Independent Families: 'Any ideas for an Easter city break?'


Q. We would like to go on a city break at Easter, but can't decide where to go. We've been to Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Rome and Venice and want to go somewhere different this time. There will be three of us – including our eight-month-old daughter – so we don't want to travel too far. We'd like to go somewhere with beautiful architecture, good shopping, a nice hotel and good places to eat. Any suggestions?
D Simons, via email

A. Early spring is an ideal time to experience the rich history and culture of Europe's cities, without having to fight your way through the tourist crowds of the summer months, or traipse around in sweltering heat with an infant. The EU alone comprises 27 countries, with a handful more in Eastern Europe, most of which are within easy reach of the UK.

The Danish capital Copenhagen is only two hours' flight from London and is emerging from the long, dark winter with plenty to attract visitors. Often regarded as the cultural capital of Scandinavia, the city saw the reopening of its striking and enlarged Arken museum of modern art (00 45 43 54 02 22; www. arken.dk) in the suburb of Ishoj last month. The inaugural exhibition is of works by the Skagen painters, and there is a room of Damien Hirst's work. It is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm and until 9pm Wednesday, closed Monday; admission is Dkr85 (£8.60) , free for under-17s. The museum is bordered by a sandy beach and a pretty harbour, ideal for a stroll.

Copenhagen has an abundance of fine architecture, from medieval to modern. Be sure to visit Rosenborg Castle (00 45 3315 3286; www. rosenborgslot.dk), a fairy-tale, turreted Dutch Renaissance edifice constructed in the early 17th-century as a royal residence. Today it houses the crown jewels and a collection of royal armour. It opens Tuesday-Sunday 11am-4pm, closed Mondays; admission Dkr50 (£5). For a more contemporary perspective, the stunning Opera House (00 45 33 69 6969; www.operaen.dk) and the Royal Library, or Black Diamond (00 45 33 47 47 47; www.kb.dk/en) are good examples of Danish design.

The city's centre also benefits from a watery location, adding a scenic dimension that makes wandering along the canals and medieval streets a pleasure. The harbour in particular is undergoing regeneration, bringing a brand new Royal Theatre (opened this month) to its shores. Chic shops and restaurants are also popping up in restored warehouses and historic buildings. Cutting-edge fashion can be found on Kronprinsensgade, antique books on Fiolstraede, and art on Bredgade.

As befits a city with design and culture at its heart, there are plenty of hip places to stay in the centre of town. For the ultimate stress-free trip, try the luxurious and family-friendly Front Hotel (00 45 33 13 3400; www.front.dk), where double rooms with a crib cost Dkr1,620 (£164) per night over Easter, including breakfast. Alternatively, Hotel Twentyseven (00 45 70 27 5627; www.hotel27.dk) offers doubles with a cot from Dkr1,095 (£111), including breakfast.

There is a healthy mix of good local and international eateries in the city, including 10 Michelin-starred restaurants. The two-starred Noma (00 45 32 96 3297; www.noma. dk) in Christianshavn showcases the best of Nordic cuisine (it was voted 15th best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine). For more traditional fare , try Kong Hans Kaelder (00 45 3311 6868; www.konghans.dk) on Vingaardsstraede, in the cellar of the oldest building in Copenhagen, once home to Hans Christian Andersen.

For more information, contact the tourist board (00 45 33 25 74 00; www.visitcopenhagen.com).

If you fancy a more animated Easter break, you might consider Madrid, which celebrates Semana Santa in style, with religious processions and decorations. Peace and beauty can be found in the city's museums, such as the Prado (00 34 330 28 00; www. museodelprado.es; open Tues-Sun 9am-8pm; €6/£4.60), with its masterpieces by painters such as Velazquez, El Greco and Goya; and the Centro d'Arte Reina Sofia (00 34 774 10 100; www. museoreinasofia.es; daily 10am-9pm, to 2.30pm Sunday; €6/£4.60), where Picasso's Guernica is proudly displayed.

In the centre of Madrid there are some excellent shops, from the Spanish Zara and Mango (Gran Via), to designer names; the latter are found on Calle Serrano in the upmarket Salamanca district.

There are gracious squares aplenty, from the 1619 Plaza Mayor, which has witnessed canonisations, the Inquisition and bullfights, to the Plaza de Oriente, an 18th-century imperial landmark, now King Juan Carlos's official address.

A short walk from the royal palace is Hotel Meninas (00 34 91 541 28 05; www.hotel meninas.es), in a 19th-century building. The bright, contemporary rooms cost from €170 (£131), including breakfast, over Easter (cots are free). If you want to explore the city's late-night tapas scene, consider a hotel that offers babysitting, such as the central AC Santo Mauro (00 34 913 196 900; www.ac-hotels.com), near the Plaza Alonso Martinez. The former residence of the Duke of Santo Mauro, it has rooms from €279 (£215), including breakfast; babysitting costs €27 (£21) per hour.

More information can be obtained from the tourist office (00 34 902 100 007; www.turismomadrid.es).

Send family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email crusoe@independent.co.uk

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home