The boom in budget airlines over the last 20 years has made it easier than ever to jet off to European cities for the weekend without having to travel through London first. Destinations like Riga, Belgrade, Krakow or Milan are now as popular for city breaks as more visited cities like Paris or Berlin, and the choice is growing all the time. European cities vary widely in their affordability though, and a recent survey has revealed the most expensive cities in Europe for a city break or long weekend.
Norway’s capital is not only the most expensive European city for a short holiday, it often beats Tokyo and New York in the expense lists too. Norway is an expensive country to visit even if avoiding the capital; wages are higher than in many European countries which pushes up the prices of hotel rooms and food, and some goods such as petrol and alcohol are heavily taxed. A recent survey found that the average price of a hotel room in Oslo city centre is around £150, although there are budget hotel chains if you look hard enough. Few of Oslo’s museums and attractions are free entry, but may offer discounts for students or older people. Remember to take your EHIC card with you – Norway’s healthcare system is excellent, but can be very costly for those without insurance.
Switzerland’s largest city is in a beautiful setting at the head of a lake with the Alps in the distance, but perhaps unsurprisingly for a city whose wealth has been built on jewellery and finance, it’s an expensive place to visit. Hotel accommodation is around the £200 mark per night, so make the most of the famously efficient Swiss railways and stay out of town in a smaller hotel or guesthouse and travel into town. Many museums and attractions offer annual passes or discounts which can represent good value for money if you are intending visiting more than one.
One of the most popular destinations for a city break, Paris is just a short hop from the UK by plane or on Eurostar. Flights are good value for money, and the Metro makes getting around the city easy. The best hotel deals are often found by booking online as far in advance as you can, and travellers report that emailing the hotel to ask for a better deal is often successful. Make the most of the free attractions in Paris such as the famous Louvre and Notre Dame cathedral.
Munich peaks in popularity during the annual Oktoberfest, which actually starts in the middle of September. Avoiding this period will make the visit better value for money, and will also make finding accommodation easier too. Munich is a great city for strolling around, and many of the main streets are pedestrianised. Restaurants and cafes just off the main streets and down side streets always offer much better value than cafes with a prime location, and often the food is better too.