Mother’s Day European City Break Ideas

 

A late spring European city break is the ultimate Mother’s Day treat. We’ve uncovered three of the best destinations for a mini break and shared the best things to see, eat and buy while you are there.

Barcelona, Spain

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City break with a an option to hit the beach? Barcelona has it! Even though the weather at the end of March isn’t exactly scorchio it is definitely warm enough to enjoy al fresco dining and taking in the vistas. If you haven’t been before then a short break is best spent in a decent pair of trainers exploring the sights of the city.

What to see

Park Güell is a fantastical place comprised of the most surreal architecture and glorious gardens dreamed up by the Catalonian architect Gaudi at the start of the 1900s – a truly unique experience!

Las Ramblas is a 1.3km promenade that starts in the centre of Barcelona and stretches almost all the way to the sea. Along it you will find some of the best street performers in the world; the freshest local produce to enjoy either at the market or one of the many tapas bars nearby; and you’ll also find plenty of amazing boutiques to indulge in some retail therapy as well as museums a-plenty to explore.

La Sagrada Familia is the pinnacle of Gaudi’s expressive style, a Basilica that is so ambitious in its architecture that almost 100 years later it is still not completely finished. This incredible building is a reminder to look up wherever you go in Barcelona to truly appreciate the wonderful architecture.

Where to shop

  • For leather bags, belts and other accessories head to Beatriz Furest – the colourful collections are designed and produced in Barcelona.
  • Spanish jewellery designer Helena Rhoner has a boutique in Barcelona – the organic designs combine silver, ceramics, wood and glass.
  • For internationally renowned brands head to Passeig de Gracia, here you’ll find affordable fashion from the likes of Mango and Zara as well as high end Chanel, Hermes and Spanish luxury fashion house LOEWE.

What to eat

Tapas, tapas and more tapas! Be sure to indulge in Patatas Bravas, twice-fried potatoes with a spicy garlicy lemony dipping sauce. Paella – the seafood option is a firm favourite thanks to fresh local ingredients;  and Gazpacho, a cooling soup-like  appetiser made with extra-ripe tomatoes. La Boqueria Market is an absolute must – this is where everyone in Barcelona goes to buy the freshest local produce, and there are plenty of places to eat while you are there!

Love a mini break? Get yourself Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance, the perfect policy for the frequent traveller, especially if you like to book last-minute holidays and trips overseas.

 

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Spa Break Image

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Spa breaks don’t come much better than Budapest – after all it is the spa capital of the world! It is also a beautiful city rich in culture and varied in architectural style. At the end of March the weather is picking up, making the outdoor spas even more enticing.

What to see

Szécheny thermal baths in Budapest is a vast complex of indoor and outdoor thermal pools, 16 in total – no wonder it is the most famous of all the spas here! The neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance backdrop give an opulent feel, and it’s known for “sparties” when pop-up bars appear around the pools at night!

Parliament Building is an other must-do, both day and night, inside and out. It is located on the banks of the beautiful Danube River, and is set in gorgeous surroundings. The neo-Gothic architecture, frescoes, stained glass, sculptures and statues are nothing short of spectacular.

The subterranean world of Budapest offers a chance to explore a whole new world. There are many caves to choose from, our top tips are Pálvölgyi caves, well known for stalactites and Szemlőhegyi Cave which is lined with dazzling crystals.

Where to shop

  • Paloma Design Emporium  is a beautiful arcaded courtyard which houses a range of local designer boutiques selling clothes and accessories.
  • Váci Utca is the main shopping street in Budapest. Here you’ll find High Street favourites Zara, H&M, Mango and the like. It’s also home to plenty of cafes and eateries, and becuas eit is pedestrianised a lovely place to stop to refuel.
  • Ecseri Market at Naszód Utca is the place to be for superb flea-market finds and vintage treasure hunting. Allow a good couple of hours to visit as it is huge!

What to eat

Lángos is a classic Hungarian snack – a deep fried flatbread served warm with garlic butter and sour cream, and sometimes grated cheese and sausage too. No trip to Budapest would be complete without trying Goulash, a hearty stew flavoured with paprika and served with fresh bread, dumplings or pasta. When the weather warms up a popular dish is cold fruit soup – often eaten as a starter or appetiser. They are refreshing and light, the most popular is sour cherries with sour cream.

 

Florence, Italy

Florence Mothers Day City Break Image

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If renaissance art and architecture is your thing then Florence is THE place to be for a Mother’s Day City Break, and March is a lovely time to visit. It may be a bit drizzly, but there are far fewer crowds than summer and who minds a spot of rain when in a gallery anyway!

What to see

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo – a jaw-droppingly impressive complex of buildings that are home to masterpieces by the greatest Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Donatello and Giotto. A visual delight inside and out.

Academy Gallery has the original David by Michaelangelo, along with numerous other works by the great man himself. The gallery is also the place to go to view works by 13th to 16th century Florentine artists, Botticelli’s Madonna is one amazing highlight here!

Palazzo Vecchio offers free tours showcasing the multiple eras of archaeology, architecture, and art that Florence is known for as well as an abundance of secret passages tied into the long history of the building.  Your free tour ticket also gets you a second entry for a rooftop sunset experience you won’t want to miss.

Where to shop

  • Via de Tornabuoni is regarded as the place to be for luxury shopping in Florence, home to top designer fashion houses. Famous Italian designers Bulgari and Bergamo can be found here along with the likes of Gucci. If big spending is not your thing, it is still well worth a visit to window-shop and soak up the elegance of the architecture.
  • Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is as grand a place to shop as its name implies! This herbal pharmacy and perfumery is housed in a stunning frescoed chapel that has been it’s home since 1221. An olfactory and visual feast for the senses is guaranteed!
  • If bagging a bargain at a local market is more your vibe, head to Mercato delle Cascine, essentially an open-air department store. You won’t find any designer clobber, but plenty of high quality clothes, accessories and household goods you’ll want to take home.

What to eat

Tagliatelle funghi porcini e tartufo is a simple yet delicious dish found throughout  the city. Long flat pasta tossed in truffle and porcini mushrooms, both of which are found locally. A popular cold dish is Tagliere, a meat and cheese platter that goes down a treat with Tuscan bread and honey! Handmade Gelato from Florence is likely the best you’ll ever taste – and when hitting up the pistachio flavour, you know you have the real deal if it is closer to brown in colour – avoid bright green!

 

Love a mini break? Get yourself Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance, the perfect policy for the frequent traveller, especially if you like to book last-minute holidays and trips overseas.

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