10 Wonderfully Cheap European Destinations

So your travel dreams are big, but your budget is small? A European getaway might be more affordable than you think, especially when you travel to these cheap destinations.

 

10. Brussels, Belgium

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Brussels is a charming and historic city with beautiful architecture, great food and plenty of museums – only a short flight away from Dublin.

Flight from Dublin: €40 – €85
Typical Accommodation Price: €50 – €85
Typical Food Price: €14 for a nice dinner, €7 for a cheap lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Check out the fascinating displays at the Natural Sciences Museum.
  • Dine on some of the amazing chocolate that Belgium is famous for.

Find out more about Brussels

9. Crete, Greece

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Relax in the sunshine and enjoy the laid back atmosphere, sandy beaches, delicious food and welcoming attitude of this beautiful Greek Island.

Flight from Dublin: €155 – €240
Accommodation: €35-€70 per night
Food: €20 for a nice dinner, €2.80 for street food
What to See and Do:

Find out more about Crete

8. Budapest, Hungary

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Visit the lovely “Paris of the East” and soak up the culture and history of this beautiful city. The night life here is fantastic.

Flight from Dublin: €70-€220
Accommodation: €40 – €140
Food: €8.50 for a nice dinner, €2.50 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Go out for a night out of drinking at the “Ruin Pubs” – cool and funky nightlife spots that are set within industrial buildings and abandoned warehouses.
  • Visit the stunning Fisherman’s Bastion, The building has been compared to a fairy tale castle, the views on offer are nearly as breathtaking as the castle.

Find out more about Budapest

 

7. Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul is an elegant city overflowing with history and it offers many fascinating ancient buildings and bustling marketplaces to explore.

Flight from Dublin: €140-€330
Accommodation: €30-€110
Food: €10 for dinner, €3 for a budget lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Go shopping in the maze-like Grand Bazaar, where you will find a wide range of products including carpets, clothing, jewellery, spices and much more.
  • Gaze at the gorgeous architecture of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

Find out more about Istanbul

6. Fuerteventura, Spain

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Fuerteventura is a great option for an affordable sunshine getaway, boasting stunning volcanic landscapes, beautiful beaches, wind surfing and kite surfing.
Flight from Dublin: €150-€200
Accommodation: €30-€100
Food: €14 for dinner, €6 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

Find out more about Fuerteventura

5. Lisbon, Portugal

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Wander through the winding streets and narrow cobblestone alleys of Lisbon and enjoy the wonderful art scene, fascinating history, delicious food and much more.
Flight from Dublin: €60-€210
Accommodation: €30-€140
Food: €14 for a nice dinner, €7 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

Find out more about Lisbon

4. Zagreb, Croatia

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The capital city of Croatia is a medieval old city that is filled with museums, theatres, cinemas, art galleries and charming cafes – perfect for meandering.

Flight from Dublin: €190-€310
Accommodation: €20-€110
Food: €7 for dinner, €3 for a budget lunch
What to See and Do:

Find out more about Zagreb

3. Prague, Czech Republic

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Take a cultural city break in Prague, a beautiful city filled with medieval architecture, fine dining, art, music and much more.

Flight from Dublin: €80-€210
Accommodation: €30-€110
Food: €10 for a nice dinner, €4.50 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Take a walk along the Charles Bridge and listen to the music of the buskers while admiring the handicrafts of the local artisans.
  • Check out the gorgeous architecture of Prague Castle, which is the world’s biggest ancient castle.

Find out more about Prague

2. Krakow, Poland

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Krakow is one of Poland’s oldest cities and it is a fascinating destination for history lovers.
Flight from Dublin: €90-€210
Accommodation: €20-€105
Food: €11.50 for dinner, €2.50 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Take a historic walking tour through the central area of the city.
  • Check out the beautiful architecture of Wawel Castle, which is thought to be one of the most stunning castles in Central Europe.

Find out more about Krakow

1. Sofia, Bulgaria

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Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and it is visually stunning, with many elegant orthodox churches and ancient ruins.
Flight from Dublin: €160-€370
Typical Accommodation Price: €14-€70
Typical Food Price: €11.50 for dinner, €2 for a cheap local lunch
What to See and Do:

  • Take a trip to the beautiful Vitosha, a mountain nearby that is ideal for skiing in the winter season and hiking in the summer months.
  • Go on a pub crawl to get a taste of Sofia’s nightlife.

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Most Popular Mother’s Day Presents

mothers day

With Mother’s Day this weekend, the Complete Savings blog is taking a look at how people around the world like to pamper their mothers on this special day. A recent comprehensive survey by the American National Retail Federation (NRF) examined Mother’s day shopping trends in great detail, including average spend and the most popular presents. Americans love to go all out, with the average consumer spending $168.94 treating their mother! In the UK, the average spend is £27.37. We couldn’t track down the average spend in Ireland, but the cult of the Irish Mammy is strong, and no matter what your budget, we know you’ll do your best to make her smile.

flowers firm favourites

The clear winner in the NRF gift survey was flowers. 68.2% of respondents said they’d be giving their mother a bouquet for the occasion. Carnations are especially associated with the holiday, a tradition that originated in 1907, in American, when Anna Jarvis established the celebration in that country.

The runners up for most popular gifts were: gift vouchers (41.5%), jewellery (34.4%), and clothing/accessories (33.3%).

nothing beats a handwritten card

The most popular gesture remains a greeting card, with 81% of respondents saying that they would be buying a card. That’s lucky, because a thoughtful card is popular with mothers, too! Over in the UK, the Royal Mail invested in research to find out what really makes Mam’s day. They partnered with an independent research lab to run an experiment. Volunteer mothers were hooked up with a cap and electrodes which measured their emotional response to handwritten letters and cards vs. emails and social media messages. The handwritten messages generated a greater positive emotional response, as you might have guessed.

So there’s no excuse! Remember your mother this Sunday, and you’ll make her whole year. What are your Mother’s Day plans? The Complete Savings blog would love to hear all about it.

Sources:

NRF.com
WorkingMums.co.uk
MyRoyalMail.com

Image: ANP

Irish Food Festivals in Spring 2014

Stout

This week, the Complete Savings Blog is looking forward to brighter days ahead, and the beginning of festival season around the country. Ireland is famed for its festivals, and they are a driving force in the economy. The Irish retail sector is beginning to show signs of life again, and these events are fun and exciting ways to boost the recovery. They invigorate local business, bring in tourism, and most of all, give us a reason to celebrate and enjoy the very best of Ireland. You’ll find food festivals popping up year-round, but here are the first two on the calendar this year.

tastes of sea and land in the harbour town of Dungarven

For a little seaside community, Dungarven punches far above its weight with the West Waterford Festival of Food. The small, scenic town of 9000 residents has come together to showcase the culinary delights of the area since 2008. This year the festival runs from April 10th to April 14th, with a huge range of free and affordable events for the whole family. Past years have included demonstrations from Michelin star chefs and a “Bus Bia” bus tour of local food producers’ farms, workshops, breweries, and kitchens. Special package deals with accommodation and festival tickets offer great savings for savvy foodies.

discover “the best of the west” at the Galway Food Festival

Spanning the long Easter weekend of April 17th to the 21st 2014, the Galway Food Festival is in its 3rd year. There’s a flourishing gourmet scene in the coastal city, and the festival is a joint effort by local food artisans, suppliers, and restaurateurs to highlight the unique character of Galway’s dining scene. Cookery classes, special tasting menus, outdoor events (including foraging trips), and much more are planned to take place in Galway city and the surrounding area. Most events are free to the public, though some require pre-registration. Thanks in part to a very savvy social media presence, this young festival is growing in strength and popularity. 2014 promises to be the best year yet. Keep your eye on the website for special offers and online booking as the festival approaches.

Food shopping is a constant in our lives, but beyond your usual lap around the grocery shop there’s a whole world of exciting food experiences to be had. While you wait for the weather to warm up, check out the local producers and suppliers in your own area. You may uncover a new favourite just around the corner. Do you have a favourite artisan food shop, market, or website you’d like to suggest? The Complete Savings Blog would love to hear about it!

Sources:

http://www.ireland.com/events/festivals/food-festivals/all/1-508487
http://www.waterfordfestivaloffood.com/
http://www.galwayfoodfestival.com/