There are some very popular tourist cities and it is easy to see why these 'classic' destinations are so often visited. However, there are many alternative city breaks available. The difficulty comes, of course, in deciding where you want to go, as all these places have so much to offer.
The Classic Destinations
Rome is the classis 'Eternal City', with its iconic sights, laidback lifestyle and great food, it is ideal at any time of the year.
Another wonderful classic destination is Paris. This is another city blessed with beautiful architecture and a rich and varied culture, as well as an air of sophistication. Again, the food doesn't disappoint and it is so accessible to the UK that it is easy to visit just for a weekend.
For those wanting to go further, head for 'The Big Apple'. New York City is the original city that never sleeps and there is so much for visitors to do. Everything is world famous – the museums, the sights, the shopping and the nightlife. There's something for everyone.
Recently, Barcelona has become the city to visit in Spain. Famed for its artists and artwork, it is a cultural Mecca, with Gaudi's cathedral being the outstanding symbol of the city. Barcelona has had a huge regeneration, making it an attractive city with a relaxed attitude and great street life. It is also very easy to get to from the UK.
Another classic city is Prague, which is great for history lovers. It has some beautiful historic buildings surrounded by atmospheric, narrow, cobbled streets. The castle and the cathedral are both fascinating buildings. Prague has become hugely popular amongst UK visitors, as it is both beautiful and reasonably priced with good tourist amenities.
However, there are now plenty of alternative destinations to challenge the classics.
The southern Polish city of Krakow is a wonderful place. Its medieval centre is a UNESCO site and is overlooked by an impressive castle. This city is wonderful to walk around, thanks to its compact size. It also has some great street life. Accessibility and price make Krakow particularly attractive.
Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital, makes a truly unique break. The city is small but it is a great base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and see the volcanoes or enjoy a natural hot bath. Iceland has become more affordable lately and there really is nowhere like it on Earth.
Spain is always popular but aside from Barcelona and the coast, it is easy to forget about other places. Seville is an often overlooked city. It is small, full of history and has a fascinating blend of Spanish and North African culture and architecture.
Istanbul is another city blessed with an amazing location and thousands of years of history. The whole place is a tremendous blend of cultures. You can visit some great museums, travel across the Golden Horn, explore markets and enjoy some traditional food.
Slovenia is a very new country, but its capital Ljubljana has had a long history. This small, beautiful city is ideal for outdoor types because of its access to the Julian Alps, which are ideal for hiking, mountain biking or skiing in the winter months. It has the feel of Italy without the prices and is a great holiday alternative.
The classics are safe and well known. You can be sure of what you are going to get. Alternative destinations, however, are often cheaper but are a slight journey into the unknown that can offer even more adventure.