Excellent ideas for long weekend breaks in the UK and Europe

Got a long weekend that you're just not sure what to do with? Whether you're in the mood for a quiet coastside getaway or a big-city blowout, get inspired with these great long weekend break recommendations.

Check out these city breaks throughout Europe

For a long weekend getaway that doesn't skimp on nightlife, culture and killer cuisine, consider booking holiday lettings in one of Europe's buzziest big cities. From street art and currywurst in Berlin to world-class artwork in Paris's Louvre, these cosmopolitan destinations make for long weekends that are the stuff of legends.

Have a good dose of history and fun – holiday homes in Berlin

If you're in the mood for a lively locale that's equal parts gritty and glam, Berlin offers plenty of worthwhile sights. Holiday homes in the historic German capital range from airy lofts and art-filled apartments to sophisticated row houses and suburban homes. Whatever type of lodgings tickles your fancy, you'll have easy access to the city's top sights – whether that's the vibrant street art at Haus Schwarzenberg, the iconic 18th-century Brandenburg Gate or the countless vendors at Markthalle Neun, a bustling indoor market.

Always a bright idea – long weekends in the city of lights

A quick trip from the UK by plane or train, a long weekend break in Paris is never a bad bet. Choose from cosy apartments in historic buildings, elegant villa rentals and all manner of other lodgings, many of which include full kitchens and iconic city views. With attractions like the renowned Louvre museum, the landmark Eiffel Tower and the Gothic Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, you'll also find plenty of quirky sights just off the beaten path – from pet cemeteries and catacombs to live bird bazaars and one of Hemingway's favorite bars.

Stellar staycations – long weekend destinations in the UK

If you'd just as soon keep the passport in your bureau, fear not – there are loads of excellent destinations right in the UK. Whether you're hiking among the scenic lakes and craggy peaks of Wales's Snowdonia National Park or exploring the historic sights of the Cotswolds, you'll find plenty to pack your long weekend – and then some.

While away a weekend in winning western Wales

Boasting rugged coastline, scenic moorland and more historic sights than you can shake a crempog at, Wales is a classic choice for a long weekend away. Outdoorsy types can hike Snowdonia Mountain – the country's highest peak – or admire epic seaside vistas along the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Cardiff offers a lively nightlife and dining scene, as well as art and cultural institutions. It's home to the annual Great British Cheese Festival, though you'd be remiss not to try a crempog – a sort of extra-thick pancake – before you leave.

Try a cosy cottage in the Cotswolds

Another option for a laid-back long weekend is the charming Cotswolds. Here you'll find cosy holiday cottages offering easy access to the area's many historic sights, including the baroque Blenheim Palace and the Gothic, medieval Bath Abbey. The Roman Baths are a popular destination, where you can see the 2,000-year-old ruins of a public bathhouse. Round out your visit with trips to the area's charming thatched-roof structures and medieval churches, plus a stroll along the Cotswold Way trail through the rolling countryside.

Bust out your swimming costume – beachside long weekend breaks

Fancy a few days by the shore instead? Just pack your beach towels, swimsuit and sunscreen, and head to one of these sun-soaked spots for a well-deserved long weekend of rest and relaxation.

Soak up the sun in the scenic Algarve

If fun in the sun is what you're after, look no farther than Portugal's scenic, sun-kissed Algarve coast. The southernmost region of the country, the Algarve is packed with golden, sandy beaches, breathtaking sea caves and plenty of space for swimming, sunbathing and water sports galore. Skip the resorts for a charming villa or holiday home, where you'll have access to a full kitchen, parking and outdoor shower. Lagos, one of the region's larger towns, offers bars and eateries, plus a charming, walled old town district.

Picture-postcard perfection in sun-kissed Palma

It's just a couple of hours by plane from Heathrow, but Palma – the capital city of Spain's Balearic Islands – feels worlds away. Here, you can admire the Moorish-influenced architecture of the Old City, and check out local landmarks like the 14th-century Bellver Castle and the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, built between 1229 and 1601. Then, it's time to hit the beach – El Arenal's Platja de Palma is a popular site, drawing sun worshippers from all over Europe with its broad, sandy beach and scenic bayfront views.