A Holiday4 Article

European Multi Centre City and Beach Holidays

In this article, we look at how to book a two-centre or multi-destination holiday. We discover how to research multi-centre breaks and look at the benefits of splitting your next European holiday between the city and the beach.

Author: Chris R. Wilson

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1. What are Two Centre Holidays?

Both Two-Centre and Multi Destination holidays allow you to visit more than one destination in a single trip. They can add new adventures and experiences and help maximise your holiday time and budget.

The classic 'Two Centre City and Beach Break' has become increasingly popular for both European and long haul destinations, with the city or most active element of the trip usually taking place first, followed by a relaxing longer stay at a beach, mountain or coastal resort.

Two-centre (or twin-centre) package holidays usually include flights, accommodation and transportation. They combine two different destinations (or holiday types) within the one-holiday itinerary; for example, a two-centre city and beach holiday could include a 3-night stay exploring Portugal's capital city Lisbon, followed by a relaxing 10-night stay in Vilamoura - (a popular beach resort on Portugal's beautiful south coast) with a drive time of around 2 hr 30 mins between the two centres.

Multi-centre (multi-destination or multi-stop) refers to visiting several destinations within your itinerary. If you're looking for a two centre European holiday - check out our Top 4 Package Holiday Companies review.

2. Are two centre City and Beach holidays good value?

A combined city and beach holiday can represent good value, especially if the two destinations are nearby and easily reached. For example, a 3-night stay exploring Catalonia's coastal capital, Barcelona - followed by 'relaxed beach time' at the nearby seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta and Sant Sebastià Beach (located next to the city's Gothic quarter) involves very little travel time or expense.

For a more traditional holiday resort experience, there are numerous beach resorts dotted up and down the coast from Barcelona - such as Salou (90 mins by train) on the Costa Dorada, and Lloret (60 mins by road) on the Costa Brava.

Combining a 'closely located' city and beach break can add extra value and help maximise your holiday time and enjoyment.

EasyJet Holidays Logo

3. List of Top European Cities close to a Beach

EasyJet's flight network includes the following cultural (close to a beach) cities:

  • Barcellona
  • Nice
  • Lisbon
  • Palma
  • Venice
  • Ciutadella (Menorca)
  • Dubrovnik
  • Malaga
  • Ibiza Town

4. The Best Destinations for a two centre City and Beach Holiday?

There are a couple of options to consider when choosing a combined European city & beach break. Firstly, do you want to visit one country or two? Most European city and beach breaks focus on one country, allowing you to explore and experience more of the country's personalities and cultures. Next, choose if you want the convenience of a city with a beach nearby - or are you happy to travel (by air, train, ferry or car) to a different part of the country for the next part of your trip.

With a whopping 50 countries to explore, Europe offers unrivalled cultural experiences, plus a beautiful sun-kissed coastline full of exciting and luxurious beach resorts. The following twin-centre city & beach combinations are some of our favourites; we've also listed the top city & beach destinations easily reached by low-cost carriers flying direct from UK airports.

Popular twin centre destinations include Spain's inland capital city, Madrid - followed by a relaxing stay at the upmarket beach resort of Marbella on the Costa del Sol (4 hrs by train). Alternatively, try Istanbul and the sunny beach resort of Dalaman, or perhaps spend a few nights exploring Venice followed by a week relaxing at one of many nearby beach resorts, including the family-friendly Lido di Jesolo (1 hour by car) with its miles of golden sand - or if you fancy some pampering, book into the luxury JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa located on the quieter Isola delle Rose (just a 25-minute ferry ride from San Marco) - the options are endless.

Below is a list of our favourite European two-centre city and beach locations easily reached by air from the UK:

  • ITALY - Enjoy the postcard scenery of Italy with a 4-night stay discovering Rome, then onto the idyllic coastal resort of Sorrento (2.20 hrs by train) and the stunning Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. Our favourite Amalfi resort is Positano, with its pretty beach and playground for ‘la dolce vita’.
  • CROATIA - Breathtakingly beautiful Croatia; spend 3 nights in Dubrovnik (a living Gothic fairy tale) - regarded as one of the most beautiful walled cities in the world. Combine with a week at the peaceful resort of Cavtat or stay at one of Croatia's many idyllic 'slowed-down' islands - with scenic pebbled beaches lapped by warm, crystal-clear waters.
  • MALLORCA - Stylish Palma is elegant, sophisticated and full of rich Gothic architecture; spend two nights in the city, then onto the naturally pretty resort of Cala d'Or, with its authentic Mallorcan charm, trendy bars and restaurants and sandy coves edged by pine trees - the resort has a peaceful and exclusive feel.
  • SPAIN - Andalucia, experience the real Spain - full of festivals, fiestas and fun. Spend 4 nights in the capital Seville, with its rich history, historic palaces and home to flamenco dancing and amazing tapas. Then onto Malaga (a 2 hrs scenic drive via A-92) with its selection of picturesque and world-renowned beach resorts lining the Costa del Sol.
  • FRANCE - Spend 4 nights in Nice, a bustling city on the chic French Riviera, and explore the art, food & wine and spectacular coastal views - discover 75 miles of beaches, plus plenty of biking and hiking trails and history-rich medieval towns that are perfect for romantic stays. Spend a few nights in the pretty coastal town of Frejus (just 1hr by road from Nice), located between Cannes and Saint Tropez; the town has a long sandy beach, plus inexpensive accommodation and a laid-back, family-friendly feel.

5. The advantages of a 2-centre city and beach holiday combined?

Combining a city stay with a beach holiday has several advantages, including making your holiday more fulfilling and enjoyable - they also offer more cultural experiences and provide a sense of adventure, making it a perfect combination for your next trip. Spending two weeks on the beach may sound tempting; however, a short and action-packed city stay beforehand can add more value and adventure to your holiday. They can also help - maximise your holiday time, explore new regions and expand your interests.

Living in Europe means we're spoilt for choice; Europe is full of buzzing cities, exciting beach resorts and endless cultural delights - and they're all within easy reach of a spectacular Mediterranean coastline, and it's right here - on our doorstep. There are many benefits to planning multiple destinations and experiences into our breaks - and it's become much easier to arrange, thanks to the expansion of low-cost airline networks and the advancements in online research tools and travel booking systems.

Top Tip: Consider extending your holiday beyond the usual 2 weeks (especially if you're planning a long-haul holiday). You can maximise the value of your trip further by going for a triple centre, which may result in a once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience.

6. How to Plan and Book a European multi-centre Holiday?

Online 'search and book' systems provide a highly efficient and convenient way to help travellers 'plan and book' the separate elements that make up a package holiday. However, before you take the DIY route and start booking a holiday yourself, consider the benefits of using a specialist (ATOL-licenced) holiday tour operator. Tour companies often provide additional benefits and services that could save you time and money - they can also help prevent errors or problems occurring during the booking process and during the holiday itself.

The following list includes some benefits a specialist (ATOL-protected) package holiday company can provide; (see individual company websites for exact details).

  • Using a tour operator does not necessarily mean paying more for your holiday. Often tour operators have access to special industry rates - which can result in lower holiday prices.
  • Online package holiday suppliers and travel agents provide important 'services and guidance' that can sometimes be 'overlooked', especially when planning a more complicated multi-centre itinerary and when trying to 'narrow down' exact customer requirements.
  • Specialist knowledge during the planning stage can be vital, as the sheer volume of travel and holiday options available could easily swamp even the most capable travellers. A professionally planned itinerary could also prevent a problem from occurring during your holiday.
  • One of the main benefits of using (ATOL-licenced and ABTA-bonded) holiday companies is the 'protection they provide'. Financial protection should an element of your package fail, and support if there is a problem with your travel arrangements abroad. (see individual holiday company websites for ATOL protection details; and the terms for which protection is provided.)

7. Companies offering two-centre (combined) beach and city break deals?

We've listed below package holiday companies that offer two centre 'city and beach' holidays. We've also listed holiday providers that can 'tailor-make' multi-centre breaks to your individual needs, including City and Cruise and City & Mountain holidays.

Tour Operators offering package & tailor-made holidays:

Package Holiday Companies offering City & Beach Breaks.
  • TUI - Worldwide
  • On the Beach - Europe/Worldwide
  • British Airways Holidays - Worldwide
  • Trailfinders - Worlwide
  • Balkan Holidays - the Balkans
  • Citalia - Italy
  • easyJet holidays - Europe
  • Inghams - Europe
  • Saga - Worldwide
Holiday Companies offering tailor-made options (city, beach, mountain, cruise, coastal and island hopping).
  • British Airways Holidays
  • Lastminute.com
  • Olympic Greek Holidays
  • Balkan Holidays
  • Citalia
  • Inghams
  • Kuoni
  • On the Beach

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents of this article. The use of this site and third-party links is subject to our T&Cs.