The Best Budget Euro City Breaks

The Best Budget Euro City Breaks



Budget
airlines mean it’s easier than ever to get carried away
and snap up some killer flight deals. But what happens when you get
there? There isn’t much point booking a £30 return flight to
Oslo to discover that Norway is one of the most
expensive countries in the world. We’ve run the numbers and
outlined the best European destinations to make your buck stretch
further.


Warsaw

Poland

With a history of resilience since the Nazis tried to wipe out
90% of its buildings in 1944, Poland’s capital today is a mix of
restored buildings and modern skyscrapers. Take the tram from the
city centre to Warsaw’s newly cool Praga neighbourhood, and unearth
a neon nirvana restored and presented by photographer Ilona
Karwińska and graphic designer David Hill. Entry will cost you a
bargain about €3. Pierogis (Polish ravioli) should be on your “must
eats” while in Warsaw, they’re inexpensive and you’ll find them
everywhere in the capital.


Budapest

Hungary

A must-see due to its Asian-Euro charm, Budapest is packed with independent
coffee shops, beautiful architecture and history at every turn.
We’re checking in at the shabby-chic Brody House in Pest for just
£60 per night and catching some zzz ahead of day of exploring. Head
to Great Market Hall for eccentric wares and people watching, while
for vintage shopping, Szputnyik will hit the mark.


Prague

Czech Republic

Beautiful cities like Prague
are prey to tourist traps – but you’re smarter than that. Explore
the Jewish quarter and see where novelist Franz Kafka was born,
catch a concerto for £20 or less and sip on cheap-as-chips Czech
beer morning, noon and night. For the best beers and beer gardens
(weather permitting) head to the Žižkov neighborhood, littered with
pubs vying for your attention.


Berlin

Germany

You don’t need us to tell you that the German capital is
overflowing with history, art, culture and nightlife, buzzing with
activities all year round. Spend the day at RAW, a large area in
central Berlin that was once an
abandoned train depot and is now a hub for graffiti artists and
locals, featuring clubs, bars, a swimming pool and a bunker that’s
been turned into a climbing wall. Check in at Linnen Hotel in
Prenzlauer Berg, where the owners will load you up with tips for
exploring their city while you munch on breakfast at neighbouring
Linnen Café.


Vienna

Austria

Situated on the Danube River, Vienna‘s musical legacy was
shaped by residents such as Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud.
Take a sightseeing bus, visit the natural history museum and the
Schönbrunn Palace as well as food, drink and accommodation, all for
just over €400.


Madrid

Spain

As fun the fifth time you visit as it was the first, Madrid keeps you coming back for
more. If you’re a return visitor looking to stay somewhere new,
check in at the Hat – an inexpensive boutique hotel that is
centrally located and boasts a rooftop bar. Weekend visitors should
pack a picnic and head to Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park or the
lesser-known Parque el Capricho on the outskirts of the city.
Malasaña, the Shoreditch of Madrid, is home to candy-coloured
buildings, tattooed baristas and great indie design shops. Scan the
shops along Calle de Velarde and pop into Hijo de Epigmenio for
your fill of handmade Spanish ceramics. The jewel in Malasaña
crown? It’s home to the oldest churrería in the capital, La
Churrería Madrid 1883.


Rome

Italy

Whether you’re throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain or gazing
at the Colosseum, Rome will grasp you with its
romantic charm. Experiencing the city (and gorging on pasta and
negronis) can be done on the cheap. Half the appeal of the Eternal
City is it’s labyrinthine layout. With meandering aimlessly on the
agenda, you don’t even need to buy map (we’re saving a cent a
second over here). To make your funds stretch, move a little
further out from the tourist route. Head for the hills above the
Forum to Monti – one of Rome‘s oldest and most colourful
neighbourhoods populated by dapperly dressed old men and flower
vendors. Snacks in the form of gourmet gelato at €2-3 per scoop is
the hood’s sweet spot.


Krakow

Poland

Poland’s second-largest city is a cheaper option than many other
European breaks. With a growing reputation as an affordable dining
destination (despite Poland’s meat-and-potatoes reputation) and a
vibrant art scene Krakow draws a cool crowd, as the gallery-studded
Zablocie neighbourhood can attest. Subverting fad food trends in
favour of good grub and great value, in Zablocie you’ll clock
umpteen old warehouses that have been converted into quirky cafés.
We recommend Restauracja Pod Baranem for a multi-course lunch where
you’re also likely to brush shoulders with Krakow’s most prominent
artists and writers. For dessert, head to the signless Cukiernia
Dominikanska for some traditional sernik (cheesecake).


Brussels

Belgium

For Brits, the words “budget” and “Brussels” induce a
Brexit-specific anxiety, but regardless of your hesitations
pre-March 29, travelling to the EU’s capital remains a good deal.
Despite popular opinion, Brussels isn’t only accessible to those
with a business expenses account. With a reasonably broad choice of
boutique hotels and postcard-worthy streets to explore, Brussel’s
bounty will put a pep in your step. Comic geeks will revel in the
city’s cartoon lineage – from Tin Tin to the Smurfs. Head on a free
comic- strip- free walking tour or stop off in the Comic Art Museum
for a charge of as low as €6.50. Also, eat chocolates, frites and
waffles. That’s all.


Riga

Latvia

Planning a European sojourn? Incredibly charming – and
affordable – Latvia’s capital is an ideal option for travellers
looking to discover somewhere new without dipping into your
overdraft. Explore colourful cobblestone streets in Rīga’s Old Town
for a heady mishmash of architecture and when your feet start to
ache, join the snaking queue and stop for a snack at Šefpavārs
Vilhelms – order pancakes for everyone (they’re just €0.80 each
after all).


St Petersburg

Russia

The most expensive component of a trip to Russia is likely to be your visa
application fee. Once that’s sorted, you’ll be nicely surprised by
the value for money you’ll encounter. After the strong devaluation
of the ruble, a Russian romp has become far more accessible. With a
flight time of just three hours from London, sinfully cheap Uber fares
for out-of-town excursions and a web of bridges and canals
interlaced by the Neva River to explore on foot, we’re hooked on
St Petersburg. For a culture fix
on the cheap, it’s wise to note that entry to many museums in the
city is free on the first Thursdays of the month. Another
costcutter, the metro is a speedy way to get around, and you’ll
take in some spectacular designs on your way from A to B. While not
as grand as Moscow, some stops do give the capital a run for its
money.


Lisbon

Portugal

Lisbon‘s popularity is reaching its
peak, but it can still make for a relatively affordable weekend
away. Food and lodgings are well priced and munching on pasteis de
nata (Portuguese custard tarts) for breakfast lunch and tea at €1 a
pop is sure to keep meal costs way down. On the first Sunday of
each month, you can catch the big sights for nothing. Otherwise, a
sunny climate lends to uninterrupted city rambles, with Alfama a
favourite spot for exploring. This former fishing village is the
oldest neighbourhood in the capital, beckoning tourists off the
trodden path and down its meandering paths. Stumbleupon cafés,
restaurants and pastel-hued tiled facades as you wander.


Lille

France

At a centre point between London, Paris and Brussels, Lille is a great
tag-on option for any trip. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras and
at just one hour 20 minutes it’s just as good for a day trip
(thereby eliminating the hotel bill) as it is a short break. On
arrival drop into patisserie and chocolaterie Maison Méert for
coffee and waffles before heading to either the Palais des
Beaux-Arts or Braderie de Lille. The former is the largest
fine-arts museum in France after the Louvre and the latter the
biggest flea market in Europe – an ideal destination for frugal
flaneurs. Don’t miss a hearty plate of moules frites either.


Marseille

France

Head to Marseille directly from Brussels in just five hours via
TGV and see for yourself that the south of France isn’t all yachts and
jewel-drenched celebrities. Detour from the busy port for a
culinary feast of traditional Provençal cuisine aside.
Alternatively, eat your way around the Med – a large proportion of
immigrants means Greek, Italian, Corsican and Armenian cuisine are
in broad supply opting for tapas, pizza and fresh fish for some
cheap chow. Further off the beaten track, the hidden bays and rocky
cliffs of the Calanques await. Accessible by boat or on foot, a
hike there will cost you nothing and this stretch of coast between
Marseille and Cassis is well worth the detour.

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