1. New York – The sights, the shopping, the sneaking feeling you’ve walked into a film set – New York has it all.
The ultimate city break location brings practicalities including iconic hotels and regular, reasonably-priced flights to the table too. That the Big Apple has snatched the top spot in this new category comes as no surprise to Kuoni’s Lloyd Sceats-Page, who goes every year. “My favourite thing to do is sit in Central Park in the morning with a coffee and watch the dog walkers, or have a cocktail on the terrace of The Loeb Boathouse”, he says.
2. Barcelona – The appeal of Spain’s liveliest city doesn’t fade with time. Despite Europe having plenty of choice this Catalan beauty is still our favourite, due to its tapas-like, pick-and-mix offering. “It’s a great escape if you want a bit of everything, from shopping to sights to going to the beach”, says Thomas Cook’s Leah Vooght. Its beauty shines through in the Mediterranean beaches, hilltop garden of Montjuic, shady, cobbled lanes of the Gothic quarter and Gaudy’s signature crazy and colourful curves.
3. Rome – The Eternal City beckons visitors with a double whammy of iconic sights and the chance to live la dolce vita. British travellers lap up both, touring and ticking off the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but also finding time to try Roman cuisine such as saltimbocca, spaghetti carbonara and bruschetta in one of the restaurants tucked away in Trastevere’s winding streets, all washed down with a glass of local frascati.
4. Amsterdam -With everything from Anne Frank’s house to beer tasting in a windmill on offer, the city of canals can b all things to all travellers. It’s simultaneously a haven of high art and fascinating history and a laid back party capital, hosting hen and stag weekends. The friendly Dutch speak superb English, and it’s a doddle to reach, with access by air, rail and ferry. All the neighbourhoods have a different feel, and with more bikes than people, it’s easy to explore.
5. Reykjavik – “Reykjavik is so popular at the moment”, says Hays personal travel consultant Jennifer Harding – and with a direct Icelandair flight from Belfast launching this month, it’s only getting easier to reach. Clients drawn by the promise of seeing the Northern Lights also book excursions into the countryside, whale watching and visits to the Blue Lagoon, but the city itself has many charms. Visitors love the brightly coloured houses along the old harbour, and the fairytale feel of the Hallgrimskirkja church.
6. London – A home-grown city break is best, says Hays travel’s Abbie Ross. “Families have attractions such as the London Dungeons, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. Couples have the theatres and a romantic river cruise on the Thames”, she says. Home to nine of Britain’s 10 most visited attractions, the capital’s a sure-fire hit.
7. Paris – Although tourist numbers were down slightly in 2016 – British visitor levels dropped by 8.6% year-on-year – the City of Lights still gives city break guests a glow, with a menu of sights including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, plus some seriously opulent hotels and the finest French cuisine.
8. Dubai – With more than 100,000 hotel rooms and regional flights across the UK, the emirate is a favourite for those who want shopping and sunshine on tap. Alongside established favourites such as the Burj Khalifa and Aquadventure water park, the new Dubai Parks and Resorts features more than 100 rides and attractions including rollercoasters, cinematic rides, multi-sensory theatre shows, water slides and an on-site hotel.
9. Las Vegas – The entertainment capital of America is a sure thing for a city break, according to our voters, and the gaming tables are just one aspect of its appeal. Shopping, Dining, nightlife and shows feature prominently in any visit, and there’s always something new to discover, from the growing sophistication of The Strip’s hotels to downtown’s revitalisation.
10. Budapest – Dreamtime Travel’s Julia Smith loves Budapest’s “fabulous views, beautiful river and reasonable prices”, and with Flybe just having launched a new route from Southend, soon even more Brits will too. Tours of the ornate parliament building, funicular rides to the top of castle hill, Danube boat trips, spa baths and glasses of plink brandy await.