There’s lots to consider when choosing a city break destination within Europe. Whether you’re seeking atmosphere, history, architecture, good food or art, we all have one thing in common: you want value for money. Well good news for you, there are loads of options to choose from. Here are 8 of the cheapest city break locations in Europe and what you can expect from each:
Buzzing with culture and atmosphere, and surrounded with beautiful architecture and history, Krakow is hard to beat when it comes to cheap city break destinations in Europe. The average cost of a beer in the city centre is €1.70 and you can get a meal in a nice restaurant for just €10. A 24-hour pass for all transport services is €3.60 and there are plenty of free walking tours available in the city. A visit to Krakow is perfect for:
History lovers: Review the damage caused to Krakow during WW2 and revisit Nazi times with a tour of Auschwitz concentration camp. Pay a visit to the 13th century Wieliczka salt mines to see chapels and underground lakes.
Culture lovers: Krakow has a thriving nightlife and culture scene all year round. Visit in summer to attend the Jewish Culture Festival and the Krakow Film Festival or in winter to attend the Christmas markets.
Home to central and eastern Europe’s largest medieval old town, Lithuania’s capital city is filled with bustling cafés and fairy-tale castles. Popular sights can be viewed from a height in a hot air balloon tour viewing the many magnificent castles and lakes below. For around €2 you can sip on a delicious local craft beer or if you prefer wine, a bottle will cost around €7. Vilnius will be of particular interest to:
Craft beer fans: Microbreweries are hugely popular in Vilnius. Head to the neighbourhood of Spunka and take your pick from the many craft beer bars.
Architecture buffs: Vilnius boasts some of the best Baroque architecture in Europe. The city’s old town is UNESCO protected and contains cobbled paths, parks, neoclassical and baroque churches.
This small capital city has been nicknamed as ‘Europe’s best kept secret’. Similar to Vilnius, there’s a big craft beer scene in Riga and 0.5l will cost you approx. €2. Dining out in Riga is a steal - you can get a generous evening meal for around €5 – €9 per person. Riga has a robust nightlife too with a range of late bars and clubs. Riga is suited to:
Art and architecture lovers: There are over 800 art nouveau buildings in the city of Riga. Walk around the Art Nouveau district and gaze at the intricately decorated buildings and pay a visit to the museum on Alberta Street.
Foodies: Riga is a culinary haven. Head to the Central Market where you’ll find five food pavilions housing different cuisines for you to savour.
Separated by the river Danube, Budapest is home to the magnificent Buda Castle, the famous Szechenyi thermal baths and a host of gothic buildings to marvel at. A beer will cost you less than €2 and you can sample the delicious local cuisine for as little as €8 in a sit-down restaurant. A weekend away in Budapest is for:
Culture vultures: See a folk-dance performance, take a dip in the thermal baths and take a trip to the Great Market Hall. None of these options will disappoint.
Night owls: Budapest is a great spot for nightlife. The city is abundant with roof-top bars, bath parties and ruin bars. Located in old buildings dating back to the way, ruin bars combine aspects of a bar, café, beer garden and nightclub all in one.
Warsaw is an enchanting city filled to the brim with history, gothic architecture, museums, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Warsaw is a budget-friendly destination, a beer will set you back between €1.50 and €3 and a meal averages at about €7. You can move around the city at your leisure with a 24-hour transport pass costing less than €4 too. Warsaw will delight:
History lovers: Warsaw is thought to be the ‘indestructible city’ having suffered such destruction in WW2. The city is a living exhibit of the past. Take a walk around the UNESCO-protected Old Town that was reconstructed following WW2.
Clubbers: Polish clubs don’t operate at the opening hours you’re used to. You can literally dance until morning, get breakfast and then sleep, in that order. There are clubs to suit all tastes and a host of cool bars too.
Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe and it’s no wonder why. It’s cheap, alive with atmosphere, architecture and an overall great location for some fun. Home to the oldest castle in the world and, of course, Czech beer, Prague has something to offer everyone. A beer will cost you €2 and you can enjoy a delicious Czech meal of meat dumplings for under €6. Prague is perfect for:
Beatles fans: Prague is home to the John Lennon Wall. Hidden behind a small church courtyard, marvel at the living homage to the famous singer and songwriter and leave your mark on the wall. Round of the trip with a drink in the John Lennon Pub located nearby.
Beer lovers: According to the Czechs, they have the best beer in the world. We recommend you go for a night out in this bustling city and try it for yourself!
Istanbul has played a pivotal role throughout history. Previously knowns as Constantinople, the city has hosted the Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine empires and the influence of each can still be seen in the diverse city today. A pint of beer will cost around €3.50 and you can eat a full dinner for as little as €5. Istanbul has lots for:
Lovers of architecture: Admire the combination of ancient and modern architecture in the city. Visit the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Museum, Egyptian Obelisks, Roman Hippodrome and Top Kapi Palace.
Shoppers: Visit the Grand Bazaar street market and try your hand at some haggling. The covered market has stalls selling jewellery, antiques, textiles and carpets. Make sure to take a break to enjoy some Turkish coffee or apple tea.
The beautiful city of Porto is located upon Douro river and makes for the perfect weekend break location. Think superb sights, delightful wines and delicious food and you’ve got the idea. Adorned with tiny streets to get lost in, you’ll find ancient plazas, ornate churches and monuments hidden throughout the city. A glass of wine averages at €3 and a meal comes in at around €10 in more casual restaurants. A visit to Porto is a must for:
Wine drinkers: Sampling port wine for which the city is world-famous is a must when visiting this vibrant city. Visit the wine caves at Gaia across the river and pick up a bottle of Sandemans or Fonseca to bring home.
Walkers: Porto is a very hilly city that is best viewed by foot. Get your comfy shoes on and join one of the many exciting walking tours. There are history tours, wine tours and food tours among others to enjoy.
Looking for a holiday destination less than 3 hours from Dublin? Check out this list.
Wherever you’re heading, avoid any unexpected expenses with a good value travel insurance policy from AIG. Choose single trip travel insurance or opt for an annual travel insurance policy to save more money throughout the year.