3 Budget City Break Destinations2nd November 2012
With the summer season now a fond but distant memory, the winter months prove an excellent time to recharge the batteries and take a short city break. Christmas is just around the corner so few of us have spare cash. That’s why we’ve chosen three fascinating cities which, although are often overlooked, are sure to give you some well needed respite in the next few months without breaking the bank.
Home to half of the entire country’s population, Latvia’s capital city Riga has plenty going for it yet few know much about it. There is a huge concentration of impressive historical buildings which have recently experienced extensive restorations and as a result, Riga is turning heads in its revival as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It also appeals to party goers, boasting a truly eclectic nightlife which rivals some of the bigger names. A city break in Riga is best enjoyed with explorations of the compact but fascinating Old Town and walks along the Daugava River, but for the more adventurous there a number of unusual activities on offer in the outskirts of the city for reasonable prices, ranging from AK-47 shooting to scenic flights over the city and cable car bungee jumps to Husky dog sledding! With Latvia rarely considered as a holiday destination full stop, there is less competition meaning you should be able to bag yourself a bargain with a short stay here.
Portugal with its sun blushed coastline and Mediterranean climate is mainly considered a summer holiday destination. The city of Lisbon on the north-west coast of the country bucks the trend and is a fantastic destination year round. It delivers the usual dose of culture, history, architecture, great shopping and interesting attractions that one expects from a capital city, but it also boasts so much more, things which define Lisbon’s personality. Take the modest custard tart for example; no one does it better than Lisbon, and don’t forget the iconic yellow trams which trundle up and down the 7 hills of the city! Furthermore, it’s the only European capital city on the coast and there are some truly excellent day trips, such as a visit to the fairytale-esque Palacio Nacional da Pena, all within very easy reach. Despite all it has to offer, Lisbon is often overlooked in favour of French and Spanish cities and it’s for that reason that you will find it to be much cheaper than its competitors.
As the saying goes, the best things come in small packages and the same is true of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Unlike Paris and Rome, you won’t find lists as long as your arms of “must-see” attractions; instead, you can explore the quaint Old Town at your leisure, stop for a coffee and nip into any shop or museum you fancy. The population here is no more than 300,000 meaning it has the welcoming feel of a large town as opposed to that overwhelming sense that a bustling city can bestow and it will no doubt charm your socks off! With the stunning Julian Alps and world famous Lake Bled mere hours from Ljubljana by car as well, you can unearth some of the country’s very best treasures with ease. Take home unforgettable memories for a fraction of the cost!
If you want a cheap break in any of these fantastic cities, you had best be quick as the secret is spreading like wild fire!