Score big on savings while exploring global flavors and treasures.
When it comes to choosing travel destinations around the world, budget is always a top concern. With JustFly, not only do bucket lists become budget-friendly, hidden gems also become far more accessible. From major metropolis to small towns in the middle of nowhere, here are nine cities where you can dive into unique local cultures without spending too much money. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Northern Thailand is already known for its affordable lifestyle, Chiang Mai in particular has continued to welcome digital nomads due to its low budget accommodations. For less than $5, travelers can find hostels that provide shared rooms with basic amenities, even free breakfast. There are plenty outdoor activities that don’t cost a dime while indulging in Northern Thailand’s beautiful landscapes, including: hiking through rice fields and visiting Buddhist wats. Local street food can be as cheap as $1-2 for a plate of pad Thai or khao soi which is a must-try in Chiang Mai. Be sure to visit this peaceful city during low season (from May through October,) when rates are even lower than usual.
2. Kiev, Ukraine
With a wide range of activities to do that are free of charge, Kiev is an up-and-coming European city dazzling budget travelers. In addition to many concept hostels where creative travelers congregate, Airbnb options in Kiev are also comfortable and safe. Avoid areas near the Central Railway Station since they’re often in poor conditions for unreasonable prices. Take a stroll through the city center, and you’ll discover Kiev’s famous attractions at zero cost. St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Mykhailivs’ka Street, St. Andrew’s Church, just to name a few. Definitely try syriniki (cottage cheese pancakes) in the morning, then end your day with a shot of vodka!
3. Taipei, Taiwan
As one of the most underrated cosmopolitan cities in the world, Taipei is not only a leader in technology but an ultra economical city to visit. It boasts a food culture that thrives on street vendors selling anything from stinky tofu to oyster omelets. Eating delicious local cuisine can easily be attained by checking out any night market in the city. For less than $3 a meal, you can feast on authentic street food while eyeing for a huge variety of tech gadgets that you can bring home as souvenirs. Not to mention, local Taiwanese are known to be laidback and incredibly friendly. In addition to their love for interacting with foreigners, Taiwanese’s ability to speak English make Taipei an ideal destination.
4. Krakow, Poland
Krakow is not only one of the oldest cities in Poland, it’s also the second largest. For less than 30 euros, you can enjoy Krakow at its best. From sightseeing, eating, to getting around the city! Don’t visit Krakow via city tours by golf carts, but take advantage of its accessible bike plan as you’ll see many docks around town. Devour its famous street food, including: zapiekanka (Polish pizza on baguette bread,) obwarzanek (Polish bagels,) and kielbasa (Polish sausage.) There are also many museums in the city that offer free admission on certain days.
5. Bucharest, Romania
Romania is an underrated European city, so go there before everyone begins to take notice. Bucharest may be the most prosperous city in the country, but it’s far more cost-effective than most Western European capitals. Bucharest may be known for Dracula, but there are still numerous free walking tours catered to travelers who want to explore historical sites. Don’t miss local markets where you can purchase local produce and ingredients to bring back to your hotel or Airbnb for a night of tasty homemade meal. Make sure to get your hands on a 10-journey pass ($5,) so you can have access to the city’s safe public transport network.
6. Aveiro, Portugal
In general, Portugal is one of the least expensive countries to visit in Western Europe due to its economic crisis in 2010. Since a few years ago, tourism has been thriving, making major cities such as: Lisbon, Lagos, and Porto extremely popular among travelers. Aim for a smaller town like Aveiro for a day trip that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Known as the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro highlights romantic scenery via canal boat rides. Don’t miss shopping in artisanal shops that sell locally made soaps, olive oil, and salt.
7. Kalamata, Greece
Located in the Peloponnese peninsula, Kalamata is considered as an ultra hidden gem. The combination of turquoise sea water against mountainous hills has attracted avid travelers who steer away from mainstream tourists for a quaint village atmosphere. The city is not as windy as the weather on the Greek islands, hence travelers can bring a chair and sit on the beach with a cup of coffee which costs no more than 1 euro. Food in Kalamata is also far more authentic and lower priced than what one can find on the islands. There are many boutiques that make local handcrafted products, including: Kalamata olives and olive oil that are inexpensive but high in quality.
8. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Morocco’s “Blue City” is one of the most astonishing places in the world that everyone must visit at least once in a lifetime. Located in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco, Chefchaouen is small and exceedingly affordable to unearth. Since the city is built on a hill, expect a lot of walking and hiking around this small town covered in blue walls and houses. Be sure to stop by Restaurant Casa Aladins for a fantastic meal with the view of the sunset. Afterwards, wander through the Medina or souks for local treats then capture another great view of the city from the Spanish Mosque.
9. Ljubljana, Slovenia
In recent years, Slovenia has rapidly risen on many bucket lists by offering a mix of spectacular bridges against magnificent architectures that exude Roman, Austro-Hungarian, and post-Yugoslavia influences. While Ljubljanica River pumps the heartbeat of the city, you can freely wander through the main area of the city which is a pedestrian zone. Therefore, you can easily meander through delightful roads without the fear of being run over by cars. Shops, restaurants, cafes and a castle in Old Town allows any day trip to be just as free as it is culturally intriguing.