There are so many wonderful places you can visit in the world. The problem is, as these places get more popular and attract more visitors, they become more touristy and, consequently, more expensive.
But if you avoid the tourist traps, are willing to fly long-haul and look for something slightly off the beaten track or catered to budget travellers, you can save money and have a truly wonderful and more unique experience.
So, if you’re looking for some more affordable places to travel on a budget this year, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, we’ve put together a list of seven hidden gems you should consider in 2023.
- Theth, Albania
- Yasawa Islands, Fiji
- Asturias, Spain
- Drakensberg, South Africa
- Perast, Montenegro
- Mittenwald, Germany
- Varna, Bulgaria
1. Theth, Albania
Let’s kick off with one of Europe’s most underrated destinations, Albania. Not many consider visiting this wonderful nation, and those that do tend to head for the capital of Tirana. This means that Albania is still a very affordable location.
But outside the capital, you’ll find the nation’s biggest hidden gem, Theth. This is a quaint village in the Balkan mountain range, and it has a very small population.
This is the base point for several wonderful hiking trails, it is also an incredibly beautiful region, and some of the highlights are the Theth National Park, Tower of Nikoll Koçeku and Grunasi Waterfall.
Accommodation, food, drink and travel are all cheap, so this is the ideal place to travel on a shoestring budget.
2. Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Fiji, as a whole, is a very well-known and popular destination in the South Pacific Ocean, but did you know it is made up of 330 islands? And of these, only a third are inhabited.
This means there are plenty of hidden gems you can explore outside of the most touristy hubs: Nadi, Denarau and Mamanuca Islands.
Away from the bustle and urbanisation are the Yasawa Islands. This untapped source of beauty is a lush green space with mountainous regions perfect for hiking.
You can also enjoy the stretches of sandy coastline, crystal clear seas and the absence of people and traffic. It is the ideal place to soak up your surroundings and get back to nature.
Plus, the island caters to travellers on a budget who want to experience tropical serenity without having to pay a fortune at a resort to do so.
3. Asturias, Spain
Located along the north coast of Spain near the Bay of Biscay, the Asturias region boasts a rugged coastline, religious sites, medieval architecture and lush green mountains. A third of this region is protected as it is home to four biosphere reserves.
As it is less popular than other regions in Spain, the beaches remain uncrowded, and it is a wonderful place to explore the wilderness. It is also considered to be one of the most important historical spots in the country, making it great for embracing Spanish culture.
It is a very affordable destination, and accommodation will set you back as little as £20 a night. Plus, you can enjoy fine dining for around £14 for a good meal and a few drinks.
4. Drakensberg, South AfricA
You’ve heard of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, but South Africa is also home to some lesser-known gems of the world.
Located in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Drakensberg is home to several World Heritage Sites and some of the country’s most breathtaking views. It’s another hiker’s paradise, and best of all, it can be done on a budget.
Within each section of the mountains, there is at least one good budget accommodation, often with self-catering kitchens. These places are designed for budget travel; therefore, they offer cheaper tours.
However, most of the hikes are doable even without a guide. So you can save even more money if you rent a 4×4 vehicle and go it alone.
5. Perast, Montenegro
A quaint town with a population of approximately 269 people, Perast sits on the coast of Montenegro. This idyllic location has a rich history, a romantic waterfront setting and is a great travel destination for beach lovers.
Just off the shore, you’ll find the island of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks, the Adriatic’s only artificial island. Both are well worth a visit during your stay.
You can also marvel at the ancient architecture and Venetian-heritage buildings in the ton, take in the jaw-dropping views and stay in some Instagram-worthy accommodation for as little as £11 a night!
Perast has been called ‘beauty for a bargain,’ and we firmly believe you’ll fall in love with this budget-friendly but totally captivating destination.
6. Mittenwald, Germany
The sleepy town of Mittenwald looks like a scene straight out of a Grimms’ fairytale, as this enchanting town has a backdrop of colourful houses, cobbled streets and snowcapped mountains.
But do you know what it doesn’t have?
So not only is this a hidden gem where you can avoid the crowds, but it is also ideal for those travelling on a budget. The hotels in this German town are very affordable, and food and drink are also available for a fraction of the price when compared to bustling tourist hotspots like Munich or Berlin.
And as we know, no Bavarian experience would be complete without a bratwurst and a beer.
7. Varna, Bulgaria
Finally, we have Varna in Bulgaria. Unlike some of the other hidden gems on the list, this is a cosmopolitan European city rather than a town or far-flung island.
However, it has managed to stay relatively far off the tourist radar and is a very underrated and budget-friendly destination. It is also a great alternative for those who are looking for a lively trip but want to avoid tourist traps like Sunny Beach, Barcelona and Ibiza.
Located on the coast of Bulgaria, it is a seaside resort with a vibrant cultural scene. The beaches there are beautiful, perfect for lounging around during the day, and at night, Varna comes to life.
There are plenty of bars and clubs around, and with one of Europe’s most up-and-coming scenes, it offers some of the best music and drinking experiences on the continent.
But it’s not just about the nightlife. Known as the Jewel of the Black Sea, there is also plenty to see during the day, including the Sea Garden, Stone Forest and Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin.
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