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There’s nothing quite like a European city break, and studies show that the combination of shorter flight times and less financial outlay can mean we might even enjoy them more too. But after London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome, what are this year’s best bets for a great summer getaway? We’ve put together some of our favourites.

Milan.
 
Milan can come as somewhat of a surprise. Mostly associated with fashion, it is often overlooked that Milan was once the centre of the Western Roman Empire. But you only have to visit the magnificent marble Duomo cathedral and the palaces to see what you’ve been missing by jetting off to Rome. It can be hot, but because it’s less touristy, Milan has developed an entertainment schedule outside of museums and churches. This summer (Jun-Aug 2015), time it right and you can enjoy the open-air performances by artists such as Radiohead and REM. The Milanesi work hard and play hard, and those who don’t have time to drive to Lake Como like to have a good time in the evenings.

Innsbruck

As the capital of the Austrian Alps, Innsbruck can be forgiven for having a slightly wintry reputation. But as the snow melts away, a whole new city is uncovered, filled with cool cafes and dramatic mountain backdrops. It is a city steeped in history and culture and full of stunning medieval buildings, but there are surprises too. Modern award-winning architecture and gourmet restaurants give this city its famous reputation just as much as the Golden Roof cathedral. Choose the right weekend and you could take part in the royal banquet parties planned for August 2015. The city promises to transport visitors back in time to the court of Emperor Maximilian I with a colourful spectacle, including knights, jugglers and traditional Austrian Morris Dancers.

Riga

The Latvian capital of Riga always makes a stunning impression. From the left bank of the Daugava River, the skyline filled with Jugendstil or Art Nouveau buildings can leave you speechless. But what most surprises visitors about this city will be the thoroughly modern and dependable infrastructure and the wealth of very cool bars and cafes around the historical centre. And on the weekend of the 14th of August, Riga takes off as the capital gets into full party mode. Performers, acrobats and comedy fill the streets for this ‘closing-festival’ of summer.

But that’s not all. It might be hot, but summer can still be a great time to visit cities. So why not take advantage of the under-booked hotel rooms and quieter streets and make the most of it?
 

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