We associate European vacations with costly excursions to Barcelona, London, or Paris. But the real globetrotters know that a great vacation doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.
The masses have been to the most popular vacation destinations. But a shoestring budget makes you do research. This research yields various options that are lesser-known. These lesser-known destinations attract fewer crowds and assure you a laid-back vacation.
Here is our list of cheap European vacations:
- Porto, Portugal
Usually, food, lodging, and drinks take up a significant part of a vacation budget. But that’s just not the case with Porto. Accommodations near the Old Town are even cheaper.
Porto has many churches. The most famous of them is the Igreja de São Francisco. You must check out the splendid views of the city from the top of the Clerigos Tower. The Dom Luis Bridge is another must-visit.
The best seafood is available at the eateries near the harbor. Authentic port wine is sourced from the nearby Douro Valley. So, make sure you try port wine in Porto.
- Athens, Greece
If you are into history, you have some majestic monuments to explore. The Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus are best admired from up close. The history buff in you will love the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum.
Young tourists flock to Exarcheia and Psiri for their happening bar scenes. You must have the fish delicacies. Cheap and fresh, they go well with Greek wines. The flea markets in Monastiraki are ideal for souvenir shopping.
- Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is so small that you can explore it on foot.Petrin Tower is a major tourist destination. You should go there to enjoy spectacular views of the city. Charles Bridge is another iconic landmark of Prague.
You can buy authentic souvenirs like garnets and Kafka souvenirs. You can have some smazenysyr and wash it down with some quality beer for cheap.
- Riga, Latvia
Riga is an architectural gem thanks to hundreds of buildings built using the Art Nouveau style of architecture. You can visit the House of the Blackheads, the Freedom Monument, Riga Castle, and Riga Cathedral to understand Riga’s architectural diversity.
You can enjoy shopping in Riga. Riga Central Market is the largest market in Europe. German Zeppelin hangars were recycled to make its main structures. Here you can grab some cheap snacks. Agenskalns Market is only partially open because of ongoing refurbishment, but it is thriving.
The Porcelain Museum is a symbol of Riga’s porcelain manufacturing legacy. You may shop for souvenirs and grab some cold ones at Liu Square in the Old Town.
- Krakow, Poland
Krakow is home to several historic monuments. The streets are lined with Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance buildings. You must visit the medieval ZamekKrolewskinaWawelu (Royal Wawel Castle) if you wish to learn about Polish history.
The KatedraWawelska (Wawel Cathedral) is another fascinating monument. Its blend of Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque architectures is awe-inspiring. It used to host the coronation ceremonies of polish kings and queens.
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory is now hosts two museums – MuzeumSztukiWspolczesnej w Krakowie (Museum of Contemporary Arts in Krakow) and MuzeumHistoryczneMiastaKrakowa (Historical Museum of the City of Krakow). Known as Emalia, Jews staying in the nearby ghettos used to work here during Nazi occupation.
Krakow is a go-to vacation option for students in nearby universities thanks to the buzzing and inexpensive nightlife of the Old Town and Kazimierz neighborhoods. The kielbasa is a must-have local delicacy.
- Budapest, Hungary
Halaszbastya (Fisherman’s bastion) is the most iconic landmark in Budapest. You can experience the stunning panoramic views from the top at no cost between mid-October and mid-March. You should go to the top of Gellert Hill to enjoy bird’s eye views of the Danube River bisecting the city.
Budapest has more than a hundred thermal springs. They enrich the baths that the city is famed for. Gellert Baths, Kiraly Baths Lukacs Baths, Rudas Baths, and Szechneyi thermal baths are excellent and reasonably priced. These baths are famed for providing numerous health benefits.
Gulyas (goulash) and PaprikasCsirke (Chicken Paprikash) are the most famous members of Hungarian cuisine. But you must try the deep-fried dough known as langos. It is a popular street food you can buy for as little as US$2. Then you can wash it down with some palinka.
Other noteworthy options:
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Madrid, Spain
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Valencia, Spain
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Zagreb, Croatia
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