Many people think of summer holidays as being trips to far-flung destinations where hot weather and miles of glorious, golden beaches are available in abundance.
But there’s plenty more opportunities to see the world’s finest culture, history and architecture while still enjoying the great outdoors.
City breaks represent an escape route from working life in the summer months and these five destinations are sure to provide a welcome break.
New York is one of the most vibrant and bustling cities in the world and something is always going on there.
There’s plenty to see and do – from the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, to the many department stores that are dotted all around the city.
What makes New York such a popular choice for a city break is that it really is a city that can be visited all year round without losing any of its appeal.
For a city that embodies history and culture, there are few that are better than Rome – more than 20 centuries of history can be found, from its roots at the heart of the Roman Empire to more recent times.
Architecture such as the Colloseum and the Trevi Fountain provide just a flavour of this history, while the summer really brings the city alive in a wash of warmth and colour.
Visiting Rome represents the chance to relax and immerse yourself in the culture of Italy, while also enjoying the region’s plush wines and fantastic cuisine.
Berlin is a city that really has everything and it is such a popular choice for city getaways – it’s a 24-hour city in every sense.
Development has occurred throughout Berlin but the unique history of the city remains – affected by the Second World War and by the politics of the Cold War, the past is not forgotten.
Historical monuments and museums are everywhere, while Berlin’s zoo provides ample opportunities to see some of the world’s finest animals up close.
A trip to Iceland may not necessarily be where you first think of when considering a city break, but the capital is awash with culture, incredible geography and a host of unique attractions.
Blue Lagoon lies just beyond the city and offers the chance to swim in naturally heated pools, while some visitors may be lucky enough to glimpse the spectacular Northern Lights.
The city itself is relatively small but beyond it is a whole host of fantastic geographical phenomenon, from geysers and waterfalls to glaciers and volcanoes.
The River Danube slices right through the heart of the region, creating two separate cities, Buda and Pest.
Buda is deemed the cultural side of the city, featuring a host of bars and coffee shops, while Pest is the commercial centre although historical monuments and architecture also litter the area.
The St Stephen Cathedral and Parliament Building are both magnificent feats of architecture, while the city is also famous for its many spas – ideal for those in search of a relaxing break.
Financing your city break
Travelling with a prepaid travel card can provide money to spend without the need to carry lots of travellers’ cheques or foreign currency.
With a prepaid card you can only spend the amount which is on it at any given time, making budget management possible, although it can be topped up if you so wish.
Additional security exists on these cards, while the exchange rate seen will be the one when the original transaction took place – providing protection should the exchange rate vary dramatically during a trip.