With only seven weeks until our mid-semester break, Amy Gargan looks at the European cities that are perfect for a budget-friendly class trip abroad.
Class trips abroad have a lot of boxes to tick. They need to cater to the typically poor students’ budgets, have leading tourist attractions for the day, and a nightlife to be proud of. Thankfully, Europe has several cities that live up to the student dream.
Edinburgh is a city packed with things to do. If you have a spare €15 you can visit Edinburgh Castle. Another €20, and you can spend a day recovering in Edinburgh Zoo. To take advantage of some free culture, the National Museum of Scotland’s interesting exhibits and rooftop garden with city views is a must.
If you’re sick of castles and climbing hills, Edinburgh’s nightlife doesn’t disappoint. The main nightclubs on George Street might be pricey but over on Lothian Road you’ll find some cheaper drinks on student nights.
Return flights to Edinburgh average at around €30. Hostels are all over the city as well with Castle Rock Hostel and the Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel offer beds from around €18 a night.
Amsterdam is famous and infamous for many things, but it is definitely not a boring city and is loaded with things for your class to do. You don’t need an interest in history to pay a visit to the Anne Frank house. You can take a free boat tour or picnic in Vondelpark. And a bike trip around the city, the perfect way to get around, will cost €16. A sneaky trip to view the Red Light District, preferably during the day, never goes amiss either.
Flights to Amsterdam from Ryanair are around €55, meaning it’s one of the more affordable cities to visit. Most hostels are located in the centre of the city. The Flying Pig Uptown is next to the famous Leidseplein square.
If you’re feeling like Edinburgh is too close to home, heading to the sun is also an option. Barcelona’s weather is much more predictable than our own. The shopping street La Ramblas is a huge attraction for visitors and there are free museums and galleries dotted around the centre. Sites such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the Font Magica are hard to skip past. Clubs like Apollo and Pacha attract a huge international scene, although you’d better get there early.
Return Ryanair flights to Barcelona are around €75. For places to stay, Barcelona is packed full of well-priced hostels. The Itaca Hostel is close to the Cathedral as well as other major attractions throughout the centre of the city, with rooms costing from €12.
A trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t visit the Berlin Wall. As one of the most important historical monuments of the twentieth century, you don’t have to study history to enjoy a visit. The famous Checkpoint Charlie crossing, as well as the historic Reichstag government building are also worth a look. Within the city, there are flea markets galore, and nothing is too expensive – perfect for your student wallet. The Unter den Linden walk takes you from the east to the west of the city. You can see sites such as the Berlin State Library, the Crown Prince’s Palace and the Berlin State Opera.
To fly to Berlin, you can score Ryanair flights for about €83. As a city suited to student visitors, there are many hostels close to the main attractions. The Circus Hostel can be booked for around €19. Helter Skelter Hostel prides itself in being at the centre of Berlin’s party scene, despite the name. And with dorm rooms from around €13, there’s always a cheap bed to be found.
Prague is a beautiful city to go to on your class trip. It’s cheap but full of day activities, as well as a vibrant nightlife. During the day, the Charles Bridge leading to Prague Castle is a beautiful place to take some holiday snaps. There’s also a Museum of Communism for history lovers and the old town square. For a true sense of Prague, there are markets throughout the city,
Prague has a busy nightlife which is evident from the sheer number of bars and clubs. Hitting the tourist spots might burn a hole in your pocket, but some international clubs advertise their drink deals so hop on them when you can.
To fly to Prague, return flights are around €95. As for hostels, the Prague Square Hostel is located by the Old Town Square and walking distance to the main attractions, and has rooms from €10 a night.
As with a lot of the cities mentioned here, Krakow is a very historic city. You can stay in the city centre if you want to avoid the heavy history of Poland. There are street performers throughout the main city squares. There is also the option to visit outside the city. The impressive Salt Mines and the historical Auschwitz Concentration Camp are both recommended. Krakow has a strong party scene. Coco Club’s huge venue attracts all kinds of people and is aimed at those who want a big night out.
Ryanair return flights to Krakow are around €88, which is fine considering nothing in Krakow is expensive. This is the same for the hostels. The Pink Panther Hostel and the Travellers Inn Hostel lie close to the centre of Krakow and won’t break the bank.
If Western Europe is too close to home, you can always take your trip to the other side of Europe. Budapest has just as much to offer as some of the more expensive cities like London and Paris. You can visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum for €17, or for the same price you can take a walk through the Zoo and Botanic Gardens. If you’re able and willing, a climb up Gillért Hill gives you spectacular views of the entire city. Of course a visit to Budapest would not be complete without viewing St Stephan’s Basilica, especially at night. Nightlife in Budapest caters for all. It’s well known for having a great party scene open till the early hours.
Ryanair flights to Budapest from Dublin are €99.88, but much like Krakow, nothing is too expensive. A tourist friendly city needs a few hostels and Budapest has them in abundance. The Oleander Hostel is cheap and located in the centre of the city, suited for those on a budget.