With more and more airlines offering huge discounts, traveling the world is no longer a big deal. Moreover, certain countries, in order to promote their tourism industry are making travel really cheap for family vacations or even just couple vacations. So whether it’s a long summer break or even a 4-day Easter holiday, you can enjoy some exoticism on a shoe-string budget.
Location: Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia combines both Communist-style and European architecture with many orthodox churches.
Ideal for: Its scenic beauty. Visit the ski-resort at the Vitosha mountains, very close to the city.
Getting there: Fly into from numerous Middle Eastern & European cities with over 20 airlines operating direct services to and from Sofia and take the shuttle bus, taxi or the metro to the main city center. Sofia is also accessible by bus from Belgrade, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Budapest and Prague .
Those preferring rail travel could reach Sofia from Kiev, Vienna, Istanbul, Bucharest, Belgrade, Greece and Moscow. Even driving down is possible from any Central European city on the Trakiya highway and you can even enter Sofia from Serbia, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.
Visit in: March – June.
Location: Corfu, also called Kerkyra, is located in Greece’s northwest coast on the Adriatic sea.
Ideal for: Its beaches, crystal clear waters, surfing facilities and unique cosmopolitan culture. Play Golf, visit Aqualand, the water park; the fishing village of Benitses; walk on Corfu’s beaches or go yachting.
Getting there: Land at Corfu’s Ioannis Kapodistrias airport from Athens, Preveza, Kefalonia, Kithyra, Zakinthos and Heraklion and take a taxi or shuttle bus to the city center. There are ferries from Venice, Bari, Ancona and Brindisi in Italy, Albania and Greece .
Visit in: Easter to October. Late December and January are also suitable periods.
Location: Stretches over both sides of the Bosporus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea.
Ideal for: It’s unique combination of both European and Asian cultures and its reasonable tourism rates. Visit the world famous Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia and the grand flea markets of Istanbul and pick up some great mementos at dirt cheap prices. Pamphylia in Southwest Turkey is also ideal for visiting as are the Roman and Greek ruins. Laze on Side beach, close to Antalya.
Visit in : The time between May and October.
Location: Valencia is right by the Mediterranean Sea, south of the city of Barcelona and east of the city of Madrid.
Ideal for: The Fallas Festival held in March, its famous food item, paella, hot springs and beaches and Santiago Calatrava’s massive and signature architectural landmark, The City of Arts and Sciences. The city was divided by the Turia river which was redirected sometime back and a beautiful park was put in its place. Ideal for visiting when the weather is bright and sunny.
Porto & Lisbon, Portugal
Location: Close to the Atlantic Ocean’s edge, Lisbon is Portugal’s capital.
Ideal For: Its white buildings of limestone, cobbled streets, intimate alleyways, a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere and some great Portugese wine and cuisine.
Visit in: The period between December — February.
Location: Athens or Athína in Greek is Greece’s capital, located on the Mediterranean coast and said to be the place where Classical Greece was born. It was a melting pot of the Ottoman, Roman and Byzantine civilizations.
Ideal for: The Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Syntagma Square, the Kerameikos, Olympian Zeus’s Temple, the Panathinaiko Stadium, Lycabettus Hill, the Attica beaches, Panatheniac Stadium, National Garden and the Parthenon.
Location: Naples is located in Italy’s Campania region. The name Naples derives from the Greek word Neapolis or new city.
Ideal for: Its 448 monumental and historical churches — the largest number in a city anywhere in the world, snorkeling, fishing and diving facilities. Visit the Via Francesco Caracciolo, Riviera di Chiaia, Via dei Mille, Vomero hill, Castel dell’Ovo, Castelnuovo, the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Certosa di San Martino, Parco Virgiliano, Piazza del Gesù, Napoli Sotterranea, Castels Capuano & Sant’Elmo, the Capodimonte hill catacombs, the Duomo church and Teatro San Carlo, to name few. There are many more sites to see in Naples.
Visit in: May & June or in September & October when temperatures are pleasantly mild.
Location: The island country of Malta is on the Mediterranean Sea, lying south of Sicily.
Ideal for: It’s ancient capital, Mdina; Valletta, the Hypogeum, wine festivals, megalithic temples, beach activities and water sports and beach activities, hiking and sailing facilities, art and culture and some great local cuisine.
Visit in: end of April to the end of October.
Location: Budapest is Hungary’s beautiful capital city and located by the world famous Danube river.
Ideal for: Its reasonable rates for tourists, grand medieval castles, great food and wine and parks that are simply lush green. Visit Esztergom to see the Catholic basilica or Lake Balaton, an inland resort marked by its freshwater shores and pine forests.
Visit in: Spring & autumn.
Location: Riga is Latvia’s main city.
Ideal For: The Old Town, Central Market, throbbing nightlife & dog sledding facilities. Visit Sigulda and soak in its breathtaking landscape, Turaida Castle and Jurmala’s Majori beach to enjoy the great local beer and euphonic folk music.
Visit in: March –June.