There are so many amazing city break experiences to be had in Europe. The Cargo team have picked out their favourites to inspire your 2020 European city break. Without further ado, here are the top 3 city breaks in Europe for 2020.
You will find a snapshot of the following information on each of the 3 city break suggestions:
- Getting there
- A place to stay
- A place to get a coffee
- A place to get a drink (read: wine, beer and more)
- A place to eat
- A thing to do
- A thing to pack
You don’t have to travel far to have an amazing city break. Edinburgh is a standout city that is all too often overlooked but it should be on your 2020 visit list. Easily accessible by train and air, you can be in Edinburgh not long after you set off and much quicker than its mainland Europe counterparts.
Getting to Edinburgh
Edinburgh is an international travel hub with easy routes from across the UK and beyond. It is very likely that your nearest airport will have regular flights to and from Edinburgh; Skyscanner will be your friend to find the best flight time and price for you. With so much choice from airlines such as easyJet, you are likely to be able to bag a good value fare.
Once you have landed at Edinburgh International Airport, the transfer to the city centre can be made via bus, tram or taxi. Buses and trams take around 30 minutes and cost ~£5. It is handy to know that the service runs 24/7 so you will never be too far away from the next pickup or drop-off! Edinburgh airport have put together a guide on transfers with all of the latest information you may need.
Want to make the travel part of the trip? There are up to 40 train journeys from London to Edinburgh each day with plenty of stops in-between to give you a chance to hop on from a station near you. The trip from the Big Smoke to Auld Reekie takes around 5hr30mins so does take longer than the sub-1 hour air equivalent but when you factor in the waiting and baggage times, it is worth considering!
A place to stay in Edinburgh
You will be spoilt for choice when looking for accommodation in Edinburgh. The Cargo team have picked a standout 5* hotel that can’t be ignored: Fingal Edinburgh.
Fingal is a 5 star floating hotel, permanently docked at the historic Edinburgh waterfront. If you are looking for luxury hotels in Edinburgh then your search can stop now, Fingal is the answer. This boutique hotel has 23 rooms of the highest standard and there are 5 rooms to choose from:
- Classic Cabin
- Luxury Cabin
- Classic Duplex
- Luxury Duplex
- Skerryvore Suite
Find out more at https://www.fingal.co.uk
A place to get a coffee in Edinburgh
You will never be far away from a quality caffeine fix on your trip to Edinburgh. With so much choice, it was hard for us to pick a single coffee shop but we got there in the end! A former upcycling outlet now serves some of the best coffee in town: Tea & Sympathy.
Tea & Sympathy offers more than just a good cuppa though. Tasty cakes on plates and art on the wall (which you could and should consider purchasing!) give Tea & Sympathy the edge. A great place to get a memento to take or send home to remind you of this lovely place and the wider city trip.
Find Tea & Sympathy at 1e Ashley Terrace, Edinburgh EH11 1RF
A place to get a drink in Edinburgh
When drawing up the shortlist for the best pubs and bars in Edinburgh, one stood out from the rest. It’s not a fancy cocktail bar (there are lots of them in the city if you are looking for that!) but Cold Town House is a dream.
Not only do the fab team at Cold Town House serve up scrumptious pizza and prosecco, they brew their own beer on-site too. Pick a sunny day and you can make the most of their terrace overlooking the castle or warm up next to the central fire pit.
Depending on when you visit, you may be in luck and experience live music or other events that are regularly hosted at the Cold Town House. You can plan ahead and see what’s on here.
Set your map to: 4 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2JU for a good time.
A place to eat in Edinburgh
You will not fail to notice the sea that sits so close to the Edinburgh city centre. It is for that reason that our food pick is a seafood one! Seafood lovers will rejoice at Naples-inspired menu at the Locanda de Gusti.
Rather than explain each menu item line by line (and I would, happily), take a browse of their menu here.
Whatever dish(es) you choose to have, topping it off with a Tiramisu will be the perfect finish to a meal at Locanda De Gusti. Buon Appetito!
Find Locanda De Gusti at 102 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2DW
A thing to do in Edinburgh
If you happen to be visiting in August then try to get yourself tickets to the world-famous Edinburgh Tattoo. The annual spectacle combines Scottish military tradition with modern influencers from around the globe. Entertaining displays, marches and music creates a memorable experience for the whole family.
Looking for something for the rest of the year? The National Museum of Scotland is home to impressive collections and exhibitions all year round. This directory on the museum website will provide you with a guide to what is on when you are visiting Edinburgh.
Entry to the National Museum of Scotland is free and provides hours of entertainment and education – can’t complain about that!
A thing to pack for your trip to Edinburgh
Our packing tip for Edinburgh is a pair of walking boots. The city is perfect for walking around and taking in the sights of Edinburgh. Whether you are heading over the meadows or around the stunning castle, the right footwear will make that even more enjoyable.
If you fancy a bit more of a hike, set your sights for the top of Arthur’s Seat and climb the 251m to the top. You will be rewarded with beautiful sites across the city and sea before the descent in to the Royal Mile.
The Netherlands is a popular city break destination partly because it is so quick and easy to get to from the UK. Amsterdam is the default destination for holidaymakers but there is so much more to the Netherlands than the capital city.
Cargo’s pick for a slightly different Netherlands city break in 2020 is Utrecht. Situated only 25 minutes by train from Schiphol Airport, Utrecht is all our favourite bits of Amsterdam without the same level of crowds (and tourist traps).
Canals, brown cafes (to get an undersized Heineken), water-side cafe’s and bar, flowers and independent shops make Utrecht a beautiful place to visit. Land in Amsterdam and then head out to Utrecht if you want something extra special in 2020.
Getting to Utrecht
Utrecht is a very easy city to get to from the UK. There are flights all day long from airports up and down the country to Amsterdam. Schnipol airport in the Netherlands is a European transport hub and an airport you could spend days in!
Once you leave Arrivals at Schnipol, you will be greeted with the comprehensive train network that will carry you to Utrecht. First, you will need to get a ticket from one of the self-service machines. There are plenty of machines so you don’t have to hang around in long queues. The menu on the ticket machines are easy to understand with an English language option and simple destination search.
Tickets are priced at €8 and the journey takes 26 mins. You need to board a train destined for Heerlen, Maastricht and Nijmegen which will be highlighted on the departure boards with the correct platform information. These trains go up to every 10 minutes so you are never too far away from your train.
Tip: you need to scan your ticket before boarding the train and there are no barriers to remind you. Touch the ticket against the pad before getting on the escalator for ease.
Utrecht station is in the heart of the city so you don’t need to worry about any further transport at this stage!
A place to stay in Utrecht
Utrecht is one of the oldest towns in Netherlands so you will find some amazing historic buildings to stay in. Our pick is ZIES and that is not only because it has a wine bar! Located in a prime position near museums and attractions with a 10 min journey to Dom Tower, ZIES is perfectly located in Utrecht.
ZIES is a boutique hotel with beautifully decorated rooms each with an individual touch. A standout feature we love about ZIES is the southern Europe tapas and wine available on demand. If that isn’t heaven then we don’t know what is!
Tip: book directly at https://www.zies-utrecht.nl/en/ to save €10 on your stay
A place to get a coffee in Utrecht
You will not struggle to find a diverse range of places to get a coffee in Utrecht. Churches have been converted and flower shops serve cold brew in this quirky city. Our vote, however, goes to a coffee with a strong nod to the Netherlands’ connection to Indonesia.
Kopi Susu is a cultural cafe whose name actually means “mixed descent” and that ethos is evident throughout. A regular schedule of live music and events attracts locals who also enjoy Indonesian high tea and other tasty treats. Sustainability is at the core of the food and drink offering which is something to celebrate!
You can see the latest Kopi Susu menu here. The menu is in Dutch but, as with the rest of the Netherlands, you will easily get by in English! If you want to understand the menu before you go, Google Translate is your friend.
A place to get a drink in Utrecht
This suggestion is a slightly different one as we aren’t going to name a specific establishment, Instead, our tip on the best place to get a drink in Utrecht is to peer down as you walk down the canal and find a table on the waterside.
There is no shortage of canal-side cafés, bars and eateries to choose from and they all serve, at the very least, a cold fluitje of beer.
A place to eat in Utrecht
When in the Netherlands, it would be wrong not to try a waffel. Utrecht has some good options to try this Dutch delicacy but there is one outlet that trumps them all: Waffel. It is the name after all!
These Instagram-worthy sweet treats can be made to your exact taste with cinnamon, strawberry and everything in-between on offer. This is the perfect eatery if you want to relive the feeling of being a kid in a sweet shop!
You can find this beautiful shop at Vismarkt 2 Utrecht. Pop in for a Stroopwaffel and coffee for the energy boost to discover the rest of Utrecht.
A thing to do in Utrecht
Utrecht is home to the oldest and highest church tower in the whole of the Netherlands. Built in the 14th Century, the Dom Tower dominates the skyline of Utrecht. Standing at 112 metres high and housing some heavyweight bells that ring out throughout the day, the Dom Tower is a landmark not to be missed.
Work off the stroopwaffel as you climb 465 steps to the top of the tower. When you take your last step you are rewarded with views across Utrecht and beyond. It is no secret that the Netherlands is a very flat country and that is rarely more evident than when you look out from the Dom Tower. You are met with views of neighbouring towns church spires including Montfoort, Oudewater, Woerden Amersfoort, Rhenen and even Amsterdam.
Tickets to go up the Dom Tower are currently priced at €10 for adults and €5 for children.
A thing to pack for Utrecht
A simple suggestion that will easily fit in your Cargo: a pair of binoculars. These will come in handy when you are at the top of the Domtoren bell tower and help you see that bit further.
Make the most of the highest tower in the country with the visual aid binoculars offer!
The Hungarian capital of Budapest is much more than a cheap beer-fuelled stag-do destination. Those seeking history, culture and sightseeing are in for a treat on a city break to Budapest.
Budapest is actually made up of different locations that sit either side of the incredible Danube river. Buda and Pest are now combined to make up the fabulous city of Budapest. The Danube holds a lot of meaning for the city and that becomes clear as you discover the Hungarian capital.
You should consider a few days in Budapest during 2020.
Getting to Budapest
Budapest is a popular European city break destination so there are regular flights from all international UK airports. Skyscanner will throw up some options for you!
Hungary sits +1hr on UK time so you certainly don’t have any jet lag issues to worry about! Flight times vary depending on your departure airport so here are the headline flight times from the UK to Budapest:
London -> Budapest 2hr 15minutes
Edinburgh -> Budapest 3hr
Birmingham -> Budapest 2hr 50minutes
Manchester -> Budapest 2hr 55minutes
Glasgow -> Budapest 3hr 15minutes
Nottingham -> Budapest 2hr 40minutes
A place to stay in Budapest
We’ve already said how important the Danube River is to the city and so our hotel pick reflects that. Lanchid 19 Design Hotel is situated on the banks of the Danube with spectacular views across the river from its prime spot below the Buda Royal Castle.
The chic modern rooms will make you never want to leave! It is worth noting that not all rooms have a river view but you can guarantee one when booking by choosing a “River View” room. They are slightly more expensive but worth the additional fee if you think you’ll be spending a good amount of time in your room.
In terms of location, the Lanchid 19 Design Hotel couldn’t be better positioned. At the heart of the city and within walking distance of all notable sights, you can’t beat this neighbourhood! There is a private shuttle bus that transfers passengers between the airport and hotel; the trip takes 50 minutes to complete.
A place to get a coffee in Budapest
Go to the oldest coffee house in the city to experience a slice of Budapest history (and cake). Ruszwurm Cukrászda has been open and serving locals since 1827. This unassuming café serves cakes that are worth queuing for (and you may have to!).
If you can grab a table then take a seat and make the most of the backdrop, quality coffee and delicious cakes. Top cake picks are the Dobos Torte and Cream Pastry that will set you up for the day!
A place to eat in Budpest
Fine dining doesn’t have to be stuffy and that is true of the world class experience at Zincenco Kitchen. This amazing restaurant is open Thursday – Saturday only and is run by husband and wife team: Igor and Zaida. Their surname, Zincenco, is over the door and they take incredible pride in the experience and food they serve to expectant guests.
At Zincenco, you will find Hungarian food at its finest. Opt for the taster menu to truly get the best that this restaurant has to offer. It deserves the time! It is no surprise that Zincenco takes the #1 spot on Trip Advisor as the best restaurant in Budapest.
Find out everything you need to know about this restaurant in English here.
A thing to do in Budapest
Following on the river theme, taking to the water is a must when in Budapest. The banks of the Danube river that runs through the middle of the city are, rightly, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are a whole range of river cruises available on the Danube. Dinner cruises, shows on the water, craft beer tasting and much more are available. A quick Google search will bring up a host of reputable companies where you can pre-book your trip so you can start to look forward to it!
Our tip would be to opt for an evening cruise. This would give you a unique perspective with the lit-up banks of both Buda and Pest. The castle and other city landmarks stand out spectacularly against a night sky and it’s something you will remember for a long time to come!
A thing to pack for Budapest
This may be a bit boring but, in the dry summer heat of Hungary, moisturiser is a must. A good moisturiser will make your trip much more comfortable and your skin will thank you!
If you are just travelling with hand luggage, remember to check your airlines latest liquid allowance so you don’t get it confiscated at security!
Wherever you end up going in 2020, Cargo luggage would love to come with you. Cargo is a luggage-on-demand service that delivers a quality case when you need it and pick it up when you don’t. Find out more at getcargo.co.uk