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Great Cities to visit in Europe

Holidays and short breaks in Europe are a great idea if you're looking for some time out and don't want to travel too far. Within a few hours you could be enjoying the sights, food and drink of many popular European cities such as Barcelona or Paris. Whether you are looking for grand architecture, great food or simply want to get away from it all, our guide to some of the great cities that Europe has to offer is a perfect place to start.

1. Prague

Prague is a popular destination with British holidaymakers, and if you only have 24 hours to spend there, you will certainly want to know how to make the most of this beautiful city. One of the best ways to experience Prague is to simply stroll along its cobblestoned streets, so you might want to leave the heels behind and slip on some comfortable shoes instead. Prague castle is the largest castle in the world; it doesn't adopt a traditional castle structure as it's a collection of buildings that are spread out. A focus point in Prague is the Charles Bridge, which offers one of the best views of the city. The gothic bridge is the gateway to the old town-which is full of little gems. The old town square is the perfect place to relax-its surrounded by spectacular architecture-why not relax in a coffee shop and admire the gothic buildings?

2. Barcelona

There is so much to see and do in Barcelona, a destination that is full of character, so you'll need to make sure you plan your day trip to make the most of this beautiful city. Barcelona is famous for its Gaudi architecture- you'll be able to see some of Gaudi's most elaborate creations by taking a stroll around the city. One of Gaudi's creations not to be missed is the Park Guell. Entrance to the park is free and will keep you visually engaged from the lavishly decorated dragon fountain to the colourful mosaics that cover the walls and terraces. If you want to get the most out of your 24 hours in Barcelona it might be best to join an organised tour, this way you'll be taken to all the main sights and guided through the city. If you want to make your own way around the city why not jump on a bus, hire a bike or if your balance is really good maybe a Segway!

3. Florence

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany, a beautiful area of Italy that is just waiting to be explored. The city is a popular destination for British Travellers and is renowned for its arts, architecture and cultural heritage. Piazza della Signoria is Florence's most famous square, situated right at the heart of the historic centre-it's a great place to spend a little time people watching. The cathedral in Florence is an iconic structure, with an impressive dome and awe-inspiring interior. Splendid stained glass windows, unique frescoes and a multicoloured marble exterior are just a few of its many quality's. A couple of scoops of gelato ice cream is a must, there are gelato shops all over Florence so you won't have to walk far before you find one.

4. Helsinki

Helsinki is said to be one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, it is a relatively small and intimate city but is also lively and bustling at times. You may recall Helsinki being the host of the 1952 Olympic Games, since then it has grown in popularity and continues to be a popular destination for holidaymakers. From its coastal position you can be sure that many of Helsinki's attractions are related to the sea-this includes a naval fortress, and an open air museum. Helsinki is said to have some of the best restaurants in the world and is a haven for gourmet food lovers.

5. Paris

No matter how much time you have to spend in Paris, a trip up the Eiffel Tower is a must. The tower is open daily from 9.30 am to 11pm, so you'll have plenty of time to fit it into your itinerary-whether you want to climb the tower for a great view or enjoy a romantic climb at night. Another must see iconic attraction is the Notre Dame cathedral. Outside the architecture is impressive and inside, light shines through the South Rose Window creating a magnificent stained glass display. If you're in the mood for walking take a stroll down the Champs-Elysees-the widest street in Paris. Drop into some of the many shops and cafes along the way. If you are unsure about how to get around the city it might be worth going on an open tour bus or use the Metro, which is quick and convenient.

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