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Stylish City Breaks

Europe has always been at the forefront when it comes to fashion and design, and many cities even hold their own fashion week, becoming firm fixtures on the global fashion calendar. However, in these cities, style isn't just for fashion week: whatever time of year you visit, you can find amazing shopping, style and cutting-edge design. Read on to choose where your stylish city break will take you.

Milan

Milan

Twice a year, the world’s fashion elite descend on Milan for the city’s fashion week. The biannual event is renowned the world over, and with Armani, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana among the city’s ‘local’ labels, Milan’s credentials are iron-clad. However, if you’re not lucky enough to have received an invite, it’s easy to pretend to be a fashionista in Milan all year round with a visit to one of the oldest shopping malls in the world, the stunning Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II.

Shop ‘til you drop, before hitting one of the city’s 150+ eateries for some classic Italian food. Milan isn’t just home to infamous fashion brands – it’s also the birthplace of mascarpone, gorgonzola and panettone! 

If you need somewhere to show off that fancy new frock, look no further than La Scala, the city’s 18th century opera house, where you can enjoy some music in an opulent setting.  Or, if al fresco is more your style, have a drink in the spectacular Piazza del Duomo in the shadow of the cathedral.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen is famous the world over for design, with homewares brands Vitra, Ferm and Normann just some of those that originated in the city. This makes for some seriously stylish shopping, but if you’d rather just soak in the city’s design heritage, head to the Design Museum Danmark, where you can chart the story of how Danish design became an international brand.

Copenhagen also holds its own in the fashion stakes. The city has its very own fashion week, and can lay claim to a whole host of designers, from the avant garde Henrik Vibskov to the more wearable Wood Wood and Rascals.

And, if design and fashion aren’t enough, Copenhagen is also at the cutting edge when it comes to food. Vakst, which has a greenhouse built up through two floors of the restaurant, serves delicious set menus full of fresh Nordic vegetables and fish, while the Meatpacking District houses an array of restaurants specialising in everything from local fish to Smørrebrød open sandwiches, all of which are beautifully presented.

Copenhagen
Berlin

Berlin

Berlin doesn’t do shopping by halves. Its enormous KaDeWe department store is the largest in Europe, while the upmarket Kurfürstendamm boulevard offers an array of fashion outlets. Germany is home to brands from Boss to Puma, so there really is something for everyone. The city’s fashion week is hosted twice annually, in January and July, and has become famous for the creative young designers who have made their name there.

If vintage is more your thing, however, then head to the weekly flea market in Mauer Park on Sundays or to the Prenzlauer Berg area where you can pick up a stylish bargain.

Berlin has a history of cutting-edge design, having been the home of the Bauhaus school of architecture, design and art. For a comprehensive history of the school, and the world’s largest collection of works from the movement, visit the Berlin Design Museum.

The city is an intriguing mix of grand ornate and soviet-style architecture: whether you choose to view this from the ground by bike tour, or from above with the panoramic view offered by the Reichstag Dome, Berlin won’t fail to surprise.