Going off the beaten tourist track is worthwhile when you’re on a Jet2CityBreak. That’s not because there aren’t enough epic attractions – your itineraries will be bulging! But when you uncover hidden gems and dinky nooks nestled away in these vast cities, you’ll get a flavour of local life.
Squirreled away in artsy pockets of these cities, it wouldn’t be unusual to stumble upon cute cake shops, flavour-bursting bistros or even little art galleries. You might even notice special stores or buildings that are celebrated among the residents. Wandering around the districts and neighbourhoods of these major cities gives you access to trip-making sights. And when space away from the hustle and bustle is ideal, these parts have double the benefits.
A whopping 23 districts make up the Hungarian capital. Budapest is a tale of two halves, with different neighbourhoods spread across the Buda and Pest areas. In District I – AKA Castle District – you’ll find Fisherman’s Bastion, Gellért Hill and, unsurprisingly, Buda Castle.
For a snapshot of the downtown throngs, Belváros-Lipótváros is District V. Wander past souvenir shops and grab a bite in a diddy eatery before ticking off Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re on the hunt for art and culture, get yourself over to Terézváros (District VI). Meanwhile, Erzsébetváros is the Jewish District, where you can peel back the pages of history at Dohány Street Synagogue. Spend evenings sipping ice-cold beers under fairy lights in the ruin pub, Mazel Tov.
With 22 administrative districts and two sides that are connected by a river-crossing bridge, you can spy some layout similarities between Budapest and Prague. But wow, this Czech heavyweight has an awful lot of exciting attractions to see. Staré Město is great for kicking off proceedings. With the bewitching Astronomical Clock taking centre stage, the Old Town is a must. You’ll find teeny art galleries, chimney cake stalls and absinthe bars here too.
While Malá Strana is where you go for Prague Castle, you’ll have the Kafka Museum en route as well. Learn about the city’s past in a museum before boxing off the Dancing House in Nové Město, then it’s onwards to Vinohrady, which is a cauldron of cultures. Where there once were vineyards, it’s now wall-to-wall quirky shops, Japanese eateries and Irish pubs.
It’s a good idea to pinpoint exactly what you want to marvel at. Rome is a vast capital with treasures new and old, so breaking your trip up into districts is a smart move. Why not start centrally? That way, you can box off the majestic Colosseum and Roman Forum, followed by the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. They’re in their own distinct areas, so don your comfiest shoes!
Trastevere is the edgiest hive of activity in the city. It casts aside the ultra-luxe vibes of the swankier parts of Rome and shines a light on all things old-school and traditional. It isn’t far to walk back into the centre or to Campo di Fiori, but if pizzerias, wine bars and gelato stalls are your bag, step this way.
Among seven deliciously Dutch districts, Amsterdam’s eccentric city sights are on full display. Big-label department stores, green parks and places for pancakes are just a trio of top things available. Museumplein paves the way for the arts, with the Moco Museum, Van Gogh Museum and the remarkable Rijksmuseum all in one area.
But you can go under the radar here too. Hiring bikes along the ten-a-penny canals might be up your street, then why not hop off and grab an espresso from a hip local café? Places like Lot Sixty One and the Breakfast Club are two industrial-style winners. When you’ve cycled, strutted around the shops of The Nine Streets and pottered about the low-key neighbourhoods, sit down to a G&T with anything from sushi to meze, pizza to patisserie at the stalls of fabulous Foodhallen.
France’s iconic capital dazzles with envelope-pushing architecture, pretty-as-a-picture parks and tempting boulangeries. Art, fashion and food all underpin Paris’ appeal, but it isn’t a compact place – 20 separate quarters – known as arrondissements – are fair game when you come here.
It would only be right to hit the premier district when you arrive – it houses the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries. Follow this route to the eighth arrondissement to go to Fauchon, the purveyor of green-striped pistachio croissants. Meanwhile, the Latin Quarter is said to be the most famous part of Paris, and it’s hardly any wonder – charming bookshops, the Pantheon and various Roman relics mingle here. Hand-painted tea towels, scarves and cushions sit alongside illustrated fold-out maps in Marin Montagut’s shop in the sixth district, though it’s the 20th you’re after if you’re an Edith Piaf fan.
What’s that sound? It’s these cities’ amazing neighbourhoods hollering your name! Get familiar with the country entry requirements and then settle on where you fancy visiting first.
Posted: 17th Aug 2020.