Naturally, the cheapest beverage anywhere in the world is the water that comes out of the tap. I don’t drink tap water at home, so why should I when I’m travelling?
Because the European water is tasteless and doesn’t make you sick! But if you must drink bottled water, it’s much much cheaper to purchase it at a supermarket as a six-pack.
Drink like a local!
As with eating, do as the locals do. Drink the water and the local wine and beer. Always drink the house wine at restaurants. House wines in Europe are some of the best in the world, and are often complementary with your meal!
Please don’t buy Australian wine! I have seen a couple at a restaurant in Romania try to order a bottle of Brown Brothers! Even in the unlikely event that they do have a bottle in their cellar, it will be expensive and why would you drink something you can drink at home anyway?
Buy wine at supermarkets!
If you’re eating in your accommodation, buy your wine when you buy groceries. Some of the best wines we drank were bought from supermarkets for 2-3 euro per bottle. We only had one bad bottle of wine out of dozens. It was corked, so it was understandably undrinkable.
The same theory applies to beer. Don’t embarrass yourself by ordering a XXXX. Drink the local beer. Most European beers are Pilseners and are much more quaffable than our Australian lagers. The Hofbrauhaus in Munich is a unique experience, not only for the enormous beers but the food, music, and conviviality of the crowd.
Are you a coffee connoisseur?
What about coffee? It’s the one drink I’m not prepared to compromise on. I like weak coffee and would rather go without than drink the strong stuff!
I solved my problem by ordering coffee and milk separately and mixing it to my own taste. If this option is not available, I’ll just order tea. I found Turkish tea really delicious even though I’m not normally a black tea drinker.
The other beverage I fell in love with in Turkey was thick hot chocolate, perfect for a cold winter’s day climbing the wooden horse in Troy.
In Greece, I did not fall in love with the retsina which we were given for free with our meal and dare I say, I know why! It was not to my taste, but I did drink it all, just to be polite!
If you want some tips on eating on a budget, go to Budget Eating for Baby Boomers