Affordable Europe

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In the evening, suggest a performance at the Palace of Arts. A variety of performances including theater, classical concerts and children’s performances are on the program monthly. The acoustic system of the main concert hall is one of the world’s best. Ticket prices vary, but $15 will buy a seat in the mezzanine section for most classical concerts. For dinner, there’s the Fatal (the Wooden Platter) off Vaci Utca, the city’s trendy pedestrian shopping mall. Fatal specializes in authentic Hungarian recipes and huge portions. They have dishes like beef goulash, duck with cabbage Zvekedli (pot roasted dish of crispy duck and the all-Hungarian cabbage pasta), and some of the best dessert in town. About $17 will get clients all they can eat plus a bottle of beer or a glass of local Cabernet Sauvignon.

germany Berlin is an exciting city, filled with young artists and plenty of trendy shops and galleries. Tell clients to stay at the centrally located Olivaer Apart Hotel, where $54 will buy them three-star accommodations near the city’s most popular shopping streets. It’s also just a short walk on foot to some of Berlin’s most prestigious department stores. A fun way to get around the major attractions in the center of the city is by pedicab—$20 will buy your clients a half-hour tour—from April to October, seven days a week. For a quick lunch, try the famous Berlin curried sausage at Curry 36 in Kreuzberg. The legendary sausage is doused in tomato sauce, dusted with curry powder and served with a mound of fries—all for about $7.

The afternoon is a good time to explore Kreuzberg, a charming and international district with alternative flair. It is an area brimming with culture with many museums and even vestiges of the Berlin Wall. The Kreuzberg Museum shows the history of development of this area from the early-18th century to the present and it’s free.

Clients visiting in late-May to early-June won’t want to miss the Carnival of Cultures, which it taking place May 29 to June 1 and which the German National Tourist board says is a reflection of Berlin‘s cultural diversity. Indeed, over 440,000 immigrants from more than 180 countries live in the German capital. The Carnival is a unique opportunity for members of Berlin‘s ethnic communities to make their cultures visible to Berliners and visitors alike. In addition, they also offer international dishes at the many snack stalls along the street.

poland Jan W. Rudomina, director of the Polish National Tourist Office in New York, points out that 2009 is probably going to be one of the best years ever in terms of affordable travel to Poland, thanks to the fact that the dollar has strengthened there to the point where it’s more than three times the exchange rate of the Polish currency.

Nowhere is that dollar savings more obvious than with Pat Tours’ variety of affordable tours for 2009, including the 7-night Grand Tours of Poland for $1,450 pp dbl and the 6-night Poland’s Best for $1,320 pp dbl. But probably the best program for bargain shoppers is the 6-night Gems of Northern Poland that visits all the hot attractions of Poland for just $1,160 pp dbl, including Warsaw, Zelazowa Wola, Czestochowa, Auschwitz, Wadowice, Krakow, Zakopane, Wieliczka and back to Warsaw before heading home.

Clients will stay at first-class hotels, get two meals daily, enjoy a folklore show in Zakopane and a Chopin concert in Warsaw, spend a special evening with a Polish family and travel by air-conditioned coach.

And with their free time, there’s a myriad selection of budget-conscious things to do. For example, in Warsaw, tell clients to visit the Royal Castle, the official residence of the Polish monarchs. If they have extra time, they can even peek into the National Museum in Warsaw, a UNESCO site that features the old masters. Afterwards, stop off at Studio boffo for minced pork cutlet and potatoes, beetroot and a Polish beer—all for just $12. In Krakow, clients can have an excellent Polish meal for two for less than $20 at Pod Sloncem and the town’s historical center is a pleasure for taking a stroll through to enjoy the beautiful medieval architecture.

austria In Vienna, clients can overnight at Pension Dr. Geissler, a cozy B&B located between St. Stephens Cathedral and Franz-Josefs-Kai, right in the city center, for just $60 and that includes breakfast. Also, tell clients to pick up a Day pass for public transport for just $7 and they can do all the sightseeing they want.