Going on a short getaway somewhere in a European city always seems to be a good idea and depends mainly on three factors: the opportunity, the time and the cost of the trip. It’s all about managing your vacation days to add one to a weekend, and here you have two nights at your disposal. Five destinations have already been recommended within five hours of Lisbon, but this time the idea is to offer five even closer cities, which saves travel time and useful time once ashore. After all, the important thing will be to enjoy all the moments of these three days, preferably far from the airport. Finally, costs are obviously to be taken into account, whether they concern travel, accommodation, meals or any other consumption during the trip. All in all, we have arrived at a Top 5 to be inspired by your next getaway.
Ideal for a “city break”, Barcelona is also one of our favorite destinations to take your family in summer, by plane or even on a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea. In any case, this Spanish city is without a doubt a center of attraction, especially on a cultural level with its museums, parks, markets, streets and alleys, in addition to the gigantic heritage of the famous Antoni Gaudí. Whatever the purpose of this trip, rest or exploration, you can always take advantage of it to have a drink in an incredible “sky- bar” overlooking the city, or even relax in a magnificent spa. Barcelona is the administrative and economic capital of Catalonia, the province of Barcelona, the comarca of Barcelonès and its metropolitan area and region in Spain. Barcelona is the second city in Spain in terms of population, economy and activities, the eleventh most populated city in the European Union and the sixth including its suburbs. Most of the adjacent municipalities are also grouped together in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, it is crossed by the rivers Llobregat and Besòs and bordered to the west by the Collserola mountain range, which rises to 512 meters. It is considered a world city due to its importance in the fields of finance, international trade, publishing, arts, entertainment and media. Barcelona is therefore a major economic center, with one of the main Mediterranean ports and Spain’s second largest airport behind Madrid-Barajas. It is also the city with the largest metropolitan park in the world, the Collserola Park, in front of Central Park in New York. Having been founded by the Romans, the city became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona and then one of the major cities of the Crown of Aragon and, afterwards, the capital of the Principality of Catalonia. Redesigned several times during its history, it is a major tourist destination and enjoys a unique cultural heritage. The Güell Palace, the Casa Milà, the Güell Park, the Palace of Catalan Music and the Hospital de Sant Pau are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In addition, the city is also known for having hosted the Olympic Games in 1992 and, more recently, the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean. Every year, visitors arrive by the millions and the number is increasing. Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with sub-Mediterranean influences due to its location in the northwestern sector of the Mediterranean basin but protected from the prevailing westerly winds at its latitude by the Pyrenees and particularly the high plateaus of the Central Meseta of the Iberian Peninsula. On the one hand, winters in Barcelona are drier than in traditional Mediterranean climates because the city is protected by the surrounding Collserola Mountains and is therefore not subject to the wind from the Atlantic disturbances whereas these bring most of the rainfall to other Mediterranean climate regions exposed to this wind such as Portugal, Italy, Greece or most of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. On the other hand, on the other hand, in the warm half of the year, the contrast of cold disturbances at high altitude over the eastern Pyrenees with the Mediterranean air mass at the surface causes disturbed and stormy periods in the middle of summer.
There is particularly a concentration of the rainy period and strong thunderstorms and storms between May and November but especially from August when the sea has reached high surface temperatures. Certain hourly rainfall intensities in Barcelona are reminiscent of Chinese-type climates, and bring the climate closer to that of southeastern France, which records episodes of Cevennes thunderstorms. The easterly wind blows against the coastal relief and increases the likelihood of strong thunderstorms and even tornadoes between May and November, especially from August and autumn with frequent rainfall due to the temperature of the Mediterranean Sea, which is still very hot during this season. Consequently, the winter rainfall regime of classic Mediterranean climates is an equinoctial regime on the Catalan coast. Thus the wettest months of the year are May, October, September and August and the driest July, which is normal in the Mediterranean basin and, quite exceptional in the Iberian context, February. Barcelona’s climate is also characterized by the great irregularity of the annual rainfall, which is close to 650 mm but concentrated over a limited number of days. This strong inter-annual irregularity is characterized by years in which a month of September may record only 5 mm and others in which it has exceeded 300 mm. Besides very dry years, there have been years with rainfall in excess of 1,000 mm.
In fact, every month has exceeded 100 mm, and sometimes all have recorded 0 mm or little more. It should also be taken into account that the Mediterranean climate of the east coast of Spain is one of the most irregular in the world. This means that on many occasions the averages are only statistical data. Thus, October of a year can be very dry and July or February very rainy. Barcelona and London have the same annual rainfall, but London’s climate is not irregular and torrential like that of Barcelona. The average annual temperature in Barcelona is 15.4 ° C. The temperature of the hottest months reaches over 28 ° C, the coldest minimums of winter are above 4 ° C. Still its location between the sea and the hills of Collserola and by a thermal difference between day and night that is quite small.
In addition, the proximity of the sea favors the installation of the sea breeze that moderates the thermal excesses in summer. December, January and February are the coldest months, with an average temperature of 9°C at the airport and 10°C in the center of the city, affected by a notable heat island. July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 24 ° C. The highest maximum temperature recorded in the center of the city was 38.6 ° C. Snowfalls and frost nights occur almost once a year. Barcelona can be a sunny city but its location between sea and mountains often creates enough cloud cover to favor a series of overcast and foggy days, especially in early spring and autumn. The cold winter days are usually sunny, windy and dry when the Mistral wind or the tramontana can manage to blow like on the coast of the Gulf of Lion.
Located in the coastal area of Croatia, Dubrovnik offers many attractions to be discovered in only three days and two nights. From walking on top of the wall that “protects” the oldest area called the Old Town, which can also be seen by cable car, walking through the alleys to discover its forts, towers and countless historical sites, taking a boat trip from the port of Dubrovnik, watching the sunset in this picturesque city and, of course, enjoying the turquoise waters of some of the best beaches in Croatia. Dubrovnik is the pearl of the Adriatic, the most famous, most visited and most media-friendly city in Croatia. The causes are its beauty, the traces of more than a thousand years of history present in its stones and its well-preserved 1940 m. long ramparts plunging into the Adriatic waters. Dubrovnik, a true monumental city, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The beauty of Dubrovnik is in its historical heritage: Rector’s Palace, Sponzz Palace, Stradun, Orlando Column, churches, monasteries, etc. But Dubrovnik is very famous thanks to the fact that it is the place where many films are shot and TV greenhouses. It is an ideal destination for a “city-break”. In two or three days you can see a large part of the city and do the must-do’s: visit the city walls, walk in the old town, visit some monuments, the islands, go up to the Mount Srđ by cable car 412 m above the old town. Also you can rent a car and discover from Dubrovnik the south of Dalmatia, Kotor and nearby Montenegro, Mostar in Bosnia or continue to the north of Croatia to Makarska, Primosten, Krka, Sibenik or Plitvice. We strongly advise you to stay in the city of Dubrovnik: early in the morning you can take a walk in the old town, which is still served, and visit the city walls, which are also served. Sit next to the inhabitants of the city in the old port, watching the boats leaving for the island of Lokrum. Stop, drink a beer or a Coca Cola on the terraces and listen to an open-air concert.
Or, in an unusual place: the Buza bar, located on the rocks at the foot of the ramparts, with views of the Adriatic. At night, you can enjoy a dinner of fresh fish and seafood in a Konoba. And, finally, discover the lively city at dusk. Also, it is one of the best gastronomic destinations in the world. Come to Dubrovnik for an unforgettable experience. Enjoying a view of the sea, the port and the architecture so specific to the ancient city, you will taste an exceptional menu.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in France, Strasbourg is an excellent destination for a short getaway. On the border between Germany and France, you will eventually feel the influence of both countries, especially in the gastronomy and regional wines that are worth tasting. As it is small, you can easily visit it on foot to discover the neighborhoods and examples of its medieval architecture, the river and bridges, or take a romantic boat trip in this setting. Strasbourg is a French commune located in the department of Bas-Rhin. Prefecture of the department, it is also the capital of the Grand Est region. Capital of the historic region of Alsace, which has become the European Community of Alsace, the 4th most populated department in France, the city is bordered by the Rhine and borders on Germany. As the center and seat of a cross-border conurbation, the Euro-district of Strasbourg has more than one million inhabitants.
Strasbourg is one of the three “European capitals” alongside Brussels and Luxembourg. The city is home to a number of European institutions, including the Council of Europe, which is responsible for the European Court of Human Rights and the European Pharmacopoeia, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman. Along with Basel, Geneva and New York, Strasbourg is one of the rare cities in the world to be the seat of several international institutions without being the political capital of a State. Strasbourg is also the second city in France in terms of the number of international congresses, after Paris. In terms of population, Strasbourg is the largest city in the eastern part of France and the eighth largest in France. Its urban area is the ninth in France, with approximately 795,839 inhabitants in its French part and 1,189,086 inhabitants including the German part. Its inhabitants are called the Strasbourgeois. It is one of the main economic poles of the Northeast and is characterized by a very diversified secondary sector and a tertiary sector essentially oriented towards financial, legal and legal activities, research and business consulting. Strasbourg has been marked by the various German and French administrations. Its rich and tormented history has left a remarkable architectural heritage. Its city center, located on the Grande Île, is entirely listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and includes the Notre-Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral and the Petite France district.
Strasbourg has also become the symbol of Franco-German reconciliation and more generally of European construction. The city has gradually specialized in political, cultural and institutional functions. The presence of several renowned national institutions, such as the national theater, the national and university library and the Rhine National Opera, makes it an important cultural center. Strasbourg is also a major student city, its university, its grandes écoles and its university hospital form a major university pole with an international outlook, with more than 20% foreign students and more than one hundred nationalities represented. The university, which has hosted 18 Nobel Prize winners within its walls, has been the winner of numerous calls for tenders as part of its investment in the future, aimed at making it a center of excellence in higher education and research at the global level.
Tallinn being the capital of Estonia, a country between Latvia, Russia and the Gulf of Finland, one can expect a cosmopolitan but still traditional city. Known as the land of the Vikings, its status as the best preserved medieval city in Europe has attracted tourists eager to discover the historic center, rich in monuments, a lively cultural program and access to beaches bordering the Baltic Sea, or to neighboring countries like Finland, only 2 hours by ferry. It is worth taking advantage of it. Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and the main port of the country. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, which is part of the Baltic Sea. Its old name is Reval in German, or Revel in Russian, which was then called in French as Réval. The city has about 447,414 inhabitants, which makes it the largest city in Estonia, on a territory of 159.2 km2.
We finished our Top 5 with the capital of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius. A very quiet small city, ideal to relax in this little getaway while discovering its tourist places with all the calm of the world. Protected by UNESCO, the city is proud to have the largest historical center of baroque style in Europe, with monuments around every corner and streets from the 15th and 16th centuries. The Traikai, only 30 kilometers away and accessible by bus or train, is a village surrounded by forests and lakes. It is a kind of enchanted place that deserves your visit. Many cities invite you to a two-night getaway, where the time or cost of the trip is as important as the opportunity to fly to meet new cultures, but also to enrich our own general culture. Choose your favorite.