5 Incredible new short breaks from Abu Dhabi

With the announcement this year of two new budget airlines to commence operating out of Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) – Wizz Air and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi – we’re taking a deeper look into what this means for family travellers out of the UAE – could it be true, return tickets to Eastern Europe for under 500AED?

Short Breaks from Abu Dhabi with Wizz Air

One-way fares are advertised with Wizz Air as “starting from €59.99” and, as you may expect of budget airlines, timetables are not daily and carry-on luggage should be expected without additional fees.

Launch dates are still pending outcomes of Covid-19 travel restrictions, however, we have been chatting to some of our Eastern European experts to find out exactly what families can expect from these exciting new Wizz Air destinations slated to commence in 2020:

Budapest, Hungary

Fly with WizzAir – from 3 June Wed & Sun (after 30 Sept will move to Mon, Wed & Fri)

Budapest city view

Why You’ll want to visit Budapest: The Hungarian capital Budapest is a true gem. For me it is a mix of the coolness of Tel Aviv with the edginess of Berlin. Above all, it is special. Budapest is divided into two parts – Buda and Pest. Whereas Buda is the rather touristy one, Pest is where you find the cool bars, restaurants and alleys to get lost in.

To get an overview over the city, taking the Cogwheel train from Városmajor up the Széchenyi mountain is the best you can do. Also, it is definitely good fun for the kids as this old cog railway is a highlight in itself. Once you are on top of the mountain make sure to get the typical Hungarian dessert Kürtöskalacs before you make your way to the children train Gyermekvasút. This whole train is operated by kids – from the train conductor over the ticket person to the ones lifting the cabinets. Apart from the fun of actually being on the train, you will also make your way through perfect nature before you take the chair lift down to the city again. 

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Where to stay in Budapest

Try Barceló Budapest for something beautiful, or if you’re travelling on a budget try Hotel Memories.

With thanks to Clemens Sehi & Anne Steinbach from travellersarchive.de for these suggestions.

Bucharest, Romania

Fly with WizzAir – from 3 June Wed & Sun (after 30 Sept will move to Mon, Wed & Fri)

Why you’ll want to visit Bucharest: A beautiful Eastern European city with “Europes Newest Old Town” you will feel vibes from the Orient and the Baltic, along with plenty of touches from a bygone Soviet era. The laneways and wide boulevards, however, will leave you with a distinctly Parisienne feel too.

A sightseeing weekend to Bucharest will likely see you visit the People’s Palace (which includes the Museum of Contemporary Art) and a walking tour through many of the city’s beautiful park – Herastrau Park and Cismigiu Park are a must. You can spend hours wandering the streets of the Old Town; hidden laneways, bars and restaurants, beautiful churches and seek out the giant bookstore Carturesti Carusel. On an adults trip, check out the night vibes from Pura Vida Sky Bar.

Bucharest is also a great place to fly into for a road trip around Transylvania. Children will delight in the legend of Dracula and some of the most utterly stunning medieval villages, fortified churches and dramatic castles.

Where to stay in Bucharest

Try the Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest with large suites, close to the heart of the action, or our value pick Ramada Bucharest Majestic Hotel

With thanks to Keri Hedrick from Our Globetrotters for these suggestions.

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Fly with with Wizz Air – from 16 September Wed & Sun

Why you’ll want to visit Cluj-Napoca: Cluj Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania and the unofficial capital of Transylvania. It has a long history, as a Roman colony by the name of Napoca was here 2000 years ago and it changed rulers a few times throughout the centuries. The legacy from its Austro-Hungarian Empire is visible everywhere, in the beautiful architecture and impressive churches.

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But beyond all that history, Cluj is now a vibrant university city. People in Cluj are relaxed and welcoming.

Visit Saint Michael Church, a Gothic Catholic Cathedral in the center of the city and The Assumption Orthodox Cathedral in Avram Iancu Plaza. Discover the beautiful Botanical Garden in Cluj and rest in one of the many cafés in Museum Plaza. The city has a busy events calendar, music, sports, and all types of international fairs.

Where to stay in Cluj-Napoca

A great accommodation option is Hotel Beyfin, perfectly situated across the Orthodox Cathedral which has a stunning rooftop terrace. A more budget-friendly option is Hotel Fullton, also situated close to everything in the city center.

With thanks to for Anda from Travel For A While these suggestions.

Sofia Bulgaria

Fly with WizzAir – from 15 September Tue & Sat

Sofia Bulgaria

Why you’ll want to visit Sofia: If you’re looking for a quick getaway for a few days, spending a long weekend in Sofia is a great way to escape. The city is compact, and most of the important historic sites are within a small walkable core, so you can cover many of the best parts of the city in two or three days.

Make sure to visit the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and Vitosha Boulevard. If you want to escape to the country, you can visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Boyana Church is on the foot of Vitosha Mountain, and from there you can also hike to the Boyana Waterfall. Or you can visit Rila Monastery, which is about two hours away in the beautiful Rila Mountains.

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Where to stay in Sofia

If you want to stay in a lovely hotel, Sense Hotel has the best views in the city. If you want a more budget-friendly place to stay, hit up Sense’s Rooftop Bar but stay at R34 Boutique Hotel nearby. 

With thanks to Stephanie Craig from Sofia Adventures for these suggestions.

Katowice, Poland

Fly with Wizz Air – from 15 September Tue & Sat (from 24 October Mon & Fri)

Why you’ll want to visit Katowice: As a mid size city in Poland and a growing tourist destination, Katowice has become an attractive and family friendly city to visit when traveling to Poland.  Known as a miner’s town throughout the 19th century, Katowice has grown rapidly and includes museums, theaters, parks and a variety of entertainment venues as some of its must see places in the city.

The Spodek arena will likely have an event for families as there are dozens of recreational attractions throughout the year.  Kosciuszko Park, located in the heart of the city, has beautiful flower gardens and a lot of green space for families to picnic or simply stroll around and take in the beauty.

If your family is up for it, spend a day at Poland’s largest permanent amusement park, Legendia.  With nearly 40 attractions and 26 hectares of land, the theme park is family-friendly and boasts new attractions opening up regularly.

Katowice also has smaller attractions for families such as a trampoline park, as well as play places for smaller children.

Where to stay when visiting Katowice

Be sure to take a look at Hotel Vienna House Easy Katowice which has won certificates for being family-friendly or Hotel Monopol which has an indoor pool, always a hit with kids.

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With thanks to Diana from Travels in Poland for these suggestions

Further travel inspiration from the Middle East

Looking for more family tarvel ideas in the Middle East?

For our UAE readers, we recommend you start with our UAE Staycations home page. This is absolutely packed with ideas across the Emirates from camping to luxury resorts, nature to indoor retreats.

Elsewhere across the Middle East, why not try:

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Destinations you can fly to on budget airline Wizz Air from UAE Capital Abu Dhabi

Disclosures: This post is not sponsored by Wizz Air and views represent those of the individual contributors. This post contains affiliate links which may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Our full website terms of use and privacy policy can be found here

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