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Many people dream about visiting places like Paris or Hong Kong, but their high costs can make it hard to transform that dream into a reality. Fortunately, there are lots of fascinating budget-friendly destinations that offer a ton to see and do without the exorbitant price tags. If you’re a budget-minded traveler, consider one of these great destinations instead.
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Quito is a spectacular city located at more than 9,000 feet above sea level in a valley framed by volcanic peaks. Ecuador’s capital is not only easy on the eyes, but it’s easy on the wallet, doable for under $22 a day. Enjoy gazing up at magnificent Gothic architecture, visiting spectacular cathedrals and fascinating museums while sampling tasty cuisine along the way. Just a short drive from the historic center are all sorts of attractions, from zip line rides to waterfalls, along with the opportunity to walk the “line.” The equator line is marked in red paint and is also the only place in the world where you can put one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other one in the Southern Hemisphere.
Hoi Ann is a World Heritage Site with hundreds of buildings designated historic landmarks that can be visited for only around $21 a day. Explore the Ancient Town on foot to check out the centuries-old temples and magnificent architecture adorned with colorful lanterns, or join a tour to learn about the local fishermen and even test your own skills (and luck). If you’re into shopping, there are countless bargains here and hundreds of tailor shops that sell clothing, bags and custom-made items for inexpensive prices.
For less than $27 a day you can experience Bangkok’s most iconic cultural attractions, such as golden temples, floating markets and street food. Visit the Grand Palace, a compound of palaces and temples home to Thailand’s most important relic, the Emerald Buddha, a 15th-century sculpture made from jade. Unwind in the European-style gardens of Dusit, visit Phra Nakhon, which hosts the Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha, and then fuel up with all sorts of foodie delights with just about every dish bursting with flavors.
For just over $27 a day, you can visit Bucharest in southern Romania. The No. 1 attraction is the Palace of Parliament, an iconic landmark from the communist period in Romania, and one of the world’s most controversial and impressive constructions. It features over 1,000 rooms with stunning handcrafted decor, more than 700 crystal chandeliers, an anti-nuclear shelter and escape tunnels, providing the opportunity to learn about the regime that shaped the history of the country.
Krakow is becoming an increasingly popular place for those who travel to Eastern Europe, but it can still be enjoyed at a relatively low cost of a little over $30 a day. Highlights include grand architecture in Gothic to Renaissance styles, the regal Wawel Castle and the atmospheric Jewish quarter of Kazimieriz. The Old Town is famous for its nightlife, with more bars per square meter than anywhere else on the planet.
For a little over $25 a day you can visit Goa, an especially picturesque coastal spot that’s considered to be India’s top beach destination with unspoiled white sands that frame the glistening blue expanse of the Arabian Sea. While the central regions tend to be crowded, venture further north or south for more remote and tranquil treasures that provide an eclectic blend of history, culture, nature and all sorts of adventures.
Often called the “Paris of the North,” Riga offers a bargain for travelers. Here you can get by on around a $25 a day, enjoy some of the largest and most impressive Art Nouveau architecture on the continent with gargoyles and goddesses adorning over 750 buildings along stately boulevards. The winding cobblestone lanes in the Old Town are especially picturesque, and at the Dome Cathedral, you can ascend the spire of St. Peter’s church to take in an awe-inspiring view of the city.
While it’s not the cheapest on this list, Porto is a captivating destination and one of Western Europe’s most wallet-friendly destinations with a total cost of around $55 a day to visit. A UNESCO World Heritage city, there are tons of things to do, as it boasts ornate cathedrals, enticing courtyard squares, fascinating museums and gorgeous riverside restaurants where you can enjoy sipping wine from the Douro Valley while people watching.
Mexico City is No. 2 in the world when it comes to museums, behind only London with nearly 200, from the National Museum of Anthropology to more unique institutions like the Chocolate Museum. It also offers beautiful architecture, countless lively markets and culinary delights, with mouthwatering cuisine around nearly every corner: tamales, tacos, sopes, esquites, you’ll find it all and more. And, it can be enjoyed for only around $30 a day. When you need a change of scenery, there’s plenty of cheap spots in Mexico to explore nearby.
Budapest will set you back about $34 a day. It’s famous for its thermal spas that are fabulous to enjoy after taking a walking tour of historic Castle Hill. Enjoy sailing on the Danube River as you capture the breathtaking panoramic vistas and dining on tasty traditional Hungarian fare, paired with Hungarian wine, of course. If you like to shop, this city offers everything from flea markets and antique shops to higher end boutiques.
Encircled by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean coastal range, Santiago enjoys a dramatic setting and low prices. For around $35 a day, look forward to wandering the cobbled streets of older barrios and taking advantage of the cosmopolitan epicenter that’s jam-packed with fine dining eateries, museums, suburban parks and lively nightlife spots. It also makes a great base for taking part in the area’s recreational activities like hiking or skiing.
Located at the foot of the Atlas mountains, Marrakech is beautiful, large, chaotic, filled with history – and, cheap at about $29 a day. It boasts an exciting mix of old and new, a place where the sounds of music and the sights of snake charmers, fortune tellers, busy bazaars and vendors are found around nearly every corner. The centuries-old markets are renowned as one of the world’s most colorful places, with bowls overflowing with olives, while barrels of spices like turmeric, saffron, ginger and cinnamon are tucked in among the tapestries and hookahs. The city square, Djemaa el Fna, hosts food stalls and wooden tables that are set up with a variety of dishes to sample, including roast lamb and couscous, aubergine fritters, spicy sardines and steamed sheep head.