Traveling these days is not as costly as it used to be. With new, low-fare airlines and countless daily online vacation deals, it’s hard to resist the temptation to hop on a plane and get away for a little while. Of course, It’s better to know which destinations will get you the most bang for your buck.
Prague Castle in the distance above the city skyline
If you’re looking for a historic feel, combined with the modernity of western European, Prague is the place to go. It’s one of the cheapest European destinations, with 1 U.S. dollar equal to about 20 Czech koruna. Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic and it is filled with vibrant architecture, ranging from Gothic and Romanesque to Communist-era buildings.
If you get hungry while you’re exploring the city, you’ll find that it’s not too expensive to grab a decent meal. Street-food carts are a common site, especially near the Old Town Square, where you can get something to eat for under $5. It can get pretty cold there In the winter, so be sure to grab a cup of hot mulled wine to keep yourself warm. And if you’re looking to eat something a bit fancier, a full course meal at a nice restaurant shouldn’t cost you more than $15.
Prague is rich in history, and many of its attractions don’t cost a penny to visit. They include the Jewish Quarter, the 1150 year-old Prague Castle, or the John Lennon wall, which are all accessible through walking tours.
Eastern Europe is a popular destination, especially with the favorable U.S. dollar exchange rate. The Hungarian capital of Budapest is another great example. Don’t be alarmed when you get a 250 forint bill for your goulash - that’s $1! Heart attack averted!
You can enjoy a multitude of free or low-priced attractions in the capital of Hungary, and all within walking distance of the city center. And like Prague, Budapest has a vibrant Jewish Quarter which is home to the largest synagogue in Europe.
Walking through the city, you’ll find the scenery unique and unforgettable. The Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion provide amazing views of the cityscape, and the attractions themselves give a glimpse into the city’s past. Afterwards, cross the Danube River on the famous “Chain Bridge” and catch a great rooftop view of the city at St. Stephen’s Basilica. You’ll have to endure a 300-step climb to get to the top, but the scenery is well worth the workout, and it only costs $2.
Amsterdam is another sought-after destination by American travelers. While it is not as cheap as Budapest or Prague, it makes up for it with its charm and beauty. Narrow houses with ornate gables tower over houseboat-lined canals and streets teeming with pedestrian and bike traffic.
On top of Amsterdam’s architectural beauty and energy, the Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries in Europe. Both marijuana and prostitution are legal, and night-life can go on until the early hours of the morning. It’s safe to say that there’s something to do for everyone!
The country’s currency is the Euro, with an exchange rate of 80 Euro cents to the dollar. While that may seem expensive, you’ll be surprised to find that a cup of coffee won’t cost more than $3, and a pint of beer runs just under $6. This is a definitely a destination that you can’t miss out on visiting at least once in your life!
Parthenon overlooking the Temple of Zeus in Athens, Greece
And last but not least, let’s head to the Mediterranean, to the beaches and cuisine of Greece. The capital city, Athens, is the epitome of Mediterranean and is just a boat ride away from some of the country’s beautiful and picturesque islands.
Santorini and Mykonos are both wonderful destination, famous for their lavish hotels and panoramic ocean views. If you’re a true beach-goer, you won’t want to miss the Island of Zakynthos. The water there is turquoise blue and the sand is soft as silk. The only real expense you’ll have to bear is the boat ride, which can end up costing around $250. However, prices can vary for different destinations. While a boat ride from Athens to Santorini could be costly, the food in Greece is super cheap and delicious. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $12 at a restaurant. Some common Greek dishes include hummus, tzatziki, and gyros. And you can’t miss out on a dessert called loukoumades, which are like Greek doughnuts (think doughnut holes from Dunkin Donuts) - a local favorite.
If you’re a history buff, this is the place for you. Some of the free main attractions here are the Panathenaic stadium, which was the stadium that was used for the first modern Olympic games in 1896. And you can’t miss out on the Parthenon, which was built as a monument to the Greek goddess, Athena. It overlooks the entire city of Athens, providing an unmatched view of the capital.
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