10 Top European City Breaks to Explore Without Breaking Bank in 2024

Top European City Breaks

Are you dreaming of a European adventure but short on time or overwhelmed by choosing the top European city breaks? Craving history, culture, delicious food, or maybe even a relaxing beach escape? Do not worry! Europe has an abundance of amazing locations that are ideal for a short city break.

Having said that, we’ve listed the best cities to travel in Europe. To help you in making the right choice for your next travel. Moreover, we’ll provide you with information on the best times to visit, must-see sights, and delicious local eats, making your European adventure effortless.

In this blog, we’ll explore the top European city breaks in budget-friendly options. Let’s begin!

1. Porto

Porto Top European City Breaks

  • Country: Portugal
  • Best time to visit: May, June, or September

Porto is one of the top European city breaks. The World Travel Awards recently named it Europe’s Leading City Break Destination 2023. Moreover, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there’s plenty of history and culture to explore.

The Ribeira district is a must-see, with its colorful houses lining the Douro River. You can take a walk across the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge for stunning views of the city. Also, the São Francisco Church, Serralves Museum, and Gardens are additional wonders.

Besides that, the city is also known as a foodie paradise. It offers fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes like Francesinha and Pastel de Nata. In addition, one-person travel to Porto costs about $962 (€885), while a two-person trip typically costs $1,925 (€1,769). This covers lodging, meals, local transit, and sightseeing. 

2. Marseille

  • Country: France
  • Best time to visit: June-August

Marseille is another option among the top European city breaks. Ancient Greece and Rome built an important port where the city now stands. Consequently, its rich heritage is reflected in the architecture, museums, and archaeological sites.

Furthermore, Notre Dame de la Garde is a must-visit place. This Romanesque Byzantine church offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and a beautiful golden statue of the Virgin Mary. Moreover, visitors can also explore the North End, Le Panier, and lose themselves in the colorful street art.

Besides that, the Old Port is a lively area, especially in the summer months. You can try delicious Provençal cuisine like bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew, or a local pissaladière. Moreover, you should budget approximately $75 (€69) per day for their trip to Marseille if you’re planning it independently.

3. Brighton


  • Country: England
  • Best time to visit: May to September

Brighton, with its vibrant culture, historic sites, and pebble beach, captivates visitors as a vibrant seaside resort. Moreover, it has a unique and bohemian vibe, with a mix of Regency architecture, independent shops, and street art.

Brighton Beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach volleyball. The beach is also home to the iconic Brighton Palace Pier, a traditional pier with amusement arcades, fairground rides, and restaurants.

Additionally, the city transforms into a haven for nightlife. You can catch live music at one of its many pubs, or dance in a trendy club. Thus, the atmosphere fosters an inclusive and welcoming environment. Above all, you can budget £10.00 per meal, or £30.00 per person, per day.

4. Athens

  • Country: Greece
  • Best time to visit: March-May & September-November

Athens is a fantastic destination for top European city breaks. It has an abundance of culture, history, cuisine, nightlife, and breathtaking views. The city’s ten-year campaign to promote sustainable tourism and position itself as a city break destination.

Remarkably, in 2023 the city welcomed almost 7 million visitors, a record-breaking figure. It is the location of the Parthenon, Ancient Agora, Acropolis, and Temple of Olympian Zeus. As a result, you can explore historic ruins and picture daily life in Athens thousands of years ago.

Fresh, seasonal ingredients and delicious flavors define Athenian cuisine. As such, visitors enjoy everything including souvlaki, gyros, moussaka, and pastitsio. For your trip to Athens, you can budget around $138 (€127) per day. This is the average daily cost based on other guests’ spending.

5. Milan


  • Country: Italy
  • Best time to visit: March-May, October, and November

Milan is the fashion capital of the world and a city that blends history, design, and delicious food. The magnificent Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) is a must-see. It’s the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world. Besides, you can explore Pinacoteca di Brera, Teatro Alla Scala, and Castello Sforzesco.

The Navigli district is great for a night out, with various bars, clubs, and restaurants. In addition, lively terraces line the canals, and people fill the streets until the early morning. Thus, you can plan to spend approximately $181 (€166) daily on your Milan vacation.

However, Milan is a great destination year-round. Summer visitors should be prepared for hot weather and high humidity. Whereas winter in Milan can be cold and foggy, it’s also a charming time to visit the city in which the Christmas lights. 

6. Valletta

  • Country: Malta
  • Best time to visit: Between June and September

Although small in size, Valletta offers a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant culture. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Importantly, the Knights of St. John built it in the 16th century, and it is known for its Baroque architecture.

Moreover, the visitors can explore the former palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John. It is now the office of the Maltese President. You can explore St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Fort St. Elmo, The National Museum of Archaeology, and Fort St. Elmo.

Since Valletta is relatively small, you can also easily take a taxi or bus to the nearby towns of Paceville and St. Julian’s. On average, you should budget $126 (€116) per day for your Valletta break.

7. Tbilisi


  • Country: Georgia
  • Best time to visit: May, June, or September

Tbilisi is a city that blends old and new, East and West, and is known among the top European city breaks. A city boasting a rich history dating back to the 4th century BC. As a result, a vibrant culture reflected in its food, wine, and music, beckons exploration.

The city has several historical destinations, including Narikala Fortress, Metekhi Church, and Sioni Cathedral. Moreover, it also has several museums, such as the Georgian National Museum and the Simon Janashia Museum of Art.

Besides that, Tbilisi boasts fresh, local ingredients and hearty dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri (cheese bread), and Pkhali (a vegetarian dish made with walnuts). Approximately $29 (GEL78) per day should be the budget for your trip to Tbilisi.

8. Krakow

  • Country: Poland
  • Best time to visit: March-May & September-November

Krakow is a beautiful and historic city between the top European city breaks. The city also offers a wealth of things to see and do. Travelers explore the stunning Wawel Royal Castle to wander the charming cobbled streets of the Old Town.

Furthermore, there are many historical and architectural sights to explore. The Main Market Square and the Cloth Hall are all must-sees. Also, some of the most popular museums include the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and the Schindler Factory.

Krakow has a great food scene, with everything from traditional Polish fare to international cuisine. There are also plenty of bars and cafes to enjoy. You can try local specialties, such as pierogi (dumplings) and kielbasa (sausage). Thus, approximately you can budget £100 to visit Krakow.

9. Bilbao

  • Country: Spain
  • Best time to visit: May, June and September

Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, known for its Guggenheim Museum and futuristic art museum designed by Frank Gehry. Importantly, the city offers a unique blend of Basque culture, stunning architecture, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife.

Additionally, one of the top European city breaks, Bilbao has a historic center, Casco Viejo, with narrow streets and pintxos bars serving Basque tapas. It also has the Santiago Cathedral, a Gothic church founded in the 14th century.

Above all, the city is famous for its pintxos, small skewered tapas that come in all sorts of delicious variations. Thus, the daily budget for your break in Bilbao should be approximately $150 (€137).

10. Budapest


  • Country:  Hungary
  • Best time to visit: March-May & September-November

Budapest is a stunning city divided by the Danube River, with Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east. It’s also known for its grand architecture, including the Gothic Matthias Church and the Hungarian Parliament Building, both of which are illuminated at night.

Besides that, the city is also home to thermal baths. Relax in one of Budapest’s many thermal baths, such as the Szechenyi Baths or the Gellért Baths. See a performance at the Hungarian State Opera House, and explore Buda Castle and Chain Bridge.

Moreover, Budapest is also known for its lively nightlife scene. There are bars and clubs to suit all tastes, from traditional Hungarian pubs to trendy cocktail bars. The city also has several ruin bars to meet locals and other travelers. For a trip to Budapest, you should have at least €35–€50, which covers all meals.

Final Thoughts

In this blog, we explored top European city breaks and provided the best times to visit must-see sights and delicious local eats. Furthermore, you’ve discovered the keys to a wonderful European journey with affordable options and exclusive knowledge. Now, all you have to do is prepare for your incredible journey by packing your bag. Thanks for reading!

Singam Horam

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