Looking for somewhere unexpected to go for the weekend?
Travel editor Alex Gorton shares six fantastic destinations set to be the new European city break hotspots.
Best for…family fun
As the inspiration for Arendelle in Frozen, not only will Bergen appeal to young children, but to the rest of the family as well, with its cobbled streets, colourful houses and host of outdoor activities. Enjoying a spectacular waterside setting at the base of Mount Fløyen, there's hiking and swimming to be enjoyed in summer. Whilst in the winter, the floodlit mountain slopes open for sledging and cross-country skiing, fjord tours depart from the harbour and downhill skiing is just 45 minutes away.
As the Spanish capital of gastronomy for 2015, Cáceres is Europe's new foodie hotspot. 3 hours from Madrid, Cáceres is off the tourist radar, despite its Unesco world heritage centre, cobbled streets and numerous tapas bars. With a host of food-themed events happening throughout the year, visitors can try local specialities such as torta del casar, a famous local sheep's cheese. The jewel in the city's gastro crown is Atrio, a two-Michelin starred restaurant (and hotel) with a stunning menu and contemporary design.
Arguably as attractive as Bruges, but significantly less touristy, this pretty Flemish city is only ½ hour by train from Brussels. With a network of canals criss-crossing the city, Ghent was once a bustling port with plenty of warehouses that have since been converted into restaurants, hotels and apartments. Rent a bike and explore the canal-side pathways or lose yourself on foot in the maze of winding streets and picturesque squares.
Nicknamed the "new Berlin", Leipzig has a burgeoning arts scene and in 2015, a host of events marking the city's 1,000th anniversary. Artists have turned the city's once derelict factories, such as the must-visit Spinnerei, into buzzing creative hubs. The streets of Plagwitz are now full of cool hangouts, while the city centre is home to attractions such as the Museum der Bildenden Künste. As the birthplace of Wagner, Leipzig can be explored via the Leipziger Notenspur, a trail through the city marking its musical history.
Best for…outdoor adventure
Innsbruck is the ultimate action-packed destination. Nestled at the foot of the Tirol, this gorgeous Austrian city is famed for its picturesque old town, Zaha Hadid-designed funicular railway and the abundance of outdoor activities. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are on offer, whilst during the summer, visitors can go hiking, biking, rafting and climbing. Back in town, attractions include the Imperial Palace and St James Cathedral.
The capital of Macedonia has recently undergone a multi-million euro regeneration project resulting in hundreds of statues, buildings and attractions being constructed. The transformed city centre is now home to a 22 metre high statue of Alexander the Great, while away from the centre, the Old Bazaar is the main draw with its winding alleys, mosques and a hilltop fort.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author,
and do not necessarily reflect the views of M&S Bank.