Cheap holidays in Eastern Europe: Best destinations

Sarah Coles
Panoramic view from the St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary
Panoramic view from the St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary

Forget Barcelona and Rome, savvy Brits are heading to Eastern Europe for cheap holidays nowadays. Research from Visa identified Romania, Lithuania and Croatia as particular hotspots, as the amount spent by Brits has shot up in the past two years. British spending in Croatia is up 57 per cent, in Lithuania it's up 61 per cent and in Romania it has risen 80 per cent.

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The company also identified that the fastest growth in spending in these countries was in pubs, bars and restaurants. It seems that the lower prices on offer in these destinations mean we have more spare cash to wine and dine on a culturally minded city break - or indeed to party harder with friends.

Travelling to Eastern Europe, however, requires finding the right balance. For a comfortable and affordable break, the best locations are cities where tourism is strong enough to support plenty of good hotels and restaurants, and reliable tourist attractions. However, if you want lower prices, you need to steer clear of places that have become overwhelmingly touristy.

Prague is an excellent example. Clearly there's an enormous amount to see and do, and in the early days of travel to Prague, prices were unbelievably low. However, as the tourist industry has developed over the past 25 years, so have the prices.

We have tracked down ten of the cities in Eastern Europe which are at a point where they represent a great balance, so you can enjoy a bargain break without having to work too hard.

In many cases, you can get a week (with flights included) for less than the cost of a single night in a hotel in London. And if you want to splash out on a few more stars, you can stay in reasonable luxury without pushing your holiday budget over £500 per head.

But what do you think? Are you tempted by these bargain destinations?

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