European City Breaks That Are Off The Beaten Track

So you've done all the major cities in Europe. Now it's time to try somewhere fresh and fabulous for your next weekend away.

There's a daunting number of offbeat options, so we've done the hard work and whittled them down to the top seven choices for culture, sights and adventure.

We've even priced up some of our favourite options based on two people travelling in June.

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1. Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku

The capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, doesn't normally feature on city-break shortlists, but it’s time it did. Its spectacular skyline features towering skyscrapers which are illuminated by flames at night.

The city’s old quarter is such a cultural treasure, it's protected by UNESCO.

Don’t miss: The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center is to Baku what the Guggenheim museum is to Bilbao, and then some. It’s one of the architectural wonders of the modern world.

Return flights from Dublin to Baku

Approximately €534 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €1,285 to €1,556

Book Baku with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 2,532 Real Rewards points back – that's €25 worth of Real Rewards points!!

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen

The Danish capital isn’t just home to The Little Mermaid and a popular lager. One of its main attractions is Tivoli Gardens, a city centre theme park that's been enchanting families for more than a century. The rides aren't for the faint-hearted and the fireworks display every evening is a must see.

A walking tour of the city is well worth a krone or ten. It'll give you a fascinating ground-level insight into the capital's history - and you'll see where the best bars and coffee houses are.

Don’t Miss: The grounds of the Royal Palace, home to the Royal Family, are open to the public.

Return flights from Dublin to Copenhagen

Approximately €100 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €809 to €1,039

Book Copenhagen with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 2,717 Real Rewards points back – that's €27 worth of Real Rewards points!

3. Nantes, France

Nantes

If ever a city was like a vision from a fairy tale, it’s Nantes, with its fortified ramparts and medieval gates.

The birthplace of the ultimate adventure story author, Jules Verne, is also renowned as one of Europe’s greenest and most artistic cities. Alongside its historic grandeur, Nantes is buzzing with culture.

Every summer, it hosts an amazing array of art installations and stunning open-air performances along a 10km ‘Green Line’. It’s also home to the Royal de Luxe, one of the world’s leading street theatre companies whose jaw-dropping shows have to be seen to be believed.

Don’t miss: Les Machines de l'île, an amazing park full of mechanical versions of animals, birds and fish. It’s a radical transformation of an abandoned shipyard.

Return flights from Dublin to Nantes

Approximately €185 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €618 to €836

Book Nantes with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 1,768 Real Rewards points back – that's €17 worth of Real Rewards points!

4. Weimar, Germany

Weimar

History flows through the German city of Weimar, where almost every other building is a castle or ‘schloss’. It was the epicentre of Germany's age of enlightenment in the 18th century.

If you love classical music, you'll feel right at home, as it's the city of Bach and Liszt. Giant of German literature, Goethe, also lived here.

If that's not enough culture for you, philosopher Nietzsche wrote some of his most controversial work in the city, while icon of abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky, taught in the city’s Bauhaus School of Art and Architecture.

Don’t miss: Wartburg in nearby Eisenhach, a classical castle in which Luther translated the Bible and Wagner set Tannhauser. It's history on an operatic scale!

Return flights from Dublin to Weimar

Approximately €246 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €678 to €722

Book Weimar with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 1,182 Real Rewards s points back – that's €11 worth of Real Rewards points!

5. San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian

The seaside city on the northern coast of Spain was traditionally the Spanish Royal Family's holiday hotspot – and no wonder.

There's a beautiful beach within a short walk of the bustling city centre. And it’s home to some of the world’s best restaurants, with more Michelin stars per square foot than any other city.

In 2016, San Sebastian shared the European Capital of Culture title with Poland’s Wroclaw and the legacy of that year-long extravaganza can still be felt.

Situated as it is in the Basque Country, the city has had its troubles. But through symbolic art projects, such as The Lighthouse of Peace, it’s now leading the way towards a more hopeful future.

Don’t Miss: A trip on the funicular, an ancient train which travels from near the beach to the top of Monte Igueldo. From this vantage point, you can see San Sebastian at its most spectacular.

Return flights from Dublin to San Sebastian

Approximately €240 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €763 to €822

Book San Sebastian with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 1,506 Real Rewards points back – that's €15 worth of Real Rewards points!

6. St Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg

Founded by Peter the Great, this metropolis on the shore of the Baltic Sea is home to some of the most majestic royal buildings in Europe.

In the Winter Palace, possibly the world’s most valuable art gallery, its throne room features a floor covered in gold leaf. Needless to say, visitors aren't allowed to walk on it!

Near-priceless works by masters such as Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo are displayed throughout the palatial complex. Outside, in a massive paved area, some of the most momentous scenes from the Russian Revolution were played out.

Don’t miss: The White Nights festival, held in June, has nightly fireworks displays, and the best of Russian opera and ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. If you haven’t been to a Russian ballet, you haven’t been to ballet.

Return flights from Dublin to St Petersburg

Approximately €275 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €747 to €1013

Book St Petersburg with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 1,939 Real Rewards points back – that's €19 worth of Real Rewards points!

7. Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev

You might know the Ukrainian capital for the Orange Revolution that unpeeled itself there. Or maybe for last year's Eurovision!

Wherever your head's at, you'll find loads to love about this city of contrasts. There are magnificent churches and monuments to visit by day, and legendary nightclubs to hit when the sun goes down.

Kiev's skyline is dominated by the golden and green domes of its churches, St Sophia’s, St Michael's and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a cave monastery dug out by hermit priests.

Don’t miss: The chilli-infused vodka drink, pertsovka. After a tour of the churches, you'll need a bit of refreshment.

Return flights from Dublin to Kiev

Approximately €274 per person

Accommodation (Three-night stay for two in June)

Total cost for two: approximately €829 to €995

Book Kiev with ebookers via SuperValu eShops and get up to 1,889 Real Rewards points back – that's €18 worth of Real Rewards points!

 

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