For all those who’re already planning their summer trips, we have a list of 6 amazing coastal towns in Europe. We took under consideration what backpackers usually care about the most – the atmosphere, authenticity, and prices. Some of the cities are unpopular; others entirely were known, but none of them can be called a typical resort with luxurious hotels and nothing else to offer. Besides, all of them are relatively affordable, especially when compared with widely known destinations in western or northern Europe. Just have a look at our list of best places to backpack in Europe.
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Located on the coast of the Black Sea, Varna is one of the most interesting places in Bulgaria. It combines the characteristics of a sunny resort and a bustling city. As a coastal town, Varna offers everyday activities beloved by beachaholics: sunbathing, swimming and relaxing, yet it also provides visitors with other attractions. It’s a modern city, but full of historical treasures. There’s a great archaeological museum full of artifacts gathered throughout the area’s long and rich history. The beautiful Sea Garden attracts strollers, cyclists, and picnic enthusiasts. It has some lovely alleys and quiet viewpoints from which you can watch the sea.
There are also lots of stores, restaurants, and bars. During the summer, the nightlife is lively. You can join some beach parties and dance until the sun rises or drink raki in a Balkan-style tavern. Moreover, Varna is relatively cheap. The food is as delicious as budget-friendly, so you can enjoy traditional Bulgarian dishes without spending a fortune. Hostels and guest houses are also inexpensive.
Let’s admit it: Dubrovnik is a very touristy town. Backpackers often try to avoid crowds of tourists, yet Dubrovnik deserves breaking this rule. Besides, if you absolutely can’t handle being surrounded by thousands of visitors, you can visit this gorgeous town during the low season. In the spring and autumn, Dubrovnik is still warm, but cheaper and emptier than in the summer. Choose whatever date suits you the most, but visit this city, especially if you’re planning to travel around the Balkans.
Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of Adriatic, and this poetic name describes it perfectly. With its stunning architecture, this Croatian town regularly steals hearts of visitors. Once visited, it just can’t be forgotten. Stunning churches, fountains, and monasteries, towers, gates, and palaces – the gems of Dubrovnik are countless. As if that wasn’t enough, the city’s also scenically located right on the seaside, so you can not only enjoy the striking architecture but also relax on the sand, take a boat trip, try cliff jumping or sailing.
For a mixture of youthful energy, sunny atmosphere, and romantic charm, visit Porto. There’s something unique to this Portuguese town – perhaps it’s the bright buildings, the colorful laundry getting dried on many balconies, the lovely hills with houses scattered all over their surface, the shimmering river or the baroque churches. It might also be because of the particular locals who feel culturally different than the residents of other Portuguese cities, the delicious cuisine or the pretty beaches. Most likely, though, it’s because of all these combined into one gem of a town. With such diverse attractions, Porto can keep you busy for many days. Important info for most backpackers – it’s relatively affordable. Porto can’t be placed among the cheapest cities in Europe, especially when compared to Eastern Europe, but it’s still fine. You can find many hostels and lovely food at reasonable prices.
The island of Crete, where Chania lies, is quite a touristy place. Nevertheless, backpackers might get surprised by how authentic it has managed to remain, despite the extreme growth of tourism industry. No matter how many foreigners come and go, Crete stays itself. There are luxurious hotels, but comfortable guest houses and budget hostels as well. There are expensive restaurants, but traditional taverns stand right next to them. On the streets and beaches, you can see fancifully dressed tourists walking aside backpackers with their huge backpacks and comfy clothes. To put it simply, Crete has it all. Not only it offers accommodations and attractions for both high and low prices, but it also has lots of attractions for people with different interests. There are incredible ancient sites for history-lovers, original eateries for food lovers, awe-inspiring beaches and stunning mountains for nature-lovers.
Looking for a crazy adventure? Palermo’s a place for you then. It’s one of the most exotic cities in Europe. Situated on the island of Sicily, it’s not far from Africa. As you can imagine, Palermo is warm, sunny and colorful. It’s not a cute little town, but it’s chaotic in a fascinating way. The drivers overuse the horns and constantly shout at each other, garbage lies on the streets. Everything’s loud and intense, yet this edgy character of Palermo can be alluring.
Fabulous palaces, mosques, and gardens are there to make you realize how culturally diverse this city is. They were built by many different invaders, rulers, and emperors, out of which all wanted to call Palermo their own. This variety of architectural styles makes Palermo a bit messy but in a captivating way. Then, to add to its unique character, there are the locals – slightly suspicious towards newcomers, but also charming in their way.
With its combination of unusual nature, welcoming locals and low prices, Albania is one of the best places to backpack in Europe. The coast is among its greatest treasures. That’s why it’s included on this list. Vlore, one of Albania’s most famous coastal towns, is located in the south of the country. It’s where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic, so while being in Vlore, you can take a dip in both of the seas. The town isn’t especially pretty when it comes to architecture.
It’s dominated by new block buildings, out of which many were built very fast and without any particular concern about looks. Nevertheless, nature and the atmosphere make up for it. Vlore has fabulous beaches, bustling nightlife, a wide range of inexpensive eateries and a great summer vibe.