You can’t say “I’m going to Europe!” nowadays without cringing at the thought of expenses. If you’re not on Gossip Girl (like that one episode where one of the girls flew to Paris just to buy her favorite stockings), then going to Europe is unthinkable, or possible only when you suddenly come across a bit more cash than you’re supposed to.
But there is more to Europe than just Paris, or fancy Cafés and museums that are sardine-style packed with tourists on a daily basis. Remember that Europe is more than popular tourist spots; the entire romantic notion that is Europe is where the radically modern contrast against hundreds to thousands of years of ancient history peering back at us through the years. Here are stellar places in Europe to visit, but without having to cringe or worry about what will remain of your savings after the vacation is over:
Germans are well known for one thing (No, not that; not anymore at least): Partying. You can even start your day in one. Berlin’s nightlife is as much alive as it is in the day, where their extensive transportation network easily takes you around this sprawling metropolis. It is also very rich in history; its most popular destinations include the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, the remaining bits of the Berlin Wall…and when you’re done with that you could also drop by its famous Berlin Zoo, which houses the oldest living Panda in captivity, your choice among the variety of specialized museums, and take in the city’s expanse of contemporary skyscrapers. If you like you history, culture and nightlife all in within a quick hop on the train’s ride away from each other, then Berlin is waiting.
Once known as “Little Paris,” Bucharest boasts an eclectic culture of great nightlife, great museums, French-influenced architecture and festivals all year round. Visit their very own Arc de Triomphe! Take a leisurely stroll down Calea Victoriei, arguably the country’s oldest street, and its most charming, built in 1692 to link palatial courts and renamed after its victory in the Romanian War in 1878. If you’re all for charm without feeling you’ve been charmed out of a good deal, Romania is the prefect place for you.
Return to the centuries-old faded seat of a vast trading empire, this Portuguese capital is famous (or notorious, depending from where you stand) for being cheap. It’s almost accusatory, which is unfair; it has its boons in sights and sounds and feasts! You only need extra change to get on an old cable car to visit magnificent, hundred-year old Baroque structures, not spend hundreds of euros over a good glass of wine and a hearty plate of local quality seafood, laze around and enjoy the view of the sea, and sleep comfortably in a nice but affordable hotel. And it’s getting fancier: museums, stylish night spots and neo-Portugese restaurants are popping up all over the place for trendier visitors.
But! The best thing about all of this is that it still remains a terrific bargain.