Which European city will offer the best value for a high-season break at the end of August?
Q&A travel unravelled
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Q. It's my daughter's 21st birthday in late August. I'd like to take her on a city break to somewhere not too expensive to get to, but which will give her great memories. By the way, we've been to Paris. Sarah Gee, Bedfordshire
A. How lovely. The one concern is the time of year: late August is peak season, especially in terms of holidaymakers returning at the end of their summer breaks. Fares can be fearsomely high. Last August, coming back from some of Spain's great cities, such as Malaga and Barcelona, fares were as much as £500 one way. In addition, cultural hotspots such as Vienna and Florence are going to be full to bursting in August. So instead, stay north: you can expect bright skies, long evenings and reasonable prices.
Amsterdam is temptingly easy to reach, but hotel rates will be high. Instead, consider one of the great, unsung German cities. Travel will be cheap and easy, because Germany is a business destination – and many travelling executives are on holiday in August. Hotels are deliver good quality and value, and the food is excellent.
In any reasonably sized city, the cultural wealth is considerable. Steer clear of Berlin and Munich in August, because they will be crowded with tourists. You can't go wrong in either Cologne or Hamburg, each home to a wealth of art – and both of them great river cities with good, cheap boat trips on offer. But it is also worth considering lesser-known locations, particularly Bremen and Nuremberg, where you can get to know the city more intimately.
All these cities are on the budget airlines' radar, so you can simply use the SkyScanner.net price-comparison site and choose whichever location looks best value for the dates you want to travel. Book direct with the airline, then consult our latest "48 Hours" guide to the city – which will prescribe great places to stay, eat, shop and stroll.
If Germany doesn't appeal, then consider postponing the celebrations until the first weekend in September, when fares drop across the Continent – and the fine Scottish capital, Edinburgh, also empties as the festival-goers head home.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
The best streets in Britain: where to stay
Harder, better, faster, longer: The best rollercoasters in the world
Weary? In need of some sun? Relax and unwind with a trip to... Iraqi Kurdistan
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
£30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...