Poland’s medieval jewel is closely followed by Valencia and Budapest in a new survey conducted by Which? Travel
With the recent festive season and New Year’s celebrations leaving wallets rather empty, it’s time to think where to head for a budget-friendly trip. And apparently, the winning destination of this season lies in the south of Poland.
In a new survey conducted by Which? Travel, thousands of travellers rated European cities in terms of their financial demands. The participants evaluated six categories — accommodation, food and drink, cultural attractions, shopping, ease of getting around, and value for money.
Afterwards, the UK’s customer advisor calculated the overall percentage for each city listed in the survey, with Kraków scoring the highest.
Kraków — the very best for budget city breaks
Kraków managed to get five stars in the value category and with an overall score of 91 per cent, it was named the best budget-friendly city in Europe.
Being one of the few Polish cities spared from the destruction of World War II, Kraków attracts visitors for its medieval centre, baroque churches, or renaissance palaces. It even has the largest square on the continent — Rynek Glowny.
However, the historic centre is not the only part of Kraków worth a visit. Its old Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, featured in the movie Schindler’s List, and it’s famous for a vivid nightlife atmosphere with top bars and restaurants that will easily fit your budget.
According to the survey, an average night in a hotel costs around $82 while a menu in a restaurant can be enjoyed for around $13. Kraków also provides a number of very cheap hostels to choose from.
If you decide to pay Kraków a visit, make sure you try some zapiekanki — an open-faced baguette with melted cheese and various other ingredients. Stalls with this inexpensive delight can be found all around the city.
Valencia — the hotspot for a weekend
Unlike Barcelona and Madrid, which tend to be rather costly, Spain’s third largest city, Valencia, is truly a budget-friendly gem. It is easy to get a rich three-course meal for around $14 here, with a glass of wine coming in under $3.
For this reason, Valencia scored 91 per cent in the survey and the travellers recommend it as the best destination for a weekend break.
While being known mostly for the Balearic coast and all-year sunshine, Valencia prides itself with an impressive cultural heritage. To appreciate it fully, head to the picturesque Old Town with a majestic gothic cathedral from the 15th century.
Furthermore, Valencia is also said to be home to the country’s most famous dish — paella.
Budapest — the spa heaven
The Buda castle overlooking the vast Danube river and the breathtaking structure of the parliament building are without a doubt true icons of the capital of Hungary.
On the other hand, Budapest has something not many other major cities can offer its visitors. With over 100 hot springs bubbling beneath the metropolis, Budapest has become a spa heaven.
Both visitors and locals of all ages dive into the pools of spa complexes such as Széchenyi and Art Nouveau Gellért Baths and enjoy the healthy relaxation for relatively low prices.
According to Which?, the admission costs are around $18 while massages can be around $41 per 45 minutes. Accompany your stay with some Tokaji and paprika, and a break in Budapest will keep you going for months.