Classic with a twist: the hottest new spots in Europe’s greatest cities


Ten of our on-the-ground experts share the best new exhibitions, hotels, restaurants and more in Europe’s great city break destinations. What are you waiting for?



The Atelier des Lumières (38 Rue Saint-Maur; 00 33 1 8098 4600), Paris’s innovative digital art museum, is attracting crowds to the cool 11th arrondissement with Van Gogh, Starry Night – an immersive exhibition that uses video, sound and installation to tell the story of the artist’s life and work as you’ve never seen it. 


The laid-back chic rooftop at Perchoir Ménilmontant (14 Rue Crespin du Gast; 00 33 1 8695 4693), a favourite with locals in the know, is tweaking up its culinary offering until the end of 2019 with Tontine. Expect delicious Franco-Vietnamese fare courtesy of brother and sister Julien and Céline Pham (the banh mi en croûte has plenty of fans) in a slick neo-bistro setting. Natural wines accompany. 


In October, buzzy Canal Saint-Martin will welcome a new hotel: Le Grand Quartier (15 Rue de Nancy; 00 33 1 7621 6161). This atypical four-star will be home to stylish rooms, a rooftop terrace with yoga classes, and an Instagram-ready, plant-filled courtyard garden (plus an in-house art space and fitness studio). 

Le Grand Quartier, Paris

The plant-filled courtyard garden of Le Grand Quartier

Joel Chan Thaw



Head to the Danish Architecture Centre (Bryghusgade 10; 0045 3257 1930) to catch BIG presents Design, a major new exhibition devoted to the work of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), the influential Danish architectural practice whose innovative designs are making their mark on urban landscapes around the world. Until Jan 5 2020. 


Alchemist (Refshalevej 173C; 0045 3171 6161) is the most eagerly awaited restaurant opening since the rebirth of noma. Here, chef Rasmus Monk delivers “holistic cuisine” – a multi-sensory blend of cutting-edge food, art, music and political comment that’s made it one of the hottest tables in town. 


Deco (Ny Adelgade 5; 0045 3330 7000) only opened in March but this laid-back little cocktail bar has already started to win awards. Expect well-mixed drinks (though they have wines and draft beer if you prefer) and quality snacks from Frank, the restaurant next door.

Deco, Copenhagen

The laid-back cocktail bar Deco mixes a mean drink

How to spend 48 hours in Copenhagen



The Palacio de Liria (Calle de la Princesa 20; 0034 912 302 200), home of the Duke of Alba, contains one of the best art collections in Spain and is opening to the public this autumn. Wander the halls to admire the paintings of many great masters, including Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Ribera and more. Book well ahead online as demand is likely to be high. Opens Sept 19. 


Diego Guerrero, who has two Michelin stars at his DSTAgE restaurant in the fashionable Salesas area, has opened Dspeakeasy (Calle de Fernando VI 6; 0034 913 195 435) around the corner – a more bistro-style place with a creative spin on traditional dishes, such as sole in a kombu sauce.


You can’t help but soak up Madrid’s history at the elegant new Pestana Plaza Mayor (Calle Imperial 8; 0034 910 052 822), as the building actually forms part of the city’s signature square, which dates back 400 years. That combined with elegant design makes this one of the most interesting places to stay in Madrid. 

Palacio de Liria

Be one of the first members of the public to explore the rooms of The Palacio de Liria

An expert guide to Madrid



Rome’s street art scene is taking off, with locals such as Alice Pasquini and Maupal garnering international attention and the opening of MURo, an outdoor museum dedicated to mural art. You’ll need a local Cicerone to hunt down urban art in the Eternal City, and Scooterroma (00 39 340 075 1432) has the insider knowledge and zippy wheels to show you the most impressive works. 


The spectacularly restyled Settimo (Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese, Via Lombardia 47; 00 39 06 478 021) is a formidable contender for a top spot in Rome’s rapidly evolving rooftop bar scene. With sweeping views over the Villa Borghese park, a lush garden-themed décor, and a cocktail menu with classic and signature concoctions, this is a sundowner paradise. 


For five-star style on a four-star budget, drop your bags at Chapter Roma hotel (Via di Santa Maria de Calderari 47; 00 39 06 8993 5351), a spunky newcomer that cuts its sophisticated vibe with a streetwise edge in the Regola neighbourhood. Plus this trendy bolthole has a street-art-decorated cocktail bar to lure you from the industrial-chic comfort of your room. 

Chapter Roma

Travellers who yearn for five-star style on a four-star budget can’t do better than this spunky property that pairs a sophisticated urban vibe with a feisty streetwise edge

An insider guide to Rome



Cocktail legend Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) of London’s Lyaness now shakes his stuff and sprinkles botanicals at Super Lyan (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 3; 0031 20521 1757). It’s even open at breakfast time for an instantly energising Lyan Mary, with a dash of miso. 


All the hipster eateries in town, from classy hot dogs to Peruvian-Japanese, seem to have opened a stall at The Food Department (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182), a new food hall on the top floor of the 19th-century Magna Plaza mall: good food in a decorous setting, away from the crowds, in the city centre. 


CitizenM has a new baby in the heart of its hometown. CitizenM Amsterdam Amstel (Sarphatistraat 47; 0031 20811 7020) brings the trademark luxury where it matters, simplicity where it counts, at just a tickle-of-the-purse-strings approach, almost to the banks of the Amstel river. Expect lively public areas, cheeky Dutch design and blissfully comfortable beds. 

The Food Department, Amsterdam

Tuck into good food in a decorous setting at The Food Department



Ljubomir Stanisic, the enfant terrible of the Portuguese culinary scene, tells the tale of his life in Bosnia-Herzegovina through extraordinary dishes from Sarajevo cigar to the last supper at 100 Maneiras (Rua do Teixeira 39; 00351 910 918 181). In a word: memorable.


On the seventh floor of Altis Avenida, with magnificent views over Lisbon, the newly opened Rossio Gastrobar (Rua 1⁰ de Dezembro 118; 00351 210 440 018) dazzles with design as well as impressive cuisine by Joao Rodrigues, the Michelin-starred chef. 


Set within a beautifully restored 16th-century palace in the heart of Lisbon, five-star The One Palácio da Anunciada offers 83 rooms, a restaurant, wine bar and a cocktail lounge. There is a swimming pool inset in the attractive gardens and an excellent spa with Natura Bissé products. This is a serious addition to Lisbon’s hotel scene. 

Rossio Gastrobar, Lisbon

Take the lift to the seventh floor of Altis Avenida for magnificent views over Lisbon

An insider guide to Portugal’s timeless capital



This year is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Berlin inevitably has celebrations lined up. More than 100 events – large-scale 3D video projections, concerts, theatrical performances, readings, film screenings, exhibitions and more – are taking place every night for a week at seven relevant “Peaceful Revolution” sites such as Alexanderplatz, the East Side Gallery and the newly opened Humboldt Forum. Nov 4-9. 


Although Kin Dee (Lutzowstr 81; 0049 30 2155 294) opened a couple of years ago, this unassuming but excellent Thai restaurant has been placed firmly on Berlin’s culinary map with a 2019 Michelin star. In contrast to the simple and sparsely decorated interior, the authentic Thai dishes are spectacular, presented with contemporary twists and made with a commitment to regional ingredients. 


Mr Susan (Krausnickstrasse 1; 0049 160 536 7463) fills a beautiful niche between the hyper-commercial districts of Hackescher Markt and Friedrichstrasse. Pull up a blue-seated bar stool at the pink terrazzo bar and choose from the list of classics or try creative concoctions such as the kimchi popsicle micheladas, or drinks made with fir, sesame and even mushroom reductions. 

Kin Dee, Berlin

One of the many excellent dishes at unassuming Thai restaurant Kin Dee

An insider’s guide to Berlin



Be sure to book ahead for the William Blake retrospective at Tate Britain (Millbank; 020 7887 8825). Radical and rebellious, the painter, printer and poet created some of the most iconic images in British art. And with 300 original works, it’s the largest show of Blake’s work for almost 20 years. From Sept 11 to Feb 2.


The suburban food hall has been reinvented as an all-day food “theatre” with the recently opened Arcade, an Olympic swimming pool-sized, marble-finished space in the basement of Centre Point, Tottenham Court Road’s Sixties tower block. Go on a tasting expedition of some of London’s top food and drink, from Lina Stores to Flat Iron Workshop. 


It’s London’s most hotly anticipated hotel in years and now King’s Cross has a Standard (10 Argyle Street; 020 3981 8888) to call its own. The US hipster party hotel brings cinematic retro interiors, late dining and, of course, a serious drinking den. High hopes are in place for the October opening of Decimo, a 10th-floor restaurant, where acclaimed chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias will combine Mexican and Spanish flavours. 

The Standard, London

Everywhere you look at The Standard there are geometric shapes galore, potted plants, colourful retro tiles, quirky lights and leather sofas for sinking into

48 hours in London



Picasso and Antiquity: Line and Clay at the Museum of Cycladic Art (Neofytou Douka 4; 0030 210 722 8321) is a rare opportunity to see ceramics and drawings by Picasso juxtaposed with ancient artefacts on loan from 15 Greek museums. Until Oct 20. 


Cocktails made with Greek spirits such as tsipouro, mastiha, and yes, ouzo, are the order of the day at To Lokali (Sarri 44; 0030 210 325 0673), a neo-retro bar-restaurant hidden in a plant-filled, softly lit backyard in the resurgent Psiri neighbourhood. 


The Foundry hotel (Sarri 40; 0030 690 868 8004) cleverly combines original industrial features and mid-century modern touches in its huge apartments. But the real ace up its sleeve is the lush roof garden, where picnic baskets, wood-fired pizzas and aperitivos are served with views of the Acropolis. 

Picasso and Antiquity. Line and Clay, Athens

See ceramics and drawings by Picasso juxtaposed with ancient artefacts at the Museum of Cycladic Art



The Alchemix (Carrer de València 212; 0034 938 337 678), described in its own words as a “gastro-cocktail bar”, is an elegant spot for an aperitif, with two chef-barmen bringing their experience working at famed Bangkok restaurant Gaggan to deliver some of the coolest cocktails in Barcelona – many with Asian ingredients in the spotlight. Anyone fancy a pumpkin lassi? 


With a name inspired by the mechanic’s shop that once stood here, Benzina’s (Passatge de Pere Calders 6; 0034 936 595 583) industrial chic interior belies the soul-warming Italian food coming out of the kitchen. Its terrace tables down a blind alley are highly coveted. 


The beloved Omm hotel, Barcelona’s first design hotel (left), was much mourned when it closed last year, but the Sir Victor (Carrer del Rosselló 265; 0034 932 711 244) has risen from its ashes with a stylish revamp and a particularly good steak restaurant, Mr Porter. The rooftop pool is a prime spot to soak up the last rays of summer. 

Sir Victor, Barcelona

The rooftop pool at Sir Victor in Barcelona

An expert guide to Barcelona

Contributions by Annie Bennett, Rodney Bolt, Sally Davies, Rachel Howard, Suzanne King, Mary Lussiana, Hannah Meltzer, Paul Sullivan, Alison Taylor and Rebecca Winke.

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