Amsterdam Sunset

5 weekend breaks less than 2 hours from Ireland

Did you know there’s a host of beautiful weekend break destinations that you can fly to in less than 2 hours? The short flight time leaves you with more time to see the sights, sample the cuisine and soak up the culture. Here are our top 5 weekend breaks less than 2 hours from Ireland.

1. Brussels

Fly from Dublin to Brussels in just 1 hour 40 minutes

Belgian chocolate… Belgian beer… It’s no wonder that Brussels is top of the list for a city break in Europe. A flight from Dublin Airport to Brussels is around 1 hour and 40 minutes leaving you with more time to explore everything Brussels has to offer.

Top Attractions in Brussels

Grand Place / Grote Markt

Historically, the Grand Place was Brussels’ marketplace where traders sold their goods. As a result, today the streets surrounding the square carry names such as butter, herbs and cheese. As Brussels grew as a city, the market stalls were replaced with magnificent buildings displaying architectural styles from the Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV eras. There’s a buzzing atmosphere at the Grand Place – during the day the square fills with tourists but at night locals and tourists alike meet to relax and have drinks.

Belgian Comic Strip Center / Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée

Fun fact: There are more comic strip artists per square kilometre in Belgium than in any other country in the world. Both Tin Tin and the Smurfs were created in Belgium. The Belgian Comic Strip Centre is a museum dedicated to the comic strip. Visitors can embark on a journey from the concept to shop stages and view over 5,000 original drawings. The building itself is a piece of art designed by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta.


2. Amsterdam

Fly from Dublin to Amsterdam in just 1 hour 40 minutes

Fly from Cork to Amsterdam in just 1 hour 50 minutes

Filled with culture and packed with things to do, Amsterdam is a European city like no other. From art galleries to architecture, cafes to nightclubs, there’s something for everyone in the city. You can fly from Dublin to Amsterdam in as little as 1 hour 40 minutes.

Tulips In Amsterdam

Top Attractions in Amsterdam

Anne Frank Museum

Located within the actual home in which Anne Frank and her family hid in for most of World War II, The Anne Frank museum provides visitors with an incredibly personal insight into the life of the Jewish refugees originally from Frankfurt. The house has been kept as it was when Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary and serves as a poignant reminder of the devastation of the holocaust.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum has been a top attraction among tourists in Amsterdam since opening in 1972. A visit to the museum will share the life, works and woes of the troubled artist. The museum houses 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters. The collections of work are sectioned into periods of time within the artist’s life, allowing visitors to witness how Van Gogh’s style evolved as his life progressed.

We also have a guide to the perfect day in Amsterdam that’s worth checking out.


3. Edinburgh

Fly from Dublin to Edinburgh in just 1 hour 10 minutes

Fly from Shannon to Edinburgh in just 1 hour 35 minutes

Fly from Cork to Edinburgh in just 1 hour 40 minutes

Arguably one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, Edinburgh is a cultured, history-steeped, cobble-stoned medieval haven waiting to be explored. Flights to Edinburgh are usually great value and take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, making it one of the best places to that’s within 2 hours flying time from Dublin.

Calton Hill Edinburgh

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Dungeon

Discover Edinburgh’s gruesome past through an interactive and terrifying experience at the Edinburgh Dungeon. Meet cannibals and killers and hear the secrets of the Green Lady in this actor-led experience with state-of-the-art special effects. You won’t know what’s real and what’s not! This tour is recommended for the brave at heart only.

Edinburgh Castle

Perched at the top of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is unrivalled as Scotland’s number one visitor attraction. The iconic building sits on top of an extinct volcano and provides visitors with panoramic views of the city. Inside the castle, visitors can see some of the oldest and most important buildings such as St Margaret’s Chapel, The National War Memorial and The Half Moon Battery. Scotland’s Crown Jewels are also on display.

4. Paris

Fly from Dublin to Paris in just 2 hours

Fly from Cork to Paris in just 1 hour 45 minutes

Fly from Shannon to Paris in just 1 hour 45 minutes

Though labelled as the City of Love, Paris is so much more. It’s an urban metropolis filled with an eclectic mix of architecture, cafés, bars and restaurants, shops and historical sites. You can fly from Dublin to Paris in approximately 2 hours giving you more time to soak up the city on your weekend break.

The Eiffel Tower at the Troacdero

Top Attractions in Paris

The Louvre

Once a palatial home to France’s kings, the Louvre Museum is now home to over 30,000 pieces of art from the 5th to the 19th centuries. Some of the most famous pieces include the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Venus de Milo sculpture from around 150 BC by Alexandros of Antioch and the painting of Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix.

A tour of the Louvre takes around 3 hours. The museum is a hugely popular attraction and guests can pre-book a tour to gain a “skip the queue” pass.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Quartier Montmartre

Sitting at the highest point in Paris like an ornamental decoration, the Basilica is a must-visit in Paris. It was built in 1914 and contains archaeological elements of both the Romanesque and Byzantine styles. Inside the Basilica, guests are greeted with a striking mosaic work of Jesus Christ with a flaming heart.

Outside the building, visitors can lounge on the terrace while soaking up the views of Paris. The area is frequented by Parisians, musicians, artists and performers too. Next to the Sacré-Coeur is the Medieval village of Montmartre, where you’ll find cobblestone streets, boutiques, art galleries and beautifully quaint cafés.


5. Bilbao

Fly from Dublin to Bilbao in 2 hours

The Basque city of Bilbao in Northern Spain is a cultural hub filled with art, architecture and design. It’s surrounded by both green mountains and tall skyscrapers and is the perfect location for a weekend of exploring, sight-seeing and eating. A flight from Dublin to Bilbao takes around our 2-hour flight limit from Dublin.

Jeff Koons' Puppy at the Bilbao Guggenheim

Top Attractions in Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum

Inaugurated in 1997, the Guggenheim building is a work of art in its own right. With a ship-like shape created from metal, the museum contains works from Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Eduardo Chillida. There are also larger artworks on view outside the museum in an area that is known as the ‘Art District’.

Bilbao’s pintxos bars

The Basque Country is famed for its delicious pintxos bites. They consist of small pieces of bread topped with all types of local ingredients including meat, fish, vegetables and cheese. Bilbao is home to some of the best pintxos bars in the country. Casa Victor Montes, Café Iruna and Asador Indusi all come highly recommended in the city.


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