A luxury beach vacation by an exciting cosmopolitan city is the best of both worlds. Lie back on pure white sand, sipping cocktails at your beachfront hotel, before heading off to the nearby city for a bit of culture and shopping. There is something for everyone in a coastal city trip–golf, tennis, and swimming are the norm for the sports fanatics at beach resorts, or simply while away your time on the beach, relaxing and reading.
A weekend is the perfect length of time, a chance to escape the in-laws impending visit or to clear your head before the busy week starts again. The locations of our top ten mean you will have plenty of time to explore the cities, chill out on the stunning beaches, and still be on time for your Monday morning meeting. What more could you want?
Nice has the nickname ‘Nice la Belle’, or Nice the Beautiful, and once you have been to this gorgeous coastal city, it’s easy to see why. First, there is plenty to see and do in the area, so you will never be bored or want entertainment. For a bit of culture, Nice is ideal. Second, only in galleries and museums to Paris, the Matisse Museum is a particular highlight. The building itself appears over the hills as a piece of artwork, clearly inspired by the city’s fresh colours and clean lines.
The vast museum is perfect for any art fans, showing much of Matisse’s artwork from the very beginning to the end of his career.
Next, head to Promenade to Anglaise, arguably the epitome of Nice. Always bustling with activity, sit down and watch the world pass by.
Genoa is ideal for a coastal city to visit on a weekend break. The city is the perfect base to explore the Italian Riviera and Portofino, and the Cinque Terre. First, however, don’t write off the city itself, which is quintessentially Italian, with a stunning old port and wonderful cuisine.
In the heart of the old city, there are hundreds of tiny alleyways and streets to explore. Stroll around the city walls to admire the spectacular views of the city and the bright blue Mediterranean Sea. Nearby is Corso Italia, Genoa’s promenade, a trendy area surrounded by beaches, restaurants, bars, and swimming pools, the city’s buzzing heart. Dine-in style in one of Genoa’s many restaurants, and remember to sample one of their pesto dishes- the sauce originated in the area.
For a more outdoorsy holiday, Baska Voda in Croatia is perfect. An easy day trip from the exciting and bustling Split, this coastal city offers stunning beaches, harbour-side bars and superb architecture, all within walking distance, making it ideal for a short break away.
This destination has miles and miles of pebbly beaches, surrounded by pine trees, which help to create an enclosed and intimate atmosphere.
The town is nestled at the foot of Biokovo, the second largest mountain range in Croatia, meaning it is wonderful for hikers and nature lovers. Because of this ideal location, Baska Voda has been developed into a brilliant holiday resort, with something for everyone, including diving, sailing and many bars and clubs.
Athens is the birthplace of Western Civilization, with one of the most glorious histories in the world. As you can imagine, there is a lot to see in the city, so here are some highlights. The Acropolis must be your first port of call. It’s one of the great wonders of the world, and no amount of tourists milling about can detract from the magnificence of these genuinely inspirational ruins.
Make sure to visit the nearby museum, which houses all its valuable ancient artifacts, and explain the monument’s fascinating history. There are many ruins throughout the city from ancient times. Perhaps most impressive are the Temple of Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first international Olympic Games were held.
St. Petersburg is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. With a unique and intoxicating fusion of high art, unforgettable history, rich cultural traditions and a wild night-life, Russia’s second city entices all who visit. St. Petersburg has been nicknamed Russia’s ‘Window to the West, and it certainly feels a little more European than Moscow.
Despite its neo-classical architecture and famous opera house, St Petersburg feels very modern and innovative. Its edgy art galleries, underground clubs, and up-and-coming music scene give the city a very 21st Century atmosphere.
Although the city isn’t on the coast, the vast harbour is charming and certainly worthy of a visit when you are in the coastal city. Many boats traverse the waters daily, and it’s a brilliant place for people to watch.
A trip to Valencia wouldn’t be complete without visiting the historic quarter of the city. Head to El Miguel and the Cathedral to see the Holy Grail and enjoy the cafes and bars in this exciting and bohemian area.
The Valencian History Museum is one of the best history museums in the world. It is very modern, with many CG, videos and a time machine, making it perfect for impatient children (and adults!) The museum tells the fascinating story of many cultures which have inhabited city.
Turkey has played host to many different cultures and civilizations over the years, and as a result, it is steeped in history. The region has many fascinating sites and ruins, such as King Mausolous’ Tomb, Bodrum Castle, a default high in the hills above the Aegean Sea, the Amphitheatre, showing its many Roman influences and the underwater city of Minds, which can only be seen by boat. Visit Turtle Beach at Dalyan or the ancient city of Ephesus for even more culture.
Sailing is one of the ways to see Bodrum. Cruise along the stunning coastline in a luxury yacht, or experience the traditional wooden gullet and head into the depths of the warm seas. Guests to the area can also visit the nearby Greek Islands of Kos and Rhodes for a fantastic day trip.
Bodrum has some spectacular beaches with vast stretches of endless white sand. These are the perfect places to enjoy some peace and tranquillity, sunbathing and swimming, as well as fun water sports. Some of the best ones to head to are Karaincir, Akyarlar, Turgutreis and Gumusluk.
Berlin is one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Head to the Reichstag, the home of German politics after 1945 and admire its enormous glass dome and the panoramic views of the city from the top. Visitors can also watch the German parliament in action, a fascinating insight into the working of one of the most important countries.
The Potsdamer Platz is an exciting place in the German capital. Up to 100,000 people come to this square every day to experience the unique blend of art, entertainment, shopping and cosmopolitan flair.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, meaning there is so much history and culture to see.
Lisbon offers several nearby beaches and quiet coves. The waters are ideal for practising windsurfing or kiteboarding, and the vast stretches of sand are perfect for relaxing under the sun. Praia da Adraga is one of Portugal’s finest, surrounded by tall cliffs giving it a dramatic air; the beach is unspoiled and has clear blue waters to swim in.
Split is one of the largest cities in Croatia and has many interesting historical sites to visit. The 1,700-year-old Diocletian’s Palace is a unique monument, reputed to be the best-preserved example of antiquity period imperial palaces.
Split is surrounded by many beaches, including the busy and exciting Bacvice Beach, with vast shallow waters. For a more tranquil experience, head to Kasjuni Beach, which is bordered by a cool pine forest, and the waters are clear and blue. Finally, for a true tropical paradise, go the coves of Brela and the striking Zlatni Rat Beach on Brac Island, and relax in peace.
As fascinating as city breaks can be, admittedly, they aren’t remarkably calming, which is why mixing an exciting city with a relaxing beach break (which could get tedious on its own) is the perfect holiday- the ideal blend of two fantastic experiences, so you head home feeling tranquil and hopefully little more cultured too.