Europe’s top 10 city short breaks whilst staying on a boat

European city breaks

Welcome to our  guide to the top 10 European city breaks. European cities are the ideal destinations for a short break. City breaks offer a great way to discover history, culture and local cuisine quickly and conveniently. We combine our top 10 European city break destinations with the unique accommodation option of staying on a boat to complete your experience. If you are looking for a great place to stay in your favourite city, you will love renting a boat.

Europe’s cities provide the perfect inspiration for short break ideas giving you the chance to see some of the most iconic attractions and landmarks in the world. Whatever your taste or preference, we are sure you’ll find your perfect destination on our Top 10 list.

Valleta, Malta
Leading the pack in our top 10 European city breaks is Valleta. In Malta you’ll experience 7000 years of history yet live passionately in the present. Valletta, built in the 16th Century by the Knights of St John, is a unique walled city small enough in size to explore on foot. The restaurant scene in valletta offers an eclectic mix of cuisines (and cultures) as a result of a long relationship between the islanders and the many conquerors who occupied the islands over the centuries. By night the city takes on a more distinguished air and the incredible architecture takes centre stage. All around, Valetta is a city that vibrates with the energy of its people and its past.

Stay on a boat in Malta
Stay on a boat in Malta

Of course London has to make our top 10 European city breaks. There can be few more cosmopolitan cities. Discover why London is one of the world’s most visited cities, incorporating world famous landmarks, culture and shopping. England’s buzzing capital has so much to offer. The range of restaurants, bars, theatres, sports, pop-ups, performance art and large-scale events is often unrivalled. A short break in London will be enhanced by staying on a boat in one of the cities marinas, offering the ultimate in convenient luxury at a price, often less than most traditional hotels.

Amsterdam joins our top 10 European city breaks at number 3. It may have a reputation for partying, but the tranquil canal system that meanders throughout highlights a different, more serene side to the city. This provides the perfect opportunity to stay on a boat instead of a hotel amidst the backdrop of the ornate buildings, picturesque bridges and quiet canals that give it a village-like charm. Visit the abundance of museums or just spend time enjoying the beautiful architecture and lively nightlife. It’s small enough to walk or cycle almost anywhere you want, yet rarely will you run out of things to see or do.

Famed for being a city with its own beach, Barcelona offers the perfect short break idea to mix sun, sea and sightseeing. Its Catalonian culture gives it a fantastic atmosphere, and the art and architecture throughout the city is sublime. A day spent in Barcelona admiring the sights and sounds of this fantastic city can be topped off with a sundowner on one of the city’s beaches, or in your boat’s marina before dinner at one of the many gastronomic hotspots or humble, family-run tapas bars. Barcelona has a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine and unbeatable food. Search here to stay on a boat in Barcelona to get the best access.

Top 10 European city breaks - Barcelona
A city break on a boat in Barcelona


Famed for being one of the world’s most enchanting and romantic city destinations, Venice never fails to disappoint for a short break. For a unique place to stay in venice, staying on a boat will highlight the sheer beauty of an exquisite city, miraculously built on water. Discover churches and museums embellished with antique glories and a vibrant, more contemporary art and gastronomic scene. Venice is a unique, magical place 365 days a year.

Marseille is France’s oldest city, founded by Greek traders over 2,000 years ago. The city remains magnificent with its striking rocky coastline and historical sights, but now a younger more contemporary social and gastronomic scene has bought urban chic to to this mediterranean destination. Choose to stay on a boat in Marseille and experience the taste of the Mediterranean with the traditions of French grandeur.

Athens, a city worshipped by gods and people and so worth of a place in our top 10 European city breaks! The enchanting capital of Greece has always been a birthplace for civilisation. It is the city where democracy was born, an ancient civilisation flourished and most of the wise men of ancient times originated here. Athens is a city of different aspects. Here, different eras coexist. Luxurious department stores accompany small intimate shops, fine dining restaurants cosy up to traditional taverns. All have their place in this city. Athens and Attica boasts some of the most important archaeological monuments in the world, awaiting your discovery. Escape the hustle and bustle and stay on a boat, giving you the perfect opportunity to revitalise and do it all again tomorrow!

Top 10 European city breaks - Athens
Rent a yacht in Greece

Paris merits its reputation as one of the most romantic and beautiful cities on earth. It has iconic sights, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame cathedral, plus some of the world’s most impressive artworks, including the Mona Lisa. Amble the streets and soak in the café culture ambience. To add to this romance, what could be better than renting a luxury boat for the night?

Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. From the history soaked medieval monuments in the old town to the Georgian influence of the new town. Edinburgh is not a large city and offers the chance to explore its many courtyards, gardens and architectural features.

Rome’s history has arguably shaped Europe more than any other city. Its history, culture and architecture tell one of the most important legacies of the last 3,000 years. Rome’s mild Mediterranean climate is a persuasive attraction for visitors looking for a short break, but compound this with the pulsating energy of a place which lives life as a form of theatre and you’ll find it a challenge to resist this destination. The challenge, with deciding on Rome as your short break idea will be deciding what not to do!

Our Top 10 European City Breaks

Whatever your tastes and preferences of a short break, it is easy to find a European city that will offer what you are looking for. Beds on Board offers alternative accommodation on boats in all of these destinations, giving you the chance to experience something unique alongside some of the world’s most iconic attractions and cultures. With cheap flights to Europe and the prices often lower than traditional hotels, staying on a boat will allow you to get the most from your short city break.

We are always searching out new and exciting destinations to stay on a boat, have we missed yours? There are so many amazing cities that we’d love to hear your favourite city break ideas.

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