Best cheap destinations in the world according to 23 expert travel bloggers
It's actually not difficult to find “cheap” travel destinations in many corners of the globe. The real trick is to find cheap places that combine low prices with gorgeous scenery, great food, interesting cultures, and/or enough of a tourist infrastructure that makes them easy to visit.
The list below features the best cheap-destination recommendations from dozens of experienced travel bloggers, so you can be sure that these places are the real standouts. Some of the choices are favorites of many, while a few choices are obscure and surprising. At the very least, the list below should provide you with some ideas of places you might like to explore where value for money is a guarantee.
Why travel bloggers are experts for this sort of thing
If you were to identify your most “well-traveled” friend, it's likely that they've visited more than 20 countries in the last ten years or so. That's impressive for a civilian, but there is a new breed of travel bloggers that often visit 20 countries in a single typical year. As a result, they can compare and contrast scores of destinations from the recent past, and comment on the best places as of now.
Another thing most of the travel bloggers mentioned below have in common is that they operate on modest budgets, so value is key. When you are traveling for months or years at a time, it's critical to find those places that are worthwhile destinations and also unusually cheap. Those are the places that made this list of the best cheap destinations according to experienced travel bloggers.
Are you a travel blogger who would like to be included?
This article was published in September, 2015, but it will be promoted indefinitely and I'd love to get even more participants. If you are a travel blogger who would like to chime in with an entry about your own favorite cheap destination, please email me at [email protected]
How this list works:
I recently asked a few dozen experienced travel bloggers to simply name their favorite cheap destination and explain why it was their favorite in two paragraphs. If more than one blogger picked the same place, which did happen, it should add emphasis that the destination has a lot going for it.
The submissions are more diverse than I expected, with recommendations from various parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, South America, and Central America.
Best cheap destinations according to experienced travel bloggers
The list below is in no particular order.
Prague, Czech Republic
Drew Goldberg, The Hungry Partier
I've traveled to over 60 countries across 5 continents around the world, and no place is better and more affordable than Prague. Especially if you are a budget traveler like myself, then you've probably realized that some places are more difficult to visit (Norway, Japan, Switzerland, Australia,) and some just make more sense.
Out of all the big cities in Europe, Prague is one of the most affordable to travel in. Everything from taxis, to food, to beer is very cheap. The currency is the Czech Koruna, and the current exchange rate is $1 = 24 CZK. In Prague, the beer is literally cheaper than water. One liter of beer will cost about 60 CZK, and one tall glass of water is about 80 CZK…. so which beverage do you think everyone drinks all the time? Visit Prague and see for yourself!
Sam Wood, Indefinite Adventure
There really is nowhere else quite like Berlin. It’s a city of a thousand faces, where you can find something for every taste, from monumental street art, to some of the most highly regarded museums in the world. There are all night parties more or less every day, as well as opera, musicals, outdoor film screenings, walking tours, markets and so much more. Though it has recently become more expensive, Berlin is still relatively cheap for a West European capital city and being a highly developed western city, it is a very comfortable place to both live and travel. Nonetheless, you can still definitely get a lot of value for money there.
Berlin is also a city to discover by eating, with an almost endless range of options, from Ethiopian to Lebanese, American to Thai and everything in between, and prices can indeed be very reasonable. Some of my favourites are giant plates of falafel, hummus and salad for US$4, vegan burgers with fries and a drink for US$7, and Indian lunch menus for US$6. Transport is also quite reasonable, with weekly passes covering the entire vast city network costing just US$32 or monthly passes for as little as US$64. Unfortunately, Berlin will no doubt continue to become more expensive, but for now, it’s still a great value destination.
Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo)
Abbi Morrison, Life in a Rucksack
My favourite cheap destination has to be Kuching in Malaysian Borneo. Although the capital of the region, and a busy city, it is often overlooked by travellers, in favour of Sabah in the North. However, Kuching is a great destination, as a city famous for its food and hybrid cultures; from Chinese Temples to Indian Mosques. It is also a gateway for adventurous activities, from rainforest trekking, and wildlife watching to kayaking. The waterfront is the perfect place to sample good local food, and watch the sun setting.
Although the majority of South East Asia is cheap, in Kuching you can stay in a city centre hostel dorm room for as little as 10 Malaysian Ringgit (US$2.35) per night. However, If staying in dorm rooms aren’t your thing, then you can stay in a hotel for as little as 55 Malaysian Ringgit (US$13) per night, including breakfast. If you’re hungry, street food snacks can be picked up for as little as 7 Malaysian Ringgit (US$1.60), or if you want to push the boat out, a three course meal (including wine) in a top restaurant, will set you back 75 Malaysian Ringgit (US$17.50).
Overland Travel tours in Africa
Matt & Alana, Great Big Globe
Africa was high on our list of places to visit, however, the price tag for most of what we wanted to see scared us…until we read about Overland Travel. While not one specific location, Overland Travel seems to offer great value for your money if you visit Africa. The continent is vast and offers a variety of activities, and Overland Travel can help you experience a bit of everything! From photographing lions and elephants in the Serengeti, to viewing Mt. Kilimanjaro or sand boarding in Namibia, Overland Travel is the perfect way to explore Africa on a budget.
The length of overland trips can vary, from as little as 10 days to upwards of 40+ weeks! For example, a 56-day overland trip from Nairobi to Cape Town, which includes multiple safaris and other attractions, lodging, food and transportation, costs roughly $4,000 USD per person. While that is a big number, keep in mind it is 56 days of travel. When comparing this figure to some 7 to 10 day safaris costing $5,000-$10,000 USD per person, Overland Travel really can be a great way to travel cheap in Africa!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Gabby, The Globe Wanderers
Siem Reap offers you an awful lot for an awful little. Home to some of the most ancient architectural gems in all of South East Asia, Siem Reap is hugely popular with backpackers and perfect for those travelling on a budget. Angkor Wat is right at the top of the ‘must see' list here, closely followed by Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm. A day pass to these temples will set you back just US$20 or up to US$44 for a ticket with transport and a tour guide included. For a change of pace, why not visit the incredible people at New Hope, Cambodia. After spending time with the staff and kids at this great charity, grab a bite to eat in their restaurant, you won't regret it, and what better way to make a donation.
Accommodation in Siem Reap can be found for as little as US$1 a night and although this will obviously be very basic, you'll struggle to find cheaper hostel rooms anywhere else in the world. Anything around US$15-$20 will get you a private room with en-suite and breakfast. Tuk Tuks and motorbike taxis are a cheap way to get about and food and drink are a bargain also. I'd recommend Temple Club for dinner and entertainment (US$12 for 2) followed by a few cocktails after dark. You don't have to drown your liver in pitchers and pints to have a great time in Siem Reap though. This beautiful, ancient and fascinating part of Cambodia is a highlight of South East Asia and best of all, it won't break the bank.
Talon Windwalker, 1 Dad, 1 Kid
Budapest is one of the places that makes you wonder why more tourists aren't visiting. Perhaps it's the old image of Communist Hungary in the earlier part of the last century. People imagine the capital city is filled with ugly Soviet-esque buildings. What they apparently don't know is that Budapest is an absolutely gorgeous and vibrant city that surpasses the beauty of most cities I've visited.
The city is filled with stunning architecture, with each district showing off its own unique personality. The historic Jewish district (once the home of the largest population of Jews in Europe) is now the home of Budapest's rapidly evolving foodie scene and hip nightlife. The city's affordable and robust public transportation system makes it easy to get around even though it's also very walkable. Food is fresh, almost entirely local (when in season), and one can eat extremely well without putting much of a dent at all in their budget. Budapest is one of the cheapest and best places to visit in Europe.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Amelie, Mostly Amelie
I’ve visited Chiang Mai many times over the last two years and I can’t get enough of it for its culture, climate, easy way of life, interesting crowd of local hipsters and expat bloggers, amazing food and extremely low cost of living – even compared with the rest of Thailand. There are many places in South East Asia that have become synonymous with the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle — ditching the regular nine-to-five to work remotely or bootstrap a new business from a warmer climate, with a much lower cost of living and even better quality of life. And if I ever decide to put down roots somewhere, Chiang Mai is definitely the it for me. It is one of the places where I have spent the most time in all of my travels so far.
What is appealing with Chiang Mai is that you can live very comfortably with a small budget. A large airy double room with a balcony, shared kitchen, fast Wi-fi and swimming pool will set you back about US$200 per month. A 30-day scooter rental: US$80. Eating out is possibly the biggest perk of visiting Chiang Mai: it will cost you anywhere between US$1 and US$4 for a meal. And the food is simply amazing: spicy curries, delicious exotic fruits, fresh locally grown organic vegetables, gorgeous salads. There is nothing not to love about this vibrant Thai city.
Meg Jerrard, Mapping Megan
Bolivia is my favorite cheap destination, as this is one country where you will truly see your money go far. There are the breathtaking Andes, the lush rainforest of the Amazon, the vast salt flats of Uyuni, the decorated llamas, the pink flamingos, and that famous harrowing mountain bike ride. All of this at an amazingly dirt cheap price. Activities, accommodation, food, it's all available at a budget backpackers price.
For instance, imagine a private Amazon boat tour, 4 days, 3 nights for US$500. Food, accommodation, a private tour guide, boat transport, all at a little over $100 a day. Or $80 a night for a fully furnished, fully equip one bedroom apartment at the Ritz…that's right…the Ritz! We stayed in luxury like the King and Queen of Bolivia for a week, ordering prime steak dinners via room service every night at little more than $10 each. And this was living in ultimate luxury – backpackers and budget travelers we were meeting were traveling for a lot, lot less. You can expect the cheapest hostels to offer rooms at US$25 or less. But in a destination where you're money goes phenomenally far, why not use this as your opportunity to splurge out on more!
Ania, HitchHikers Handbook
When you think of Croatia, I guess what springs to mind are tiny red-roofed medieval villages and stunning rocky beaches from where you can explore the country's numerous islands and hidden coves. Although Zagreb is very different from other places you are likely to visit while in Croatia, it should never be missed out and it is one of the few European capitals that is truly budget friendly. What I love about Croatia's biggest city is its Austro-Hungarian architecture, bohemian air and an abundance of quirky museums (Museum of Broken Relationships, Street Art Museum, Croatian Museum of Naive Art, etc.). If you come in summer you can escape the heat by visiting its artificial lake or go hiking on Mount Medvednica. And you would love Zagreb if you like pub-crawling on a budget as the city offers a variety of night-life options.
So how much are you actually looking to spend if you visit the city? Firstly, there are plenty of budget hostels where you'd pay around US$9-10 for a dorm and US$13-25 for a private room. Sightseeing doesn't have to be expensive either as the most interesting sites come for free: the stunning Gothic Cathedral as well as the 14th century Church of St. Mark; Zagreb's best known markets (Tržnica Dolac and the Hrelić Flea Market); the unique 13th century Stone Gate where people light candles and pray to this day. And don't miss out on walking down the famous Strossmayer Promenade (Strossmayerovo šetalište), which is the most arty and lively part of the city, and during the ‘Summer Stross’ festival the street hosts street concerts and theatrical performances. We have found as many as 13 things to do for free in Zagreb and we are sure there are more to enjoy!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Stefan & Sebastian, Nomadic Boys
We are Stefan and Sebastien of www.nomadicboys.com and we quit our jobs and lives in London in 2014 to eat our way around Asia for a few years. To date, we both agree that Siem Reap in Cambodia is our favourite cheap cheap destination in terms of value for money. As long-term travellers we always try to cap our accommodation budget at no more than $25 for both of us, and in Cambodia, this goes a long way, particularly in Siem Reap. Travellers usually base themselves in Siem Reap due to its proximity to Angkor Wat, but also because it’s a great place for value for money for both accommodation and food options.
In Siem Reap, we stayed at The Mansion Siem Reap where US$25 gets you a very large double bedroom with huge breakfast, complete with swimming pool. Siem Reap also has a plethora of excellent street food and variety of restaurants to suit all budgets and preferences. You could easily dine out for under US$5 to include food and a few drinks. Alcohol is also cheap, with beer costing less than US$1. The central Pub Street has a variety of bars to cater to everyone and even has quite an active gay scene, which pleasantly surprised us. Siem Reap was an excellent base for budget minded backpackers like us looking to explore the famous nearby world wonder and to meet like-minded travellers.
Santa Elena, Costa Rica
Rachel Campbell, The Florida Living Magazine
As of now, my favorite cheap travel destination is easily Santa Elena, Costa Rica. Situated in the northern portion of Costa Rica, Santa Elena is considerably cheaper than its southern counterparts and although well known as a tourist hotspot, prices still continue to level out nicely at a low rate that's affordable for all types of travelers. On top of that, Santa Elena still feels like Costa Rica, especially when compared to other cities within the country that have seen a recent surge in popularity amongst American and European travelers.
Aside from that fact that Santa Elena rests right next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest and all of its exciting outdoor activities, you'll find that Santa Elena offers a wide selection of accommodations and food venues, with most of them ranging in the cheaper price range. A comfortable hotel room with a private bathroom right in the middle of town will only set you back US$30 a night for two people while a fantastic (and large) genuine Central American dinner plate can be enjoyed for only US$5 per person. As this is certainly an adventure town, you'll be pleased to find that there are a number of local activities that won't break the bank, including a trip into the Monteverde Cloud Forest for only US$20 per person outside of the bus ride there, which generally is only a few dollars each way. The trick is to book tours straight from the tour operator and not from your hotel.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Carmen Allan-Petale, Double Barrelled Travel
Hoi An is one of my favorite cheap destinations in the world because when I visit it feels as though I’m walking around a movie set – it’s so beautiful that it doesn’t seem real. At night time it’s especially enchanting, when the lanterns all over the old town are turned on, and the small alleyways are lit up with bright colors.
It’s inexpensive to live in Hoi An. Street food costs as little as US$1 a meal, and for a leisurely dinner in one of the more upscale restaurants you can expect to pay just US$10. It’s cheap to get around too. Most places you can explore by bicycle, but if you want to hire a scooter, it’ll set you back just US$4 a day.
Charli Moore, wanderlusters.com
Of all the destinations we’ve visited during our four years of full time travel we think Costa Rica has offered the best value for budget travelers. The laid back lifestyle and mañana mentality of the locals are endearing, and the tropical climate, abundance of fresh fruits, and picturesque coastlines are just a few of the reasons to visit this amazing country that is bursting with bio-diversity. Plus, if you’re careful with your $$s you can get by on US$25 – US$35 without issue.
For around US$7 you can buy a hot meal or Casado as it is known locally, which consists of meat, rice, and vegetables, and a beer or soda. Be prepared for a plate full, they’ll stack it high! You could easily make this your main meal of the day and buy snacks (like ceviche which is usually around US$5, or empanadas that are US$1.25) and fruits from local market stalls to keep you going throughout the day. Accommodation ranges in price but you can find a basic, shared dorm room in a hostel for around US$10-$15. Costa Rican buses are super cheap. Fares range from US$0.30 to $30 depending on how far you need to travel (most short journeys are less than a dollar), and major activities such as zip-lining and white water rafting are under US$100 per person.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Charlie Marchant, Charlie on Travel
Right now, my favourite cheap travel destination has got to be Thailand's Chiang Mai. While Chiang Mai is a well known stomping ground for expats and backpackers, it's international scene hasn't driven the prices up as high as you might think. Travelling in Chiang Mai can easily be done on just £18 per day for one person, and even lower than that if you plan on budgeting hard.
What I love about Chiang Mai is that's it's a vibrant city full of incredible, fresh vegetarian cafes, Thai coffee carts that are second to none, stunning temples and bustling markets, but it's only a short scooter drive to escape to nature in surrounding the green mountains. All of that, and it won't burn a hole in your pocket. When eating out, you can expect an average meal to set you back around £1.80 as long as you stick to traditional Thai foods like green Thai curry or pad Thai. A good night's sleep in a private double room costs an average of £9. The cheap deal I found was a room for £8.20 per night at the very friendly Banilah, but I reckon the best deal was £12.80 per night at Plern Plern Bed & Bike which includes unlimited bike rental.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hannah & Adam, Getting Stamped
After traveling the world non-stop for 2+years straight there are only a handful of destinations that I not only LOVE but are CHEAP! It was hard to pick between Antigua,Guatemala; Hội An, Vietnam; and Bangkok, Thailand. But the cheapest hands down is Hội An, Vietnam. My husband and I have spent well over a year traveling Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is the cheapest of them all. We spent 6 nights in Hội An and could have easily spent a month. Hội An is perfect for anyone looking for a cheap getaway. If you have been to Ho Chi Minh you may be nervous all of Vietnam is like this, Hội An is different VERY different. I could cross the street without praying for my life, the locals were friendly, and the food was even tastier.
4-star hotels for less than US$20 a day, bike rentals for US$1 a day, and cheap food is every where for US$5 a day you can get fat in Hội An. I am talking 3 meals a day, afternoon snack and 2 happy hours with a total of 10 beers for the day, fat and happy in this cheap destinations. Ten beers for US$1, fresh donut US$0.25 chicken pho US$0.50, banh mi sandwich US$1, cau lau US$1, white rose US$1.25, Make sure to take advantage of the cooking classes in town, for as cheap as US$5 you can learn to cook your favorite menu items from a cute little Vietnamese grandma like we did at Cafe 43. Talking about Hội An makes me want to go back now, and I'm hungry for some cheap authentic Vietnamese food!
Amelia, Plant Powered Nomad
A cheap train ride from Krakow, Poland, Lviv is a world away from the Polish city and is like travelling back in time to a Central European castle town before tourism hit. Originally built as a Polish city, the architecture is much more whimsical than the soviet-buildings in other Ukrainian cities and most of the buildings are painted faded pastel colours, with plasterwork cherubs that haven't had the word ‘renovation' spoken within fifty miles of them. Taking buses and trams with the locals is an experience you won't forget in a while, and the car of choice in Lviv is still the Lada which you'll see parked up and down the cobbled streets.
Stay away from the hotels and restaurants in the main square and you'll spend hardly any money in Lviv. While a restaurant with an English menu will cost around US$10 for a meal, you'll pay less than a third of that two streets away at a local place. You can get a bed in a hostel dorm for as little as US$5, and a basic hotel room from US$10. There's lot to do here that will cost you nothing: wander in and out of churches, explore the traditional book markets, and wander down side streets to find old buildings with goats tied outside. The highlights are the castle, set high above the city, and the necropolis which is huge and ramshackle and deserves at least an afternoon of exploring. Although little English is spoken here, Lviv is also far safer than most of Ukraine and you'll be welcomed by the locals with open arms.'
Roëll, We Are Travellers
For some time Myanmar was on our bucketlist. We heard great stories about this country when we travelled around south-east Asia during our world trip and back home we saw the most beautiful pictures of temples and the people there. Two years later we fulfilled our dream and decided to go. We travelled to Mandalay, Inle Meer, Bagan and Yangon. We expected this trip to be expensive, since we had to fly to Bangkok (Amsterdam to Bangkok US$600) and take another flight to Myanmar (AirAsia return flight US$120), but we also heard that hotels and so on would be high in price. We have to admit it wasn't as cheap as Thailand, but the value we got for our money was way bigger!
When you travel trough Myanmar you really have the feeling that you've taken a step back into time. That you are in the old Asia or the type of Asia people write about in books. It feels magical, people are very friendly and especially when you hire a bike in Bagan for a day (less than US$1) and bike around between all those temples in old Bagan (all free entry!) that is something you won't easily forget since the views are stunning. And the fun thing is: There aren't that many tourist yet, in comparison with Thailand or Cambodia where temples are flooded with tourists. In the end we paid for double hotel rooms around US$15 to US$20, a beer was around US$1,50 and you can find a meal (noodles for dinner or banana pancakes for lunch!) for US$1 to US$3. We fell in love with Myanmar and if you ever have the change to go you should!
Brittany Bennett, The Trading Travelers
We’ve just recently discovered the beautiful city of Budapest and now we’re kicking ourselves for not visiting sooner. The rolling hills of Buda and the bustling plains of Pest are separated by the Danube River creating a visually stunning setting at any time of day, but particularly at night. Watching the sunset over Buda and the lights of the Parliament building, the Chain Bridge and the Royal Palace come to life is one of the prettiest sights we’ve seen all summer. The beautiful architecture and landscape will lure you in, but the culture will make you want to stay.
English is widely spoken making it extremely easy to navigate. The public transportation is extensive and inexpensive with a single ride on the metro, bus or tram costing approximately US$1.25. The food scene is amazing with endless options from self-service to upscale dining. A typical self-service lunch special runs about US$4-6 per person and an upscale dinner for two with beer and wine may cost around US$35. The café culture is vibrant with plenty of places to grab an espresso or latte for US$1-2. Accommodations are also affordable, especially with a wide range of Airbnb options, where you can get an apartment with a kitchen for US$35-50/night. Budapest, often called the ‘Paris of the East’, is in our opinion the best way to experience Europe on a budget.
Anna Phipps, Global Gallivanting
My favourite cheap travel destination is definitely India! This incredibly, captivating country has to be one of the most fascinating places to travel in the world and it’s also still one the cheapest! India has it all; from the snow capped Himalayas to tropical beaches, languid backwaters to desert forts, opulent palaces and chaotic cities all with incredibly rich history, culture and colour and not forgetting amazing food and welcoming locals. You could travel in India for a lifetime and see something new everyday.
Traveling in India is as challenging as it is rewarding, for many this is the epitome of transformative travel and a place to learn about yourself and the world. Many travellers return again and again for months on end, luckily it is possible to backpack around India for about 1000 Rupees (US$15) a day. Cheap guest houses for around 500 Rupees (US$7.50 ) are easy to find, the huge Indian railways network is great value for money (expect to spend about 400 Rupees (US$6) for a 12-hour journey and delicious curries can be had for only 100 Rupees (US$1.50) Even if you are not a shoestring backpacker you can easily still travel across India in comfort without spending more than 2000 rupees (US$30) a day. There’s nowhere else quite like India!
Jonny Blair, Don't Stop Living
Iran is without doubt the cheapest off the wall spot to go backpacking in. After buying the visa, we spent less than US$250 in an entire month backpacking in Iran and we could have spent less if we had stayed with more local families. We crossed the border from Gurbulak in Turkey and headed on a bus to Tabriz to start with. The buses and trains are very cheap.
Eating out won't cost more than US$3 a day, hotels are cheap, but even better – local Iranians are so so friendly that they normally invite you into their homes for food and for somewhere to stay. We were invited to about 5 different Iranian families homes in the space of a month and we got to try the local food, experience real life Iranian culture and see the sights as well. Drivers can also be hired for cheap to take you on desert and salt plain tours. Make sure you head to Iran as soon as you can while it still stays as one of the cheapest backpacking countries in the world.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Travis Sherry, Extra Pack of Peanuts
My favorite cheap place in the world is Chiang Mai, Thailand. And while all of Thailand is cheap, Chiang Mai takes it to another level. Not only can you stay at a decent hostel for US$15 a night or a good, midrange hotel/guesthouse for US$30, but the real treat is the food. Any time I can get the world's greatest dish, khao soi, from khao soi mae sai for less than US$1 a bowl, I'm in heaven.
Add on top of that motorbike rentals for US$5/day and a beer for US$2 (although not at the same time) and you have good food, good accommodations, and good entertainment – what can beat scooting around Thailand? – for less than a meal in most other cities in the world!
Sucre in Bolivia is one of those wonderful places many people end up staying longer than expected. While Bolivia as a whole is quite rugged with most cities at a very high altitude in the Andes, Sucre is actually at a comfortable lower elevation and enjoys spring-like weather year-round. It’s also very picturesque, with white-walled colonial-era churches and historical buildings sprinkled around its highly walkable center.
I stayed in a wonderful hostel where I paid just US$7 for a dorm bed, which included a delicious made-to-order breakfast. However, you can find dorm beds for as little as US$5, with basic private rooms typically around US$15 to US$20. The city has a number of German, Belgian and Dutch-owned cafes and restaurants where you can get a Western style meal for around 50 Bolivianos (US$7). In a local Bolivian eatery, I had a three-course set lunch for just US$3. Sucre has a relaxed pace with many travelers content to just stroll the markets, learn Spanish, or to go hiking in the surrounding hills.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Roger Wade, priceoftravel.com
My current favorite cheap destination is Český Krumlov, Czech Republic, partly because it's still fairly new to the Europe backpacker scene. The setting is simply stunning, with a serpentine river winding around a compact postcard-pretty town center in the shadow of a beautiful castle. The place was largely abandoned during the Communist era, so its recent restoration makes it feel almost like a time capsule, with services that feel tourist-friendly without feeling touristy.
Perhaps best of all, Český Krumlov still feels bizarrely cheap in the way that Prague did 15 years ago. You can get a high-rated hotel within steps of the main town square for around US$50 per night, and a filling Bohemian meal with a lovely view for under US$5. And of course you can't forget about the famous Czech Beer, which flows easily for about US$1.50 per half-liter, even at the popular restaurants and bars. At some point there will be chain restaurants and hotels, but for now this place still feels very local.