Bargain city breaks for 2013

Caroline Cassidy

The annual two-week sunshine getaway will seem like an impossible dream in these tough financial times, but even a short holiday can help to recharge your batteries and clear your stressed head.

City breaks on a budget
City breaks on a budget

Pic: Getty

Taking a city break doesn't have to cost the earth either, as these bargain destinations show.

Related Searches

An increasingly popular city destination in recent years, Prague is still one of the cheaper options when it comes to weekend getaways in Europe. This stunning city retains much of its original architecture, which makes a trip to Prague in the spring or autumn (when the tourist throngs are staying away) like stepping back in time. A Bohemian atmosphere, plenty of culture, good, cheap eating and beer to die for make this Eastern European city ideal for a short break, although you may find you don't want to come home!

Budget airlines like easyJet frequently fly to Prague, and it's worth checking out the major travel firms for excellent deals. For instance, Thomas Cook are currently offering a three-night B&B stay at a four-star hotel close to the centre for just over £200 per person, including flights.

The relatively small town of Sparta in Greece is perfect for those who crave a little history and culture with their weekend getaway. Situated beneath the Taygetos Mountains, there is ancient history at every turn, with the Acroppolis and Ancient Theatre, archaeological museum and Mystras must-sees, and head to The Menelaion, site of a shrine to Helen and Menelaus, offers a stunning view. EasyJet will be flying from Gatwick to Kalamata, just an hour away, come July, and there are bargains when it comes to accommodation too, with a double room at the Maniatis Hotel priced from around £73.

Eastern Europe offers some of the best value when it comes to city breaks, and 2013 is the year to put Kosice in Slovakia on your destination list. As one of this year's European capitals of culture, this charming town is perfect for sipping a coffee or cocktail at one of the street cafes in the Old Town.

As you might expect, there is plenty of culture on offer, with opera, ballet, theatre, music, museums and art galleries all permanent fixtures, while there will be lots of events celebrating the city's cultural title. Take a Jet2 flight to Budapest in Hungary, which is closer than Bratislava, for just £125 return, while a double room at the Boutique Hotel Bristol can be booked for as little as 89 euros.

While it is not renowned for its bargain breaks, Moscow has now made it onto many a budget traveller's list thanks to easyJet's routes from Manchester or Gatwick for around £125 return. Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral will undoubtedly make your list of things to do, and to keep spending to a minimum, try for a studio or apartment in the city from around £63 a night. Just be aware that you will need a tourist visa before you travel.
This Turkish metropolis is chock full of breathtaking sights and sounds, not least the awe-inspiring Blue Mosque, the 14th century Topkapi Palace with its leafy gardens, and the bustling Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets. Better still, from spring through to autumn you're pretty much guaranteed good weather. Flights with Pegasus Airlines from Stansted to Istanbul are available from £101 return, and you can bag a bargain hotel room to boot. Try for some amazing deals starting from just £38 at the four-star Yasmak Sultan.

Which city would you recommend for a bargain weekend getaway? Leave your comments below...