Lonely Planet Writer

The most relaxing places in Europe for a city break

Heading on a city break can mean packing a lot of vacation into a short amount of time, which can be as exhausting as it is exhilarating. But, if you are hoping to ensure your next weekend trip is as restful as possible, there’s a new list of the most relaxing spots in Europe. The European Relaxation Index from SpaSeekers ranks 28 cities across Europe on six factors: how busy the city is, how happy the locals are, living standards, access to public transport, the amount of coastline nearby, and the business of the local airport. Check out the five most relaxing spots for a city break in Europe:

Bicycle in front of the entrance of historic row house district of former Naval barracks named Nyboder. Image by ©Aleksandar Mijatovic/Shutterstock

Copenhagen, Denmark

The famously cool Danish capital entices travellers with its emphasis on stylish design, its foodie hotspots like Noma, and excellent museums. Copenhagen may be famous as an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be relaxing. The city has a low population density, and it also scores very high for happiness and standard of living. It also has the benefit of offering a lot of access to the coast – though due to its northern location, that is something best enjoyed in the summertime.

The view of Luxembourg City, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The view shows St Jean du Grund Church and Alzette River. Image by Putt Sakdhnagool/Getty Images

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Another famously expensive spot, Luxembourg City’s high price point comes with a high rate of happiness amongst its residents. Though the tiny country is completely landlocked, travellers heading through the airport may find it to be a breeze due to its low passenger numbers. It also has the lowest population density of all 28 cities on the list, so you are sure to enjoy plenty of personal space.

Snow dusting on rooftops of Old Town. Image by ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

Tallinn, Estonia

The oft-overlooked capital of Estonia is a great city break for people who are looking to get away from the crowds. It offers up a small population density, a high happiness score and great public transportation. Beyond that, there’s plenty to do in the burgeoning tech hub, which boasts plenty of hip cafes, cool bars within a picturesque and historic city.

Night View Of Aleksanterinkatu Street With Railroad In Kluuvi District In Evening Christmas Xmas New Year Festive Illumination. Image by ©Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is another top Nordic spot for lovers of design and architecture. Finland also ranks highest for happiness – it took the top spot in the World Happiness Report 2018 – so it’s a great spot for anyone looking for a cheerful getaway. It’s also been named the safest country in the world, so you can rest easy while you visit.

Main square in upper town in the historic old city centre in Zagreb, Croatia. / Saint Mark church Zagreb. Image by ©Dreamer4787/Shutterstock

Zagreb, Croatia

The Croatian capital may not boast the shoreline that makes the rest of the country such a tourist destination, but Zagreb has become a top city-break destination thanks to its vibrant street life. Check out quirky spots like the Museum of Broken Relationships, take in a music festival, explore the historic city, or sip on craft beer.

If you are truly hoping for a relaxing holiday, then note that the lowest ranking cites were: Sofia, Bulgaria; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; and Bucharest, Romania.