Budget

Budget Europe 2008

by Ralph Martin

GO WILD IN THE COUNTRY

Skipping London and Rome may not be part of the Grand Tour fantasy, but hiking through Europe can bring you close to the land for a pittance. Try walking the trails of Romania's Carpathian Mountains (pictured) and you'll discover pristine landscapes and dramatic mountain scenery. You'll dodge horse-drawn carts as you sidle through the town of Brasov, home of the Black Church, as well as Bran Castle, home to Vlad the Impaler and inspiration for the Dracula tale. Various tour companies offer guided hikes through this part of Transylvania, such as Pure Adventures (eight-day tours start at $1,400 per person). Tuscany is a classic walker's paradise (and a perfect location for Chianti-fueled picnics). There are numerous organized tours that can set you back as much as $5,000 a week, but we suggest you do some research, pack a picnic, and do it yourself. In France, the Lubéron area of Provence has some of the best-organized marked and preserved trails in the world. The Sentiers de Grande Randonnée are state-maintained trails that snake through the whole country, linking picturesque villages where B&Bs and hiker's huts are plentiful. Bruce LaFavour's France on Foot is the classic guide to negotiating these 110,000 miles of trails on your own, including real-deal food and inexpensive, character-filled lodging options.

NEXT: How to afford a chic hotel in Paris

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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