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Cheap city breaks: The best city break destinations and deals

Are you already dreaming of your next short break but don't want to spend crazy amounts of money or stay away for longer than a few nights? A city break may be exactly what you're looking for, and it's one of the most popular types of holiday for UK travellers.

Luckily, we have plenty of city break deals! In fact, you can even find city breaks for less than £100​​​​​​​, or even when you're looking for a great value last-minute holiday! While most holidaymakers choose to take their city break to Europe, they're also a great option for staycations as well as adventures further abroad.

Get inspired and start planning your next city break with us! Once you've booked, be sure to check out our packing list for your perfect city trip

The best city break destinations in Europe

Thanks to short flight times and cheap flights, Europe is usually the first place holidaymakers think of when booking their next city break. And there are so many fantastic cities to choose from, from vibrant and busy capital cities to lesser-known hidden gems.

Whether you're doing it solo, as a couple or as part of a big group, a European city break is usually packed with enough things to do to make everyone happy. Here's a round up of some of our top European city break destinations.

Rome

Often referred to as the 'Eternal City', the Italian capital is packed with amazing things to do and see. It's a popular city break destination all year round and its star attractions always feel a bit crowded - make sure that you book tickets in advance!

Rome's main attractions are spots like the Colosseum, the Vatican City, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain; when you need a break from sightseeing, however, you'll be glad to hear that the city has a vibrant food scene, with plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Amsterdam

Filled with photogenic canals, flower-lined bridges, bicycles and boats, Amsterdam is one of the prettiest European capitals and it also happens to be a great choice for a city break. You can have a fantastic trip at any time of year but the city really comes to life in the summer, with live music events, markets and festivals on the go.

Hopping on a boat is a fun way to get acquainted with Amsterdam, while the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Vondelpark and the Van Gogh Museum are some of the top things to do.

Barcelona

Memorable attractions, delicious food and drink, bucket-list festivals and beaches - Barcelona really does have it all. It's Spain's second-largest city, featuring a unique blend of cutting-edge modern architecture and more traditional structures. Barcelona is especially popular during the warmer months, so make sure you get your hotel and flights sorted well in advance.

Sagrada Famila, Park Guell, Picasso Museum, La Boqueria Market and Montjuic are all unmissable attractions in Barcelona.

Paris

Thanks to its proximity and short flight time, Paris is one of the easiest places to get to for holidaymakers from the UK. Come rain or shine, it's impossible to be bored in the French capital, which is home to some of the most recognisable attractions in the world.

Don't leave without making a stop at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Pantheon, Sacre Coeur or Arc de Triomphe. This city is also a great base for trips to Disneyland and Versailles.

Krakow

If you're looking for a fun-filled city break that doesn't break the bank, then Krakow is exactly what you're looking for. The city is home to a truly gorgeous Old Town that's filled with historical buildings, restaurants and nightlife venues.

A lot of the action happens at Rynek Glowny, Krakow's main square, but Wawel Castle, Planty Park, St Mary's Basilica and the Kazimierz area are all worthy of a closer look.

Lisbon

Even with its quick flight times from the UK, Lisbon is still somewhat of an underrated city break destination. The Portuguese capital plays host to a wealth of attractions and is an ideal base for a bunch of great day trips too.

Soak up the sights and eat some pasteis de nata in Belem, try local dishes at the Time Out Market or enjoy the city's different levels with a trip on the Santa Justa lift. Don't miss out on a day trip to Sintra while you're at it!

Affordable European cities that won't break the bank

You don't have to look too far to find affordable city break destinations. There are many European cities that involve just a short flight from the UK - and they also happen to be some of the most interesting and historical cities in the world. Here are our favourite budget-friendly European city break destinations.

  1. Budapest, Hungary

  2. Zagreb, Croatia

  3. Bratislava, Slovakia

  4. Athens, Greece

  5. Ljubljana, Slovenia

  6. Bucharest, Romania

  7. Riga, Latvia

  8. Vilnius, Lithuania

  9. Tallinn, Estonia

  10. Prague, Czech Republic

The best UK city break destinations

If you're looking to take your city break a little closer to home, you'll be happy to hear that there are many action-packed and diverse UK cities to choose from. From bustling capitals to the seaside, a UK city break staycation can be just as exciting as a trip abroad.

Here are our top UK spots for an unforgettable city break.

London

The UK's capital city, London is a truly global city with cultural and historical influences from across the world. A perfect day here could involve so many things, such as a romantic walk along the South Bank, a visit to the Tate Modern or some shopping on Europe's busiest shopping street, Oxford Street.

Then there are the beautiful parks, including Regent's Park, Hyde Park and St James's Park. Finish off your sightseeing with dinner and drinks in lively and vibrant Soho before calling it a day.

Birmingham

Once the industrial heartland of the Midlands, Birmingham is now home to a burgeoning arts scene and a buzzy nightlife. Wander through the Jewellery Quarter (home to more than 200 listed buildings) and get yourself a bargain or pay a visit to one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.

Fancy doing something a little different? The city has an incredible network of historic canals that are lined with trendy bars and cafes. And no trip to Birmingham would be complete without a stop at Cadbury World.

Edinburgh

The capital of Scotland is, for many people, the heart and soul of the country. With its Old Town dating back to medieval times and world-famous Fringe Festival, Edinburgh really does have something for everyone. Start your stay with a visit to Edinburgh Castle; this spot has impressive views of the city below.

If you want to treat yourself, you can’t do much better than spending a day shopping on Victoria Street, which has plenty of boutique and independent shops for all tastes.

York

With its Roman roots, Viking past and glorious 13th-century Cathedral, York cannot help but be steeped in glorious history. Firstly, everyone has to visit the Shambles - an olde worlde-style narrow street where some of the buildings date back to the 14th century. Next, go to York Minster; if you have the stamina, there’s an amazing view from the top of the tower.

After a long day of sightseeing, treat yourself to a cup of tea and cake at one of the city’s many tea shops. We’re quite partial to Brew & Brownie.

Belfast

For a city break that feels a bit further away, why not take a trip to Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast? Even better, flights to Belfast take no time at all. Instead of staying at home and watching that guilty pleasure - Titanic, of course - you can pay a visit to the city's Titanic Museum. You'll even get to see the shipyard where this famous vessel was built.

Afterwards, wander over to the Ulster Museum for a taste of Irish history or make the climb up to Belfast Castle.

Liverpool

The city may be best known as the home of the Beatles, but Liverpool has so much more to offer with national museums, art galleries, incredible restaurants and a cracking nightlife to boot. Football fan? Head over to Anfield for a stadium tour. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, check out the Tate Modern. We’d also recommend a visit to the Museum of Liverpool.

Want to let your hair down? Liverpool's best bars and clubs can all be found in the city centre.

Manchester

Manchester may be famed for its musical heritage (as the home of Oasis, the Stone Roses and many other bands), but there is so much more to this bustling northern city. Check out the trendy Northern Quarter, which has plenty of art galleries and incredible street art. Alternatively, pay a visit to the Lowry, a theatre and gallery complex that has shops, restaurants and even a cinema.

For football fans, Old Trafford is close by if you wish to visit and do a tour.

Newcastle

Located in northeast England, Newcastle was once a major shipbuilding hub but is now better known for its vibrant nightlife and top-notch restaurants. The city is home to Michelin-starred restaurants and loads of other highly decorated spots.

If you'd like to experience some culture, we’d suggest a visit to Newcastle Castle or check out one of the city's many art galleries. We’re rather fond of the Biscuit Factory.

The best city breaks abroad

If you feel like having a real adventure and are seeking a city break destination that's much further away, you are well and truly spoiled for choice.

Many UK holidaymakers head to the US, which is home to countless fascinating cities, while others head out to Africa, Asia and Australia. If you're happy to do long haul, the world's best cities are only a flight away.

The best city breaks for escaping the UK's winter

Dreading the thought of having to endure another long UK winter?

Escape the rain and cold back home by heading out to destinations where the sun always seems to shine and where the temperatures are pleasantly warm, even in December and January. Here are our top choices (all temperatures are for December/January):

  • Melbourne, Australia - highs of 24°C to 26°C.

  • Funchal, Madeira - highs of around 20°C.

  • Los Angeles, USA - highs of around 20°C.

  • Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote - highs of around 20°C.

  • Cape Town, South Africa - highs of around 30°C.

  • Marrakesh, Morocco - highs of around 22°C.

  • The Maldives - highs of around 27°C.

Bucket list city breaks

If you're looking to take a city break of a lifetime, there are a few cities that are on just about everyone's bucket list. Each of these cities is full of incredible things to do, and would be the ultimate city break destination. Here's our take on the best cities in the world:

Hong Kong - Ideal for a look at a unique and ultra-modern Asia.

New York, USA - An iconic American destination that perfectly blends culture and entertainment.

Bangkok, Thailand - A city known for its vibrancy and legendary nightlife.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - An ever-growing metropolis balancing progress and tradition.

Las Vegas, USA - The city that never sleeps - and where you'll never run out of things to do!

Seoul, South Korea - One of the most intriguing cities in Asia.

The best city breaks for a romantic weekend

Paris is arguably the most iconic destination for lovers looking for a romantic escape but have you ever considered a city break to Florence? The Galleria dell'Accademia houses Michelangelo's David, which is just the start of this city's artistic offerings. Stroll hand in hand through the piazzas as you enjoy some gelato and see the Arno River at sunset.

Buenos Aires is often said to have the most European feel of the South American capitals. Explore the trendy and colourful La Boca neighbourhood and admire the gorgeous buildings in Plaza de Mayo. Or head to the medinas of Marrakesh. The vibrant markets and splendid architecture, such as the 19th-century Bahia Palace, set the stage for a culturally rich and romantic city break.

Or how about a visit to Venice? Wander the eternally romantic canals or splash out on a private gondola ride, admiring this city's famous bridges as you soak up the views. Kyoto is another top choice; visit during March and April to see the world-renowned cherry blossoms before heading for a relaxing onsen (hot spring) session.

Hand luggage-only city breaks

Prefer travelling light? You can make your holiday super cheap by opting for a hand luggage-only flight fare, giving you an extra bit of spending money once you get to your destination! Here are some great choices for a hand luggage-only city break.

1. Marrakesh

A quick three-hour flight opens the door to a different world of colour, architecture, culture and food. Explore the streets of Marrakesh, ignite your taste buds with aromatic dishes and take in the country’s history.

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Marrakesh: Visit the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque and shop for jewellery at the Jemaa el-Fnaa market.

2. Paris

How could we not include Paris? But there is more to this City of Love than just the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. This historic city is full of character and offers an experience that ticks many bucket lists.

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Paris: Visit the burial site of Oscar Wilde and Chopin at the Père Lachaise cemetery or take the kids on an unforgettable trip to Disneyland Paris.

3. Amsterdam

A tourist favourite, the narrow streets of Amsterdam will keep you and your friends busy during a weekend break. The city is home to a fantastic and varied nightlife scene, after all. And always keep an eye out for cyclists!

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Amsterdam: Visit the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and sip a cold lager at the Heineken Experience.

4. Barcelona

Located on the coast of Spain, Barcelona offers a unique blend of modern design and traditional Spanish architecture that will appeal to all your senses. Rich in football culture, don't miss the chance to explore rival grounds.

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Barcelona: Go to the magic fountain of Montjuic, visit the Picasso Museum or kick a ball around at Camp Nou.

5. Budapest

Budapest makes a fantastic city trip destination for travellers of all ages. There's loads to see and do, but the city is also becoming well known for its party scene. Low prices mean that Budapest is perfect for a quick weekend away.

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Budapest: Check out the famous ruin bars - open-air bars set in the ruins of buildings - for the best Budapest nightlife venues.

6. Berlin

Berlin is one of the ultimate city break destinations for a quick weekend away. Full of fascinating history and out-of-this-world nightlife, this city's cosmopolitan nature is warm and inviting to all visitors.

🏴‍☠️ Tips for Berlin: Walk through the Brandenburg Gate or get a bird's eye view of the city from the Berliner Fernsehturm.