Popular cities have plenty to offer even during the winter months! Here are our 48-hour mini break favourites within easy reach.
Morning: have coffee at Café Le Procope
The first coffee house in France to call itself a café in 1686, this café has been attended by several historical figures including Voltaire, Chopin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Franklin, and Victor Hugo to name a few. This a great place to have coffee and spot all the famous portraits of the café’s previous clientele you can find.
Afternoon: take a class at Le Cordon Bleu
Take a class at the iconic French cooking school to learn some French staple recipes, courses such as The Secrets of Macarons or The Secrets of Choux frequently turn up on the company’s website and are all English speaking. The short two-hour courses only cost £130, and you will receive a certificate from Le Cordon Bleu for completing the course.
Evening: take a Bustronome
On this double-decker bus you will tour all of Paris’s greatest attractions while eating a six- course meal. Starting at the Arc De Triumphe and ending at the Eiffel Tower where you can get off to take pictures as it sparkles and shimmers against the evening sky. Six courses without a drinks pairing is €120 and with pairing is €150.
Morning: walk through the Jardin de Luxembourg
Some of Paris’s most beautiful attractions are free, starting your day by walking through one of Paris’s lovely central parks is a great way to slow down your short and fast paced trip. Better yet, you can pick up a takeaway coffee and croissant for your stroll and have breakfast on the go.
Afternoon: see incredible art installations at the Centre Pompidou
Everyone has heard of the Louvre and its incredible artworks such as the Mona Lisa, but if you want to dodge the crowds and see some less traditional pieces of art then the Centre Pompidou is for you! As a gallery of modern art, the Centre Pompidou is filled with ever changing art installations.
Evening: eat at Maison de la Truffe
This restaurant is for truffle lovers only! Famed for its variety of truffles which are put in its dishes and can be bought at its store, Maison de la Truffe has been in Paris since 1932. The restaurant is also situated in a beautiful area near the Palais Garnier, the opera house in front of which couples gather to waltz in the street.
Morning: have breakfast at Café Central
Cafe Central was frequented by some of the greatest historical minds of modern history including Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky. At the counter you’ll find a selection of Viennese cakes and pastries and you can even order some boxed chocolates or preserves to take home as a souvenir.
Afternoon: take a horse and carriage ride through the city
Seen waiting by the side of many streets in central Vienna, horse and carriage rides are a romantic and idyllic way to see the highlights of the city and you just might get a driver who can tell you some facts about the architecture and history too.
Evening: eat an authentic Viennese Sacher Torte for dessert
Vienna is home of the Sacher Torte, a chocolate cake which has a thin layer of apricot jam sandwiched between the two halves and is coated in dark chocolate icing all around the cake. For an authentic Sacher Torte, try Café Sacher or Café Demel, the two cafes which fight for the title of The Original Sacher Torte.
Sacher.com or Demel.com
Morning: take a cruise tour on the Danube
So scenic it has its own classical piece, Blue Danube, taking a tour down this river to see the sights is a great way to fit a lot of sightseeing into your morning. At weekends cruise provider DDSG Blue Danube Schiffahrt GmbH offer a Sunday Brunch Danube Cruise with Live Music so you can get your breakfast in on the go!
Afternoon to Evening: visit Schönbrunn Palace
This beautiful palace was home to several Hapsburg rulers including Empress Elisabeth ‘Sissi’ and Franz Joseph I of Austria who was born and died at the palace at age 86 in 1916. As well as exploring the many rooms of the stunning palace you can also see classical concerts there in the evening in the palace’s orangery, giving you a taste of what it would have been like to be entertained as a royal in its hay day.
Morning: visit the parliament building
The largest building in Budapest at 193,800 sq. ft, the Hungarian Parliament Building represents the uniting of the three cities Buda, Óbuda, and Pest to create Budapest in 1873. 45-minute guided tours are available to look around the historic building which even has two chambers still in use today.
Afternoon: visit an outdoor thermal bath
Known as the City of Baths, Budapest has over 400 thermal baths to choose from. The heated pools can vary in décor and heat depending on where you go and you can also book spa treatments at most sites during your visit.
Evening: take an evening cruise
Sail down the Danube to view the picturesque lamplit city from the water. Depending on which cruise line you choose you can also have dinner and champagne while on you watch the city go by.
Morning: visit the children’s railway
One of Budapest’s most unique attractions, this railway is operated entirely by children (except the train driving). The train journey provides a beautiful tour up to the highest point of Budapest, Jánoshegy. Jump off at an appealing station or stay for the whole journey!
Afternoon: visit Dohány Street Synagogue
The largest Synagogue in Europe, this sacred building seats 3,000 people. It was built between 1854 and 1859 and was restored in 1998 after being bombed in Nazi aerial raids. Take a tour around the synagogue complex to get professional guidance by a guide authorized by the Hungarian Jewish Community, expert in Hungarian history and the Jewish religion and culture.
Evening: take in the Hungarian State Opera
See an opera or take a guided tour of this gorgeous theatre which was even visited by Hapsburg royals Franz Joshep I and Queen Sissi. Where better to see a show than a building home to ballet and opera for over one hundred and thirty years?