Lonely Planet Writer

The top spots for a cheap city break in Europe

If you’re already running low on holiday time and funds, there’s still hope for your next vacation. Travellers in the UK can start planning their next city break to one of the cheapest cities in Europe.

Bratislava is the top city break from London. Image by Alan Brutenic / EyeEm / Getty Images

London Luton Airport has crunched the numbers and found out the least expensive European cities for travellers if they are flying out of the airport, which caters to low-cost airlines. It’s good news as city breaks are an increasingly popular form of travel for British travellers. According to the Office for National Statistics, Brits’ trips are becoming shorter. The number of one to four-night breaks rose by 170% between 1996 and 2016, while 14-night holidays fell by 29%.

Warsaw is one of the top cities for a city break. Image by ©Celal Erdogdu/500px

The airport broke down the top 10 cities where travellers can spend less. The ranking is based on the total cost of many travel necessities: the cheapest flight for a return flight from Luton, the average price of a night at a three-star hotel, a three-course meal for two, a pint of beer, a cappuccino, a one-way ticket on public transport, and the price of a top-rated attraction.

The most affordable city to visit is Bratislava, where travellers will spend a total of £112.09 on all of the items. That includes flights for as low as £36, a three-course meal for two for £26.77 and a pint of beer for £1.34. Beyond its reasonable prices, the Slovakian capital is also attractive for its beautifully preserved old town and for plenty of cafes, restaurants and castles.

Valetta city buildings with birds flying over them, Malta. Image by ©Anton Zelenov/Getty Images

After Bratislava, travellers should consider the second most-affordable destination of Warsaw, where everything on the list will cost a total of £126.11. There, flights will cost about £48 to and from Luton, according to the airport, while an average hotel room is about £51.11. The Polish city has a wealth of history and visitors can check out the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, or explore the incredible Palace of Culture and Science. In third place is the Hungarian capital of Budapest, where flights can cost as little as £55, while a hotel room is £37.34 on average and a pint of beer costs about £1.29.

People dining outside on the stairs in the Plaka district of Athens. Image by ©T.Slack/Shutterstock

The rest of the top 10 cheapest cities in Europe are: Riga, Latvia; Athens, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Prague, Czech Republic; Palma, Spain; Valetta, Malta; and Lisbon, Portugal. To find out more about the cost breakdown, see the full list here.