Now that the holiday season is truly in swing, many of us are counting down the days until we get on a plane to our sunny summer destination. However, if you still haven't booked a destination, you're looking to holiday on a budget, or simply want to squeeze in a short break instead of a longer holiday then we're here to help. The AA Travel Insurance team have put together a list of some of our favourite city breaks if you're looking to do some sightseeing this summer without necessarily breaking the bank.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city to visit at any time of year, but this is particularly true during the summer months. Boasting the world’s only floating flower market along with world famous canals, Amsterdam is a great city to explore either by foot or by bike. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the local history, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank’s House and the Rijksmuseum are worth a visit.
If you’re a foodie, the city also has a street food scene that is among the best in Europe with everything from Dutch fries, Dutch cheese and Stroopwafel available to whet your appetite. Meanwhile, for chocolate-lovers, there are many Nutella Cafés dotted across the city, offering everything from Nutella cakes and donuts to Nutella ice-cream. Maybe bring some loose clothes with you!
While we devoted a much longer blog to Spain’s capital city of Madrid, this time we’re turning our attention to Catalonia’s capital. While Barcelona is worth a visit at any time of the year, the mix of culture and sunshine makes it a perfect summer destination. Between the Camp Nou, the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Sagrada Familia there’s plenty to do and see while visiting Barcelona. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to cool down, the Piscina Municipal de Montjuic is open to the public during the summer and has both a diving pool and 25m outdoor pool which offers some stunning views of the city.
If you’re looking for somewhere to laze on the beach, however, it might be worth going elsewhere as most of Barcelona’s beaches are overflowing with pale people desperate to get a tan during the summer. There are two beaches that are somewhat off the beaten track in Bogatell and Nova Mar Bella, which are worth a visit if you’re looking for a spot to relax that’s a little bit quieter.
Once a lesser-known destination, Dubrovnik has become a popular destination for Irish tourists in recent years. Even if you have previously visited the town at a different time of year, Dubrovnik truly comes to life during the summer months - making it worth a second visit. The Old Town boasts many impressive landmarks, but chief among them the town walls and the Sponza Palace are at their best in the summer sun. Just like the other cities on this list, if the sun gets too much for you or your travel companions, there are plenty museums scattered across the town to choose from.
If you have the opportunity, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival takes place every year in July and August with more than 70 open-air venues playing host to a variety of concerts, plays, dance performances and more.
While the high temperatures might put some people off visiting Rome during the summer, if you’re willing to embrace that then Rome can be a perfect city break. In fact, the city can be a bit quieter during the summer season as many of the locals opt to get out of Rome and flock to coastal areas. If you are Rome-bound, we suggest taking advantage of this and hiring a bike to explore the city on two wheels. A bike is a perfect way to make your way to all of Rome’s beautiful sights, such as the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum.
If you do need to get out of the sun for a while, Rome also has many small, air-conditioned cafes as well as museums that you can easily pass an afternoon in.
As a city-break destination, Lisbon offers something for everyone with a perfect mix of history and culture alongside a great nightlife scene. If you’re travelling with friends, your partner, or you’ve managed to leave the kids at home, Barrio Alto has over 250 bars and clubs meaning you’ll have plenty of options to choose from whether you’re looking for a quiet pint or a night on the tiles.
Meanwhile, if the cultural scene is more your style then Tram 28 offers a perfect way to take in all the sites Lisbon has to offer. Leaving from Barrio Alto (perfect if you’ve just stumbled out of wherever you spent the night before), the tram travels through the central district, into the shopping districts of Baixa and Chiado and ends at the hills of Graca. Along the way you’ll pass several stunning churches and castles, giving you a chance to take in some of Lisbon’s rich history.
Whether you're visiting Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona or anywhere else in the world, AA Travel Insurance has you covered. To help you holiday on a budget, AA Annual Travel Insurance is available from as low as €20.
All images used under Creative Commons via Wikimedia.org