While the hustle and bustle of European cities usually make them the perfect escape for adults, a city break can also be the perfect chance for families to relax and refresh.
If beach breaks are a bit too lazy for your brood, then here are some excellent European city breaks for families to enjoy this autumn half-term – as well as British Moroccan favourite, Marrakech.
1) Dubrovnik, Croatia
October in Croatia is still bright and balmy, with just enough of a hint of summer caress that lingers in the air. Arguably one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, you can also expect to see the glistening turquoise Adriatic in all its glory on a quick city break to Dubrovnik.
A charming old town based right on the sea, Dubrovnik is one of the most picturesque city breaks you could visit this autumn – in fact Croatia has become a popular timeshare destination and was one of this summer’s top favourites. Expect plenty of elegant buildings, immaculately clean marble floors, medieval city walls and cobbled streets filled with restaurants and cafes. Kids will also love to know that Game of Thrones is filmed right here…
2) Cadiz, Spain
Full of history, Cadiz is Europe’s oldest inhabited city, making it a great learning adventure. The Tia Norica Puppet Theatre is home to the remains of one of Europe’s earliest settlements (you can look in on preserved streets and skeletons – perfect for bored teenagers), who were destroyed by a massive fire across the town. There is also plenty of time for tapas and beaches, with stretches of uncrowded seaside to enjoy. The tapas are excellent and parents will love the local wines.
3) Marrakech, Morocco
By October, the sizzling summer sun has cooled a little, making half-term the perfect time to explore this exotic and mysterious city. Take a stroll through the city’s 3,000 winding alleyways, before visiting Djemaa el-Fna, a riot of colour, noise, and bustle are captivating. Next, take a seat in a Gueliz café (you’ll think you’re in Paris, not Marrakech) as you watch the world go by, before heading out for a lantern-lit dinner under rustling palms in the jasmine scented evening air.
4) Reykjavik, Iceland
With Aurora season in full swing, it’s likely that the October nights will be be dark and cold enough to let you see the Northern Lights. While here, the thermal pools are a must-visit – the warm waters are the perfect place to kick back and relax those aching muscles. While the Blue Lagoon can get a little busy, the spectacular views still make it a must-visit. Whilst “warm” may be an ambitious description, you should get plenty of sunshine, even if it’s rather crisp!
5) Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon weather during the day will still be mind in October, so why not indulge in a spot of old world charm in the charm-filled Portuguese capital? Hop aboard the amphibious bus to learn the fascinating history of the city, then stop for a world-famous custard tarts – the Pastéis de Nata are a local delicacy and locals eat them for breakfast. Sun worshippers can also jump aboard a tram to enjoy the sandy beaches, just twenty minutes away. If you or your kids are surfers, this is a great base for a surfing day out.