I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that enjoying a refreshing tipple in Europe can be expensive. In cities such as Paris, Geneva, Moscow and of course, London (to name just a few) the price of a beer can be enough to induce a pre-drinking hangover. Luckily, there’s also a range of affordable and arguably just as interesting cities to be explored, where your money will go much, much further. So, as much as we love the romance of Paris and the beauty of the Swiss Alps, our current budget has left us exploring other options to quench our thirst for travel…
1. Prague, Czech Republic – pint of beer approx. £1 – £1.50
Often described as the capital of Eastern Europe, Prague is a labyrinth of cobbled alleyways, historic buildings, picturesque rivers and friendly cafes. It’s easy to automatically like this pretty city, which offers food and drink for around half the price of London! Must-sees include a tour around the medieval Prague Castle with its panoramic views across the city, a soothing cruise on the Vltava River, a chilling visit to the Terezin Concentration Camp and a coach trip to the Kutna Hora mining town. Party animals will also be pleased to hear that Prague has a vibrant and all-encompassing nightlife from dusk until dawn, and that the price of a local beer (Pilsner Urquell is the most popular) is often be cheaper than a soft drink. Our kind of place!
2. Budapest, Hungary – pint of beer approx. £1.20 – £1.70
On the banks of the atmospheric Danube River, Budapest benefits from cheap food and wine, bucket-loads of attractions and a warm, romantic atmosphere. Visitors can spend a day exploring the museums, join the couples wandering by the river, head for a dip in the thermal baths or spend an afternoon tucking into some tasty food. There are an abundance of tourist attractions to be seen, such as the House of Terror museum which addresses the atrocities carried out during the Stalin era. Or, if you’re a sucker for views then the Lookout Gallery is a must – 153 stairs up leads to a 360-degree view across Buda and Pest. No evening is complete without a few of the local beers (Vyškov is delicious) and during summer licensed cafes are packed with travellers and locals.
3. Krakow, Poland – pint of beer approx. £1.60 – £2.00
Krakow is Poland’s main tourist destination – and it’s not hard to see why. Teeming with historic buildings, monuments and galleries, a weekend in Krakow can be had at a bargain price. Despite its popularity, hotels remain low in price (especially outside of the summer season) with food and beer also available cheaply. The majority of people who head to Krakow take the incredibly moving Auschwitz tour, located around an hour’s drive from the city centre. Or, for those looking to while away an afternoon, Rynek Główny is the largest medieval town square in the whole of Europe and makes a great spot for a bite to eat and a pint or two. Present-day Polish beers are very similar in taste to German lager, with Tyskie (available in a variety of strengths) crowned the beverage of choice.
4. Berlin, Germany – pint of beer approx. £2.30 – £2.50
A hectic mix of urban glamour and punk rock, it’s all too easy to fall in love with Germany’s colourful capital. With cheap hotels and flights readily available, more and more people are experiencing the energy of Berlin. It’s a city that never sleeps, and it’s easy to become intoxicated by the huge party scene. But if the endless nightclubs, bars and restaurants become a bit too much, Berlin offers the best of both worlds, with the Strandbad Wannsee delivering 1km of sandy beach and a soothing lakeside lido. While the price of beer isn’t as cheap as some of its eastern neighbours, for such a modern and progressive city prices are refreshingly low. Enjoy sampling the various varieties of the popular Schneider Weisse beer which can easily be found throughout Berlin.
5. Zagreb, Croatia – pint of beer approx. £1.30 – £1.60
A lively combination of east and west Europe, Zagreb is an enchanting city often overshadowed by Croatia’s beautiful coastline. The cobbled streets of the Old Town contain an interesting mixture of elegant architecture and busy drinking spots, whilst elsewhere in the city drab communist-style blocks have been reclaimed by colourful street art and hip bars. The city offers up a range of interesting and amusing tours, such as The Sensual Zagreb (16+ only) which delves into the history of the Zagreb’s brothels and baths – with plenty of surprises thrown in for fun. Zagreb is also renowned for its restaurants, many of which boasts lovely views – so you’ll find lots of reasons to squeeze in that evening pint or two! Alternatively, you could head away from the tourist bars and follow the locals in sinking a few pints of Ožujsko, a beer with the motto: ‘Ožujsko has been making friends since 1893’.