City Breaks on a Budget: Edinburgh and Budapest

By Liam Ashton

If the January blues have well and truly kicked in, booking a cheap and cheerful city break abroad will give you something to look forward to while you’re trying to resettle yourself back into working life. Writers Liam Ashton and Amy Lawlor take a look at the top city destinations to explore this spring.


With low cost airlines providing cheap flights to locations in Britain and mainland Europe, student holidays are becoming increasingly more popular. Edinburgh is an ideal location for a weekend getaway both with a partner or as part of a group. The flight is less than an hour and return ticket costs between €20 and €30. If travelling in a group, hostels are ideal and will serve their purpose as a place to sleep and are also very central costing no more the £20 per night. The most visited tourist attraction in Scotland, Edinburgh castle is a must see sitting atop the famous Royal Mile. It does come at a high cost however, with admission at £16.50 with no student rate. Pub crawls are the main source of nightlife entertainment starting at just £7 per person. These include the 6 Nations pub ‘The Three Sisters’ and ‘The Oz Bar’ located beside ‘The Elephant House’, where JK Rowling first began writing Harry Potter. Arthur’s Seat is a free activity for a budget trip which also provides the chance to see an alternative side of the city. Standing in Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is a 45-minute walk to the top overlooking the entire city. This is most ideal in the evening when the Balmoral Hotel and Scott Monument are lit up.


Once the cost of flights to Budapest are covered which are between €60 and €120 for this time of the year your money worries will be over as Budapest is among the cheapest cities in Europe. Hostels are again the most viable option with well-known chains such as Wombat and Big Fish which have both a bar and free breakfast. Walking tours of the city are free with complimentary tips at the end which are usually 3000 Hungarian Forint, roughly €10. St Stephen’s Basilica is perfect for groups on a student budget as it too is free entry however it does take up to ten minutes to climb the three-hundred steps to the top where you will be greeted with a 360-degree view of the city.The primary source of nightlife in Budapest is the ruin bars. These abandoned buildings proved to be very popular when the trend began 10 years ago and can be found all over the city today. Pub crawls and tours are popular amongst groups navigating through each of the derelict pubs in downtown Pest for less than 3000 Forint. Any trip to Budapest isn’t complete without visiting the thermal baths. Either to relax and recuperate or to attend the weekend bath parties, the baths are suited for any size group and is worth paying the admission fee. Depending on the night, admission is between €15 and €30 however it is widely considered to be the highlight of any trip to the Hungarian capital.

Liam Ashton

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