Below are some ideas from Hostelworld for city breaks including flights, accommodation and tours at a fraction of the cost of tour companies.
1Shop up a storm in Marrakech
Morocco’s second largest city, Marrakech is known for its markets, architecture, food and gardens. Less than a 3 hour flight from the UK, Marrakech can be explored over a long weekend.
Accommodation: Riad Medina Azahara
Located in the medina of Marrakech, this hostel is just a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of the main square and souks. Designed in the traditional Moroccan style, the hostel is made up of three individual Riads (Moroccan Houses) with a mix of double, triple and dorm rooms – catering for all budgets. All rooms come with private ensuites with shower and bathtub. The Riads also have a mix of pools, massage rooms, spacious living areas and terraces where a free breakfast is served every morning. Airport pick up can be arranged for guests. Twice a week the hostel organises a traditional Moroccan dinner for guests with accompanying Moroccan Gnaoua music.
Rates from £11.69 per night
Tour: Marrakech Souks guided tour from GoMoCo
These official tour guides are experts of the souks and will show travellers the art of bartering and how to snag a bargain. But it’s not all about shopping! Tour guides will also explain the history and culture of the souks and introduce you to friendly traders. This three hour tour offers the perfect introduction to the infamous Marrakech souks.
Price per person – £18.37
Flights: Ryanair flies return from London Luton – Marrakech in October from £125
TOTAL COST: £166.75
2Escape to the Irish Countryside
A weekend away in the Irish country side is sure to rejuvenate all who visit. Just a hop skip and a jump from London this is perfect for a quick weekend getaway.
Accommodation: Kinlay House Hostel
The newly refurbished Kinlay House Hostel is ideally located on Eyre Square in the heart of Galway City. It is the perfect base from which to explore the west’s attractions such as the landscapes of Connemara Cliffs and the world famous Aran Islands. Soak up the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the hostel in the large open plan lounge and TV/DVD room and take advantage of two fully equipped self-catering kitchens. Both private and dorm rooms are available, many of which offer panoramic views of Galway Bay. Friendly, helpful, well travelled and multi-lingual staff are happy to provide local information. Guests are also offered complimentary passes for some of Galway’s hottest nightclubs meaning that any stay can be finished off in style.
Rates from £11.69 per night
Tour: Connemara & Cong Tour
This tour is perfect for those wishing to see the hidden treasures that Ireland has to offer, away from the main tourist track. First stop is Ross Errilly Friary- a hidden but atmospheric 14th century monastery. Next up is Cong Village for a guided walk through Cong Woods to visit Ashforc Castle. Entering Connemara via this route allows you to see the stark beauty of the hidden valley of Connemara before arriving at the Atlantic Ocean. The tour then continues to Kylemore Abbey (or Connemara National Park for walkers) and back home via the gorgeous Inagh Valley. Departing at 10am and returning at approximately 5.30pm, this is a tour that showcases the best of Ireland’s stunning scenery.
Price per person – £16.65
Flights: Ryanair flies from London Stansted – Shannon in October from £33.01
TOTAL COST: £73.04
3Walk through history in Berlin
Possessing a long and intriguing past, the German capital offers something for everyone; stunning theatres and museums combine with first rate shopping and a bustling nightlife to produce the ideal short break.
Accommodation: East Seven Berlin Hostel
This charming hostel has consistently been voted into Hostelworld’s top 10 hostels worldwide since opening in April 2005. The East Seven Berlin Hostel fosters a relaxed, sociable atmosphere where it’s easy to chat to the staff or make friends in the lounge, kitchen or garden. Guests can choose from a range of private rooms or small dorms, enjoy a fresh coffee or German beer with fellow guests, log on to the free wireless internet or relax in the beautiful garden. Conveniently located between the hustle and bustle of Mitte (the city’s central district) and charming Prenzlauer Berg, the EastSeven Hostel offers the ideal location for exploring the best of Berlin. Surrounded by cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs and boutique shops, you won’t have to go far to find what you’re looking for.
Rates from £15.82 per night
Tour: Third Reich Berlin from Sandemans New Europe GMBH
This is a tour that seeks to answer many of the questions surrounding the Second World War. How did it happen? How did a nation of people known for their level-headed thinking allow the greatest tragedy of the 20th century to occur? How could the rest of the world lie sleeping while the Nazis built their war machine and solidified power? This fascinating three and a half hour walking tour visits all the places where Hitler and his deputies masterminded the Nazi charge on Europe. From the sick genius of Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry to the headquarters of Himmler’s SS this tour will uncover the heart of darkness that transformed a WWI scarred country into the nearly triumphant victors of WWII and finally answer the question: could it happen again?
Price per person – £9.99
Flights: Ryanair flies from Stansted – Berlin from £42.87
TOTAL COST: £84.50
4Drink in the Delights of Tuscany
The picturesque city of Florence in the heart of beautiful Tuscany is a one of Italy’s favourite destinations and it’s easy to see why. The glorious architecture and formidable galleries are only half the story and with so much to see and do, visitors will never be short activities to fill the days.
Accommodation: Academy Hostel Florence
This discreet, smart new hostel housed in a perfect location in central Florence offers the ideal base from which to explore this charming city. The hostel is on the first floor of the 17th Century Palace that was the previous residence of ‘Barone’ Ricasoli and is just a short walk from all the main tourist attractions of Florence including the Academy Gallery where Michelangelo’s David can be found. For those that need their sleep, the Academy Hostel is blissfully quiet yet is still located within walking distance of several restaurants, bars and clubs for those wanting to sample the Italian nightlife. The well-maintained dorm rooms with just three to six beds (and no bunk beds) are all air-conditioned. This combined with the fully furnished lobby and free internet, makes this hostel the perfect choice for a stay in Florence.
Rates from £23.21 per night
Tour: The Best of Tuscany
Tuscany is known for its rich history, art, beautiful landscapes, delicious food and superb wines. The “Best of Tuscany” is a fantastic tour that gives you the opportunity to visit the most attractive places in Tuscany in one day at an affordable price. Following a morning in Siena, a place of immediate charm, the tour will move on for a delicious traditional Tuscan lunch at a wine estate. Having taken in the views of the beautiful Chianti countryside, the tour finishes with a visit to the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Price per person – £62.43
Flights: Ryanair: Stansted – Pisa (Florence) from £43.13
TOTAL COST: £151.98
5‘Sound of Music’ in Salzburg
Salzburg, famously alive with the Sound of Music, is really a feast for all the senses. With Baroque castles, interesting museums and luscious chocolate, this is a city that will leave visitors enthralled.
Accommodation: Yoho International Youth Hostel
A renowned European hostel, situated in the centre of the city, the Yoho International Youth Hostel offers an excellent place to enjoy all that Salzburg has to offer. The traditional Austrian bar serves a delicious breakfast and dinner each day. With accommodation ranging from a single room to an eight bed dorm, this hostel ensures every guest is fully catered for throughout their stay here. Guests can also access the internet and a communal TV/DVD room.
Rates from £14.98 per night
Tour: The Most Unique Sound of Music Tour from Salzburg Sightseeing Tours
Relive the true story of the von Trapp family with the tour that has been Salzburg’s favourite for more than 35 years. Salzburg was of course the home of the real Von Trapp Family and this tour lets you see many of the original locations making it a truly memorable experience not to be missed during your visit. The tour takes in not only the main film locations of the ‘Sound of Music’, but also many other local pieces of history and culture along the way giving a complete insight into this timeless movie.
Price per person – £30.80
Flights: Ryanair Stansted – Salzburg from £50.57
TOTAL COST: £111.33
Note: All costs are based on two nights accommodation, flights and tours.