Europe on the Cheap
Veteran travel writer and TV host Rick Steves shares some of his tips for visiting Europe at low cost on www.smartertravel.com. They include items such as buying ingredients for picnics rather than splurging on pricey restaurants, taking advantage of free museums and free days at museums that charge admission, substituting public transit for more costly hop on-hop off tourist buses. In Berlin, for example, public bus 100 passes many of the main points of interest in the city.
Steves also suggests passing time in places such as churches and parks, which are usually free. It helps that in Europe, churches and cathedrals are among the most magnificent buildings. Even the ones that charge admission are generally open free for services.
Another one of my favourite tips for moderate cost travel in Europe is to take a language course. By doing so, you will find it easier to get around in the chosen country, and will also learn something that may come in handy elsewhere. For example, you can spend two weeks studying German at the renowned Goethe Institut (www.goethe.de) in Bonn for just over $1000 including a single room.
Bonn is the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and was memorialised in the book "A Small Town in Germany" by John LeCarre. I've never been there, but it sounds very pleasant.
If German isn't your preferred language, an internet search should turn up similar programs in other countries for the major European languages.