SINGAPORE – Travelling with cost in mind doesn’t necessarily have to limit what you get from a destination. While some cities are renowned for setting travellers back more, others have just as much to offer even the most cost conscious of travellers; you just need to know where to go. No matter the budget or destination, Europe has long been an attracting factor for many wanting to know and discover centuries of history, exploring the most beautiful landscapes and tasting the finest of food and wine.
Here’s Trafalgar’s pick of the five most captivating European cities that are ideal for those travelling on a budget, and for connoisseurs of history and culture.
Named the city of a hundred spires, the Czech Republic’s capital is characterised by its majestic baroque and gothic architecture, but this majesty isn’t reflected in its prices. Wander through the city’s cobbled streets and stop by its atmospheric cafes and bars, which each make the nation’s great brewing tradition so enticing. By choosing the authentic local spots, sampling the culinary specialties – as well as the beer – won’t leave you out of pocket. Many attractions can be seen for free too; Spend a day exploring the city’s gardens, squares and historic monuments, on foot or by tram.
Hungary’s capital, which is divided into the two halves Buda and Pest by the River Danube that flows through, combines ornate architecture – from baroque to Art Nouveau – with a thriving arts scene. You’ll also notice an affluence of bathhouses, which are a result of the city’s history of Roman rule and its abundance of natural hot springs. By avoiding the most popular tourist haunts, these thermal spas can be experienced for a modest price. Hop between historic monuments and museums, then seek out the city’s authentic local restaurants to sample some of the Hungarian fare.
Sprawled across the hills overlooking the Tagus River, Portugal’s capital city is a picturesque enclave of domed cathedrals, plazas, and the pastel-coloured houses of the old town. But perhaps the greatest pleasure to relish here is simply soaking up the city’s convivial spirit. Find a spot in a street-side café to listen to the Fado singing Lisbon has become so well known for, then take a look around the some of the city’s museums. Explore Museu Nacional de Azulejo and Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga without paying any entrance fee by visiting on the first Sunday of the month.
While Naples is most often noted for its rich culture and signature pizza, the city has an exceptionally scenic setting too, situated on the Bay of Naples by Mount Vesuvius. As a result, this southern Italian city entices many people in, but thankfully this hasn’t sent prices soaring. In fact, the city remains one of Italy’s cheapest for tourists passing through. Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage historic town and settle into one of its casual eateries to tuck into the deservedly world-famous Neapolitan pizza.
Like many major cities Madrid caters to all budgets, but few places have so much to offer cost conscious travellers too. Here visitors can discover the sights, wander through markets and indulge in tapas and the local wine, without digging deep into their pockets. Aside from its grand boulevards, sprawling gardens and architecture, Madrid stands out for its thriving international arts scene. Visit the Museo del Prado at the end of the day to take a look around for free.