This summer, many tourists are venturing overseas with cost in mind due to economic woes putting pressure on budgets.
Regardless of financial challenges, people with wanderlust remain determined to venture outside their same-old habitats, turning to countries offering more value for money over their usual go-to’s.
Recent data from the European Travel Commission shows that four budget-friendly nations, in particular, are rising in popularity compared to 2019 levels as a consequence: Serbia (+27%) and Bulgaria (+21%) are taking the lead, closely followed by Montenegro (+12%) and Turkey (+9%).
But, aside from leaving tourists with a bulkier bank balance, what else do these locations boast?
Serbia, the Timeless Jewel
More travelers are venturing between Eastern and Western European crossroads to reach Serbia due to being significantly more reasonably priced than other European countries.
Regardless of travelers traditionally dodging this nation because of its stormy history spurred by breaking from Yugoslavia, a lack of awareness regarding its cultural history, and safety concerns, Serbia is on the correct path to reaching great potential.
The nation is building new infrastructure and a thriving economy each year. Consequently, it’s becoming more appealing for travelers wanting to cut down on travel outlay because of its affordability (at least for the time being).
Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, is more than worth venturing to.
The city wears the crown for being one of Europe’s oldest cities, with a fascinating cultural legacy planted in many fascinating Orthodox monasteries and churches, medieval fortresses, and unique traditions and customs, granting unique experiences for all heritage hounds.
Another aspect that solidifies its place as an off-the-beaten-path trending hot spot is being one of the first European countries to remove all entry requirements resulting from COVID-19.
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Bulgaria’s Beach Havens
Bulgaria is closely trailing behind Serbia’s rising popularity among cost-cautious tourists, following its multifaceted landscapes, time-honored past, and enticing culture.
In the past, tourists have been unsure about traveling to Bulgaria following the country’s demographic crisis involving a rapidly aging population, corruption, economic inequality, political instability, and other dreaded issues.
However, Bulgaria is now becoming a number one holiday haven, owing to its Black Sea to the east having stunning coastal resorts and beaches that draw in visitors yearning for a relaxing vacation in the sun.
Another plus side includes Bulgaria’s legacy dating back thousands of years, with spectacular traces of Roman, Thracian, Greek, and Ottoman influences apparent throughout the country. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rila Monastery, should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Moreover, the country’s capital city, Sofia, blends the old with the new, as do other charming towns like Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo.
Above all, these modern, traditional, and natural wonders don’t deplete travelers’ savings.
Montenegro: A Wallet-Friendly Croatia
Third up for being a traditionally lesser-known destination rising in popularity is Montenegro.
Like Serbia, Montenegro faced troubles when breaking from Yugoslavia. The country has also previously faced conflicts regarding an unpredictable political system and poor economic decisions, conventionally keeping tourists away.
Nonetheless, the country is now on the mend and notably boasts similar beauty to its neighboring country Croatia, which is currently the most popular summer destination in Europe.
Similar to Croatia, the country is acclaimed for its dramatic coastline along the Adriatic Sea, creating coastal towns and spotless beaches, which are just as stunning as its next-door resident’s but remarkably cheaper!
The nation also has unspoiled fjords, including the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bay of Kotor, and its national parks, Durmitor and Prokletije, which are havens for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and adventure seekers alike.
Travelers can also enjoy strolling along the country’s cobble streets, basking in modern delights and traditional charm wherever they venture.
Turkey’s Cultural Capital
Last but not least is Turkey. Many travelers typically skip this country, lying between Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia.
High unemployment rates, inflation rising by 80% in recent years, and a weakened currency do not help matters.
However, regardless of these issues, Turkey’s economic growth remains high due to ultra-low interest rates amplifying short-term spending. In turn, the country is a suitable holiday spot for travelers yearning for a cheap trip full of culture and modern dynamism — just don’t get too cozy!
Istanbul, the country’s lively city, exhibits the ancient relics Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar.
Away from the bustling city is the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia and the peaceful Mediterranean coastlines of Antalya, whereby visitors can lay on a bean bag by the crystal-clear waters to indulge in culinary delights and unlimited cocktails while dipping their toes in the sand without burning a hole in their wallets.
Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Turkey all leave travelers with a healthier bank account and cherished memories, demonstrating that cost-friendly travel can be just as (if not more) satisfying as high-end getaways.
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