Five fabulous Short Break destinations for friends

From Amsterdam to Zeebrugge, make memories to last a lifetime on a Short Break cruise holiday.

Taking a few days to relax, explore and experience something new with your pals by your side is a recipe for lifelong memories. P&O Cruises offers Short Breaks that visit some of the most dynamic destinations in the UK and Europe. These two- to five-night holidays not only whisk you away to new experiences, sights, cultures and flavours, they also give you a taste of life on board, whether unwinding in the spa or sipping cocktails at sundown.

These five destinations are just some of the places you can visit on a Short Break. Visit our website for a full list of Short Break cruise holidays, gather your best friends and start planning a holiday to remember. 

Amsterdam (from Ijmuiden)

Amsterdam sparkles with life, day and night. And fortunately, you can experience both on a Short Breaks cruise to the Dutch capital, all of our cruises to Amsterdam offer overnight stops.

When the sun is out, why not hire a bike and ride along the canals, or simply wander the city’s streets and discover its many charming cafés and boutiques? If you’re feeling adventurous, prove your mettle on Europe’s highest swing, ‘Over the Edge’ at the A’Dam Lookout tower. Until September 2022, guests travelling on Aurora or Ventura can visit the once-in-a-decade Floriade Expo in Almere. Take in the heady scent of gardens in bloom, explore the arboretum and learn about how you can live in harmony with nature.

At night, Amsterdam’s food and drink scene beckons, from Michelin-starred restaurants serving contemporary Dutch cuisine to long-established ‘brown bars’ (the Dutch equivalent of an English pub). And when you’re all fed and watered, there’s no better way to cap off the day than with a scenic cruise along the twinkling canals. 

St Peter Port

With its boat-filled harbour, tumbling terraced gardens and colourful cobbled streets, St Peter Port is arguably the prettiest town in the Channel Islands.

Snap some impressive pics of the harbour from Candie Gardens, a lush expanse of Victorian gardens with ponds, lawns and a greenhouse with a collection of Guernsey Lilies.

Literary lovers will swoon for Hauteville House, the former home of French writer Victor Hugo, where he wrote many of his masterpieces including Les Misérables; those more impressed by art will love its sumptuous interiors, decorated by Hugo himself.

Guernsey’s English and French heritage is deliciously evident in its cuisine, a proud fusion of influences from both sides of the Channel with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients. Unsurprisingly, seafood is a staple on the island. Wherever you go, local restaurants serve up deep-sea delights like oysters, scallops and mackerel, from beachfront cafés to fine-dining restaurants. 

Hamburg

No matter how much time you spend in Hamburg, you’ll always leave wanting more. The city is an intoxicating mix of old and new, a dichotomy that is gloriously evident in its culture, architecture and food.

The waterways in Hamburg are as central to the city’s 21st-century identity as they were in its Hanseatic days. The Elbe River is a focal point and the perfect place to begin your exploration – stroll its banks and stop for refreshment at a riverside café.

Along the canals that weave through the city you’ll find some great bars and restaurants, as well as the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Elbphilharmonie concert hall stands proudly over the Elbe and offers stunning acoustics, architecture and vistas from its viewing platform. For a low-key day on the water, take to Outer Alster lake and spend an afternoon rowing and relaxing.

Zeebrugge

Cameras at the ready: Bruges is an intoxicating tableau of cobbled streets, criss-crossing canals and chocolate-box charm, with photo-worthy scenes around every corner.

However, Bruges is so much more than good looks, with a history that dates back to the 9th century when it was founded by Vikings. The Belfry Tower should be your first stop – the UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 15th century, and if you can handle the 366-step climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the city.

Bruges has proud culinary traditions and is arguably best known for its chocolate and beer, both of which can be found in abundance. Visit one of the city’s famous chocolatiers, such as Dumon or Galler, for a taste of the cocoa confection; then head to the De Halve Maan or Bourgogne des Flandres breweries for some hoppy refreshment.

Cherbourg

Cherbourg is well-known for its seafaring heritage and offers visitors countless ways to explore its maritime history.

First stop for foodies should be the buzzing Old Town – the fish market and surrounding seafood restaurants offer a delicious way to enjoy the ocean’s bounty. If fish isn’t for you, then the city’s famous cheeses, cider and calvados (a brandy made from apples or pears) are sure to entice.

At the Cité de la Mer (City of the Sea) museum, you can step inside a hulking nuclear submarine and marvel at 17 incredible aquariums, including one that’s more than 10m deep. Access to Mont Saint Michel was once controlled by the tides, which are extreme in the region with a difference of up to 15m between high and low tide. Fortunately, the fairy-tale-like, medieval monastery can now be reached by bus or on foot.