A Budget Holiday in Europe..

by mehak on September 8, 2012

in Uncategorized

The gorgeous view of Jungfrao in Interlaken

So first of, lets define what we mean by ‘ Budget’ because Europe is possibly one of the MOST expensive holidays you can have. Even if the flight tickets are cheaper, the hotels and food are exorbitant so lets define ‘ Budget’ okie? . When we decided we wanted to honeymoon in Europe we met two kinds of people. The first said ” Sure, you can definitely honeymoon there. It should cost you about 6-7 lakhs totally plus shopping “. The other said ” Sure, you should take one of those group packages and it will probably jut be around 3 .5 lakhs totally“. Now honestly, the former was too expensive and the latter is in budget – but well who wants a ‘group honeymoon’ ? Group tours are very restrctive and time bound and we wanted to do our own thing, so we just sat down and planned everything on our own.

So we did: London-Paris-Interlaken-Zurich . June-July is the most expensive time for these places, but since we were honeymooning we couldnt really postpone it , besides other times are probably too cold.

Flight Tickets:

  • Qatar Airways has some great deals to Europe from India. We booked tickets like 5 months in advance and it costed us totally  Rs 71000/- round trip for both of us. Now, we had a strange sector- we flew Hyd- London and Zurich- Delhi return. So if you are doing a proper round trip it should be a bit cheaper.


  • In London, book as early as possible. I mean even 9 months before is fine and even if you dont know your plan for sure (Cancellation is free!!!) Because in london you WANT to stay in Central London. Thats where everything happens and you dont want to take 2 am taxi rides or rail rides back to your hotel. Central London is EXTREMELY expensive. Just to give you a whiff…there is almost nothing available below 130 pounds a night at any hotel. thats roughly 12 grand per night.
    • The best option is to look at service apartments in London. If you book early, you can get these service apartments around kensingtion area for about 100-110 pounds a night.  We didnt find a free room in those apartments so we looked elsewhere so book as early as possible.
    • Look at Tripadvisor and go into the “Apartments” Section. Now start googling all the top 10 ones. A lot of the hotels are not available on those bulk booking websites but have their own small websites where you can book on, so google them seperately.
    • We stayed in a lively area called Earls Court in a little hotel called the Barkston Garden Hotel.  It costed us about 100 pounds a night but we got lucky because the hotel was under renovation hence the low rates. Another Good option is Anthea Macedonia– its walking distance from a central tube station, is a lovely boutique hotel and fairly cheap.
    • If you are not going on a honeymoon, but taking a trip with friends  and you want to make it REALLLY cheap then London’s Youth Hostels are a great bet. http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/ has some youth hostels in and around good areas where you can stay.
    • I booked all my hotels through www.booking.com . They sometimes get really great deals of the day and you can keep booking and cancellation -they never charge you until the day before the check in
  • In Paris, language is a major problem so trust the hotel chains you have heard of more than the other ones. Try and stay in the 4th or 5th Arrondisement- the St Germain de Pres, or Latin Quartier area. This is where all the action happens.
    • The thing about Paris is, hotel rooms are extremely tiny, they are like little cubby holes. So whether you spend a lot or spend a little doesnt matter. You will either get a fancy cubby hole or a regular cubby hole.
    • We stayed at Best Western Hotel Quartier Latin- which was a little bit away from the buzz but walkable distance to a lot of things close by. This costed us about 7800/- a night but the room was like a tiny little cubby hole.
  • In smaller cities of  Switzerland  like Interlaken  and Lucerne DO NOT stay in a hotel. There is absolutely no point in lettng the beauty of Switzerland go waste by staying in a fancy hotel. The BEST thing to do for these smaller cities is to log on to tripadvisor and go into the “Bed and Breakfast and Inns’section. We lucked out by booking the Number 2 Bed and Breakfast in Interlaken- Rugenpark B & B. Now, sure it was more like a home and less like a hotel but the breakfast was amazing, the hosts were unbelievably helpful ( you MUST speak to Ursula the host about what to do- she knows everything from the best fondue in town, to the best peak to go skiing in ) , the view was gorgeous and the whole Swiss Cottage feel to it was really nice !
  •  In Zurich we stayed at Novotel Zurich.
That was our room in Barkston Garden Hotel, London


  • The last thing you want to do when you are on a Honeymoon is go and ruin you lunch and dinner dates by eating at Mc Donalds to save cash. So we  made it a point, to never enter Mc D in our whole trip , but still remain budget. How we did that?
    • Cheap Eats in London: Pret a Manger, M & S Food . These are things you wont get in India, but are still affordable and really yummy! Also when you are shopping or on the go, you need quick bites from these.
    • Nice Restaurants in London: Ping Pong, Chiquitos, Nandos, WagaMama, and Busaba. Ping Pong is on the expensive side, but hey come on, you can splurge once in a while right.  But all of these according to me are MUST visits!
    • Cheap Eats in Paris: In Paris, the street food is AMAZING !!! There are crepes, falafels, waffle standas everywhere . I highly recommend Aup’tit Grec in Latin Quarter. It had the yummiest Crepes!!!! There is also an extremely falafel guy called Lás Du Falafel. We arent too fond of falafels so we didnt go there but people say he is a must visit. Also must do- eat Berthillion Sorbet Ice Creams. Heaven that!!!!
    • Nice Restaurants in paris: There are cafes everywhere in Paris, just enter  any one of them !
    • Must Eat Restaurant in Paris : We decided that since we are in Paris, we MUST visit atleast one Michelin Star Restaurant. It was an expensive meal which set us back some 9000 Rs for that meal alone but it was WELL worth it. Its a place called Le Galerie Kitchen and i would go there and spend that much again JUST to eat the White Chocolate and Wasabi Ice Cream. That is probably the single best dessert iv had till date!
    • Cheap Eats in Switzerland: None. No Seriously, Switzerland is THE MOST expensive of all the places we visited. So this is what we did- some days we visited the big department stores they have COOP and MIGROS and did take aways of their pre-packaged food. It was surprisingly good. I remember eating a Yellow Thai Curry, and Shrimp and Noodle Salad and it was  1/10th of what you would spend in a restaurant. Other days we strolled on the streets, sat by the lakes in Switzerland which are gorgeous and just ordered from nearby cafes
  • Food Tip: always stock your travel bag in the morning with packets of chips, sandwiches from the supermarket, you wont need to keep running into cafes everytime your tummy does a little growl between meals
  • Water Tip: Europe Water is safe to drink from the tap- infact the locals drink it too.We realised this after having spent like tons of money on 3 pound bottles of mineral water. So dont do the same mistake- the tap water is totally fine!!!
  • Drink Beer in london, Wine in Paris : Do as the locals do- beer is cheaper than water in london and Wine in Paris is totally affordable! So Drink uppp!!!
Ping Pong at London!

Free Entertainment

  • In London, Covent Garden is a lively little square in the evening, where street performers do the whackiest of performances. Its amazing, like a little melting pot of culture and it costs nothing so do that. Also go laze around Hyde Park/ Primrose Hill for beautiful, lush green  landscapes
  • In Paris, there are TONS of free museums if you wish to see!  Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre — free on the first Sunday of every month. Paris is so beautiful in itself that lovely little walks can make your day!
  • In Switzerland, the best entertainment is free. The place is so stunning that all you need to do is go sit by the lakeside, or the mountain side and have a little pic nic
A performer in Covent Garden
Other Stuff you must  do, and stuff you can avoid
  • In London , definitely watch a westend play. Tickets arent exactly cheap – but the plays are just well worth it. I am not even a play person, but if you get a chance to see Lion King or Wicked GO SEE IT !! Ticket for one person costs 40 pounds. They are available in Picaddily circus right off the tube station. Book a day or two in advance to get good seats for a better rate.  I would also definitely recommend the Casino over there- we went to the Empire Casino and it was a ton of fun except we gambled away some 150 pounds :p . ALso do club in London, we went to a club called Tiger Tiger and it was a lot of fun. Over -rated thing you can skip : The London Eye, i dont get what the big deal is. Its a freaking giant wheel. Whoopie. No Thank you.
  • In Paris, definitely do the cruise on the Siene. Its well worth it- you get to see all the gorgeous Paris attractions as you cruise along the river. Also definitely do Disneyland, i mean how can you go to Paris and not do Disney Land? I had the most fun there !!!
  • In Interlaken you must go to the snow peaked mountains of either Schilthorn or Jungfrao. We actually did Schilthron which is not as famous as Jungfrao but is much cheaper and honestly has MUCH better views. This is a little tip Ursula gave us and it paid off big time. Both are VERY expensive..i think 200 francs for both of us! Also you MUSt go to the Glacier Falls
  • In Zurich i didnt find too many must do things. Honestly i didnt love zurich that much anyway. However, if you are vegetarian then you MUST MUST  go to this restaurant called Hiltl.
Paris near River Siene. Just take  a stroll hand in hand or do the cruise!
Outside the louvre. Why is that other chick posing for my snap?!


  • London is THE place to shop. People who say London shopping is expensive dont know what they are talking about. You MUST, compulsary enter Primark- its a HUGE store with clothing that is cheaper than anything you find in India Honestly. Also Mango is much cheaper in london specially on sale so do go there. Also go to New Look , Top Shop and H & M.
  • London is best to visit during June-July for shopping.You Get INSANE discounts. Micheal Kors was on a flat 60% off !! and i got myself a little Micheal Kors Bag which was originally for some 29,000 Rs at 11000/- Rs !!
  • London- everyone shops at Oxford Street. You can spend 4 days there and there will still be shops left to cover, but High Street Kensington is nice too.
  • Paris shopping is nice too, but its a tad more expensive. The 3rd arrondisement area is lined with quirky little boutiques and vintage shops that even if you dont buy anything from are absolutely darling. There is also a cheap flea market in Paris  : the Clignacourt flea market which is at the end of the metro line so its a bit far. But apparently you get great bargains there!!! If you want regular high street shopping then Boulevard St germain or Chatelet is a nice area.
  • There is no point of shopping in Switzerland. Except if you want to get yourself a ddlj bell. Ya, apart from that its all over prices nonsense.
Shopping on Oxford Street
  • From London to Paris you can either go by cheap flights like Ryanair, or you can take the “Eurostar train ” which is actually much more expensive but makes you reach in 2 hours. We chose the more expensive option because people told us the views were fabulous but i will be honest there was nothing different about the view than what you see in the fields of Punjab. Just lush green grass. So if you really want to make it a tight budget you can fly.
  • Between European countries and cities Eurail is the way to go but dont blindly book a pass. Those passes only make sense if you are going to atleast 5-10 different cities. Point to Point tickets will work out cheaper otherwise.
  • WIthin London we got ourselves a card called the “Oyster Card”. This lets you travel on buses/ rail / tube at a discounted price and its really convenient. For late night excursions we used a cab .
  • Another cool thing about London- there are these Barclays Bicycles that you can rent for a pound and circle around oxford street, hyde park corner with them and explore the city.Its fun!!!
  • In Paris again we travelled by rail or in some cases Cabs but the day pass system just didnt make any sense so we always got point to point.
  • In Interlaken- just rent a bicycle its a tiny tiny town
  • In Zurich we used the trams.

What is the MINIMUM amount you will spend per person: Well the minimum is around 1.5 Lac you will spend per person uf you do the same countries as ours and you still want to enjoy yourself and do all the fun things. Other countries like Italy and Spain are much cheaper than London and Switzerland so you can go cheaper there. Honestly me and boy did not scrimp, we ate at Good places, shopped to our hearts content, gambled and lost tons of money in the Casino’s , splurged in Disneyland , splurged on Michelin star meals and went to all major attractions that we wanted to. We were just smart about it- balancing out lavish meals with quick street food, and ensuring we did all the free entertainment things as well as the expensive…and total including shopping  we spent a little less than 4L. Believe me, thats NOTHING in Europe.

PS: Im not an expert, im only talking from my own experience of holidaying there.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Pallavi September 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Wow! Am so inspired. Luckily for me my man has already done a Europe tour. Now that experience with your invaluable tips sure will make my trip awesome when we do decide to take the plunge and head to see the world.
P.S.: You look so gorgeous, wonder if your hubby actually saw anything else ;)


komal September 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Wow this was such a thorough article !! I do like the places you mentioned but i think i would want to go to Italy and Spain more :D


Pooja@IBC September 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Ah-mazing post! Bookmarked it already.I love meticulously planning our holidays in great details just like you! Last year we were planning on a London-Paris summer holiday along with another couple ( very close friends of ours) most of the hotels and sites you mentioned were on our itinerary as well, the plan didn’t eventually work out ‘coz my fiend found out she was preggers!!
Now my Hubby is trying to work me up for a Roman Holiday ;)


Harman September 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I totally go with the idea of a budget holiday. I left for my Switzerland-Paris holiday in the end of july with my mother and sister. We opted for a group package, although it is cheaper, I would not really recommend that since we have such bad group people and besides the time constraint was really bad. I totally agree that one should get their own stuff customized. But anyhow Europe is AMAZING!!!!


Neha Sharma September 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Ohh Amamzing post Mehak so detailed …it would help anyone..u are so good in these things it helped a lot Mehak..Thanks a tonn!!!!


Shreya September 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Hy Mehak!

I have been following your blog for quite sometime now and I love it! I learned a lot about make up just by reading your blog so thank u for that. As for this post… believe it or not.. europe can be much much cheaper than this also… next time u head out to the west jst log on to airbnb.com they hv marvelous apartments for rent… cheap and great locations and it makes a great deal of difference in your budget. I have been living in Europe for about 3 yrs now and I hv seen almost whole of it thanks to airbnb..

oh and I blog about fashion and luxury… i’d b glad if u all wud chk out my blog..


Thanks! :)


mehak September 9, 2012 at 11:07 am

Ooh thanks fr the little tip Shreya we will check it out!!!


Ansh@VNA September 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

girl you have covered like everything. honestly how much time did u put into this one post? amazing!


Seema Rathore September 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hi Mahak I’ve just discovered your blog and must say how glad I am !!! in the past few days I ‘ read all your posts and thay are totally fun about what I ve always wished to read and discuss about and on top of that this write up is icing on the cake as we have been planning a holiday there and I am sure this will be helpful!


Rima September 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

would be very helpful for those who are planning a trip to these lovely places.thats a very detailed one indeed.i would love to have my honeymoon in paris and prague. :)


Sweet&Bitter September 9, 2012 at 12:03 am

thanks for the post dear. Booked marked and email to few friends as well. It feels so nice to read something you can trust upon because many travel sites just glorifies thing that are not that useful like booking a pass blindly. Loved this post and thanks again – I was waiting long for this post to come


mehak September 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Ya booking a pass is the most over rated thing ever. Its actually quite expensive


Dolon September 9, 2012 at 2:44 am

Super amazing post and kudos to you for putting down everything for us :)..Thanks a ton!


Richa Saxena September 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

That’s an amazing post Mehak…indeed very helpful! you have really put down tons of details!!


Jyoti September 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

I’ve book marked this page Mehak. :D Thanks a lot for such a detailed post.
You have explained evevy aspect of travelling there so well that i dont think i wneed to chk anywhere else when we are planning our trip. :)


mehak September 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm



priyanka September 9, 2012 at 11:55 am

Your blog is simply superb and I can see the efforts you put to sincerely reach out to you avid readers (I m one of them!!). This is a very very helpful and honest post. Congrats..


Meenu September 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

O loved this article of yours the most….
i felt as if i am reading a travel book by some professional writer…
Great work Mehak!!! N m sure many will be benefited form that..


mehak September 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Glad u loved it meenu!


shrilata September 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hey Mehak,

Nice post. We did Paris & Switzerland last year & did all booking through http://www.booking.com. I guess you missed Glacier Express in switzerland which goes through Alps & offers stunning panorma. Also one can get a swiss pass which will save you good margin in transportation.


gargi September 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You should get an applaud for doing this!
I wanted to do a blogpost too on my recent travel but by the time I came back I almost forgot it.

How did you remember the places, the hotels, the restaurants…My god!


mehak September 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

HAHA I have a photographic memory of things!


gargi September 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Once I see something spectacular (here – I mean FOOD) I will blindly try getting it past my throat.

Man, I should take some notes from you.

P.S – this post has been bookmarked!


beingpretty September 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I was missing your long and fun-filled posts Mehak!! LOVED the detailed post! This will be helpful for so many!
Thanks a lot! I don’t know where I’ll go for my honeymoon ;)
But I have wanted to go to London and Switzerland for some reason (Bollywood is to be blamed here I guess)!! :D


sakshi September 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Grt post Mehak!! It is such a helpful post fr those who r planin to go dere. A many thanx to U fr d post n u were luking owsom


Shruti Dhingra Wahi September 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

WOW lovely :-) love the clicks !!!


Kritika September 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Ooh. Amazing post Mehak!! Bookmarking it right away :-) :-D


Arunima September 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

Im soooo bookmarking this page!!!


Maitri September 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

Tremendous effort, Bravo!!


Marathi Weddings September 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

What a perfect time for your post to come! I just finished all my honeymoon bookings last week. Guess what, even we refuse to eat out at places like Mc D’s and staying at sad hotels to stay in budget.
Loved your itinerary. You did everything right. Although, I do feel a similar tour in europe can be even cheaper than this! But its okay. You only go for your honeymoon once right? ;) (This is what I say to myself to get the feel good factor :P)


Nidhi Pandey September 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Whoa that was a detailed description indeed.. :) In case if we plan a tour like tht would definitely bookmark this post of yours. I must say you look very refreshing!!


Tanmayee September 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Europe rocks, I want to visit the Louvre again, one day is insufficient to see that …


IsmiDiva September 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm

thanks for the great insight, definitely going to bookmark it for future trips!


aditi September 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

awesome post mehak :) bookmarked !


Crazy Indian Bride September 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm

i wanna go!! :'(

why does it snow in December!


Bhumika September 11, 2012 at 12:09 am

What a fab post !! How do u remember all the names man..that too like what after 2 months ? Or you had it written ? Awesome.. Bookmarked !


Karishma September 11, 2012 at 4:00 am

Loved this post!! God knows when i will ever be able go to Europe for a trip though :/ I should bookmark this.


Kejal September 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Good crisp travelog!! I am emailing this post to hubby to hint out for my next travel destination! :D


Gwen @ Makeup Toys September 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

Looks like so much fun!!! Hope I can get to go Europe soon! Either for work or for leisure!


lila October 7, 2012 at 7:29 am

Amazing informative post ! Your tips were very useful for our trip next year.. not honeymoon tho, but 10th anniversary trip!


June Biswas October 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

That was an extremely well written and informative post! Will keep all your tips in mind! I have a cousin in London so I’m kinda saved on the food and stay!


Dhriti November 29, 2012 at 3:31 am

Okay, this is the 5th time I’m reading this post. And everytime I read it I go, “Oh myaaaann, this is sooooo awesome!!! *sigh* I want to have my honeymoon there too.” :D and trust me, this post is tempting me me to get married, just for the honeymoon part of it! :P :D


jasmin December 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Hey Mehak u r a rockstar !!! , love n adore y’r writing , n must say u are a glam doll , was a silent reader of y’r blog since the last 5 months , and now m kinda addicted , every morning I just type pe in ma browsing window and press enter and trust me , I just eagerly wait for y’r new posts <3 <3 , u're bridal posts are like , I can read them on and on and on ….. keeps me hooked to y'r blog , and must admit was never a make up addict but ever since the last 5 months i have shopped fror more than 15 k on cosmetics , now dats a really big amount for a gal , whose make was just kohl lined eyes , and lipgloss and appylin eyeliner occasionally… if i start writing my heart out will end up writing a biggg historyyy …

Way to go
best wishes


mehak December 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Thanks Jasmin :)


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