10 Best Budget Destinations for 2014
With amazing food, glorious public spaces, and unparalleled museums, theme parks, and beaches, the only thing “budget” about these world-class vacation spots is the price tag!
Where to Stay: If you're up for trying one of Seoul's many "love hotels" (small motels designed to give amorous couples privacy), Hotel Amare is well situated, in central Seoul. The lack of storage space is a tradeoff for perks like sleek, modern décor and a free non-alcoholic mini bar. (amarehotel.co.kr, from $74)
See this European Capital of Culture before everyone else gets hip to it
Why in 2014: Now is the time to immerse yourself in culture in Riga, Latvia, where theater thrives and Art Nouveau buildings are abundant. In 2014, the European Union will officially dub the city the European Capital of Culture. It's a well-earned title: The city's Art Nouveau buildings, concentrated in the city's center, have garnered Riga UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Old Riga is ideal for architecture-scouting: The spires of numerous churches reach into the sky, such as the landmark medieval Riga Cathedral (famous for its 6,718-pipe organ) and St. Peter's Church, which combines Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles. Consider popping into the Latvian National Opera building for a ballet, choral performance, or, yes, an opera. For something totally different, spend time on the white quartz sand beaches—Riga is right on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
Where to Stay: Named after the Livonian poet who aided Goethe in starting the Sturm und Drang movement, Guesthouse Jakob Lenz isn't exactly centrally located (it's a 15-minute walk to Old Town), but the price is right and the furnishings are streamlined and tidy. Ensure you don't book a "basic" room unless you don't mind sharing a bathroom with other guests. (guesthouselenz.lv, from $34)