Best budget city breaks in Europe revealed

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The best budget city breaks in Europe have been revealed, showcasing capital cities across the continent that offer affordable holiday options.

Leading the list is Warsaw, Poland, which has been ranked first thanks to its lack of tourist tax, the cheapest hotel prices at €45.60 per night, and one-day public transport tickets costing just €1.02. This comprehensive analysis was carried out by travel insurance experts at Quotezone, who compiled the 2024 European Budget Holiday Index.

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The experts at Quotezone evaluated twelve of the most visited capital cities in Europe, including renowned destinations such as Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome. The cities were assessed based on several factors important to budget-conscious travellers: tourist tax, hotel costs, meal and beer prices, public transport ticket costs, and the distance from the airport to the city centre.

Top Budget-Friendly Cities

  1. Warsaw, Poland: No tourist tax, cheapest hotel prices (€45.60/night), and very low public transport costs (€1.02/day).
  2. Zagreb, Croatia: Known for the cheapest beer prices (€3.00 for 0.5 litres) and affordable daily expenses (€1.00/day).
  3. Istanbul, Turkey: Despite being 34.74 km from the airport, it offers the cheapest meal prices and low public transport costs (€0.51/day).
  4. Lisbon, Portugal: Closer proximity to the airport (13.12 km), affordable meal prices (€13.75), and cheap transport tickets (€2.00/day).
  5. Madrid, Spain: No tourist tax and moderate meal costs (€14.00).

Most Expensive Destinations

Contrarily, some cities ranked poorly for budget travellers:

  1. Paris, France: High hotel costs (€117.25/night), expensive beer (€7.00), but relatively cheap transport costs (€2.15).
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Highest tourist tax in Europe, most expensive hotel prices (over €120/night), and a longer distance from the airport.
  3. London, UK: Despite no tourist tax, it faces high hotel costs (€117.25/night) and expensive beer prices (€7.56).

Additional Findings

Berlin, Germany has the highest price for a one-day public transport ticket (€3.50). Conversely, Istanbul, Turkey, offers the cheapest public transport tickets compared to other cities. Vienna, Austria and Athens, Greece recorded a high cost for meals (€15.00), placing them in the mid-range for affordability.

Expert Recommendations

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone, highlighted the significance of planning ahead to avoid unexpected expenses, citing tourist tax as a potentially hidden cost. He also stressed the importance of travel insurance to protect against common holiday pitfalls such as flight delays and pickpocketing.

In summary, the European Budget Holiday Index crowns Warsaw as the best destination for affordable city breaks, whilst Paris is deemed the most expensive. For budget-conscious travellers, being informed can greatly enhance the enjoyment of their holiday without financial strain.

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