Sunset over Edinburgh Princes Street photo best city breaks
Sunset over Edinburgh Princes Street
(Image credit: Lee Frost / Robert Harding / Rex)

Looking for a weekend jaunt this autumn? Hot-foot it to one of our top city destinations to soak up some culture

Jammed with tourists during the Fringe Festival in August and for its Hogmanay celebrations, there's plenty to reward visitors to Edinburgh throughout the year.

Escape the bustle with a vigorous climb to the top of Arthur's Seat - and enjoy panoramic views across the city.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen in summertime couldn't be further from the incessant drizzle we're used to seeing in hit TV shows The Killing and Borgen - Danes flock to the pretty harbours to eat, drink and make merry during the long evenings. The laid-back atmosphere is infectious and the restuarants world-class - you'll even find the best restaurant in the world, Noma (though it might be tricky to get a table!) Find more travel ideas

Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal's capital is brilliant value - including the grand old hotels dotted around town. Enjoy sumptuous seafood near the harbour or take a tram through the hilly streets to explore the centre of this beautiful, ramshackle city. It's warm throughout the year, so a great escape from Britain's winter gloom. Find more travel ideas

Florence, Italy

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Florence, Italy

Even if you're only in Florence for the weekend, don't miss the chance to enjoy the classical paintings at the Uffizi gallery. You may end up queuing but we promise it's worth the wait to experience the wealth of jaw-dropping Renaissance art. The compact city centre boasts wonders at every turn - from the views along the Arno river to the sumptuous culinary delights in simple trattorias in the restaurants. Visit in spring or early autumn when the summer hordes have disappeared! Find more travel ideas

Avignon, France

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Avignon, France

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, you'll be glad to hear the Eurostar stretches far beyond the Paris environs. Change at Lille to reach destinations across France, Belgium and Holland - all served by trains including the super-speedy TGV. Avignon is one such stop along the way - so sit back and enjoy the stunning views as you race through rural France before exploring this charming, laid-back Provencal town. Find more travel ideas

Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

With beautiful crystal clear seas as far as the eye can see and an ancient old town to explore, Dubrovnik will keep you entertained for days. Wander between bars before sampling one of the restaurants dotted around the old town. Don't miss the chance to walk around the walls of the old city - the views are incredible. Find more travel ideas

Cork, Republic of Ireland

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Cork, Republic of Ireland

Whether you stay put in the buzzy city centre or hire a car and venture further afield, Ireland's second city makes for a charming short break. If you have time to explore, don't miss the beautiful West Cork coastline and the outstanding seafood in fishing village Cobh. Just like at home, time your visit for the spring or summer when the weather's more reliable! Find more travel ideas

Paris, France

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Paris, France

A mini-break classic, France's beautiful capital is always worth a weekend jaunt. If you're based in southern England, it's even quicker to reach on the Eurostar than many British cities! Browse the chic boutiques along Vieille du Temple in Le Marais district, enjoy some of the best culture in the world or just kick back with a coffee in a pavement cafe and enjoy people watching. Find more travel ideas

Istanbul, Turkey

(Image credit: Paul Brown / Rex Features)

Istanbul, Turkey

Straddling the border between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is an exotic getaway that's just four hours from the UK. There's a booming new financial district, but we love the old quarter with its minarets and higgledy-piggledy alleys. Grab a cocktail in one of the rooftop bars overlooking the Bosphorus and soak up the view. Find more travel ideas

Berlin, Germany

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Berlin, Germany

Divided for decades, Berlin now has a huge variety of districts to explore. Luckily, it's a compact city making it easily accessible on foot. If you're at a loss with where to start, try one of the excellent walking tours - you'll learn the history and get top local tips on where to eat and drink. Forget early nights - in the evening Berlin comes alive with some of the best bars in Europe. Find more travel ideas