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TOP 5: WEEKEND CITY BREAKS

29.04.15

We've rounded up five brilliant breaks in the coolest cities, advising on what to wear, eat, see, drink and do. So, wherever your weekend breaks may take you this year, your getaway is sure to be undeniably stylish.

STOCKHOLM

As Sweden's capital (and the de facto epicentre of all things Scandi-cool) Stockholm is a fertile ground for exploration. In-between people spotting and foraging for fika, you'll find a world-class destination that boasts tranquillity, modernity and arguably the very best of modern Scandinavia.Thanks to the city's archipelago arrangement, Stockholm's surrounding stretches of blue sea mean that there's never a shortage of natural beauty.

Eat: Midday coffee and cake is the simple yet undoubtedly appealing premise behind the Swedish tradition of fika. Go for yours at Il Caffé in the capital’s up-and-coming Sofo district.

Sleep: A stone's throw from Stockholm East station, Ett Hem hotel fuses modern luxury with homely charm. Housed in a elegant town house, you'll find a library, bar and rooms which manage to be both cosy and contemporary.

See: Located in the centre of the Swedish capital, Södermalm is teeming with creative flair. Eateries and shops have a distinctly artisanal feel which is perfectly in keeping with the city's authentic identity.

BARCELONA

Barcelona is undeniably one of Europe's most popular destinations, and with its exhaustive list of attractions it's not hard to see why. An array of impressive architecture teamed with a consistently agreeable weather forecast make the Spanish city a natural choice for those seeking a sun-dappled getaway.

Eat: The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria  (or La Boqueria) is one of the city’s most popular food markets, loved by locals and tourists alike. A riot of colour and taste, the market’s various stalls play out like a culinary Aladdin’s cave. Satiate your morning appetite and beat the crowds by arriving early.

Sleep: Though it may be located smack bang in the middle of Barcelona’s bustling heart, the Grand Hotel Central offers a stylish respite from the city’s restless pace. Its five stars render it a pricier option, but the view from the hotel’s rooftop pool is near priceless – a true oasis of calm.

See: Barcelona's eclectic melting pot of architecture is undoubtedly one of the city's main draws. Look out for architect Gaudi's inimitable style strewn all across the city.

BERLIN

Described by many as offering a brutal charm, Berlin's industrial feel may not offer the same picturesque presentation of many of its European counterparts, however an authentic creative spirit paired with the city's starkly apparent history mean that a stay in Berlin is a world away from the humdrum and banal.

Eat: Don’t be fooled by the name, Berlin’s Cookies Cream is an achingly hip vegetarian restaurant housed in a concrete former cinema site. Cool, current and affordably priced, it’s a must-visit for even the staunchest of carnivores.

Sleep: The German outpost of the infamous London private members’ club, Soho House Berlin offers that same in-crowd feel but with a distinctly Germanic sensibility. Behind the Grade II-listed building’s imposing façade lie individually designed rooms, a spa, a cinema and a library which together almost eliminate the need to venture outdoors.

See: Culture vultures will of course want to see at least a part of the infamous Berlin Wall. We recommend heading to the East Side Gallery to see the largest remaining section of the wall which has been converted into an open-air gallery. Murals muse on the impact of the wall and other politically minded themes, providing the ideal venue for soaking up the city’s recent history.

LISBON

For its aesthetic qualities alone, Lisbon stakes a strong claim to being one of Europe’s most lusted-after destinations. The Portuguese capital’s visual charms are only the beginning of its attractions however as the city is a fertile ground for exploration and discovery. When the sun retreats, the daytime’s museums and meandering backstreets give way to a surprisingly vivacious night-life. In short, there’s a lot to love about Lisbon.

Eat: Lisbon’s unpretentious reputation is reflected in culinary offerings which chiefly focus on executing good food well. To sample some of the city’s finest seafood and classic dishes, head to Cervejaria Ramiro, a restaurant which has become something of a local treasure thanks to its cheerful service and people-pleasing menu.

Sleep: Suitably close (but not too close) to Lisbon’s energetic Bairro Alto district, Casa do Pátio is ideally located. The hotel’s patio places vividly coloured furniture against whitewashed walls which gives the hotel vibrant charm, while views from the 4th floor rooms are some of the finest in the city.

See: Though the Bairro Alto district may be somewhat sleepy during daytime hours, come nightfall the area recasts itself as the home to the city’s great and good. Teeming with bars, eateries and late night dancing spots, Bairro Alto is a must-go for those seeking out Lisbon’s celebratory spirit.

COPENHAGEN

The antithesis of a sprawling metropolis, Copenhagen is a city with feet-friendly dimensions meaning that it's perfect for discovering on foot (or two wheels) over a weekend. Refined Nordic cuisine and a rich cultural history make Copenhagen a must-visit for those looking for a stylish yet subdued weekend getaway.

Drink: Though the accolade of offering Europe’s best coffee is hotly contested, it’s a safe assertion to say that Copenhagen’s coffee scene is in more than rude health. The Torvehallerne market is home to stalls selling seasonal, high-quality goods, so before you embark on your scavenging, we recommend heading to Coffee Collective for a lovingly-crafted caffeine fix.

Sleep: For an authentic taste of Scandinavian style head to the Copenhagen Island Hotel which is all clean lines and minimal design. Further afield than some of the centrally located venues, views of the harbour (which can be viewed from premium rooms and the hotel’s restaurant) are arresting.

See: Copenhagen’s little lauded Meatpacking District is a small enclave of gritty living which offers respite from the city’s refined sensibility. The Danish capital’s hippest head here for the up-and-coming night-life, culinary and creative scenes.