Six foodie breaks on a budget

    Searching for a foodie break with top-notch grub that won't leave you penniless? Our guide has the six best city breaks for budget travellers

    If you're desperate for the chance to get away from it all but don't want to splash the cash, these budget destinations are perfect for frugal foodies.
     

    Naples, Italy
    Best for... Breathtaking views & pizza

    Italy, Naples

    Why go? 
    Naples may be synonymous with pizza, but the rest of the city's cuisine, built on traditions of freshness and seasonality, is equally appealing and amazingly affordable. The city itself is noisy, vibrant and an assault on the senses, set against a breathtaking bay and views of Mount Vesuvius in the distance.

    Where to eat
    At Cibi Cotti in the Mercantino Rionale Torretta, eat pumpkin lasagne followed by simmered meatballs for less than £9. The Mercantino has produce, fish and deli stalls if you're taking the self-catering route. Budget-conscious diners can feast on savoury potato casserole, ragu-drenched pasta, and marinated veg at Osteria Donna Teresa (Via Kerbaker 58), a tiny family-run operation in Chiaia.  

    Pizza

    Pizza is sold from stalls and folded for eating on the fly. For seated service, try Da Attilio in La Pignasecca, devoted to baking some of the finest thick-rimmed pizza in town. Shop at La Pignasecca market and snack on a huge range of street food, including deep-fried anchovies and calamari.

    How to do it
    Stay at San Gennaro Bed, an antique- embellished B&B set in a 16th-century palazzo on Via dei Tribunali, in the heart of historic Naples, from £53 a night. Return flights with Alitalia from £95.

    Budapest, Hungary
    Best for... Underground bars & goulash

    Budapest

    Why go?
    Try a piquant bowl of goulash in its spiritual home before cleansing your palate in Mazel Tov for one of Budapest’s other ‘ruin bars’ (set up in abandoned buildings). Make reservations at Borkonyha or Tanti for affordable upscale dishes.

    What to eat
    A popular snack is lángos: garlicky, deep-fried flatbread topped with soured cream and grated cheese. Try it from one of the food stalls beneath the lofty iron framework of the Central Market Hall. Duck goulash, a main at Borkonyha, costs less than £12. Goulash soup features at Kiosk, a fashionable bar-restaurant within the former University Theatre.

    Central market hall

    Tanti’s three-course lunch menu is less than £13. Try Hungarian wines before buying at Culti Vini. For something a little stronger, purchase a ‘medicinal’ bottle of Unicum, an intense herbal liqueur, or pálinka, Hungary’s ubiquitous fruit brandy. Hand luggage only? Then buy kolbász, sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika.

    How to do it
    Three Corners Hotel Art is a modern, three-star property with 36 rooms on the Pest side of the Danube. A double costs from £60 a night, including breakfast. British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair and Wizz Air all fly to Budapest from various UK airports, including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow, Liverpool and Manchester (from £46; ryanair.com).

    Krakow, Poland
    Best for...
    Hearty food & historic buildings

    Poland

    Why go?
    From pierogi (filled dumplings) to zapiekanki (topped and grilled baguette slices), Polish food is cheap, flavoursome and accessible. There are plenty of places to pick up national and regional dishes while exploring Kraków’s historic core.

    What to eat
    If the idea of a sloppy sandwich oozing flavour and gravy makes your mouth water, get your hands around a maczanka, pork seasoned with paprika and garlic, then simmered until tender. The succulent meat is served in a lightly toasted roll and topped with lettuce, raw onion and pickles.

    Poland2

    Visit the Andrus Food Truck and select your toppings – it will set you back about £2.50. Pizza-like zapiekanki are available from hatches in the market hall at Plac Nowy in the city’s Kazimierz quarter. At markets, look out for oscypek, smoked cheese made from sheep’s milk in the Tatra Mountains and pressed into patterned shapes. And try obwarzanki, bagel-like rings of bread topped with poppy or sesame seeds, both sold from street carts.

    How to do it
    A studio for two people at Lounge Apartments is just a 10-minute walk from the heart of Kraków’s Old Town and costs £35 a night. British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com and Ryanair fly to Kraków from various UK airports, including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle (from £41, ryanair.com).

     

    Lisbon, Portugal
    Best for... Markets & neighbourhood restaurants

    Portugal

    Why go? 
    The trick to Lisbon on a budget is keeping it simple. Public transport is cheap, but the city is small enough for you to walk almost everywhere. 

    What to eat
    For meals on a budget, tascas are the thing to look out for. These simple, local restaurants are everywhere. Don't judge by appearances, they can be ugly from the outside, but the food is good, plentiful and cheap. 

    Try an alheira (a smoked, bready sausage) or bacalhau à lagareiro (salt cod baked in olive oil). To keep going during the day, cafés and snack bars can be found on almost every street. Coffee is never more than 60p for an espresso, and cakes and sandwiches are good value and filling. 

    Portugal

    In any restaurant, cheap or expensive, beware the couvert. It might be olives, pâtés, cheeses or hams, and can add considerably to your bill. Just say no – it is always okay to ask to have them taken away. It is also always acceptable to share a dish – say ‘é para dividir’ – and you can ask for ‘água da torneira’ for tap water. If you are self-catering, shop in markets for fresh produce.

    If you are on the west side of Av Liberdade, visit Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodré, or, to the east, Mercado de 31 de Janeiro in Picoas, and get there before midday. For the ‘Top 10 foods to try in Lisbon’, visit our handy city guide

    How to do it
    House rentals away from the centre can work out quite cheaply, especially if sharing with friends - check Airbnb and similar sites for bargain accommodation. 

    Athens, Greece
    Best for... Classic dishes & local wines

    Greece

    Why go?
    Never has there been a better time to visit Greece’s first city. Don’t be fooled by its recent economic challenges. If anything, it’s as if Athenians have woken up, looked around and realised what a show- stopping city they live in.

    What to eat
    Fuelled by a spirit of enterprise and loxenia (hospitality), new restaurants, bars, galleries, food and beauty brands spring up daily in this extraordinary city. Greek food is made for sharing. Break bread over tzatziki, spicy feta spread and a selection of grilled meats at value-for-money Kalamaki Bar (Dimitrakopoulou & Drakou 15).

    For a modern take on Greek cuisine mixed with comfort classics that won’t break the bank, head to Pangrati and sit beneath the orange trees at To Mauro Provato. It’s popular, so book to sample stuffed courgette blossoms, lamb in parchment, aubergine salad and a wide range of ouzo and raki.

    Fish market

    To shop for food to eat or bring home, head to Kolonaki, where lifestyle store Yoleni’s has curated food products including cheese, honey, cured meats and organic oils from Greek suppliers over four floors. It also has a wine-tasting department hosted by oenologists Botilia, so you can sip your way around a selection of Greek island wines without leaving land. For traditional food shopping, visit the Dimotiki Agora on Athinas Street to buy meat, fish, vegetables and a world-class selection of olives.

    How to do it
    Nestled in the foothill of the Parthenon, neoclassical guesthouse Alice Inn Athens has beautiful boutique-style rooms & suites from £45-£85 (winter) to £85-£170 (summer) per night. EasyJet has return fares to Athens from around £70 in February.

    Split, Croatia
    Best for... Seafood & islands

    Croatia

    Why go?
    Everyone seems to be singing Croatia’s praises these days, and Split, the lesser-known Roman port city on the Adriatic, is where foodies looking for a great-value break should head.

    What to eat
    The residential, hillside Varoš district is a find for atmospheric, affordable tavernas. Try stalwart Konoba Varoš, for its signature calamari with indulgent garlic mayo. For just-caught, grilled fish and spreads of shellfish that challenge English translation, book ahead for one of a dozen tables at Konoba Matejuška, in a 19th-century house just off the seafront.

    Croatia

    Picnics on the beach are a boon for foodies. Buy tangy, green olive tapenade at Uje in the old town – this smart, olive-oil-focused outfit also owns a great tapas restaurant nearby. Then stock up on sun-ripened provisions in Pazar Market, elegantly piled up against the crumbling walls of the Roman Diocletian’s Palace. Highlights here include homemade salamis, jars of heady amber honey, and smallholder’s crops of olives, almonds and ink-black cherries, plus peppery-pungent sheep’s cheese from the island of Pag. For giant wheels of crusty sourdough, pop just behind the fish market to Kruščić, an artisan bakery with a fanatical following.

    How to do it
    The best deals are rental apartments, via the likes of Airbnb. You’ll also get a good deal at the Dioklecijan Hotel & Residence, which has a rooftop, sea-view pool, and generous buffet breakfast included – £70 for a double. Flights from the UK take just over two hours and leave from many airports. Direct flights to Split operate on a seasonal basis.

    Where's your favourite budget travel destination? Let us know in the comments below...

    Check out our travel section for more foodie destination inspiration.

    All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 01 February 2017 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out of date information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    ivorbk
    22nd Feb, 2017
    Surely Thailand should be in there! Street pad thai can be absolutely wonderful not to mention the huge range of other street dishes and food in simple cafes.
    Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
    Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.