What’s better than saving money? Well, lots of things actually. But this isn’t Cosmopolitan so we’ll stick to travel…

There are so many travel hotspots in Europe right now, and it’s easy to cluster them all together.

The problem with that is you might be overlooking some of the most underrated and affordable getaways.

Not to sound like a grumpy grandpa, but prices just aren’t what they used to be.

Good news is there are still many destinations across the globe to save a pretty penny, including Europe.

Icons like Paris or London are definitely not in the bargain bin, but if we cross to the other side of the continent, there are some lesser-known beautiful cities much more suitable for your budget and still pack a punch.

Lithuania is set along the gorgeous Baltic Sea, neighboring Latvia, Poland, and one of Europe’s few no-go zones, Belarus.

The capital city of Lithuania is Vilnius, the place budget travelers should have pinned on their map.

No Sacrifices Needed For Savings

Lithuanian flag in Vilnius

Sometimes, people tend to follow the crowd because they’re afraid of trying something new. Vilnius is not exactly a household name when thinking of booking an epic Euro trip, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit.

No, there’s no Eiffel Tower, jaw-dropping beach, or world-renowned museums. This authenticity, however, is part of the allure of Vilnius.

Although relatively under the radar, travelers aren’t swapping top-rated experiences in other countries for a boring getaway.

This historic city is full of surprises with one being how drop-dead gorgeous it is, which is why hot air balloon rides are a daily occurrence for both locals and tourists for sweeping 360 degree views.

St. Anne's church in Vilnius

Between the scenic Neris River, lush greenery, and timeless streets, it’s not like a bad Tinder date – you won’t be thinking of anywhere else while you’re here.

Hop around town, taking in beautiful buildings, sidewalk cafes, and all the delights of the UNESCO-listed Old Town district.

No Ocean In Sight, But Still Pack Your Swimwear

While hordes of travelers are seeking out the best beaches for the ultimate vacation, Vilnius is still a top summer getaway, especially since the winters are grueling here.

Hot air balloons over Vilnius

Mother Nature has blessed Vilnius with some truly stunning sites and experiences. Travelers won’t just be seeing green saving their hard-earned dollars, but also the astounding endless greenery surrounding the city.

Lining the Neris River, Vingis Park is Vilnius’s version of NYC’s Central Park, although it is half the size.

Even though it’s smack dab in the city, you’ll feel as if you’re more like you’re in a National Park than an urban setting.

Even though there is no ocean in sight, the city’s lakes are fun to take a dip, especially in local favorite Verkiai Regional Park.

View of beautiful Balsys Lake at Verkiai Regional Park

Designated as a protected area, wildlife spotting is common and the lake’s picturesque green water is pristine.

Despite being a landlocked city, there actually are some nice public beaches along the Neris River.

Just don’t expect Cancun when visiting Žirmūnai or Valakampiai Beach to get some sun and sand.

Last and definitely not least, a must-visit is the phenomenal small town of Trakai. Here tourists will find a fairytale castle on the beautiful Lake Galvė, one of the most magical sites in all of Lithuania.

Very Safe Despite Its Location

Female tourist in Vilnius on Neris River

Lithuania’s neighbor Belarus has been deemed an unpredictable, unsafe destination for American travelers, given the country’s close ties to Russia.

No need to fret, however, as Lithuania, and more notably Vilnius, is a very safe place to visit. There are virtually no warnings concerning tourists, even as Vilnius is less than an hour from the Belarus border.

Much like Poland was falsely flagged as a potentially dangerous destination when the Russia-Ukraine war began, Lithuania doesn’t need to be put in that category either.

The U.S. State Department currently lists Lithuania as Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.

How Far Will Your Money Go?

Sidewalk cafe in Vilnius

For a balloon ride, that will be your biggest splurge at about $150. Everything else can be had on the cheap.

Local brewskies are about $3 a pop, with a nice 3-course meal with local wine under $60.

Coffee, as we know, is a way of life in Europe, and it’s no different in Vilnius, with ample sidewalk cafes with a cheap cup of Jo and even coffee-tasting tours for caffeine junkies.

Vilnius is great for solo travel with cheap private rooms at hostels as low as $11, according to HostelWorld.

On the other hand, 3-star boutique stays will run for about $60 per night and a bit more for higher-end accommodations.

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