Recently I was chatting to a friend about how I completely love Berlin, except for one thing that I completely took for granted in London. London has five airports, and there are hundreds of flights into and out of London, constantly. It means if you live in the capital and want to skip off for a quick weekend trip, literally anywhere is possible. Living in Berlin (where the airports suck), there are so few possibilities for weekend trips. Any time my friends from London suggest we meet up in a European city for a weekend stay, I search flights and find there are zero direct flights from Berlin on a Friday night. Frustrating!
So if you’re currently living in London, miserable and rainy as it may be (and especially if you’re from Australia, where your option for a city break is… the Gold Coast), take advantage of the massive amounts of cheap flights taking off from London airports. Here are my picks of the places to go for a weekend away from London.
A weekend in Berlin
Of course I have to include my current home, Berlin. There’s a reason I’m here, right? Berlin combines intense history with edgy nightlife and complete freedom of expression. A lot of people are surprised by Berlin – it’s definitely not your generic gorgeous European city full of pretty old architecture. Instead you’ll find brutalist architecture, amazing street art, a nightlife that revels in being as grungy as possible, and a lot of people who are way, way cooler than you. Hire a bike, see the historical sites, get a snap at the East Side Gallery, have a beer by the Spree, and join the Berghain queue.
A weekend in Copenhagen
I fell in love with Copenhagen, and if it was anywhere near as affordable as Berlin I’d move there in a heartbeat. The city itself is gorgeous, with multicoloured buildings along the harbour, beautiful architecture, and a seaside-meets-capital vibe. The fashion and design in Denmark is my favourite – I could get lost in all the design stores for hours, dreaming about furnishing my own Danish apartment. In Copenhagen you must see Nyhavn and the Little Mermaid, and wander through Freetown Christiania, which is a whole new world compared to neat and tidy Denmark.
A weekend in Prague
Rivalling Berlin in terms of its party culture, Prague also has insanely beautiful historical buildings, and it’s dirt cheap. Check out the Old Town, Charles Bridge, the John Lennon wall and of course the Prague Castle. And go hard on the nightlife, but watch out, Prague bites back. The drinks are insanely cheap, so it’s easy to drink yourself under the table.
A weekend in Edinburgh
Scotland itself is beautiful, and if you’re heading up there you have to check out the highlands, but for a weekend stay Edinburgh itself is magical. You can discover JK Rowling’s Edinburgh – from the coffee shop where she wrote Harry Potter, to the graveyard where she was inspired to find many names for characters. Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens in spring are so photogenic. Take an easy hike up to Arthur’s Seat for the best views.
A weekend in Barcelona
If you’re searching for a little more sun in your city stay, Barcelona will be your choice. Combining beaches with everything you want from a European city – culture, architecture, design, history, and a hell of a lot of good food. If you’re heading to Barcelona, check out the (still unfinished) Sagrada Família, head up to Park Güell for the views, avoid Las Ramblas in favour of the Jewish district, and relax on the beach. Oh, and drink loads of sangria and eat tapas, nonstop.
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