Budget weekend city breaks revealed

In my day job as a finance writer I’m inundated with money-related press releases on a daily basis, and occasionally those press releases pique my interest in travel too. Recently I got one such release and I just had to write about it here, as it’s all about budget city breaks and where to get more from your holiday cash.

The research, from digital current account Loot, looked at the 20 most popular European city breaks and ranked them by price, finding that it can often be cheaper to head to the continent than to stay in good old Blighty.

Low air fares are a key part of that – anyone who’s tried to get a train across the country will no doubt know how extortionate prices can be, which means heading abroad can easily be cheaper. But lower hotel prices are also a key factor; compared with prices in London, for example, a hotel stay in a European capital can often be far more reasonable. And that’s before we even get to the cost of entertainment, food, drinks… it all adds up, and in many cases, the UK doesn’t come out on top.

So who does?

Sofia, Bulgaria! I’ve been hearing a lot about Bulgaria recently and have been getting increasingly intrigued, even more so now I know how cheap a trip over there can be. Loot’s calculations found that a two-night weekend getaway can cost just £122.45 per person, including flights, accommodation, food/drink and entertainment, a tiny price to pay for a weekend trip.

Then (outside of the UK) there’s Prague, with a typical cost of £188.57, and Berlin, where a weekend break could set you back just £191.07. A trip to Warsaw could cost you £196.85 and in Brussels you’ll have to shell out £219.56, and in sunny Seville the same kind of break could cost £284.37.

Trips to key UK cities were more middle of the road, with a trip to Edinburgh costing the least (£185.71), followed by Birmingham (£201.91), Manchester (£244.64) and of course London (£293.08), but it’s worth pointing out that these costs are excluding flights. Not such a bargain anymore…

There are several places on the continent that are pricier than London, but when you consider that these costs include travel and the chance to experience a new culture, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Amsterdam was found to be the priciest place to visit with an average weekend cost of £396.55 per person – I’ve just come back from Amsterdam and can attest to the fact that it is indeed pricey, but in my mind, totally worth it – closely followed by Reykjavik (£364.85), which is known for being on the more expensive end of the scale (it’s still high up on my list, though).

Here’s a quick run-through of the 20 cities surveyed, ranked from most expensive to least:

Amsterdam, Netherlands (£369.55)

Reykjavik, Iceland (£364.85)

Dublin, Ireland (£324.93)

Vienna, Austria (£324.84)

Stockholm, Sweden (£324.59)

Paris, France (£322.84)

Dubrovnik, Croatia (£320.41)

Venice, Italy (£315.65)

London, UK (£293.08)

Lisbon, Portugal (£292.79)

Athens, Greece (£285.35)

Seville, Spain (£284.37)

Manchester, UK (£244.64)

Brussels, Belgium (£219.56)

Birmingham, UK (£201.91)

Warsaw, Poland (£196.85)

Berlin, Germany (£191.07)

Prague, Czech Republic (£188.57)

Edinburgh, UK (£185.71)

Sofia, Bulgaria (£122.45)

So what do you think? I LOVE a good city break and while I’ve often thought that it can be cheaper to head abroad than stay on home soil, it’s good to have the figures to back it up. It also gives me a great excuse to add more places to the travelist… city break to Sofia, anyone? See you at the airport!



  1. jasonlikestotravel
    March 1, 2018 / 11:42 am

    It’s absolutely crazy. I did weekends in Canterbury and York one summer and whilst they’re lovely cities I did question whether I might have just been better going overseas for what is probably cheaper. Great read and I’m intrigued by Sofia too!

    • March 2, 2018 / 7:25 pm

      Crazy isn’t it, it’s all so expensive here. Thanks, and yeah, I think Sofia definitely needs to go on the list!

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