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Long weekend? Too right! What more inspiration do you need for a spontaneous sojourn to one of Europe’s less-visited cities? 

Two bank holidays in one month and the sun’s out? That’s the generosity of May, gifting us Brits with two opportunities to take off for a weekend. But what are the origins of this fixed day off? Well, it started as a religious holiday, Whitsun. Celebrating the seventh weekend following Christ’s ascension, it used to shift around the calendar thanks to Easter’s fluid scheduling. Following calls for more certainty, the Bank & Financial Dealings Act of 1971 fixed it to the last weekend in May after a five-year trial. Now you know.

Ready to enjoy your long weekend? You’re not? Here’s some inspiration for a last-minute European city trip.

Grab a cheap flight

Snatch yourself a bargain right up to the departure gate. Last minute is the strongest position to be in to negotiate. Commercial flights are booked and ready to fly regardless. Any company worth their air miles will want their seats sold. Phone the airline direct, be polite, get haggling and then pack your bags!

Alternatively, take the now traditional digital option: an aggregator website that compiles all the latest deals and does the hard work for you. Lastminute, Skyscanner and Travelsupermarket all offer price comparisons and options galore (including complete package deals). You can book a seat at a snip of the price in mere minutes. That should leave you more than enough time to dive into your guidebook.

Where will it be?

Europe’s cities are a cultural and geographical chocolate box with something to suit all tastes. Choosing where you want to spend your well-earned break just requires a little thought about what you really want from your leisure time. Pick from one of these less hectic destinations for that extra special sojourn.

Something historical? Try Ghent, Belgium.

Take an uplifting wander around Belgium’s rich picturesque port city, just half an hour from Brussels Airport. It’s a Middle Ages architectural marvel that feels like stepping right into the past. Its cathedral, towers and castle walls inspire many a visitor every year. Crammed with astonishing art from across the centuries, the 15th century altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is worth seeking out within the stunning confines of St Bavo’s Cathedral.

Something to eat? Try Bordeaux, France.

If a few days of mouth-watering European culinary delights is what you crave, then you owe it your taste buds to fly to Bordeaux. It was recently voted France’s greatest city in which to eat out - and it’s not hard to see why. The restaurants are drowning in Michelin stars, all offering exquisitely-prepared dishes and world-famous wine produced in the region. It’s one flight to fine-dining heaven.

A beach break? Try Split, Croatia.

If sandy shores and a baby blue ocean is your thing, try getting the next flight out to Croatia’s beautiful seaside city. A postcard-perfect mix of shimmering sea, European history and Mediterranean aesthetic, it’s the perfect destination to blend your passions. Why not mix a bit of beachlife, nightlife and top up with some retail therapy for that ultimate weekend indulgence?

Looking for jaw-dropping scenery? Try Valencia, Spain.

Dropped amongst a range of grass-capped hills, Valencia is a magnificent city resort that boasts modernity and museums, to the delight of its thousands of annual visitors. If you’re aching to get out of the city buzz and view it from the natural wonder of the scenery, there are walks and trails aplenty surrounding the city. Bring your lycra and hire a bike if you’re feeling particularly energetic.

On a tight budget? Try Krakow, Poland.

The tiny price tag belies the ethereal allure of Eastern Europe’s cheapest city destination. Southern Poland’s medieval city is bursting with tourist attractions - such as the salt mine, castle and cathedral - whilst its Old Town and Jewish quarters ooze charm. Simply unwind in one of the fabulous eateries and let the world pass you by.

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