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annabelbenton
23rd March 2022

Come fly with me: The cheapest student holidays

Hoping to leave behind your uni deadlines and house drama? Here are 5 cheap places you can escape to
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Come fly with me: The cheapest student holidays
Photo: Shot by Benjamin Voros @ Unsplash

Has the long winter got you down? In need of a spring break? Or perhaps just a 48-hour culture hit? With covid travel restrictions finally easing, make the most of Europe with our guide to the cheapest student holidays which won’t overstretch your student loan.

Compiled are the destinations with some of the cheapest flights found on Skyscanner. To find the best deals, choose your travel dates before searching for cheap flights between 2 weeks and a month in advance of the desired destination and time.

Milan

Photo: Duomo di Milano, shot by Simon Pallard @ Unsplash

Cheapest return flight: £16

Italy’s most Northern major city is full of sight-seeing gems. The city boasts the huge gothic cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, which took over 600 years to build and where tickets start at only five Euros. However, the 20 ticket may be worth the extra cash, offering access to archaeological sites, exhibitions and even the cathedral’s rooftop, where views promise to be excellent.

Milan is also famous for its fashion and is home to many of Italy’s leading designers. The world’s oldest shopping centre the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the ideal place for some window shopping in the heart of the Old Town. The prices will almost certainly stretch the student budget, however, the shopping centre alone is stunning.

It wouldn’t be Italy without pizza and an ice cream, so be sure to have a relax in one of the many restaurants, cafes or bars in Milan. The city is in fact renowned for its risottos, Cotoletta (a breaded cutlet of veal) and Negronis, so any visitor is sure to be spoilt for choice amongst the rich cuisine. 

Brussels

Photo: Mont Des Arts, Brussels shot by Najib Samatar @ Unsplash

Cheapest return flight: £11

At less than a 90-minute flight away, Brussels is the closest destination on this list, as well as the city with the cheapest flights. You may, therefore, have extra time and money to spend on activities such as a ticket to climb the Atomium, Brussel’s best-known attraction where prices start at £14. There’s also the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the Basilique Nationale du Sacré Coeur, the world’s fifth-largest church, to explore.

However, there are many free activities in Brussels, including a visit to the Mont Des Arts park (pictured above) and its panoramic views of the city. Bravo Discovery offers free walking tours of the city, taking in everything from the history of the Belgian Monarchy and the European Union to chocolate tasting. Sampling the famous Belgian chocolate is a must and you’ll find a lot of it on offer!

The city isn’t only famous for chocolate or for being the home of the European Union’s headquarters. Brussels is known as the capital of the comic strip due to the longstanding tradition of Belgian comics: there’s actually a comic book route, which takes in the numerous street art installations paying homage to the tradition, as well as a comic strip centre you can visit.

Paris

Photo: Sacré Coeur, Paris, shot by Henrique Ferreira @ Unsplash

Cheapest return flight: £25

The slightly higher price of a return flight to Paris is worth it for a visit to the city of love, where you could probably spend next to nothing and still feel immersed in the culture. There are over 20 free museums in Paris, as well as ways to avoid the cost of ticketed events. For example, entry to the Musée d’Orsay, where paintings on display include Renoir’s Bal Moulin Galette and Monet’s Starry Night, is free on the 1st Sunday of every month.

For those interested in art or just gorgeous views of the city, a walk around the historic-artistic hub of Montmartre is a must-see. There are many free walking tours around the centre which saw the birth of the impressionist movement. In addition, landmarks such as the Scaré Coeur, Moulin Rouge and the Rue de l’Abreuvoir are well worth a visit – for free!

For alternative views of the city, the Arc du Triomphe is a better bet than the Eiffel Tower, with far smaller queues and lovely views across Paris. Tickets are 12 compared to the Eiffel Tower’s 26 (to visit all floors). You’ll also find yourself at the top of the Champs-Élysées and a manageable walk from both the river Seine and the Louvre Museum, making the sight-seeing limitless.

Cologne

Photo: Cologne skyline, shot by Ramin Karbassi @ Unsplash

Cheapest return flight: £22

Start your trip to Western Germany with a stroll alongside the Rhine, which flows through both modern architecture and the city’s 2000-year-old Old Town. Here, the Cathedral is the perfect example of the gothic architecture Cologne has to offer, whilst the modern Cologne Tower sits amongst the Innerer Grüngürtel and August-Sander Parks, ideal for a picnic.

You can also take river cruises along the Rhine, starting at around £15. The guided tours will give visitors the chance to see the old town by boat, as well as the Olympic museum and the seven bridges which connect the city’s neighbourhoods. Consider finishing off the trip with a pint of the Kölsch beer famous in Cologne – it wouldn’t be a trip to Germany without sampling some of the local brews!

However, if stunning buildings and riverside walks aren’t your thing, there’s also the option of galleries and museums. The Cologne Chocolate Museum sits alongside the river and promises a tasty visit. The city is also home to the Museum Ludwig which boasts a large collection of Picasso paintings in the heart of the old town.

Copenhagen

Photo: Nyhavn, Copenhagen, shot by Nick Karvounis @ Unsplash

Cheapest return flight: £23

Copenhagen is gorgeous, however, Scandinavia is notoriously pricey, so it may be best to make the most of the pretty buildings and canals by foot. Attractions include the famous Little Mermaid statue which sits against views of the sea. The parks are once again worth a free visit, with The King’s Garden offering particularly picturesque flowers, parkland and even a 17th Century palace.

If you do have some cash to splash, be sure to take a trip to Tivoli Gardens, the third oldest amusement park in the world. The park contains many rides and food outlets, as well as outdoor shows and beautiful scenery: tickets start at £16.

In terms of which neighbourhoods to visit, Nyhavn in the North of the city is certainly one of the most worthy of an Instagram post, with coloured houses and plenty of canal-side eateries. The old buildings and boats capture the sense of Scandinavia only a short stroll from the shopping district and are framed by views across the water to Copenhagen’s striking Opera House.

Annabel Benton

Annabel Benton

Co-Culture Managing Editor at The Mancunion // Twitter: @AnnabelBenton_

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