A city break is an ever-popular choice for Irish travellers. Not only are many of Europe’s major cities just a short flight away, a large proportion of their cultural attractions don’t depend on good weather to be enjoyed and appreciated.
What’s more, taking a European city break in March means you’ll get to enjoy a change of pace and scenery without breaking the bank or having to use any of your annual leave if you go for the weekend city break option.
Our selection of six top city breaks are bursting with things to see and do. If you are looking to explore new sights, sounds and smells, tempt yourself with one of our best city breaks in March.
Combining relaxation, amazing food and culture around every corner, a city break to Barcelona is ideal if you’re after somewhere warm and sunny, with excellent shopping opportunities and impressive architecture.
It is the perfect place to discover by foot. Stroll along one of Barcelona’s exquisite beaches before heading to the city centre and taking your time to admire the streets and some of the city’s landmark buildings, including Casa Milà – the quarry house designed by Antoni Gaudi that has no right angles.
Why not enjoy the famous Gaudí Tour this March? It includes a visit to the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Batlló and other famous attractions. This will give you a brilliant introduction to the city.
If you’re feeling a little more energetic, why not explore the city on a bicycle? The architecture in Barcelona dates back more than 2,000 years with towering temple columns, old city walls and stone corridors that will take you back to the Roman era, and a set of wheels will ensure you have plenty of time to see these impressive highlights and more.
This vibrant city is electric at night too, so enjoy a late dinner before heading to one of the city’s numerous bars… there’s no better place in Spain to dance the night away.
You’ll most definitely want to make the most of your time here, so consider an early morning flight or spending an extra day to really soak it all up.
Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe. With its long and rich history, the capital of the Czech Republic is the ideal destination to unearth hidden cultural treasures.
Nicknamed the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague is truly beautiful. The city’s best-known sights include the 14th century Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, the Old Town Hall and its medieval astronomical clock, Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral.
But there are many other sights to seek out and explore.
March is a beautiful time to visit Prague as the winter chill is finally beginning to fade. Febiofest International Film Festival is also held every March in the Cinestar Andel, close to the Old Town, while Easter Markets take place in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square when wooden huts display local handicrafts and all manner of food and drink.
Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend, city break with friends or a cultural trip with just you and your camera, Prague is the place to be.
As a city break destination in March, Amsterdam ticks many boxes – and not just for its coffee shops or quirky museums. Beyond the obvious attractions there is plenty to do here, including feasting your way along street food markets, tucking into brunch at the pancake parlour, enjoying the Heineken Experience and paying a visit to Anne Frank’s house, as well as simply kicking back and relaxing in the city’s ever-expanding number of boutique hotels.
Full of beautiful architecture, captivating scenery and so much history, Amsterdam’s gabled buildings, pretty bridges and canals make it the perfect place for a city break. With performances being held in the acoustic haven that is Concertgebouw, new hotel openings and restaurant makeovers, spring 2018 is definitely the right time to visit Amsterdam.
March in Amsterdam sees some great activities to take part in, such as exploring the world’s largest flower garden. The Keukenhof opens in the third week of March, has over 7 million bulbs and boasts a total of 800 tulips for an unforgettable botanical experience. If you’re open to it, observe in the Stille Omgang – a silent procession that commemorates the Miracle of Amsterdam that took place in 1345. It takes place on 12 March.
The capital of Italy, Rome is rich in culture and offers 3,000 years of history in its variety of landmark monuments and buildings. Of course, when in Rome, you should do as the locals do so explore the many piazzas and watch the world go by with a cup of real Italian coffee. It’s well worth checking out Piazza Navona: it’s a beautiful place to be after sunset.
Rome is also a city for indulgence. You’ll find some of the best Italian cuisine in the country, excellent cafe culture, and the shopping opportunities are plentiful too. In fact, it has been said there is more to see in Rome than in any other destination in the world with its sophistication, ancient history, modern art, restaurants and designer boutiques.
It might be a little chilly in Rome in March, but there is still plenty to do. The Feast of Santa Francesca Romana sees locals driving to the Piazzale del Colosseo (near the Church of Santa Francesca Romana) to have their car blessed on the Sunday nearest to 9 March. You can also join the commemorations of Julius Caesar’s assassination, held in the Roman Forum near the statue of Caesar on 15 March.
There is never a bad time to visit this city. During the spring and summer, you’ll be able to dine outside and in the autumn, and winter you can stay cosy and warm in one of the many beautiful hotels. You can explore the wonderful things Rome has to offer all year round, but it’s certainly one of the best city breaks in March.
Known as the city of love, Venice is a remarkable city break destination. Located in northeast Italy, Venice is the perfect setting for a magical time away with a loved one, and it’s perfect for a long, leisurely weekend.
Famous for its canals, architecture and art, couples on a romantic city break to Venice should take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal.
If you want to beat the other tourists, consider booking your gondola tour early in the morning. The waterways are lined with many different beautiful buildings and churches that date as far as 13th century, and you’ll also see Rialto Bridge, mentioned in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
If you can squeeze it into your break, consider paying a visit to the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: one of the most wonderful churches in Venice. Enjoy romantic evenings in quintessential Italian cafes, sip wine on cobblestone streets, and make your way to the Musica a Palazzo – a 15th century palace that hosts intimate opera performances.
There are excellent festivals and events happening in Venice in March, such as the Festa della Donna that celebrates Women’s Day (numerous restaurants will be offering a special menu to mark the occasion). Or time your visit for Lent and experience the grandeur of the Carnevale di Venezia, which is famous across the world for its elaborate masks.
Paris is a city that never sleeps. With its vibrant neighbourhoods packed full of people, and its music from jazz clubs, restaurants and nightclubs, there is always something happening in Paris. And, it has some magnificent architecture, churches, gardens, museums and art on offer too, making it a city that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
Behind all of Paris’ grand palaces and boulevards, there are beautiful courtyards and gardens to explore. And, of course, there are world-class shopping outlets to enjoy… even if that just means a spot of window shopping in Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Treat yourself to dinner in one of Paris’ 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, and spend your evenings sipping French wine, simply soaking up the Parisian atmosphere.
If your city break happens to fall on St Patrick’s Day, join in the celebration and party with Paris’ Irish community. Or, for something quirky, time your visit for 15 March to see athletes scaling the 1,665 steps of the Eiffel Tower as quickly as possible – the vertical race is great fun to watch.
So, which of our selection of the best city breaks in March takes your fancy? Whatever it is that you’re looking for, we have some fantastic city break offers to consider.