Where to go for the best value holidays in Europe

euro cheap holidays



The plunging pound against the euro is hitting tourists hard and means the cost for a holiday in European hotspots, such as Spain, Italy and France rises.

Thankfully, if you're dead set on a European getaway this year you won't have to break the bank and can get the best value for money in countries outside the euro-zone, like Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey.

We spoke to the travel experts at Cheapflights.co.uk to find out where we should head for an affordable short break to ensure we're getting the most out of our holiday money.

'With the euro conversion not working in our favour at the moment, it's a great time to explore Europe outside the euro-zone to make sure you're bagging the best short-haul bargains,' said Oonagh Shiel at Cheapflights.co.uk.

Bosnia, Poland and Bulgaria are just a few of the options available outside the euro-zone and offer as much history, culture and beaches as you'd find in Europe's well-known destinations.

Check out the priciest spots within the euro-zone against the affordable European alternatives, according to Cheapflights.co.uk...

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Best and worst value European destinations
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Where to go for the best value holidays in Europe

If money is no object, Paris is the place for you. Luxury shopping boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and trendy night spots make the City of Lights a destination for well-heeled travellers. Visit Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athénée restaurant, where the top chef offers his guests modern dishes and authentic French flavours – sample Chicken with black truffles and root vegetables at £134 or Langoustines and Caviar at £165 per person.

Dublin has recently been ranked the 34th most expensive city in the world, but if you can't resist the Irish charm, cosmopolitanism and a good pint of Guinness, a weekend in Dublin is worth the euros. For just under £40 per person why not enjoy a tour of the Guinness Storehouse as well as the Connoisseur Bar Experience? The first Guinness tasting experience takes you on a journey to explore the history of the Guinness brand and includes tastings of draught, original, extra stout and black lager.

While Helsinki has been voted one of the most liveable cities in the past, it also ranked among one of the world's most expensive. That doesn't mean you shouldn't visit though. If your budget allows, plan your trip to Finland to coincide with the Savonlinna Opera Festival running from July to 3 August 2013. The event features Verdi’s La Traviata, Macbeth and Wagner’s Lohengrin, as well as a series of children’s operas. Tickets start from £74 per person.

If you’re looking to splash the cash, why not book into The Hotel Arts in the centre of Barcelona? There are Michelin stars aplenty in the hotel’s restaurants and a spectacular pool area. This luxury hotel is stylish, elegant and a favourite among Spanish royalty. No surprises then that the Royal Suite costs a whopping £10,400 per night. For this, you can expect two grand bedrooms, three bathrooms and no less than five TVs!

If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love chocolate heaven Brussels. Make sure you book a chocolate walking tour. Priced at £54 per person, the four-hour guided tour gives you plenty of time to walk it off and follows a trail of Brussels’ top chocolate shops. A visit to Neuhaus is a must too as it's a chocoholics dream!

Although Luxembourg is only a small nation, it boasts a huge number of impressive castles – 25 and counting. Work your way around the country visiting the majestic castles for guided tours. Tours range from £25 to £35 per person.

Most first timers have the same top sights they want to see in Rome – The Colosseum, The Vatican Museums and Rome Museum. Make sure you budget accordingly as all the entrance fees for these three alone will cost you over £40.

700 hectares of vineyards shape Vienna’s cityscape and lifestyle. As such, wine is a big part of life and there are plenty of wine tastings and vineyard tours to choose from. For a real taste of history, visit The Villon Wine Cellars from £35 per person - the oldest and deepest cellars of Vienna. The Villon Wine Cellars are over 500 years old and 16 metres deep - but if you have a taste for the finest vintages you may need pockets to match.

We all know the Dutch are a seafaring nation and Amsterdam is famous for its canals. Take one of the many canal boat cruises to enjoy views of the city from the water. A three-course dinner canal cruise costs from £60 per person.

The most expensive retail space in the whole of Germany can be found on Munich's Kaufingerstrasse – one of the oldest streets in Munich and the city’s busiest shopping street. Shopping for anything in Munich is not cheap but here you’ll find the most top end shoe shops, with a pair costing anywhere in the region of £300.

Turkey boasts plenty of stunning beaches and it’s a great place to sample fantastic authentic food at affordable prices. Spend a day at Iztuzu Beach swimming in the turquoise sea for free. Great for: unspoilt beaches to get away from it all.

Lithuania's capital is a wonderful spot for a city break with plenty to offer, from historic architecture to modern art and culture. Visit the Hill of Crosses where there are thousands of crosses on a hillock, which has inspired countless pilgrimages. The Hill of Crosses is 10km north of Siauliai in the village of Jurgaiciai. For the best views, hire a bike (from £7 per person) and cycle up the hill. Great for: a modern-day pilgrimage with spectacular views.

Head to Bosnia for picturesque landscapes, cobbled streets in the capital Sarajevo and marvellous ancient buildings. Bosnia is home to crystal clear mountain rivers and high quality thermal springs as well as more modern thermal spa facilities - all at a fraction of the cost of its European neighbours. Prices start from just £17 per person. Great for: unwinding and revitalising.

Opt for korunas rather than euros and you’ll find your money goes further. In Prague you can explore Prague Castle and St Vitus’ Cathedral, wander down cobbled streets and marvel at the gothic statues and modern day performers along the 650-year-old Charles Bridge, which spans the Vltava. After all that walking and culture you might want to sample a hearty goulash. And if you want something to wash that down, the local beer is famous the world over and keenly-priced. Great for: stunning gothic sights and great beer.

Croatia is a delightful destination for an affordable city break. Head for the exciting capital Zagreb to enjoy the warm climate, lovely parks and brilliant nightlife. For something a bit quirky, why not visit Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships? The museum houses a collection of personal items that have been donated around the concept of failed relationships. For true closure, donate an item and browse the entire collection. Entry is just £3 per person. Great for: quirky culture and closure for next to nothing!

Ever thought about a holiday in Armenia? Take a trip to Dilijan, a charming resort town nestled in the wooded hilly region of the picturesque north of Armenia. Visit the National Park, home to over 1,000 species of plants and 107 species of birds, including the Goshawk, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard and Eagle Owl. Great for: getting back to nature in an unspoilt country.

Krakow is Poland’s culture capital and a haven for foodies. Work up an appetite with a visit to St Mary’s Church and a walk around Krakow Market Square – the largest medieval market place in Europe, before stopping for somewhere to eat. Offering cuisines from all over the world at unbeatable prices, you’re sure to find something to suit all tastes. One such eatery is Zazie, a bistro offering three-course meals from just £9 per person. Great for: medieval sites and good food at bargain prices.

Whether you fancy an affordable ski break or a beach getaway without the price tag, Bulgaria has plenty to offer travellers on a budget. While you're there, tuck into the local dishes. One of the most traditional Bulgarian dishes is Cheverme – a whole lamb roasted on a spit. This dish is typical of the Rhodope region and usually comes with gratin potatoes. Visit a local restaurant and the meal should cost no more than £5 per person. Great for: authentic rustic food on a budget.

One of the lesser-known countries of Europe, Serbia is waiting to be discovered. For an adventure break with a difference, go log rafting from just £15 per person. Available daily on the Drina, Uvac, Lima and Ibar rivers, as well as some unexplored mountain waters, it’s the perfect way to combine adrenaline and nature. Great for: adventure in the great outdoors on a shoe string.

Montenegro is a brilliant alternative for travellers still wanting to enjoy the Mediterranean coast without paying the price of a holiday to Portofino or Cannes. For a budget sleep, Vila Ekaterina in Ulcinj, southern Montenegro, is just what you need. Air-conditioned rooms start from just £10 per night and guests get free WiFi, parking and use of a sauna and outdoor pool. Ulcinj’s Old Town is just a short stroll away and the apartments are walking distance to an unspoilt beach. Great for: history on a budget.

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