I love Madrid – though you need to go in the spring or autumn (it’s freezing in winter and frying in summer). The art galleries and wonderful, there’s big plazas and little plazas and plenty of corners to explore. And some wonderful tapas with wine to round off the day. Bliss!
I agree, love a city break. I find the slightly lesser known cities can be some of the best. We enjoyed Cordoba on a train whilst staying in Seville and Lucca is an easy drive from Pisa (often low fares to Pisa!). Girona is like a mini Barcelona complete with its own Ramblas. Rouen is a an hour from Dieppe and convenient for Monet’s Garden and more. I have added a pic of the magnificent Rouen Cathedral. Santander and Bilbao are great city breaks combined with the relaxing Brittany Ferry crossing from Portsmouth or Plymouth. I am sure our members will come up with more to tempt us!
I have been on quite a few city breaks & always enjoyed them – so much to see, especially architecture & the arts. You can go with a group or on your own & do your own thing. You can research before hand (I look at Rough Guides & others – whatever they have in our library) & decide what you want to see & go for it, or you can wander & soak up the atmosphere & pop into places as you discover them. I do a mixture of both – if I have a plan it stops me wasting time, but I am always open to looking down the interesting alleyway & following my nose for a new experience. Good luck to all who experience life in a different city.