Nowadays, we have all become so work obsessed that we often forget to switch off. The ability to work productively and make positive professional changes comes with good rest and recuperation and sometimes, getting away from it all can be as conducive to great work as being at the office. For many entrepreneurs, extended holidays just aren’t possible and increasingly, professionals are looking to the weekend break in order to wind down from it all.
Luckily, the world is packed with amazing places which are perfect for short but sweet stays and best of all you don’t need to spend a fortune to travel to. Spending a weekend in a foreign city can be all you need to return to work with a bang on Monday and if you’re wondering where to spend your two days, you might like what we have in mind. You might say that these places could do if you’d had more time to visit them, however a weekend would a be a great way to become familiar with the city while you unwind.. Hold on to your hats; this tour’s a whistlestop one, and it’s just about to begin.
1. San Sebastian - Spain
Located in the north-east corner of Spain’s Basque region, San Sebastian really is a city on the up. Teetering on the edge of the coast, it has great links to nearby southern France, and all of the best port cities in the region. If you’re in San Sebastian for the weekend, there is plenty to do and, thanks to its pint sized streets, you can get pretty much everywhere on foot.
While the city is famous for its concha beach, there are also a ton of great museums and cultural spots in the city, including the San Telmo museum which used to be an ancient church. At night, the city streets come alive and locals can be found hopping from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, sampling some of the local tapas delicacies. Although relatively expensive for the region, San Sebastian is very cheap compared to other cities, and you can expect to find a great glass of local wine for around €2.
2. Denver - Colorado
Door to the rockies and all the winter sports that come with it, Denver isn’t often high up on our getaway lists but in recent years, it’s all been changing. Lately, the city has seen an explosion in hotels, restaurants and great cafes and now, the tourist is better catered for than ever before.
If you’re looking for a central hub, search no further than Denver’s downtown Theater District, which has recently undergone something of a facelift. The area is home to the Riverfront Park, one of the biggest public libraries in the country, a newly refurbished Denver Art Museum and an entirely new contemporary arts museum. As if that wasn’t all enough, the city recently a brand new History Museum which, having cost $120 million, is set to do great things for the city.
3. Dublin - Ireland
People who like to party should head to Dublin for the perfect weekend break. Packed with famously friendly locals, the Irish capital makes a great short trip and will really refresh you after a long working week. While you might be attracted by the city’s magnificent castle, or national art gallery, it’s likely that you will want to head to the very famous Guinness Factory at some point during your stay.
If you get a taste for the local tipple, there are tonnes of Irish pubs at your beck and call, too. The Temple Bar is famously popular in the city and being Dublin’s only licensed garden, it is a lovely place to spend a long summer evening. If you’ve got something a little more traditional in mind, though, The Stag’s Head should be the place to go. Filled with its original Victorian interiors and chandeliers, it’s unlike anywhere else in the city and is sure to make a lasting impression.
4. Istanbul - Turkey
The city where east meets west, Istanbul is a whirlwind in a weekend. Packed with vibrant streets, bustling souks and incredible local cuisine, the Turkish capital will really blow out the cobwebs. Many people head directly to the city’s Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest and most impressive of its kind. Filled to the rafters with local fare, spices and foods, you can get lost in any one of its winding lanes. The city has its fair share of mosques too, and out of all of them, Sultan Ahmed mosque is the most impressive and should be high up on your list.
Istanbul is also famous for its tea, and if you’re looking to try something traditional, you should head to Çorlulu Ali Paşa. An 18th century tea garden, it has all of the traditional food and drinks you could dream of and is always busy.
5. Charleston - South Carolina
Renowned for its beautiful city buildings, proximity to the coast and all-round charming locals, Charleston is a great place in which to spend a relaxing weekend. The city is known for its easy, slow way of life, so if you’re looking for a spot in which to unwind and fuel up for the coming week, Charleston has you covered in every way.
While locals can be found cycling on the Ravenel Bridge, tourists flock to the Cooper River to watch the changing sky and contemplate life. If you like food, you’re particularly well catered for and the general consensus goes that it’s almost impossible to eat badly in the city. Halls Chophouse is renowned for its perfect steaks and all-round perfect main dishes, and the Charleston Grill will serve you up a plate of incredible cuisine, without breaking your piggy bank. If you have seafood in mind, however, head to Raw; known for its fresh catches, innovative dishes and friendly atmosphere, the restaurant is a favourite for both tourists and locals.
6. Stockholm - Sweden
Known as the Venice of the north, Stockholm is renowned for its beautiful urban vistas and winding canal systems. While the city is a great spot to visit at all times of the year, it’s especially lovely during the summer months when the days are longer and the air is warmer. While it’s nice enough to just wander the city streets, the Swedish capital also has plenty to offer the foreign visitor. The medieval part of the city is packed with cultural and historical finds and is a great place to while away an afternoon.
If your tummy is rumbling, though, there are plenty of places to find food as the city has a famously good cafe culture. Places like Lisa’s Cafe & Hembageri serve piping hot coffee and is always a popular place for both locals and tourists. If you’re looking for a snack with a view, Mälarpaviljongen should be on your list. The city’s only floating cafe/bar, it is also only open during the summer months.
7. Copenhagen - Denmark
Stockholm’s nearby cousin, Copenhagen is equally as nice as the Swedish capital and due to its size, can be easily traversed across a weekend. Like many other places, Copenhagen is a great city to walk around, packed with beautiful vistas and sitting points to drink in the view. The city is also filled with things to do and if you’re a fan of panoramic views, you might like the Church of our Saviour. With a great view of the city, the church draws in lots of visitors but beware; the last part of the climb is on the exterior of the building and can often be very windy!
Foodies also have a great deal of options in the city. If you’re not sure of what you want, Copenhagen’s covered food market, Torvehallerne, is a great option. Filled with smaller versions of many city spots, it’s a great place to sample what’s on offer in the capital. If you like fine dining, though, Höst is the place to head. A more expensive option, the restaurant has great Nordic food and seasonal recipes.
8. Vancouver - Canada
You’d be hard pushed to find a city as friendly and open as Vancouver. Located on Canada’s west coast, the city rarely has a cold day and, buffeted by salty sea winds, is a great place in which to clear your working head. There’s tonnes to be done in Vancouver and it is the perfect place to while away a few days and recharge your batteries.
The city’s stunning Stanley Park makes a great stopping off point and, at over 1,000 acres in size, has a huge variety of things to lose yourself in. The park is home to a whole range of wildlife and mammoth trees, and can lead you on an interesting trail. If your tummy’s grumbling, however, you’re equally well-covered. The park’s teahouse will quench your thirst, whilst The Fish House will give you an insight into the local cuisine. Adventurers should head straight to the city’s Lynn Canyon Park. Armed with hiking trails and swimming spots galore, the park will push you to your limits and make you forget about the pressure of Monday morning.
9. Austin - Texas
Everything’s bigger in Texas and as one of the most exciting cities in the state, it could not be more true in Austin. A great place for the music lover to spend their weekend, the Texan city is a smorgasbord of musical talent, and caters to any type of listener. Sixth Street is a great place to head if you like to be the first to discover the next big thing; packed with unsigned talent, the area is a melting pot of pure musical talent.
If you’re looking for something a little more mellow, however, Zilker park is the perfect place to head for the day. With facilities for swimming and running, as well as a whole number of natural treasures to be discovered, the park will really help you to unwind. Food lovers, however, should head straight to Uchi, voted as one of the most popular eating spots in the city. Serving up authentic Japanese food, the restaurant will leave you with a smile on your face and a very full tummy.
10. Edinburgh - Scotland
The gem of the north, Edinburgh is one of the most stunning cities around and is well worth a weekend visit. The city’s famous castle is a huge pulling point for tourists all over the place and offers a fascinating insight into the city’s history. As well as that, Holyrood Palace is another must see and, as the former home and execution spot of Mary Queen of Scots has an interesting - if bloody - history.
If you’re looking for places to wind down, then there are plenty of spots, too. The Scotch Whisky bar is a great place to sample a taste of the best local tipple around, and makes a great final point in your night. For great food, however, Pickles is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, and serves up a great plate of cheese.
Whatever your interests are, there’s a city out there for you. Spending your weekend abroad is a great way to blow out the cobwebs and recalibrate after a tough and long working week. These cities might be big, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed for a weekend. They’re out there for the taking, so what are you waiting for?