It’s been years since anyone stateside could consider Europe a bargain, but with the Euro at a 10-year-low against the dollar, there’s no better time than now to book that vacation to Spain you’ve had on the back burner!
We’ve looked at which cities give you the best value from airfare to accommodation to the average daily budget (Source: SmarterTravel). These five cities deliver maximum value for minimum cost. For even deeper discounts, avoid summer travel, when prices are inflated for the tourist season.
There are so many sights to see in Barcelona (and tapas to sample), but don’t be surprised if your main takeaway is the warmth and enthusiasm of the locals! Airfare to Barcelona can be found south of $1,000* for much of the year out of Los Angeles. Prices for accommodation are similar to Madrid, but Barcelona is the more classically beautiful city. Centrally located budget hotels can be found for under $100. The NH Barcelona Diagonal Center ($68/night**) is convenient to the metro line and walking distance to both Sagreda Familia and some of the best nightlife in town.
Berlin is well connected by public transport and it has a cyclist culture that is second only to Amsterdam in Europe. Hop on a bike and traverse the center of Germany, checking out the funkier neighborhoods of East Berlin as well as remnants of the Berlin Wall. History is all around you. If you come to Berlin in the spring, prepare yourself for rock-bottom prices. Stay at a the 4* Wyndham Garden Hennigsdorf, a mere stone’s throw from Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz for $42/night.** With higher-end accommodation that well-priced, you could afford to spend a bit more on airfare but no need! Flights from the west and east coast are easy on the wallet as well ($702 from JFK and $902 from LAX).
Lisbon is not a city with a must-see list of museums and sights to stress you out, rather it has lovely cafes, places to wander and history in it’s beautiful architecture. Lisbon may not be the first city you visit in Europe but it’s small-town charms might make it one of the most fondly remembered. Lisbon has been on the cusp of up-and-coming for so long, but never quite seems to make the jump to full-fledged ‘hot’ destination. If you’re the sort that likes to avoid crowds while experiencing ‘little city’ charm, you simply can’t go wrong with the capital. Fly nonstop out of Newark to Portugal for around $800 round trip, and out of Chicago or San Francisco for just about $1,000. The ibis Lisboa Alfragide is easy on the budget at just $51/night**, and you can dine like royalty for pennies on the dollar.
Whether you’re a newbie looking for an inexpensive destination to introduce you to Italy or a seasoned-Italy visitor in search of a new twist on your next Italian vacation, please put Naples on your shortlist. Naples is the best bargain in the country, with it’s own delicious cuisine and colorful history. You can stay at the 3* Hotel Zara for just $41/night**, and shop and dine to your hearts content for much less than anoywhere else in the country. Flights from most gateways in the U.S. are around $1300/pp.
Once you get yourself to Greece, island hopping is easy and relatively inexpensive. Luckily, flights on Turkish Airlines out of SFO on the west coast or JFK in Manhattan can be scored for right around $900/pp. Air France has a route out of Los Angeles for about $900 as well. Athens is a bustling, noisy restless place – so if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation you might pop over to one of the smaller islands. But for the true flavor of Greece plus all the history your eyes can absorb, we’re endlessly dazzled by this ancient city. The Best Western Pythagorion, which has been recently renovated and is right in the center of this bustling city will please the budget-conscious vacationer at just $41/night.**
One bonus destination, flagged for its off-the-beaten-path appeal:
You may not be able to pronounce it, but you’ll be glad you put this destination on your must-see list. Due to it’s proximity to Italy and historically shifting borders, Slovenia is a mix of Italian and Slavic influences. Still mostly undiscovered by North Americans, you’ll love it’s storybook city center and reasonably priced accommodations and cuisine. Slovenians speak pitch-perfect English as well, so put any worries about a language barrier to rest. The 4* Best Western Premiere Hotel Slon is right at the historic center of Ljubljana and is a reasonable-by-U.S.-standards $100/night.** Flights out of JFK and Toronto start at right around $900. Take advantage of these prices before Ljubljana becomes the must-see destination it’s on schedule to become.
You can book all of the airfare and hotels in this post on CheapAir.com.
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*All airfares for dates in April 2015. **Avg. nightly rates are for single occupancy per room unless otherwise stated and exclude tax recovery charges and service fees.