city weekend breaks | best city weekend breaks in europe | city weekend breaks in usa | city breaks | 2 day city breaks

Best City Weekend Breaks (2 Day Itineraries)

I don’t run Blond Wayfarer as my full time job, so I understand the importance of city weekend breaks and other shorter trips. 

I mean, even though it would be magical to drop everything and travel long term, this type of never-ending adventure isn’t feasible for a lot of people.

Actually, a nomadic life isn’t a possibility for the majority of people.

And if you live in the United States (like me!), you’re probably dealing with limited vacation time. I mean, you want those two weeks to matter, don’t you?

I don’t want to just pick on the United States, though.

Even if you reside in a country with extensive mandated vacation time, perhaps living out of a backpack for weeks on end still doesn’t appeal to you. The backpacking lifestyle isn’t always the carefree dream promoted on travel blogs and Youtube channels.

edinburgh is a wonderful weekend getaway in europe

Can I be perfectly honest with all of you?  I actually love my apartment and real job, haha. Stability makes me happy. Sometimes I like coming home to a quiet living room and watching my favorite shows on Netflix.

Truth be told, I would actually hate not having a permanent address.

As you’ve probably noticed, I write a ton of 2 day itineraries on this blog, because I think a lot of people benefit from short weekend getaways and city breaks. 

A quick change of scenery will whet your appetite for wanderlust, as well as give your mental health a needed boost and not deplete your vacation time for the year.

And we all need a dose of travel happiness, right? Right!

your city break holidays in europe should include budapest

My Favorite City Weekend Breaks

Welcome to my comprehensive post on my favorite city weekend breaks. In this guide, you’ll discover a sample of diverse cities (and smaller towns!) to plan your next two day getaway. 

For this guide, I’ve written snippets about my favorite places to take a quick break. Under each destination, you’ll find a “read more” link that’ll take you to much, much, much longer 2 day itineraries to help you plan your getaways. 

Happy travels, my friends!

take short weekend breaks abroad to amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a wonderful place to take a short weekend city break in Europe. The capital of the Netherlands has a state of the art public transportation system that takes you to all the cities’ major sites, as well as some stunning day trips such as Zaanse Schans.

Why is Amsterdam so great for a short getaway? This incredible city is home to several world class museums, namely the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. The canals are beautiful and create scenic photographs to share with all your friends and family. Solo travel to Amsterdam is a piece of cake due to the abundance of highly rated hostels and walking tours.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Amsterdam

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 short weekend breaks europe: go to berlin

Berlin, Germany

Next on our list is Germany’s funky and fun capital city Berlin.

While there are many things to do in the metro area, Berlin’s a great weekend getaway, because no matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll find an experience that speaks to your heart. 

Are you a fan of history? Do an extensive six hour walking tour to learn about Berlin’s troubled past. Do you like palaces and UNESCO World Heritage sites? Make time to go to nearby Potsdam and see the stunning Sanssouci palace. And budget travelers? You’ll fall in passionate love with Berlin, because accommodation is much cheaper than Germany’s other cities. The price is definitely right for your bank account. 

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Berlin

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city break destinations in europe - go east to budapest

Budapest, Hungary

Ahhh, Budapest is another one of my favorite cities in the entire world. Oh, Budapest. What’s not to love?

The iconic parliament building is one of Europe’s greatest architectural icons and cannot be missed. You can even tour inside. Furthermore, Budapest is a place to go to simply relax. Soak in the many natural springs, and then dress up and see an opera, followed by drinks and music in the Jewish Quarter. 

Go to Budapest whenever your schedule allows you to take a break. I’ve visited Budapest in summer and winter, and I promise I’m not exaggerating, but both seasons were spectacular in this city.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Budapest

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cinque terre is one of the best weekend destinations in europe

Cinque Terre, Italy

I know, I know. Cinque Terre isn’t a city. Rather it’s a collection of five colorful villages perched on the cliffs overlooking the Liguria Sea. 

Regardless of technicalities, Cinque Terre is a fantastic weekend getaway for anyone staying in Europe. I mean, this area is stunning with plenty of options for tourists. Cinque Terre is a place to simply be. See the churches, eat all the seafood, go on a wine tour, and ogle at Italy’s prettiest coastline. The area is perfect for two travel days.  

Not to mention, by staying in one of the five Cinque Terre villages, you’re able to go hiking early in the morning or late in the afternoon without the daytrippers clogging the paths.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Cinque Terre

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best city breaks include copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is safe and clean, which makes it a perfect place for solo travelers in Denmark. I loved walking in Han Christian Anderson’s footsteps throughout Nyhavn, seeing creative street art in Vesterbro, learning about counterculture in Christiania, and taking canals tours through the most scenic neighborhoods.

Furthermore, Copenhagen is easily walkable or bikeable if you’d rather see its charm on two wheels instead of your own two feet. Actually, Copenhagen has the highest percentage of bikes owners only behind Amsterdam. So rent a bike and see everything Copenhagen has to offer on the weekend!

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Copenhagen

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edinburgh is among the best city breaks

Edinburgh, Scotland

Okay, so, I absolutely adore Scotland for its natural wonders, but this country’s vibrant cities are also fantastic for a quick getaway. Edinburgh has so many things to do that it’s difficult to plan for only two days.

Instead think about what you love most and dedicate time to your passions. Do you like castles? See Scotland’s most visited castle (Edinburgh Castle). Are you a big hiker? Then make sure to climb Arthur’s Seat and see Edinburgh’s spectacular views. Are you a sucker for quaint towns? Then don’t skip Dean Village, which will make you feel as if you’ve magically transported to the countryside. 

Last but not least, Edinburgh is a city for book lovers. J.K. Rowling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, all have links to Edinburgh. 

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lisbon is one of the best city weekend breaks abroad

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world. I’m not kidding. As a traveler, you’ll find so many things to do in Lisbon that you won’t want to leave after the two days are done. 

I loved Lisbon’s many neighborhoods. For example, getting lost in the steep streets of the Alfama District is an absolute delight. You never know what charming cafes or boutiques you will encounter in Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood. Last but not least, Lisbon has some of the world’s greatest hostels, which is why I always recommend solo travel in Portugal to everyone who reads this blog. 

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Lisbon

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taking a weekend in munich is a wonderful idea

Munich, Germany

Munich is another delightful city to spend two days. I especially loved Munich in the summer due to the high concentration of beer gardens. Having a hearty meal outside is always a great experience. However, even if you don’t like beer, Munich still has plenty of things to do.

Some of my favorite experiences in Munich are seeing the surfers in Englischer Garten, checking out great art in the Pinakothek museums, ogling at the opulence of Asam Church, and climbing St. Peter Church’s tower. Like Amsterdam, Munich has wonderful public transportation, making it possible to go everywhere in a short amount of time.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Munich

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paris is one of the best weekend destinations

Paris, France

Without a doubt, Paris is one of the most visited places in the world. The sheer size of this city overwhelms even experienced travelers, which means that you might find it hard to believe that Paris can work as a suitable two day trip.

However, iff you go to Paris to relax rather than run all over the place and compulsively sightsee, then Paris might just be the perfect weekend trip for you!

My advice is for you to carefully research the essential travel tips to know about Paris, and I promise that you’ll have an amazing two days exploring France’s avante garde capital! Just don’t rush! You can always come back!

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Paris

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salzburg is a smaller city to spend a weekend
Sing on your City Weekend in Salzburg.

Salzburg, Austria 

Salzburg’s size make it very suitable for a short two day break. Although this city is famous as the setting of “The Sound of Music,” it’s not a very big destination and all the attractions are within walking distance of each other. For instance, strolling between Salzburg’s Old and New Towns can actually be done in a single day.

For weekend adventurers, Salzburg is a wonderful place to go to see nature (the Alps dramatically sweep in the background) or learn about one of the greatest composers in history: Mozart. Not to mention, on your city weekend in Salzburg, you’ll want to scale the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Salzburg

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gorgeous san francisco skyline, one of the best cities for a weekend

San Francisco, USA

San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. I took a solo trip to San Francisco a few years ago and fell in love with the city’s diverse neighborhoods, as well as its scenic location on the bay (I’m a sucker for city’s on the water).

What’s so great about San Francisco? I loved San Francisco for its delicious food and wine. If you’re a real wine snob, it’s easy enough to take a quick trip to Napa at some point in the weekend. And, of course, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit Alcatraz. Book your tickets for the ferry in advance. Despite all the incredible sites, San Francisco isn’t as big as New York, so it’s easy to see a lot with a plan in hand. 

Just make sure to pack properly for your weekend in San Francisco. The weather’s changeable! Aka you might not fine California sun here!

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in San Francisco

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best weekend destinations include vancouver
Take a City Weekend in Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is one of the most liveable cities that I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. I highly recommend a solo trip to Canada, and if your travels take you to the west coast, then don’t skip over Vancouver. 

One of the best reasons to visit Vancouver is stunning Stanley Park. On a beautiful summer day, you can easily spend hours in the sun, walking or biking along the water, and taking pictures of the iconic First Nations Art and totem poles. Vancouver is a “nature city,” providing the best of the outdoors in an urban oasis. 

Don’t forget to gorge on sushi during your city weekend in Vancouver. You’ll find some of the best here.

Read More: How to Spend 2 Days in Vancouver

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welcome to san francisco a city break in the usa

City Weekend Breaks: My Conclusions

I hope you liked reading about the best city weekend breaks and are in the process of booking a trip right now. 

Sure, 2 day itineraries might sound like a bummer due to the short length, but I’m a firm believer in taking quick jaunts whenever you need to change your surroundings. Power through the weekends by traveling. Your life will be a lot richer with stories, photos, and colorful memories. 

Happy travels.