Europe’s most laidback capitals

Tuesday, 27 September 2011 9:55 AM

City breaks can bring fun, excitement and adventure and make a long weekend feel like a week long, however sometimes they’re hectic, crowded and stressful and we feel like we need another one as soon as we’ve come back! So, we’ve scoured the cities of Europe to find you the continent’s most laidback capitals so you can relax, unwind and come back from your city break feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Valletta
The pint-sized Maltese capital of Valletta is charming and quaint. While the island of Malta may get busy during the summer and is synonymous with party holidays, Valletta still retains its laidback attitude with most of the nightclubs and beaches being located elsewhere on the island.

It’s a beautiful city of domed churches and delightful architecture, surrounded by rocky cliffs and glittering waves. History is packed into every square inch of this capital city and what could be more calming and laidback than ambling around the city’s museums stopping for coffee and Italian delights at the city’s huge number of pretty cafes.

Brussels
While maybe not the first choice on everybody’s list for a city break, Belgium’s capital makes for an intriguing city break. It’s been labelled everything from odd to elegant, lacklustre, to boasting a melting pot of cultures.

But none of this really matters when you’re after a peaceful city break. Brussels has a casual atmosphere where locals love nothing more than whiling the day away in one of its many street side cafes. So, sit back, relax and appreciate this city’s love of fine food, by sampling from its chocolate shops, excellent restaurants and fine wines.

Stockholm
With its beautiful archipelago littered with tiny islands and small sail boats bobbing in and out of them how could anyone not feel relaxed in Sweden’s charming capital? There are plenty of opportunities to get away from it all in this city. Just look out across it’s skyline of butter and burnt orange buildings with the sparkling sea and string of rocky islands beyond and you’ll instantly feel relaxed.

Stroll around the labyrinth of cobble stone streets in the old town of Gamla Stan perusing the shops and boutiques and stop for dishes of ice cream. When you mix this beauty with the friendliness and helpfulness of its residents you’ll see that Stockholm truly is a relaxed capital.

Vienna
Austria’s capital gives off an air of relaxed elegance with its graceful architecture and wide boulevards. Almost half of the space occupied by the city of Vienna is given over to parkland and with so much green space; one can’t help but slow down and chill out. It’s the perfect city for picnics, cycling or strolling down the refined river Danube. The city even has its forest on the city limits where you will feel like you’re not even in a city at all.

The Viennese also know how to entertain themselves in a relaxed and poised way too, with beautiful art and summer nights filled with locals nibbling on canapés and sipping fine wines in elegant courtyards. And what could be more tranquil than a trip to the opera or a concert to listen to the sweet sounds of Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven or Schubert.

Vilnius
Lithuania’s quirky capital is sure to calm the senses with its UNESCO World Heritage charm and city dotted with narrow streets and beautiful parks. And since the city is not that well known with tourists yet, you’ll find it quiet and not at all crowded.

The city is full of Renaissance and Baroque architecture and old hidden courtyards where you can relax with a drink or explore art galleries and artists’ studios.

So, why not think about one of these laidback capitals for your next city break? Places where you can chill out and relax rather than rush around a hectic, crowded, tourist strewn city in a mad weekend dash.


 

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