Money certainly does not grow on trees, but not all European destinations have to be budget busters. It’s common to hear “It’s just too expensive” about traveling to Europe.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Recently, on our Highlights of Eastern Europe trip, I was surprised to see how far I could stretch a buck. From Budapest to Krakow – even in storybook Vienna – just $10 got me some memorable experiences, food and drink, and even some local jewelry.
Check out what you can buy for $10 here:
1. A round of drinks in a beer garden for you and your friends (Budapest): The beer culture in Eastern Europe is absolutely something to experience. There are outdoor beer gardens all over the place, which make for the best places to people watch and strike up conversations. My friend and I decided to post up at a hip outdoor bar in the center of the city and struck up a conversation with another American traveler who was there by himself. We ended up having a few rounds discussing music, Game of Thrones, work and life. It was a great way to spend our night for only about $9 per round.
Current Conversion Rate: $1 = 283 forint
2. Schnitzel Dinner in Vienna: After Budapest, I was worried about heading to Austria and spending an exorbitant amount of money. To my pleasant surprise, things really weren’t that expensive! The euro is still slightly stronger than the dollar, but you can make it work.
Austria has strong German influences, which means you can find the most delicious schnitzel! Schnitzel is a traditional German meat dish. It’s super thin, breaded and boneless and often served with potatoes. I had it almost every day I was there (quit judging). One night, a few people from our group went out for dinner and found schnitzel stuffed with cheese and bacon that was literally as big as my head, served with a side of roasted potatoes. An eating contest and subsequent food coma ensued, but it really only cost a little over $10 for a giant, local meal.
Current Conversion Rate: $1 = .91 euros
3. Handmade Jewelry on the Charles Bridge (Prague): The Charles Bridge in Prague is lined with artists selling one of a kind goods. I was able to buy a unique leather bracelet with a Czech blown-glass bead on top for only about $3. I picked up one for myself and my friend for her birthday along with another small gift for only about $10 total.
Current Conversion Rate: $1 = 9 krona
4. A Hot Air Balloon Ride in Krakow: One of the coolest things about Poland is how modern the city is, but has a very unique, stepping-back-in-time feel. Essentially, the whole city of Krakow was rebuilt after WWII, but it doesn’t lose it’s ambiance. For about 36 zloty (about $9) you can see Krakow from the sky in a hot air balloon ride! The balloon is tethered to the ground, but extends up in the air over the River Vistula, offering beautiful views of the river and city.
*Expert tip: Go in the early evening for beautiful sunset views!
Current Conversion Rate: $1 = 4 zloty
5. Go to town on Pierogis in Warsaw: I was going to avoid writing about multiple food recommendations, but sorry, I can’t. The best way I spent my $10 in Poland was trying every variation of Pierogi possible. Pierogis are Polish dumplings stuffed with meats, cheese and even fruits if you have a sweet tooth. My personal favorites are the traditional sauerkraut/meat combo or, for my vegetarian friends, the potato/cheese filled ones. You can get a plate of 10 for less than $10.
Check out the Semi-Annual Sale and put your savings to use on Highlights of Eastern Europe!