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European destinations such as Italy, France and the UK have seen record numbers of travelers this year, up 600% from 2021 levels.
This has been fueled by favorable exchange rates and social media posts showcasing all that Europe has to offer. A recent post even went so far as to joke that girls who haven’t been to Italy yet this summer could « die » if they don’t go.
These high levels of travelers seeking trips abroad bring with them increased prices and the need to find the best places to go with the best deals.
Here are the 5 most affordable European destinations:
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is known for its Port wine, the Douro River and its charming cobbled streets. The city offers a mix of culture, tourism and gastronomy. It’s easy to see why Americans are visiting this country in record numbers right now.
One of the best places to visit is Livararia Lello, the oldest bookstore in Porto and rumored to be the inspiration for the Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter series. It is a small shop full of decorative details and it only costs 5 EUR to enter.
Not far from the bookstore is the busiest and most beautiful train station in Porto, Sao Bento. Admission is free and it is a must-see for its collection of tiled art depicting the history of the city. These famous Portuguese tiles can be found throughout Porto in various buildings and churches and are best seen by strolling through the city on foot.
The best things to see, do and eat in Porto are extremely affordable. You can expect to pay EUR15 for an average meal, EUR1 for a Pastel de Nata (a must-try Portuguese dessert!), EUR5 for a mid-range bottle of wine, and EUR23-83 per night for accommodation. It is a must for anyone who wants to experience Europe on a budget.
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Dhermi is a small town located on the Albanian Riviera that has been rapidly gaining popularity for its cheap food, cheap beers at only EUR1.50 and crystal clear waters.
The village has two distinct parts: the picturesque old town at the top and the beach clubs and restaurants at the bottom. Take a stroll through the charming historic streets lined with whitewashed buildings and charming churches, and spend the rest of the day in a sun lounger at Dhermi Beach.
You can expect to pay between EUR 10-20 during high season to rent a sun lounger and umbrella for the day.
Hidden between green cliffs, Gjipe Beach It is considered the best beach in Albania. If you’re looking for an active adventure, you can hike to the top of the canyon for fantastic views of the cove below.
For an Off Path experience, you can take a small boat to visit pirate cave for only 10 EUR per person.
To visit Dhermi, you’ll need to budget between EUR8-25 for a meal and an average of EUR40 per night for a hotel.
Bodrum is located at the southern point of Turkey on the Aegean coast. It has a collection of whitewashed houses, beautiful markets and a relaxed atmosphere. Bodrum is fast becoming Europe’s summer hotspot.
The old town, which includes a marina, is small enough to explore on foot. You’ll find small art-filled alleyways, pretty bougainvillea, shops selling Turkish jewelry and leather goods, along with fresh seafood restaurants.
St. Peter’s Castle is a must-see in Bodrum. For just 60 lira ($2.50 USD), you can enjoy stunning views of the coast from the top and access the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. You can also visit The Ancient Bodrum Theater for a variety of cultural events or spend an afternoon in a traditional Turkish hammam.
Bodrum doesn’t have sandy beaches, but one of the best ways to enjoy the crystal clear waters is by boat. Not far from the main city you can find some popular beaches that are ideal for swimming and relaxing. The three most recommended are Turgutreis, Gumbet and Bitez. These are all free and private beaches with many facilities, bars and restaurants close by.
Home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Crete attracts millions of visitors each year for its crystal clear waters and warm hospitality. It is the largest island in Greece and offers a mix of ancient coastal towns, high mountains, olive groves and vineyards.
There is something for everyone in Crete and so much to do that you definitely won’t get bored. One of the highlights of the island is the ancient city of Chania, where you can explore old Venetian mansions, Turkish facades, and local markets.
The Minoan Palace of Knossos is one of the most important historical attractions in Greece. It is a vast complex that, in Greek mythology, is said to be the birthplace of Zeus and the home of the minotaur, which was kept below the palace in an extensive labyrinth. The cost to explore the grounds is only 15 EUR per person.
Elafonisi is consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world for its pink sand dunes and shallow turquoise blue waters. There is no entrance fee, but you can rent loungers and umbrellas for a low price.
A second popular beach is Balos, a remote lagoon-like area with calm waters perfect for cooling off. Balos is only accessible by ferry, which costs EUR 29 per person.
While in Crete, expect to pay €48-98 per night for accommodation and €14 for a normal meal. It is definitely a more affordable option than the popular neighboring islands of Santorini or Mykonos.
This picturesque city is located in the southern Italian region of Puglia and offers incredible history, architecture and beaches. It is known for its Centro Storico, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with thick defensive walls, strong arched entrances, and a grand castle.
A visit to the Castillo de Aragonés will cost you EUR12, which gives you access to the grounds, its galleries that house rotating exhibits, and panoramic rooftop views.
The most affordable activities in Otranto are also the most popular. Walking through the Centro Storico and having a walk – the Italian tradition of an evening stroll, are a must.
For free you can visit the impressive The Sant’Andrea Faraglioni beach that is famous for its unique limestone rock formations and beautiful blue waters. Or spend the day relaxing in steps beach with its fine white sand beach.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com