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Alternative city breaks

 Alternative city breaks For those who just want to get away for a short time or can only spare a long weekend for a change of scenery, a city break is an ideal option. But whilst the romance of Paris, the history of Rome or the nightlife of Reykjavik are much loved, they are also well-travelled paths.

For something a bit more unexpected, adventurous or special, there are plenty of amazing, ‘unsung’ cities in Europe that would make for a memorable weekend.

These cities make for a perfect opportunity to escape the crowds and take in some unfamiliar culture this year! The TopDog Insurance team look at some great cities that are worth exploring.

Bern, Switzerland

Charming and alluring, the capital of Switzerland was anointed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 with the historic old town being a must-see attraction. If you enjoy cycling, try the E-bike Experience and choose from 3 routes of the ‘Tour de Bern’ to explore this city. Visit the famous Clock Tower (Zytglogge), the cathedral (a great example of Late Gothic architecture), the Bear Park (Bärengraben) with its four live bears as living symbols of the city and the scenic views from the Rose Garden. Just a short train ride from Zurich, for a few days of culture, leisure and entertainment, Bern is a top place to visit!

Nicosia, Cyprus

The capital of Cyprus, often described as ‘the heart and soul of the country’, is the place to visit for a taste of both Greek and Turkish cultures. Steeped in history and with many archaeological sites of interest, the old city of Nicosia has a personality of its own and the best way to explore the Venetian-built walls and bastions is on foot. For stunning views of the city, head to the Observatory in the Ledra Museum. As with many modernising cities, there is a wealth of new galleries, boutiques, souvenir shops and cafés to enjoy. For added relaxation, enjoy the famous Turkish baths and saunas. And the short drive from Larnaca Airport makes Nicosia perfect for your city break!

Regensburg, Germany

One of the oldest medieval cities in the country, Regensburg in the southern state of Bavaria is brimming with history. Visit the oldest preserved stone bridge in the country, the Steinerne Brücke, being 309m long and roughly 865 years old. In addition, no visit would be complete without a visit to St Peter’s Cathedral. At over 105m high this is a true landmark of the city plus it has a renowned choir in the Regensburger Domspatzen. You can eat at the oldest sausage kitchen in the world whilst enjoying the atmosphere of this city or visit St Emmeram’s Abbey, a gorgeous historic monastery and home to one of the richest families in Germany – the princes of Thurn & Taxis. Venture here from nearby Munich for a wonderful break!

Utrecht, the Netherlands

Utrecht is a great medieval city to explore and makes for a great few days away. Old meets new here at this hub of transport, culture and history. Until the mid-16th century, this was the most important Dutch city, culturally and religiously. Built around the Dom Tower (which you can see from any point of the city), the car-free city centre boasts beautiful canals, café terraces and lovely parks. The Centraal Museum is a must-see, even just for its permanent art collection dedicated to the iconic children’s character Miffy! Utrecht is awash with art, architecture and activities to make your stay memorable. Head here from Amsterdam and revel in the good times!

Bilbao, Spain

This charismatic provincial capital and largest of the Basque cities, located on the banks of the Nervión river has a cosmopolitan feel to it making it an ideal urban retreat. As one of the main economic and cultural hubs in northern Spain, it has particular international recognition as an architectural point of reference. Best known for its Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum of modern art, it’s an absolute must-visit for anyone coming here! With great gastronomic options, a heritage rich in culture and some wonderful tourist attractions, it’s no surprise thousands head here each year. The city is also well placed for outdoor activities in the hilly countryside around it!

Wherever your travels take you and whichever city you are fortunate enough to visit, we at TopDog Insurance are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away. Safe travels!

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