Off the beaten path: 3 trips less traveled

Off the beaten path: 3 trips less traveled

by Elizabeth Goldstein
Stripes Europe

Paris, London, Amsterdam ... places that are on most bucket lists when living in Europe. However, why not travel off the beaten path and explore one of these three amazing places?

Romania

When you hear the word Romania, you usually don’t think of beautiful travel destination. What may come to mind is either tales of Dracula or a poverty stricken third-world country full of danger. However, Romania has some amazing treasures that not many travelers are aware of. It’s extremely inexpensive to travel here. Technically, Romania is a second-world country and they do suffer from issues with poverty; however, many locations are thriving. Timișoara, for example, is scheduled to be the European Capital of culture for 2021. This city is one of many in Romania that one can safely walk the back streets at night without fear or danger.

In addition to the famous Bran castle where Dracula lived, Romania is dotted with breathtaking castles. Transylvania has stunning terrain, but much of Romania is composed of gorgeous mountains, undeveloped country side and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.  While the countryside is certainly something to write home about, there’s nothing better than the food. Best yet, you’ll find yourself eating three-course meals that knock your socks off and hardly dent your wallet. Some of the top rated cities include: Sighisoara, Sibiu, Brasov, Sinaia, Bucharest and Timișoara.

Morocco

Travel to Africa and visit Morocco — a country full of history, culture and incredible architecture. Not only is Morocco full of tourist retreats and out of this world food, you can take expeditions comparable to something out of a movie. There are abundant locations to get lost in, and the ancient history will take you back in time thousands of years. You can easily find yourself tanning on a beach with the warm waves tickling your toes, or resting your head on a bed of sand under a blanket of stars. Whether you take a camel into the Sahara Desert for days, relax at five-star resort, or spend your time in the bustling city of Marrakech, Morocco certainly has every option a traveler could wish for it its unique Arabic fashion.

Morocco has majestic mountains, picturesque cities, rolling dunes, awe-inspiring mosques and beautiful beaches ready to be explored. If that doesn’t sound exciting, the maze of merchants at the local markets full of snake charmers and monkeys is sure to get you. Don’t forget to grab yourself some Argan oil, a few great cashmere scarves and some candle lanterns to take home. While some people may feel hesitant to travel to predominantly Muslim countries, Morocco is known for warmly welcoming tourists from all around the world and is very accepting of individuality. Experience the beauty and charm of the Moroccan people and all the adventure Morocco has to offer. Some of the top rated cities are: Chefchaouen, Casablanca, Fez, Merrakesh, Merzouga and Mekenes.

Hungary

Travel to Hungary and experience more Eastern European charm in the heart of Budapest.  Like many places in Europe, this city offers history from a vast number of cultures dating back as far as the 6th century BC.  Admire many architectural structures from the Romans, Turkish, Mongolians, Germans and more. Although Budapest was heavily destroyed over the years, there is much that still remains. One of the more popular and somber attractions is Shoes on the Danube. This memorial pays homage to the victims of the Holocaust, which were said to have taken their shoes off at this location before being executed in the river.

If you are looking for more lighthearted attractions, you won’t be able to miss the splendid and awe-inspiring Hungarian Parliament building on the Pest side of the city.  Although you can take a tour inside, the outside is far more impressive and free. Hop over to the other side of the city and check out the Buda Castle, which is an official UNESCVO World Heritage site. It’s nearly impossible to miss from any location in the city, but it’s definitely a place to visit for the best aerial views of the city.

Other fun things include taking a spooky walk through an underground labyrinth, planting your feet where the gladiators once stood in a local Roman amphitheater or have yourself a health retreat in a Turkish bathhouse- the options are limitless. One of the best things about traveling to Hungary is that it’s budget-friendly — a little goes a long way. You’ll be able to stay at five-star hotels for the same price as a standard U.S. hotel, and like Romania, you’ll be able to eat like a king and pay like a peasant.

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