For all of you budget-conscious travelers, these are places where your dollars will stretch a long, long way. Here are our favorite.
Malaysia offers up powder white beaches and virgin rainforest teeming with wildlife. The bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur and the historic port city of Malacca offer inexpensive seafood and inexpensive spa pampering and outdoor activities such as sailing, snorkeling, diving, fishing or island-hopping.
Vietnam packs a lot into its borders. Backpacker beds are exceptionally cheap and decent hotels often cost less than 30 euros. A filling bowl of beef noodle soup or six seafood spring rolls is less than a dollar. In local hangouts, Saigon Export beer costs 40 cents a bottle. For the ultimate traffic tale head for the Hanoi’s old quarter. Any attempt to cross the road turns into a heart-racing adventure and the best place to experience the utter chaos is from within a cyclo rickshaw.
Granada, Nicaragua can offer a lot for a budgeted vacation. You can tackle volcanoes or taken Spanish lessons. You can visit the craft market or the villages where rocking chairs, hammocks, and pottery are made. You can chat with expats in the beach surfing town of San Juan del Sur, or you can go to colonial Leon, where you might get to meet indigenous Indians. Settling into a rocking chair is a pleasure that generally costs 30 cents, and spending more than 4 euros on a meal is difficult. The Alhambra Hotel on Granada’s main square costs 20 euros per night.
Goa, Southern India, is beyond fascinating. Baking below a tropical canopy of banana, coconut and mango trees sounds wonderful, don’t you think? You’ll find sunrise yoga on the beach, full massages for 6 euros, dolphin trips for about 4 euros, and colorful hippie markets. Two people can eat in a beach shack for under 10 euros. There’s accommodation in simple beach chalets for as little as 5 euros per night.
Lithuania is another top destination if you are on a limited budget. Quirky cities like Vilnius and Kaunas are steeped in art, music and historical curiosities. There are mysterious sites steeped in pagan tradition and windswept sands of the Curonian Spit. Mid-June would be a great time to go. The old pagan festival of Rasos marks the summer solstice, where three potato pancakes with smoked salmon cost around 2 euros and a glass of Svyturys beer less than a euro. Is that cheap or what?
Northern Portugal, especially Porto, are famous for port wine lodges, its warren of laundry-hung alleys plunges down to a waterfront of boats, nets and fish restaurants. Don’t miss the Bolhao food market or the Torre dos Clerigos, Portugal’s highest belfry tower. From the top, you’ll get great views over the jumbled cityscape of churches, bridges and red-roofed houses. The price of dining, accommodation, and public transport throughout the region is astounding. Trains and buses are an affordable way to make exploratory day-trips along the coast Don’t miss Braga and the thousand-stepped stairway of Bom Jesus church.
On the Greek island of Crete, Chania is one town that shouldn’t be missed. Its history goes back 5,000 years. Strung with garlands of colored light-bulbs, Chania’s old Venetian harbor at dusk is mesmerizing. The water shimmers in waves of crimson, sapphire and emerald, the Venetian lighthouse sends out its beady wink, and stalls do a steady trade in pistachio nuts. Even in July and August, you’ll find studio apartments here for under 30 euros per night and you can have a full stomach for 10 euros.
Prague is a famous tourist destination but not many people know what the rest of the Czech Republic offers. One of its regions, Bohemia, is blessed with a spellbinding mosaic of castles, frescoed houses and Rapunzel-style turrets straight the tales. Many towns have stoupas adorned with chained devils. They commemorate deliverance from the plagues, which swept Europe during the Middle Ages. Then there’s Karlovy Vary. It is the oldest of Bohemia’s grand spa towns. With spa water bubbling up all over town which visitors can collect for free, it’s a gorgeous place of baroque buildings and shops glittering with Bohemian crystal.
Montenegro is Europe’s latest holiday hot spot. Along with three-course meals for 6 euros and rooms in private houses for less than 10 euros, you’ll find a land of craggy mountains and beaches and villages of pale gray stone. There are medieval walled towns with crumbling fortresses and the palaces are often emblazoned with the winged lion emblem of the Venetian Republic.There are fishing villages of red-tiled roofs and deep-green shutters,olive groves, water-lilied lakes, deep canyons and the mighty Boka Kotorska.
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