Weekends away

The first six months of 2013 is set to deliver some great value city breaks across Europe, thanks to a combination of weak oil prices causing lower air fairs, and the eurozone crisis seeing hotel prices drop.

For fans of the final series of BBC Saturday night thriller The Killing, starring Sarah Lund’s woolly jumper, the price of a three-night break at trendy Ibsens Hotel, Copenhagen in January has plunged by 30 per cent from £258 to £181, just £90 per person, bookable through the website www.i-escape.com. Flights with easyJet between Gatwick and Copenhagen start at £60.

At Jet2 holidays, flying out of eight northern airports, New Year city break options include three nights’ B&B in Prague, at the two-star plus Fortuna West Hotel, for £240, ex-Edinburgh on January 3, and three nights’ B&B in Amsterdam, at the three-star Amstel Botel Hotel, from £190, ex-Leeds Bradford on January 4.

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According to the Trivago Hotel Price Index, hotel prices across Europe have fallen from a peak early in 2012: an overnight stay in December now costs an average £84. Hotel prices were at their highest in May, at an average £107.

Across the EU, hotel prices are moving in contrasting directions: biggest falls are found in Valencia, down 19 per cent to £55 per night. Istanbul, Frankfurt and Brussels have all decreased by 11 per cent, to £86, £77 and £88 per night respectively. Some centres in eastern Europe are boosted by rising demand: Riga, Latvia, is up by 34 per cent in comparison to last month and 28 per cent in the last year, with one night costing an average £74.

Other significant price increases in comparison to November include Dresden (up 23 per cent to an average of £80); Prague (up 19 per cent to £84) Salzburg (up 18 per cent to £110). These three cities are popular winter destinations: Dresden and Prague feature Christmas markets, and Salzburg is a popular skiing destination.

But Spain is getting cheaper all the time: in comparison to this time last year, hotels in Seville are down 14 per cent to an average of £61, with Madrid down nine per cent to £72.

In Britain, city centre prices have fallen from £130 in August, to £109. London hotel prices predictably peaked in August thanks to the London Olympics and the cheapest UK cities in December were Blackpool and Sheffield, where one night costs an average of £56 and £67 respectively.

Most expensive are London and Oxford, at an average £151 and £108 respectively.