Do Europe Without the Euro!

  1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

    For the couple who: Loves beach vacays with a fun night scene in a historic locale

    Where to stay: Down the coast from Old Town, the Grand Villa Argentina (from $257) is a plush, luxe resort (definitely get a spa treatment!) and has a pathway to the crystal-clear Adriatic beach.

    Eat here: Go local at Tovjerna Sesame, a 200-year-old family home serving coastal Croatian cuisine. Get a seat outside and try the delicious grilled Adriatic squid. At the casual Tavern Lokanda-Peskarija on the Old Harbor, you’ll get a delicious fish dinner followed by drinks at the bar with the locals.

    Must-dos: Walk the one-mile city wall and look at Old Town’s labyrinth of car-free roads. Head to the Old Port where sailors run trips to some of Croatia’s thousand-plus islands. Feel daring? Go to the notorious nude beaches on nearby Lokrum Island.

    Photo courtesy of Grand Villa Argentina

  2. Istanbul, Turkey

    For the couple who: Wants to experience Eastern culture and shop 'til they drop

    Where to stay: Head to the Istanbul Hotel Nomade (from $140 including breakfast), where kilims meet clean lines. Take in views of the historic Sultanahmet district.

    Eat here: Get a taste of modern Istanbul at Mikla, atop The Marmara Pera hotel. Or go traditional with kebabs and mezze on the rooftop at Doy Doy while watching the sun set over the Blue Mosque. Head to its sultry hookah lounge later (Sifa Hamami Sokak No. 13, Sultanahmet, tel. +90-212-517-15-88).


    Must-dos: Shop! Don’t miss the fifteenth-century Grand Bazaar; it’s the largest covered bazaar in the world. Beef up your spice rack at the Spice Bazaar. Try the Turkish bath at Çemberlitas Hamami (from $13 for bath only) where attendants soap and scrub you while you lay on a huge, heated stone.

    Photo courtesy of The Marmara Pera

  3. Prague, Czech Republic

    For the couple who: Wants to see what a real medieval city looks like and drink beer

    Where to stay: For a budget option, try the Hotel Josef (from $250). Stay in a double with a glass-walled bathroom. You’ll dig the sleek, white interior that looks like a mod lounge and the ability to dock your personal iPod in your own room.

    Eat here: Nosh on traditional Czech food at the hip Hergetova Cihelna. A block from Wenceslas Square, the cave-like Bredovsky Dvur serves up half-liter Pilsner Urquells for about $2 (Politickych veznu 13, tel. +420-2-24215428).

    Must-dos: Tour the newly renovated Lobkowicz Palace (from $18) in the Prague Castle complex and catch a classical concert at 1 p.m. Check out the famous 1,200-seat U Fleků restaurant and brewery (yep, beer again!).

    Photo courtesy of Hotel Yasmin

  4. Interlaken, Switzerland

    For the couple who: Craves adrenaline-filled activities, mountain air, and chocolate

    Where to stay: The recently renovated Hotel Krebs (from $219) offers 37 modern rooms in a landmark building in town.

    Eat here: Famous for its chocolate and pastries, the dinner menu at Schuh offers an unusual mix of traditional fondue and Szechwan cuisine (yep, you read right) with cool views of the Alps. Or head to Im Gade in the Hotel Du Nord for Swiss food in a classic setting -- a real treat posthike.

    Must-dos: Sign up for an all-day rail trip to the 11,333-foot-tall Jungfraujoch (tickets from $148), the highest rail station in Europe, stopping along the way to see ice sculptures. Fly over the valley at sunset as you paraglide at 4,000 feet from the Schynige Platte mountains.

    Photo courtesy of Hotel Krebs

  5. Copenhagen, Denmark

    For the couple who: Digs modern design but wants to hang in the not-so-modern countryside

    Where to stay: Stay at the funky Hotel Fox (from $202), which enlisted graphic designers and street artists to design its 61 psychedelic rooms. Sip cocktails in the hotel’s kitschy Tiki bar, Intoxica.

    Eat here: Café Ketchup is a cafe, lounge, restaurant, and after-hours club you can’t miss. Ida Davidsen has 250 types of yummy open-faced sandwiches -- a Guinness World Record!

    Must-dos: Head to Copenhagen’s lively Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping street. Stop by The National Museum, a former palace, for a history lesson. Look for the colorfully painted, free bikes parked around the city. For a 20-kroner deposit (about $4), take yourselves on a two-wheeled tour of Copenhagen.

    Photo courtesy of Hotel Fox