Cheap City Breaks

Looking for a cheap city break? If you’re willing to consider different cities and departure dates, then the possibilities for your low cost holiday are endless. With some destinations it’s possible to fly out in the morning and fly home in the evening on a different day, maximising your time for sightseeing.

If you have your heart set on one of the pricier destinations, such as Rome, Paris or New York, then consider staying a bit further out from the centre. Hotels offering a view of the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum come at a premium. There’s usually a reliable Metro system that will take you between your hotel and the heart of the city for a low price. Also, consider different dates. Even changing your trip date by just one day might mean it doesn’t clash with a conference or sports event being hosted in the city, increasing the number of hotel options available.

To keep the transfer costs down you can even choose a destination where the airport is just a stone's throw from the centre. Pisa Airport is just 3km from the city centre, while Gibraltar Airport is even more central. If you’re travelling with just a backpack, you might even choose to walk from the airport to your hotel! In the bigger cities there’s often a choice of public transport options. So, you could choose a slower, cheaper bus over a faster, more expensive train. If your hotel isn’t served by public transport consider a shared transfer over a taxi.

Once you arrive you can keep the cost down by opting for street food and delicious bites from bakeries that you can then eat on-the-go. And if you’ve booked your hotel on a B&B basis, make breakfast the main meal of the day and opt for a light lunch. After all, breakfast buffets usually offer plenty of variety.

Planning to visit the city’s must-see sites? Keep a lookout for days when the normal admission charge is waived. Heritage Open Days run across many European cities, giving free access to selected buildings for one weekend in September - sometimes even buildings that aren’t normally open to the public. In Greece historical sites usually open for free on selected Public Holidays, although they are closed on others. While in Rome there’s no admission charge for the Colosseum on the first Sunday of the month and the Vatican museums issue complimentary tickets on the last Sunday of the month. Just arrive early to avoid the queues

Cheap City Breaks in Portugal

For a cheap Portugal holiday, the obvious choice might be a Lisbon city break. Here, you can visit the Jerónimos Monastery and sample one of the original pastel de natas. But don’t overlook Porto, made famous by Port wine and its imposing Dom Luís I Bridge. Alternatively, explore 2000 years of history in Braga - the country’s oldest city. And if that wasn’t enough to choose from there’s also Sintra, home to three palaces and located on the edge of a national park.

Cheap City Breaks in Italy

While Italy isn’t generally seen as a cheap European city break destination, there are low cost getaways to be had. You can’t go wrong with Pisa - there’s more to the city than the famous leaning tower. Once you’re there, the Renaissance capital of Florence and the historic centre of Lucca are easy day trips by train. Many Brits miss out by overlooking the cultural melting pot of Bari (Puglia’s capital) as a holiday destination. And while a budget break to Switzerland would be extremely difficult, a stay in the fashion capital of Milan means you can sneak in a day trip to the Swiss lakeshore city of Lugano with its stunning mountain backdrop.

Cheap City Breaks in Spain

For a cheap Spain holiday you can’t go wrong with a Malaga city break. The birthplace of Picasso isn’t just the getaway to the Costa del Sol. It’s a city in its own right with an Alcazaba, cathedral, museums, art galleries and a vibrant culinary scene. The Basque city of Bilbao is becoming a favourite with art lovers, thanks to the Guggenheim Museum and its wallet-friendly tapas bars. And if Barcelona isn’t within your price range, consider the Catalan city of Girona with its medieval streets and picturesque river views.

Cheap City Breaks in Greece

Greece may not have many city break destinations. But its biggest two cities - Athens and Thessaloniki are very friendly on the wallet. The budget hotels in the capital may not offer views of the Ancient Greek landmarks, but they are often either within walking distance of them or just a short-hop on the Metro away. The options for cheap eats in both cities are numerous. Plus, there’s no charge to see Athens’ most famous residents - the wild tortoises that roam the city’s green spaces.

Cheap City Breaks in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has gained a reputation as a haven for budget-conscious travellers. Bratislava is often seen as a low-cost alternative to Vienna - and it’s just an hour away from the Austrian capital by bus. Even in this part of Europe choose your departure dates carefully to get the best bargains. December is no longer the low season in Prague and Budapest due to the popular Christmas Markets and winter fairytale themed Lumina Parks. However, if you consider the attractive Polish city of Wrocław or Lithuania's stunning capital Vilnius, you can get experience both, often for a lower price.

Cheap City Breaks in North Africa

Travelling a bit further, can result in a cheaper holiday. Marrakech's bustling souks, vibrant medina and stunning palaces offer a sensory journey that won't strain your wallet. While Tunisia is now re-emerging as a budget-friendly tourist destination. The UNESCO listed Old Town of Sousse boasts a 9th century medina, a ribat and a mosque dating from 850AD. The Archaeological Museum claims to have the second largest collection of mosaics in the world. If you’re brave enough to use the public transport you’ll find the fares comparable to the cost of a banana in the UK.