With autumn approaching, we’ve found the best low-cost flights to European cities. Kiwi.com helps you to save money on budget city breaks to cool destinations, so here are our top 10 cheap trips available now
Kiwi.com has some outstanding late-season deals to some of the coolest cities across Europe and beyond; in fact, some of these trips could cost you less than a meal and a couple of drinks at the airport. Read our picks below, then grab yourself a deal ASAP, because seats at these prices are going fast!
A city of two fairly distinct halves, Poland’s second-largest has been trying to balance its history and cultural heritage with its popularity with the weekend parties and stag-do crowds that also flock here. If that’s not your thing, though, Kraków has more than enough to keep you occupied. If that is your thing, well, you keep reading too!
The two areas you’ll see the most of — especially if you’re only on a short break — are Stare Miasto, the Old Town, and Kazimierz, south of the city center and the former Jewish ghetto. The Old Town is undeniably beautiful, with its huge square dominated by the market in the middle selling amber jewelry and other souvenirs, and the mismatched towers of St. Mary’s Basilica. Wawel Castle, on the way from Kazimierz to the Old Town, is a huge, red-brick affair guarded by a dragon that really breathes fire (no, really!). Kazimierz, as mentioned, is the former Jewish ghetto with tiny streets that are now a jumble of artisan shops and cafés, a central square that’s almost entirely bars and restaurants, and a bunch of new brewpubs, one located in the old municipal tram shed. All aboard for Kraków, then!
Famous for its friendly atmosphere, laid-back locals, musical culture, and of course, Guinness, Dublin is on many a traveler’s to-do list. Makes sense: it’s got a great live music scene (both trad. and modern), a huge student population, and manages to be both multinational and singularly Irish in one go.
It’s also got a bunch of great ways to rejuvenate yourself after the excesses of the previous night. Walk along the breezy banks of the Liffey, make your way out to the huge Phoenix Park, or simply explore Dublin’s inner city. Helpfully, each area is named to give you a fair idea of what you’ll encounter — the Medieval Quarter, the Georgian Quarter, the Docklands Quarter, the Cultural Quarter and the Creative Quarter — so if you’re looking for the castle, elegant avenues and squares, the waterfront, pubs and bars, or galleries and boutique shops, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find exactly what you’re looking for. Useful if you’re still slightly sore in the head.
A city of parks and gardens, Oslo is also modern, sleek, smart, and very cool indeed. The glass towers on the waterfront tell of a city that’s forward-looking, clean and well-mannered, and all the other Scandinavian stereotypes that are prevalent because they’re true. The city center is compact and easy to navigate by foot or by bicycle, and is home to boutique shops, local cafés, and a selection of excellent venues and museums.
You can get to know Norway’s artsy, literary side by visiting Edvard Munch’s estate at Ekely, visit the Henrik Ibsen museum in his old apartment in one of the grand, 19th-century buildings at the southern end of the Slottsparken (also home to the Royal Palace), or admire the art in the vast Nasjonalgalleriet (National Gallery). Discover the history of the country during World War II at the Hjemmefrontmuseum (Resistance Museum), or simply wander about the city looking at the beauty of the buildings and the elegant, happy people.
Once you’ve booked your cheap flight to Oslo on Kiwi.com, we also have an extended guide on how to visit Scandinavia on a budget.
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Ah, Venice, as Indiana Jones once sighed. And sigh he very well might, as it is still one of the world’s most recognizable, most romantic, and most visited cities. Its network of canals winds through six districts, known as sestieri, and most of the tourists tend to stay in just two: San Marco and San Polo. You’ll visit these too, of course, but away from the crowds — and at the right time of day — you can find a bit of Venice to call your own.
More than any other place on this list, Venice rewards those who get up early, stay up late, or both. Early mornings bring silence, other than the clattering of shop awnings and the fluttering of pigeons, while nighttime is when the locals emerge, after the majority of tourists have gone to bed or are safely back on their cruise ships. Explore early, head to the islands or lesser-visited sestieri during the day, and find a tiny backstreet bistro in the evening. That’s the ultimate Venetian experience.
For more information and ideas, we’ve got an extended guide to Venice right here.
A slight curio in that when visitors head to Spain, it’s less likely that they’d think of the capital as their first port of call. Barcelona, surely? Maybe Sevilla? Valencia, even? Well, we’re here to convince you Madrid is well worth your time. It’s got all the foodie credentials, nightlife, history and culture of all the places mentioned above, and a couple of surprises as well!
Start your trip off right with an ir de tapas, or what could be described as a “tapas crawl”. Not content with one venue, your average Madrileño will range from one place to the next; indeed, whole afternoons are taken up on streets like Cava Baja which seems to be nothing but tapas bars. Explore the beautiful parks including the famous Retiro, ride the cable car for amazing views, or head underground to the Chamberí “ghost station” — an abandoned station, now restored, that tells you the history of the Madrid Metro. For even odder things to do, check out the grisly Forensic Museum, or have your photo taken with the statue of la abuela rockera (the rocker grandma), an old woman who became famous in Madrid when she started attending metal concerts… at the age of 70. That’s Madrid: less rocking chair, more rocking out.
The capital of the Algarve region was once a byword for cheap package holidays to the surrounding area, and the ring of concrete apartment blocks that surround the town does give it a bit of a 1960s impression upon arrival. However, you’ll soon find it friendly, interesting, historic, and with a great nightlife scene, particularly during term time when the student population moves back in.
The Old Town (Cidade Velha) is small but pretty. The settlement actually goes back as far as the Romans, but an earthquake destroyed virtually all of what was once theirs. There are Roman ruins nearby if that floats your boat — try the excavation at Milreu, north of Faro. Otherwise, Faro offers some impressive churches, a massive sweep of beach west of the airport with windsurfing and kitesurfing, and the network of streets around Rua de São Pedro, Rua Conselheiro Bívar, and Rua do Prior offer scores of bars, clubs, cocktail places, rooftop bars, pubs and live music venues.
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Vienna can come across as rather an austere place. Geographically pretty much halfway between the bouncing energy of Budapest and the flighty beauty of Prague, it seems more grown-up, more likely to have a coffee and a discussion than a pint and a party. However, do a bit of scraping below the surface and you’ll find it has more to offer.
Once you’ve walked around the edge of the roughly circular center and dutifully seen the major sights (Rathaus, tick; Hofburg, tick; Opera House, tick), it’s time to dive in properly. Check out the numerous flea markets that pop up around the city for everything from clothes to LPs, ornaments to pictures to musical instruments to books. Head to the Prater, a huge green space home to a wonderfully kitsch amusement park dating from the end of the 19th century. Finally, when night falls, find one of the rooftop bars for cocktails, or experience one of the Volksgarten outdoor club nights. You’ll discover that Vienna really can let its hair down.
Copenhagen went through an upsurge in tourist interest a while back when the concept of hygge was unleashed on a world craving coziness, warmth, contentment, good conversation and all the other things it stands for. That feeling still exists in spades in its native country, of course, and Denmark has a reputation as one of the safest, friendliest, and happiest countries in the world.
Rent a bicycle and cycle the city center, then out into the surrounding forests (and it’s remarkable how quickly you’ll be out in them — the city isn’t a sprawler). Sit by the water in the shadow of tall, handsome Hanseatic townhouses with coffee and cake. Discover royal palaces, Viking treasures, modern art, bespoke designer clothes and vintage record shops, all within minutes of each other. Finally, if you’re feeling like it, take a dip in the harbor. The city is so incredibly proud of its commitment to sustainability and environmental forward-thinking that its water is amazingly clean. You can even help to keep it that way, if you’d like. Find out how towards the end of this article.
Budapest feels, more than anywhere in Europe, the junction point between east and west. Its grand, 19th-century boulevards lined with designer shops might put you in mind of Paris or Milan, while its narrow, rattling trams, slightly tatty side streets, and slight sense of chaos, hark back to a time when Hungary was one of the more volatile members of the Warsaw Pact states.
Today it’s a place tourists come to go wild, completely relax, or — more probably — a combination of the two. No night out in Budapest is complete without visiting its famous ruin bars, scattered around the old Jewish quarter. No day out is complete without taking a dip in the Széchenyi thermal baths. Between the two there’s the castle district and Fisherman’s Bastion to explore, for fabulous views of the national parliament building. Climb the steep hill to the statue of victory and reward yourself with an ice cream, explore the park-like Margitsziget, dodge the tourist traps of Váci utca, and generally lose yourself in this fun, fascinating city.
The capital of Sicily was traditionally — and still is — the meeting point of Europe and Africa. It’s a young, lively, multicultural city that runs on art, music and food, and is also an excellent base from which to explore the rest of the island. It’s a mashup of the best of Italy and the best of North Africa, with piazzas, churches, statues and the like, coupled with markets that resemble souks, with amazing food, the heady smell of spices, and more colors than you can take in.
It’s also only 20 minutes or so from a number of quieter coastal villages — small collections of houses with beautiful beaches, so if you’re feeling a touch overwhelmed, it’s easy to have a day of peace and quiet as well. Further west is the city of Trapani, precarious on a spit of land making a wide, blue bay; while east is the fortress-like, 12th-century town of Cefalù, also basking in coastal glory. Meanwhile, at the other end of the island (and another very cheap destination at the moment) is Catania. But that’s another story.
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