Easter is just around the corner and with it comes the first of spring’s three-day weekends. If you’ve got itchy feet, you’ll naturally want to make the most of these minibreaks. So which are the best destinations when you’ve got just three days? With so many European destinations in easy reach, I’ve broken down some of the top options to help you make your choice.
Best for kids – Barcelona
When I’m thinking family minibreaks, I don’t usually think city breaks. And Barcelona never occurred to me as a perfect getaway with kids until a friend remarked that her children had unexpectedly loved Barcelona’s wildly imaginative Sagrada Família and fantastical Park Güell, both by architect Antoni Gaudí. (And she thought she was torturing them with her sightseeing!) It’s also a remarkably kid-friendly city, with great attractions for children. There’s a lot you could do in three days, but don’t miss the L’Aquàrium’s 80m-long shark tunnel.
Getting there: flights to Barcelona are just over 2hrs from London and around 2hrs 25min from Manchester
Best for vitamin D – Funchal
Make a beeline to Madeira, via its capital Funchal, to maximise your sunshine break. While early summer can be cloudy in Funchal, all of spring enjoys more than 200 mean sunshine hours a month. Madeira’s gorgeously even climate (rarely too hot, never too cold) is very similar to the Canary Islands’ – but these Portuguese islands are less crowded by tourists.
Getting there: flights to Funchal are under 4hrs from London Gatwick and around 3hrs 45min from Birmingham
Best for indulgence – Rome
When I think indulgent weekends, I think food. And where better than Rome to live it up for three days? There’s nothing snobbish about the food culture in Rome, either. Everyone wants to eat well there, so you can get endless pleasure from seeking out laidback neighbourhood eateries, taking your time to choose your flavours at the gelateria or even sampling the streetfood at Rome’s Porta Portese flea-market.
Getting there: flights to Rome are around 2hrs 30min from London and less than 3hrs from Manchester
Best for a taste of the high life – Nice
The French Riviera has long been a millionaire’s playground, but there aren’t many of us who can mimic that kind of lifestyle for long. But three days could give you a perfect bite-sized taste of luxury in Nice – just enough time to linger over cocktails, dine in splendour at the palatial Hotel Negresco and make-believe you’re an art collector among the city’s dazzling contemporary art galleries. And all this against the backdrop of the diamond-bright Mediterranean.
Getting there: flights to Nice are just over 2hrs from Birmingham