Budget friendly winter city breaks are possibly my favourite part of the autumn/winter season in Europe. I absolutely love budget city breaks. Combining a European city break with Christmas markets, Christmas shopping and general festiveness really makes being completely freezing all the time seem worth it. Pack your gloves and scarfs and get browsing Ryanair for last minute bargain flights. Here’s some inspiration for the best budget friendly winter city break destinations and the best winter breaks in Europe.
BUDGET FRIENDLY WINTER CITY BREAKS
The best destinations for a budget friendly winter city break in Europe – For those who love budget winter city breaks
Planning a budget friendly city break for fall/autumn and winter in Europe? Here are the best budget friendly city break destinations in Europe to check out this winter and lots of reasons for exactly why they make this budget friendly destinations list. Here are my favourite budget city break destinations in Europe from Sofia to Zagreb and everything in between.
A BUDGET CITY BREAK TO SOFIA, BULGARIA
|Cheap public transport and architecture in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria|
|Street food vs. traditional Bulgarian cuisine in Sofia – Both budget friendly options|
If like me, you are happy to enjoy cafe culture in warm candle lit surroundings hidden away from the chilling winter temperatures of Eastern Europe then then Sofia is a city that will tick many boxes for you. For foodies traditional meat based dishes and street food of pastries, pies and pizza are always on the menu for a low cost. All this with a wide range of reasonably priced traditional Bulgarian beers and wine makes dining out for less a key part of your budget city break to Sofia. All this makes Sofia one of the best budget destinations to travel in winter. Read about my trip to Sofia here.
Sofia, Bulgaria average winter temperatures
Average temperature in September/October: 14 degrees centigrade
|The picture perfect Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria|
Getting surround Sofia is a breeze too, on foot everything from Sofia city centre is within walking distance or you can take the budget friendly public transport (which we used only once). There are trams and an underground system in Sofia along with regular buses. Tickets can be purchased at tobacco and news kiosks for 1.60 Bulgarian Levs (which is around £0.45 or €0.50). Speaking of Bulgarian Levs, this is one factor of visiting Sofia, Bulgaria that makes the city an extremely budget friendly destination. Generally, countries that don’t use the Euro are either much more expensive to visit for a city break or much cheaper. Sofia is the latter in this case.
For a budget trip filled with culture, architecture and Bulgarian history, Sofia is the perfect winter destination to visit during November and December and I always have Sofia at the top of my recommendation list for winter city breaks.
A BUDGET FRIENDLY WINTER CITY BREAK TO GDANSK, POLAND
|Gdansk Old town’s photogenic architecture and vibrant colours|
Hostels, Airbnb’s hostels and a wide range of budget but stylish quirky accommodation are available in Gdansk at the minimum cost. Check out the Five Point Hostel for a clean and relaxing hostel with small dorms and private rooms for the perfect budget with style accommodation for your winter break in Gdansk, Poland. I would definitely recommend booking the Five Point Hostel for a budget city break – the communal area upstairs is a great way to plan your trip or meet some other travellers and the free breakfast is always a winner on a budget city break.
|Gdansk Old Town, Gdansk, Poland|
Gdansk, Poland average winter temperatures
|Nightfall in Gdansk, Poland|
Along with drinking Polish vodka at the traditional milk bars, eating out in Gdansk’s Old Town is also reasonably priced and most of the restaurants in the Old Town offer really appetising prices. Even the fancier looking restaurants with outdoor seating and the must have heat lamps in the winter months offer mouthwatering budget eats. Local beers are very inexpensive along with Gdansk’s own version of what Poland call cider (overly sweet but very refreshing).
Everywhere in Gdansk is accessible on foot as the Old Town is completely pedestrianised. From the waterfront take a ferry to Westerplatte for some cultural sight seeing and don’t expect to pay more than a few Zloty for the ride.
The World War Two Museum in Gdansk is a must do tickets can be purchased for 23 Zloty with the audio guide available for 5 Zloty. Understand the importance of the Port of Gdansk and The Free City of Danzig during your winter stay in the city of Gdansk. Fill your evening with strolls along the Old Town and enjoy the brightly coloured buildings in Gdansk’s sprightly streets. The architecture and atmosphere of the city of Gdansk are just two of the reasons you should add this to your bucket list for a budget winter city break.
A BUDGET CHRISTMAS MARKET TRIP TO BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
|Christmas time in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava|
Bratislava, Slovakia average winter temperatures
If the festive joy doesn’t attract you to Bratislava then the traditional Slovak cuisine and beers should. Bratislava is a pretty undiscovered and a generally under crowded city that you can visit easily on a tight budget, making it one of the best winter city breaks for budget travellers in Europe. Despite the use of the Euro, Bratislava remains an inexpensive city to visit.
Enjoy the sounds of crackling wood and jingle bells after a long day of mulled wine and Christmas Market stalls. Treat yourself to a duck or potato based meal in the Old City and keep your eyes peeled for the cosy Cuban bar behind a velvety red curtain to keep the biting winter out.
BUDGET CITY BREAKS TO ZAGREB, CROATIA
|The city of Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city|
From the busy and hectic tourist hot spot of Tkalciceva, which is the main street in Zagreb for tourists to the viewpoint and St. Mark’s Church via the cable car. Zagreb is the ideal setting for a European city break on a budget and is located in one of the most ‘up and coming’ European holiday destinations – Croatia. I’d get to Zagreb before everyone else does. Croatia is fast becoming the must see holiday spot for Europeans and although its capital Zagreb gets far less attention than the South Coast and The Croatian Isles I would still regard it one of Europe’s best budget city break destinations.
Budget eats and drinks are all within reasonable price due to the Croatian local currency the Croatian Kuna. Expect a mixture of Eastern Europe meets Italy with large pizza slices and Aperol Spritz on every menu along with kebabs and spicy salami sandwiches, all covered in chilli or garlic sauce. Expect to pay the equivalent of £2/€2 for any fast food or street food in Zagreb, Tkalciceva is a great place to grab bargain eats before exploring some budget friendly bars.
Zagreb, Croatia average winter temperatures
Average temperature in September/October: 13.5 degrees centigrade
Average temperature in November/December: 3 degrees centigrade
Christmas Market opening date: 2nd December – 7th January
The city of Zagreb feels far bigger and much more cosmopolitan than the others on this list. Without an ‘Old Town’ Zagreb feels larger, much like Sofia. With more to explore and a more commercialised central zone. Zagreb is the perfect destination for shopping and big nights out. Budget shopping trips to Zagreb mean all your favourite European brands at a much lower cost, try Christmas shopping during a winter break to the city of Zagreb.
Take advantage of the seasons and visit Croatia during its ‘low season’ for a budget friendly experience, Christmas Markets and more can all be found in the fun loving city of Zagreb if it visit at the right time. Although, Croatia is often regarded as a summer hotspot stick Zagreb on your list of best budget friendly winter city breaks and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
|St. Mark’s Church with its famous roof and the changing of the guard in Zagreb, Croatia|