Finding cheap weekend city breaks
Make the most of your few days
The weekend - it's all about relaxing and recuperating after a long week at work. The temptation might be to veg out at home, but shelving Saturday-night drinks in Sheffield for sangria in Seville will recharge a tired worker's batteries. There’s no better way to get a quick fill of culture, skiing or sun than taking off for a cheap weekend city break. A little research with Cheapflights.co.uk and a few clicks can net you a real bargain. So, where do you want to go?
What are you in the mood for?
Romance and culture? There are no better places than the City of Light and the Eternal City. Read our travel guides to Paris and Rome.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Paris or cheap flights to Rome
For craic, nowhere does it better than bustling and buzzy Dublin, a short hop across the Irish Sea. Cork, in the south of the country, is considered by locals to be the real capital of Ireland. Belfast, the northern city, has come a long way in recent years. It's now one of the most popular domestic cities for a weekend break.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Dublin | cheap flights to Cork | cheap flights to Belfast
Shopping? New York is the place to spice up your wardrobe without emptying your wallet.
Search and compare: cheap flights to New York
What are this year's must-visit cities?
There are perennial favourites for city breaks such as Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Milan, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Brussels, Prague and New York.
Central and Eastern European cities have become more visited over the past few years. Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in Lithuania and Warsaw and Krakow in Poland are on the map for cheap city breaks. An added bonus is that some of these countries are outside the Euro zone making them better value than some of the established destinations.
How long can you go for?
For most cities in Europe, a Friday departure and Sunday evening return will give you enough time to see the sights, shop and have a good night out. For a New York shopping trip add a Friday and a Monday to scoop up all the bargains you can.
What is your budget?
Can you afford to go away for a long weekend over Easter or bank-holiday weekend? Travelling during peak season and at times of high demand (school holidays, Christmas and New Year, Easter, bank holiday weekends) will be more expensive than if you go in the weeks following Christmas and New Year or at shoulder-season time (autumn and spring, excluding, of course, the school half-term holidays).
What is the city like?
Is it compact and easy to get around with good transport links from the airport or should you rent a car? Visit Cheapflights’ travel guides for “getting downtown” information.
What should I wear?
Dress comfortably for the journey and take plenty of layers. That way you can peel off if the sun comes out or rug up if it starts blowing a gale. With several airlines charging to check-in luggage, pack as lightly as possible and take just carry-on. To cut down on check-in costs, wear most of your clothes on the flight and use the toiletries in your hotel room when you get there.
Read our guide to low-cost airlines
What to see?
Cram it all in or not, but be aware of what is available in your chosen city. Use the insider information section of Cheapflights’ travel guides to ensure you don’t miss the must-sees.
Updated April 2013