By Lucy Richardson, Editor

Why not take a quick Euro hop? The big cities are at their finest at this time of year, as days get longer, parks bloom, and temperatures are pleasant for exploring. There are plenty of stylish apartments in unbeatable central locations. Here are 8 of our favourites.

1  Verona Boutique Apartment

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Home to ancient frescoes, incredible live opera and Juliet’s famous balcony, Verona oozes romance. Base yourself at this equally romantic apartment, set on a cobbled street across the river from medieval Castelvecchio. Verona Boutique Apartment combines 50s furniture and sleek contemporary design, it may not be huge but it makes up for it in style: we loved the classic design pieces, including a superbly comfortable Silvio Cavatorta bed.

From: £124/night, sleeping 2

Live like a local: Pop to the nearby bakery for morning pastries, and try the neighbourhood’s excellent bars and restaurants.


2 Paris Boutique Apartments

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Paris is a good idea at any time. To experience it like a proper Parisian, base yourself at Paris Boutique Apartments, a collection of hip one-bedroom pads with loft-style vibes. Each one has a lovely back story – one was a costume workshop; another was a fashion studio. Now they’re adorned with smart panelling, jazzy paintings and playful signage. You’re in the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis quartier, a lovely neighbourhood with local shops and a great food scene; the Gare du Nord, the Bourse and Opéra are all walkable.

From: £128/night, sleeping 2

Live like a local: Go for dinner at L’Echiquier, located mere metres from the apartments – we had the best food of our trip here.


3  Antwerp Boutique Apartments & Suites

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Antwerp, the fashion and diamond capital of Belgium, is stylish, fun, artistic — and much underrated. There are world-class boutiques to shop in, modern art meccas to visit, and gourmet delights a’plenty (including exquisite chocolate and gourmet fries!). We love Antwerp Boutique Apartments & Suites for 2-3, set in a classic old townhouse, with gorgeous design pieces and little kitsch details.

From: £155/night, sleeping 2-3

Live like a local: Make it a long weekend; around the corner is the famous Vrijdagmarkt flea/antique market, which runs all day Friday.


4 Boutique Apartments Porto

the i-escape blog / 8 beautiful apartments for a European city break / Porto Boutique Apartments

Sweet little Porto is a perfect weekend break destination. There’s so much colour and character here: the painted houses, the azure riverfront, the iconic yellow trams, and the gorgeous hues of intricate tilework. Set in a mansion by the sea, a short tram ride from Porto’s historic centre, the Boutique Apartments Porto are a restful haven away from the tourists. Each is stylish, spotless and brimming with design surprises – paintings by up-and-coming Portuguese artists are all for sale. Gourmet breakfasts can be delivered to your door, and there’s an on-call concierge service.

From: £124/night, sleeping 2-5

Live like a local: At sunset, take a picnic and some vinho verde up to Jardim do Morro – the views across the river and city are impossibly romantic.


5  Baixa House, Lisbon

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Ah, Lisbon! How we love your edgy vibe, rattling trams, urban art scene and buzzy restaurants. If you haven’t yet visited the Portuguese capital, come and fall for its beguiling mix of majesty and shabbiness. These stunning apartments in Baixa House are a perfect base to explore, set downtown, near the historic districts. Quirkily furnished and flooded with light, they’re brilliantly kitted out for self-catering, and rates even include breakfast (fresh bread is delivered to your door; everything else awaits in your fridge).

From: £142/night, sleeping 1-7

Live like a local: Eat at a fado restaurant (reception can recommend); this haunting music is a window into the Portuguese soul.


6  Seville Boutique Townhouse

the i-escape blog / 8 beautiful apartments for a European city break / Seville Boutique Townhouse

For orange blossom-scented squares, Moorish architecture and a buzzy food scene, we adore Seville. But don’t get stuck in the tourist traps, stay at this peaceful Boutique Townhouse, set between the Gothic Cathedral and the riverfront. This part of the old town is less discovered – you’ll feel like a true Sevillano living your best life! You get far more space than you would at any hotel – four storeys no less – plus a lovely shaded terrace facing the square. And self-catering is easy, with delis, traditional food shops and a plethora of bars and restaurants all around.

From: £168/night, sleeping 4

Live like a local: By all means, see the Alcazar (book in advance), but also make time for Palacio de las Dueñas, the former home of the Duquesa de Alba. The garden of citrus trees, the pretty arcaded courtyard, and the Renaissance design make it a real beauty.


7  StayCatalina Boutique Apartments, Palma de Mallorca

The i-escape blog / 8 beautiful apartments for a European city break / StayCatalina Boutique Apartments

If you need an injection of sunshine, jet off to Palma. This lively harbourfront city buzzes all year round, with temperatures in the high teens in spring. Santa Catalina is Palma’s ‘Soho’, with great bars, cafes and boutiques, plus the lovely light-filled StayCatalina Boutique Apartments for 2-5. Whitewashed interiors are chic and minimalist with splashes of bright colour, and all have terraces or patios for soaking up that blissful warmth.

From: £106/night, sleeping 2-5

Live like a local: If cooking feels like a chore, big breakfast baskets are available on request: cheeses, Iberico ham, freshly-squeezed orange juice and pastries, along with warm boiled eggs, olives and muesli.


8  Linnen, Berlin

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Edgy Berlin is famed for its history, graffiti and world-class museums and galleries. (Some come for its all-night-long techno clubs, but we weren’t that cool!). Whatever you’ll be doing here, Linnen is our favourite place to stay, set in trendy Prenzlauer Berg. There are romantic rooms or self-catering apartments for 4-6, all gorgeous with quirky and chic interiors. Staff are wonderful, and downstairs, the street-level communal area serves great breakfasts.

From: £111/night, sleeping 4-6

Live like a local: Grab a city bike and follow the course of the old Berlin wall.