OUR love affair with a cheeky city break has taken a huge hit in the wake of the pandemic – and many of our favourite capitals are basically deserted.

But with promising news of vaccines coming daily, now is the time to dream of travelling again.

New York tops our guide for the best city breaks

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New York tops our guide for the best city breaksCredit: Getty Images – Getty

The chance to escape for a short shot of culture, food and drink has always been a great-value way to enjoy a break from the norm.

Here are our top choices for a city break in 2021 when hopefully we’ll be able to return to these metropolitan marvels once more.

1. NEW YORK

THE Big Apple remains the No1 bucket-list city break, with good reason. With must-see attractions such as the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, and streets straight out of our favourite TV shows, a long weekend will never be sufficient to cover it all. 

Spring is the perfect time to stroll its diverse neighbourhoods or the High Line Park disused railway line that winds its way through Manhattan.

Three nights’ room-only at the 3-star Yotel New York is from £450pp including flights from Manchester or London on April 17. Book with a deposit of just £79 at holidaypirates.com.

2. FLORENCE

THE capital of Tuscany is an art lover’s dream, home to masterpieces by Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli. Its architectural treats include the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge. 

Yet there is so much more to explore, with fantastic retail therapy. Prada, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo all have factories and headquarters there. 

There is something magical about strolling through its many piazzas with a gelato in hand. 

Inghams has a specialist Italian programme and recommends the 3-star Hotel Corona d’Italia. Three nights’ B&B is from £344pp including flights from Gatwick on August 11. Deposit of £75 if booked before December 18. See inghams.co.uk or call 01483 698 051.

Budapest, the Hungarian parliament at night

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Budapest, the Hungarian parliament at nightCredit: Getty Images – Getty

3. LAS VEGAS

THE original sin city is the ultimate party playground and remains a huge hit with Brits looking for fun in the sun.

R&B legend Usher begins a new residency at the recently renovated Colosseum at Caesars Palace in July. Also set to open next year is Area 15 — a blend of high-tech attractions, restaurants and bars. 

Off the strip, the Fremont Street area gets its latest mega-resort, Circa, the first over-21-only venue in Vegas. 

The slots and sports-themed hotel will feature a multi-tiered pool amphitheatre complete with vast screen for showing games. 

Four nights’ room-only at 3-star The D, which is also near the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas, is from £605pp including flights from Heathrow on May 24. See tui.co.uk.

4. ATHENS

A WINNING combination of ancient archaeological treasures and buzzing modern nightlife, the Greek capital has increasingly become a city break option for those looking for something a little different.

From the Acropolis, you can soak up the city’s rich history with a fantastic 360-degree view. 

Join Athenians getting their caffeine fix in the many bars by day or search out the secret rooftop bars for sundowners.

A Greek city break offers the chance to combine culture with oodles of sunshine and some great-value food and drink.

The 5-star St George Lycabettus Hotel has views of the Acropolis as well as a rooftop pool and even its own cinema. Three nights’ B&B is from £219pp including flights from Gatwick on February 19.

See southalltravel.co.uk or call 0208 705 0086.

5. VIENNA

AUSTRIA’S capital city is home to impressive palaces, waltzes and spectacular Klimt paintings, as well as Christmas markets in winter.

There is a thriving art scene with contemporary art galleries and art deco cafes as well as The M-ARS, an art supermarket where you can buy work off the shelves. Culture vultures are spoilt for choice with museums and galleries. 

The Schonbrunn Palace, a summer residence of the royal Habsburg line, is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Afterwards, enjoy a slice of sachertorte — rich chocolate cake — at one of the city’s many cafes. 

The 5-star Grand Ferdinand Vienna boutique hotel is a five-minute walk from the City Park and Vienna State Opera. There’s a rooftop pool and three restaurants.

Three nights’ room-only is from £291pp including flights from Gatwick on April 4. See loveholidays.com.

6. BUDAPEST 

STRADDLING the mighty Danube, the bewitching Hungarian capital combines history and hedonism, making it perfect for a wild weekend.

Go clubbing in a 100-year-old thermal bath, sip Communist-era cocktails at a Soviet-themed bar or explore Europe’s biggest pinball arcade.

Or take a cruise on the River Danube to admire the hills of Buda and the downtown delights of Pest.

The 4-star Hotel Parlament is an elegant boutique hotel within walking distance of the Parliament building and St Stephen’s Basilica. 

Two nights’ room-only is from £149pp including BA flights…

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