Cheap city breaks for 9-5ers for every month of 2020.
I don’t know about you, but 20-25 days a year is just not enough to visit everywhere on my bucket list for this year. So I’ve put together this list of the best and cheapest city breaks which have Friday evening flights from London, which will hopefully help you to make the most of your weekends this year and save that precious holiday for further flung destinations.
January - Wroclaw, Poland
19.20 flight from Stansted.
January is a month where everyone is skint so I’m kicking off this list with a super cheap, lesser known destination. Wroclaw is a gorgeous little city with plenty of local bars and restaurants, it hasn’t quite become as touristy as it’s neighbouring cities of Krakow and Warsaw and my favourite thing about the town are the small dwarf figurines which are hiding all over the centre, it’s very fun to see how many you can find and can also be turned into a fun drinking game, but that’s a story for another post...
Top things to do in Wroclaw in January:
See how many of the cities 350 dwarf figurines you can find.
Visit the market square, travelling in January means you might catch the last of the biggest Xmas market in Poland.
Visit the Wroclaw Cathedral for its insane gothic architecture.
Dont forget to try: Pierogis
Price of a beer: 60p
February- Venice, Italy
20.30 from Gatwick
I wasn’t going to include Italy on this list as it doesn’t usually scream budget-break, but I have actually found travelling to Venice in the winter months to be really affordable compared to its neighbours. It’s also a perfect destination for Valentine’s Day (if you’re into all that) and you can also attend the Venice carnival.This runs from 8-25th Feb this year, and is an annual festival famous for its elaborately decorated masks.
Top things to do in Venice in February:
Take a traghetti - An alternative to the typical expensive gondola (read more about how to do this in my Venice on a budget blog here).
Watch or take part in the Venice carnival, there are daily prizes for best masked costume.
Visit the colourful islands of Burano and Murano.
Dont forget to try: Chicchetti (fancy bread with different toppings)
Price of beer: £3.80
March - Riga, Latvia.
7pm from Luton
Hopefully this is when the Baltic City starts to warm up because in January, when I am planning to go, it’s gosh darn cold and dark. The city known for its spas, art nouveau architecture and medieval old town is especially cheap at this time of year and flight times from Luton make for a perfect weekend break.
Top things to do in Riga in March:
Warm up with a visit to a spa and get a massage at half the price of back home.
Visit the House Of Blackheads and the Freedom monument and find out about Riga’s history.
Head up to St Peter’s church for a panoramic view of the city.
Don‘t forget to try: Riga Black Balsam - local spirit
Price of a beer: 85p
April - Budapest, Hungry
21.35 from Luton
This is one of my favourite European city breaks and I think April is a perfect time to visit when it’s not too busy and not too cold. What I like about Budapest is that it has a perfect mix of culture and nightlife which is what everyone wants in a city break right? I might say a weekend isn’t enough here but you could make use of the bank holidays this month?
Top things to do in Budapest in April:
Take a cruise along the Danube to find out more about the history of Buda and Pest.
Visit a ruin bar, my favourite was Szimpla Kert.
Visit the thermal baths and if you’re feeling particularly wild, maybe even the sparty (Spa party, not for the faint hearted) on Saturday night!
Don't forget to try: Unicum- (local spirit with hilarious name)
Price of a beer: £1.30
May - Prague, Czech Republic
21.05 from Stansted
Another super cute city with plenty to see, do, eat and drink. May is again a great time to visit before the town is overrun with stag and hen parties. Also don’t forget there are another 2 bank holidays this month So make the most of them if you can!
Top things to do in Prague in May:
Visit the Charles bridge and Prague castle.
Stop by an absintherie or pour your own pints at ‘The Pub’.
Watch the astronomical clock strike on the hour.
Don’t forget to try: pork knuckle Price of a beer: £1.60
June - Porto, Portugal
21.00 from Stansted
I’ve actually not been here but I’m planning to do this trip this June when it’s not too hot and not too busy. It appeals as it‘s a mix of city and coast with plenty of history and good food thrown in.
Top things to do in Porto in June:
Stroll around the Crystal Palace gardens.
Port/ wine tasting at the Porto wine cellars.
Visit the beach, I think Praia de Luiz is the most popular but that may not be a good thing!
Don’t forget to try: Pastéis de nata (custard tart)
Price of a beer: £1.70
July - Ljubljana, Slovenia
17.10 from Gatwick
The flight departure time of this one might be pushing it but I really wanted to include it in this list. The city itself has plenty to do and is just 30 minutes from Lake Bled, which is the perfect place to spend a sunny Saturday. My advice would be to stay in Ljubljana, take a day trip to Bled on the Saturday and spend Sunday wandering round the old city.
Top things to do In Ljubljana and Bled in July:
Hike up to Osojnica view point.
Swim, paddle board, kayak, walk or cycle around Lake Bled.
Walk over the dragon bridge and visit Ljubljana castle.
Don’t forget to try: Bled cake
Price of a beer: £2.20
August - Palma, Mallorca
17.10 - from Gatwick
Again flight departure time is pushing it but lucky us there‘s another bank holiday in August! Anyone who knows me will know Mallorca is my spiritual home and I could not leave it off this list for that reason. It’s totally worth it for city and beach in one weekend anyway, I’m sure your boss will understand that. Top things to do in Palma in August:
Visit the Palma CathedraI.
Walk or cycle along the seafront.
Visit the city beach, or hire a car for the day and explore the island.
Don’t forget to try: any and all kinds of tapas
Price of a beer: £4.50
September- Bratislava, Slovakia
20.05 from Stansted
I’ve done a whole post on this one which you can read here (Sponsored by Visit Bratislava). I visited last September and was very pleasantly surprised with how much there is to do, the price and the food.
Top things to do in Bratislava in September:
Visit Bratislava Castle and the Blue Church.
Take the bus out into the Slovakian countryside and walk up to Devin Castle.
Walk over the UFO bridge or you can even have dinner at the top.
Don’t forget to try: Bryndzové Halsušky (potato, cheese and bacon)
Price of a beer: £2.60
October - Berlin, Germany
19.55 from Stansted
Ok, so Munich would be the ideal option for this month but did you know most German towns also do smaller Oktoberfest celebrations which will cost a whole lot less. Aside from drinking steins all weekend there’s also plenty of culture to be seen and sausages to be eaten.
Top things to do in Berlin in October:
Drink the local beer whether you choose to visit Oktoberfest or not.
Visit the Berlin Wall which used to divide the city.
Watch the sunset from the TV tower, offering panoramic views of the city.
Don’t forget to try: Pretzels! Price of a beer: £3.40
November - Brussels, Belgium
19.00 Eurostar from St Pancras
Save time and jump on the train instead of hanging around the airport (just be sure to be there 30 minutes before). With regular trains from central London, this is the perfect option for those poor souls that finish after 5pm on a Friday. Visiting in late November could mean you also catch the start of the Xmas markets.
Top things to do in Brussels in November:
Visit the famous Manneken Pis statue which is often dressed up depending on the time of year.
Admire the striking architecture of the Grand Palace.
Get a beer tasting flight in Delirium.
Don’t forget to try: Belgian chocolate! Price of a beer: £3.40
December - Krakow, Poland
18.00 from Stansted
I’ve just returned from Krakow and although flights will be more expensive, I’d really recommend getting over for New Year Eve or Sylwester as they call it there. Prices for everything else will make up for spending more on the flights but if you can’t get there for NYE, December is still a great time to visit for Xmas markets and cheap vodka!
Top things to do in Krakow in December
Walk around the grounds of the castle which has fantastic views of the city.
Go vodka tasting, Wodka Bar seems to be the most popular but almost impossible to get a table as it’s such a tiny bar.
Visit the Christmas markets for mulled wine, and souvenirs.
Don’t forget to try: chimney cake (cinnamon and chocolate was my fave)
Price of a beer: £1.45
I do hope this post was helpful and you manage to use at least one of my suggestions. Let me know if you have any others that I might have missed off! firstname.lastname@example.org