Low Budget Budapest

Explore Budapest’s culture and exceptional beauty on a budget with Marco Polo’s top money saving tips:

 Budapest Marco Polo Guide

 

Sightseeing

EU citizens can visit the Hungarian Parliament Building for free. The enormous structure is very aesthetically pleasing and says a lot about the state of the Hungarian national pride at the time it was built. The building, which took over 100 years to build, compromises of 27 gates, 29 staircases and almost 700 rooms. The architecture is of a gothic revival style and was partly inspired by the Houses of Parliament in London. Tickets from ticket offices | V, Kossuth Lajos tér | Tel. 1 4 41 49 04 | Underground 2: Kossuth Lajos tér | Tram 2

The car-free Margaret Island is a leisure space in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest that costs precisely nothing to visit. The island, which is 2.5km long by less than 500m across, is the city’s most popular recreational space. It is a lovely place to have a picnic and the paths and gardens are perfect for extended walks. Some pretty destinations in the northern part of the island are the water tower and the Japanese garden. It is worth lingering by the fountain to see the water show accompanied by classical music, which takes place every quarter of an hour. Music can also be heard at the fountain in the northern Japanese garden (every hour on the hour). Trams 4, 6 (Margaret Bridge) | Buses 26, 34, 106 (Árpád Bridge)

Fisherman’s Bastion: Situated high up above the Danube on Castle Hill, this famous terrace provides a magnificent view of the city that can enjoyed for free. The neo-romanesque complex with its walkways, archways and towers, was built at the end of the 19th century. The name ‘Fisherman’s Bastion’ is a reminder of the fact that there were once defensive walls here that were secured and defended by the guild of fishermen. I, Szentháromság tér | Bus 16 (Castle bus/Várbusz)

 

Eating Out

In the Great Market Hall (1st floor) you can buy delicious savoury or sweet langós for €2 (flat bread made from a yeast-potato dough.) IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

Only a stone’s throw from Liszt Ferenc tér is Kiadó. It has a nice pub atmosphere and offers tasty dishes for between €3 and €6. Daily from 9am | VI, Jókai tér 3 | Tel. 1 3 31 19 55 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Menza is a restaurant that merges downtown sophistication with the relaxed atmosphere of a 1960s coffee bar. The diverse menu lists many soups and salads and offers many main dishes including: penne, lángos (deep fried flat bread), duck and goose liver. There are also many inexpensive daily specials. Open daily | VI, Liszt Ferenc tér 2 | Tel. 1 4 13 14 82 | Underground 1: Oktogon

 

Shopping

Lovers of crystals will find them for reasonable prices at Ajka Kristály.

If you enjoy shopping for handicrafts and embroidered pieces such as tablecloths, you will find them at the Folkart Centrum for less.

Haggle for food and souvenirs at the Great Market Hall, which has a huge variety of stalls and offers competitive prices. IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

 

Entertainment

You can get tickets for the Opera House for between €3.20 to €4.40 if you’re willing to sit up in “the gods”.

There are cheap tickets available for the operetta theatre with prices ranging from €3.60 to €10 euros, depending on the performance. You can’t see the entire stage from these seats, however there is still a good view.

There is a big firework display over the Citadel on the evening of August the 20th. On this day the whole of Budapest is transformed into one big party.

 

Accommodation 

The good location and special discounts make Hotel Medosz a popular place to stay. Students up to the age of 18, accompanying parents and pensioners get a 10% discount. With the 10% discount it costs approximately €54-60 euros for a double room, which includes a buffet breakfast. 70 rooms | VI, Jókai tér | Tel. 1 3 74 30 00 | Trams 4, 6 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Ibis Centrum: The service and the entire ambience of this hotel in the Ráday utca pedestrian zone is very friendly. It’s also excellent value for money. 126 rooms | IX, Ráday utca 6 | Tel. 1 4 56 41 00 | Underground 3: Kálvin tér

 

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Low Budget Milan

Want to explore Milan on a budget? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips for the best ways to explore this fantastic city without spending a fortune:

 Milan Marco Polo Guide

SIGHTSEEING

There is no entrance fee for the Orto Botanico di Brera, a magnificent oasis of calm in the middle of town, behind the Pinacoteca di Brera. Open Mon–Fri 9am–noon and 3pm–5pm, Sat 10am– 5pm | Via Brera 28 | Metro: M 2 Lanza, M 3 Monte Napoleone, Tram 4, 12, 14.

Entrance to the Museo del Novecento and the museums in the Castello Sforzesco are free on Fridays from 2pm and on the other days entrance is free one hour before closing time. Visitors under 25 years of age always enjoy free admission.

Check out the websites of the contemporary art foundations of fashion houses such as Prada (www.fondazioneprada.org) or Trussardi (www.fondazionenicolatrussardi.it) for details of the interesting temporary installations – these events are often free of charge. (Second website in Italian.)

FOOD AND DRINK

Insider tip: Follow the office workers in their lunch break to one of the affordable self-serve restaurants, such as the Farina e Commodore | Closed Sat and Sun | Via Turati 7 | Metro: M 3 Turati.

Many sophisticated upmarket restaurants offer inexpensive dishes during pausa pranzo or lunch break.

Standing at the counter is cheaper than sitting at tables as some things are around half the price: espressos, cappuccinos, ice creams etc.

BOTTIGLERIA DA PINO: An old-fashioned trattoria with substantial regional meals at reasonable prices, in the city centre. Closed Tue for lunch and Sun | Via Cerva 14 | Tel. 02 76 02 19 11 | Metro: M 1 San Babila.

TRATTORIA L’INCORONATA: This restaurant’s small, frequently changing menu is based on what is offered in the markets that morning. Daily | Corso Garibaldi 127 | Tel. 0 26 57 06 51 | Metro: M 2 Moscova.

ANTICA HOSTERIA DELLA LANTERNA: You should know at least a little Italian if you’re thinking of coming here because there is no menu: the hostess will tell you what is on offer. You can’t go wrong with any of the home cooked traditional Milanese and Lombardy dishes. Closed Sat for lunch and Sun | Via Mercalli 3 | Tel. 02 58 30 96 04 | Tram 15, Bus 94.

Shopping

An Armani suit or Prada shoes often just remain a dream once you have seen the price tag. But this is not the case at the many outlet stores, where expensive pieces are sometimes marked down by as much as 50%. Souvenirs such as wallets, ties or scarves cost little more than the average quality goods in the department stores. For example at D Magazine (Via Monte Napoleone 26 | Metro: M 3 Monte Napoleone) or Matia’s Outlet (Piazza Mirabello 4 | Metro: M 3 Turati).

Twice a year during the saldi (in January and the end of June/start of July) the big brand shops have sales with 40–60% discounts.

Entertainment

In the wine shop La Vineria on the Naviglio Grande you can get a glass of wine for 1 euro at the small sidewalk tables, or 5 euros for a litre. Via Casale 4 | Metro: M 2 Porta Genova.

During the winter season, you can enjoy free organ concerts in Milan’s churches as part of the series of concerts, ‘Cantatibus Organis’.

An evening in La Scala for 10 euros? If you are under 30, you can get a ticket to the anteprima or dress rehearsals. www.lascalaunder30.org

A free viewing point, that is especially atmospheric in the evening, is the café terrace of the department store, La Rinascente, on the cathedral square. Open until 10pm, it gives an up-close view of the illuminated cathedral and the activity on the square.

Accommodation 

Albert Hotel: It comes as an unexpected surprise to find such a pleasant hotel on a busy street close to the train station. The friendly service is impressive! 62 rooms | Via Tonale/Via Sammartini | Tel. 02 66 98 54 46 | www.alberthotel.it | Metro: M 2, M 3 Centrale.

The Best Hotel: Close to the main train station and the Corso Buenos Aires shopping area, with affordable, convenient and decent rooms. The hotel even has a small and delightful garden. 28 rooms | Via Marcello 83 | Tel. 02 29 40 47 57 | www.thebesthotel.it | Metro: M 1 Lima.

The Ostello della Gioventù Piero Rotta youth hostel has been renovated in an eco-friendly manner, in the west of Milan. Via Salmoiraghi | www.hostelmilan.org | Metro: M 1 QT8.

On the Hostelbookers website you will find a whole range of low budget hostels at prices starting from 28 euros per person.

 

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Low Budget Las Vegas

A visit to the world’s gambling centre without spending a fortune? Well, the gambling part is up to you… but with Marco Polo’s top insider tips, you CAN visit Las Vegas AND save money! Let us show you how:

 Las Vegas Marco Polo Guide

Accommodation

Accommodation in Las Vegas is noticeably more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights, so if you are given the choice then try to time your arrival for a Sunday.

Nowhere else in the world does supply and demand influence hotel prices as extremely as in Las Vegas. Just like the airlines: every day, every flight has a new price, designed to maximise profit and to attract guests on the down days. So when business is slow in the middle of the week, say on a Tuesday, a room in an exclusive hotel can cost as little as 59 dollars and then next day when a trade fair starts and the city is full, the same room will cost you $249.

On websites, prices are shown months in advance but a visit to a travel agency is also worthwhile: sometimes travel agents have a set rate for rooms which can even be cheaper during trade fairs or over the holiday season, meaning they can be a better option than booking online.

The USA Hostel Las Vegas is a very comfortable youth hostel with Jacuzzi, swimming pool, billiards, ping-pong tables, internet access and a well equipped kitchen. A daily pancake breakfast and a Sunday barbecue are included in the price, as is the cost of your transport to the bus or train station. 1322 Fremont St | Downtown | Tel. 702 3 85 11 50 | www.lasvegashostel.net

America’s Best Value Inn: A motel sans casino with clean and comfortable rooms that are simple and fuss free. Only a block away from the excitement of the Strip. It also has its own attractive swimming pool. 250 rooms | 167 E. Tropicana Ave | Tel. 1 817 3 33 52 12  | Bus 201 East from corner Strip/Tropicana Ave | www.americasbestvalueinn.com

Motel 6: One of the cheapest motels in the city but the accommodation is quite acceptable, with a swimming pool and in a good location not far from the MGM Grand. 600 rooms | 195 E. Tropicana Ave | tel. 702 7 98 07 28 | Bus 201 East from the corner Strip/Tropicana Ave | www.motel6.com

Sightseeing

Browse through the events magazines like What’s on? (www.whats-on.com) or Vegas Magazine (lasvegasmagazine.com) for coupons. There are even coupon websites available like www.vegascoupons.com, or you can find special promotion codes on the Internet, for example at www.smartervegas.com. Even restaurants, shows and exhibitions use coupons in their marketing. You can often get two tickets for the price of one, a free starter or even a free main dish.

Free shuttle buses travel to almost all of the hotel casinos and other attractions that are away from the Strip, e.g. to the Orleans, the Hard Rock Hotel or the Rio Suites. The monorails between the Bellagio, CityCenter and Monte Carlo, between Mirage and the TI Treasure Island as well as the line between Excalibur – Luxor – Mandalay Bay are all free.

Visit the www.vegasfreebie.com website for an overview of the free attractions and shows in Las Vegas.

Dining

Low prices away from the Strip: more and more of the large resorts that are not on the Strip itself try to make up for their location with low prices and this is where you will find some excellent buffets at very reasonable prices. West of the Strip, try the inexpensive prime rib in the Cortez Room (Gold Coast Casino. While east of the Strip, Mr. Lucky’s (Hard Rock Hotel) serves huge salads for $10. Close by is the Bougainvillea Cafe (Silver Seven’s – formerly Terrible’s) serving for example, a Thai curry for $5.99.

The food courts in the shopping malls are also a good source of cheap meals (e.g. in the Fashion Show Mall). You can get anything from pizza to Chinese sweet and sour and Mexican tortillas to ice-cream – and it is all self-serve.

Du Paris Golden Gate Bay City Diner: An American diner with prices, portions, design and service that harks back to the good ol’ days. Delicious pancakes for breakfast! Have your starter at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar (in the same hotel). The shrimp cocktail with home-made cocktail sauce at only $1.99 is a still a winner. More than 40 million dishes have been sold since 1959! Daily 24 hours | In the Golden Gate | 1 Fremont St | Tel. 702 3 85 19 06

Courtyard Café: American and spicy New Orleans cuisine at reasonable prices. A decent steak with different side dishes for only $18 – which is not something you will find often in Las Vegas. Daily 24 hours | In the Orleans Casino | 4500 W. Tropicana Ave | Tel. 702 3 65 71 11 | Bus 201 West from corner Strip/Tropicana Ave

Dragon Noodle: Every kind of Asian noodle dish made with fresh ingredients as well as traditional Chinese cuisine, often visited by Asian guests – which speaks volumes about the quality of the food. Sun–Thu 10.30am–1pm, Fri/Sat 10.30am–midnight | In the Monte Carlo | 3770 Las Vegas Blvd S. | Tel. 702 7 30 79 65  | www.montecarlo.com

Free Live Music

In the large hotels, bars and casinos, up-and-coming bands and singers from all over the USA often perform over the weekends. From the Indigo Lounge in Bally’s, to the Bond Bar in the Cosmopolitan, the La Scene Lounge in the Venetian to the Koi Lounge in Planet Hollywood. You can relax and enjoy without worrying about the cost as there are no cover charges. Sometimes it is not even necessary to order a drink.

Lions at MGM Casino

Whilst the tiger in the Mirage can only be viewed from behind bars, the MGM Casino shows their wild cats completely free. There is a glass enclosure in the centre of the casino with a pride of lions and they can even be viewed from underneath in a glass tunnel – if you are lucky, one might just be on top of the tunnel. The lions work in shifts: six hours in the exhibition and then two days of freedom on a nearby ranch (Open daily 11am–10pm | free entrance).

Vintage nostalgia

1950 Chevys, Cadillacs and antique Fords and even one of Elvis’ original cars, are all on show at the Imperial Palace – a car buff’s dream. Download a coupon from the Auto Collections website and book a free entrance ticket. Daily 10am–6pm | Entrance $8.95, free entrance with printed coupon from the website | Located in the Imperial Palace | 3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd | www.autocollections.com

Water Ballet

Every afternoon and evening, the water fountains in front of the Bellagio dance a water ballet accompanied by melodies from Broadway shows, famous operas, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti and Céline Dion. The 1200 jets perform an impressive, choreographed water ballet of light and music every 30 minutes in the afternoons, at night every 15 minutes. Insider tip: Get the best view from the Eiffel Tower on the opposite side.

Shopping

Original historic souvenirs need not be expensive. Los Angeles Antiques on the outskirts of Downtown offer a wonderful collection of memorabilia from old casinos: from gambling chips and neon signs to lovely decorative pieces. Mon–Thu 10am–6pm, Fri/Sat until 8pm, Sun noon–5pm | 625 Las Vegas Blvd S. | The Deuce bus | lostvegas.vpweb.com

Colourful accessories, new and second-hand wares – the selection at the Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet at the western edge of the city is huge. Many dealers, but the prices are good – and you can also negotiate. Fri–Sun 10am–6pm | 1717 S. Decatur Blvd | Bus 204 West corner Strip/Charleston, then bus 103 South | www.fantasticindoorswapmeet.com

 

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Low Budget Oslo

Want to visit Oslo on a budget? Norway is notoriously expensive but here are Marco Polo’s top tips to explore this fantastic city without spending a fortune:

 Oslo Marco Polo Guide

 

Entertainment

Evergreen Inn has Oslo’s cheapest beer – just 30 kroner (NOK) before 9pm. It’s still affordable later on too. Pilestredet 39 | In the university complex

There are many free pop, rock and folk concerts held on the square outside the city hall. Details from: www.visitoslo.com/en/your-oslo/on-a-budget/events

Matinées and concerts are held regularly in and around the opera house. Free entrance. There’s something on every day – that’s what the director of the opera house promised! So keep your eyes peeled.

 

Accommodation

Small, simple cabins can be rented on Bogstad Campingplatz to the west of Holmenkollen (from £43). The bus stops right outside the campsite. Ankerveien 117 | Tel. 22 51 08 00 | www.bogstadcamping.no | Bus 32: Bogstad Camping

Budget Hotel: The top address in Oslo for backpackers! Small, clean, functional rooms at cheap rates.  Between the opera house and Karl Johans gate. If you book early, you only pay around £24 a night. 54 rooms | Prinsens gate 6 | Tel. 21 01 40 55 | www.budgethotel.no | All bus, tram and T-bane lines, near Oslo S

Cochs Pensjonat: Modern but simply furnished rooms in a hotel near the palace. Not all 88 rooms are en-suite. Breakfast is not included in the price. However, overnight guests are given a discount for the breakfast buffet in the studenty café next door. Parkveien 25 | Tel. 23 33 24 00 | www.cochspensjonat.no | Tram 12: Welhavens gate

Perminalen: A classic among Oslo’s cheaper hotels. From the end of the 1960s this rather shabby building was used by soldiers on service or on their weekend breaks. Now it’s a meeting place for backpackers from around the world. 1–6 bed rooms, better youth hostel standard. Perfect location between Stortinget and Akershus Fortress. 55 rooms | Øvre Slottsgate 2 | Tel. 24 00 55 00 | www.perminalen.no | Bus 30, 31, 32, 54: Kongensgate

 

Shopping

The second-hand chain Fretex, run by the Salvation Army, sells everything from sports articles to evening dresses and with a bit of luck, you may be able to pick up a Norwegian jumper or some other typically Norwegian items. Markveien 5 | www.fretex.no (Website in Norwegian.) | Tram 11, 12, 13: Birkelunden.

Up to 30 market traders set up their stalls every day on Oslo’s Red Square – where the Social Democrats and Unions have their offices. You can find anything here from Norwegian CDs to locally produced honey and military memorabilia – often at low prices. Youngstorget | Tram 11, 12, 13, 17: Brugata

 

Eating Out

You don’t have to be a student to eat for 50 NOK in the student canteen, Frederikke Mathus, in Blindern. Mon–Thu 10am–7pm, Fri 10am–6pm | Problemveien 11 | T-bane 3, 4, 5: Blindern

Asylet: The building from around 1730 was once a children’s home. Simple dishes such as smørebrød (sandwiches) and grilled salmon are served with beer in this dark historical restaurant and in the pretty courtyard at the back. Grønland 28 | Tel. 22 17 09 39 | T-bane 1–6: Grønland

Lorry: Classic pub with more than 100 different types of beer, plain Norwegian food à la carte and a set lunch. Lively atmosphere and a meeting place for artists. Parkveien 12 | Tel. 22 69 69 04 | Tram 11, 17, 18: Welhavens gate

Olympen mat og vinhus: Generous helpings of reindeer, boiled cod and sursild (sour herring) are served here. Grønlandsleiret 15 | Tel. 24 10 19 99 | T-bane 1–6: Grønland

 

Sightseeing & Transport

A day ticket for Oslo’s public transport system costs 75 NOK and is valid for 24 hours. You can travel on all underground trains and trams as well as passenger ships that leave from Vippetangen for the nearby islands. Tickets can be bought at all stations and at Narvesen, 7-Eleven, Mix and Deli-de-Luca convenience stores.

One of the most beautiful views in Oslo comes free of charge. The breathtaking journey in the glass lift up to 34 Skybar on the 34th floor of the Plaza Hotel is only for those with a head for heights. Sonja Henie Plass 3, Oslo

If you buy a ticket for the National Gallery (50 NOK) and have enough stamina, you can also visit the three other national museums on the same day! Museum of Architecture, Contemporary Art and Decorative Arts and Design | nasjonalmuseet.no | Or simply go there on Sundays when admission is free.

 

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Low Budget Berlin

Berlin is a city best known for its dynamic galleries and architecture. You can visit these remarkable landmarks and much more on a budget by following our top tips:

Migrant expats Berlin

Photo credit: themigrantexpats.com

Food & drink

The pizza slices (1.90 euros each) with their wonderful toppings sold by the Focacceria will fill you up in next to no time. Daily from 11am | Mitte | Fehrbelliner Str. 24 | Tel. 030 44 03 27 71 | U 8 Rosenthaler Platz

Curry 36 is probably the most popular snack bar in Kreuzberg and not only serves currywurst (German sausage with curry powder) at around 1.50 euros with chips but also pea soup at 2.50 euros. You eat standing up and it is open until the early hours of the morning. Kreuzberg | Mehringdamm 36 | U 6, 7 Mehringdamm

Baba Angora serves first-rate Turkish cuisine with quality lamb dishes, grilled vegetables and delicious desserts. It has a homey atmosphere and has reasonably priced set meals at lunchtime. Open daily from noon | Charlottenburg | Schlüterstrasse 29 | Tel. 030 3 23 70 96 | S Savignyplatz

Gasthaus Lentz is a classic German eatery where Kölsch beer is served. There is no music to disturb your conversation and they offer a variety of lunchtime specials. Meatballs and Landjäger sausages are always available. Daily from 9am | Charlottenburg | Stuttgarter Platz 20 | Tel. 030 3 24 16 19 | www.gasthaus-lentz-berlin.de | S 3, 5, 7, 75 Charlottenburg

 

Accommodation

The WBM housing association has ten charming, low-priced guest flats in Mitte and Friedrichshain to rent. Scharnweber Strasse 23–27 | Tel. 030 24 71 53 29 | U 5 Samariterstrasse

Eastern Comfort: Guests in the two small hotel boats near the Oberbaumbrücke can spend their nights on the Spree with hardly any swell – a view of the water through the porthole is included in the price. 45 cabins | Friedrichshain | Mühlenstr. 73–77 | Tel. 030 66 76 38 06 | www.eastern-comfort.com | U/S Warschauer Strasse

In the Pension 11. Himmel, in a prefabricated-concrete building in Marzahn, you can either sleep in a hammock or a prince’s bed. A one night stay with breakfast is 22 euros. 5 rooms | Wittenberger Str. 85 | www.pension-11himmel.de | S7 Ahrensfelde

Gasteiner Hof is a small hotel in the west of the city offering good value for money. There are reasonably-priced double rooms available with a shower and WC. 22 rooms | Wilmersdorf | Gasteiner Str. 8 | Tel. 030 862 01 70 | www.gasteiner-hof.de/indexen.html | U 7 Blissestr

 

Shopping

Turkish Bazaar – Even though you will probably not need vegetables by the crate load, the ‘Turkish Market’ called the Markt Am Maybachufer is a real experience. The dealers haggle and bargain over their goods as if they were in a bazaar in Istanbul. Here you can also try delicious and reasonably-priced specialities. Tuesday, Friday noon until 6.30pm | Neukölln | Maybachufer | U 8 Schönleinstrasse

For retro fans – Arm & Sexy in Neukölln has everything from radios to eggcups from the 1930s to 1970s. Wednesday–Friday 2–7pm, Saturday noon–5 pm | Reuterstr. 62 | U7 Hermannplatz

The Marc O’Polo Outlet – This shop will make bargain hunters’ eyes light up with glee. Monday–Friday 10am–8pm, Saturday 10am–6pm | Kaiserdamm 7 | U2 Sophie-Charlotte-Platz

 

Sightseeing

Lunchtime concerts – From September to June, you will be able to enjoy a free lunchtime concert at 1pm every Tuesday in the Philharmonie. The performing ensembles are first-rate and include the Berlin Philharmonic and scholarship holders from the orchestra’s academy. Advance sales Monday–Friday 3 until 6pm, Saturday, Sunday 11am until 2pm | Tiergarten | Matthäikirch strasse 1 | Tel. 030 25 48 89 99 | www.en.gasteig.de | U/S Potsdamer Platz

The Eastside Gallery – The Eastide Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world – stretching from the Ostbahnhof to the Oberbaum bridge. Take a look at what artists have left for future generations on a 1416m (4646 ft) long piece of the former Berlin Wall. The gallery is located to the south of the Ostbahnhof railway station. Friedrichshain | Mühlenstrasse | www.eastsidegallery.com | U/S Ostbahnhof

Picnic at Tiergarten – In summer, the Berliners pack their picnic baskets and make a pilgrimage to the English Garden in Tiergarten to relax and listen to free concerts of jazz and Klezmer music. From the dome of the Reichstag you can get the best panoramic view of the city and the area is also a shopping paradise, which makes the district of Tiergarten very hard to compete with.

 

Entertainment

Ticket prices for the Cinestar Centres are reduced to around 6 euros on Tuesdays.

The Sageclub grants free admittance to ‘Rock at Sage’ on Thursdays (7–10pm). Köpenicker Str. 76 | Tel. 030 278 98 30 | U Heinrich-Heine-Strasse

Entrance to the frannz-club is only 4 euros on Thursdays – Indie pop-rock day. Schönhauser Allee 36 | Tel. 030 7 26 19 33 | U 2 Eberswalder Str.

 

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Low Budget Bangkok

Discover the bustling city of Bangkok on a budget with Marco Polo’s top money saving tips:

 Bangkok Marco Polo Guide

Sightseeing

The Chuvit Garden off of the hubbub of Sukhumvit Road is a lovely place to relax. It is a private park that belongs to a wealthy man who doesn’t charge an admission fee. The park is particularly peaceful and atmospheric in the early evenings when the lanterns are lit.

Tourists have to pay an admission fee in Bangkok’s most renowned temples but off the beaten track you can find wonderful monasteries that do not require a donation. One of the best is the Wat Bonwon Wiwet Monastery, which is a peaceful green oasis with exquisite murals and ponds full of fish and turtles. Daily 9am–6pm | Free admission | Phra Sumen Rd | Near Khao San Rd | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Phanfa

Discover Designs from all over the world at the Thailand Creative & Design Centre. View the international highlights from a variety of fields – ranging from the Vespa to the Barbie doll. This creative centre, which is supported by the government, contributes towards making Bangkok a design metropolis. There is a lovely café with a gorgeous view of the city, a souvenir shop and also a library of 25,000 (mostly English) books about art, architecture and design. The TCDC is situated in the upmarket Emporium shopping centre and is a popular meeting place for creative young Thais. Tue–Sun 10.30am–9pm | Free admission | 6th floor of the Emporium shopping centre | Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 24 | www.tcdc.or.th | Skytrain: Phrom Pong (direct entry)

 

Eating Out

Affordable gourmet cuisine: the restaurants in the city’s top hotels all compete for custom and many offer excellent and reasonably priced lunch menus. For as little as 400 baht you can dine in high-class restaurants. See the ‘Bangkok Post’ for all the special offers.

Massive choice at minimum prices: the large shopping centres all offer a huge selection of meals including Thai, Chinese, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Some of the best are: Siam Paragon, Central World, Emporium, Mah Boonkrong (all on the Skytrain route).

Cabbages and condoms: Don’t be put off by the name of this restaurant nor the framed condoms on the wall. The restaurant is run by a birth control and AIDS prevention organisation and everyone receives a condom with the bill. They serve Thai food that has just the right level of spiciness for the Western palate. There is also the option to dine outside in the tropical garden. Open Daily | 10 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 12 | Tel. 0 22 29 46 10 | www.pda.or.th/restaurant | Skytrain: Nana | MRT: Sukhumvit

 

Shopping

Street vendors do their shopping at the Bo Beh Market where you can buy jeans and T-shirts for next to nothing. Items are usually sold in dozens, but you can ask for individual pieces at the discretion of the dealer. Krung Kasem Rd | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Charoenrat | Skytrain: National Stadium, then 5 minutes by taxi.

Bangkok’s shopping centres are constantly trying to attract custom by offering discounts. Check up on sale dates in the city’s newspapers: the ‘Bangkok Post’ and ‘The Nation’.

 

Entertainment

Happy Hour in Bangkok’s bars is usually from about 5pm to 8pm and drinks cost 50% less. Posters or bar bouncers will let you know which bars have a happy hour.

Cheap Charlie’s – the name says it all. The only place you will find cheaper beer is at the supermarket! The open air bar is an institution and a favourite among Western patrons. It is outside of the main bar area but still in the middle of the tourist centre. Daily 5pm–midnight | Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11 (across from the Ambassador Hotel) | Skytrain: Nana

The Dallas Cowboy Pub is the place where live bands perform country and western music. The beer is cheap, the Thai cuisine is spicy and the clientele are usually students. Daily 6pm–1am | 412 Siam Square, Soi 6 | Tel. 0 22 55 32 76 | Skytrain: Siam Central

 

Accommodation 

Even on the supposedly expensive Sukhumvit Road, you can still find very reasonably priced accommodation. The Suk 11 Hostel offers basic rooms (with air-conditioning) from 500 baht. 80 rooms | 1/33 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11 (across from the Ambassador Hotel) | Tel. 0 22 53 59 27 | www.suk11.com | Skytrain: Nana

Many hotels offer discounts if you book via their website. Hotel and travel representatives also offer discounts so it is worth making comparisons. Visit www.asiarooms.com and www.latestays.com

The D&D Inn is one of the better bed and breakfasts in the area with rooms that have air-conditioning, a tv and a fridge. There is also a swimming pool. 65 rooms | 68–70 Khao San Rd | Tel. 0 26 29 05 26 | www.khaosanby.com | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Phanfa

 

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Low Budget Prague

Some of Prague’s top hot spot destinations are completely free to visit! Here is Marco Polo’s pick of the best attractions, plus where to dine, stay and shop on a budget:

Prague

Týn Church, Prague. Photo credit: Tim Kelly

Sightseeing

Every day at 11am (also at 2pm in summer) there are free guided tours in English that commence at the corner of Old Town Square. The tour guides are usually Czech students and they make their money from tips.

The Dancing House is an awe-inspiring building and offers fantastic art for free! The bizarre structure, which actually looks as though it is dancing, has become the new face of Prague and is loved by all of the city’s residents. Rašínovo nábreží 80 | Metro: Karlovo námestí

A visit to Prague’s famous Golden Lane, where Franz Kafka once lived, is simply obligatory. If you go after 4pm between November and March or after 6pm between April and October then there is no admission charge and you will avoid the busy crowds. Visitors are able to view this famous street until the castle area closes (between 11pm and midnight).

Take a stroll through the city’s streets and follow in the footsteps of famous Hollywood stars. Where did 007 give his pursuers the slip in Casino Royale? Where was Miloš Forman’s Oscar-winning Amadeus filmed? Where did Angelina Jolie once stand against the Prague skyline? Head to the tourist office and pick up the free city map entitled ‘Lights! Camera! Prague!’ to find all of these film locations!

 

Entertainment

The beer garden in Letná Park has a good atmostphere and a spectacular view over the Old Town. Beer is sold at the drinks stall for very reasonable prices and you can sit on the wooden benches under beautiful chestnut trees to drink it. Letenské sady | Tram 1, 8, 25, 26: Sparta

For many years, clubbers have nominated Roxy as ‘Club of the Year’. Head down to the club on a Monday night when DJs play for free! Daily 7pm–2am | Dlouhá trída 33 | Metro: Námestí Republiky

 

Eating Out

You can find the Czech alternative to fast food called chlebícky in the Zlatý Kríž delicatessen. It consists of thin slices of baguette with various toppings and mayonnaise! Open Mon–Sat 7am–7pm | Jungmannova | Metro: Mustek

There is a traditional pub in the Lesser Town called Barácnická Rychta where you won’t find many tourists. In a wood-panelled tavern in the maze of narrow lanes, you can sit alongside the locals and polish off a delicious goulash. Mon–Sat 11am–11pm, Sun 11–21 | Tržište 23 | Tel. 2 57 53 24 61 | Tram 12, 20, 22: Malostranské námestí

Many pubs and restaurants (even some gourmet restaurants) offer a low-price lunch menu on weekdays from noon to 3pm.

 

Shopping

Have a browse around the department stores or craft shops. Wooden toys made in the Czech Republic are not only inexpensive, but they are often imaginative and encourage creative play.

Havelská market is one of the oldest markets in Prague and is the place to go for cheap vegetables, woooden toys and jewellery. If you can’t find it here, then you are unlikely to find it anywhere. Mon–Sat 10am–7pm | Havelská | Metro: Mustek

 

Accommodation

The Lesser Town Square is not exactly a tranquil spot, but it’s in the heart of the historic core and where most of the action is. At only 450 Kc per person, the Little Town Budget Hotel is a good place to rest your head. Malostranské námestí 11 | Tel. 2 42 40 69 64

The Travellers’ Hostel is quite basic but it’s very popular with young people due to its central location. A double room including breakfast costs 750 Kc. Multi-bed rooms plus breakfast cost around 350 Kc per person. 164 beds | Dlouhá 33 | Tel. 2 24 82 66 62 | Metro: Námestí Republiky

As a general rule, book early online and get the best price! www.prague.st  offers good value deals for all price ranges.

 

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Street Art Lisbon

Lisbon is a popular tourist destination for many reasons; it is steeped in the irresistible charm of times past with magnificent palaces and monasteries, picturesque alleyways and staircases, pretty corners and sleepy squares. That’s not all though: Lisbon has another side that is dynamic, modern and cosmopolitan. Young hipsters party in the smart riverbank clubs and restaurants or get their kicks from bar-hopping in the party neighbourhood of Bairro Alto and in the lively port quarter of Cais de Sodré.

Lisbon today represents a melting pot of cultures. Lisboa (pronounced “lishbóa”) in Portuguese – is both metropolitan and provincial, multicultural and open to the world, welcoming and relaxed. “Live and let live” is the motto here.

For that reason, among others, the street art scene is bursting with talent. Love it or hate it, street art is art… and it’s here to stay! Here are the street art highlights of Portugal’s capital:

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Lisbon

Street art, Lisbon

Street art, Socorro, Lisbon

Street art, Socorro, Lisbon

Street art, Socorro, Lisbon

Street art, Socorro, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, São José, Lisbon

Street art, Pena, Lisbon

Street art, Pena, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

Street art, Anjos, Lisbon

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Low Budget London

London and low budget don’t usually go together. However with some clever planning and top Insider Tips, you can visit this bustling city without spending a fortune! Here are Marco Polo’s top tips:

London Eye

Sightseeing & Attractions

So much in London is free. The British Museum, The National Gallery, Tate Modern, walking along the Thames to look at street performers, Hyde Park… the list goes on! Check out: www.visitlondon.com/tag/free-attractions and www.londonforfree.net which lists guided tours, festivals, exhibitions, open days and cultural events costing nothing or £3 at the most.

Tourist attractions often offer online savings, as well as options to combine two attractions and save: e.g. London Eye with sightseeing cruise on the river or church visit with concert.

In summer, look out for the More London Free Festival’s films, music and theatre on the Thames free of charge. (www.morelondon.com/events)

 

Low Budget Accommodation

In the summer college break, Imperial College London offers 500 large, centrally located rooms, including breakfast for £49–86. Watts Way | Princes Gardens | Tel. +44 (0)20 7594 9507 | Tube: South Kensington (Circle, District, Piccadilly)  www3.imperial.ac.uk/summeraccommodation

Interesting for Heathrow and Gatwick travellers: at the Japanese-inspired Yotel pod hotel, the designer standard cabin costs from £55, the premium version from £82. Also bookable for just four hours – now that’s handy! Tel. +44 (0)207 100 8010 |  www.yotel.com

Garden Court Hotel:  Friendly hotel in pretty location, with garden. 40 rooms. | Includes buffet breakfast  | 30–31 Kensington Gardens Sq. | Tel. +44 (0)20 7229 2553 | www.gardencourthotel.co.uk | Tube: Bayswater (Circle, District)

Ridgemont Hotel: Traditional Bloomsbury family-run affair. Note: only half of the smallish rooms have their own bathroom. Garden. 32 rooms | 65–67 Gower St. | Tel. + 44 (0) 20 7636 1141 |www.ridgemounthotel.co.uk | Tube: Goodge Street (Northern)

Keystone House (Hostel): New and welcoming King’s Cross hostel with just under 100 beds and personal atmosphere. A tip for early bookers: good-value two-person ‘dorms’. There is a women’s dorm too. Every Sat at 6pm people get together on the roof terrace for a free welcome drink! In-house internet café. 272–276 Pentonville Road | Tel. +44 (0) 20 7837 6444 | www.keystone-house.com | Tube: King’s Cross, St Pancras
London Phoneboxes

Dining

Top restaurants slash their prices at lunchtime; set meals are cheaper than à la carte. Check the website of the local evening newspaper Evening Standard www.standard.co.uk and www.london-eating.co.uk for good deals.

From morning to night, vegetarian outfit, Tibits (12–14 Heddon St. | Tel. +44 (0)20 7758 4110 | www.tibits.co.uk) offers a huge selection of freshly prepared, good value dishes and salads. Child friendly play corner downstairs.

An alternative for summer: buy everything you need for a picnic from the supermarket and rent a deckchair in one of the many inviting parks (4 hrs £2).

 

Cinema and Theatre

New releases, classics and iconic flicks (from £5.50) are on show at the Prince Charles repertory cinema in Chinatown. 7 Leicester Place | Tel. +44 (0) 20 7494 3654 | www.princecharlescinema.com | Tube: Leicester Square (Northern, Piccadilly)

Pick up half-price theatre tickets for the same evening (plus a £3 fee) at the two ‘tkts’ theatre booths (www.tkts.co.uk). Tkts Leicester Square (southern side) | Mon–Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 12 noon–4pm | Tube: Leicester Sq. (Northern, Piccadilly). There are two separate windows: one for matinee tickets, the other for evening shows (limited to two per person).

 

Shopping

Fashion-conscious Londoners browse in charity shops (www.charityretail.org.uk/) – preferably in wealthy areas such as Chelsea, e. g. at the British Red Cross  | 67 Old Church St. | Tube: Sloane Square (Circle, District).

Variations on the latest fashion trends are for sale at Primark: 499–517 Oxford St. | www.primark.co.uk | Tube: Marble Arch (Central) | and Peacocks, e. g. 201–203 Old St. | www.peacocks.co.uk | Tube: Old Street (Northern).

Content from the London Marco Polo Spiral Guide

London Marco Polo Spiral Guide

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What’s your top tip for London on a budget? Comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Low Budget Stockholm

Marco Polo’s top tips for Stockholm on a budget!

Stockholm

Dining 

Many restaurants serve a dagensrätt (daily special) at lunchtime. It usually consists of a hot main course, salad, bread, a non-alcoholic beverage and coffee and prices start at around 70 SEK – great value, considering the usually high restaurant prices.

You will find multicultural fast food (e.g. Indian, Greek, Lebanese) at a reasonable price in the Kungshallen ‘snack temple’. Kungsgatan 44 | Norrmalm | Green line: Hötorget | www.kungshallen.eu

Fast-food classics with many different kinds of fried herring – as a burger, on crispbread or with mashed potatoes – are served at Strömmingsvagnen Slussen. In summer, daily 10am–8pm, at other times 11am–6pm | Södermalmstorg | Bus 2, 3, 43, 53, 55, 76: Slussen | Red and green lines: Slussen

HERMANS TRÄDGÅRDSCAFÉ: This garden restaurant not only provides a wonderful view of Stockholm but also has a good vegetarian buffet with dishes from all over the world. Grill evenings in summer (Wed – Sun 5–9pm). No alcohol! Fjällgatan 23B | Södermalm | Tel. 08 643 94 80 | Bus 2, 3: Tjärhovsplan | www.hermans.se (go to “International Visitors”)

ÖSTGÖTAKÄLLAREN: No matter whether you order Viennese schnitzel, pickled knuckle of pork or roast lamb, the motto ‘rustic, substantial and inexpensive’ applies. Large servings! Östgötagatan 41 | Södermalm | Tel. 08 6 43 22 30 | Green line: Medborgarplatsen | www.ostgotakallaren.gastrogate.com

Shopping

China and stoneware has been produced in Gustavsbergs Porslinsfabrik since 1827. The outlet sells seconds at a discount of between 30 and 50%. The Fabriksbutiken next door also sells reduced articles made by Rörstrand, Iitala, Arabia, Hackman, Höganäs Keramik and Boda Nova. Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat–Sun 11am–4pm | Chamottevägen 2 | Gustavsberg | Bus 474 from Slussen to Hemmesta: Farstaviken (around 20 min) or by Strömmakanalbolaget ship from Nybrokajen | July–mid-Aug daily 10.30 am (around 2 hours), return 1.45pm | Return fare 200 SEK | www.gustavsbergsporslinsfabrik.se

The 65 shops in the Stockholm Quality Outlet Barkaby offer discounts of 30-60% on the goods they sell. Daily | Majorsvägen 2 | Barkaby | Local train from the main station to Kungsängen or Bålsta: Jakobsberg, then bus 567 to Outlet |  www.qualityoutlet.com

Entertainment

Students of the Royal Music University give regular classical, jazz and folk concerts that are either free or very reasonably priced. Kungliga Musikhögskolan | Valhallavägen 105 | Tel. 08 16 18 00 | Bus 4: Musikhögskolan | Red line to Mörby: Stadion | www.kmh.se/english

Those who are more interested in the music than the action on the stage can buy a ticket for a lyssnarplats (hearer’s seat) at the Kungliga Operan for 40 SEK (60 SEK, Fri–Sat). Information and tickets Tel. 08 7 91 44 00 or www.operan.se

Monday is cinema day at the Zita repertory cinema – tickets cost only 70 SEK each. Birger Jarlsgatan 37 | bus 1, 2, 55, 56: Stureplan | Red line: Östermalmstorg | www.zita.se

Accommodation

Many hotels offer rooms at greatly reduced prices at weekends and in the Swedish summer holidays. It’s a good idea to check individual homepages to find out current rates! You will also frequently be given additional discounts for internet bookings.

Your stay in Stockholm will be less expensive if you take advantage of the Stockholm Package. It can be booked for one to three days and includes hotel accommodation and the Stockholm Card – which includes free admission to over 80 museums and attractions plus free public transport (www.destination-stockholm.com). The Stockholm Tourist Center will also help you find a rooms (Vasagatan 14 | Tel. 08 50 82 85 08 | www.visitstockholm.com

HOTEL TRE SMÅ RUM: This mini-hotel in the basement of a residential building is cheap, simple and clean. The shower and WC are shared with other guests and you prepare your own breakfast. 7 rooms | Högbergsgatan 81 | Södermalm | Tel. 08 6 41 23 71 | Red line: Mariatorget | www.tresmarum.se

STF VANDRARHEM FRIDHEMSPLAN: In addition to the obligatory multi-bed rooms, Stockholm’s most modern youth hostel also has private rooms for 1 to 4 guests that almost reach hotel standards. They have a TV and free internet access and their own WC and shower. 390 beds including 100 double rooms. With International youth hostel membership card | St. Eriksgatan 20 | Vasastan | Tel. 08 6 53 88 00 | Bus 1, 4, 62: Fridhemsplan | Blue and green lines: Fridhemsplan | www.fridhemsplan.se/en

Panoramic views

The half-mile long Monteliusvägen footpath stretches along pretty Södermalm. Although rather narrow, it offers a fabulous view over Lake Mälar, Stadshuset and Riddarholmen. www.spottedbylocals.com/stockholm/monteliusvagen

You only have to pay 40 SEK to climb the 365 steps of the City Hall  tower in the Stadhuset and you will be rewarded with an incomparable view of the city. June–Aug daily 9am–5pm, April Sat–Sun 10am–4pm | Hantverkargatan 1 | Bus 3, 62: Stadshuset | Blue line: Rådhuset | http://international.stockholm.se/City-Hall/Guided-tours-of-the-City-Hall/The-City-Hall-Tower/

Free ice-skating

Ice-skating fans have a heyday during Stockholm’s winter. You can skate on the artificial ice rinks in Vasaparken and at the Östermalm sporting complex every day, free of charge. Nov to first week in March Mon, Fri 8.30am–6pm, Tue, Thu 8.30am–8pm, Wed 11am–6pm, Sat–Sun 10am–6pm | If you don’t have your own skates: skate rental 50 SEK/hour | Bus 52, 55, 62, 69, 76; S7 | Blue line: Kungsträdgåden

 

Singing bench

A small park in the Vasastan district brings back memories of one of the best known Swedish jazz singers Monica Zetterlund. If you want to hear her voice, all you have to do is sit down on the big wooden bench and the music begins automatically. Roslagsgatan/corner of Surbrunnsgatan | Bus 2, 4, 42, 43, 53, 72: Roslagsgatan | Red line: Tekniska Högskolan

 

Free Newspapers

Can’t do without your favourite newspaper even when on holiday? You can browse through more than 30 international dailies, free of charge, in the Stadsbiblioteket (Public Libary). Mon–Thu 9am–9pm, Fri 9am–7pm, Sat–Sun noon–4pm | Sveavägen 73 | Bus 2, 4, 42, 53, 59: Stadsbiblioteket | Green line: Rådmansgatan

 

Changing of the guard

High up on horseback and with a military band: the changing of the guard and parade ceremony in front of the Royal Palace is a real crowd-puller in Stockholm. But His Majesty’s soldiers are not there for fun: they are on sentry duty and protect the royal family. (In summer Mon–Sat 12.15pm, Sun 1.15pm, at other times Wed, Sat 12.15pm, Sun 1.15pm). Mid-Sept to mid-May Tue–Sun noon–4pm, mid-May to mid-Sept daily 10am–5pm | Slottsbacken | Entrance fee from 100 SEK | Bus 2, 43, 55, 71, 76: Slottsbacken | Green and red lines: Gamla Stan | www.royalcourt.se

 

Free tours

Rikdagshuset: The monumental Parliament Building and the national bank on Helgeands holmen were opened in 1905 and 1906 respectively. Free tours (in Swedish and English) October to mid-June Sat–Sun noon, 1.30pm, mid-June to August daily noon–3pm | Riksgatan 3 | Tel. 087 86 48 62 | Bus 3, 53: Riddarhus torget | Green and red lines: Gamla Stan | www.riksdagen.se/en

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Stockholm Marco Polo Guide
Have you been to Stockholm? What’s your top budget tip? Comment below, tweet us@MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.