The Peloponnese, Greece
Think of travelling on a budget in Greece, and the picture is still of island-hopping, sleeping or camping on the deck of a ferry. The slow pace and popularity of the most important resorts however add to the cost.
Consider instead the Greek peninsula with its many fingers. There are several lovely beaches – less developed than on the main islands – and the ancient sights of Epidaurus and Olympia can be found there. Medieval cities, stunning rack train trips and attractive Byzantine villages await anyone who is exploring the destinations outside the packages.
The twin enclaves of Buda and Pest, which straddle the Danube, make one of Europe’s most bequem capitals together and will not break the bank with their key pleasures.
Spend the day relaxing in a spa at the pools, watching the old guys play chess at the waterside tables, refreshing under the fountains. Come evening, the District VII destroy bars – trendy bars in the courtyards of the neighbourhood. A cheap local white or rosé is the ideal option as a spritzer in the summer sun.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Any major European tour contains a series of stunning cities: the sophisticated Florence, the glamorous Rome and Venice. Although they have no doubt about their beauty, they’re on the tourist path that, particularly in high season, pushes prices up.
Expand yourself from continental Sicily and, if you ask a Sicilian, a country separates you’ll find a city in its capital Palermo which is both redolent from previous Italy. There are no doubt several surprises to be found in the city from churches covered in beautiful mosaics to cluttered neighbourhood markets, where you can enjoy snacks like arancini (rice balls) and panelle (chickpea fresh fritters), while you are walking.
Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
Lake Ohrid is North Macedonia’s great, deep gem. Frescoed mediaeval churches, a Roman amphitheatre and a castle worth visiting are found in the calm streets of its nameless city. However, the calm waters of the lake attract you from the old town, welcoming you to swim, dive or take your boat to the waters.
It could be a walk-in Galičica National Park if you are tempted landward. The area is ideal for travellers on a budget to relax and get away with cheap private rooms to rent and many camping sites along the waterfront.
At the end of a fjordlike bay, surrounded by the spectacular peaks, stands the stunning, walled town of Kotor. In the old town, just follow your nose. The discovery of the summer cafes that sweep out on the squares before clambering in the historical walls is half fun in the maze of the streets.
Walk to St Ivan’s Castle overlooking the city for a perspective on the whole magnificent scene. An exuberant Boka Nights festival takes place every year in August when the entire town celebrates its beautiful display of decorated boats in the bay and fireworks fill the sky. The festival is a real thing.
The north Polish City of Gdansk offers a winning mix of coastal appeals, which forms part of the beautiful Hanseatic City, part of the gritty harbour and part of the Baltic Riviera. Although the centre of this picturesque, colourful town, with its narrow trading houses, looks old, it’s indeed a rebuilding after the war – but history is real.
The crane from the shipyard dates back to the XVth century and the town was the home of the anti-Communist movement of Solidarity. Come summer, the action shifts to the hip, the coastal resort of Sopot, with its Golden sand beach (the longest in Europe).
A place for people to see and stroll, Portugal’s second city, attractively placed on the banks of the Duoro River. The Portuguese River district is filled with nice local restaurants – pick a street anywhere from the shore and you are pleased with local dishes and wines at great prices. Check out our guide to the best places to stay in Porto on either side of the river and find your accommodation on the best side.
The vast Portugal park is another highlight and features an outstanding art gallery. It is the port for which the town is known, however. In Vinologia you can introduce the varied fortified wines to the port lodges across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can try their products for a few euros. Take advantage of your visit to Porto and book ahead to explore some of the cellars unfamiliar to the city.
Consider Transylvania, and Dracula and her castle would probably think – surely you should look for the links here, namely Dracula, Vlad the Impaler (if you are interested in finding Dracula, book your tour here). The attractive town of Sighisoara, as Vlad’s birthplace, has the most fame and an impressive citadel as well.
However, the area is not all fortifications and fangs – make it a time to explore the wild Carpathian mountains and track the Transylvanian wolf along with bears, red deer and lynx in the National Park of Piatra Craiului.