Top 5 Cities for a Weekend Trip in Europe

Today we wanted to share with you our top 5 destinations in Europe for a weekend trip. We know that a lot of us want to travel, and there is nothing that we want more. But we also know that a lot of people may not have the time to go on a log trip. Everybody has a weekend off though. So we want to share with you our top 5 European destinations, and maybe inspire you for your next short trip.


Valencia is a beautiful city in the Mediterranean coast in Spain. It is the third biggest city in Spain.

In Valencia there are a lot of things to do. You have the city atmosphere, but it’s still not that big, and you have the beach to relax. This makes it perfect for a short weekend trip.

So, when you get to Valencia you definitely have to go to the City of Arts and Science (Ciutat de les arts i les Ciències). Design by Architects Calatrava and Felix Candela, this building complex is one of the most important for modern art in the whole world. It consists of:

  • L’hemisferic: It’s an IMAX cinema, planetarium and laserium. It’s supposed to resemble a giant eye.
  • El museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felip. It’s a interactive science museum.
  • L’Umbracle. An open structure with plants indigenous to Valencia. It also has sculptures and an outdoor gallery.
  • L’Oceanogràfic. It’s the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe with 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water
  • Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. It’s an opera house, dedicated to music and scenic arts.
  • Àgora: A covered plaza where sporting events and concerts take place.
  • Pont de L’Assut de l’Or. White cabled bridge crossing the Turia river.

Umbracle in Valencia

After visiting the city of science and arts you should go and check the city center of Valencia. You can start in Calle Colon, go over to the Plaza de Toros (Bullring) and Estación del Norte (train station). Then check the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (city hall square) and then go to the Mercado Central (main market). Here you should get before 2-3 pm, their closing time. Here you can find all kinds of fresh food, and it’s really cool to see from inside and outside. Once you finish there you can cross to “La llotja de Seda” a gotic style civil building.

From there you can loose yourself in the beutiful streets of the old town. You can just go and walk through the lovely cities in “El Carmen”. Go over to Plaza de la Virgen and then end up in Plaza de la Reina. There you can find Helados Artesanos Llinares, known for their weird ice cream tastes, such as smoked salmon, toritilla de patatas or blood sausage.

But what you definitely should try out in plaza de la Reina is Horchata in “Orxateria Santa Catalina”. This is a very typical drink in Valencia, and this is the best place to try it.

Another thing you should see in Valencia is l’Albufera. The largest lake in Spain that holds rare species of wading birds and a rich variety of wildlife. You can get there with public transport. You can take the bus 25 which takes you to El Palmar o El Perellonet. There you can take a boat tour on the Albufera on the traditional boats.

To fly out to Valencia you can find very cheap flights since companies like Ryanair fly from there.

2. Budapest

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and a beautiful city. Personally (Carla), is my favourite city in Europe.

Formed by Buda and Pest, Budapest turned to one unified city in 1873. It is located right by the Danube, which gives the city a beautiful landscape.

First you can start your day going to the NagyVásárcsarnok or the Great Market Hall, which is the largest indoor market in Budapest. Here you can find all kind of typical fresh food and dishes as well as souvenirs. Here you should definitely try Pogacsa, a typical type of bread bake.

Then you can walk through Vaci utca, one of the oldest trading streets and worth seeing, and then go to the Dohány Synagogue. This is the largest synagoge in Europe, also known as The Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue.

From there you can go to the St. Stephen’s Basilica and then walk though the Liberty Square down to the river and the Parliament. Then you can cross the river and stop at Margaret Island. A beautiful little island in the middle of the Danube.

Parlament in Budapest

Now you can go up to the Buda Castle, go to the Mathias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. From up there you have the best sights from the city of Pest. Another place you have to go up to to get beautiful views fro the city is the Citadella. Is worth staying in one of these two places during the sunset.

To relax Budapest offers a variety of thermal baths. The most famous one is Széchenyi, the largest medicinal bath in Europe. It is really awesome and a great way to relax after a whole day of walking.

To go out at night budapest offers a lot of bars, with really cool design and vibes, this are called ruinbars. Here you can find Szimpla, kuplung, Fogas Ház or Instant. If you want to go out clubbing then you should check out Morrisons and Hello baby. And if you plan on going party always check if there is a spa party going on, because what better than partying in a thermal bath?

3. Prague

Most people consider Prague as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Another good thing about Prague is that it’s very cheap compared to other european cities.

When getting to Prague though be careful with pick pockets. We got there, and on the way from the train station to the hostel my wallet was stolen (I haven’t even been for 20 minutes in Prague). Despite that, I loved the city.

In Prague I would recommend to take on of the free walking tours, this is the best way to see most of the city center and get the most historical information to it. I did a tour, it took about 3 hours and it was amazing.

But either you decide to do the tour or not, this city is beautiful everywhere you go. You have the Wenceslas Square, known for public gatherings and demonstrations, is one of the main city squares.

Then you have the Old town square perfect to admire the architecture that the city of Prague has to offer. Here you can also have a look at the Astronomical Clock. Go there at O’clock times so you can watch the spectacle this clock has to offer. In this square you also find the famous Tyn church.

Walk across the Charles Bridge, and then visit the famous Lennon Wall. Then take a walk to the The Petřín Lookout Tower. A tower that resembles the Eiffel Tower with a beautiful view of Prague.

Go up to the Prague Castle, and entry to the grounds of the castle which are free. To go in some of the buildings, such as the St Vitus cathedral, Basillica of St George and Golden Lane can be visited with a combined entry ticket, which is definitely worth it.

View from Prague

To get the famous view of Prague from the top with all the bridges go out to the Prague Metronome.

Try the Czech beers, such as Budvar and Staropramen, and eat a pork knuckle. Try also the famous svickova, usually with dumplings.

4. Antwerpen

Antwerpen is a Flemich city in Belgium and the capital of Flanders, and one of the biggest ports in Europe. It is very easy to reach. You can usually find very cheap flights to Brussels. And from Brussels it is very easy to travel by train to anywhere in Belgium. From the airport you can take a train straight to Antwerpen Centraal, which takes about 30-40 minutes and cost about 11,50 Euros.

Just arriving in Antwerp is already breathtaking. The beautiful Central Station has been awarded to the most beautiful train station in the world. When you walk out of the station you will be going out straight to the diamond district. Over $16 billion in polished diamonds pass through the district’s exchanges each year, that’s why Antwerp is also known as the diamond capital.

Afterwards walk through the Meir, the main street of Antwerpen. Here you will find all kinds of stores and shopping opportunities. In a side street of the Meir you will also find the Rubenhuis. It was the house and studio of Ruben and now it is a Museum.

As we know, belgium is known for it’s delicious waffles. At the end of the Meir you will find the Smallest Waffle Shop in the World, and it has also the best waffles I’ve ever tried. After you got your waffle if you keep walking you get to Groenplaats and from there you can take a look at the beautiful Cathedral. It only has one tower, because they didn’t have money to build the second one, so they started saving, and when they had the money there was fire and the Cathedral burned down. All the money they saved they had to use it to rebuild it.

From there you can go to Grote Markt, where you find the city hall and some beautiful buildings. In them middle of the square there is also a statue of Bravo. Bravo is like the “hero” of Antwerpen. There is a legend that there used to be a giant in “Die Schelde”, the river passing through Antwerp. He would ask for a fee to the boatman to pass through the river and wouldn’t let anyone pass without paying it. Then Bravo came and cut off his hand, freeing the city of Antwerp from the giant. The legend says that this is where the name from the city comes from. In dutch Hand werpen, which means to throw hand.

Grote Markt Antwerpen

Then  you can walk by the Schelde and go to the Hetsteen the oldest building in the city of Antwerp. Afterwards you can walk to the Museum aan der Stroom. A pretty cool building, and you can go up to the top for free to have a wornderful view of the city.

And Belgium is of course also famous for it’s Beer and fries. The best fries in Antwerpen you will find them in Ossenmarkt, in Frituur de Jean. You can take some fries there and enjoy them with a beer in Kassa 4, my favourite bar in Antwerpen. Here you should ask for a Bolleke or De Koninck, which is Antwerp’s typical beer. You can also go visit the brewery if you feel like it.

Antwerp also has a a red light district. It is with showcases, like the one in Amsterdam, but this one is not touristy at all. It really impacted me. Here you can also find one of Antwerp’s most famous clubs, Cafe D’Anvers, and close to it Red and Blue.

Antwerpen is definitely worth it, even if it’s just for a day or a weekend trip, you should check it out.

5. Sofia

Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria, is one of the cheapest cities in Europe. But the fact that you can get a liter of orange juice for 2,50 euro is not the only reason why we love this city so much.

Its more because it was our first trip together so it will always have a special place in our hearts.

If you like hiking you should go up the Vitosha mountain in front of Sofia. You can take a taxi that will bring you to the mountain sky resort Aleko, which is half the way up. Be careful though because sofia has a lot of fake taxis who charge you more than the real taxis. There are also buses that take you there but be careful because apparently they don’t always run. We went up and thought there were buses to go back to the city and they weren’t running anymore by the time we got to the but stop. As desperate as we ware we asked a Hungarian guy if he could pleas drive us down. We were lucky he said yes, if not we would’ve had a really long walk in front of us (4-5 hours).

If you like history definitely check out the city center. Walking through the city center you will find ruins and some nice buildings. Check out the Synagoge. Sofia has the largest synagogue in the Balkan region, and the third-largest in Europe.

You also have to go to the Sofia’s only mosque. And for sure you can’t miss Sofia’s most recognizable building, the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. You will notice that walking around the city you will find a lot of beautiful churches. Another one is the Sveti Sedmochislenitsi church.

Weekend trip to Sofia

You should also go to the Bayona Church. Is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox Church situated in the outskirts of Sofia.

Sofia also has a lot of parks. I guess its one of the cities with the most parks in Europe. Just go and take a walk through the big parks that the city has to offer.

So we hope we could help you out and make your decision for the next trip easier. If you want more tips on how to travel the world on a low budget then you should download our FREE E-Book with the best tips on How to Travel the World with 30$ a day.

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