Travel Guide: European City Breaks

Capital gains: European cities that won’t break the bank

Photography: Getty Images

Holiday season is upon us, and if you prefer exploring the culture and cuisine of one of Europe’s capitals to a fortnight lying on the beach, you’re spoilt for choice. And these places won’t cost you the earth

We’ve chosen four of the continent’s best capital cities, each boasting rich history, mouthwatering food and a thumping nightlife. And whether it’s a long weekend or a last minute getaway, you can explore many of them on a low budget – so what are you waiting for?

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Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is unlike other Polish cities such Krakόw that are centred on an old market square. The capital is spread across a broad area with a range of architecture, encompassing Gothic buildings, communist concrete and modern glass and steel. The city’s beautiful historic centre is all the more remarkable having been virtually rebuilt from scratch following World War II. Warsaw’s restaurant and entertainment scene is the best in Poland, with a three-course meal for two including a bottle of wine costing around £35.

Don’t miss: Warsaw’s historic Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) between Wawel Royal Castle and the Old Town is well worth a visit. Bristling with numerous cafés and restaurants, it also features a host of street performers to attract tourists and locals alike.

Lisbon, Portugal

Booked in advance, you can expect to find a flight to Lisbon for around £40. The Portuguese capital’s panoramic vistas of cobbled lanes and ancient ruins are best explored on foot or by the historic tram that takes you over the city’s seven cinematic hillsides that overlook the Tagus. At over 1,000km long, it is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. 

Don’t miss: With cheap booze in abundance Lisbon loves a night on the town, so be sure to head to Bairro Alto for a mix of student dives, traditional Portuguese pubs and upscale wine bars. After an exhausting night of partying, we recommend indulging in a Francesinha: a sandwich of beef, ham and melted cheese dripping in a thick sauce of tomatoes, beer and mustard.

Budapest, Hungary

Straddling the Danube with a number of bridges and palaces, Hungary’s capital is an absolute hotspot for architecture enthusiasts. The mixture of neo-classical, Baroque and Art Nouveau structures makes Budapest one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Don’t miss: Budapest isn’t called the “City of Baths” for nothing, and it remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal baths with healing qualities, as well as traditional Turkish baths dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

WELCOME TO THE OLDEST BATHS IN EUROPE | BUDAPEST, HUNGARY #theadventurecollective #budapest #szechenyithermalbaths

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Prague, Czech Republic

Last but not least is the stag do staple Prague – though there is more to the Czech capital than nights of debauchery. Although prices in the city can err on the expensive side, it is still possible to enjoy a cheap holiday by experiencing the historic buildings and museums on offer. A stroll across the 14th-century, Gothic statue-lined Charles Bridge is one of the standout highlights.

Don’t miss: Traditional Czech food is a hearty affair consisting of pork or beef with a side dish of dumplings, and while it may not compliment your waistline it certainly goes down nicely with a glass of the local beer.

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07 2016 The Red Bulletin

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