6 European Destinations Finally Cheap Enough to Visit

For years, visiting Europe has been considered a relatively extravagant vacation, thanks in part to the strength of the Euro. But that's changed in in recent months, as the U.S. dollar gains value. While visiting Europe may not yet be truly cheap, the decline of the Euro means it's at least starting to approach affordability for many Americans. Here are six European destinations that are now a great deal for American travelers. (See also: Visit Europe for a Lot Cheaper Than You Think)

1. Bucharest, Romania

This scenic city is nestled along the banks of the Dâmbovița River. Though the city was heavily targeted during World War II, many of its historic and cultural landmarks miraculously survived. The recent boom of economic and cultural activity has revived its pre-World War II reputation as the "Little Paris."

2. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia's history spans 2,400 years, so it's no wonder that its residents are rightly proud of their heritage. Sofia has an extensive greenbelt that makes this urban environment an oasis for nature lovers. Mountain hikes are a regular activity for residents and tourists alike, and one of the city's biggest draws. Lovers of the arts, particularly live theater, can get their fill and then some at cultural landmarks such as the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the National Opera and Ballet, and the many fine art museums.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

It's hard to beat the romance of Prague. The Charles Bridge connects what's commonly known as Old Prague and New Prague, and it's a daily home for the city's artists who set up shop every morning to create and sell their work. Prague Castle, the anchor of Old Prague, is one of the grandest castles in Europe. The food and drink (particularly beer) are rich and flavorful, and the people are exceedingly welcoming to tourists.

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Often overlooked by tourists, Lisbon rivals other, more expensive European destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris for its beauty and culture. It's the oldest city in Western Europe and one of the oldest in the world. With a comfortable Mediterranean climate, its economic prosperity has made it one of the most easily navigated cities with extensive and reliable public transit in many forms. Lisbon's rich and varied architecture is just the beginning of its cultural gems, which also include a substantial number of top art museums, film festivals, and theaters.

5. Santorini, Greece


If your idea of vacation includes stunning vistas, delicious local food, sunny beaches, and an easy friendliness with the locals, then Santorini is a city (or island) made for you. It's a bit of a trek to get there, but one look at the cerulean rooftops that line its winding and stunning coastline will make it worth the effort. The food is among the best I've ever had while traveling, and residents are more than happy to drop everything to make your vacation one you will never forget. It also can't hurt your pocket that Greece was one of the hardest-hit countries during the economic crisis; help revive their economy by spending your vacation dollars here.

6. Berlin, Germany

Forget Paris? Never! But if Paris is out of reach on your travel budget, Berlin's bustling arts scene will inspire and entertain you for days on end. Nearly 25 years after the city was reunified, it has managed to maintain every bit of its history, while also reinventing itself as a mecca for creatives. Whether your creative bent is literature, visual arts, music, or performing arts, Berlin has more culture than you could ever consume in one trip. Easy to reach and incredibly affordable, you're likely to leave Berlin wanting to return very soon.

If you've shunned Europe as a too-expensive travel destination in recent years (and who could blame you?), these cities are well worth a look as you plan your next vacation. Take advantage of this window to affordable Europe. World financial circumstances change quickly, and you don't want to miss this opportunity.

Are you planning a European vacation? Dreaming of one? Where are you going?

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Guest's picture

I just got back from Berlin and didn't think it was that cheap. Krakow was pretty cheap, especially eating at restaurants.