Is This the Best Bargain in Europe?

First, this is Europe. That means walkable cities (leave the car behind), with culture and history all around you. Want to stay in a restored castle or live in a centuries-old (but renovated) apartment? You can. Like museums? Science, art and history museums are all over, and many have hours when they’re free of charge. (Madrid’s Prado Museum, with its free evening hours, is a personal favourite. And you can admire Bilbao’s new Guggenheim Museum from the outside; the building itself, and its surrounding park, are the big draw in my book.) Like concerts? You’ll find everything from rock and jazz to opera and zarzuela (Spanish operetta). I’ve gotten concert tickets in Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city and a great centre for music, for €15 ($23).

Comfortable City Living on Spain’s Mediterranean Coast

I’ve walked to Sant Jaume along the narrow streets of the ciutat vella, the old city. At practically every corner, it seems, is a plaza, a medieval building, or a row of elegant, neo-classical facades. This is one of Europe’s largest and best-preserved historic centres; it can take days to explore it all. And after you’ve done that, there are still the many modern neighbourhoods to see, with their shops, museums, concert halls, parks and chic apartment buildings.

Loving Life in One of Mexico’s Most Affordable Colonial Cities

“When I got here, I saw this place had everything I wanted, and then some.” At the time, Mona had been working for 15 years in foreign affairs and international trade. The work was high-powered and high-stress. “My work and social life had become so intertwined that I never knew when to relax,” she says. “Everything was about work.”

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