Taking an international honeymoon trip is no small financial feat. While your heart may dream of a picturesque European getaway, your bank account might just not agree. Don’t worry, for every expensive and highly frequented city, there are about a dozen charming destinations that are just slightly off-the- beaten track. With rich cultures, stunning architecture, and even delicious food, some destinations are perfect for lovers on a budget. And mind you, cutting down on your budget doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality of your honeymoon will be diminished in any way. In fact, it might just allow you to better immerse yourself in the local culture.
So, we put together a list of eight affordable European destinations that will have you jet-setting without taking a toll on your bank account. While the standard rules like looking for flight deals, finding affordable accommodation, and eating like a local still apply, you can especially get a bigger bang for your buck by taking advantage of a lesser exchange rate on some of the currencies here.
With its clear blue waters and pebbled beaches, Croatia lives up to its title as the ‘jewel of the Adriatic’. Dubrovnik’s Old Town is exceedingly charming and romantic with its distinct red roof tiles, cobbled streets, and stone walls completed in the 16th century surrounding it. The Dalmatian coast is blessed with several quaint little island towns and cities like Split and Hvar–boasting Baroque architecture, historical museums, isolated beaches, and some of the most unique eateries. Be sure to plan an island-hopping adventure because Croatia boasts over 700 of them! Events like the Yacht Week are adding to Croatia’s increasing popularity, but several parts of the country are still pristine and untouched.
Majestic mountains, breathtaking beaches, and quaint old churches are just some of the many staggeringly beautiful experiences that this country has to offer. The famous island of Sveti Stefan lies amid the cerulean Adriatic, just slightly away from the mainland’s coast. Smaller hip towns like Budva and Kotor have a certain charm that just can’t be compared to anywhere else. The 300-km coastline of the country manages to house one of Europe’s most scenic sea sides! While they do use the Euro, the rates are generally very low compared to major European cities.
Tip: You can also take a serene road trip along the Dalmatian coast from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.
The Czech Republic has so much to offer in terms of historical and natural beauty. Many of Prague’s main attractions are free, and I found the best way to explore the city was through free walking tours! The Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge, and St. Vitus Cathedral are only some of the many architectural wonders found in this Bohemian city at the banks of the Vltava. The quaint, fairy-tale town of Cesky Krumlov in South Bohemia is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It truly takes you back in time with its old-world charm. The castle, Baroque theatre, and Gothic houses are sights to behold. The best time to visit the Czech Republic would be early spring—when the rates aren't too high and the weather is pleasant.
One of the most underrated destinations out there is Hungary. The capital city, Budapest, offers all the appeal of popular European cities at a fraction of the cost. The iconic Chain Bridge that joins the two sides of the city (Buda and Pest) across the Danube, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and the distinctive ruin bars are only some of the highlights of the city. If you get the chance, don’t miss a stroll around the Jewish quarters of the city and try some paprika goulash! The lake town of Tihany and the Bukk Mountains are considered a haven for those who love outdoor adventures.
Tip: Be sure to take a romantic evening cruise down the Danube to admire the beautifully lit-up buildings
A mountainous haven covered in forests, this tiny country lies surrounded by Austria, Italy, and Hungary. The Adriatic coastline offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing and swimming on sandy beaches. Ljubljana is graced with architecture from Plecnik’s art nouveau style, whose detailing goes right down to the doorknobs of his creations. The city also houses a number of affordable cafes and restaurants. You can take a public bus from here to Lake Bled. The emerald waters, Alpine views, and Disney-esque castle—the region is abundant with picture-perfect sights.
Often overshadowed by its fellow Balkan nations, Slovakia is a destination worth considering. While the stunning city of Bratislava might be a bit on the expensive side, one can experience it on a budget by taking advantage of the free things the city has to offer. The small yet enchanting city can be explored easily on foot, and the meandering cobblestoned streets are lined with stately monuments, buildings, and statues. Comforting, homely Slovak dishes are a must-try! Besides the capital city, Slovakia has numerous national parks that are all free to visit. The High Tatras mountains are perfect for hiking and exploring.
Estonia offers low-cost accommodation and cuisine, making it an ideal destination for budget travellers. The capital city of Tallinn overflows with charm and culture as it lies on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Unlike other cities, it isn't overrun by tourists and the most fascinating part is that locals actually live in medieval stone towers! The city is home to various classical contemporary art institutions, and the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More than half the country is covered with forests and is truly a mecca for outdoorsy travellers. The national parks in Estonia offer free entrance, with Otepaa Nature Park topping the list with over 65 lakes and plenty of trails.
Tip: Tallinn is a short boat ride away from Helsinki if you’d like to take a day trip to Finland.
The northern city of Porto has something for everyone—admire the incredible Art Deco architecture, and sip on some Port wine while exploring this city on foot. You can also take a day trip from Porto to the picturesque Douro Valley vineyard region. Hit up the golden coast of the Algarve and the hippie beach clubs in Comporta for some budgeted partying. The pine forests and rice fields of Carvalhal contrast with its dunes and turquoise water, making it a multifaceted geographical marvel. The small towns scattered all over Portugal offer pristine beaches, mesmerising views, and even centuries-old castles!
These sangeet songs will make your performance a total hit!
Ditch the mess and say hello to happier skin!