Five Eastern European Countries for Budget Travelers
Your life has been quite hectic lately, and you feel you need a break? But where do you go? You are bored with lying on the beach and don’t have enough money for a journey around the globe. How about Eastern Europe? That’s a perfect solution for all those who want to get unforgettable impressions and save some money at the same time. You can visit some fascinating sights and enjoy yourself just as much as you would in such “expensive” countries like Italy, France or Norway. And the best thing is that your wallet won’t take a hit!
What Are the Cheapest Countries in Europe?
Even students can afford a trip to one or several European countries. What can they offer to travelers? You can get there a warm sun, old architecture, and inexpensive accommodation. Going to more than one Eastern European country is not only affordable to a budget traveler, but also safe and hassle-free. Are you a college student looking forward to a well-earned break from studies? You’d love to get away from it all, but your backlog of unfinished assignments is preventing you from doing so? How about some writing help? Just type in “do my case study” and order any number of papers you need and start packing your suitcase now!
Bulgaria, Montenegro, Poland, Romania or Hungary — all of these countries have plenty to offer to their visitors. Tourism plays an important part in their economies, so they are constantly upgrading their infrastructure and improving the quality of the services offered. And that means that you’ll be welcome with open arms when you get there.
This country is one of the most popular destinations for budget tourists. Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and its biggest city, is one of the cheapest European capitals. You can go there for an inexpensive vacation which involves sunbathing, swimming and going on sightseeing tours. Last year, eleven Bulgarian beaches had a blue flag, which means that they are clean, well-equipped, and have a well-developed infrastructure.
That said, some of the country’s famous beach resorts, such as Sunny Beach, Golden Sands, and Albena, can hardly be considered affordable for budget travelers. So, if you want to save some money, you should examine other inexpensive options, such as Nessebar, Kranevo, Pomorie, Ravda or St. Vlas. As far as the service is concerned, they are very close to the said resorts, and their beaches also have blue flags. In addition to having a good time at the beach, you’ll also get firsthand experience of Bulgaria’s rich and diverse culture. The country is known for its cheap hotels and apartments, and their prices fall even further in the low season, which lasts from October to May.
Keep in mind, though, that housing here differs in terms of affordability. A cozy one-room apartment in the city center can be rented for €20 per day in high season. A hostel room costs from €13 per night for two, apartments — from €18, hotel 3* — from €27, hotel 5* — from €57 per person. A meal at an average restaurant may cost about €20, while public transport fares start from €0.50. Thus, your daily expenses, including staying in a cheap hotel, having meals at a restaurant, and using public transport, will amount to €40 per person.
Just like Bulgaria, Montenegro is heaven for budget travelers. This beautiful country has all the attributes of a perfect vacation spot — beautiful sandy beaches, lukewarm sea, and a hot climate. Impressive mountain landscapes, architectural monuments, and rich culture will make your holidays really extraordinary. Montenegro is famous for its unique geographical location between mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Nineteen beaches on its Adriatic coast have blue flags. The most budget places are Herceg Novi, Tivat, and Ulcinj. The swimming season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October.
Some of the country’s most beautiful locations include Boka Kotorska Bay, the Herceg Novi resort, and Petrovac (which is perfect for families). Budva is an excellent place, but it is a bit noisy in high season. The town of Ulcinj is famous for its impressive views and low prices, but it is situated near the border with Albania, which is a bit far. The Euro is used as a primary currency in Montenegro.
Renting a room in a good hotel in Budva will cost you €45 a night while staying in a hostel will set you back €10. If you’re considering renting an apartment, you should be ready to shell out €200 a month. A bus ride around the city costs €1-2, and if you fancy having lunch in an inexpensive restaurant, you will have to cough up €10. All in all, your daily expenses, including renting accommodation in a cheap hotel, having meals in cheap restaurants, and using public transport, will amount to €45-50 on average.
Price-wise, this is one of the most attractive countries for budget travelers. Poland has quite a few stunning natural sights, Baltic and ski resorts, and impressive architecture. Warsaw, the capital city of the country, had its center restored after WWII and is now on the list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Its beautiful medieval castles, gothic churches, narrow streets, and reasonably-priced cafes won’t leave indifferent even the most demanding travelers.
Although Poland is part of the Schengen Area, it isn’t as expensive as other countries of the eurozone. In fact, its food and housing prices are one of the lowest in Europe. The country’s official currency is called the Zloty (PLN), and its current exchange rate to the Euro is 1 to 2.4. The price of a single room in a three-star hotel starts from 120 PLN, whereas a hostel room will set you back 30 PLN. Renting an apartment in the center of Warsaw will cost you some 2,000 PLN per month. A hearty meal in an inexpensive cafe or restaurant — 25-35 PLN.
If you plan to stay in Poland for at least ten days, you’ll be well advised to purchase a travel card which costs 100 zlotys. Prices in other cities do not differ much from those in the capital. So, your daily expenses, including renting accommodation in a cheap hotel, having meals in cheap restaurants, and using public transport, should be in the neighborhood of €50, plus or minus.
Unfortunately, most budget travelers pay little attention to this country. In fact, it’s got so much to offer in terms of tourist attractions: the Count Dracula’s Castle, beautiful sandy beaches, ski resorts, mineral springs, stunning natural sites, and impressive architecture. You can also visit Wallachia, Dobrudja, Banat, Maramures, and, of course, Bucharest, the country’s capital city. There’s also the Gothic Black Temple, Genoese Lighthouse, and Transylvania.
The Romanian currency is called the Leu (RON), and its exchange rate to the Euro is 1 to 4.6. A room in a 3-star hotel will cost you 125-150 RON, whereas the price of an apartment in the center of Bucharest starts from 1,300 RON a month or 95 RON per night. A single ride on public transport costs 1.3 RON, but you can pay 8 RON and get a daily pass. A typical meal n a budget restaurant will set you back some 40 RON. To sum up, your daily expenses in Bucharest (a cheap hotel, meals, and transportation) will amount to €45 on average.
A trip to Hungary is an excellent opportunity to see this European country for cheap. Budapest, one of the most fascinating cities in this part of the world, is situated on the picturesque banks of the Danube river. Nature here is no less remarkable. You can travel to the lakes of Heviz and Balaton and take some beautiful pictures. While there, you can also improve your health in a spa.
Even though Hungary is considered one of the cheapest European countries, the degree of customer service you get here is on par with other European countries. There are a lot of beautiful national parks, ancient cities, and, of course, the famous 100-year-old Széchenyi Baths. Budapest can be thought of as a transit city where you can stay for just a day or two before progressing to other countries of Eastern Europe.
The official currency of Hungary is the Forint (HUF). €1 will buy you 305 forints. The minimum cost of a single room in a cheap hotel is 4,500 HUF per night. You can also spend a night in a hostel for 1,500 HUF. Renting an apartment in the city center will set you back 70,000 HUF. Lunch in a restaurant costs around 4,000 HUF, a cup of coffee — 250 HUF. A meal in a fast food restaurant — 800-1,000 HUF.
The local public transport is pretty low-priced — 10 tickets will cost you €10. You can buy a weekly ticket for €13 and enjoy the beautiful sights of Budapest. All in all, your daily stay in the country will cost you about €40, which includes a cheap hotel, meals, and public transport.
Basic Rules of Saving
If you want to save on air tickets, you’d be well advised to use special search engines. Finding the best-priced tickets requires looking for them on different dates. As far as accommodation is concerned, you can discover plenty of options on the Internet: you can book a hotel, a guest house or a hostel. The important thing here is to determine the list of places to visit and select only the best ones. Be sure to read the reviews as well.
Prices in capitals are much higher than elsewhere, so keep this in mind when planning your trip. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to relax, you should definitely stay in smaller towns or villages. That way you will save a lot of money. If you have friends or relatives at your destination, you should contact them before you go on the road. Even if they are not able to take you in, they will be sure to give you some good advice.
When in a foreign country, you shouldn’t buy souvenirs in the downtown area- they are much more expensive there. Do not eat in restaurants in the city center, either. Keep in mind that you can find some decent fast food in the street. A hot dog or hamburger will help you regain your energy and let you save some money at the same time. And finally, travel with a friend — it comes much cheaper that way.
Have a nice trip!