Wednesday, 23 October 2019

European Christmas Market Breaks You Can Probably Afford

Let's face it, we could all do with a holiday right now, and with it coming up to Christmas I'm sure I'm not the only one who just wants to be wearing gloves, nine layers, and drinking some form of warm alcoholic beverage. You can, of course, do this most places (though it is sometime frowned upon re: the alcoholic beverage), however I would argue there's very few places better suited to doing it than at a Christmas market. If you're ready to get your Christmas cheer on, I've compiled a list of places that you can book for that December getaway right now, and it might not be as expensive as you think! As a disclaimer, however, before you read on - all prices were correct at the time of publishing this post, and all Airbnbs were free to book, I unfortunately cannot guarantee this will be the case when you get to them. Each price is for one person, however I have adjusted prices for 2 people should you be travelling with someone else, and each Airbnb does accommodate for said second person, no flight prices include luggage. 

A picture of tall apartment blocks at dusk
Krakow, Poland.

-UNDER £100-
Krakow - £98 for flights and entire flat Airbnb for 3 nights (or £121 for 2 people)
2/12/19-5/12/19, Luton Flights

Of course our cheapest trip away would be a London airport, however I do have to say you could get something very similarly priced from Edinburgh and so if you can travel a little, both are great steals. I can personally attest for Krakow Christmas markets which are truly beautiful, and I will maintain until the day I die that there is nowhere quite as magical as Poland in the Winter, so if you have a spare £100 and you're looking for that getaway, this could be the perfect choice. The Airbnb here is situated in the old town, which is walkable to the town centre (though Polish cabs are deceptively cheap), though there were also a good few others around the same price point. The one big thing here is the hellishly early flight home, though I do think I would happily sit in an airport at 4:00am if it meant I got a few days in Poland as part of the deal. Cheap? Yes. Cheerful? Definitely. Worth the price? I think so, to the extent I'm considering pricing up a train to Luton in order to see whether it would still be worth my time.

-UNDER £110-
Prague - £102 for flights and entire flat Airbnb for 3 nights ( or £134 for 2 people)
09/12/19-12/12/19, Stansted Flights

Prague is one of my favourite cities in the world and I honestly think that I'd find any excuse to go back, but I can only imagine how adorably festive it would be with the addition of a Christmas market. You are, realistically, getting less bang for your buck with this one - as you're staying in a glorified hotel room with nowhere to cook that is a little further out from town than I would like. Having said that, for three nights it's really not the end of the world to eat out, and there is a direct transport link from the area you're in to the main city centre, so it feels a little like swings and roundabouts when weighing it up. I do also think this might be better than my accommodation when I went to Prague, which was a glorified cupboard where the bathroom was larger than the bedroom, but that's a whole different story. The flights here are both night flights which is a little better all round generally speaking, and if you're willing to compromise a little on accommodation, I don't think it would be so much of an issue that it would ruin your trip by any means.

-UNDER £130-
Budapest - £128 for flights and entire flat Airbnb for 3 nights (or £164 for 2 people)
7/12/19-10/12/19, Edinburgh Flights

Like I said, Edinburgh are really rivalling London for affordable flights at the moment, and so if you can travel there it definitely seems like it would be worth a look. Have I just included Budapest because I want to go so badly I'll shoehorn it into any conversation? Absolutely, but the Christmas markets do look beyond amazing. This Airbnb is close to the middle of town, you have two morning flights so get a pretty full first day in the city, and the pricing of accommodation here seems really reasonable, so I can't imagine you'll be paying through the nose for everything you want when you're out there. Though it's a little more expensive than the two offerings that came before, this is definitely the one I'd be snapping up if I were close enough to the airport in question to do so.

-UNDER £200-
Gdansk - £199 for flights and entire flat Airbnb for 6 nights (or £256 for 2 people)
02/12/19 - 08/12/19, Leeds Flights

Got a little money to splurge? I've never been to Gdansk but Katy made it sound so amazing without the Christmas market, I can only imagine what some fairy lights and adorable handmade toys will add to the situation. Though, as I say, this is a bit of a splurge, the truth is that the return flights are still only £20, so the money really comes into spending a little more time in the city than in the others, and having an Airbnb smack bang in the middle of the city. Though, I do have to say, you may want to consider a luggage charge on this one, because 6 days is a long time to go with just the bits you can fit in your hand luggage. A little more expensive than the other bits on this list? Yes, a bit, but still an absolute steal if you happy to want to spend a little more money on having a little more time to explore.

So there you go, there's something from a lower price point right through to a little blowout, and so if you have the time, money and holidays to take from work, there's really no reason not to book! I unfortuately do not have the latter, and so please do have a mulled wine or four for me, and do let me know if you book anything exciting for the Christmas season!

Sammy xo.

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