If you want a place where the culture is vibrant, the cityscape breathtaking and the drinks cheap, look no further than Budapest. Probably the most economical city break destination in Europe, flights from Glasgow to the Hungarian capital can be found for as little as £35 each way on Wizz Air.
For accommodation, the Interflat Hostel and Apartments, located in the culturally rich District VI, offer perfectly hospitable dwellings starting at just £3.72 per night. For a more comfortable stay, a week in the City Garden Hotel is only £80.Guests receive a 20 per cent discount at the nearby Gondozó Kert, one of the many famous “ruin pubs” that can be found in abandoned buildings across the city.
Saving money on booze is not an issue given that the average price of a bottle of beer is a mere 88p; if you’re willing to splash the cash, you can even get a glass of wine for 92p. The nightlife only gets better from there thanks to establishments such as Morrison’s 2 and E-Klub, where entry fees are minimal and the party often continues until 5 am.
During the day, you can sample Budapest’s magnificent wealth of architecture and history. The majestic Hero’s Square is a must-see both during the day and at night. It also contains the Museum of Fine Art, although entry is £8. If you don’t want to pay for museum entry, there are numerous museums and galleries that have free admission.
Additionally, 15 March is a Hungarian national holiday, and the opportunity to visit the National Gallery and the National Museum for free should not be missed. Other free attractions include St. Stephen’s Basilica and Buda Castle. When you can travel between these attractions on any form of public transport for just £3.80 over a 24 hour period, it’s hard to argue against Budapest as the greatest – and cheapest – spring break destination.
Although flights are a little on the expensive side – around £140 return – Krakow redeems itself by being one of Europe’s cheapest major cities. Twenty-four hours of public transport is only £2.60, and you can stay in places such as the legendary Mosquito Hostel, which, although it costs £9 per night, offers perks such as extra comfortable beds, free breakfast, free tea and coffee all day, free laundry, free walking tours, free shisha nights, free pub crawls, the use of a kitchen and free shots nights. Did I mention it’s all free?
Alternatively, Airbnb lists an array of attractive properties for around £10 to £20 per night, made even cheaper if you’re in a group.
Nightlife in Krakow is equally inviting. With a density of pubs to give St Andrews a run for its money, you’ll never pay more than £2 for a pint. The 120000 strong student population contributes to a thriving clubbing scene centered around clubs such as Cien and Krakow’s answer to the Lizard, Klub Goraczka. When you’re not cutting shapes on the dance floor, a journey into Krakow’s past is thoroughly worthwhile.
Many museums are free on certain days, including the Schindler Factory museum, which doesn’t charge for entry on Mondays. The main square provides spectacular scenery as well as a vast array of cafes and bars, or you can bring out your inner hipster in the trendy Jewish quarter. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a world heritage site which, although £15 to enter, is absolutely spectacular and worth every penny. For a cheap but eminently enjoyable spring break, you could do a lot worse than Krakow.
St. Julian’s, Malta
If you’d rather spend your spring break relaxing on a warm beach than exploring the city, St. Julian’s in Malta is an economical choice. Flights come in at around £40 each way, and the resort is accessible via a 40-minute shuttle bus. The luxurious be.HOTEL has double rooms for around £40 a night, which represents good value for your money given that it stands just 200 yards from the stunning beaches of St. George’s Bay and features a spectacular roof-top terrace swimming pool. The nightlife in St. Julian’s is also an attractive prospect, especially in the Paceville area of town, which is one of Malta’s hottest clubbing spots. Institutions such as BarCelona lounge and Sky Club are open late and serve cheap drinks. A cold pint can be obtained for as little as £2.
If you can bring yourself to get up from your deckchair in the sun, why not try a spot of snorkeling in the area’s warm waters? The exquisite Spinola Bay is a wonderful place for a stroll or to stumble across one of the area’s great restaurants, like Zeri’s, which boasts some of the very best in Mediterranean cuisine. If you want a relaxing and good value mid-semester break, this is the place to be.