The best budget city breaks for February 2016

January is a long, hard month. You’ve tried improving yourself as a person (maybe Dry January even lasted longer than a fortnight) but the cold weather and dark days are still getting you down.

What better way to cheer yourself up than with a spot of travel planning? February is just around the corner and we have the top 5 suggestions for your budget trip or city break, based on accommodation, flights and events.

So where should you be going in February?

St. Petersburg

Visit Russia in winter: St. Petersburg

The cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg is a city on many people’s bucket list – and it’s not hard to see why: the city is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world, Imperial palaces are dotted around every corner, while beautiful churches peak above the city skyline. The city also has a growing hipster scene.

The bulk of St. Petersburg’s tourists arrive in June when the sun only briefly sets. However, February in Saint Petersburg brings its own perks: canals and rivers freeze over and beautiful white snow covers the rooftops. Accommodation is also cheaper and the rouble’s recent crash make now a great time to visit. You can always warm up with a hot chocolate – or better yet, a shot of vodka. Za zdrovya!

Read more: Why now is the perfect time to visit Russia | Why you should visit Russia in winter

Amsterdam

When to visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is always a good idea – but not for the reason you’re thinking of. Aside from a certain infamous neighbourhood, the Dutch capital has plenty more to offer. Keep warm during your stay with visits to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, sample some of the great Indonesian cuisine along Utrechtsestraat or trawl the boutique shops of De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets).

Amsterdam

If you’re wondering when the best time to visit Amsterdam is, February means great value accommodation – it is one of the cheapest months for hotels in Amsterdam (as shown by the travel advice calendars from trivago), meaning you won’t be forking out over the odds for a place to sleep.

Read more: Ecomama Hostel review

Dublin

When to visit Dublin

Dublin makes a great budget break from the UK. The Irish capital is full of welcoming charm, with a compact city centre, a great atmosphere and an almost-unrivalled pub scene. What’s more, 2016 is an important year for Ireland’s history, celebrating 100 years since the Easter rising, a key step in the Irish independence movement. Join a 1916 walking tour to learn more.

Visiting in February couldn’t be easier, with cheap flights to Dublin available from Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester and Gatwick airports and more (as found on Skypicker).

Read more: Your go-to budget guide to Dublin

Vienna

February bargains: Vienna

One of Europe’s most romantic cities, Vienna is a classic gem. Historic architecture, world-famous art galleries and traditional coffee houses are dotted around this beautiful gem. Once harder to get to, the Austrian capital is now opening up to budget flights with easyJet routes to Bristol, Manchester, Luton, Gatwick and Edinburgh.

When to visit Vienna

What’s more, visitors to Vienna in February will find much lower hotel prices than in other months, making it a great choice for a Valentine’s Day break on a budget.

Read more: Visiting Vienna on a budget

Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf Marktplatz

When it comes to planning a trip, chances are this German city isn’t top of your list. But Dusseldorf does have a lot going for it: great restaurants, high-quality art galleries and several microbreweries making Alt, the city’s signature beer.

February brings another reason to visit Dusseldorf: Karneval. Though it might be better associated with Rio de Janeiro and Notting Hill, Karneval is a huge celebration in Dusseldorf (as well as Cologne and Mainz), with the city’s residents donning fancy dress and partying hard for five straight days. Don’t miss the city parade on Rosenmontag (Monday 8 February).

Read more: Karneval in Dusseldorf | Top 5 burgers in Dusseldorf

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19 thoughts on “The best budget city breaks for February 2016

  1. Hmm not sure I’d call St Pete a ‘budget’ city…however it is totally worth the visit!! In fact, probably the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to! (With Prague a close second…). I will say that St Pete in spring was amazing! Still avoid any tourism crowds, but avoided the worst of the weather (though it was still chilly enough to feel ‘authentically Russian’…).

    Vienna is also awesome, and one of my favourite cities. I love how central it is, right between the eastern and western halves of the continent. Also, it has a great cultural scene (between the amazing architecture, opera, fine dinning, multiple places, nearby castles, and grand parks, what more can you ask for?)

    Like Dublin too, though not sure about visiting in Feb. At least there are no shortage of bars! Can’t wait to explore the rest of Ireland later this year!

    1. St. Petersburg isn’t perhaps as cheap as places like Budapest or Riga, but prices in Russia are really low right now and hotels are great value in February compared to the peak tourist season in summer – definitely worth considering to save some pennies!

      I’m a big fan of Vienna and Dublin too!

  2. I’m heading to Riga in February. We’ll see if it’s budget friendly or not when I get there but I can tell you the flights were super cheap. I want to visit St Petersburg so badly. Maybe next February.

    1. I went to Riga a few years ago and it was really cheap! They have the Euro now but I imagine prices will still be low. Enjoy your trip and definitely try for SPB next year 😀

    1. This is going to be a new monthly feature Adri, so I need some good destinations up my sleeve for later in the year!

  3. Having just returned from Vienna, I can’t say it’s best to visit in winter, there’s a cold af wind that makes it impossible to be outside for more than an hour at a time. But accommodation is indeed very cheap, we paid 34 euros/night at a great 4* hotel.

    Btw, if this is a monthly feature, will Dusseldorf be featured each month? 😛

    1. €34/night in Vienna sounds like a bargain to me! And did you not warm yourself up with some hot Strudel or a visit to one of the museums?

      As Karneval is not held every month, Dusseldorf isn’t likely to be mentioned every month… -_-

  4. I’d pay to visit any of these cities year-round, but I like the idea of saving by traveling off season. I’m not quite ready for the cold of St. Petersburg though. Maybe Dublin?

    1. St. Petersburg cold does take a bit of getting used to – but it is absolutely beautiful in the snow. I went to Dublin in late December and the cold there was much more manageable though 🙂

  5. One common thing about them…cold in winter. Off-season travel is really more affordable but I really shy away from cold places and, in fact, snow bird in Phoenix, Arizona. I guess we will still travel from late spring to early fall!

    1. Cold is definitely right but I don’t necessarily think price is the only reason to visit somewhere in winter – cities in the snow feel completely different and have a charm all of their own.

  6. Nice list 🙂 includes two of our previous home cities, Amsterdam and Dublin! Both of these cities can be pricey for hotels in the peak season. Staying just out of Amsterdam can help save and the trains to get into Amsterdam are fantastic! In Dublin in some is the north Dublin neighbourhoods like Glasneiven there are some great bed and breakfasts!

  7. I’ve heard Dublin is HELLA expensive. That’s been the #1 feedback from everyone I told that Ireland just entered my 2016-2017 shortlist.

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