Best Destinations For a Long Weekend

The perfect quick getaways...

Never beaten on price

For those with a busy schedule or tight budget, long weekend and city breaks can be the perfect way to wind down, dip into another culture or get to know somewhere new without taking too much time out. Certain destinations have become particularly popular for short breaks (and for good reason, too!), so if you’re in need of a weekend away, here are some suggestions to inspire your planning.

Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona’s buzzing 24-hour culture makes it the ideal spot for those wanting to pack plenty of fun into a short break. Whether you choose to do a lot or a little on your visit, you’ll probably be perfectly happy just to chill out and enjoy the stylish surroundings, laid-back atmosphere and fantastic food that the Catalonian capital has to offer - as well as the nearby beaches if you’re planning on a summer break. Football fans can book in a tour of Camp Nou, while art lovers can take in the extraordinary splendour of the Dali Museum, as well as the Gaudi House museum with its beautiful gardens.

Cost of travel from UK: Flight from around £88 return

Travel time: 1 hr 55 mins - 2 hrs

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium
Image: Luke Ma under Creative Commons license.

Accessible by train and full of bite-sized attractions, Brussels is a great choice for a short city break at any time of year. In winter, its streets are lit up with festive lights and visitors can travel for miles between one market and the next, sipping mulled wine and hopping in and out of the city’s bars. All-year-round attractions include the city’s famously fine chocolate, outstanding local beers, and some fascinating museums and art galleries. Visit the Royal Palace to get to know old Brussels, and check out the Atomium building to appreciate the new.

Cost of travel from UK: from around £100 return by train, from £40 by air

Journey time: Flights: 54 mins to 1 hr. Train: 2 hrs

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

View over Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is perfectly placed for a long weekend: quick and easy to reach by air or by sea with great options for both relaxed and raucous visitors - it has something to offer travellers of all kinds. If you’re wanting to wind down, hire bikes and take your time travelling through the city along canals and picturesque streets, stopping for snacks along the way. Those looking for a more upbeat weekender will love the city’s legendary non-stop party scene.

Cost of travel from UK: from around £55 by air

Journey time: 45mins - 1 hr

Berlin, Germany

Berlin Cathedral, Germany
Image: Luke Ma under Creative Commons license.

Berlin is a short hop from the UK, and a great city to visit for a speedy city break. With plenty to see and do whether you’re into the ‘hip and cool’ cultural scene or the more historic attractions that the city has to offer, it’s a good choice for those who want a mix of nightlife and daytime discoveries. Regular visitors to the city love the fact that Berlin is not currently an overtly ‘touristy’ destination, and its famous Bohemian spirit lives on: the city’s history as a hub of entertainment make it a great place to catch a cabaret or theatre show.

Cost of travel from UK: Flights from around £80 return.

Travel time: 1 hr 45 mins

Long weekends in the UK

Brighton Pier, UK

UK-based weekend breaks have the obvious advantages of being easy to reach by various means of transport, and of being relatively affordable. Being close to home will also maximise the time you get to spend on holiday, and of course there’s no language barrier to contend with. Here are a few of the most popular ‘staycation’ destinations in the UK:

New Forest - best for: getting away from it all, long walks, horse-riding, rambling and fabulous old-fashioned pubs. Hire a holiday cottage for the weekend for a comfortable home-from-home.

Brighton - best for: beaches, great food, quirky B&B accommodation, art and culture. Visit during festival season around May Bank Holiday to see what the city has to offer.

Bath - best for: historical interest, spa and pampering, amazing architecture, markets and romantic restaurants. Be sure to book early; the city is small and popular enough with tourists that it can book up.

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Written by Abi Silvester, a London-based writer and editor with a passion for great food, fine wine, coffee and cats; always planning my next trip! @absinthecity