Budapest and Prague are no longer the bargain Eastern European destinations they once were. But Bucharest, Romania's vibrant capital, still is. Rooms in the centrally located four-star Hotel Pullman Bucharest World Trade Center start at just 50 euros a night on a summer weekend and cocktails in the city's lounges and casinos – Brits descend here in droves for stag parties – go for less than $5 a pop. Still, you won't want to spend too much time in the big city. It's cheap to rent a car for a drive on the Transfagarasan, a ridiculously scenic highway originally built as a military route (it can only be driven only between July and late-October due to heavy winter snows). The snaking route crosses Romania's highest mountains, the Transylvanian Alps, traveling through gorges and alpine meadows and alongside castles and fortresses. Waterbugs won't want to miss a kayak adventure in Romania's wild stretch of the Danube Delta, a wetlands area among the world's most bio-diverse ecosystems.
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