11 Exotic European Destinations That Won’t Empty Your Wallet

Luxurious and exotic travel destinations don’t necessarily need to be expensive. You can go to numerous places for the same experience for a lesser price. You’ll be surprised that there are actually a lot of exotic destinations in Northern Europe that are more budget-friendly than expected! Here are 11 exotic destinations to consider!

1. Azores

Image Credit: Luis Ascenso – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Consisting of nine volcanic islands in Portugal, the Azores is filled with dramatic green landscapes clustered by fishing villages. The largest island, Sao Miguel, is famous for its large lake-filled calderas and sprawling tea plantation. You can hike, dive, island hop, and eat cheap food throughout the nine islands.

2. Malta

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For something more quirky and historical, Malta is a great country where multiple cultures and influences collide to create something unique. It has beautiful architecture mixed with a breathtaking coastal view of blue waters. The accommodation and food are typically cheaper, so check it out if you enjoy a Mediterranean vibe.

3. Cabo Verde

A view of Monte Cara from Mindelo
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Also known as Cape Verde, this small island country in the central Atlantic Ocean has ten volcanic islands to hop around. Each island does cater to the different vibes you might be looking for. For example, Sal is touristy, while Santo Antao is great for hikes and has fantastic views. Do some more research on which island would appeal the most to you.

4. Albania

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Your best bet for a budget exotic destination is the Balkans, and Albania is a great place to start. It has castles and archaeological sites that evoke a mystical, cultural, and historical feel. At the same time, you can spend time hiking, skiing, and kayaking, which typically costs less there than most places in Europe.

5. Moldova

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Moldova is a good option if you are looking for a less touristy spot but nonetheless breathtaking with all the typical activities combined. There are sprawling vineyards, hills to hike, and dense forests to explore. For days steeped in culture, you can visit the National Museum of History, which exhibits art and culturally significant collections, or visit the most extensive wine cellars in Europe in Codru.

6. Morocco

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A stunning Mediterranean option that offers a colorful city infused with Arabian, Berber, and European cultural influences. It’s cheap to travel to and experience while providing a different experience than most European countries. Plus, it shares the same time zone as the U.K.!

7. Bulgaria

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This country has everything you need or want regarding travel – you can hike, ski on snowy mountains, visit local beach towns, or look at breathtaking monasteries. It is an excellent combination of a big modern city and preserved ancient ruins, making it a great place to walk around and explore as you go.

8. Curacao

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It is another island country with cove beaches and clear waters perfect for honeymooners. It is home to beautiful coral reefs and healthy marine life. As such, it can also be a good location for those who enjoy diving or snorkeling. You can even venture into their capital of Willemstad, which has colonial buildings now painted in pastel colors or the 17th-century synagogue.

9. Georgia

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A country located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Georgia is home to the Black Sea beaches, Caucasus Mountain villages, and the sprawling 12th-century cave monastery. You should also include visiting Kakheti in your itinerary, as it is an ancient wine-growing region with cultural significance. Georgia is an underrated exotic destination only a few people know about.

10. Canary Islands

Image Credit: Bjoern Hoernitz, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Also referred to as the Canaries, these are a host of volcanic isles famously known for their black and white sand beaches. Tenerife is the largest and most visited island, with an active volcano and an observatory tied to the Teide National Park. Most people visit during the pre-Lent carnival held in the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, so if you want to avoid crowds, avoid this season.

11. Montenegro

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Add this country next if you’re visiting the Balkans! Montenegro has lush, rugged mountains, medieval villages, and beautiful beaches by the Adriatic coastline. You can explore its fortified towns and coastal churches, meet bears and wolves in the Durmitor National Park, and finally, know what a fjord looks like at the Bay of Kotor. In Montenegro, you will experience what it would feel like to be a Viking.