Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

How to explore Northern Europe on a budget

With reading week fast approaching and many already planning to travel over winter break, what better time for a practical guide on how to explore Northern Europe’s finest offerings in a way that won’t eat into your overdraft? Whether you’d prefer a canal cruise in Amsterdam, a historic tour of Copenhagen or a quick trip to Southern Sweden’s Malmo, all three are within easy reach if you plan ahead.

Booking flights made easy

If used in advance, Skyscanner could potentially be the most valuable website you’ll use all year. Easy to use and offering a clear composition of all the cheapest flights available to suit your date and location, a return flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam in December is currently going for £71 (that’s £35 each way, cheaper than most train tickets in the UK!). Whether you end up jetting off to the Netherlands with Flybe or to Denmark with Ryanair, exploring Northern Europe is made easy with this millennial travel tool. Top tip: flying from the UK to Amsterdam and then from the Netherlands to Copenhagen, rather than doing two separate trips across Europe, works out way cheaper. Why not do a round trip of all three destinations if you really want to make the most of your break? Go Euro is also a fantastic website for travelling Europe on a budget, whether that be by plane, train or bus.

Accommodation that won’t break the bank

While youth hostels are always a useful facility for student travellers, if you’d like a little more privacy on your journey, Airbnb is worth a try. Of course, horror stories documented on social media and elsewhere mean that, when using the website, you should always opt for reputable hosts with as many reviews as possible to avoid disappointment (or any nasty surprises!) However, when used well, Airbnb can produce some welcome finds. If you do your research, you may find yourself in a luxury Danish apartment located in the suburbs of Copenhagen for £30 a night. On top of this, your host will inevitably be aware of the local hotspots to check out during your trip. Many hosts often provide toiletries, maps and guides or even breakfast to suit your needs, all for a fraction of hotel room prices.

How to see the city (and avoid tourist prices!)

Want to explore the city but fancy doing so in a more structured way than aimlessly wandering? Check out ‘Free Walking Tours’ online. For Copenhagen and Malmo in particular, the free walking tours available offer a historic, cultural and social insight into the cities from charismatic and informative guides. What’s more, the free walking tours are, unsurprisingly, free of charge! That said, guides request a small tip at the end of the tour but this is an insignificant sum when considered against what the three hour exploration gives you in return.

Denmark to Sweden on a budget

If you’re already in Copenhagen, why not plan a day trip to Sweden? It may sound a bit daunting to make a day trip to another country, but the two really aren’t that far apart and are bridged by a trainline which operates at a relatively low price. While it will take you approximately six hours to get from Copenhagen to Stockholm, a trip from Denmark to Malmo is only 40 minutes by train and equates to £10! Travel further up the country to student town Lund for only an extra £3. Again, Go Euro is ideal for organising such a trip. With incredibly short journey times and low prices, you have no excuse not to check out a completely new country!

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