From the hidden highlights of Hanover to the buzzing bars of Berlin, why not spend your holiday getting lost in one of these mesmerising metropolises?
Unlike its noisy neighbours Bremen and Hamburg, the historical capital of Lower Saxony doesn’t shout about its high-flying artistic, cultural and ecological credentials, but leaves them to be uncovered by the inquisitive visitor instead.
Within Hanover, visitors will find curious artistic sculptures, a plethora of historical museums and a myriad of outdoor attractions, including the colourful Herrenhausen Gardens, striking Maschsee lake and one of Europe’s largest urban forests - all without ever leaving the city limits.
Pulsating with an intoxicating energy, the Spanish capital masterfully mixes cultural delights, alluring medieval architecture and frenetic nightlife into a tempting cocktail that besots all who brave a sip.
Madrid’s baroque beauty has drawn artists here for centuries, filling its many galleries with some defining artworks, including Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece Guernica in the Museo Reina Sofía. But for most it’s the locals that make Madrid magnificent, so whether you’re dining in a tapas bar, strutting your best flamenco or watching one of its all-conquering football teams, passion parades through its streets.
A city break in Oslo is good for the body and mind. The Norwegian capital is one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, spearheading ingenious initiatives that range from reducing traffic to increasing green space. In this vein, renting a bike is one of the most popular ways to explore the city, while exciting urban wild swimming spots exist in both the fjords and forest lakes.
For those hoping to exercise their brain, world-class museums abound, else simply spend an afternoon swapping stories with friendly, latte-lugging locals in one of the city’s hip coffee houses.
Bulgaria's capital offers visitors a city of inviting contrast. In one proverbial arm the city is a bustling centre of culture and economy, while resting on the other, is a city of laid-back fusion of Eastern and Western culture.
Sofia is a must stop visit when visiting the often ventured coastal or ski areas, whereby a lengthy history dating back thousands of years is worn firmly on its sleeve, although a smattering of modern hotels and shopping malls ensures contemporary tastes are still adhered towards.
Historic monuments act as an architectural shrine to a global timeline, allowing visitors to walk through Ottoman Empire constructed mosques, alongside Red Army monuments amidst luscious greenery offsets in the provision of country parks and well kept garden spaces.
The Pearl of the Adriatic glistens in the Croatian sun, casting a romantic glow that draws people from near and far to the marble-lined streets and weathered wall walkways of its atmospheric Old City.
A must for history buffs, Dubrovnik’s centre was scarred by shelling during the war with Yugoslavia in 1991, but rebounded meticulously quickly. Today, the city is one of the Mediterranean’s top tourist draws, with pure white coves, quirky boutiques and an abundance of eateries serving sumptuous fresh seafood.
From techno super clubs to reclaimed cocktail bars, Michelin-starred restaurants to contemporary cultural complexes, Berlin is the long-time epicentre of the ultra-hip and remains one of the most exciting city breaks in Europe.
It’s not all vintage cycle rides along the Spree and rare, late night Afrobeat grooves though; Berlin has a wealth of intriguing history too. Check out the killer view from the Reichstag building before marvelling at the 18th-century neoclassical Brandenburg Gate, an imposing triumphal arch erected as a monument to peace.