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News 7 ridiculously cheap places to go on holiday this year

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7 ridiculously cheap places to go on holiday this year

Want to save £££s on your holiday this year? We’ve put together seven of the best places to grab yourself a deal in 2019. Whether you want to broaden your horizons and travel to a different part of the world or discover somewhere closer to home, these destinations will help you see the sights and save those pennies, because they’ve ALL dropped in price over the last year. That’s right, we’ve run the figures and checked the data to find you some ridiculously cheap places you may not have considered. Plus, some budget activities for when you’re there.

1. Antwerp, Belgium

Coming in top of the list is Belgium’s quaint second city. Often overlooked for Brussels or Bruges, you may have been missing a trick with this one. With flight prices more than 30% cheaper than any time during the last year, it’s high time you capitalised on those savings and hotfooted it across the channel. A medieval city with a wealth of history, it’s got an impressive baroque-style cathedral, featuring a collection of art by celebrated Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. Also visit the MAS museum, both a great lesson in the history of Antwerp and an iconic monument in its own right – head to the rooftop for a spectacular panorama of the city. 

What to do: 

What’s cheaper than something that’s free? Okay, it’s not technically free, but we’d suggest joining one of the popular walking tours. Starting at 2pm each day, it takes roughly two hours, and you don’t pay anything up front. Once you’ve roamed the city with a local guide, simply pay what you want at the end. If it was good, make sure you chip in a few euros.

Where to stay: Century House Antwerp Centrum

From just £39 a night (with breakfast included you say?!) you’ll be surprised how much you get for your money. It’s only a 3-minute walk from Antwerp Central Station, less than a mile from the city centre, and the perfect base to rest your weary feet.

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2. Chicago, Illinois

If you’ve never visited this sprawling city, now is the time to do it, while flight prices are nearly 20% lower than last year. And if you’ve been before, no doubt you’re desperate to return, because we’re guessing you didn’t check off everything this city has to offer. From the 24.5 acres of Millennium Park – where you need to take a selfie in front of the Cloud Gate (a.k.a the Bean) – to the Museum of Contemporary Art and The 606 (an abandoned rail line which links Logan Square with Humboldt Park – another spot you need to add to your list) there’s almost too much to see. Do your research before you jet off, you’ll want to plan your time wisely.

What to do:

While away an afternoon at the Family Pavilion at Navy Pier. It’s free to enter so you only pay per attraction or show. Check out the Ferris wheel, go ice skating in the winter or visit at night to get a glittering view of the Chicago skyline.

Where to stay: Warwick Allerton Chicago 

With so much on offer, you’ll want to be in the centre of the action so stay at Warwick Allerton Chicago, from £64 a night. Step out of the front door and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of Chicago’s ‘Magnificent Mile’ on North Michigan Avenue, lined with shops, restaurants and historic landmarks like the Chicago Water Tower.

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3. Brasilia, Brazil

Having taken the title as Brazil’s capital from Rio in 1960, this city is an eclectic mix of chaotic neighbourhoods, complicated road layouts and ultra-modern architecture – we’d say the purpose-built city has to be seen to be believed. Make sure you pay a visit to Brasilia’s cathedral to check out its avant-garde design, look for the industrial style of the Three Powers Plaza and then swing by the Planalto Palace which is unlike like any presidential office we’ve ever seen.

What to do:

For another piece of striking architecture, visit the Itamaraty Palace – the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was built using only national materials and now houses artwork exclusively from Brazilian artists to showcase to visitors what the country has to offer. You can also take a guided tour of the Palace. You’ll need to book in advance, but it’s completely free so make sure you email or call ahead.

Where to stay: Mercure Brasilia Lider Hotel 

Book a room at Mercure Brasilia Lider Hotel, a four-star hotel from just £47 a night, sitting right on the edge of Jardim Burle Marx, 100 acres of tropical gardens designed by renowned Brazilian landscaper Roberto Burle Marx.

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4. Austin, Texas

You’d think flying to the States would come with a hefty bill attached, but this year flights to Texas have dropped drastically. As the capital of Texas and with a population of around 1 million, Austin is a sociable, lively hub of arts and culture. As the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, follow the locals and pop along to one of the 250 music venues around the city. During the day, visit the Texas State Capitol government building for a lesson in Texan politics, to marvel at the ornate granite structure and explore the luscious grounds – free 30-minute tours are offered every single day of the week.

What to do: 

In February, Texas sits at a comfortable 19 degrees, and from here on out the temperatures start to rocket so a trip to the Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural outdoor swimming pool lined with grassy hillsides, is certainly in order. Besides, it’ll only set you back a token $3 (that’s just over £2). 

Where to stay: Orangewood Inn and Suites Midtown 

Situated in downtown Austin, you’ll get your breakfast included from just £59 a night. Embrace the pretty kitsch décor and enjoy a great location, outdoor swimming pool and sundeck – what more do you want?

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5. Ponta Delgada, Portugal

For somewhere closer to home, and with a cheaper price tag than last year, it’d be rude not to make the 4-hour flight to one of Portugal’s archipelagos. With traditional white-washed walls and terracotta roofs, San Miguel’s capital is a picture-perfect holiday destination. It has a laidback vibe and slower pace of life to rival its neighbouring islands and is ideal for active travellers – the best way to see this island is to swim, kayak and canyon around it.

What to do:

If you’re visiting this mountainous island, you can’t leave without hiking it – a free activity we can definitely get on board with. There are excellent well-marked trails from Lagoa das Sete Cidades and Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. And to get you to the starting line, you may want to hire a car. At just £8 a day it’s an absolute steal.

Where to stay: VIP Executive Azores Hotel

A 4-star hotel from just £26 a night? Book it, and book it now. It’s ultra-simple but with a modern design, rooftop pool and restaurant. Save money by booking here and spend your savings on traditional Portuguese cuisine along the harbour.  

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6. Haikou, China

If you’ve always wondered what the Hawaii of China looks like, and we’re guessing it’s been playing on your mind, meet Haikou. It’s the capital of Hainan Island and is considered to have the cleanest air of all China’s cities (although, if you’re after some fresh air, we’d suggest getting there pretty swiftly, because construction work is now booming in the northern tip of the island. Surrounding an up-and-coming city is a mountainous landscape and unexpected Hawaii-esque beaches. Visit the Old Town first where you’ll still find many of the traditional local shops, then drive down to Bo’ao on the east coast of the island and retreat to the beach to watch the pro surfers in action.

What to do: 

Want to see and walk to the top of a real volcano? Huoshankou National Geopark is one large crater. Wear your comfy shoes, pack lots of water and visit later in the day when it’s not too hot – it’s quite a hike, but the panoramic views are worth the trip. Not only that but look out for the impressive Koi pond too. And it’ll cost you less than a tenner to get in.

Where to stay: BoaHua Harbour View Hotel

This boutique hotel does what it says on the tin. Just one mile from the city centre and you’ll get views of the harbour on tap. And with the temperature in Haikou reaching the mid 30s in summer (and never falling below 15 degrees even in January) you can guarantee you’ll make use of the rooftop pool. Prices start from £42 a night.

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7. Frankfurt, Germany

Known as a financial hub and business district first and foremost, Frankfurt am Main doesn’t sound like it has the makings of holiday hotspot but where there’s money, there’s also a thriving city built from a very traditional German town. It’s now brimming with vibrant street art, café-lined lanes and great nightlife. For such a business-driven city, you’ll find quite the array of lush green oases in among the skyscrapers. For a peaceful getaway and a Feng Shui designed Chinese garden, go to Bethmann Park, or head to Lorhberg Park for a great view of the city and the best spot to see the sunset. Or there’s Adolph von Holzhausen Park, a three-acre shaded garden lined with chestnut trees and a traditional castle sat in one corner. 

What to do:

Tick off Frankfurt Cathedral, a gothic red-sandstone church in the centre of Frankfurt am Main, which is free to enter, but if you want to climb the 350 steps to the top of the steeple – and we recommend you do – it’ll cost you a very reasonable €3. Take a look at the website before you visit as many concerts and organ recitals take place each month.

Where to stay: Admiral Hotel

Close to the city centre, the U-Bahn, the main shopping street and the old part of the town, you can’t really go wrong with the Admiral Hotel. Despite being in the centre of it all, you’ll find it tucked away on a quiet street and from a very reasonable £51 a night.

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All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 15 January 2019.