Thursday Flight Deals: London to….?

Planning on a trip but not sure where to go? Curious what deals are out there? Simply dreaming?

Well, as the kind and lovely person I am, I have collated a list of some of the cheapest places to fly to from London in July. Check back soon for deals from other cities around the world.

1) Basel, Switzerland – £7 with Ryanair from Stansted

I haven’t been to this city for years! The flight to Basel may well be cheap, but if you’re looking for a budget trip, Switzerland isn’t the best country. However, you can make it work. The last time I travelled through Switzerland, I made the most of CouchSurfing. If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve either been living under a rock or travel luxury only. I love couchsurfing, and it works really well if you’re sensible and careful. Make sure you only stay with people with good references, make sure you know the address before you arrive and that people (parents, friends, partner) know where you are.

When flying with airlines like Ryanair, it’s best to go hand luggage only! It’s usually about £35 each way for hold luggage, which tends to defeat the point of the cheap flight in the first place.

Best days: 23rd, 24th, 25th July London – Basel £7; 29th Basel – London £16, 30th £14

The cheapest is to combine airlines, but for convenience’s sake (and to fly to and from Stansted) then the cheapest option is a £24 return with Ryanair, 25th – 30th July.

Basel is a beautiful city in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (although don’t get me started on Swiss German!) and is an absolute haven for architecture lovers, museum buffs and anyone who loves gorgeous surroundings and culture galore.

Prices are pretty high in Basel, as in most of Switzerland, but on average you can expect to spend about £17 on a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, £5 for 0.5l local beer and £3 for a Coke. A bed in the cheapest hostel a quick glance could find was £111 for the five nights – hence my definite recommendation of couchsurfing! I’ve had great experiences on CS in Zurich and Geneva already.

A taxi from the airport to the city centre costs about £35, but you can take SBB (the local train network) for about £4.

Overall, a six-day trip to Basel will cost:

Flights: £24
Transportation: £8 – £70
Accommodation: £0 – £600 (depending on if you couchsurf, stay in a hostel, or stay in a hotel)
Food: ~£200+ (depending on if you cook for yourself or eat out often at restaurants)

Total: ~£240 – £900, £40 – £150 per day

Verdict: Flights may be cheap, but Switzerland isn’t!

2) Cologne, Germany – £8 with Ryanair 

I came back from a trip to Cologne two months ago – I love the city! It’s not too expensive either, and there are loads of attractions that are totally free.

A return flight from London Stansted to Cologne comes in at £27, once again with Ryanair. The best dates I found in July were 13th – 18th. I spent five days in Cologne and just had hand luggage – I managed and I’m really not very good at packing light! The airport isn’t too far from the city centre and is really easy to get to by train, and if I remember correctly the fare was only about £2.40. To save myself money on calling and texting home (and updating Instagram) I bought a SIM card with enough texts, minutes and data that would easily last me a month, let alone the week I was there, for only 10 euro (about £7). You can also store luggage at the Hauptbahnhof for two hours (4 euro) or 24 hours (7 euro). This was really handy for us as we arrived at about midday but weren’t meeting our host (we couchsurfed) until 6pm.

Cologne is full of great pubs and cafes. You can easily eat all three meals out for 15-25 euro, maybe more if you have expensive taste. We were a group of students, so it was Cologne on a budget! We visited a variety of places on our trip, including:

Cologne Cathedral (free)

Schokoladenmuseum (6 euro)

Triangle Turm (3 euro) – this is a must see! It’s a short train ride to Cologne-Messe/Deutz and you get the most incredible views over the city!

Basilica of St. Ursula (free)

We also went on a day trip to Bonn, which was inexpensive and a gorgeous city! I think I may have even preferred Bonn over Cologne, it reminds me of Bath (where I go to university).

Accommodation in Cologne can be from £15 per night for a bed in a hostel dorm to £150 for an ibis Budget to £705 for the five days in the Radisson Blu.

Overall, a five-day trip to Cologne will cost:

Flights: £27
Transportation: £5
Accommodation: £0 – £705 (depending on if you couchsurf, stay in a hostel, or stay in a luxury hotel)
Food: £100 – £150 (maybe a little more if you dine more upmarket than I do… or less, if you snack less than me!)
Sights: ~£20 (more if you go to the museums)

Total: £150 – £900, £30 – £180 per day

Verdict: Cologne is a pretty easy city to do on a budget. If you couchsurf, make the most of the free attractions and eat mostly at cafes and the odd pub (or cook for yourself, which is even cheaper) then you can get around on a tight budget.

3) Copenhagen, Denmark – £10 with Ryanair

And third on my list is, shock horror, also a Ryanair flight. If you’re looking for cheap, no-frills flights to some great European cities, Ryanair (and easyJet, especially if you need to take hold luggage) is your best bet.

I was last in Copenhagen about eight years ago and I really want to go back soon! The best dates I found were the 7th – 14th July, flying from London Luton for a total of £20 return.

A lot of the museums are free at least one day of the week and some are free admission all the time. One option (especially if you’re a museum geek, or have an interest in art/history/architecture) is the CopenhagenCard. It includes free admission to 74 museums and attractions, as well as free transport by train, bus, metro and harbour bus in the entire Copenhagen area (including to and from the airport). The website has a tool where you can choose what attractions you plan to visit so you can see whether it’s worth the money. I’m not much of a museum visitor myself, so I checked on the attractions I’d most likely visit…

With a 48 hour card I’d save a grand total of… 50 cents. Maybe not for me.

Price wise, Copenhagen is pretty much half way between Cologne and Basel. A meal at a cheap-ish restaurant will put you back about £10, £4 for a local beer and £2 for a bottle of Coke.

If you don’t get the CopenhagenCard, the train from the airport will cost about £3.50 or you can pay £35  for a taxi.

A hostel will be about £14 – £21 per night, depending on quality, location and amenities, and a hotel will set you back anywhere between £300 and £600 for the week.

Overall, a seven-day trip to Copenhagen will cost:

Flights: £20
Transportation: £0 – £70 (depending on whether you purchase a CopenhagenCard, travel by public transport, or take a taxi)
Accommodation: £0 – £600 (depending on if you couchsurf, stay in a hostel, or stay in a hotel)
Food: ~£200+ (depending on if you cook for yourself or eat out often)
Attractions: £0 – £126 (a 5-day CopenhagenCard costs about £80 – combined with a 2-day card you would have access to free public transport and free museums and attractions for the whole stay)

Total: £220 – £1000, ~£31 – £143 per day

Verdict: Cheap flights, lots of free attractions and the food isn’t too pricy – Copenhagen can be done budget or luxury!

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