I recently realized that I have been travelling to a lot of European cities this year. And last year. And to be honest, the same pattern the year before that.
I would lie if I said I didn’t fancy a few week holiday in some place exotic. I’d love to travel to a distant destination with endless beaches and sun. The truth is, only rarely we have a possibility to have such a holiday. Maybe you are struggling with the same issue as well?
You’d desperately need a little getaway from your everyday life, but one or two weeks is just too long time to stay away. Whether the reason is work, kids, pets… whatever. No one wants to travel too far for one or two days at the destination, so you’d need to have a little holiday somewhere near.
And the money, oh there’s never enough money. Even if today the flights can be fairly cheap even to distant destinations, the flights are not the only cost. You’d need accommodation, you’d need to eat, maybe you’d like to party a little bit… Having a long holiday means spending a long penny as well. Not to mention the extra holiday from work that you won’t get paid for. Ouch. Not too tempting, huh?
That’s why I love Europe so much. It’s a real treasure for a busy budget traveler. And you won’t run out of options, you have everything from big cities to little villages and peaceful nature wonders… and the list goes on.
Even if Finland is not the cheapest spot to take off from (you can get a lot cheaper options from Stockholm, Sweden, for example) we have caught quite a few reasonably priced trips. In March we found return flights from Helsinki to Copenhagen for 79 euros each via Momondo. Tallinn is one of Finns’ favourites, and you don’t even need to fly to get over there (you can, if you really want to). At cheapest you can go by boat trip for 9 euros each like us, thanks to cruise line Eckerö.
Our latest weekend destination was Vilnius, the beautiful capital of Lithuania. We booked our trip via Ebookers for approximately 250 euros each, including flights and two nights with breakfast in the four-star BestWestern Vilnius.
I keep spotting nice offers to Riga and Budapest for less than 200 euros from Finnish travel deal sites. Today I found one to Barcelona for less than 250 euros. Tempting, tempting. So many options.
Check out local offers and choose what to see and eat
Vilnius was a perfect city for a weekend getaway. Actually, Vilnius was recently listed as one of the ten cheapest cities for a holiday. Bucharest, Romania and Sofia, Bulgaria reached the top 3. I haven’t yet visited either of them, so this was very nice piece of information.
Public transport is normally quite cheap in Europe (except in Finland, obviously). In Vilnius a local bus ticket costs one euro, so use it. It can’t get much cheaper than that. Each country has their own special offers, like in Germany you can travel with public transport on evenings and weekends 2 for 1, and in Belgium you’ll get a special discount on trains during weekends; all train tickets inside Belgium are half price from Friday evening until Sunday night.
Besides public transport, there are many cheap or even completely free of charge attractions in each destination. In Copenhagen one of my favourite spots with an entrance fee was the Round Tower. Although after Vilnius the Round Tower fee of 3,35 euros seemed a bit pricey. It’s really not.
The Gediminas Castle is known as the symbol of the city of Vilnius and it’s very popular attraction among tourists. You can climb on top of the hill and admire the castle ruins for free, but in case you want to enter the viewing tower, which is also a museum, you have to pay 2 euros. Also the National Museum has an entrance fee of 2 euros. Honestly, both attractions were worth the fee. Even if I don’t consider myself as ‘a museum person’.
As said, every destination has plenty of things to enjoy completely free or charge. You can’t visit Copenhagen without taking a selfie with the Little Mermaid statue, for example. Costs nothing. In addition there are many beautiful parks, and of course, the beautiful Nyhavn. The harbour I couldn’t get enough of.
And talking about beautiful attractions, all over Europe there are so many churches that could just blind you with their beauty. And they are normally all free to visit, no matter whether you believe or not.
Oh, and don’t take all the rumours of the expensive European cities too literally, it’s all about choices after all. For example Copenhagen is well known for being a highly priced travel destination, but I didn’t feel that way. By avoiding the most classy restaurants you can spend a holiday in Copenhagen with reasonable costs. I even found 13 euro boots along the shopping street, not expensive at all! Choices, choices.
I love easy!
The biggest reason why I love travelling in Europe is the simplicity of it. I love catching last minute travel deals with quick and cheap take offs, and in Europe you don’t need to think or plan too much before going. You don’t need to worry about visas, to most destinations you don’t need to change currency, and you can handle a quick getaway with very little to pack, even if packing would be normally the hardest part of travelling.
I always travel with hand luggage only because I love how fast and easy it is. After getting off the plane I can just walk out of the airport and start my holiday right away without having to wait for luggage to come. If it even comes. I have been ‘lucky’ to experience it a few times that I have landed at my destination but my luggage didn’t, even if we were supposed to be on the same plane. Fun, oh so much fun.
What else makes travelling in Europe so easy? You don’t need to worry about too huge gaps between the cultures. A language barrier is neither an issue, as English is well spoken all over Europe, at least in the most popular tourist areas. Normally I’m polite enough to study at least a few useful words in the native language, like ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘hello’ or such, but for some reason I completely forgot to do it when travelling to Lithuania. As nice as it would have been to at least say ‘thank you’ in a restaurant after a nice dinner… I’m a little bit ashamed, but I can’t help it anymore. Next time then.
So, I have been blabbering about lovely Europe for a while now and listed quite many reasons why I love travelling there. It’s your turn to say something now. So please scroll on the bottom of the page and you will find a comment section. I’m asking you to share your tips for awesome destinations in Europe.
I haven’t decided my next European destination yet, so I need your help. Besides the regular city break I’d also like to experience some nature. Maybe a hike up a mountain or a little day walk in the woods. Or perhaps something else, what would you suggest – and where?
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