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Appetite is growing for cheap holidays to Europe's unsung city break destinations

Appetite is growing for cheap holidays to Europe’s unsung city break destinations

British travellers are increasingly looking to explore cities off the tourist track, and being rewarded by cheaper holidays, research by the Post Office has found.

In a survey of more than 2,000 British adults, more than a third (39 per cent) said they were planning on taking a city break abroad this year.

But increasingly, they seem to be thinking outside of the box when it comes to where to go. Valencia, Porto and Hamburg all scored highly when considering Google keyword research in 2017 for 30 emerging city break destinations.

Other surprising cities growing in popularity include Bratislava (Slovakia), Toulouse (France), Antwerp (Belgium) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).

Analysts suggest swapping Bruges for Antwerp (pictured) to save costs on a weekend break. (Photo: Visit Flanders)Belgrade is top of the list

Belgrade in Serbia was top of the list of the best value European city for 2018. Tourism is growing in the city, with 808,000 people visiting in 2015. Official figures show demand has grown among foreign tourists by 10 per cent, year on year.

When compared to Krakow in Poland, which welcomes 13 million visitors every year, the Post Office estimates visitors would save 12 per cent on a city break to Belgrade. Considered costs included an evening meal for two with wine, two nights’ accommodation in October, sightseeing and city transport – in Belgrade, these came to £148.70 versus £169.21 in Krakow.

Belgrade is one of Europe’s oldest cities, and is full of old-world charm, art nouveau architecture, and socialist blocks. It’s set alongside two rivers – the Danube and the Sava – which are lined with floating nightclubs and restaurants that contribute to the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. Experts recommend taking euros when travelling there, as the Serbian dinar is a restricted currency.

Porto in northern Portugal is an estimated 33 per cent cheaper than Lisbon. (Photo: Getty)Swap Lisbon for Porto

Other wallet-friendly suggestions included swapping Porto for Lisbon (saving 33 per cent), Bratislava for Vienna (44 per cent cheaper), and Verona for Venice (36 per cent less).

Prices in Valencia are an estimated 35 per cent less than in Barcelona. It’s less crowded too – around 1.9 million annual visitors versus Barcelona’s 32 million. In 2017, Barcelona passed a law to curb tourism by limiting the number of b on offer in the city and impose a temporary halt on building new hotels.

However visitors to Hamburg for the weekend wouldn’t save much compared to travelling to Berlin. Post Office analysts estimated costs would only be 1.2 per cent cheaper.

A spokesperson for Post Office Travel Money, Andrew Brown said: “City breaks are continuing to prove more popular than any other holiday sector … As Europe’s lesser-known capitals and second cities start to invest in tourism, now is the time to consider switching to a city that is likely to be cheaper than long-established favourites.”

Visitors to Toulouse can save more than 38 per cent, compared to those travelling to Paris. (Photo: Toulouse Tourisme)Emerging city breaks for 2018

Based on Google search traffic, the below cities are expected to see a rise in tourist interest from Brits this year:

Valencia, Spain
Porto, Portugal
Hamburg, Germany
Bratislava, Slovakia
Verona, Italy
Bucharest, Romania
Toulouse, France
Belgrade, Serbia
Antwerp, Belgium
Ljubljana, Slovenia

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