Cheap City Breaks in Europe
If you are planning a holiday in Europe, but haven’t decided where yet, do consider the top ten cheapest European city destinations, as you are guaranteed to get much more for your money, compared to the cities with high living costs. Unless you are good at travelling on a budget, the top ten European cities to avoid are Zurich, Geneva, Oslo, Paris, Munich, Helsinki, Copenhagen, London, Luxembourg and Rome, according to a UBS survey. I was shocked to see Stockholm and Barcelona to be competing neck to neck on the average cost of an overnight stay, as I have always considered Scandinavia to be a very expensive travel destination. Next, I’ll tell you more about the most expensive but also the cheap city breaks that anyone can afford.
UBS calculated that the world’s most expensive vacation destination is Zurich in Switzerland, and I can definitely see why. An average overnight city break for two costs $1,050 USD. I visited Zurich a while ago and I didn’t enjoy the feeling of not wanting to buy anything. I looked at delicious chocolates served at cafes and browsed amazing items at department stores, only to think “not for me, nope I won’t order that, No Way I’m paying that much!“. It felt like the country had excluded me as a visiting consumer and only catered for the locals, who were earning the Swiss money. It was time to find myself a cheap city break next.
Why these destinations are great to visit
The UBS report also lists the cheapest cities to visit and for once, I seem to be in luck! I was about to book a holiday in Bucharest, Romania, without knowing it is the best priced capital city destination in Europe. Thank goodness my friend is marrying a Romanian girl! Apparently the weather in the summer is great, the prices are more than affordable and you can even decide to trek over the mountains of Transylvania or visit incredible, old castles.
The other European most affordable city destinations are Sofia in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania and Budapest in Hungary. I recall Vilnius being a beautiful, old city, where the Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance architecture created an incredible atmosphere.
However, Budapest is one of my personal favourites in Europe. The city is full of history, art and architecture and they have everything a visitor needs. The summers get incredibly warm, the restaurants are of high quality and often built inside quirky buildings that are nicely rough around the edges. The level of English spoken is great and the service is wonderful. I also like sampling the local gyms where ever I travel and the best one I have ever visited was Life 1 Corvin, in Budapest. Having lived in London and New York, I would choose the Budapest gym any time. Like in rest of Budapest, the quality / price ratio was just spot on.
If you are planning a visit to Budapest, the Széchenyi spa’s outdoor pools are amazing. We spent a whole day floating around the heated pool drinking beer from plastic cups the day after New Year’s celebrations. You should also try the outdoor water carousel that takes swimmers around in the current. We had a blast just trying to get in and out again! Based on the excited shrieks, everyone else were enjoying their time too. For me, cheap city break doesn’t get better than this.
Istanbul is the next city on the Top 10 cheapest European city destinations list. What I really loved about Istanbul was the atmosphere. Being so close to the water opens up more possibilities to work into your itinerary. I was able to just walk onto a randomly chosen ferry without even knowing where it was headed. It took me to the Asian side (I presume), onto a lovely little island that I then walked around, sampling the little cafes and the shops. What I found surprising was how on time the trams were. I recall a clock counting down in seconds, before the tram doors shut. I wish my current home, Malta, would learn a lesson or two from the Turkish promptness!
The top 10 cheapest holiday cities in Europe 2017
- Bucharest, Romania
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Budapest, Hungary
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Riga, Latvia
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Warsaw, Poland