and modern trams.
I recommend a visit in winter, while the Christmas markets line the streets of the old town and festive lights grace the parks and boulevards. At New Year, the city centre becomes one huge party with a spectacular firework display at midnight. It truly is a beautiful city!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
My favourite city I have ever visited is Rio de Janiero, Brazil. If you want to easily fall in love with Rio, there are two places to visit to view the city from above and take in its beauty. Both Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar) and the Christ Redeemer statue (Cristo Redentor) have an amazing view and I highly recommend going up the Sugarloaf Mountain right before the sun sets to see the city at night. The street lights look like rivers and stream running through the mountains. Beyond the cityscape, the beaches are also wonderful in Rio with clear waters. You can spend days on the beach and choose from several destinations including the iconic Copacabana.
I feel like the vibe in Rio de Janeiro represents Brazil as a whole with a welcoming spirit and easy-going atmosphere. Some of my favourite memories are just walking the boardwalk and stopping at a small shop to eating an Acai bowl or drinking fresh passion fruit juice. My mouth waters just thinking about the Brazilian Barbeque. The nightlife is rich with lively bars and clubs perfect to party and dance the night away.
Dan Bagby blogs at Honeymoon Always.
Locals like to say a lifetime is not enough to see all of Rome. However, I find no place more enjoyable and inspiring for a city break than the wonderful Eternal City.
Dynamic, vibrant and stunningly beautiful, Rome has plenty to offer. Art lovers are spoilt for choice with museums, churches and ancient sites; foodies can sample the many specialties of the city, ranging from delicious pizza to Jewish cuisine (try artichokes, they are a local delicacy!) and great weather makes for pleasant afternoons strolls.
The best way to explore Rome is strolling around its beautiful city centre. My favourite itinerary starts at the Colosseum and continues along Rome’s famous cobbled street in the area between the Pantheon and St Peter’s basilica. Here, you have Piazza Navona, generous with photo opportunities, and Campo de Fiori, a square overlooked by the statue of Giordano Bruno and bustling with market stalls and cafes.
Have an aperitif with the locals and then cross the river into Trastevere for a taste of Rome’s vibrant nightlife for the perfect Rome city break.
Coming from Singapore, Rotterdam has a similar resemblance to the little red city.
Rotterdam is known for its busy port in Europe, similarly to Singapore. It also has a huge food marketplace – Markthal where varieties of food are sold at affordable prices. Be sure to try out their fresh raw herring fish sold at €2 ! The tastiest herring ever in Holland!
This is one of our favourite cities in Europe partly because we had a very good host and accommodation location. We booked a stay right in the city centre and that comes with a mechanized parking system. We were so awed by the technology and convenience. Did you also know that a large part of Rotterdam is actually below sea level? How amazing is that? Especially on their technology that keeps their city from flooded. You should visit Rotterdam to take a look at how advanced their technology is and of course other amazing dams protecting the whole of Holland from the rising sea level.
Do read them up before your visit, if not head over to their tourist centre for more information.
Donovan blogs at Travel Voila.
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Earlier this year I spent a wonderful week in Saint John. To be honest I knew very little about it before I got there, other than it was the only city on the Bay of Fundy, renowned for being an excellent place for whale watching and for having the highest tides in the world.
As I found out, Saint John also has a fabulous food scene, most notably its superb seafood – don’t miss the giant lobster rolls or the maple bacon scallops at Saint JohnAle House. While at Queen’s Square Farmers’ Market, I found cuisines as ethnically diverse as the people of Saint John, with food stalls from Nigeria, Cameroon, Thailand, Mexico, Haiti and Syria.
For craft beer lovers the city has three great breweries all within spitting distance of each other – perfect for a brewery crawl!
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are two wonderful parks within the city boundaries. Irving Nature Park is perfect for wildlife watching while Rockwood Park is fabulous for water sports in the summer and ice skating in the winter. Both are wonderful places simply to wander around and enjoy a picnic.
Then there’s the seriously scary zip line over the river, some great museums and art galleries and of course, as I have found everywhere in Canada, the people are amongst the friendliest you could hope to meet anywhere. What more could you ask for?
San Francisco, USA
Of all the cities I have visited in the world, I keep going back to San Francisco. For an American City, it is very multicultural and there is a certain European charm about the place. San Francisco is a great city to explore on foot even though it’s rather hilly. This city has a rich history from the days when it was a Mexican outpost, the gold rush, the building of the cross-country railroad and today, defining the world with new technology.
World class museums abound like the newly reopened MOMA, the Asian Art Museum and the DeYoung museum. Shopping is great around Union Square. Big open spaces are all over the city like Golden Gate Park. Being on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the boat rides and views across the bay are unbeatable. You could spend weeks here and not experience all the delights this City has to offer.
For gastronomy travellers, this City is definitely one of the best for food and is the source of a lot of global food trends. Explore the old noodle shops in Chinatown, Mexican tacos in Mission, Ferry Building Market, numerous food trucks and Michelin starred places like Chez Panisse.
When people think of Chile, they think of the Patagonia, Deserts, and it’s wine country. While Chile does have fantastic landscapes along its 2,700-mile stretch of land, the city life of its vibrant capital will surprise you. As an expat living in Santiago for almost 7 years, I can’t pinpoint what it is about the city that I love so much. You just have to come to understand it.
I will suggest taking a free walking tour to get a better understanding of the city. Within a few hours you’ll see how each neighbourhood has its own charm that makes it unique, yet somehow they stay connected to show off the entire city. After your walking tour, you must climb Cerro San Cristobal to get the best view of the city. It’s really breath-taking from the cable cars up there. You can take a round trip or get off at the halfway point and continue exploring the neighbourhood of Providencia, which is one of the most commercial and gastronomical hotspots of the city. The options are endless in this capital city.
Seoul, South Korea
Almost a decade ago I opted for a teaching position in South Korea. While teaching is something of the past, I now call Seoul my second home and visit at least once a year.
First off, the people are polite and super helpful. It’s not uncommon for someone to walk you to your destination when asking for directions. The city itself is like walking into a K-drama, filled with skyscrapers, shopping malls (indoor, outdoor and underground), beautiful people and restaurants as far as the tummy can taste. There are also mountains to scale with spectacular panoramic views.
My favourite thing to do is to pack my bag with water and snacks, put on comfy shoes and get lost, literally. It’s so easy to just meander around the city as it’s safe and there is always some form of cheap transportation nearby.
While the ubiquity of coffee shops and convenience stores is a bit repetitive, each district has it’s own unique charm. Some things I’ve come across by chance include aerobics for the elderly along the Han River, headphone parties in Hongdae Park, an international outdoor food festival in Itaewon, open air K-pop performances in Myeong Dong and so much more.
My advice for your next city break is to fly to Seoul, throw away the map and just walk aimlessly with intuition as your guide. Seoul is truly a flaneur’s paradise. Bonus: Hangeul (Korea’s alphabet) is super easy to learn!
I believe Seville is among the European cities that match at best with the idea of city break destinations. If you like sunny weather, bright colors and tasty cuisine, the capital of Andalusia should be your choice. First of all, the city offers so much in terms of attractions but, at the same time, it isn’t too big so you can easily visit it just in a weekend. Even if you spend here a short stay, you will certainly join the typical Spanish atmosphere, always relaxed and festive. Talking about the main attractions, the Real Alcazar is the most important one and I assure you that you will be impressed: it’s simply amazing! In a short distance you will find one of the most stunning squares of the world: Plaza de España. There are many other attractive places, but also be sure to take your time to wonder around the streets of the city center. Let’s get lost in them, you will discover many hidden gems. Speaking about food, tapas y sangria it’s the best combo you can have in many Spanish cities and a very satisfying way to end every day during your visit. I promise you’ll come back home planning your next trip in Andalusia.
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