Prague, the gateway to Eastern Europe, is a premier city holding fast to a rich culture and underground surprises. Revelers should look no further than cosmopolitan Budapest for excellent nightlife. Kraków, considered a Jewel of the East, proves itself with its gripping history and grandiose architecture. Istanbul, the ‘World’s Hippest City’ has come a long way from being a highlight on the Hippie Trail. In recent years, a considerable influx of development and visitors to these cities has made them no longer a traveler’s bargain. With the rising costs, one would soon need to fund their travelling with a personal loan. But do not be disappointed! You can still travel through Eastern Europe on the cheap in these less traveled locales.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a wonderful starting point for Eastern European travels. Sarajevo is an open, vibrant city with charismatic locals. Dorm beds can be had for under €10, a hearty meal with a drink for half that. After soaking in the city’s profound history and culture, traverse by train through the scenic route to Mostar. Here, participate in water rafting though the emerald waters of the Neretva River. If your thirst for adventure is not quenched, hike along the ridge of the Rakitnica canyon, which drops into a deep abyss.
The slogan used by Estonia’s tourism board is “positively surprising.” I couldn’t agree more. It may no longer be Europe’s Best Kept Secret, but the masses have yet to descend upon this enchanting country. The capital, Tallinn is a mix of medieval and modern. Walk along the cobble stone streets in Old Town and try one of the gigantic pancakes at Kompressor—it’s an exceptional value. For under $10, take a bus 120km to Pärnu, the summer capital where long white-sand beaches await. In the winter, everyone heads to the hilly region of Otepää for cross-country skiing.
Cheaper than nearby Italy and Austria by a third, it’s a prime option for budget travelers. Although a small country (about half the size of Switzerland), it leaves a large impression. Fraternize with students at a cozy bar with €2 beers in the capital Ljubljana. Run solo through the fields of barley and sunflowers in the countryside. Bled, an island sitting afloat a glacial lake, is topped by a clifftop castle that looms commandingly over the alpine waters. Leaving Bled, head towards the Julian Alps where and go canyoning in the gorges of Triglav National Park.