Europe on a Shoestring: Budget-Friendly City Breaks

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    A comprehensive analysis by Omio reveals the top 38 European destinations for budget travelers

    • London, United Kingdom, is the best European city for a budget holiday. The UK capital has 980 free events.
    • Paris, France, ranks second overall, and first for free accommodation, with over 200,000 options.
    • Florence, Italy, ranks 24th, with 88 free attractions, tours, and events.

    Berlin, Germany: 27th August 2019 – Omio, Europe’s leading booking platform for travel by train, bus and flight, has released a ranking of Europe’s most budget-friendly cities to visit. The findings highlight the destinations with the most free activities and amenities on offer, helping savvy travellers budget their itineraries ahead of schedule.

    The 38 European cities selected for the study have the highest numbers arrivals every year[1]. The cities were ranked according to the number of free attractions, tours, events, Wi-Fi hotspots, accommodation, and drinkable tap water. The findings reveal that even some of the world’s most expensive cities to live in have a surprising number of things to do that don’t cost a dollar.

    Accommodation tends to be the biggest expense when booking a holiday. While hostels offer an affordable alternative, couch surfing provides holiday-makers with free accommodation and the chance to learn about city life from a local. Across the 38 cities included in the ranking, almost two million hosts are offering their hospitality for free on the CouchSurfing platform.

    Naturally, Europe’s major capitals and cultural hubs have the most to do. Amsterdam boasts over 1,000 free attractions, tours and events, and Berlin has over 540 free attractions alone. For those committed to exploring Europe on a shoestring, this list of budget-friendly destinations gives savvy travelers an idea of where best to start.

     

    The Top 10 Budget-Friendly City Break Destinations

    Rank
    Destination
    Free Attractions
    Free Tours
    Free Events
    Free Accommodation
    Total Score
    1
    London
    United Kingdom
    275
    14
    980
    175,990
    100,00
    2
    Paris
    France
    283
    27
    686
    205,926
    92,11
    3
    Berlin
    Germany
    543
    22
    277
    112,094
    72,47
    4
    Madrid
    Spain
    85
    55
    272
    86,413
    66,75
    5
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands
    407
    12
    649
    39,727
    64,97
    6
    Milan
    Italy
    324
    10
    646
    46,070
    63,93
    7
    Barcelona
    Spain
    117
    16
    771
    74,234
    62,71
    8
    Lisbon
    Portugal
    188
    52
    95
    21,014
    55,43
    9
    Rome
    Italy
    224
    9
    267
    58,306
    53,17
    10
    Krakow
    Poland
    409
    22
    2
    37,786
    51,32

    Complete results for the ranking are available here, along with a list of free events for September.

     

    Further findings

    • The major European capitals: London, UK; Paris, France; Berlin, Germany; and Madrid, Spain, unsurprisingly rank first to fourth place respectively.
    • Free Wifi –  London, United Kingdom, ranks first for this factor, with twice as many hotspots as Paris, France.
    • Free events – Venice, Italy, third in the ranking of Italian cities and 17th in Europe, has 431: more than Rome, Italy, and Florence, Italy.
    • Free events – London, United Kingdom, ranks first with 980, and Barcelona, Spain, ranks second with 771.
    • Free attractions – Berlin, Germany, has 543, the most in the ranking, and almost twice as many as Paris, France.
    • Free drinking water – the cities that don’t have drinkable tap water are: Istanbul, Antalya, Edirne, Artvin, Rhodes, Athens, Heraklion, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    Methodology

    The cities with the highest number of arrivals according to an average of arrival numbers from the 2017 Euromonitor report and 2016 MasterCard report. Sources: Euromonitor 2017 and MasterCard 2016

     Ranking Criteria

    • Free attractions

    The number of free attractions available in each city all year round, including museums, galleries, street art events, religious buildings, and castles. Source: TripAdvisor

    • Free events

    We researched the number of free events available in each city using Eventbrite and selecting ‘Free’ on the ‘Price’ filter for our search and calculating the sum of the results. The free events included all types of events. Source: Eventbrite

    • Free water

    The cities with drinkable tap water, represented in the data with 0 indicating ‘no’ and 1 indicating ‘yes’.

    • Free tours

    The number of free tours available in each city. Source: Freetour.com

    • Free Wi-Fi

    The number of free Wi-Fi hotspots available in each city. Source: Wiman

    • Free accommodation

    The number of people advertising their hospitality for free in each city. Source: Couchsurfing

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