Cheap city trip. Where to spend a weekend in Europe for a reasonable price?

Short, mostly weekend trips to European cities are very popular among tourists. However, due to rising prices, a short trip will not always turn out to be cheap. Which directions are the least painful for the wallet? We present budget destinations for city break trips.

Lisbon, Barcelona, ​​​​Athens – this is the podium of the list of the best cities to travel recently compiled by iVisa. Rome, Madrid and Istanbul were also classified in the top ten. It is not necessary to convince anyone of the attractiveness of all the above-mentioned metropolises.

But its great popularity among tourists also translates into high prices. In times of high fuel prices and the prevailing high prices in the tourist industry, it is worth paying attention to less crowded cities. Also in the field of city trips, ie short, usually weekend trips.

City trip to Germany

A good destination for a cheap city trip can be Germany, which can be reached in a few hours by car from almost all of Poland. Berlin, located an hour’s drive from the Polish border, isn’t one of the cheap cities, but Dresden, which is a similar distance from us, is quite a good option for tourists looking to save money.

– A trip to Dresden is a combination of exceptionally beautiful nature in the region of Saxon Switzerland and a visit to the royal city. Saxon Switzerland will not cut our budget, the stay here is free and the landscapes are priceless. Dresden has accommodation for every budget, says Arleta Adamska, author of blogież

Dresden, the capital of SaxonyShutterstock

Agnieszka Trolese, who runs the travel blog Taste & Travel, also points to Germany as a good destination for a weekend getaway. – Hamburg is a little known alternative to Berlin, not far from the Polish border. It is a rapidly developing port city full of monuments with Scandinavian temperatures. Especially in summer it will appeal to those who do not like hot weather – emphasizes Trolese.

About ten years ago, Czech Prague was also clearly cheaper than the West. Today, prices there are even higher than in many Italian or Spanish cities. Fortunately, the Czech Republic does not stop at the capital. A noteworthy, but still undiscovered and therefore quite cheap place is Brno. – It is a nice city, and one day is enough to visit it. The remaining time can be spent exploring the nearby vineyards, the blogger advises.

Until recently, Lviv, Kiev and Odessa were also hits in the cheap city trip category. Planes flew from Poland to each of these cities. However, Ukrainian airspace was closed to civilian flights in February 2022 due to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Budget Italy

For a reasonable price you can also spend the weekend in countries that have nothing to do with saving at all. But to find a good deal, it’s best to focus on less crowded cities. Naples is moderately popular among Polish tourists – travelers to Italy are more likely to choose Rome, Venice, Milan or Tuscany. But the price-wise city of pizza and mafia definitely beats the aforementioned competition.

– Low cost airlines fly to Naples from Poland. Although this city has a specific atmosphere that takes some getting used to, it is really worth a visit. Especially that there is also plenty to do in the area. An hour’s boat ride from the Neapolitan coast is Capri, an island where many Italian celebrities hang out in the summer. Not far from Naples is also Sorrento, one of the most beautiful small towns on the Italian coast – lists Trolese, whose specialty is Italy.


The blogger also recommends to Polish tourists Bologna, famous for its excellent cuisine, to which planes fly directly from Warsaw and Wrocław and Padua. Both cities are just over an hour away, so you can visit them on the same weekend.

SEE ALSO: Entrance to Venice is paid. City services “tax” day tourists

The Italian islands and the cities located on them are also noteworthy. Arleta Adamska draws attention to Sicily and the second largest city in terms of population: Catania.

– This baroque city, dominated by Mount Etna, is extremely delicious. The main course starts around 4.5 euros: this is the price of a plate full of local aubergine pasta. For a few euros we travel by train from Catania to Taormina or Syracuse, where there are even more places to visit and sunbathe – says the blogger.

Malaga instead of Barcelona

Spain is also very popular among Polish tourists, with Barcelona and Madrid being the most popular destinations. However, like the largest Italian cities, Spanish metropolises are not among the budget destinations. However, better prices can be found in the south of the country, Malaga in Andalusia is certainly cheaper.

– From the point of view of Polish tourists, it is a very exotic city, they are welcomed by the heat and the palm trees that grow along the main streets. Málaga can be used as a base for exploring the surrounding area, including touristy Marbella and the luxurious marina of Puerto Banus, explains Trolese.


City trip – costs

In 2020, the British Post Office website calculated exactly how much a weekend trip to different European cities costs. The price of a double room in a three-star hotel is included, as is the cost of living on site: a two-day ticket for public transport, prices in bars and restaurants and costs for sightseeing. The price of the plane ticket is not taken into account, because it depends on the place of departure.

Vilnius was considered the most affordable of the European cities worth visiting. The website estimated the weekend in Lithuania’s capital for two people at the equivalent of PLN 816. Two Polish cities were placed afterward – Warsaw (PLN 821) and Katowice (PLN 844).


In addition, Porto, Bratislava, Tallinn, Krakau or Ljubljana were high in the ranking. In each of these cities, according to the calculations of the British portal, two people can spend a weekend for just over a thousand zlotys.

However, it should be remembered that in the summer of 2020, when the ranking was made, prices fell temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a weekend in any of these cities would probably cost a few hundred zlotys more. It is also doubtful whether the Warsaw weekend is actually cheaper today than the weekend in Katowice.

The pandemic has hit urban tourism

Arleta Adamska notes that urban tourism is the sector most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. – We avoided big cities and crowds, and the most famous city break destinations were heavily regulated by restrictions. Some still are. Urban tourism has faded into the background in favor of niche and lesser-known destinations, as well as nature relaxation, road trips and camping – explains the blogger.

He adds that during the pandemic, tourists also mainly focused on the car and less distant travel. – The Balkans became popular, Croatia experienced a real tourist siege, more people also paid attention to Slovenia, Albania and Montenegro. Local tourism, traveling through Poland and short trips to our neighbors have also won – says the author of the blog

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Airfare prices

While the pandemic has eased, this trend is likely to stay with us for longer. All because of the airline ticket prices. In the current season they are much higher than in previous years.

According to the data presented in the flight search engine, the average price of tickets from Warsaw to Bologna in July is about PLN 500 for two-way flights – it’s a really good offer. Connections to Naples are certainly more expensive. We leave on Friday and return on Sunday, we do not go below 700 zloty. A flight to Málaga is even more expensive – for weekend tickets for city breaks in Andalusia we pay more than PLN 1000.

Therefore, traveling by car to cities in neighboring countries will certainly be a more budget-friendly solution, even with current fuel prices.

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Main photo source: Shutterstock

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