Top ten city breaks that won’t break the bank

Published: Sunday 20th March 2016 by The News Editor

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Weekend mini-breaks can seem like a great way to pack in an affordable getaway, but often, they end up being almost as expensive as a week-long holiday – especially if you pick a popular city destination.

Those dream trips to Paris or New York might be beyond the budget, especially if you want some spending money to enjoy while you’re there.

But what if you could visit somewhere slightly off the beaten track, without scrimping on food, accommodation, culture, beauty or history?

TravelSupermarket have worked out Brits’ top 10 favoured city break destinations and found their budget equivalent.

“City-break lovers can save hundreds of pounds by researching holidays to lesser-known destinations,” says Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket. “Many of us have been to the tried-and-tested favourites, but there are so many other great value cities, which wouldn’t necessarily come to mind.”

Best of all, you’ll also be able to say to your friends: “Venice? Venice is old hat! We went to Bologna and had the most incredible time.”

Try these swaps next time you’re planning a getaway…

:: You want to go to… Amsterdam

:: Why not try… Antwerp

Quaff beer and eat waffles at medieval Belgium port, Antwerp. It’s big on diamonds (rather than tulips) and was the home of Baroque painter Rubens. The cobbled streets and architecture will even make you think you’re in Amsterdam.

:: You want to go to… Rome

:: Why not try… Genoa

Rome may have the Coliseum, but the labyrinthine city of Genoa on the Italian coast has the ocean and candy-coloured buildings, as well as Renaissance architecture and many gilded palaces. Don’t miss The Duomo and Piazza San Lorenzo.

:: You want to go to… New York

:: Why not try… Washington DC

If you’re a House Of Cards fan, Washington will already be on your ‘to visit’ list. Instead of the Empire State Building, visit the White House; instead of Broadway, check out the Kennedy Centre, and also be wowed by the sheer number of museums the city contains.

:: You want to go to… Barcelona

:: Why not try… Valencia

Barcelona is crammed with tourists in the summer. Have a calmer time in football-mad Valencia, where you can laze in the park that intersects the city, visit futuristic buildings like the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and eat your body weight in paella.

:: You want to go to… Venice

:: Why not try… Bologna

Venice is too obvious for love-struck couples; mix it up by visiting Bologna, famed for its theatres, gluttonous food options (remember ragu was invented here) and medieval terracotta buildings. It’s a great swap for Florence too.

:: You want to go to… Prague

:: Why not try… Ljubljana

Prague in the Czech Republic is the spiritual home of stag and hen do parties – escape instead to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, one of Europe’s greenest cities. Eat and drink on terraces by the river, which slices through the heart of the city, visit the castle and check out the colourful central market.

:: You want to go to… Paris

:: Why not try… Lyon

Paris is beautiful, but can be overcrowded, and you can still stay in an arrondissement (Lyon’s got nine, packed with bars and restaurants and personality). Go to the opera, eat moules frites and explore the lively, eco-friendly and newly regenerated area, La Confluence.

:: You want to go to… Dublin

:: Why not try… Cork

You can get just as good a pint of Guinness in Cork as you can in Dublin, you know. Meander along the waterfront, take frequent rests at the many, many coffee bars, check out the Cork City Gaol and the old butter market, which is what made Cork a major hub in the 1860s.

:: You want to go to… Reykjavik

:: Why not try… Bergen

At this time of year, both Iceland and Norway require you to wear thermals, and both offer the chance to see the Northern Lights. Bergen also promises some of the best trout you’ll ever eat, and trek into the hills surrounding the city for spectacular views.

:: You want to go to… Budapest

:: Why not try… Krakow

Krakow might not offer spas and Turkish baths, but it does offer the largest market square in Europe, filled with life, street performances and bars and clubs. Plus, find quieter spots in the Jewish quarter and along the river (look out for the city’s mascot, the dragon).

Copyright Press Association 2016

Published: Sunday 20th March 2016 by The News Editor

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