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flyingcircus Aug 12th, 2003 08:10 AM

Inexpensive countries in Europe??
I am looking to travel somewhere in the middle of September for a week, and while it seems like the flights to Europe are inexpensive, once you get there everything else is pricey. Been to London, Paris, Rome, so I don't need to go there. Any ideas???

grandmere Aug 12th, 2003 08:15 AM

Greece is less expensive, or at least I should say it was when I was there in 97 and 98. Not sure what the euro and upcoming Olympics have done to prices, but it was decidedly less expensive than UK, France, Italy, Germany, etc., then. And much fun!

loritaly Aug 12th, 2003 09:17 AM


Degas Aug 12th, 2003 09:21 AM

Portugal and Poland

jason888 Aug 12th, 2003 09:30 AM

Central Europe - Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, etc. - go this year before some/all of these countries convert to the euro and become more expensive!

Just like Western Europe but each with its own flavor. Enjoy!

Ryan Aug 12th, 2003 09:33 AM

Just got back from Portugal, it is much cheaper than somewhere like France and Italy. Lisbon has some really nice sites and the beach resorts in the Algarve are great for a few days in the sun and surf.

One caveat, airfares from the US can be quite high given fairly few flights. A local in the Algarve who I spoke told me that it wasn't just an international issue as it costs him less money to fly out of Sevilla, Spain than Lisbon when he travels.

crazymina Aug 12th, 2003 10:28 AM

Definitely the Czech Republic. Croatia too!

ben_haines_london Aug 12th, 2003 11:34 AM

I agree with Jason and Mina: go east. You do this best by flying as far east in western Europe as you can at a low fare, somewhere like Frankfurt, Munich or Vienna. Then you take a train for a day if you are jet-lagged, otherwise overnight, to somewhere you like. I keep a lust of cheap countries, starting with the cheapest, and it reads like this. The first countries are further to reach, and involve reading the Cyrillic script. But I had a fine three weeks in Slovakia a month ago, and go every year to Romania and every two years or so to Serbia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (but not Prague, which is reaching west European costs). Since you liked London, Paris and Rome you look like a city dweller, so I mention
In Slovakia: Bratislava, Kosice, and Levoca with bus visits to the Spiss towns around
In Romania: Brasov or Sibuu, Iasi. Not bucharsst: crowded, expensive, and relatively new
In Serbia: Belgrade and Novi Sad. I have on disc a 70 page note on tourism in Serbia which I can gladly e-mail to you or others
In Hungary: Budapest, probably with day trips to a Gothic and Baroque town or two
In the Czech Republic: Brno, Olomouc, and most of all Ceske Budejovice, with day trips by bus or train to Cesky Krumlov and other beautiful places all around.

When you have found a cheap transatlntic flight and chosen a country of central Europe please tell us, and I shall be glad to name one or two trains.

Here is my list. I shall welcome corrections

Ukraine (on a private visa, not a tourist visa)
Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia.
Romania (if you use bed and breakfast or hostels, but not hotels)
Serbia (on a visitors pass or a transit visa, not a tourist visa)
Hungary (except Budapest)
The Czech Republic (except Prague)
Poland (except Krakow)
Southern Italy
Southern Spain
Northern Spain
Northern Italy, not Venice
The Netherlands
Austria, not Vienna
United Kingdom, not London
Denmark, Sweden, Finland
Iceland and Norway

[email protected]

ChatNoir Aug 12th, 2003 02:31 PM

ben, I ask this with great respect and admiration for your lifestyle: Is there any country in europe you have not been to?

ben_haines_london Aug 12th, 2003 04:17 PM

I am afraid not to Portugal, Norway, Albania, Bosnia, Belorus or Russia. So those countries are in my list on hearsay, and have reached their present places by my publishing the list from time to time over four years and seeing whether people of experience offer improved orders of cost. You, perhaps ?

For Flying circus: can you yet offer an arrival airport and a cheap country of interest ?

[email protected]

Maira Aug 12th, 2003 04:35 PM

flying--- USAirways has a sale going on to Madrid, Spain; sale covers departures from Sept 8-Oct 10. Strongly recommend this alternative. Many daytrips from Madrid inlude Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Avila, etc...

Mr. Haines, have you ever been to the United States?

OReilly Aug 12th, 2003 04:42 PM


I am interested to see that you have pout Ireland on the list of "cheap" destinations. We are originally Irish, living in Canada, go back every year and rent a house in the West of Ireland (Clifden). We have seen the prices escalate every year for the past ten years, particularly after the introduction of the Euro, and often feel like a pauper! We are always shocked at the cost of eating out and the cost of basic foodstuffs in the supermarkets. We used to go the B&B route, which was always a wonderful deal, but have noticed that prices had soared.

I'm wondering to what extent this is because of the Canadian dollar's poor performance; i.e. is Ireland still a good deal for those spending GB pounds and US dollars?

BTW, thanks for the great list!

regards ... Ger

OReilly Aug 12th, 2003 04:43 PM

OPPPSS - sorry, that note was meant for BEN :)

ChatNoir Aug 12th, 2003 04:55 PM

Ben, I would have thought you had been to Norway and Portugal, but the others don't surprise me. I would like to break out of my normal pattern of countries and go to Croatia and Romania next summer.

WillTravel Aug 12th, 2003 05:19 PM

Almost any place in Europe can be cheap if you adopt a very basic approach. Flyingcircus, do you mean something like where in Europe is a 3* vacation relatively cheap?

I'm a cheapskate myself, but there are limits. For example, in Sweden and Norway you can legally camp for free outside subject to certain stipulations. Some people go to Spain and sleep on the beach (legally or not, I don't know). I have no interest in either, but one thing for sure is that the people who do this have cheap vacations!

ben_haines_london Aug 12th, 2003 06:18 PM

Mr O'Reilly: I am sorry for wrong wording. The list includes most of the countries of Europe, cheap or not. I do agree that Ireland is at the expensive end. Maira: I have not been to the western hemisphere, nor the Pacific basin.

[email protected]:

flyingcircus Aug 12th, 2003 10:23 PM

Well, I should clarify my message! I'd like to visit somewhere in Europe where I can live like a princess, but pay like a pauper! Honestly, it seems like prices for hotels and restaurants are so high in some European cities that it would be more enjoyable for me to go somewhere a little more affordable WITHOUT roughing it.

Ben, I used to live in Canterbury, so I love the smaller cities as well in Europe. I haven't been east of Germany however. I fly for United Airlines, so anywhere they fly in Europe, that's where I'll go. I would start from London, Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. Eastern Europe sounds lovely- just a little concerned about the language barrier. I speak English and a little French. More ideas??

ben_haines_london Aug 13th, 2003 03:22 AM

From their web page I see that United fly into Frankfurt and Munich, and their London office say they fly from Washington at 1720 and 2140 to Frankfurt at 0710 and 1130, and from Washington at 1740 to Munich at 0800. The reference library of a city near you may have the Thomas Cook European Timetable. I think you will be tired on arrival, so suggest you carry straight on to Vienna by restaurant car train. Connections are these.
Washington 1720, Frankfurt airport 0710 to 0819, Franz Liszt Express, lunch in trestaurant car, Vienna West 1535, tram, Vienna South 1615, Bratislava 1736 to 1745, dine in restaurant car, Poprad Tatry 2130 to 2232, Spisska Nova Ves 2259, taxi to the Hotel Arkada in Levoca
Washington 1740, Munich airport 0800, airport train, Munich main station lower level 0900, take a trolley on the lift, Munich main station upper level 0926, Bartok Bela Express, lunch in the restaurant car, Vienna West 1405, tram, Vienna South 1609, Bratislava 1715 to 1745, dine in the restaurant car, Poprad Tatry 2130, to 2232, Spisska Nova Ves 2259, taxi to the Hotel Arkada in Levoca
Washington 2140, Frankfurt airport 1130. Too late to carry straight on, so pass the afternoon in Frankfurt and leave Frankfurt main station 2014, dine in the restaurant car, Munich arrive 2226, board your sleeper about 2300, leave 2344, sleeper, Bruck an der Leitha for breakfast 0652 to 0757, Bratislava-Petrzalka 0828 to 0914, Bratislava main station 0932 to 0950, lunch in restaurant car, Spisska Nova Ves 1454, taxi to the Hotel Arkada in Levoca
On the way back you could overnight from Vienna west at 2028 to Mainz at 0638, then run 20 minutes by local train to Frankfurt airport. Or you could leave Gyor on the old Danube at 2140 for Munich main station at 0620, then 30 minutes by airport train to the airport.
Language is a slight complication, but no barrier. For example, the reception staff in the Arkada speak English and can design each day?s outing for you. If you prefer another town or city of central Europe, perhaps taken from my list, please tell me so.

Ben Haines, London

kaudrey Aug 13th, 2003 04:51 AM


You are such a wealth of information! Although my next two trips are Colorado and Costa Rica, I always have a "soon to plan" list that has ideas for the next few years.

On my "soon" list right now are a combined Poland/Slovakia/Hungary trip, and a Spain and/or Portugal trip.

I have added your city lists on this thread to my file, for future reference.

Thank you so much! And if you do ever decide to visit the US, please let us know - you probably have Fodorite friends in every city here! (I'm in Washington DC).


Wayne Aug 13th, 2003 05:17 AM

The initial response by Ben Haines included several references that implied you should not travel on a tourist visa. I am extremely confused because the question asked by flyingcircus was about costs of travel. How in the world can the type of visa affect travel costs?

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