16 of the best affordable city breaks in Europe


Europe is full of potential on the subject of city breaks, and budget-friendly ones at that. We’ve checked out the likes of Expedia and Booking.com to see the place you may go for lower than £300 per individual. Various components are related. Flights — and to not an airport 50 miles away — shouldn’t break the financial institution, and nor ought to a good-quality resort. You’ll need to dine with out stressing out about funds, and to dine effectively; transport also needs to be affordable. Free sights or strolling excursions assist no finish, as does a non-euro foreign money providing worth. Most crucially, you need real attract: magnificence, tradition, cool, even the odd seashore. Combine all of that, and also you’ll be laughing all the technique to the bureau de change.

Main picture: Market Square in Krakow, Poland (Getty Images)

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Istanbul, Turkey, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Ortakoy Mosque in Istanbul (Alamy)

1. Istanbul, Turkey

According to the Post Office’s 2023 Holiday Money Report, Turkey stays one of the world’s most cost-effective locations because of a fall in the worth of lira. During a protracted weekend in its fascinating cultural capital, you may economise through an Istanbulkart transit card. These low cost each tram, metro, Bosphorus-crossing ferry or funicular trip as you tick off vacationer sights: multi-domed mosque Hagia Sophia, opulent Topkapi Palace and the vaulted Grand Bazaar’s pipe or pottery markets. Istanbul additionally affords some of Europe’s most affordable dinner choices: a meal for 2 individuals often prices simply £15. Wholly regular for hopelessly hip Sub Karakoy is an nameless Nineteen Eighties block turned sharp design resort — and has modest charges besides.

Tirana, Albania, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Tirana’s New Bazaar space (Alamy)

2. Tirana, Albania

Each 12 months, the Post Office additionally straight compares on-the-ground prices — drinks, night meals for 2 with wine, three-star lodging, sightseeing and transport — on city breaks in 40 locations in Europe. Regularly up there with the best worth is Albania’s capital city. A real hidden gem, mountain-framed Tirana has attention-grabbing museums in former communist bunkers, mural-dotted boulevards and an excellent clubbing scene, whereas the Dajti Ekspres cable automobile (£5.50 return) ascends one of these peaks for breathtaking nation views. You can eat filling Balkan delicacies for a track — a pound normally buys two triangular, cheese or beef-filled bureks — and sip cups of espresso for about 60p. Hotels are equally economical, typified by the central, four-star Mondial and its rooftop swimming pool.

Krakow, Poland, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Krakow Old Town (Alamy)

3. Krakow, Poland

Poland’s second city is ideal for an inexpensive city break crammed with sightseeing. Among the many must-see spots are its Wawel Royal Castle, one of the world’s first Unesco world heritage websites, and St Mary’s Basilica, the place every hour is marked by a trumpet name. Try additionally to suit in time for people-watching on Market Square; even there, a plate of pierogi dumplings and a pint of Pilsner ought to carry change for a tenner. Shuttle buses for sober day-trips to Auschwitz start at €4 for a return; in any other case you may simply wander previous palaces and bars in the previous, narrow-laned coronary heart of Krakow. Typifying Krakow’s affordability, the elegant Grand has 65 antique-filled rooms, a Viennese café and a piano restaurant. 

Lisbon, Portugal, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Café life in Lisbon (Getty Images)

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Occasionally, western Europe may be low-cost too. In 2022, the Post Office surprisingly ranked sun-soaked Lisbon as its second-best worth city, aided by low lodging costs: a two-night keep in three-star digs will now usually set you again £115. Budget travellers can accomplish two issues by consuming petiscos (Portugal’s tackle tapas) in taverns: not simply saving dosh, however fuelling themselves for walks up the city’s seven hills to miradouros — azulejo-tiled viewpoints. Bouncing atop baroque cobbles, picket trams are €3 per trip; 40-minute trains serve Cascais’s sandy seashores and free-to-roam Parque Marechal Carmona, the place peacocks strut about. Allied with artwork exhibitions and common dwell music, pistachio-green Brown’s Central Hotel has 84 cool, modern rooms.

Bucharest, Romania, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Bucharest city centre (Getty Images)

5. Bucharest, Romania

Considering each flights and lodging, one other research proclaimed Romania’s capital Europe’s most cost-effective city break. That’s excellent news for clubbers, creatives or hipsters certain for the “new Berlin”, as Bucharest is often tagged. Yes, it could actually generally be gritty and traffic-choked — however then comes a beautiful inexperienced house, a vegan café serving good pizzas, a sky bar or a winsome previous Orthodox church hiding in plain sight. You’ll additionally discover the world’s second largest administrative constructing, with solely America’s Pentagon outstripping the oh-so-communist Palace of the Parliament for unsubtle dimension. Dinners, routinely scoffed on backyard or pavement terraces, are simply restricted to £10 per individual. The blindingly colored, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” bedrooms at Vilacrosse Boutique Inn can be found at affordable charges.

6. Montpellier, France

Montpellier is a curious previous (and new) combination. On the one hand, it has an aqueduct, France’s first botanical backyard and a butterscotch-coloured vieille ville. But, then once more, you’ll discover modernist city structure to rival Rotterdam, the cool images museum Pavillon Populaire and Christian Lacroix-designed tram liveries. For each leafy sq., there’s a hip boutique; for each petanque-playing previous man in a beret, a classy scholar in classic culottes. Crucially, a flat, seven-mile cycle path, previous vineyards, places the seashore in attain — anticipate to pay round £35 for a day’s rent — and it’s free to enter the gothic cathedral. Close to focal Place de la Comédie, Hotel d’Aragon lays out complimentary breakfasts on a glass-roofed veranda.

Barcelona, Spain, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Guadi’s Casa Batllo in Barcelona (Alamy)

7. Barcelona, Spain

Yes, that Barcelona. Various components render the avant-garde Catalonian capital and its Gaudi confections unexpectedly conducive to a parsimonious weekend. Multiple airways fly direct from the UK, driving down flight costs. Metro strains connect with the airport and all the things is inside strolling distance when you don’t thoughts an honest stride. Many museums open without cost as soon as a month. The sandy seashore isn’t subdivided into golf equipment with entry charges. Numerous purse-friendly eating places, from Asian tapas to sensible bistros, dot the city; so too does a stellar line-up of well-priced lodges, spanning the stylish&primary chain, impartial stays in well-to-do Eixample or larger, rooftop-pool affairs. In the latter class is Hotel Motel One, set beside Ciutadella park, not removed from the Gothic Quarter.

Bratislava, Slovakia, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Bratislava’s Blue Church (Getty Images)

8. Bratislava, Slovakia

Common round the Slovak capital, zemiakove placky are fried, garlicky potato pancakes that are offered for only a euro or two. Goulash right here is correspondingly affordable, and a pound buys most pints of beer. One-way flights may be as low-cost as £44; such stupendous worth is splendidly at odds with the grandeur of Bratislava. Draped alongside the Danube like a sleeping cat, its winding, patisserie-peppered previous city and cheerfully hued Blue Church (formally the Church of St Elizabeth) seduce guests under an oblong fortress advanced. An equally good lookout level is the riverbank’s futuristic UFO Tower, to whose 95m-high statement deck you may journey by speedy elevate for roughly £7. Bratislava’s many completely moored “botels” are terrific worth. The Dunajsky Pivovar throws in a pool and personal brewery for good measure.

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia (Getty Images)

9. Sofia, Bulgaria

One of Europe’s oldest cities, Sofia is constructed on high of now-excavated Roman ruins. Despite the rotundas and arched streets, Bulgaria’s capital stays criminally underrated, even amongst japanese European city breaks. Those who do go to discover a beguiling place the place practical, sombre Soviet blocks overhang gilded golden church buildings, and the place nodding your head means no whereas shaking it signifies sure. That’s near-impossible to recollect after glasses of rakia, a fiery fruit brandy, which historically comply with dinners. Talking of which, anticipate to spend not more than £10 every on three programs with wine, even when consuming steps from gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral — one of the world’s greatest church buildings. Expect candles, uncovered brick and imaginative lighting at the central R34 Boutique Hotel. 

10. Riga, Latvia

Not solely are the 5 pavilions of the Riga Central Market a wonderland of unfamiliar fruit and gingerbread cookies, however you should buy €2 sizzling samsas (stuffed savoury pastries) for lunch. Cash-conscious travellers will even delight in the free music on central Dome Square and the Latvian capital’s extraordinary bounty of artwork nouveau buildings. The cobbled previous city is equally winsome, and booze in its many bars equally cheap. For one thing completely different, spend little over a tenner to paddleboard alongside the Daugava River or trip an affordable prepare for 15 miles to the white-sand seashore resort of Jurmala. Recently refurbished, the Ibis Riga Centre could be very pretty priced given its handy location. 

Sarajevo, Bosnia, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Sarajevo Old Town (Alamy)

11. Sarajevo, Bosnia

Sarajevo has emerged from its war-torn years wanting remarkably good. That’s notably true of the atmospheric, charming authentic centre, which hosts coppersmith workhouses and homely teahouses. Those, together with a mix of church buildings and mosques, underline how multicultural Bosnia’s capital is — as does an area delicacies with Balkan, Turkish and Mediterranean parts. Engagingly small, the hilly city is continually cobbled, making cozy footwear important. The choicest hill is Vidikovac, a trudge up which ought to conclude in sunset-watching and dinner at the cut price namesake restaurant. Trams price a few euro per trip and it’s solely twice that for on-the-go lunches involving a cevapi, or Bosnian kebab. Inside a central, Austro-Hungarian-era constructing, the trendy, minimal Hotel Colors Inn throws in free breakfasts.

Ljubljana, Slovenia, one of the best places for for budget city breaks in Europe
Ljubljana’s city centre (Getty Images)

12. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Summer’s the best time for a thrifty quick break to the capital of Slovenia. It’s when ​​a quantity of free festivals are held on open-air streets levels — occasions akin to the Ana Desetnica street-theatre competition from June’s finish, a July jazz competition and Nights in Ljubljana Old Town in August. You’ll additionally discover cafés arrange on leafy riverside terraces, and events in previous sugar factories. Pretty, compact and car-free (save for electrical taxis) — beneath its “Vision of Ljubljana 2025” venture — the city is simple to walk or cycle utilizing free-to-hire bikes, although you’ll most likely need to fork out €4 for a return funicular trip as much as its lofty medieval fortress. Behind its artwork deco exterior, Hotel Cubo serves nice meals subsequent to the previous city.

Café life on Mnisikleous in Athens, one of the best places for a budget city break in Europe
Café life on Mnisikleous in Athens (Alamy)

13. Athens, Greece

Meet the Post Office’s reigning most cost-effective city break. Exceptionally affordable on the subject of eating, with three-course, wine-supplemented night meals costing lower than £20pp in complete, the capital of Greece additionally abounds with free sights. There’s no cost to amble round dreamy Plaka, the place flowering creeper crops garland pastel-shade buildings, nor the café-lined steps of Mnisikleous. Equally complimentary are journeys to see superlative road artwork, classic window procuring on hip Protogenous and even local-led strolling excursions (though tipping is widespread). Factor in heaps of low-cost rental lodging and you must be capable of afford the Athens must-see: the hilltop Acropolis citadel, a surprise of historic temples and gateways. Multi-site tickets together with six different archaeological websites supply the best worth at €30. As its title suggests, the Acropolis View overlooks that predominant sight — and is just a brief stroll from the airport-connecting metro.

Eating currywurst with french fries in Berlin, one of the best places for a budget city break in Europe
Eating currywurst with french fries in Berlin (Getty Images)

14. Berlin, Germany

The capital of Germany has heaps of low-cost lodging. Cool hostels proliferate, whereas NH operates a sequence of attractively priced mid-range lodges. Also affordable is consuming, with ubiquitous currywurst sausages and doner kebabs — each of them invented in Berlin — costing nearer €5 than €10. Sightseers will additional rejoice at what number of free-to-visit wartime sights are inside strolling distance of each other, from Checkpoint Charlie and Brandenburger Tor to the Reichstag (ebook forward) and the Holocaust Memorial. Gratis too is the East Side Gallery, a graffiti-strewn portion of the Berlin Wall, and enormous Tiergarten park. Pay simply €4 to climb the latter’s Victory Column for stupendous views. Handily located, the NH outpost on Potsdamer Platz affords free wi-fi and clear, trendy rooms.

15. Warsaw, Poland

One of Europe’s everlasting underdogs, the capital of Poland is a surprisingly enticing, thrilling vacation spot to go to — and splendidly affordable. Aided by its use of zloty, not euros, it’s a spot the place you may spend £8.50 on an outstanding dinner or £4 for a pint of craft beer. Ubers are additionally terrifically low-cost, whereas most sights are inside strolling distance of each other, previous good-looking neoclassical buildings. The most enjoyable time out can be the most cost-effective: Warsaw is strung alongside Poland’s longest river, the Vistula, and has a sequence of ferry-accessed city seashores the place locals collect on summer time days. Some have hammocks and waterfront bars; others soccer or volleyball courts. On the stylish Srodmiescie Poludniowe neighbourhood’s northern fringes, No.4 Residence pairs Vistula views with retro decor in 22 spacious, vibrant residences that includes kitchenettes.

16. Naples, Italy

Italy isn’t identified for funds breaks, however then Naples has at all times accomplished issues its personal means. Despite being a gateway to the decidedly dear Capri and Amalfi coast, this can be a city the place worth abounds. Raw, relentless and romantic, it’s additionally one of the most thrilling (and inconsistently paved) locations you’ll ever stroll. Look a technique and there’s an 18th-century palazzo hiding in plain sight; one other, under washing strains, some stellar road artwork. Naples can be the residence of pizza, with good ones for £6; equally economical is a three-day Campania Artecard (£28), which incorporates admission to Pompeii and Herculaneum plus 50 per cent off different regional sights and public transport. In the rising working-class neighbourhood of La Sanita at Borgo Vergini: an arty B&B set round a typical, tranquil Neapolitan backyard courtyard.

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