European hotspots

Cool culture, inspiring sights – take a break to some of Europe’s finest cities, direct from Birmingham Airport

With plenty of cities all over Europe offering cool culture and inspiring sights there’s an endless list of city break destinations for you to choose from. To help inspire you we’ve rounded up four exciting destinations that are not only new to Birmingham Airport but all offer direct flights.

PORTO: Flight time from 2 hours 20 mins

Known for being one of the oldest European centres, Porto has a thriving historical core. Its hilly, cobbled streets and bohemian character give it its alluring charm and the warm temperatures in the summer months add to the city’s appeal. Don’t be fooled by its ghostly appearance – between the empty façades, art deco neons and quiet shop fronts, Porto is steadily coming back to life.

Explore Ribeira

The southern neighbourhood of Ribeira, on the banks of the river Duoro, is the life and soul of Porto. Explore the maze of alleyways, plazas and tiled townhouses to discover some of the best restaurants in town, serving traditional cuisine with spectacular views over the river. Ribeira’s laid-back vibe is echoed in the cool cafés, free-spirited bars and general pace of life. Don’t leave without sampling Portuguese wines and tapas.

Discover the city’s past

At first glance, Porto seems derelict and abandoned, but that is exactly what makes this city so mesmerising. The crumbling urban infrastructure gives Porto a surreal aura. Join a guided tour to explore all the architecture. Visit the 13th century tower house in Bairro de Barredo – one of Porto’s oldest civilian buildings. Marvel at the gothic São Francisco church and its detailed baroque interior, or the neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa, with its mosaic-filled Arabic room.

VALENCIA: Flight time from 2 hours 45 mins

Valencia has seen some major economic developments in the last decade, adding cutting edge architecture and nightlife to the culturally vibrant Mediterranean city. Valencia has a flourishing restaurant scene, museums and shops galore, and of course, miles of sandy beach.

Experience the old traditions

Discover the historic Barrio del Carmen neighbourhood – an atmospheric, maze-like area, rocking both the hipster new and the charming old. Visiting the art nouveau Central Market is a must. With seasonal fresh fruit and veg up to your ears, this place is a feast for all your senses. You can also get a peek into Valencia’s past at Llotja de la Seda, site of the ancient silk trade and jewel of gothic architecture.

Soak up some vitamin D

The seaside is only ever a short walk away from Valencia. The sandy beaches of El Cabanyal and La Malvarrosa are within walking distance of the city centre. Here you can find the popular Paseo Marítimo and marine-inspired restaurants, serving paella and seafood tapas. Take a stroll along the city’s coastline and soak up some rays – if you’re lucky, it might even be warm enough to take a quick dip.

NAPLES: Flight times from 2 hours 55 mins

With one of the biggest historical centres in the world, housing over 400 churches as well as the iconic gulf and Mount Vesuvius, it’s a wonder Naples hasn’t received more attention. Despite its slightly shabby exterior, the city has a thriving contemporary art scene, energetic street life and exquisite cuisine.

Explore the city’s past

For an immersive experience of Naples’ history, join the Holy Mile walking tour, where you’ll get an insider’s perspective of the cosmopolitan Rione Sanità district. Visit the 12th century Norman Castle dell’Ovo at Porto Santa Lucia and watch the sun set from the top, admiring the breathtaking panoramic views over the city. And a trip to Naples wouldn’t be the same without a stop at the Museum of Archaeology, housing a collection that includes Greco-Roman art and artefacts.

Admire the spectacular geology

Visit Lake Agnano – what was once a lake on top of the Agnano volcano, is now home to steamy sulphur baths and picturesque walks. Take a trip to the Gulf of Naples, where you can admire the scenic beauty of the volcanic hills, the coastline and the Bay of Naples’ Islands. From here you are within easy reach of Pompeii, the Herculaneum ruins and the Amalfi Coast.

GOTHENBURG: Flight times from 2 hours

The cosmopolitan Swedish port of Gothenburg is often referred to as the capital’s bohemian cousin, but a recent revival has seen the city become one of Europe’s top weekend destinations. Far from its ship-building days, Gothenburg today boasts quirky boroughs, tram-clattering streets, hip cafés and gorgeous green spaces. There is no bad time to visit this vibrant city and with the weather warming up, the streets come to life once again.

Get on the water

Hop on a kayak tour and paddle your way past the city’s magnificent sights. This is a unique and peaceful way to view some of the biggest tourist’s hotspots and neoclassical architecture. Alternatively, try out the Paddan Tours that tour the city’s moat and canals, whilst providing a detailed history of the city’s construction and defence.

Shop ‘til you drop

Experience the real hustle and bustle of the city on Avenyn Boulevard. At one end of the boulevard stands the Gothenburg Museum of Art, and at the other, the oldest part of the city, surrounded by a moat. Lined with glitzy boutiques, restaurants and bars, you won’t be short of options. Make sure to check out the side streets and street art jazzing up the walk.

Getting there: Fly direct to all of these beautiful European hotspots from Birmingham Airport. With flight times from as little as 2 hours, you could be exploring a city in no time.