Based on hotel accommodation, taxi trip, cocktails and dinner for two, the cheapest cities in the world have just been revealed by the third annual TripIndex survey from travel giant TripAdvisor. And the cheapest destinations for summer 2013 in order are;
1. Sofia in Bulgaria
The cosmopolitan city of Sofia is capital of this Eastern European gem, which has attracted budget-conscious travellers for years. Bulgaria is better known for its beautiful beaches and superb skiing facilities, but following the revelation that it’s the cheapest city in the world right now, I predict Sofia city breaks to really take off! The compact city is home to the UNESCO listed Boyana Church which dates back to the 10th century. Then there’s the nature and adventure capital of Bulgaria; Mount Vitosha where keen hikers, climbers and skiiers will be in their element. And then there’s the superb Sofia Art Gallery which showcases unique Bulgarian art.
2. Hanoi in Vietnam
I’ve been singing the praises of Vietnam ever since I was lucky enough to visit 4 years ago and now Hanoi is officially the cheapest city in Asia! The city remains laidback and largely undeveloped (for now), so get in quick! The ornate colonial-era architecture of the Old Quarter is appealing, as are the smells of the authentic street food stalls, which dot the area. The museums and galleries are genuinely interesting and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Palace complex is an absolute must see!
3. Warsaw in Poland
Warsaw is lively, cultural and thought-provokingly historical. Most of the city was destroyed in World War II so much of the architecture is post-war. What the city has lost in history, it more than makes up for it in its superb museums, galleries, festivals and music scene. The Old Town district of Warsaw has been carefully rebuilt to convey the appearance of its earlier incarnation. The Barque Royal castle is a must-see, as is the 14th century St John’s Cathedral which is UNESCO listed.
4. Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt
For guaranteed sun and wallet-friendly prices head to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh. Known as a scuba diving and snorkelling mecca for years, Sharm also has hidden islands, a superb National Park and of course, mighty Mount Sinai. Escape the heat with a boat trip out to Tiran Island, which has beautiful coral reefs and passing dolphins. On the tip of the Sinai Peninsular is the Ras Muhammad National Park which is home to around 220 different coral species, various turtle species and over 1,000 different types of fish. Mount Horeb, aka Mount Sinai rises to an impressive 7,497′ (2,285 m) and energetic climbers and hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the sunrise and sunset.
5. Budapest in Hungary
The Hungarian capital city Budapest is a cultural gem and one of the most stunning cities in Western Europe. The famous Danube River snakes through the city, which is brimming with stunning architecture covering all bases; art nouveau, Baroque and neoclassical. Then of course there are the superb museums, buzzing nightlife, Gothic castle and exquisite palace. In addition the historic center including the Castle Quarter and Danube is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top 10 Cheapest Cities in the World 2013
1. Sofia, Bulgaria
2. Hanoi, Vietnam
3. Warsaw, Poland
4. Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
5. Budapest, Hungary
6. Bangkok, Thailand
7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8. Tunis, Tunisia
9. Cape Town, South Africa
10. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Thanks to TripAdvisor whose site has the full data and information.