January - Lisbon
For an uplifting escape in the depths of winter, Lisbon is a savvy destination choice. January in the Portuguese capital sees pleasant weather and mild temperatures of around 15°C, and is well outside its peak tourist season. The average price per night of a 4* accommodation during the last week of January 2015 was €79 (around £60), 43 per cent cheaper than in June, when the city saw its most expensive week at €139 (£107). But it's not just cost that makes January in Lisbon such an attractive proposition. The historical city's many attractions, galleries and museums are all relatively empty and you can immerse yourself in Portuguese life with the locals.
February - Florence
Florence (main picture), Tuscany's infinitely charming capital, offers some of its most affordable rates in February while the city is no less glorious than in its high season (in fact perhaps more so without Italy's almost oppressive summer heat). The first week of February 2015 saw an average per night price of €108 (£83), an impressive 55 per cent less than the peak rate of €241 (£185) in June. Known for its exquisite architecture and as the centre of the Renaissance, Florence is home to some of the world's greatest works of art. What's more, the city is delightfully peaceful come February so visitors won't have to deal with hours of queues to enter the Uffizi gallery to see Michelangelo's David.
March – Krakow
In recent years, in-the-know travellers have caught on to Krakow's multi-faceted appeal as a sophisticated city break destination, so it's important to know when to go to get the best value for money and avoid the tourist droves. Early spring is ideal, if you can handle a bit of a nip in the air, and the first week of March 2015 was only 336 PLN (£58) per night on average, 35 per cent cheaper than the peak week of 513 PLN (£88) in September. As Easter in 2016 falls during the last week of March, a visit earlier in the month is advisable, to revel in the build up to this big Polish festival as well as getting the most bang for your buck.
April – Copenhagen
Copenhagen may not spring to mind as a bargain hunter's ideal destination, with its reputation as a chic but expensive city. While you might have to splash out a little bit for a trip here, certain weeks of the year do offer more in terms of value for money. The average cost per night of a 4* accommodation starts to rise in May, eventually falling at the end of October. But if you don't want to go in the freezing Danish winter, all is not lost. Just on the verge of peak season, April sees the beginnings of spring weather and fewer tourists filling the stunning medieval streets. The first week of April was only 1067 DKK (£110) in 2015, 38 per cent cheaper than the most expensive week of the year.
May - London
London is never going to be cheap per se but there are certain periods that see sky-high accommodation rates ease off significantly. The week before the May bank holiday will always see a price hike but the following week tends to be less expensive. The second week of May 2015 costs on average £150 per night , which is 25 per cent cheaper than the most expensive week of the year. And springtime in London is a real treat, as the city comes to life with sunshine and the beginning of the city's outdoor events season.
June - Istanbul
In contrast to London, the average price of a 4* accommodation in Istanbul is pretty reasonable throughout the year. But as a city of extremes weather-wise, timing is key to ensuring an enjoyable as well as affordable trip. To avoid the stiflingly hot mid-summer or bitterly cold mid-winter, a visit in June would be well-advised. The average price per night during the last week of June in 2015 was only €85 (£65), 37 per cent cheaper than the city's most expensive week. And at this time of year, the temperature is perfect for enjoying an evening meal al fresco or people watching while sipping a Turkish coffee at a pavement café.
July – St Petersburg
St Petersburg is truly in full swing come summer, a buzzing cultural hub with numerous festivals and outdoor attractions. Even if you don’t catch the tail end of the White Nights (the phenomenon where the city remains naturally light until around midnight and which usually lasts until early July), the days are still wonderfully long and warm. And annual events such as the White Nights Festival continue well into July, offering a series of classical ballet, opera and music performances of an astounding standard. In 2015, the average price per night for a 4* accommodation for the first week of July was 8685 RUB (£88), 32 per cent cheaper than the most expensive week all year.
August – Berlin
Berlin was surprisingly cheap throughout August 2015, despite the German capital being absolute bliss in summer. The weather is usually warm and sunny and the city is buzzing with open-air cultural festivals, riverside bars and a rich culinary scene, including street food. Berlin's revered nightlife is world-class whenever you choose to go but August is perfect for lazing around in the city's selection of serene parks – the Tiergarten also hosts a lovely flea market on a regular basis. For an affordable jaunt to this fine city, the last three weeks of August were only €100 (£77) on average per night, a grand 43 per cent cheaper than the most expensive week of the year.
September – Rome
Rome, like London, is rarely cheap. Not surprising, given its status as one of Europe's most beautiful and romantic metropolises. But a good time to go to get more bang for your buck is September. Avoid August's searing heat and Ferragosto (the traditional holiday which technically runs from August 15th until September and means many stores and restaurants are closed), and opt for the late summer temperatures and relaxed atmosphere of the following month. It's also perfect for saving money and getting the most out of the city, as the first week of September 2015 saw the average price of a 4* accommodation per night (£93) in Rome drop 29 per cent from a peak in June.
October – Edinburgh
Edinburgh is obviously packed and incredibly pricey during August for the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as during Christmas and New Year for Hogmanay. But don’t be disheartened! The Scottish capital is truly magical in every season, particularly autumn, when accommodation rates happened to be at one of their lowest points. Climb Arthur's Seat to see breathtaking views of the city bathed in golden autumnal sunshine or wander the historic streets before warming up in a cosy pub. The fluctuation in average accommodation prices in Edinburgh was one of the highest in Europe, with a 50 per cent difference between highest and lowest – in the middle two weeks of October, the average price was £107 compared to £215 in August.
November – Barcelona
Barcelona in November sees pleasant weather and equally pleasant prices. The last week of November was only €99 (£76) on average per night at a 4* accommodation, whereas the same star rating would set you back €240 (£185) during the city’s most expensive week, a difference of 59 per cent. Offering azure skies and a relaxed pace of life, Barcelona in November provides welcome respite from the harsher winter of its northern European neighbours. It’s also quieter than in the height of summer, so you can take in the many galleries and museums in peace.
December – Frankfurt
Frankfurt is wonderfully festive come December, with an enchantingly picture-perfect Christmas market scene. The huge Christmas tree centerpiece and architecture surrounding the main square create a fairy-tale setting for visitors to enjoy some traditional gluhwein and roasted chestnuts while being serenaded with seasonal music. During December 2014, Frankfurt’s 4* accommodations also happened to offer some of the best year-round rates. €103 (£79) was the average price per night for the first two weeks of December, 56 per cent cheaper than the city’s peak price.
Thanks to Booking.com.
There are more money-saving tips in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.