29th April 2016

Cheap City Breaks for When You’re Broke

Ok, so maybe not broke broke. If you’re broke broke, it might be wiser to stay home, live on baked beans and packet noodles, and prioritise the rent. But if you have some cash to spare, and you’re craving a little adventure (but you don’t want to max out the credit card on €7 coffees on the Champs Elysées), head for somewhere where your money stretches a little further. Seeing Europe needn’t cost the earth, and we fly to some very cool places that are perfect for anyone looking for cheap city breaks – so read on to get a little inspiration for a budget break that won’t break the bank…


bucharest palace of parliament

As far as tourism goes, Bucharest is still pretty off the beaten track. That means that you’ll come across a few challenges that you might not get with cities like Paris or Rome, which have been catering for mass tourism for decades. It also means that you get to be a little intrepid, exploring somewhere that not so many people have been before. And since Bucharest is the second cheapest city in Europe to visit, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to ‘eat good, sleep good, live good’ here for a few days either. To give you an idea of the sort of bang you get for your buck here, you can esily get a seriously top-drawer, fine dining restaurant experience here in the city centre for under €50. That’s worth a flight in itself, if you ask us. Don’t miss the Palace of the Parliament either, a building so big it has heating and electricity bills of some €6,000,000 a year.

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €0.31
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €1.34
Cappuccino (regular): €1.67
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €5.59
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€3.80



Krakow is so, so pretty – one of those places that’ll have you totally charmed within minutes of you setting foot in its lovely streets. The word ‘enchanting’ can be a bit overused by people who write about places, but honestly, Krakow deserves the accolade. One very charming thing in particular about this place is the fact that, as it’s the third cheapest city in Europe to visit, you get to be enchanted without being bankrupted at the same time. Krakow has one of the biggest Medieval Town Squares in Europe, the Rynek Główny, and it’s a great place to hang out and people-watch. The Jewish Quarter is a great little place to explore too, and if you can get to the Salt Mines and to Auschwitz for a tour, both are really well worth seeing. Have at least one meal in a Milk Bar.

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €0.46 
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €1.60
Cappuccino (regular): €1.59
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €4.12
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€4.54



Sofia is the perfect place for people who like to immerse themselves in a city’s culture and feel part of things, rather than like an outsider looking in.  It’s one of our newer routes and like Bucharest, it doesn’t have the decades of tourist clout that the Parises and Romes of Europe have – but it has something else entirely. You won’t spend a weekend walking from sight to world-famous sight checking off your must-see list like you would in somewhere like Rome, so you have a lot more time to experience how people live here. It’s easy to blend in and more importantly, it’s easy to befriend locals who aren’t jaded by seeing throngs of tourists everywhere. And the locals here are very cool, very welcoming, and lots of fun.

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €0.40 
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €1.02
Cappuccino (regular): €1.06
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €5.11
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€4.09


Budapest parliament

Budapest has all the swagger and glamour you’d expect from any of Europe’s big capitals – big impressive buildings, beautiful views over the city, great museums and restaurants.. but what it doesn’t have is the hefty price tag that often accompanies such things. Sure, if you want to go there and spend a lot of money, you can – there are plenty of high end restaurants, shops and hotels where you can hobnob with the fancy people. But if you’re on a tight budget, Budapest can be done on the absolute cheap – and it’s one of the cheapest cities in Europe to drink in. Head to the ruin pubs for your nightlife fix where you can get beers and wines for as little as a euro each, and at the same time experience something totally unique to the city. If you’re feeling a little tempted, check out our list of things to do, see and eat there for under a tenner, and it might just seal the deal!

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €1.44 
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €0.75
Cappuccino (regular): €1.24
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €4.81
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€3.85


Vilnius Old Town

Vilnius really worked its charm on me, so much so that even if it were a much more expensive place to go, I’d still be a walking advertisement for it. It’s a place with a lovely vibe. From the slightly cracked (in a good way) population of The Republic of Uzupis (its little state-within-a-city), to the completely pleasant atmosphere of the Old Town’s main street, it’s an ideal place to go if you want a fairly chilled city break – and one where you can eat like absolute royalty while you’re at it. A visit to Trakai just outside the city is definitely worth doing; the castle and lakes there are beautiful – and if you fancy some fresh air, get it at Europos sculpture park where it’s accompanied by some very cool art and acres of beautiful pine forest.

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €0.70 
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €2.00
Cappuccino (regular): €1.87
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €5.00
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€6.00


Bratislava Blue Church

Bratislava had a bit of a rough time last century and it’s nowhere near as renowned among tourists and travellers as its neighbour Vienna… yet. We say yet, because any city that can spearhead a movement like the Velvet Revolution the way Bratislava did in the late 80s is destined for big things. Take a walking tour of the city to learn more about its fascinating history and see its sights, including the Blue Church. Head to the castle too – even if you don’t go inside – just for the gorgeous views you’ll get back down over the city. And check out our foodie guide to the city for when you want to refuel.

Price preview:

Taxi 1km (normal tariff): €0.70 
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): €1.50
Cappuccino (regular): €1.77
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €5.00
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range from supermarket):€5.00

Dee Murray

Dee Murray

Dee Murray has a very simple travel MO... Go to great places; do awesome stuff; eat delicious food; then come home and write about it all.


  • John Murdock

    When are the Dublin to Rovaniemi going to start? I do want to go and hopefully see the Northern Lights.

    3rd May 2016 at 4:01 pm
  • Gary

    We visited Bucharest last week, very beautiful city, quite cheap, great traditional food and a lot of history in this city.
    It looks a little like Paris to be honest.
    Most of the people speak english when we asked for directions or places to visit.
    Spanish, Italian and French as well they speak because of their latin roots.
    So if you are looking for a cheap vacantion or for a weekend getaway, Bucharest is one of the cities that you should definitely visit.
    Bratislava is next on the list! 🙂

    8th May 2016 at 10:47 pm
    • Ian Deaville

      Bratislava is fantastic and a river trip to Devin is a must.

      8th October 2016 at 1:27 pm
      • Fero

        Bratislava is quite ok but I don’t think is fantastic (maybe if u hadn’t visited no more from Slovakia is ok)

        10th January 2017 at 9:10 pm
      • Tomasz Dereszyński

        Yes it really is fantastic trip, not far away from Vienna or Budapest, I got trip between those cities in 2012 during summertime. Try to visit Poland, Ian, there are many places worth seeing (and cheep for Your pocket and easy to get by Ryanair 🙂

        25th January 2017 at 10:55 am
  • Michaela

    Loved Kraków. And Budapest! Most of these are on my list! I’ll be flying to Bratislava in a few weeks thanks to your offer on the route! Going to making a day trip to Vienna too.

    15th May 2016 at 4:58 pm
    • Paula S-J.

      We flew Ryan Air to Bratislava. Taxi ride cheap to town. Small, beautiful city – easy to get around. Cheap food. Take the boat trip to Vienna, down the Danube, for the day, but take the bus service back as the return boat trip is a little too early.

      8th October 2016 at 3:31 pm
    • james

      take me with you 🙂

      9th October 2016 at 10:42 am
    • John Waters

      You will love. Vienna Music ? Palaces and Parks but coffee ☕ is expensive Enjoy

      10th January 2017 at 8:32 pm
  • Susan

    I went to Wroclaw in Poland and have to say it was pretty amazing so cheap to drink and eat and a heritage town .I stayed in the old town overlooking the main square . Lots of activity clubs , pubs or if you just want to sightsee it’s the place to go .

    15th May 2016 at 7:48 pm
    • Michael

      For me and my Polish wife , Wroclaw is the gem. We prefer it over Krakow partly because it isn’t overrun with tourists. Charming place.

      14th January 2017 at 2:56 pm

    We went to Beautiful Bratislava last week for 3 nights , what a wonderful , clean and interesting city . Great pavement cafes , fab restaurants , wonderful old town with churches , opera houses , castle and the river Danube . Took a boat up river to Devin castle , took a tour of the BS 4 Czech bunker , walked 22 miles in 3 days just visiting all the sites , it really is a fab little Big City ( as it is known ) .

    17th May 2016 at 12:59 pm
  • Sue W

    We’ve been to Krakow, Tallinn and Riga with Ryanair. All lovely cities and very reasonable to eat, drink and stay and cheap buses and trams to get about.

    17th May 2016 at 2:54 pm
  • Stephen Smith

    Girona is another good option. Airport close to city and hotels not expensive. Beautiful old town.

    19th May 2016 at 2:10 pm
  • Emma

    Krakow is incredible. You can watch historical buildings, go to plenty of concerts or festivals and the food is so yummy. Moreover it’s affordable. I can’t believe that such tasty food is so cheap. It’s my morning ritual to dine out, grab obwarzanek and go to my Polish classes. Later on we go to a cafe with the people from my group and enjoy Krakow.

    19th May 2016 at 10:41 pm
  • Ian Deaville

    Outside of Krakow there are other fantastic places to visit in Poland. We flew Ryanair to Poznan and then home from Gdansk taking in the beautiful town of Torun on the way.

    8th October 2016 at 1:29 pm
    • Yulia

      Love Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot!

      10th October 2016 at 10:30 am
    • Anthony Money

      I am making my 15th trip to Poznan tomorrow, I absolutely love the culture, history, old market, amazing value too!

      8th November 2016 at 7:02 pm
      • Sheila Forrest

        Hi where did you stay ? I’m hoping to go this year and was wondering what the price other accommodation, Thanks

        21st January 2017 at 1:22 am
  • Homy

    Thanks for giving this informations
    Now I can choose my trip much easer …

    8th October 2016 at 2:47 pm
  • Anthony Money

    Look East for great value trips, amazing architecture, friendly locals and more bang for your buck!
    Especially Poland and Romania.

    8th November 2016 at 7:04 pm
  • Valerie Roberts

    We liked Beziers in souh west France (flew there with Ryanair from Bristol). It was a friendly little town, and a good centre from which to reach Carcassonne or Montpellier, both lovely old university towns with narrow atmospheric streets in the old parts. We also went to seaside resorts like Montpellier and Valras on the local bus (a bit Blackpooly, but lovely sandy beaches) and, most of all, enjoyed the cheap local wine, as Languedoc is noted for its Rugby and its wine!!
    We stayed with friends at a tiny village called Tezan for a few days, and the local vineyard there sold white, rose or red for around 1 euro per litre bottle!!!! (Take your own screw top, plastic or glass).

    Vive La France!!

    5th December 2016 at 3:32 pm
  • Cornelius Oppong

    This is everyone’s informative collection to be have on you , its priceless

    3rd January 2017 at 9:08 pm
  • Mary

    I visited Bratislava and Budapest last year. Both amazing and cheap cities. The first cozy with interesting architecture, ideal for a weekend, the second one romantic with majestic buildings.

    10th January 2017 at 5:32 pm
  • Kevin

    Bratislava is a lovely little city and you can easily do a day trip ti Vienna by train – takes slightly over an hour and costs about15 Euros. Even Budapest is less than 3 hours

    13th January 2017 at 6:56 pm
  • Gordon

    We go to Poland Kalisz because my Wife was born there wonderful places dont forget to go to the Mountains ,

    13th January 2017 at 7:38 pm
  • Gordon

    We go to Polland often my wifevis Polish dont forget to visit the Mountains .

    13th January 2017 at 7:39 pm
  • Treasa Healy

    Has anyone been to Vilnius? Any sight of the Divine Mercy original painting and location of visitations?
    I would like to know if Ryanair flies into Vilnius and how far the pilgrimage area is from the hotel.

    14th January 2017 at 11:34 pm
  • Vivienne

    A lovely place for long weekend is Lodz in Poland. There are two main parts for lovely strolls. The main street whch is bustling wit cafes and restaurants, and the area called Manufactura which is like walking through a park and again having many restaurants, a palace, and a massive mall. Everywhere is spotlessly clean. We stayed at the Novotel which was well positioned, being opposite a shopping mall, and just a couple of hundred yards from the bus station where you can get a bus to Manufactura if you don’t want to walk. We also got a train to Warsaw which was extremely cheap.

    16th January 2017 at 10:23 am
  • Giuseppina Abbate

    OK. I will cameto Poland

    Giuseppina Abbate

    20th January 2017 at 6:30 pm
  • Vera

    Forgot Porto.

    21st January 2017 at 2:35 pm
  • Ryan

    Been to Vilinus (October) and Bucharest (January), We travelled around in Romania to different places and saw Bucharest on our last 2 days there. Wouldn’t say it’s the prettiest city to look at but still very cheap and lots of history. Vilinus very small city plenty to see, very cheap as well, beer and food is better in Vilinus than what we had in Romania, Bucharest there is more options, but Vilinus in my opinion had better food than Bucharest.

    11th April 2017 at 12:49 pm

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