Protect Your Trip »
Best cheap european vacations for 2023.
Traveling to Europe can be expensive, but if you get creative – and avoid tourist hot spots like London and Paris – you may be able to dodge high price tags and snag some deals . U.S. News considered average hotel prices, flight deals, available vacation packages, affordable attractions and overall accessibility – plus user votes – to rank the best cheap European vacations. Help us determine next year's ranking by casting your vote below.
This cheap destination in northwest Portugal is getting increasingly popular, so make sure to visit while it's still affordable. Right now, you can take the train from Porto to Lisbon for as little as $25 one way. You'll also be delighted to learn that several top attractions, such as the Dom Luís I Bridge, the Sé do Porto cathedral and the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, are free to visit. Meanwhile, if you want to sip delicious vino on a budget, buy tickets for City Lovers Tours' wine walking tour for around $40.
Apart from the flight here, you won't have to dish out too much dough to experience Prague. Many of the city's most popular attractions are free to visit, including Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge and Petrín Hill; explore them all on one of the city's complimentary walking tours . You may be able to score five-star hotels for less than $350 per night here, plus plenty of solid three- and four-star accommodations with even cheaper rates. What's more, the city is known as one of the cheapest places in Europe to drink, with wine and beer at many bars averaging a couple of dollars per beverage.
Valencia has numerous beautiful beaches but fewer crowds than popular Spanish cities like Barcelona. It is also a lot more affordable. The city offers a diverse range of free things to do, including relaxing on the sand, wandering through Plaza del Ayuntamiento, exploring the Museum of Fine Arts and weaving through the Central Market, the crown jewel of one of the oldest food market areas in Europe. Plus, if you time your trip right and want to explore a few different Spanish cities, you can often find flights and train routes from Barcelona or Madrid to Valencia for less than $100 round trip.
Hungary's capital is a slam dunk for bargain travelers in more ways than one. Several of Budapest's top attractions are free to visit, including Heroes' Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. You can also expect dining to be affordable, with coffee and drinks averaging around $2 each and multicourse meals, including a bottle of wine, averaging about $20 or less per person. Additionally, you'll find great deals at the city's best hotels year-round (think: less than $200 per night for rooms at four- and five-star properties). With the money you save on lodging, buy a day pass to one of Budapest's famous thermal baths.
If you're a foodie on a budget, Athens, Greece, should be at the top of your European itinerary. Here, you can find delicious meals of Greek salad, fresh seafood and spanakopita for cheap. These savings will leave plenty of room in your budget for accommodations, which you can find for less than $200 per night at select four- and five-star hotels. Plus, with many of the city's major attractions located within a mile of one another, you'll save loads on public transportation and taxis just by walking.
Thanks to a favorable exchange rate, Istanbul is incredibly affordable for Western visitors. Entry is free to many of the city's important religious sites, including the Blue Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Hagia Sophia mosque. The price of admission for other popular attractions, including the Topkapi Palace Museum, can cost less than $25 per person. And with meals averaging between 30 and 150 Turkish lira (about $2 to $10), you have plenty of room to splurge on souvenirs or your hotel.
For travelers looking for a budget-friendly European vacation, you're in luck. Dubrovnik, located in southern Croatia along the famed Dalmatian coast, is a medieval city famed for its centuries-old stone walls, delicious cuisine and magnificent baroque architecture. It also happens to be a great place to travel on the cheap. With the convenient Dubrovnik Pass, which is available in one-, three- and seven-day increments, travelers can enjoy free admission to several of the city's top attractions and complimentary transportation on all city buses. Spare your wallet further by visiting in September or October when summer crowds have left and hotel rates have dipped.
Compared to other western European capitals, Lisbon, Portugal, is one of the region's cheaper destinations to visit. You can find five-star accommodations for less than $300 per night (plus even more affordable vacation rentals and three- and four-star hotel options), and most of Lisbon's top attractions are free to visit or require nominal admission fees. What's more, getting around is cheap, too. Buy a Lisboa Card (about $50 for a 72-hour period) to cover the cost of unlimited rides on the metro, trams, buses and elevators, plus free or discounted entry to multiple museums and other top attractions.
Despite being one of the largest cities in Spain, Seville is quite affordable. Here, you can find select five-star accommodations for less than $300 per night. Plus, entrance fees to top attractions, such as Real Alcázar and the Catedral de Sevilla, are downright cheap: You can visit both for less than $30 total. Save even more coin by timing your visit for Seville's shoulder season when lodging and airfare prices take a dip. And since Seville is so walkable and easy to navigate – a trait that makes it popular among solo travelers – you'll seldom find yourself needing to use public transportation.
Overlooking the Baltic Sea, Tallinn draws travelers to Estonia with its charming atmosphere and historical attractions. Start by walking through the capital's Old Town, which is webbed with cobblestone streets, old-world buildings and all kinds of medieval delights. Then, explore the city's eclectic museums, which cover everything from maritime history to the KGB. Look into purchasing a Tallinn Card if you plan on visiting multiple museums. The cards vary in duration and price – the longest option for 72 hours costs about $65 – and include access to museums and public transportation, plus discounts for tours, shops and restaurants.
Admiring the landscape on this Greek island is enough to keep travelers busy for days at no extra expense. If you do find yourself getting tired of sunbathing, check out some of the island's religious sites, including Paleokastritsa Monastery and the Church of Saint Spyridon, both of which are free to visit. Flights from Athens are only about an hour and, depending on when you travel, can cost less than $100. Hotel prices are affordable as well. You can find deals on four- and five-star properties for less than $200 per night.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and northern Africa, this small archipelago is perfect for budget travelers. Rooms at top hotels often cost less than $200 per night, and with Malta's Explore Card, which costs about $25, visitors can enjoy unlimited bus travel for seven days. Plan your trip for the spring or fall offseason when prices are low and crowds are sparse (but the weather is no less beautiful). The best part? Relaxing on Golden Bay Beach and watching the sunset from beautiful Spinola Bay are two activities that are always free of charge.
Granada in southern Spain is not as easy to get to as other destinations on this list, but its affordability and beauty are more than worth the journey. Apart from the Alhambra, many of the city's top sights are free to visit and enjoy. Most of those attractions, including the beautiful Albaicín neighborhood and the gardens of Carmen de los Mártires, are within walking distance of one another. And if you do need to hop on the bus, know that a one-way ticket will cost you less than $2. Plus, unlike other destinations in Spain, tapas here are often free when you order a drink at a bar.
Iceland's capital can easily be enjoyed on a budget. Rent a bed at one of Reykjavik's affordable hostels for less than $35 per night, or find three- and four-star accommodations for less than $200. To get the most bang for your buck, purchase the Reykjavik City Card, which costs around $35 for a 24-hour ticket. This cost-effective pass will score you discounts on tours, thermal pools and other services, in addition to unlimited bus travel and free admission to many of the city's top attractions. Plus, travelers can learn about Iceland's history on CityWalk's free (donations encouraged) two-hour walking tour of downtown Reykjavik.
While you can certainly spend a small fortune experiencing Vienna's opulent cultural offerings, a trip to the Austrian city doesn't have to break the bank. Summer brings extravagant prices, while winter welcomes droves of Christmas tourists. This makes spring and fall ideal times to plan a low-cost European vacation. Use your budget to peruse the city's world-class museums, including the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, a renowned art history museum, and the House of Music, where entrance fees are less than $20 per person. Free attractions include the stunning St. Stephen's Cathedral (some areas incur a fee to explore) and Naschmarkt, a sprawling open-air market.
Like Prague, Berlin is a cheap place to drink – you may even find that a pint of beer costs around the same as a cup of coffee. In between soaking up the local culture at night, visit some of Germany's most important historical and cultural attractions, including the East Side Gallery, the Brandenburg Gate and the Topography of Terror, for free. And with Berlin's extensive public transportation system, you can snag a hotel farther outside the city center for considerably less money and use the U-Bahn, Berlin's convenient underground subway, to get around the city.
Zagreb, Croatia, is a compelling, cheap destination because most of its top attractions are accessible on foot. In fact, three of the city's most famous attractions are located about a half-mile from one another – the Zagreb Cathedral, Lotršcak Tower and the Stone Gate – which was built in the 13th century as the eastern entrance to Zagreb. For affordable food, head to Dolac Market, a massive market in the city center. If you enjoy checking out quirky attractions, leave time for the Museum of Broken Relationships, which pays tribute to and catalogs breakups from around the world. The museum's entrance fee only costs about $8.
Despite being Croatia's second-largest city, Split remains a relatively affordable vacation destination. Visit in September or October after the busy summer season to get deals on hotels and flights. The city's Old Town is a must-visit attraction; travelers can wander the cobblestone streets, browse boutique shop windows and explore the Roman ruins of Diocletian's Palace free of charge. When hunger strikes, choose a restaurant that offers a fixed-price lunch menu to save some coin.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit Galway, as you'll avoid summer crowds and winter weather. Free cultural attractions abound in this small Irish city, so you can check out must-visit sights like St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church and Galway City Museum without spending a dime. But a trip to Galway would be incomplete without exploring its surrounding natural wonders. While access to Connemara National Park is free, you'll need to fork over a few euros to get to the Aran Islands or access the Cliffs of Moher.
Ljubljana provides the charming streets, historical architecture and scenic green spaces of busier Eastern European destinations, but at a fraction of the cost. Spring and fall in this Slovenian city bring cheaper hotel rates, and attractions like the Dragon Bridge and Prešeren Square are free to visit year-round. To see other popular sights like Ljubljana Castle and the House of Illusions, plan on purchasing a Ljubljana Card. A pass costs anywhere from $40 to $55 and covers entry to more than 20 attractions, 24-hour city Wi-Fi access, city bus rides, a guided walking tour, a four-hour bike rental and a river cruise.
Sofia's five-star accommodations will cost you less than $150 per night, but this Bulgarian city also boasts a wide variety of budget-friendly boutique hotels, hostels and motels, where you can often find cheap digs ranging from $10 to $30 per night. Travelers who purchase the SoFun Bulgaria Discount Card (which costs about $5 and never expires), will save money on attractions, dining, shopping, entertainment, tours and more. Plus, getting around the city is easy and affordable with a variety of travel passes offered. And if that wasn't enough, many of the city's top attractions are free, including the Patriarchal Cathedral St. Alexander Nevsky, Vitosha Boulevard and Borisova Gradina park.
Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings
You May Be Interested In
Best Places to Visit in Europe for 2023
Best Eastern Europe Travel Spots
Best Cheap Vacations in the U.S. for 2023
Best Cheap Caribbean Vacations
Best Cheap Summer Vacations
Best Places to Visit in Spain
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.
The 26 Best Zoos in the U.S.
Rachael Hood November 16, 2023
44 Cheap Tropical Vacations That Feel Expensive
Holly Johnson|Alissa Grisler November 10, 2023
18 Fall Family Vacation Ideas
Amanda Norcross September 11, 2023
30 Fun Fall Weekend Getaways for 2023
Holly Johnson July 18, 2023
The 32 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in the U.S.
Gwen Pratesi July 14, 2023
The 21 Top Ecolodges Around the World
Mackenzie Roche|Amanda Norcross June 30, 2023
The 26 Best Fall Festivals in the U.S. for 2023
Katie Hearsum|Timothy J. Forster June 28, 2023
27 Amazon Prime Day Luggage Deals You Can Shop Now
Amanda Norcross June 27, 2023
The 34 Best Couples Vacations
Gwen Pratesi June 26, 2023
Carry-on Luggage Sizes by Airline
Amanda Norcross June 26, 2023
- Search Please fill out this field.
- Manage Your Subscription
- Give a Gift Subscription
- Budget Travel
13 Affordable Places to Visit in Europe — From Country Escapes to Stunning Cities
You can visit Europe on a budget — here's how.
Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.
If you have big dreams of jetting off to Europe , but worry that your bank account isn't quite ready, don't worry. For every expensive city, there are dozens of charming — and surprisingly affordable — places that offer all the European charm for a fraction of the price. Ljubljana, Porto, Budapest, even Berlin — these cities have all the rich culture, stunning architecture, and delicious food that you'd find in pricey European capitals, but they're perfect for budget travelers.
You can even travel to some of Europe's best (and famously expensive) destinations without breaking the bank — you just have to know how to save money without sacrificing on experiences. Travelers can often score deals on flights from the United States to major cities like Paris or London , and upon arriving, transportation within Europe can be much more affordable (hello, budget airlines). Those large cities also offer a wide range of accommodations, so you can certainly find something in your budget. You can even save money on food by hitting the local markets. After all, a bottle of wine, fresh bread, and cheese from a Parisian market make for an unforgettable meal when picnicking under the Eiffel Tower.
And you might be surprised by how many museums, churches, and other attractions are free or inexpensive to visit, too. Be sure to keep an eye out for free entry days (often one day a month) or tourist cards that offer entry to multiple attractions for one flat fee. (Do the math ahead of time by calculating the cost of every included attraction that you want to visit to make sure it's really worth the money.)
Trimming your budget doesn't mean sacrificing the quality of your trip. Sometimes, the less you spend, the more you can immerse yourself in the local culture. Staying in a thatched Irish farmhouse, perusing old masters in Rome , or snacking your way through Spanish specialties aren't just tricks of the frugal traveler — they're the stuff dream vacations are made of.
Here are some of the top destinations for an affordable European vacation (and tips for saving money once you arrive).
For a storybook-worthy vacation in Europe, head straight to Bavaria. Book a room at Burg Colmberg , a 14th-century castle rising from a rocky crag above a tiny village. It offers an eclectic collection of rooms tucked throughout a warren of crooked hallways, hidden staircases, and cozy sitting nooks. Be sure to visit the postcard-perfect Neuschwanstein Castle , resplendently perched atop a mountain, and take the time to tour Hohenschwangau, the castle in which "Mad King" Ludwig II actually lived. The latter is a more modest pile of battlements on a smaller nub of a hill in the valley below. What it lacks in the carefully crafted pomp and circumstance of Neuschwanstein — which Ludwig II never lived to see completed — it more than makes up for in homeyness and history.
The iconic architecture of Puglia — the "heel" of Italy's boot — is the prehistoric trullo, a cylindrical whitewashed house with a cone-shaped roof of stacked gray stones. There's no greater concentration of trulli than in the UNESCO-protected town of Alberobello, where whole neighborhoods are made of the structures, and the local entrepreneur behind Trullidea has fixed up dozens of the abandoned ones and rents them to visitors. Cool in the baking summers and with cozy indoor heating for wintertime, a rental trullo lets you live like a local for less than the cost of a tourist-class hotel in town. Want to sample what the Amalfi Coast was like before the hotshots and high prices moved in? Puglia's forested Gargano Peninsula is popular with sun-loving Italians, but is otherwise refreshingly off the tourist map.
Alisha McDarris/Travel + Leisure
The capital of Hungary, Budapest offers all the charm of more popular European destinations for a fraction of the price. The Hungarian Parliament Building and Fisherman's Bastion are just a couple of the picture-perfect attractions you'll spot in the city, and you'll find lots of affordable accommodations, meals, and nightlife, too. Even the city's famous thermal baths — some of which are over a century old and feature beautiful architecture — can be affordable to visit.
Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure
Take a break from sizzling on the crowded Costa del Sol beaches for a self-guided driving tour along the route of the Pueblos Blancos. This string of clifftop, whitewashed villages stretches from the Moorish town of Arcos de la Frontera through the Sierra de Grazalema to Ronda, a maze of medieval streets perched above a 500-foot gorge. Opt for a stay in nearby Seville — the capital of Andalusia — to take in the beautiful architecture, watch some flamenco dancing, and indulge in classic tapas.
Berlin has Cold War mystique, contemporary architecture, and booming gallery and restaurant scenes. With its cosmopolitan, East-meets-West edginess, it's no wonder the city has become a cultural capital of central Europe. It's a destination that continues to attract creative types and in-the-know travelers. Begin your trip to Berlin in the fashionable Mitte (or "middle") district, as it's convenient to major sites such as the Reichstag and Potsdamer Platz.
Bath and the Cotswolds, England
The charming villages of the Cotswolds look like they're straight out of a fairy tale — Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Bourton-on-the-Water are among the prettiest. There are inns and pubs sprinkled throughout the little towns, but we'd suggest staying in Bath, a quaint city dating back to the Roman era, for its variety of accommodations. While there, check out the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey, and of course, the historic Roman baths. Best of all, Bath is under two hours from London by train, making it an easy weekend trip from the city.
Istanbul's major state-run museums may charge hefty admissions, but the Great Palace Mosaic Museum, just behind the Blue Mosque adjacent to the Arasta Bazaar, costs only 60 Turkish lira (that's about $4). These delightful mosaic scenes of hunts, myths, animal battles, and everyday life in antiquity — boys riding a camel, a man milking his goat — once covered the floor of a large courtyard of the Palatium Magnum, the Great Palace built between the time of Constantine the Great himself and Justinian I (fourth to early sixth centuries). You can even cruise between the continents for an affordable price when taking the ferry.
Take a tour of the architectural masterworks of prodigious local talent Jože Plecnik, who took the Secessionist Art Nouveau style he learned in Vienna back home (via Prague) to remake his native city along his own, idiosyncratic lines. Like Gaudí in Barcelona, Plecnik designed his buildings right down to the smallest fittings, like the Pegasus door handles on the entrance to the National and University Library. Plecnik designed a bit of everything around town, from the central market to the two flanking spans of Ljubljana's iconic Triple Bridge to the café-lined embankments of the Ljubljanica River. The city also has a number of incredible, affordable restaurants, and you can take a public bus (for a small fee) to nearby Lake Bled for a day trip.
The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Skip the overexposed island of Hvar for the walled medieval village on the Adriatic island of Korcula, purported home to Marco Polo. Korcula is more of a day-trip destination, and that means the tourist crowds thin considerably by sundown, leaving those who remain to relax in the cafés and stroll the narrow alleys. While every old city in Europe has an Old City historic district, Split has the only downtown actually carved from the carcass of an ancient Roman palace. When the emperor Diocletian left his throne in A.D. 305, he built a lavish palace on the Croatian coast to live out his days as head of the empire's eastern half. In the 1,700 years since, the ruins of his enormous structure have been colonized by the locals, the buildings turned into medieval town houses, and the emperor's tomb transformed into the cathedral.
Want to experience fabulous French cuisine on a budget? Opt for a midday splurge — many cafés and restaurants offer less expensive menus at lunch. And a picnic is always a good idea in Paris. Stop by a market to peruse the (typically) extensive options for cheese and wine, or pick up a simple yet delicious crepe from a stand. If you plan to visit the City of Light's top museums and attractions, you might want to invest in a Paris Museum Pass . For one fee (priced depending on the number of days you purchase), you can gain admission to top tourist spots like the Arc de Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle, Panthéon, Louvre, Musée Rodin, and more, and you get to skip the ticket line. Talk about a win-win.
County Clare, Ireland
Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure
Avoid the tour bus-clogged Ring of Kerry for its neighbor to the north, County Clare, home to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher rising more than 700 feet from the crashing Atlantic waves; the weirdly eroded limestone landscape of the Burren, where prehistoric slab tombs perch on the rocky flatlands like miniature houses of cards; and Doolin, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it village that has become a popular destination for traditional Celtic music. Local pubs are the perfect evening stop for hearty (and usually affordable) Irish fare and — if you're lucky — live music.
Rome has more than 900 churches, all of them free, displaying great works of art and architecture by the likes of Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio, Bramante, and Pinturicchio. And that's just the short list of artists contained in one church — the little-visited Santa Maria del Popolo. Other iconic landmarks, like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Rome's famous piazzas are all free to visit, too, and some museums offer free entry days, so check their websites for details.
Paula Galindo Valle/Travel + Leisure
Portugal's northern city of Porto is among Travel + Leisure readers' favorite European cities , and once you visit, you'll see why. In Porto, visitors can admire the Art Deco architecture, sip port wine , and explore the walkable city on foot without going over budget. Plus, a day trip to the Douro Valley, a picturesque vineyard region along the Douro River, is worth the trek.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
- Help Center
- Rental Cars
* Indicates required fields
pickUpDate - dropOffDate
Pick-Up: pickUpTime - Drop-Off: dropOffTime
Same as Pick-Up Location
For drivers under the age of 25, additional fees and/or restrictions may apply.
For information and assistance in completing your reservation, please call:
We're unable to find your location.
- Vacation Packages
- Hotel + Flight
- Hotel + Flight + Car
- Hotel + Car
- Hotel Only
Alaska Cruise Tours:
A cruise tour is a voyage and land tour combination, with the land tour occurring before or after the voyage. Unless otherwise noted, optional services such as airfare, airport transfers, shore excursions, land tour excursions, etc. are not included and are available for an additional cost.
Choose your european adventure, choose your own european adventure; discover secret beaches in greece, explore ancient castles in ireland or hunt down the best wine in france..
Explore the museums of Madrid, sip espresso by the canals of Venice and witness the Changing of the Guard in London. Europe has something to offer everyone.
Best of italy: your way.
Rome, Florence and Venice Daily Breakfast
London and Paris: Your Way
Daily Breakfast $400 London Tour Credit Executive Member Benefit at Select Hotels
Barcelona, Seville and Madrid: Your Way
Daily Breakfast Executive Member Benefit at Select Hotels
London, Edinburgh and Dublin: Your Way
Athens and santorini: your way, paris and rome: your way, rome and sorrento: your way, amsterdam and paris: your way package.
Daily Breakfast Rail Transfer Private Airport Transfer
Taste of Ireland: Your Way Package
Dublin, Killarney and West Ireland Daily Breakfast, Self-Drive Countryside
The Costco Traveler Blog
Eating through italy, amazing amsterdam, epicurean paris, more about europe.
Europe blends its rich history and modern innovation seamlessly. From the catwalks of Paris fashion week to the awe-inspiring ruins of Greek temples you'll find it hard to fit everything into one vacation. The vast expanse of Europe is covered in numerous cultures, languages and landscapes that can make you feel like you've been transported onto the set of a movie. Sit down for a cup of tea in London, learn how to make your own pasta in Italy or simply take time to stare in wonder at the amazing Highlands of Scotland. Whether you're traveling with family, friends or your special someone, a trip to Europe will be a vacation to remember.
Content provided by Costco Travel experts. Copyright © Costco Travel. All rights reserved.
Before You Go
- To make it easier to replace your passport if it’s lost or stolen, in addition to your passport, take a photocopy of your passport information page (keeping it separate from your actual passport).
- Carry only a limited amount of cash, just enough for gratuities and incidental purchases. Major credit cards are widely accepted and can be replaced if lost or stolen.
- Always lock your hotel room door (including patio and balcony door on any level of the building) and use the peephole before opening the door.
- Store your valuables (such as cash, credit cards and airline tickets) in the hotel’s in-room safe or front desk safety deposit box.
- If you must carry valuables on your person, do so in a pouch or money belt concealed under your clothing. Purses and backpacks can be easy targets for thieves.
- For complete and current safety and security information, including travelers' tips, public announcements, travel advisories and more, please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov.
- December through February: 49° to 49° (Winter)
- March through May: 54° to 66° (Spring)
- June through August: 72° to 76° (Summer)
- September through November: 70° to 54°
Explore More Travel
Gobble up these deals.
Included Extras in Every Package
Book by 11/27/23
Vacations of a Lifetime
For an Experience as Unique as You Are
Exclusively for Costco Members
Executive Member Benefits
Annual 2% Reward on Costco Travel Purchases
Additional Value in Select Packages
Member reviews become available after at least 5 are received in order to provide you with an accurate picture of this travel product.
We are processing your payment.
Do not refresh your browser or exit this page.
Budget tours & trips to europe.
Explore a varied offer of budget Europe adventures that will take you through some of the most renowned destinations such as Rome and Paris. Each affordable tour will provide you with memorable experiences for some of the lowest prices on the market. Explore the best budget trips and budget tour operators around the world with TourRadar!
250+ Budget Europe tour packages with 9,849 reviews
- In-depth Cultural
- Fully Guided
- Coach / Bus
Highlights of Bohemia (15 Days)
"I thoroughly enjoyed the Costsaver Highlights of Bohemia tour. Amy, our Tour Director,..."
- Christmas & New Year
"This tour exceeded our expectations!"
- €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.
"We enjoyed the tour with our close family and now we have beautiful memories to cherish..."
Get Social: Central Europe Highlights (Winter)
"Awesome tour with ably led by Jared. Fun, varied, and historically informative without..."
- €75 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.
"Amazing tour guide, bus driver and all the guests. Would have loved to see more of..."
- €150 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.
European Encounter (Winter, Start London, 16 Days)
"Where do I start!? Megs is hands down the best tour manager you will ever have. From..."
"More than the tour I enjoyed the company of Vera Nikolova. She is an excellent guide..."
Black Friday 2023 is coming!
Subscribe to our newsletter to get notified about the year’s biggest deals at TourRadar
You’ve subscribed! Stay tuned for our Black Friday deals.
Britain and Ireland Experience (12 Days)
"Excellent tour very well run by Greg. No hesitation in recommending the same to family..."
Rome to Berlin: Piazzas, Prague & the Past
"Great diversity of countries and cities but WAY too fast paced. One night in Slovenia..."
Italy from North to South
"I really enjoyed this amazing experience. I already recommed them to my friends and..."
Grand Journey of Italy - 11 Days
"Our family had a wonderful trip to Italy. Alessandra was amazing, so very kind, competent..."
- Partially Guided
Explore the Best of Greece - 10 Days
"Unforgettable moments. While in Greece, we visited Athens, Delphi, Trikala, Lamia,..."
Prague, Vienna & Budapest
"I was so hoping that this tour operation would work well for us, as it had the elements..."
Rome to London Quest (Summer, 10 Days)
"It was an awesome trip, Greggles was a great tour manager!"
The Best of Europe with London
Budget tours & trips to europe reviews.
"My name is Samuel v. Schmitz and I went on the highlights of bohemia your in September..."
"Ok very well thank you"
"We have multiple tour guides.All are very friendly and accommodating towards everyone's..."
"Awesome tour leader who knew so much history about the places we visited, making..."
"Being my first overseas trip I wanted a tour to ensure I got to see as much as I..."
More Budget Tours in Europe
- Turkey tours (123)
- Italy tours (115)
- Greece tours (99)
- Spain tours (84)
- France tours (44)
- Germany tours (33)
- Croatia tours (27)
- Portugal tours (23)
- Iceland tours (23)
- Albania tours (20)
- Ireland tours (19)
- Scotland tours (17)
- Switzerland tours (13)
- Bulgaria tours (11)
- Czech Republic tours (11)
- England tours (10)
- Romania tours (10)
- Austria tours (9)
- Poland tours (6)
- Seniors tours (4988)
- Budget Family tours (633)
- Budget Explorer tours (524)
- Young Adults tours (479)
- Budget Christmas & New Year tours (423)
- Budget In-depth Cultural tours (410)
- Budget Active Adventure tours (167)
- Budget Self-Guided tours (143)
- Budget Coach / Bus tours (132)
- Budget Historical tours (127)
- Budget Private tours (117)
- Budget Hiking & Trekking tours (79)
- Budget Bicycle tours (57)
- Budget Eurovision tours (52)
- Budget Sightseeing tours (38)
- Budget River Cruise tours (33)
- Best 3 Weeks Europe Itineraries 2...
- 10 Best Luxury River Cruises & Li...
- Hiking in Europe in February
- Hiking in Europe in January
- Hiking in Europe in March
- Hiking in Europe in April
- Hiking in Europe in May
- Hiking in Europe in June
- Hiking in Europe in July
- Hiking in Europe in August
- Hiking in Europe in September
- Hiking in Europe in October
- Hiking in Europe in December
- Singles and Solo (7546)
- For Couples (4637)
- Young Adults (479)
- Seniors (4976)
- Deutsch: Günstige Reisen in Europ...
- Nederlands: Europa Budget Reizen ...
Expedia Rewards is now One Key™
Europe Vacations & Trips
Book a hotel + flight or car together to unlock savings.
- Things to do
I only need accommodations for part of my trip
As a One Key member , earn up to 10x more OneKeyCash on your flight when you book a package.
Enjoy flexibility with our Book now Pay later option & fully refundable rates on most hotels
Customize your vacation with ease all in one place
Your Europe Vacation
Ancient history, to-die-for cuisine, and rich culture galore: There’s almost too much to choose when you’re building a multi country European vacation package. From the romance of Paris and Rome to edgier Berlin and London , Europe’s capitals are fascinating, with show-off sights and secret gems. Step away from urban life and discover the empty golden beaches of Greece or the fertile wine lands of Bordeaux . Come winter, there’s no place more magical than Europe. Ski the snow-covered, beer-filled Austrian Alps on a European ski vacation package, visit Santa at home in Lapland on a European family vacation package, or dip into the mulled wine and gingerbread magic of Europe’s Christmas markets to level up the romance. There’s so much to fit in—one trip is never enough.
Top destinations in Europe
The Latest Europe Vacation Packages
ibis Roma Fiera
Reviewed on Nov 16, 2023
Sleep and go Hotel
Reviewed on Nov 13, 2023
Pinewood Hotel Rome
Reviewed on Oct 3, 2023
Hotel Riviera Fiumicino
Reviewed on Nov 4, 2023
Ginevra Palace Hotel
Reviewed on Nov 2, 2023
Your European Vacation
Whether you’re into beaches, history, food or landscapes, this diverse continent has enough to keep you occupied for a lifetime. Read on for ideas about cheap vacation packages in Europe and get your passport ready.
For many travelers, the perfect Europe vacation package revolves around sun, sea and sand. Get your fill on Spain ’s most famous beaches, from San Sebastian and the Costa del Sol on the mainland to the warm-year-round Canary Islands . In Greece , hop through some of its 6,000 islands such as Santorini and Mykonos or sail to dreamy hideaways like Karpathos . With 300 days of sunshine annually and around 125 miles of coastline, it’s no surprise that the Algarve in Portugal is among Europe’s top beach resort areas. Meanwhile the Italian island of Sardinia , famous for its iridescent waters and fine white sand, regularly tops polls of the world’s best beaches.
Culture & Sightseeing
Packed with culture and major attractions, Paris is always a good idea! Climb the Eiffel Tower , stare at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and wander the streets of charming Montmartre . In Rome , you’ll come face to face with history at almost every turn. Check out the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain before exploring Italy ’s other wonders like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Grand Canal of Venice . In Athens , walk around the ruins of the Acropolis and in London , see Big Ben and Buckingham Palace . The mysteries of Stonehenge are a day trip away. How about a Europe vacation package to Barcelona ? Here, be wowed by the architecture of Sagrada Familia and dance the flamenco. Olé!
What if mountains, fjordlands or forests are your idea of heaven? When it comes to nature, Iceland dazzles with its electric blue ice caps, black-sand beaches and vast lava fields. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon and tick a must-do off the list. If skiing is your thing, head for the Swiss Alps to shred under the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn . In the Scottish Highlands , hike the rugged Isle of Skye and keep an eye out for the Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) at Loch Ness lake. Scandinavia is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts. Sail through the fjords of Norway , chase the northern lights in Finland and hike through lush forests around Stockholm , Sweden . Be sure to add some activities or experiences to your Europe vacation package for the ultimate adventure.
Vacations for Foodies
It’s time to eat your way through Europe! In Brussels , Belgium , chow down on moules-frites (mussels and French fries), Belgium chocolate and waffles and then wash it all down with a beer. Bring your appetite to the birthplace of pizza, Naples . Order a slice from a hole-in-the-wall restaurant to find out why it’s considered the world’s best. While you’ll no doubt think of wine when it comes to Bordeaux , this French culinary haven is also renowned for its oysters, foie gras and canelé pastries. Tapas, paella and churros dipped in chocolate are on the menu in Madrid , while Portugal’s capital Lisbon serves up delicacies from pastéis de Belém (custard tarts) to grilled sardines.
Europe Packages on a Budget
If you’re looking for cheap vacation packages in Europe , Budapest won’t break the budget. The Hungarian capital’s exceptional beauty and famous landmarks (like Buda Castle ) have earned it the nickname of the “Paris of the East.” In Slovenia , pristine nature full of mountains, rivers and caves await along with castles and museums. Want to do the Mediterranean on the cheap in Malta ? There are gorgeous beaches, charming villages and medieval fortified cities to explore. Sicily also serves up a stellar lineup of sights for less, from the Valley of the Temples in the Province of Agrigento to the volcanic Aeolian Islands .
With destinations like the Amalfi Coast to tempt you, a European vacation package is your opportunity to splurge. This stretch of Italian coastline is home to Mediterranean superstars like the cliffside village of Positano and Capri , where you’ll find the magical Blue Grotto . If the French Riviera is calling your name, say bonjour to the “billionaires’ playground” of Monaco . Hit the famous Monte Carlo Casino and maybe even cruise around on a luxury yacht. Glamorous Nice , Cannes and Saint-Tropez are just over the border in France . Ibiza is one of Spain’s most famous luxury destinations. Its crystal-clear waters, white sands and epic nightlife have long attracted celebrities and party-loving travelers.
Save on Europe Packages
Wherever you choose to go, you’ll save with Expedia’s cheap vacation packages to Europe . For example, discover the best of London or book a Rome package to marvel at the Vatican and Sistine Chapel . Wander around the Louvre Museum on a Paris vacation — alternatively, if Amsterdam is more your style, then book one of our bundles and you’ll be taking a private tour of the city and experiencing its world-famous nightlife soon enough. Europe vacation packages start at $854* and can save you heaps.
Flights, hotels and rental cars, or any combination of them — the choice is yours when it comes to creating your package. Prices depend on exactly what you bundle, and whether you add extras like tours and experiences. Other factors include the length of your trip, hotel rating, time of year you travel and where you’re flying from. You can unlock even more discounts on your European escape by simply booking your flight and hotel together, rather than booking separately. Europe package savings can add up to as much as 70%** . Still haven’t picked your destination? We recommend exploring unmissable Prague — where great package savings means more cash to spend on eating hearty pork knuckles and sightseeing at Prague Castle !
How to Plan Your Europe Vacation
Select one of our ready-made cheap packages to Europe or build your own customized trip – all you need to do is enter your desired destination and travel dates. Take your pick of hotels, resorts or vacation rentals, add flights and/or a car rental and get incredible prices. You can sort your results by price, amenities and more.
Wondering when to travel to Europe? Peak season is June, July and August. Expect sunny weather, long days and plenty of excitement, but also higher rates and large crowds. If you really want to save, consider the quieter months of April through mid-June, or September through October. The low season, November through March, is another option. While it may be cold, you’ll usually get the best hotel and airfare deals, not to mention fewer tourists.
Looking for cheap all-inclusive Europe vacation packages ? Select the all-inclusive filter and we do the rest. Simply pick one of our awesome properties and you’ll get food, drinks and activities included in the price. Check out our all-inclusive stays in Europe for the ultimate stress-free vacation!
* Prices and availability are subject to change. Additional terms apply.
**Savings based on all package bookings with Flight + Hotel made on Expedia from 2019-04-01 - 2020-03-31 as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages .
Top Vacation Destinations in Europe
Experience vacation packages in Spain where Islam meets the west
In Spain, you can experience a unique culture whose medieval influences draw from Islamic and Western cultures. You'll see incredible architecture and a culinary tradition that's unlike anything anywhere else. See concerts in astoundingly posh performing arts halls or walk museums with unique and ancient treasures. Explore urban markets filled with delectable sights and smells, then take a bit of the culture home.
See the heart of the Roman Empire with Italy vacation packages
Italy offers ancient culture, elegant architecture, and artwork showcasing the Renaissance Masters. You can head for Venice and take a gondola ride. Head for Rome and see the Colosseum, or see the ruins of Pompeii. Visit the Vatican and see the Sistene Chapel. Head for a sidewalk cafe for a cappuccino or enjoy mouth-watering cuisine. Don't be surprised if, when you go home, you're speaking a little Italian.
Head for the Emerald Isles with Ireland vacation packages
Ireland offers the chance to explore vast, rolling hills and experience famous landmarks like the Cliffs of Moher. You can kiss the Blarney Stone or take a tour of the original Guinness brewery. See medieval castles and cathedrals or even unusual museums tracing the history of crime and punishment. Ireland offers a wealth of things to do and provides thriving nightlife as well as family-friendly events.
Walk the footsteps of Vikings on Iceland vacation packages
Iceland is defined by dramatic rock formations, volcanoes, geysers, and other geological features and by its eco-friendly way of life. Its capital city is run entirely on geothermal power. You can see stunning natural vistas with serene blue mountain lakes and heavily forested mountain valleys. You can tour ice caves and visit museums rich with Norse culture. Take a walk back to the ancient days of Europe.
Head for the birthplace of democracy on a Greece vacation
A vacation in Greece lets you see the place where the famed mythology of Zeus and Heracles was born. You can visit ancient sites like the Parthenon, cities like Athens that combine ultramodern urbanism with millennia-old culture, and see medieval sites of stunning architecture. Visit museums and walk through traditional marketplaces, where you can try everything olive. Enjoy delicious food and wine, and soak up the culture.
Experience vibrant nightlife with an Amsterdam vacation package
Amsterdam is renowned for being a party town. Aside from its famous red-light district and vibrant nightclubs, however, the city offers an array of things to see and do, many of which are family friendly. It's filled with art and culture museums, outdoor adventures, open-air theaters, and quirky shops selling handmade toys and games. Whether you're an adult or a kid, there's a party in Amsterdam for you.
Europe Hotel Deals
Reviewed on Nov 14, 2023
Explore other types of vacation packages
All Inclusive Vacations
Kid Friendly Vacations
LGBTQ Friendly Vacations
Frequently asked questions, other vacations you might like.
- Popular destinations in Europe
- Expedia's Latest Trends
- United Kingdom
Additional information about Expedia Group
Awesome, you're subscribed!
Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!
The best things in life are free.
Sign up for our email to enjoy your city without spending a thing (as well as some options when you’re feeling flush).
Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?
Love the mag?
Our newsletter hand-delivers the best bits to your inbox. Sign up to unlock our digital magazines and also receive the latest news, events, offers and partner promotions.
- North America
- South America
- South Pacific
- Los Angeles
Get us in your inbox
🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!
11 of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe on a budget
These are the cheapest places to visit in Europe, and we’ve included the cost of a pint
Travel is well and truly back, people. Covid testing for tourists is increasingly being scrapped across the board, and travellers are practically being ushered into the once-bustling cities of Europe . But the thing is, lots of us are still strapped for cash after two years of uncertainty.
The good news is this: there are plenty of interesting and affordable locations on the Continent that you can visit without breaking the bank. Plus, a load of them are off the beaten track, meaning you won’t have to fight your way through crowds to find the best bits. We found out the average price of an Airbnb in each place, and cross-referenced that with data from financial comparison site Finder to work out where you can get a discount pint, too. From the ruin-filled city of Argos in Greece to the foodie-heaven of Graz in Austria , here are 11 of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe.
RECOMMENDED: The 16 best city breaks in Europe for 2022
An email you’ll actually love
Cheapest cities to visit in Europe
1. Kraków, Poland
Festival vibes meet olde-worlde history in Kraków . We recommend packing in as many medieval sites as possible, and then getting stuck into a great night out. Try to plan your trip to coincide with one of the city’s many, many festivals, which range from the typical (think Summer Jazz Festival and the Kraków Film Festival ) to the more obscure, like the International Soup Festival . Yum.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £59 ($77) Average pint: £2.15 ($2.82)
2. Riga, Latvia
In Riga, it’s all about the art nouveau. The architecture is seriously beautiful, and there’s a huge, buzzy creative scene. Check out Putti , a modern gallery and events space, or Rīgas Birža for something more traditional. Looking for something less refined? The booze here is really cheap – so if you’re looking to let loose, head to the Old Town for all the most established bars.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £49 ($64) Average pint: £2.76 ($3.66)
3. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Český Krumlov is a lot like Prague , but without the stag dos. Its labyrinthine, baroque streets all lead you, eventually, to the huge castle complex at the centre. It’s beautiful in summer, but for the really picturesque views go in winter, when it’s blanketed in snow. Keep warm in one of the many cosy cafés, or try traditional food in one of the live music parlours. Not a rowdy bunch of blokes to be seen. Average one-bed Airbnb: £76 ($99) Average pint: £1.44 ($1.89)
4. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest is great if you’re looking for a good time. Don’t sleep on the nightlife, just make sure to avoid the overhyped bars near the centre and head for one of the sky bars instead. You can try (delicious, hearty) traditional food for bargain prices, too. Our reccomedation is the legendary Caru’ cu Bere – order the grilled pork and a side of sauerkraut. Average one-bed Airbnb: £45 ($59) Average pint: £1.48 ($1.94)
5. Belgrade, Serbia
Chaotic, gritty, packed and super cheap – Belgrade is anything but a quiet getaway location. Smokey dive bars and gig venues nestle in old socialist architecture, competing for space in the once-desolate Savamala area, which is now home to a thriving culture scene. Head to Ada Ciganlija, a reclaimed island on the Sava river, if you’re looking to find a tiny, tranquil slice of nature.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £39 ($51) Average pint: £1.53 ($2.01)
6. Kaunas, Lithuania
Kaunas is going to be big this year. It’s one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2022, and an incredible 1,000 events are being planned to celebrate it. If you can’t make it to any of them, there are plenty of seriously impressive exhibition spaces open all year round, like the Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery . And if you want something a bit weirder, head to the seriously strange Devil’s Museum . Average one-bed Airbnb: £58 ($76) Average pint: £2.90 ($3.81)
7. Zagreb, Croatia
This city is made for walking – we recommend that you wander from the beautiful, sprawling main square to basically every sight. That’ll keep costs low, and your exposure to amazing sights high. If you do want to get your transport fix, though, jump on the funicular and head up the hill for unbeatable views. Or just hang out in one of the many, many cool cafés.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £51 ($66) Average pint: £1.82 ($2.39)
8. Argos, Greece
Argos is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Right in the heart of the Peloponnese, this is Greece as you imagine it: balmy Mediterranean weather with archaelogical beauty sprawling as far as the eye can see. According to legend, it was literally ruled by the son of Zeus at one point, too. It’s largely off the tourist path too, so you can explore the ancient theatre ruins, the prehistoric castle and sixth-century BC Roman Agora in peace.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £38 ($49) Average pint: £3.66 ($4.80)
9. Marsalforn, Malta
Head to this quaint fishing village if you’re looking for a properly quiet break. Marshalforn isn’t a porthole-windows and artfully-placed-lobster-crate situation, it’s the real deal. The restaurants have lots of fresh fish and great ocean views, so we recommend you take a book, put on your sunglasses, and enjoy the sea breeze.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £57 ($74) Average pint: £2.09 ($2.74)
10. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia is properly, properly gorgeous. The domed churches dotted around the city will be a guaranteed hit on your Insta, as will the elaborate mosques, Soviet statues and grand galleries. As most people overlook it in favour of Bulgaria’s ski slopes and coastline, you won’t feel crowded while you wander. Average one-bed Airbnb: £46 ($60) Average pint: £1.37 ($1.80)
11. Graz, Austria
Graz is one of Austria ’s unsung heroes. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as being annointed 2003's Capital of Culture and the 2008 City of Culinary Delights. For futuristic art, head to Kunsthaus Graz . The gallery is housed in a building known as the ‘friendly alien’ – you can’t miss its undulating, scaley form on the waterfront.
Average one-bed Airbnb: £64 ($84) Average pint: £3.25 ($4.27)
Discover Time Out original video
- Press office
- Investor relations
- Work for Time Out
- Editorial guidelines
- Privacy notice
- Do not sell my information
- Accessibility statement
- Manage cookies
- Time Out Market
Nomadic Matt's Travel Site
Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer
Europe Travel Guide
Last Updated: November 9, 2023
From beautiful Paris to smoke-filled coffeeshops in Amsterdam, Oktoberfest to La Tomatina, Europe is a massive, diverse continent with an unlimited assortment of things to see and do. You won’t have any problem filling your time, whether you’re backpacking Europe for a few months on a budget or just spending a few weeks there on a well-earned vacation.
The continent boasts wonderful beaches, historical architecture, amazing wine, and tons of world-class festivals. Every country is incredibly different from the next too, providing limitless variety in what you do during your trip.
I first backpacked Europe in 2006 and was hooked immediately. I’ve been visiting every year since, have run tours around the continent, and even wrote a book on traveling in Europe . It’s a destination I love and never get tired of exploring.
This guide will give you an overview of Europe and the tips and tricks you need to start planning your trip. I’ve also written extensive travel guides to each country on the continent (linked below in this post) so you can get more in-depth information for your specific itinerary too!
Table of Contents
- Things to See and Do
- Typical Costs
- Suggested Budget
- Money-Saving Tips
- Where to Stay
- How to Get Around
- How to Stay Safe
- Best Places to Book Your Trip
- Related Blogs on Europe
Click Here for Country Guides
Top 5 things to see and do in europe.
1. Tour the Greek Islands
These islands are the mecca of summer beach fun and each is unique in its own great way. There’s Ios (beach party central with archeological ruins and awesome boat tours); Kos (ancient ruins and nature); Crete (Bronze Age ruins of Knossos, hiking, beaches, and wine), Santorini (iconic blue water, white buildings, and local wineries); Mykonos , (the upscale party island with beautiful beaches, villages, and sunsets), Naxos (best island in the Cyclades). Plus, Milos, Corfu, Lemnos, Zakynthos, and so many more! With hundreds of islands in the country, you can always find what you are looking for!
2. Ride the rails
Europe is famous for its international rail system. Rail passes like the Eurail Pass have been around forever and still make it very easy to get from country to country on a relatively small budget (and with lots of flexibility). Europe has some of the fastest trains in the world that travel up to an incredible 217 mph (350 kph). The whole continent is connected by trains and there’s a growing push for even more connections and long-distance, high-speed trains in order to reduce flying and help combat climate change. There’s nothing more quintessential than riding the trains in Europe and I encourage you to take as many trains as possible. It’s one of the best ways to see the continent.
3. Get lost in Paris
The “City of Lights” is everything people say it is. I fell in love with it the first time I stepped foot in Paris . The city is just magical. You have a ton of museums, cafes, jazz clubs, famous art, and beautiful architecture. I love just strolling around the streets of the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) or Montmartre neighborhood as it makes for a breathtaking day. Another one of my favorite things to do here is just sit in the Jardin des Champs-Élysées park and picnic like the Parisians. For something a bit different, check out the famous Catacombs and Paris Sewer Museum. With so much to offer in the way of culture, history, and gastronomy, it would take years to see everything here but you can still get a good feel of the city in a few days.
4. Go city hopping
There are so many amazing cities in Europe that we’d need a top 100 to list them all. Here are some of my personal favorites and must-see cities: London is rich in history, culture, and the famous Big Ben clock; Edinburgh is a vibrant medieval city with cozy pubs and a famous castle with a huge New Year’s Eve Party; Amsterdam has cozy coffee shops and canopied tree-covered canals; Berlin has a wild party scene, street art, and the Berlin Wall; Barcelona has tapas, beach, and unique Gaudi architecture; coastal Lisbon has colorful tiles, old tramcars, cobblestone streets and plenty of fresh seafood; Prague has a beautiful intact Old Town, incredible architecture and eclectic bars; Tallinn Estonia has beautiful medieval buildings with colorful roofs. Florence is a mecca for Italian Renaissance architecture, art history, and gelato; Stockholm mixes medieval architecture and modern art and design. Crisscross the continent, take in the culture, and enjoy all the historic cities!
5. Hit the Alps
Whether you go skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, the Alps hold some of the most breathtaking views in all the world. You don’t even need to be an expert hiker because there are mountain trails for all levels and crystal-clear Alpine lakes. Check out the spectacular Eibsee trail loop in Bavaria at the foot of Die Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain, for the clearest, multi-colored, sparkling lake you’ve ever seen. Or the Männlichen Kleine Scheidegg Panorama trail in Switzerland’s stunning green and snow-capped Alps. Or visit Italy’s Dolomites in South Tyrol for the scenic Seceda trail. The Alps have trails for every fitness level and in every season.
Other Things to See and Do in Europe
1. tour amsterdam.
I love Amsterdam so much that I lived here for a short period of time in 2006. Here cobblestone and brick streets weave around lovely canals as people ride their bikes to and fro. My favorite things to enjoy here are Amsterdam’s vibrant art and music scene and there are also a ton of interesting museums here like the Anne Frank House, FOAM, the history museum, and the hemp museum. Be sure you get out of the center into Jordaan and Oost with their wonderful outdoor cafes and fewer tourists. Also, a visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a canal cruise to visit the many islands and there are many to choose from that include snacks and drinks, sunset cruises, live guided tours, and more.
2. Hang out in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city that goes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It truly could give NYC a run for the “city that never sleeps” title. Be prepared for late-night dinners and parties until dawn. Besides a great food and nightlife scene, there is a wonderful beach, tons of Gaudi architecture (including the fairytale-like Parc Güell, as well as the iconic Sagrada Familia , which has been under construction for over 100 years!), incredible food tours, one of the best history museums in the country, and lots of outdoor spaces. What I love about Barcelona is that when you’re ready to chill, you can wander around Parc de la Ciutadella and marvel at the majestic fountains, plant life, and buildings created from an ornate military fortress.
3. Visit Berlin
Hip and trendy Berlin is an energetic destination. It is one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities, with a vibrant music and art scene and a growing foodie movement. Be sure to spend some time learning about the city’s darker history via the many excellent museums, memorials, and landmarks. The East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that’s now painted with murals, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are two especially powerful reminders of Germany’s past. For all periods of German history, don’t miss the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) – it’s one of the best history museums in the world. Once you’ve had your fill of history, relax in Berlin’s many green spaces, from Tempelhof Field, the site of a former airfield and popular local hangout spot, to Tiergarten, a tree-covered former hunting ground for 17th-century aristocrats.
4. Drink beer at Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is a must for anyone going to Germany at the end of September. While not a budget option since beers now cost 15 € a maß, I love the energy and friendly camaraderie this event inspires. For two weeks, millions of people from all over the world gather for lots of beer, excitement, music, and wild fun. Watching thousands of people sing together, raising quart-sized beer mugs for endless toasts, and enjoying the general party atmosphere makes you feel good about the world. (Or maybe that’s just the beer?) Just be sure to book your accommodation well in advance and be prepared to pay top prices for them. If you don’t have an outfit, don’t worry, there are plenty of shops even at the main train station where you can buy a Bavarian dirndl dress and men’s lederhosen.
5. Experience London
Get a taste of English culture in diverse London . The museums here are some of the best in the world (most are free) and include the Tate, the British Museum, the City Museum, the National Gallery, the Historical Museum. There’s no shortage of iconic sights here as well, with Big Ben, the House of Parliament, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and of course, Buckingham Palace. I love London’s diversity because of the countless international eateries with great food and wonderful pub culture, perfect for after a long day seeing the sights. Head to Brick Lane on the weekends for some amazing food and craft markets. I prefer Paris to London, but there is something sophisticated and fun about London. Just watch those pints — London is not a cheap destination!
6. Get outdoors in Scandinavia
My favorite region in Europe is Scandinavia. The quality of life here is high, the people are beautiful and friendly, and the cities are clean and historic. Cycling the cities, taking canal tours, hiking the vast forested areas, archipelago hopping, enjoying fika (a Swedish coffee break), and warming up in saunas are just a few of the popular activities that await you here. True, this area of Europe is not cheap, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your expenses. Don’t let the high prices scare you away. Highlights for me include Copenhagen , Stockholm , Gotland, Norway’s fjords, and Lapland in Finland .
7. Get enchanted in Prague
Prague has an amazing history and is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities I’ve ever seen. Highlights include the 9th-century Prague Castle, the magnificent Charles Bridge (built in the 14th century and one of the oldest standing bridges in the world), the 10th-century old square with its iconic astronomical clock, and the winding Jewish Quarter. Even if you only have a few days there don’t miss the free walking tour which is one of my favorites in Europe and the best way to learn about the Old Town and the tragic history of the city that went from thriving Bohemian capital of art, music, and literature to part of the Iron Curtain after WWII. Some of my favorite gems here include the fantastic black light theater shows in 4D and the one-of-a-kind medieval dinner show in an old tavern complete with musicians and jugglers not to mention hearty food and drinks. During the weekends it heaves with people enjoying the bars, cheap beer, and delicious food so try to visit during the week (and in the spring or fall) to beat the crowds.
8. Relax on the French Riviera
Here, you can pretend to live the high life for a little bit. Have fun in the sun, relax on the beach, swim in azure blue water, hobnob with the rich and famous, and sail on (or gaze at) gigantic yachts. As for cities, Nice is nice with its palm-tree-lined promenade, old town, and many art museums. If you want to go see how the rich and famous live, spend an afternoon checking out Cannes to soak up some glamorous vibes on La Croisette where they hold the famous Cannes Film Festival. The kingdom of Monaco with its tiny streets, beautiful buildings, and world-famous casino is just a skip away too.
9. Enjoy the great outdoors in Interlaken
Located in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, Interlaken is a gorgeous place to unwind with fantastic hiking, delicious hot chocolate, and plenty of outdoor sports. The area is full of natural attractions to explore, including the St. Beatus Caves (complete with a legendary dragon), the cascading 500-meter-high (1,640 feet) Giessbach Waterfalls, the Jungfraujoch mountain railway (which leads to the highest train station on the continent), and a plethora of lakes (hence the town’s name). It’s a good alternative to all the cities and museums. Interlaken is also a popular party destination for backpackers and other young travelers. By far, my favorite scenic and visually stunning trail was the Oberberghorn panoramic hike, where you can wander the green mountain ridge ogling the amazing views and the turquoise-blue Brienzersee.
10. Experience history in Rome
In this thriving historical city, you can’t walk two feet without stumbling over a ruin, making Rome a history buff’s dream. Its tiny streets are perfect for wandering as you explore the Colosseum, see the Forum and Palatine Hill, visit the Pantheon, spend time in Vatican City, admire the Spanish Steps, and toss coins into the famous Trevi Fountain. The skip-the-line tickets can definitely be worth it so you don’t waste time waiting outside attractions. Rome also has amazing food (it’s Italy, after all) and nightlife. Visit the Trastevere area for a taste of “local” Rome and chill bars. It’s my favorite area in the city because you feel like you’re in a small village in the middle of a big city.
11. Hike around the Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is my favorite part of Italy. These five beautiful cliffside towns are perched near warm waters and beautiful olive and grape groves. There are wondrous and strenuous hikes in these hills; for a real challenge, take trail #8. Or just walk the coastline for something less difficult. Many activities here revolve around the coastline: kayaking, swimming, having a beach picnic or visiting the Technical Naval Museum. If you happen to be here in December or January, don’t miss the Nativity Manarola, the world’s biggest lighted nativity scene.
12. Tour Krakow
Krakow looks like it stepped out of a medieval postcard. It’s a hip, trendy, and youthful city that’s the center of education in Poland, meaning there are a lot of university students here. Most travelers come to party here (the vodka is cheap) but try to enjoy the city’s history and food besides just the bars. Walk the Royal Road through the Old Town to the 13th-century Wawel Castle, tour Schindler’s Factory (where Schindler saved over 1,200 Jews during World War II), and visit the sobering Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. You can also take a fascinating day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Wieliczka Salt Mine, a 13th-century mine with cavernous chambers, statues, chapels, chandeliers, and cathedrals all carved out of salt.
13. Visit the ruin bars in Budapest
The coolest nightlife in all of Europe is found in Budapest . Built in abandoned buildings, ruin bars feature funky art installations, repurposed furniture, and quirky decor. They are amazing, fun, and great places to meet locals, as people of all ages flock here. Open since 2001, Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar and one of my favorites, along with Instant-Fogas Complex, which takes up an entire building and is actually many different bars in one. Don’t skip the ruin bars — they’re one of the most unique things about the city!
14. Explore Cornwall
The best part of England is outside London, yet unfortunately, not a lot of travelers leave London. Head west to the area of Cornwall for cheaper prices, welcoming locals, natural beauty, great hiking, rolling hills, plenty of medieval castles, and picturesque small towns. If you like biking, the Camel Trail from Bodmin to Padrow is worth the trip and you even pass by a local vineyard. It’s an easy way to spend a day (and it’s pretty flat so it’s not too hard to do.) Plus, I had the best fish and chips in Cornwall! Overall, it’s what you think of as “traditional England.”
15. Walk the Camino
El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James) is an ancient pilgrimage route that stretches from France all the way across northern Spain. It is a 500 mile (800 km) trail that winds through incredible terrain, ending in Santiago de Compostela at the cathedral where St. James is supposedly buried. As a pilgrim, you get a “pilgrim’s passport” which allows you to stay in affordable pilgrim-only hostels, making this a surprisingly budget-friendly adventure. While it usually takes over a month to complete, you can just walk a section if you don’t have the time. To receive a “Compostela” (certificate of completion), you just need to walk the last 62 miles (100 km), which generally takes 4-5 days.
16. Throw tomatoes during La Tomatina
By far my favorite festival, the largest food fight in the world happens during the last Wednesday of August in Bunol, Spain. What started in 1945 as a local brawl has turned into a massive event drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the world. For about an hour, everyone throws tomatoes at each other, leaving streets ankle-deep in tomato juice. Afterward, everyone walks down to the river, cleans off, and then heads to the town square for sangria and music.
17. Find Dracula in Romania
Not a lot of people visit Romania but this underrated country in Eastern Europe has undiscovered yet picturesque medieval towns like Brasov (home to “Dracula’s castle”), Sighisoara, and Sibiu; gorgeous beaches on the Black Sea; and incredible hiking in the Fagaras Mountains — all at dirt-cheap prices. Other major sights include frescoed Byzantine monasteries, the steepled wooden churches of Transylvania, the hip university town Cluj-Napoca, the post-communist capital of Bucharest, and the Danube Delta, a huge nature reserve.
18. Drink whisky in Islay
Whisky has a long history on Islay , an island off Scotland’s west coast. It’s been made there since the 16th-century — first in backyards and then, starting in the 19th-century, in large distilleries. Over the years, whisky from the island came to be considered a specialty and was used to flavor a lot of other blends on the mainland. There are currently nine working distilleries on the island, all located along the island’s shores, with Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin being the most famous. Most distilleries here make single-malt Scotch, meaning that only one type of grain (barley) is used. My visit here was amazing and, even if you don’t like whisky, there are tons of good hikes and walks throughout this magnificent island.
19. Explore Iceland
Iceland is a magical country with majestic waterfalls, hidden hot springs around every corner, and sweeping vistas unlike anywhere else in the world. After my first visit, the country quickly became one of my favorite countries. With whale watching in the summer, the northern lights in the winter, and geothermal baths for soaking in year-round, there really is no bad time to visit! While Iceland’s main draw is the epic natural landscapes, it’s worth spending a couple of days in Reykjavik with its café culture, artsy feel, and brightly colored wooden row houses.
20. Sail the Croatian coast
With calm winds, short distances, a coastline littered with over 1,000 islands, and countless historical sites, Croatia is one of the world’s best sailing destinations. If you can, go during the shoulder season when you can find some great deals. Plan to stay at least a couple of days on one of the islands, with the most popular being Brac, Hvar, Krk, Cres, and Lošinj. However, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and explore some of the lesser-known islands such as Silba, Vis, and Lastovo. If you want to splash out and spend a week partying on a yacht, check out The Yacht Week, which hosts week-long parties, complete with DJs, from May-September. You can book a full boat to share with friends or just a cabin if you’re traveling solo. Prices start at 5,250 HRK per person and go up to 9,300 HRK.
21. Explore the Balkans
While the Balkans have become more popular with backpackers in recent years, it’s still largely overlooked by most budget travelers, despite being an extremely budget-friendly region. The Balkan peninsula is home to great (and again, overlooked) wine, beautiful medieval towns like Kotor and Mostar, stunning mountainous landscapes, beautiful pebble beaches, coffee culture, fresh, hearty yet inexpensive food, and museums covering the area’s history, including the most recent turbulent events of the early 1990s. I especially loved my time in Albania . Don’t miss the beautiful beaches in Ksamil, nicknamed the “Maldives of Europe’ as well as the mountain village of Gjirokastër, which was occupied by Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. The Balkans have so much to offer for every budget and every country has its unique cultural flavor.
22. Take a wine tour in the Loire Valley
Located in central France, the picturesque Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site and stretches 280 kilometers (174 miles) along the Loire River. One of the major wine-producing regions of France, the area is home to some of the best wines in the world, with over 1,000 vineyards open to the public. Even those who don’t drink wine will enjoy the beautiful small towns, great food, and the region’s over 300 impressive chateaux. I loved the medieval Chenonceau Castle and Chateau Villandry and the small villages like Saint-Florent-le-Vieil. Spring and Autumn are my favorite times to visit because you can go biking and do outdoor activities when it’s not too hot and there are fewer people. It’s an area not to be missed.
23. See Fado in Portugal
Fado is an important musical tradition in Portugal , originating in Lisbon and stretching back some 200 years. The word “fado” likely stems from the Latin word for fate, and it’s very haunting, poetic, and emotional music. Most of the songs follow themes of loss and mourning, and the music was popular with the working class (especially sailors). Performances normally take place in restaurants during dinner. In Lisbon, head to Clube de Fado, Tasca do Chico, Parreirinha de Alfama, or Senhor Vinho.
24. Tour green Slovenia
Slovenia is one of Europe’s least-visited destinations, which is mind-blowing to me because it’s an amazing place to visit. Slovenia offers all the beauty of Western Europe but at a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the crowds. Perfect for outdoor adventure lovers, Slovenia offers rugged mountains, untouched landscapes, fantastic ski resorts, plentiful wine, sprawling cave systems, incredible food, and postcard-perfect lakes, such as the famous Lake Bled with its castle on an island. I loved Piran, Slovenia’s often overlooked coastal Venetian-style harbor town that was actually founded 3000 years ago. Stroll around its beautiful windy cobble-stoned streets, beautiful plazas, and take advantage of the many affordable restaurants right on the water. Make sure to also spend a few days in the country’s capital, Ljubljana, known as one of the continent’s greenest and most livable cities. Take a river cruise to see the city and enjoy the friendliness of the locals.
For more information on specific countries in Europe, check out the guides below:
- Albania Travel Guide
- Austria Travel Guide
- Belgium Travel Guide
- Belarus Travel Guide
- Bosnia & Herzegovina Travel Guide
- Bulgaria Travel Guide
- Czechia Travel Guide
- Croatia Travel Guide
- Denmark Travel Guide
- England Travel Guide
- Estonia Travel Guide
- Finland Travel Guide
- France Travel Guide
- Germany Travel Guide
- Greece Travel Guide
- Hungary Travel Guide
- Iceland Travel Guide
- Ireland Travel Guide
- Italy Travel Guide
- Latvia Travel Guide
- Lithuania Travel Guide
- Malta Travel Guide
- Moldova Travel Guide
- Montenegro Travel Guide
- Netherlands Travel Guide
- Norway Travel Guide
- Portugal Travel Guide
- Poland Travel Guide
- Romania Travel Guide
- Scotland Travel Guide
- Slovakia Travel Guide
- Slovenia Travel Guide
- Spain Travel Guide
- Sweden Travel Guide
- Switzerland Travel Guide
- Ukraine Travel Guide
Europe Travel Costs
Accommodation – Accommodation prices vary greatly by region. In Western Europe, hostel dorm rooms cost between 25-45 EUR per night, depending on the room’s size and the popularity of the hostel. I stayed in a 6-bed dorm in Berlin for 20 EUR, while the same one would have cost me around 45 EUR in Paris. A room in Paris costs on the higher end and a room in cheaper Athens costs on the lower end.
In Eastern Europe, hostel dorm rooms cost between 10-15 EUR per night depending on the size of the dorm room and the popularity of the hostel. The further east you go, the cheaper it gets. Expect to pay around 30-60 EUR per night for a private room that sleeps two.
In Scandinavia, hostel dorm beds cost around 25-45 EUR, while private rooms are 65-80 EUR. Budget hotels start around 85 EUR.
Most accommodations offer free linens, free Wi-Fi, and a lot offer free breakfast, but it’s important to check specific websites for exact amenities.
Campsites cost between 10-15 EUR per night for a basic plot for two without electricity.
Food – Food traditions in Europe run deep, stretching back centuries to become integral parts of each country’s culture. From baguettes in France to tapas in Spain, from hearty Eastern European stews and goulash to the fresh vegetables and olive oils of the Mediterranean, European cuisine varies as much as the countries themselves. Food prices differ greatly across the continent, so check individual country guides for specifics.
But no matter where you are, even in the more expensive countries, finding places to eat within your budget is easier than you might think. Throughout Western Europe, you can find small shops, street food stalls, or food trucks where you can get sandwiches, gyros, kebabs, slices of pizza, or sausages for between 3-7 EUR. These shops are most often found in train stations, bus stations, and main pedestrian areas, and offer cheap food alternatives that can have you eating on 12-17 EUR per day. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 7-10 EUR for a combo meal.
Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Vietnamese eateries abound in Germany, while Indian food is incredible and everywhere in the United Kingdom. Meals at these restaurants usually cost between 8-12 EUR.
Restaurant meals in casual, traditional eateries generally cost around 13-25 EUR for a main dish and drink. Food is much cheaper in the east than in the west, and in the west, northern regions like Scandinavia and the UK are more expensive than southern countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
In Eastern Europe, even if you are eating out for all your meals, you can still get by on a food budget of as little as 15 EUR per day.
For drinks, a pint of beer is 2-5 EUR, a glass of wine is 2-7 EUR, a cappuccino is 2-5 EUR, and cocktails range from 6-14 EUR.
If you eat out, do so at lunch and get the prix-fixe menu (two-course or three-course set menu). Restaurants offer this set menu during lunch, and with prices between 10-20 EUR, it’s a way better deal than the regular dinner menu. You can also get affordable lunches at outdoor markets. So many European cities have huge fresh food markets throughout town.
You can cook your own food for around 45-65 EUR per week. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, bread, and some meat. You can save money by shopping at discount supermarkets like Profi, Lidl, Aldi, and Penny Market.
If you want to save big money on meals, head to one of the markets, pick up some cheese, wine, bread, meats, or anything else, and go to the park for a picnic. (Or grab a sandwich for later!) You’ll find the locals doing the same thing, and it’s one of the cheaper ways to get a true taste of local food.
Backpacking Europe Suggested Budgets
Prices for travel in Europe vary greatly depending on how far north, east, south, or west you travel. If you stick to the budget accommodations, food, and tours listed here and use all my tips on saving money, you need about 65-110 EUR per day in Western Europe, 40-50 EUR in Eastern Europe, and about 85-130 EUR in Scandinavia.
Those numbers reflect a traveler who stays in hostels, cooks some meals and eats out cheaply, enjoys a few drinks, and sticks to free and cheap activities like hiking, walking tours, and enjoying nature. This is your typical backpacker budget. You aren’t going to have a fancy time, but you aren’t going to want for anything either.
However, by getting tourist cards and rail passes, avoiding flights, occasionally Couchsurfing or camping, cooking all your meals, and not drinking, you can travel a lot cheaper. On this budget, you could do Western Europe on 35-45 EUR per day, Eastern Europe on 20-25 EUR, and Scandinavia on 50-65 EUR. That would require you to take a train or a bus or hitchhike everywhere, skip most museums, and limit how often you go out.
Generally, the suggested daily budget for Europe is 80-120 EUR. You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.
Europe Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Individual country guides have more specific information on how to save money in them but here are some general tips on cutting your costs while you explore Europe:
- Picnic – This continent has a lot of little shops where you can buy pre-made sandwiches or ingredients to make your own. Many supermarkets have delis as well where you can get food to go. Buy some food, eat outside, and watch the city and its people go by. It’s a much more enjoyable and cheaper way to eat.
- Eat local and cheap – Not into picnicking? Eat at local sandwich shops, pizza parlors, Maoz, Wok to Walks, and outdoor street vendors. Avoiding restaurants and eating at a lot of the local “grab n’ go” places gives you a taste of the local cuisine at a much cheaper price. If you’re really on a budget, use your creative cooking skills to prepare meals at the hostel as well.
- Stay with a local – Hostels can add up really quickly. If you don’t have any friends with whom you can stay, consider using Couchsurfing , which connects you with locals who let you stay with them for free. Plus, they tend to also have meetups to meet other locals and travelers. It’s a great way to save on accommodation and meet a local who can share their insider tips and advice.
- Camp in a garden – A very good camping service specific to Europe is Campspace , which allows you to pitch a tent in someone’s backyard for free or for a small fee (around 10-20 EUR). All of the garden owners have profiles that tell you what services and facilities they offer. Also, many countries allow wild camping (like Sweden), which can save you a fortune if you have a tent.
- Take the bus – Budget bus companies like Flixbus can take you across the continent for cheap. I personally feel it’s best for day travel as sitting up for an overnight bus isn’t really ideal for sleeping. It isn’t glamorous, but with tickets starting at 5 EUR, you really can’t complain!
- Get a Rail Pass – Eurail Passes have saved me hundreds of dollars. If you are traveling far distances and through many countries, they are a great deal.
- Take the free city tours – One of the great things about Europe is that you can find free walking tours in all the major cities. They can be a great way to see the city attractions, take in some history, and learn your bearings without spending any money. Just make sure to tip your guide at the end!
- Plan accordingly – Plan your trip around Europe so you avoid doubling back. Transportation is a big expense so proper planning can save you a lot of money (and time). Go in a straight line or a loop. Booking your accommodation ahead helps you save as well since cheap, good places unsurprisingly get reserved first. One thing I’ve learned is that waiting until the last minute means you get stuck with expensive places or cheap places no one wants.
- Fly cheap – If you know where you are going and a train won’t do, try to book flights early. You can often get round trip fares for as little as 5 EUR from many of the European discount airlines like Ryanair or Wizz. Many capital cities have smaller airports farther from the city with ‘inconvenient’ times but cheaper fares. Keep in mind you might need to factor in an early morning Uber or taxi if the busses aren’t running and you have an early flight!
- Drink less – Those 5 EUR beers add up. Hit happy hours or pick and choose when you party. Hostel bars are a good place to get cheap drinks or buy your alcohol at the supermarket. Plus, in Europe, it’s legal to drink outside in parks, plazas, by the lakes or rivers. You’ll find you can save a lot of money by not going to bars and clubs. Partying your way across the continent will destroy your bank balance in no time.
- Get a city tourist card – Many local tourism offices sell a tourism card for all their attractions, tours, and restaurants. This card gives you free entry and substantial discounts on all the attractions and tours in a city, free local public transportation (a huge plus), and discounts at a few restaurants and shopping malls. They save a ton of money. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, get one of these cards.
- Rideshare – If you’re flexible in your schedule, use the ridesharing service BlaBlaCar to catch rides with locals between cities (or countries) by paying a small fee. It’s like Airbnb but for rides. I used this service in Switzerland and, not only did I save a lot of money, but I got to meet interesting people and learn about local culture and life. Drivers are verified and it’s perfectly safe, though sometimes rides cancel at the last minute (which is why you need to be flexible). Check their ratings first and try to use rides where the person has done many trips.
- Bring a water bottle – The tap water is safe to drink in most of Europe, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Europe
Europe has a ton of budget accommodation options. The individual country and city guides have tons of recommendations but here’s a short list of some of my favorite budget hostels and hotels around Europe:
- The Flying Pig (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
- Hotel 54 (Barcelona, Spain)
- Generator Hostel (Copenhagen, Denmark)
- Harcourt Hotel (Dublin, Ireland)
- Castle Rock (Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Ios Palm Pansion (Ios, Greece)
- Greg and Tom’s Party Hostel (Krakow, Poland)
- Largo da Sé Guest House (Lisbon, Portugal)
- Sophie’s Hostel (Prague, Czech Republic)
- The Yellow (Rome, Italy)
- City Backpackers (Stockholm, Sweden)
How to Get Around Europe
Public transportation – Transportation around most European cities is by tram, subway, or bus. Prices are typically around 2 EUR for a one-way ticket in Western Europe and closer to 1 EUR in Eastern Europe. Most large cities also have day passes available that offer unlimited public transportation. These passes are usually 5-12 EUR per day.
In large cities with international airports, there is usually a bus or train available that ferries travelers from the downtown core to the airport. Expect to pay around 5-15 EUR to get to/from the airport.
Bus – Buses are not quite as comfortable as Europe’s trains, although certain lines do have great amenities (like roomy seats and Wi-Fi). While buses are not the most efficient way to travel around the continent, they’re certainly dependable, reliable, and cheap. You can find last-minute rides for as little as 5 EUR. A route from Berlin to Munich is about 25 EUR, while Paris to Bordeaux can be as low as 10 EUR. Longer routes, like Amsterdam to Copenhagen, start at around 47 EUR.
Each country has its own national bus service, but some lines also take you long distances internationally. Megabus and Flixbus (which now owns Eurolines) are the most popular companies.
Train – Train travel is a great way to see Europe. Intercity train prices vary wildly from country to country, depending on whether you take the slow train or a high-speed train and how far in advance you book. For example, a high-speed train from Berlin to Munich costs around 38-60 EUR, Bordeaux to Paris is about 50-85 EUR, and Madrid to Barcelona ranges from 45-85 EUR. Non-high-speed trains and other intercity lines are a lot cheaper, generally costing about 40-50% of the price of high-speed trains. Eastern Europe inter-country trains usually cost between 45-100 EUR when the ticket is booked last minute. Short train rides of 2-3 hours within countries cost about 27 EUR.
You may also want to consider getting a Eurail Pass , which allows travelers to explore Europe by providing a set number of stops in a specific time period. These passes are continent-wide, country-specific, or regional. It can potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
Ridesharing/Car sharing – If your schedule is flexible, use a ridesharing service and catch rides with locals between cities (or countries). Drivers are verified and it’s perfectly safe. BlaBlaCar is the most popular.
If you’d rather rent a car yourself and find passengers to share a ride with, use Discover Cars to find the best car rental prices.
Flying – Budget airlines are so prolific that competition helps keep fares low. You can often find tickets where the fare is just 5 EUR round-trip! Companies like EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz, and Vueling offer mind-blowingly cheap flights throughout Europe. Book at least a month early to scoop up great deals.
Make sure that the airport they fly into isn’t too far out of your way (transportation from the secondary airport sometimes negates the savings from using the budget airline itself).
Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights. It costs about 25-39 EUR for one checked bag. If you wait to pay for your luggage at the gate, you end up paying almost double. Travel carry-on only to avoid this added cost.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Europe is very safe, but it’s not for everyone. Hitching is quite common around the continent and I’ve met a number of travelers who have done it (I, myself, traveled this way in Bulgaria and Iceland). Some countries are very supportive (Romania, Iceland, Germany) while others may be a bit more time-consuming (Italy, Spain). HitchWiki is the best website for hitchhiking info.
Here are my suggested articles for how to get around Europe:
- 7 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe
- Are Eurail Passes a Giant Scam or Do They Save You Money?
- The Ultimate Guide to Finding Cheap Flights
When to Go to Europe
There’s no wrong time to visit Europe. Peak season is summer, when Europe gets crowded and August is the time most European families are at the beach so everything becomes more crowded and expensive. But the overall atmosphere and weather are great during this time, so it’s still worth visiting during peak season (just book your accommodation in advance — especially in August). Keep in mind it’s much hotter in summer so if you like AC, be sure to check that your hostel or hotel has it before you book. You can expect the most crowds in Western Europe. For this reason, I feel summer is a great time to visit the Balkans and the Baltics because many people head to the beaches in Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece.
Shoulder season is spring and fall (April-May and September-October). It’s still warm during this time but there aren’t as many crowds and prices are cheaper. This is my favorite time to visit hotspot places like Spain, Croatia and Greece, where it’s still hot enough to swim in the sea but you have way more room on the beach. It’s also a good time to go hiking in the Alps in Germany, northern Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland because it’s cooler during the day so you’re much less sweaty on the mountain without shade. The weather is good, the crowds are smaller, and the prices lower.
Winter is from November to February but in much of Central Europe, it’s wet and cold until March or April. It gets cold, even as far south as it gets (like Greece). On the other hand, the Christmas season has Christmas markets and festivals galore! Even if it’s cold, this is a cultural tradition you can’t miss and why I love Europe in December. There is hot mulled wine, sweets, and plenty of hot snacks, which vary by country. One of my favorites is Prague because the Old Town Square is lit up with a gigantic tree with aromas of crispy cinnamon pastries and mulled wine. Berlin takes their Christmas markets very seriously, so there are around 80 different markets with special themes.
Winter is fantastic in Europe for skiing and snowboarding but it doesn’t have to break the bank if you plan carefully. While Switzerland and France are probably the most famous, they are also expensive, but there are plenty of budget winter options.
How to Stay Safe in Europe
Europe is very safe for backpacking and solo traveling, even if you’re traveling solo, and even as a solo female traveler. Violent crimes against tourists are very rare. In fact, some of the safest countries in the world are in Europe. (I wrote a whole article about how Europe is safe to visit right now .)
That said, there are scams and petty crimes you should watch out for, especially around popular tourist landmarks. The most important thing to be aware of is pickpockets in crowds and on public transportation. Zip your bags and don’t put your mobile phone in a jacket pocket where someone could quickly take it. This should be obvious but don’t flash your money to let everyone know you have a huge wad of cash.
When choosing a hostel, look for ones with lockers. It’s always a good idea to carry around a padlock or combination lock. Most hostels are safe and travelers respect each other and I’ve rarely seen things happen to people’s valuables. Nevertheless, I always think that prevention is better.
As anywhere, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). When at the bar, always keep an eye on your drink. Avoid walking home alone at night if you’re intoxicated.
For female travelers in particular, it’s always a good idea to have a bit of extra money on you just in case you need to take an Uber or taxi back by yourself so you don’t take unnecessary risks to save money. If you’re using apps to date people while traveling, please use common sense and meet in public places. Since I’m not a female traveler, please check out the numerous female bloggers who have first hand knowledge of this.
If you’re worried about scams, you can read about common travel scams to avoid here.
If you rent a vehicle, don’t leave any valuables in it overnight. Break-ins are rare, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be aware that the UK drives on the left and that most rental cars in Europe will have manual transmissions unless you request otherwise.
When hiking, always bring water, sunscreen, and bandaids or foot plasters. There is nothing worse than being halfway up the mountain with a blister and nothing you can do about it!
Likewise, when at the coast, don’t forget not only to wear sunscreen! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people get burnt to a crisp the first day. Be sure to check the weather before you depart and dress accordingly.
If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.
Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary to loved ones so they know where you are.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Europe Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
- Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
- The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
- SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
- LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
- Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
- Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
GO DEEPER: Nomadic Matt’s In-Depth Budget Guide to Europe!
While I have a lot of free tips on Europe, I also wrote an entire book that goes into great detail on everything you need to plan a trip here on a budget! You’ll get suggested itineraries, budgets, even more ways to save money, my favorite restaurants, prices, practical information (i.e. phone numbers, websites, prices, safety advice, etc etc), and cultural tips.
I’ll give the insider view of Europe that I got from years of traveling and living here! The downloadable guide can be used on your Kindle, iPad, phone, or computer so you can have it with you when you go. Click here to learn more about my book on Europe!
Europe Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more tips for your trip? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Europe travel and continue planning your trip:
Where to Stay in Budapest: The Best Neighborhoods For Your Visit
The 4 Best Hostels in Florence Worth Staying At
My Step-By-Step Guide to Backpacking Europe
How Much Does it Cost to Travel Western Europe?
6 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe
Where to Stay in Copenhagen: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit
Get my best stuff sent straight to you, pin it on pinterest.
- Where To Stay
- Booking Resources
- Related Blogs
- Food & Drink
- What to pack
- City Guides
- Travel Hacks
- New Zealand
- North America
- Latin America
Share this page
Copied to clipboard!
12 of the cheapest countries in Europe you can travel to
By Lianne Chin-Fook
Published on Oct 10, 2022
Looking for an affordable Europe trip ? There are tons of cheap European destinations, which can make for the perfect vacation spot! Budget travelers rave about these destinations for their memorable experiences, food and culture. So, if you’re looking for the best way to save money, here are 12 of the cheapest countries in Europe you’ll want to add to your list.
One of the Western European options you’ll want to consider is Spain . Although popular cities like Barcelona and Madrid can cost more, there are tons of affordable spots throughout in Spain. Seville and Valencia are great options, which are less busy and full of local Spanish culture. You’ll get to experience the architecture and taste the flavours of Spain all on a budget.
Image source: Ellena McGuinness / Unsplash
21 of the most beautiful places in the world
Compared to other Mediterranean countries, Montenegro is easy to travel through without spending a lot. Most travelers will visit cities along the coastline like Budva and Kotor, but there are tons of other spots inland you’ll want to explore. Hike through some of their national parks and experience the rocky hills and breathtaking mountain views of Montenegro. Pro tip: visiting during off-season can help to save money with lower prices and less crowds.
Image source: Contiki
Top cities in Portugal , like Lisbon and Porto, are on most of our travel bucket lists. All budget travelers should add Portuguese cities like Algarve and Cascais into the mix. These cities are the perfect spot to enjoy the sun. You can spend your days immersing yourself in Portuguese culture and food, all without breaking the bank.
Image source: Ricardo Resende / Unsplash
20 easy budget travel tips for 2023
One of the cheapest countries in Europe to fly into is Ireland . With cheap flights from Ryanair and AerLingus, getting in and out of the capital city of Dublin doesn’t break the bank. Spend a few days exploring Dublin. Then pack your bags and travel throughout the country to places like Galway, Cork and Killarney. Once you’re done the basics, you’ll want to check these 15 things off your list for the full experience.
Image source: Jason Murphy / Unsplash
Portugal City and Surf
If you avoid peak travel months during the summer, a trip to Greece may surprise you as a budget-friendly country. Get off the beaten path and ahead outside the main cities. Smaller Greek islands, such as Hydra, Poros, Tinos and Lefkada, have an amazing vibe and are kind to your wallet. From delicious local Greek cuisine to sun-soaked beaches, you’ll have an amazing time immersed in the culture of Greece.
Image source: Dominik Gawlik / Unsplash
Located in Central Europe, Slovakia gives you lots of room to roam. There are tons of fun, and affordable, outdoor attractions in Slovakia. One popular option is hiking or skiing throughout the High Tatra Mountains. If you’re more into exploring the cities, try Bratislava. It’s one of the main cities where most budget travellers love to visit! With accommodations and local eats, you won’t have to spend a lot to enjoy your time visiting Slovakia.
Image source: Marek Levák / Unsplash
15 best winter destinations in Europe
With European cities like Bucharest, Sibiu and Brașov, getting off the beaten path in Romania is easy. Spend your time relaxing on the beach by the Black Sea, or hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. Of course, sightseeing is always a great option. So why not explore some of Romania’s beautiful castles? Two of the most popular castles are Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) in Transylvania and Peleș Castle in Sinaia.
Image source: Katy PH / Unsplash
A trip to Estonia will remind you of traveling throughout Scandinavia on a budget. Estonia has a diverse terrain and over 1,500 islands in the Baltic Sea. You’ll see the Nordic influence blended with the Baltic culture. The capital city of Tallinn can be a tad more expensive, but if you head out to the outskirts of the city and there’s tons of more affordable options just waiting for you to explore.
Image source: Hibiki Hosoi / Unsplash
8 Reasons why budget travel is the best way to do it
If you’re thinking about heading to Eastern Europe, Poland should be on your list! It’s budget-friendly cities make it one of the cheapest countries in Europe. With beautiful architecture and landscapes like Ojców National Park outside of Kraków, Poland is full of rich history and culture you’ll fall in love with immediately.
Image source: Jacek Dylag / Unsplash
Best of Baltics
Every year, tons of travelers flock to Hungary for the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest. There’s rich history and a thriving food scene in Hungary that you won’t want to miss! Best part? You won’t need to spend a lot to try some of the faves like goulash or langos. It’s a great cheap European vacation for any budget traveller.
Image source: Dan Novac / Unsplash
Vienna to Rome Trail
One of the cheapest countries in Europe is Bulgaria. You’re bound to save money traveling throughout this beautiful country. The capital city of Sofia is absolutely stunning! And luckily most of the main attractions, even in Sofia, are affordable. There are free walking tours across most of the main European cities of Sofia, Veliko, Tarnovo and Plovdiv. All you’ll have to do is tip. Don’t forget to try some Bulgarian pastries like banica and krenvirshka while you’re there.
Image source: Natalya Letunova / Unsplash
1. czech republic.
With beautiful city like Prague, Czech Republic is definitely an affordable option. If you stay outside of the main city core in Prague in cities like Bruno, Český Krumlov and Ostrava, you’ll find your euro will stretch just a tad further. Plus, beer is cheaper than water here. Sounds like a good trip to us!
Image source: Anthony DELANOIX / Unsplash
Found the perfect budget-friendly spot to visit in Europe? Budget travelers can see some amazing spots traveling through some of the cheapest countries in Europe. So why not book and go? Check out Contiki’s trips to Europe to get that travel inspo flowing.
Our Guide To Eating Cheap In The World’s Most Expensive City, Singapore
All the cheap flight booking hacks you’ll ever need to know, stop dreaming and make sh*t happen.
3 countries, 8 days
2 countries, 10 days
Spain and Portugal Highlights
6 countries, 15 days
Best of Balkans start Budapest
The 20 best places to visit in Europe on a budget
Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts
written by Lottie Gross
Europe presents an irresistible challenge to the budget traveller. A potent mix of culture, landscape and history on the one hand and a cash-gobbling monster on the other, sticking to your daily allowance can prove tricky.
1. The Albanian coast
2. sarajevo, bosnia-herzegovina, 3. bansko, bulgaria, 4. czechia (czech republic), 5. estonia’s baltic coast, 6. leipzig, germany, 7. london, england, 8. the peloponnese, greece, 9. budapest, hungary, 10. palermo, sicily, italy, 11. lake ohrid, macedonia, 12. kotor, montenegro, 13. gdánsk, poland, 14. porto, portugal, 15. transylvania, romania, 16. novi sad, serbia, 17. the high tatras, slovakia, 18. northwest slovenia, 19. andalucía, spain, 20. lviv, ukraine.
But learn to zone out the “Spend! Spend! Spend!” siren song of its myriad restaurants, bars and shops and you’ll find that this compact little continent is simply the world’s greatest labyrinth.
There's an abundance of beautiful places in Europe which don't require much of a budget to see; and some experiences, like the infamous Budapest nightlife, combines both entertainment with local booze.
When exactly is the best time to visit Europe? Well, it depends on what you're after. Thankfully there's a year-round roster of things to do and see. We've picked out the cheapest places to travel on the continent this year (note that the "Rough Costs" below reflect per person or per night). From low budget tourist places in the world to the cheapest country to travel to, where do you think will make the list?
Want to find out more about budget travel in Europe? Check out our Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget .
Looking for Mediterranean sun and sand, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Capri or the Côte d’Azur? Simply head further east and you’ll find sun-drenched beaches untouched by modern development. Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and as yet under-explored by the tourist hordes. On its southern Ionian coast, steep grey mountains frame azure seas and golden sands.
Also take note - the Albanian capital Tirana will certainly surprise you with the number of interesting things you can do there .
Sarande is almost in touching distance of Corfu and is a handy entry point from Greece. From here you can aim for the beaches of Ksamil and nearby islands. Cheap seafood, warm seas and a smattering of isolated Greek ruins and Ottoman towns: the perfect recipe for a classic European sojourn.
Where to stay
Best for being on the beach: Vila E Bardhe
Best for great views of the harbour: Hotel Real
From Saranda: Visit the archaeological park of Butrint on a private tour
From Durrës: Wine tasting and history tour in Berat
Find more ideas for visiting Albania with our guide to the best things to do in Albania .
Daily budget: Basic €30, occasional treat €45
Drink: Bottle of red wine €6
Food: Qoftë (minced meat rissoles) €2, seafood €6
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€35
Travel: Bus: Tirana–Saranda €10.50; train: Tirana–Shkodra €3.30
Buy the guide >
Though the scars of Sarajevo ’s past as a city under siege are still evident. There are remnants of mortar shell explosions, filled with red resin to form “Sarajevo Roses”, and the museums document the horrors of Sniper Alley. Today, the city buzzes with life and is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. If you don't want to miss any of the key historic sites, book ahead and join a guided tour.
One of the most welcoming capitals in Europe, its central district of Baščaršija is a delight to wander through. Browse in the Ottoman-era bazaar or linger over a Bosnian coffee. The after-hours scene is quirky and cool, with tucked-away drinking holes and an ever-evolving club scene.
Best hostel for city location: Hostel Franz Ferdinand
Best for location to tourist attractions: Hotel Europe
Best for first time visitors: A guided walking tour in Sarajevo
Best for getting out of the city: A day tour to Jajce and Travnik
Daily budget: Basic €28, occasional treat €45
Drink: Bosnian coffee €0.70–1
Food: Cevapcici (meat rissoles) €3–4
Travel: Bus: Sarajevo–Bihać €17–25; train: Sarajevo–Mostar €5–7
Read our destination guide to Bosnia-Herzegovina >
Hitting the slopes without breaking the bank can be a challenge. Especially when the main Alpine resorts are located in some of the most expensive countries in Europe! However, eastern Europe has a few intriguing ski destinations, including Bulgaria ’s Bansko on the Pirin mountain range.
The country’s main ski resort has good beginner and intermediate runs. There's a decent range of shared or private accommodation to choose from, easily making Bansko one of the best places to visit in Europe with friends. The town itself has considerable charm, with numerous traditional old pubs hidden down its cobbled alleyways.
Best for guest house experience: Zigen House
Best for great location: Kap House Hotel
Best for the adventurers: River rafting on the Kresna Gorge
Best to get to know the culture: Experience local traditions, dishes, crafts and stories
Also while planning your visit, read our guide to the best things to do in Bulgaria .
Drink: Beer (0.5l) €1.25
Food: Shopska salad €4
Hostel/budget hotel: €12/€60
Travel: Train: Sofia–Plovdiv €4–6; bus: €5
Find out more about Bansko >
Though ever-popular Prague is not quite the dirt-cheap city break destination it once was, you’ll still find Czechia (Czech Republic ) to be a good-value country for independent travel. The country that invented Pilsner is justifiably famous for producing some of the best beers – at pretty good prices.
But there's plenty of other reasons as to why it's one of the best places to visit in Europe. In Prague , the choice of watering holes ranges from traditional beer halls and monastery taverns to a new generation of microbreweries. Continue the Czech beer trail with a visit to the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň, before striking out to the country’s lesser-known spots, such as charming Olomouc , a pint-sized Prague without the tourists.
If you're heading to Prague, where you're based can make all the difference to your experience, so make the right start with our guide to the best places to stay in the city.
Best location for hostel: Safestay Prague
Best for shopping and city centre: K+K Hotel Central
Best for history buffs: Small group tour to the Prague Castle
Best for a magical evening: Dinner cruise on an Open-Top Glass Boat
Daily budget: Basic €45, occasional treat €55
Drink: Pilsner Urquell (0.5l) €1.60
Food: Pork and dumplings €8
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€45
Travel: Train: Prague–Karlovy Vary €12; bus: €14
Explore the best of Czech Republic >
Related articles from the blog
Known for the popular city break destination of Tallinn , small and beautiful Estonia also provides swathes of wilderness, with beautiful stretches of coastline, a scattering of islands and forested national parks along its long Baltic coastline. With so much centered on the outdoors, it's arguably the cheapest country in Europe.
An hour from Tallinn, 725-square-kilometre Lahemaa National Park is best explored by bike. You can cycle its coastal paths, discover rugged coves, windswept beaches and fishing villages and even sleep on hay bales at a farm. Venture further west, and the summertime resort of Pärnu has fantastic beaches, The island of Saaremaa offers soft-carpeted pine forest countryside and very affordable spas.
Best for boutique hotel in Tallinn: Hotel Meltzer Apartments
Best for boutique spa in Saaremaa: Grand Rose SPA Hotel
Best for historical, Soviet heritage: Day tour from Tallinn to Naissaar, also known as Women's Island
Best for urban exploration: The Industrial Stalker Bike Tour in Kalamaja District
Daily budget: Basic €40, occasional treat €60
Drink: Le Coq beer €2.60
Food: Blood sausage and sauerkraut €7
Travel: Bus: Tallinn–Saaremaa €9; Tartu–Tallinn €13
As far as Europe travel goes, Berlin is an anomaly. It’s one of the few capitals where the cost of living is lower than the national average. It's a legacy of the country’s former divide, which still means former East Germany is notably cheaper than western centres like Frankfurt and Munich . But as prices gradually rise in gentrifying Berlin, there are other eastern cities to venture to, including buzzing Leipzig .
The city that kick-started the 1989 protests that led to the country’s reunification has long had a fierce, independent spirit. Over the past few years, it’s also developed quite a reputation for its thriving artist enclaves and offbeat nightlife. Its culture scene is in constant flux, with old industrial buildings, such as former cotton mill the Spinnerei, converted into cutting-edge spaces.
Best for city location: IntercityHotel Leipzig
Best for little luxury: Pentahotel Leipzig
Best for family exploration: 3hr canoe tour through the city
Best for first-time visitors: Hop-on Hop-off bus tour including walking tour
- Daily: Budget Basic €57, occasional treat €73
- Drink: Beer (0.5ml) €3.35
- Food: Schnitzel €8
- Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€35
- Travel: Munich–Berlin: train €55–142; bus €22
Fall in love with the rest of Germany >
London and budget aren’t words that usually go together. However, London has more free world-class attractions than any other European city. There's the British Museum , home to enough treasures to satisfy the most curious of history hunters; the vast Tate Modern , with stupendous views from its terrace and ever-changing art collections; the Natural History Museum with its magnificent dinosaurs; and beautiful Victoria & Albert Museum – all free, all of the time.
And don’t forget the open spaces: spend a day tramping across Hampstead Heath, another meandering along the South Bank or perusing East End markets and you’ll get more of a sense of city life than if you’re stuck in a queue at an overpriced attraction. For food, opt for the popular street-food markets and your budget will stretch further – you might even have enough left for an overpriced pint.
Best for being in the centre of London: The Z Hotel Piccadilly
Best for location to Southbank: Park Plaza London Waterloo
Best for stunning views: The London Eye (make sure to book your ticket ahead of time to skip the lines)
Best for the adventurers: Climb the O2 Arena
- Daily budget: Basic €70, occasional treat €90
- Drink: Lager €6
- Food: Fish and chips €10
- Hostel/budget hotel: €13/20 (dorm/private)/€70
- Travel: Train: London–Brighton €20; bus: London–Manchester €40
Get the London low-down >
Think of budget travel in Greece , and the image is still one of island-hopping, sleeping on the deck of a ferry or camping on the beach. However, the slow pace of island travel and the popularity of the main resorts all adds to the cost.
Instead, consider the many-fingered peninsula of Greece . It has some fine beaches – less developed than those on the main islands – and it is home to the ancient sights of Epidaurus and Olympia . Medieval villages, spectacular rack-railway journeys and appealing Byzantine towns all await those who explore beyond the package holiday destinations.
Best for beaches in Finikounta: Hotel Golden Sun
Best for location in Nafplion: Pension Eleni
Best for day tours from Athens: Nafplio and Ancient Epidaurus
Best for explorers: Self-guided virtual reality tour of Olympia
- Daily budget: Basic €31, occasional treat €42
- Drink: Ouzo €3
- Food: Souvláki (shish kebab) €3
- Hostel/budget hotel: €21/€31
- Travel: Bus: Athens–Delphi €19; ferry: Athens–Crete €38
Straddling the Danube, the twin enclaves of Buda and Pest together make one of the most beguiling capitals in Europe . Their main pleasures won’t break the bank, making it one of the top cheap places to travel to.
Spend the day lounging by the pools in the spa, taking the occasional dip, cooling off under the fountains, and watching the old men play chess at the waterside tables. Come evening, the “r uin-bars” of District VII beckon – idiosyncratic bars tucked away in the neighbourhood’s courtyards. The tipple of choice is the cheap local white or rosé drunk long as a spritzer, perfect in the baking heat of summer.
Budapest is one of the best places to visit in Europe in the Spring (March to May) or Autumn (Sept to Nov) as the climate is at its most pleasant – ideal for those outdoor spa days and pounding the pavements.
Best for location to city centre: Arcadia Hotel Budapest
Best for a little luxury: Hotel Palazzo Zichy Budapest
Best to relax: Soak up the atmosphere at the Thermal Margaret Island Spa
Best for wine connoisseurs: Taste 7 Hungarian wines from boutique wineries
- Daily budget: Basic €42, occasional treat €62
- Drink: Beer (large) €2–2.60
- Food: Goulash €3–4
- Hostel/pension: €16–31
- Travel: Train: Budapest–Eger €8.30
Find out more about Budapest >
Any grand tour of Europe includes a string of beautiful Italian cities: refined Florence , alluring Rome and glamorous Venice . While there’s no doubting their charms, they are well and truly on the tourist trail, which pushes up prices, particularly in high season.
Escape from the mainland to Sicily and you’ll find in its capital Palermo a city both redolent of the Italy of yesteryear and – if you ask a Sicilian – a country apart. Undoubtedly run down in places, the city unfolds many surprises . There are churches covered in exquisite mosaics and cluttered neighbourhood markets, where you can snack on local street foods, like arancini (rice balls) and panelle (chick pea fritters), as you wander.
Best for popular attractions: Hotel Palazzo Brunaccini
Best hostel for location to the city: Balarm Hostel
Best for foodies: 3hr street food and history walking tour
Best for day trips: Explore Western Sicily with Segesta, Erice and Salt Pans
- Daily budget: Basic €36, occasional treat €52
- Drink: Wine €2.60/glass
- Food: Local pasta dish €5–8; pizza slice €2
- Hostel/budget hotel: €16–31/€47–62
- Travel: Train: Rome–Naples €21; bus: €12
Get inspired for Sicily >
Vast, deep, Lake Ohrid is the jewel of North Macedonia . The quiet streets of its namesake town reveal frescoed medieval churches, a Roman amphitheatre and a fortress worth climbing for the views. But as you explore the old town, the clear lake waters draw you back time and time again, inviting you to swim, dive or take to the waters by boat.
If you are tempted landwards it might be to hike in the nearby Galičica National Park. With cheap private rooms to rent and several waterside camping spots, the area is perfect for travellers on a budget to kick back and relax.
Best for a cosy guest house: Villa & Winery Mal Sveti Kliment
Best for views of Lake Ohrid: Villa Kale
Best for those with limited time: Day tour from Skopje to Ohrid
Best for history buffs: Private half-day city tour
- Daily budget: Basic €26, occasional treat €36
- Drink: Wine from €2.60 per bottle
- Food: Tavče gravče (bean casserole) €1.50
- Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€26
- Travel: Bus: Skopje–Ohrid €7; train: Skopje–Bitola €4
Travelling cheap? Montenegro won't disappoint. The beautiful walled town of Kotor sits at the end of a fjord-like bay, ringed by dramatic peaks. Just follow your nose in the Old Town. Getting lost in the labyrinth of streets is half the fun, discovering summertime cafés that spill out on the squares before clambering along the old fortress walls.
For a view over the whole gorgeous scene, hike up to St Ivan’s castle, overlooking the town. Kotor’s annual highlight is August’s exuberant Boka Nights festival , when the whole town celebrates as a lavish display of decorated boats parade in the bay and fireworks fill the sky.
Where to stay:
Best for boutique hotel: Boutique Hotel Astoria
Best for location to the city centre and the beach: Muo Apartments
Best to get away from the crowds: 2.5h Kayak Tour in the Bay of Kotor
Best for a day trip: Boat Tour to the Blue Cave & Our Lady of the Rocks
- Daily budget: Basic €31, occasional treat €52
- Drink: Nikšičko Tamno beer €1 (bottle from shop)
- Food: Sarma €2.60–4
- Hostel/budget hotel: €21/€52
- Travel: Bus: Budva–Kotor €3; train: Podgorica–Virpazar €1
For more ideas for visiting Montenegro read our guide to the best things to do in Montenegro .
Part beautiful Hanseatic city, part gritty port town and part Baltic riviera, the northern Polish city of Gdánsk offers a winning combination of coastal appeal. Though the core of this picturesque, colourful city, with its narrow merchant houses, looks ancient, it’s actually a postwar reconstruction – but the history is genuine. It's one of many cheap travel destinations to visit in Poland!
The shipyard crane dates back to the 15th century, and the city was the birthplace of the Solidarity anti-communist movement. Come summer, the action moves to the hip, coastal resort of Sopot , with its golden sand beach, lively party scene and attractive pier (the longest in Europe).
Best for location to the city centre: PURO Gdansk Stare Miasto
Best for great views and location to the city: Mercure Gdansk Stare Miasto
Best for nightlife: Pub Crawl with free drinks
Best for first-time visitors: Electric Scooter guided tour of the Old Town
- Daily budget: Basic €52, occasional treat €73
- Drink: Vodka (50ml shot) €1
- Food: Żurek soup €2–3
- Hostel/budget hotel: €12/€36
- Travel: Train: Warsaw–Kraków €34; bus: €16
Explore the WW2 Liberation Route with the help of a local expert >
Portugal travel doesn't get more exciting than in Porto. Portugal’s second city is appealingly set on the banks of the river Duoro. The riverside district of Portugal is crammed with no-frills good, local restaurants – pick somewhere a street or so back from the waterfront and you’ll be spoilt with local dishes and wines at excellent prices. With the city set on either side of the river, check our guide to the best places to stay in Porto to find accommodation that suits you best.
Other highlights include the vast Portugal park, with a superb art museum set within. However, it is port that the city is famous for. Vinologia is a great bar for an introduction to the varieties of fortified wine, and you can visit the port lodges across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, where for a few euros you can sample their wares.
Make the most of your time in Porto and book ahead to explore some of the unknown wine cellars in the city .
Best for walks along the waterfront: 1872 River House
Best for value with style: MyStay Porto Batalha
Best for day tours: Small group tour to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting and a River Cruise
Best for iconic views: Torre dos Clérigos (skip-the-line tickets)
- Daily budget: Basic €47, occasional treat €68
- Drink: Bottle of vinho verde in shop €3.60
- Food: Grilled sardines €8
- Hostel/budget hotel: €21/€47
- Travel: Train: Lisbon–Faro €23; bus: Porto–Lisbon €21
Delve into Porto >
Think Transylvania , and you’ll probably imagine Dracula and his castle – and you can certainly go in search of Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler) connections here. If you're interested in finding Dracula, book your tour here . As Vlad’s birthplace, the attractive town of Sighisoara has the best claim to fame, and it also has a suitably imposing citadel.
But the region is not all fortifications and fangs – make time to venture out into the wilds of the Carpathian mountains , where you can track the Transylvanian wolf, along with bears, red deer and lynx in the Piatra Craiului National Park.
Best for visiting Vlad the Impaler: Casa Richter
Best for visiting Piatra Craiului National Park: Vila Hora cu Brazi
Best for explorers: Medieval City Exploration Game and Tour in Sighisoara
Best for those travelling in high season: Fast track tickets to Bran Castle (Dracula's castle - Romania's number one attraction)
- Daily budget: Basic €26, occasional treat €42
- Drink: Beer €1.90; bottle of Romanian wine €5
- Food: Tochitura moldoveneasca (Moldavian stew) €2.10
- Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€31
- Travel: Bus/train: Bucharest–Braşov €10
Discover more affordable places in Romania >
Also check our best things to do in Romania to make your trip here even more exciting.
Serbia abounds with sights to suit all tastes. Fancy a low-cost summer music festival? Serbia ’s famous EXIT Festival held in July might be just the ticket, and it’s less than half the price of Glastonbury. The line-up is always eclectic, with past acts including David Guetta and Ziggy Marley.
A trip here is about more than the music, however, with a setting that leaves other festivals in the shade. The Petrovaradin fortress stands majestically above the lively city of Novi Sad , a couple of hours from Belgrade. Stages and festival spaces fill every corner of the fortress, and you can spend your days lounging on the river beaches on the banks of the Danube.
If you don't have the time to stay longer, consider taking a day tour from Belgrade to explore Novi Sad and taste the local wines in Sremski Karlovci.
Best for rooftop views of the city: Hotel Leopold I Novi Sad
Best hostel for city location: Hostel Sova
- Drink: Beer (0.5l) €1
- Food: Pljeskavica (hamburger) €1–2
- Hostel/budget hotel: €13/€37
- Travel: Bus: Belgrade–Novi Sad €6; train: Belgrade–Niš €7
Get the low-down on Serbia >
Slovakia's pride and joy , the Tatras mountain range is a magnificent series of peaks – culminating in the pyramid-shaped Gerlach at 2,655m. Start at one of the village resorts like Nový Smokovec or Ždiar, then make for the mountains, where you can rest your weary heads at cheap hikers’ chalets.
This is serious mountain terrain, so be prepared and heed local advice. The mountains are also an inviting playground for climbers and cavers, and you’ll find mountain bike paths, tubing and rafting, plus a full winter season of skiing and snowboarding.
Best for the location to popular attractions: Penzion Reitmayer
Best for families: Apartmanovy Dom TatraTravel Smokovec
- Daily budget: Basic €37, occasional treat €47
- Drink: Beer €1.80
- Food: Gnocchi with bacon €4
- Hostel/budget hotel: €16/€31
- Travel: Bratislava–Košice (train) €20
Sandwiched between Italy, Austria and Croatia, compact Slovenia is an appealing destination on any journey through Europe. There's its charming capital, Ljubljana , as well as easy travel, a burgeoning wine industry and tempting pocket of coastline. For the adventure-minded, or for those who just want to camp in a beautiful lakeside setting, the northwest region is perfect.
Nestled below the stunning Julian Alps are the very different twin lakes of Bled and Bohinj . From here you can carry on to the Soča Valley, right by the Italian border, for hiking, kayaking and rafting adventures.
Best guest house for views of Lake Bled: Penzion Vila Prešeren
Best for lake views: Grand Hotel Toplice
Best for adventurers: 3hr Rafting Experience
Best for wine experiences: Taste 7 top Slovenian wines in a 100-year old wine cellar in Bled
- Drink: Pivo (beer' 0.5ml) €2.60
- Food: Pizza €5–7
- Hostel/budget hotel: €19/€62
- Travel: Train: Ljubljana–Maribor €9; bus: Ljubljana–Bled €7
Find out more about Slovenia >
The southernmost province of Spain, Andalucía travel is a tempting budget destination. This perennially popular region boasts showpiece cities such as Seville , Granada and Córdoba , with their exquisite monuments highlighting the area's Moorish past. Even here prices are competitive compared with Madrid and Barcelona.
You only need to head a little further afield, to the underrated city of Málaga with its Picasso connection and authentic tapas scene, or the atmospheric ancient port city of Cádiz, and you’ll enjoy that alluring southern Spanish vibe for budget-friendly prices. Cheap tapas (the tradition of free tapas originates in Granada) means you can sample Iberian flavours for a couple of euros a plate, and to continue your budget adventure, simply hop on the ferry to Morocco, tantalisingly close by.
Best guest house location to city centre: El Riad Andaluz
Best for style on a budget: Hotel Boutique Villa Lorena Malaga
Best for exploring arts: Guided tour through the Picasso Museum
Best for short hikes: Caminito del Rey - 3hr guided hike
- Daily budget: Basic €68; occasional treat €88
- Drink: €1.80–2.60 per caña (small beer)
- Food: Menú del día €10–12
- Hostel/budget hotel: €17/€36–83
- Travel: Madrid–Barcelona: bus €33–45; train €62–130
Book onto the best things to do in Andalucía
Situated in the west of this vast country, within easy travelling distance of Central European cities such as Kraków and Budapest, Lviv is the city to head for if you want a taste of Ukraine.
It revels in a mixture of Central European influences: Habsburg and Polish, Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian, with its architecture and magnificent churches reflecting this eclecticism. Ukraine regularly features on the list of cheapest destinations in Europe, and with a growing supply of backpacker hostels, appealing coffee houses and quirky bars, this is an extremely budget-friendly city with a refined edge.
Best for location to the city centre: Lviv Central Jam Hotel
Best for style on a budget: Taurus Hotel
Best for first time visitors: Lviv Old Town Walking Tour
Best for foodies with an interest in history: Communist-style Food and Bar Tour
- Drink: Horilka (vodka; 50ml shot) €1
- Food: Ukrainian borshch €0.80
- Hostel/budget hotel: €8/€31
- Travel: Train: Kyiv–Odesa €10; bus: €19
Top image © Patteran/Shutterstock
This feature contains affiliate links; all recommendations are editorially independent.
Top image: Malaga, Spain, Old Town Skyline © S Pavone / Shutterstock
- Travel Tips
Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip
Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates
Find even more inspiration here
Ready to travel and discover spain, get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.
5 fantastic Europe vacations to take on a budget
Looking to save money on your next epic vacation around Europe ? Whether your idea of a dream trip is skiing the slopes, exploring a new city or basking in the sunshine on the beach, here are five diverse holidays to have in Europe without breaking the bank.
City break: Istanbul
Although the European continent features various budget city breaks, one of the best is Istanbul. The city is, on average, approximately 40% cheaper than Barcelona , which means things like hotels and meals are very affordable for travelers.
With key attractions like the Hagia Sophia, the iconic Blue Mosque (free entrance!) and the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul is perfect for history fans. But tourists just looking for a city adventure will enjoy roaming Istanbul's streets, indulging in Turkish foodie delights, shopping at the Grand Bazaar and boating along the Bosporus.
Besides relatively low cash rates for hotels (some as low as $60 per night according to Hotels.com), it's possible to find budget points deals too. There are a number of Marriott Bonvoy properties in the city that cost between 8,000 and 20,000 Bonvoy points per night.
Ski trip: Livigno, Italy
For Swiss-style powder at Italian prices, consider Livigno for your next ski holiday. The area, just across the Swiss border from St. Moritz, offers Swiss-style slopes at a fraction of the cost. Day ski passes cost about $32, whereas day passes at nearby St. Moritz can cost nearly double that price, or even more on peak dates.
A quick search on Airbnb shows that cozy apartments with mountain views start at just $85 per night. In contrast, fancy alpine resorts that would cost $500-$900 per night in ski destinations like Switzerland or Austria offer rates starting at $244 per night.
Livigno has another perk: It's tax-free for skiers that also love perusing the stores. This means you can shop to your heart's content without having to pay any value-added tax.
Related: 6 mistakes to avoid when taking your 1st ski trip to Europe
Beach vacation: Fuerteventura, Spain
One of Europe's most affordable beach destinations, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands has wild, pristine stretches of sand. The best part? Besides being ideal for budget travelers thanks to low-cost accommodation and meal options, the island sees sunshine and warm temperatures all year long, meaning you can have an epic winter sun holiday or an iconic summer break — really, a beach getaway at any time of year.
Once there, it's a breeze to find cheap accommodation, from affordable all-inclusive hotels to low-cost beach rentals. Surfboard rentals cost as low as $11 per day, and the island is also exempt from value-added tax.
Train adventure: Prague to Budapest
For a scenic and affordable adventure, take the train between two of Europe's most beautiful and cheapest cities: Prague and Budapest, Hungary. The seven-hour ride costs as little as $21 each way on RegioJet.
The trip is as gorgeous as it is cost-effective. You'll glide past picturesque landscapes like rolling hills and castles, even catching sight of the Danube River during the ride.
Although Budapest is 12% cheaper than Prague, both cities reign when it comes to affordable dining, lodging and activities. For example, entrance to the Buda Castle is about $4, and it's simple to find a pint of beer in either city for less than a couple of dollars.
Related: 10 things no one tells you about ... Budapest
Road trip: Croatia
Whether you love iconic natural landscapes like far-flung beaches and glistening cascades or prefer discovering red-roofed villages and historical sites, a road trip adventure through Croatia has it all.
It costs less than $10 per day in the low season to rent a car at Croatia's Zagreb Airport from popular rental agencies like Avis or Sixt, according to Kayak. From there, you have options.
You can head east to the Istrian Peninsula to discover beautiful fishing villages and quiet beaches, visiting destinations like Porec, Rovinj and Pula.
Another alternative is to head south but stay inland, stopping at the famous Plitvice Lakes National Park as well as Rastoke, which is known as the "mini" Plitvice Lakes. Or, head south along the coast to Krka National Park and Split. If you're traveling in the off-season, continue on toward Dubrovnik, which is much more affordable (and less touristy) outside the busy summer months.
A Europe getaway doesn't have to break the bank
Whether you love a road trip or prefer to ski, it is possible to travel despite rising costs. Besides selecting the right destinations, now is the perfect time to dig into that stash of points to save on accommodations or airfare. Combining strategies, like picking affordable spots and using your points, means you may be able to have a luxury vacation without overspending.
- Travel Planning Guide
Europe Travel Cost Rankings
- Travel Budgets
- Country Travel Cost Rankings
- Cheapest Cities
- Country Budget Comparisons
What are the cheapest and most expensive countries to visit in Europe?
The following travel cost rankings for countries in Europe are calculated based on the travel budgets of real travelers. Also referred to as a Travel Cost Index , or a Backpacker Index , the countries below are in order from most to least expensive by their average daily travel price, per person, per day
- 1 Switzerland € 271.77
- 2 Liechtenstein € 236.72
- 3 France € 233.21
- 4 Monaco € 210.99
- 5 Iceland € 187.15
- 6 Luxembourg € 183.97
- 7 Denmark € 179.63
- 8 Netherlands € 175.49
- 9 United Kingdom € 175.13
- 10 Italy € 166.68
- 11 Andorra € 164.38
- 12 Finland € 157.09
- 13 Greece € 155.22
- 14 Germany € 151.68
- 15 Spain € 150.06
- 16 Austria € 147.99
- 17 Belgium € 142.20
- 18 Ireland € 137.20
- 19 Portugal € 136.31
- 20 Sweden € 127.42
- 21 Slovakia € 126.32
- 22 Malta € 117.43
- 23 Latvia € 113.28
- 24 Norway € 108.06
- 25 Montenegro € 105.50
- 26 Czech Republic € 104.83
- 27 Cyprus € 103.44
- 28 Estonia € 101.94
- 29 Croatia € 94.81
- 30 Slovenia € 93.30
- 31 Lithuania € 91.97
- 32 Hungary € 78.91
- 33 Romania € 77.09
- 34 Bosnia and Herzegowina € 68.44
- 35 Bulgaria € 64.07
- 36 Belarus € 62.11
- 37 Albania € 61.56
- 38 Russia € 60.32
- 39 Poland € 56.77
- 40 Serbia € 36.55
- 41 Turkey € 31.11
- 42 Georgia € 30.17
- 43 Armenia € 26.66
- 44 Ukraine € 25.23
- 45 Azerbaijan € 0.00
The Cheapest Cities for Other Regions
Country rankings for other regions, what are the cheapest countries to visit in europe.
The least expensive countries for travel in Europe are currently Azerbaijan (€0.00), Ukraine (€25.23), Armenia (€26.66), Georgia (€30.17), Turkey (€31.11), Serbia (€36.55), Poland (€56.77), Russia (€60.32), Albania (€61.56), and Belarus (€62.11).
What are the most expensive countries to visit in Europe?
The most expensive countries for travel in Europe are currently Switzerland (€271.77), Liechtenstein (€236.72), France (€233.21), Monaco (€210.99), Iceland (€187.15), Luxembourg (€183.97), Denmark (€179.63), Netherlands (€175.49), United Kingdom (€175.13), and Italy (€166.68).
Affordable Travel in Europe
Subscribe to our newsletter.
By signing up for our email newsletter, you will receive occasional updates from us with sales and discounts from major travel companies , plus tips and advice from experienced budget travelers!
Pin This Page
- Activities, Day Trips, Things To Do, and Excursions
The Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe, According to a Cheapo Who Loves Traveling Europe
Last Updated: October 27, 2023
What’s the cheapest way to travel Europe?
After 7 years of bouncing around Europe as a) a backpacker, b) a broke student and now c) a restless expat, this is a question I’ve relentlessly sought the answer to.
My first taste of European budget travel was during my first ever backpacking trip around Western Europe. I had travelled from Paris to London, two major bucket list cities of mine, for less than the price of 6 Chicken Nuggets.
It was exhilarating. My mind was blown… and I suppose you could say, that’s when a monster was born.
Save these cheap ways to travel Europe for later!
You’ll be very, very glad you did. (Your wallet will be too!)
When I returned a year later as an exchange student, I took advantage of budget travel options to go absolutely insane and indulge in weekend trips anytime I could.
Along the way I discovered wild deals like 5 euro bus tickets to Paris, 20 euro roundtrip tickets to London, 40 euro roundtrip tickets to MOROCCO.
Not to be dramatic: but a whole new world – nay, a whole new ME – emerged. Since moving back to Europe, I’ve continued to take advantage of the countless cheap options out there – after all, why spend extra when you don’t need to?
That’s why I want to share with you my top tips today, lifting the veil on the cheapest way(s) to travel Europe.
You can also click here to download a free checklist that breaks down my process for finding the cheapest ways to travel from Point A to Point B every time. Enjoy!
PRO TIP: I always use Omio to quickly compare the prices of flights, trains and buses. It sorts everything by cheapest, recommended, shortest, etc. and is totally free!
My Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe Video
One of the most important things to do before travelling internationally is figuring out how you’ll get around. Want a video version of all the info below? Here you go:
1. Taking Buses to Travel Europe Cheaply
If affordability is what you’re after, I highly recommend traveling around Europe by bus.
While it’s not as comfortable, convenient or scenic as train travel, it comes at a fraction of the cost (which means more euros in your pocket for croissant hoarding and wine guzzling).
These days, the main contender in European bus travel is FlixBus .
For me, Flixbus wins in terms of price, flexibility and convenience. With fares as cheap as 5 euros one way, the price simply can’t be beat.
Plus, you can easily download an app where you can check different bus times/purchase tickets up to the day of.
They even have the most chilled out cancellation policy ever – you can cancel/change your ticket up to 15 minutes before departure for only a euro (note: in the good old days, this was even free!)
That’s why I think Flixbus is the perfect choice for a spontaneous budget traveler.
They even have an awesome pass called Interflix that allows you to book 5 journeys for only 99 euros. That means you can ride from one European hotspot to another for only 20 euros… an absolute steal.
Click here to scope out the best Flixbus deals
NOTE: As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. Flixbus isn’t world-renowned for amazing service or punctuality, but they do get you from Point A to Point B eventually. I’d recommend them if budget is your #1 priority.
Other bus options to check out in Europe:
Eurolines: I’ve only used Eurolines a handful of times because Flixbus is so convenient to book, but they offer a lot of routes around Europe and in my experience, tend to be more punctual than Flixbus.
However, they’re a lot less flexible when it comes to modifications/cancellations, with a zero refund policy within 48 hours of the trip date, and a 25-50% deduction of the total fare if you cancel earlier. In other words, if you want to be flexible, Flixbus is a better choice!
RegioJet, AKA Student Agency Bus: I took this one from Prague to Budapest 2 years ago and it’s still (to date) the most luxurious bus trip I’ve ever had!
It was super affordable, there were movies available on board and even a “bus attendant” who gave us free hot chocolate and tea. Most of their routes seem to be in/out of the Czech Republic, but they’re an amazing deal if you’re travelling in that area.
Megabus: Megabus used to be my go-to bus company (they’re how I got from Paris to London for two pounds in 2014 – like I said, for less than the price of 6 nuggets!) but their European routes have since been acquired by Flixbus.
That said, they’re still active in the UK, and have some crazy deals if you book early enough (the first to buy tickets on certain routes can score them for only 1 pound)
Another cost-effective option in the UK is National Express. I’ve used them many times and they’re always very professional and punctual. The key with them is to book as early as possible to score the best deals!
Local bus lines: While travelling around the Balkans, I relied on a number of local coach companies to get around. If you happen to be travelling around the Balkans, your best bet is to inquiry at the local bus station for tickets – they’re usually very affordable even the day-of.
2. Hopping around Europe Cheaply with budget airlines
One of the most popular (and cheapest) ways to travel Europe is through budget airlines.
Unlike North America, Europe is crawling with budget airlines that can take you from Point A to Point B at ludicrously low costs.
… Sometimes even cheaper than the bus!
With Ryanair for example, I can get from Munich to London for only 10 euros if I book early enough. That’s cheaper than the cost of actually getting to the airport!
How to find them: I always use Skyscanner to check out the best flight deals. A few big names to look out for include RyanAir , EasyJet, WizzAir , Volotea, EuroWings, and Vueling.
You can also use Omio (for free!) to search up flights, buses and trains at the same time so you can see which out of all these options is cheapest.
Lastly, you can double check deals from various locations using a VPN like Private Internet Access to see if you can find better deals.
Download my free checklist: I actually wrote an entire post on how to find the cheapest flights TO Europe, and the tips/systems I introduce definitely work for flights within Europe as well. Click here to read it, and click here to download the free checklists I made that will help you find the cheapest flight every time.
One note with budget airlines: you absolutely, 1000% get what you pay for.
This means limited legroom, ‘meh’ service and additional costs for everything (including extra bags, in-flight meals and even printing your ticket at the airport).
But hey, for the price, you really can’t beat it. So long as you familiarize yourself with each airline’s rules and hidden costs, you’ll be fine.
If you want a preview of what the experience is like, click here to read my honest RyanAir review, and click here to read my honest Wizz Air review.
I wouldn’t stress too much about having the most luxurious and wonderful experience though… instead, it’s much easier to accept a mildly uncomfortable 1-3 hours.
After all guys, you are paying 10 euros to fly in a hover-box through the sky. Chill out, and enjoy the (dis)comfort of your legroom-less seat.
Click here to scope out the best flight deals on Skyscanner
3. Cruise around Europe on a budget with BlaBaCar
Those in search of the cheapest way to travel Europe should definitely look into BlaBlaCar.
BlaBlaCar is a carpool service that matches up drivers/passengers who are going to the same places. You’re essentially pitching in for gas/other expenses in exchange for a seat in someone’s car.
I know it sounds slightly sketch, but it operates on a good review system much like Couchsurfing and AirBNB . Many of my friends use it regularly with great results.
HELPFUL HINT: In some areas, Google Maps has even begun syncing up with BlaBlaCar , so when you search up how to get from Point A to Point B, BlaBlaCar rides will show up as an additional option below driving, public transport, etc.
Click here to check out BlaBlaCar
4. Save Money on Your Europe Trip by Hitchhiking
If you’re looking for (truly) the cheapest way to travel Europe, hitchhiking would be it. Is it glamorous? No. But it’s like, 50 shades of free, soooo…
Now here’s the thing: hitchhiking is better suited for some areas than others.
For example, while in the Balkans, I hitchhiked once in Bosnia and the guy turned out to be a lovely lavender farmer who (seemed to) own a monopoly over lavender fields in the area.
He barely spoke English and could only keep pointing at his fields like a boss while hollering “LAVANDA LAVANDA”.
That was a fun experience.
On the other hand, it might not be as easy to do in Western Europe… I’ve never tried it myself in this area, but I do have friends who once hitchhiked from Amsterdam to Munich to visit me for Oktoberfest.
It took 16 hours. SO, know that this is the ultimate cheap way to travel Europe, but it can be very unpredictable, tough and kill a lot of your exploration time.
It’s also true that hitchhiking isn’t for everyone. While it’s not as dangerous or uncommon as many people think, it still carries some risk and disadvantages.
You should probably NOT hitchhike if:
- You are paranoid about safety (and travelling alone)
- You are limited in time
- You have strict plans on where you need to be and when
5. See Europe in Style (and on a budget) with train deals
There are few travel experiences as epic as taking the train across Europe… that said, while train travel is incredible , it can wreak some serious havoc on your budget.
Cheap train travel in Europe can be possible though. Here are some tips!
How to travel Europe by train (on a budget):
Book as early as you possibly can:
European train tickets are usually sold in batches, with a select number of really cheap (inflexible booking) tickets available first, then moving into higher price ranges as they sell out.
If you know where you’re going and are okay with a lack of flexibility, then buying as early as possible is probably your best bet.
Look into group/regional tickets:
Many areas in Europe will have special deals for those travelling in groups or in particular areas. In Bavaria for example (where I currently live), there’s a group deal called a Bayern Ticket that gives you unlimited travel for the day for 5 people on the same ticket .
It costs 26 euros for the first person, then 5 additional for each extra person you add on, which is an insanely good deal if you get several people together.
Often, these deals will be cheaper than buying regular tickets, so do some research to see if these specials exist where you’re headed 🙂 For more info, you can click here for my full Bayern ticket guide.
Check if you’re eligible for discounts:
European train companies love rewarding people for being young, so often if you’re under the age of 26, you’re eligible for additional discounts, especially if you’re a student.
In Belgium for example, those 26 and under can buy a GoPass 1, which allows you to travel one-way anywhere in the country for only €6.60.
Get a train pass:
For my fellow North Americans, Eurail offers a lot of different passes for different countries, time periods, etc. These can be much cheaper than buying tickets individually, and they also offer a lot more flexibility.
It’s good value for money, despite not being the cheapest option out there. I would recommend doing a lot of research prior to buying a pass to see how much tickets cost for your intended travel routes because you might be able to plan a cheaper trip if you buy non-flex tickets far in advance.
Click here to browse the best deals on Eurail Passes
6. Travel Europe Cheaply by Renting a Car
Travelling through Europe by car might sound like a wonderful bucket list dream, but it’s a lot more complicated than just getting an old Volkswagen and decking it out in fairy lights.
The issue with renting a car in Europe is that it’s riddled with hidden costs, including extra fees for crossing multiple countries, dropping off at different points, highway vignettes (required for many countries in Central Europe, etc. etc.)
The truth is, it is highly unlikely that renting a car will be the cheapest way to travel Europe for you.
Is it worth it though? Well, the freedom to pull over whenever, go wherever and take off at a moment’s notice is pretty sweet.
If you choose to go this route, here are some tips to help you get the best deal on travelling through Europe by car:
Use a comparison website:
A good start is using a comparison website to find the most competitive prices for a car rental. Expedia is my go-to.
That said, looking at these listed prices is simply not enough. It’s also important to…
Consider the hidden costs:
The prices you see on these comparison sites will most likely not be what you end up paying. There are MANY extras to consider, like insurance, GPS, multiple country fees, one-way drop off fees, tolls, vignettes, etc.
Sadly, the companies are not consistent in what they include in their listed price, so be sure to do your research and read the fine print so you can fully understand which is the best deal.
Click here to read my post full of hidden costs you should be mindful of!
Find coupon codes automatically :
I highly recommend the free Google Chrome extension, Honey , which looks up free coupon codes for you automatically. It takes a click to install and is awesome for saving a little extra on all travel bookings and any other online purchases.
Any more questions about the cheapest ways to travel around Europe?
I hope you enjoyed that guide on the cheapest way to travel Europe and that it gave you some good insight into the different options for cheap transportation in Europe.
If you have any questions though, feel free to ask below!
My Go-To Travel Favourites:
🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes
💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards
🍯 Honey: For finding coupons automatically
🏨 Booking.com: For searching hotels
📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera
✈️ Google Flights : For finding flight deals
🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance
🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities
68 thoughts on “The Cheapest Ways to Travel Europe, According to a Cheapo Who Loves Traveling Europe”
BlaBlaCar sounds interesting, I’ll definitely take note of it. Hitchhiking is just for me though. I’m too scared, haha! – Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog https://charmainenyw.com
haha BlaBaCar is almost like a more regulated version of hitchhiking. Definitely a good middle ground or starting point if hitchhiking scares you 😉
Great tips! I took Flixbus and it was perfectly fine and actually on time, which was a pleasant surprise! Also, I think the best website for looking up quite a bit of European train travel is bahn.de. It’s the German train website but it has train times and routes for many more countries. And it’s really easy to use. Always search the number of people you’re looking to book for. Sometimes we forget and just keep the number at 1, but I travel with my husband and we’re always 2 and 2 is always cheaper than 1 + 1! There are great deals in Germany for a group of people traveling together too. Found this on Easy Jet as well – prices are better for 2 people.
Awesome info – thank you! I use bahn.de all the time since I live in Germany but I never realized it had such helpful info for other countries too. And I had no clue that booking for 2 is cheaper. SO good to know – thanks! <3
Great tips! I currently live in Europe and have the flexibility of owning a car, but I might use one of these cheap buses one day. Another thing about those cheap airlines…if you’re flying in Europe the flight time is usually no more than 2 hours, so it’s really not a big deal to not be able to recline your seat for 2 hours. As soon as you’re up, you’re already back down! Worth the cheap price in my opinion. And I think the hitchhiking is totally dependent on where you are. I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland earlier this year and it’s extremely common for backpackers to hitchhike around the isle to get to the different sites. We gave a ride to some people and didn’t feel unsafe at all. Go with your gut!
Awesome – thanks so much for this thoughtful comment, Kristin! Always good to get some input from others and their experiences <3 Scotland does seem like an amazing place to hitchhike. The people there are so lovely! Thanks for chiming in 🙂
Love your tips, I think I tried most of them. No bad experience so far. 🙂
haha good to hear I’m not steering anybody wrong 😉 thanks for reading!
It is really not easy to keep it cheap in Europe, but you have some great suggestions. In Denmark, they use GoMore, a great carpooling service. I used it a lot because train tickets are ridiculously expensive! Else, the trick is to book in advance, then you can get them almost cheaper than doing the carpooling.
Ooh good to know about GoMore! I love that there’s so many new services popping up these days for budget travellers. Makes lives so much easier!
A very handy piece, if only travel in Canada was that easy…lol…I will be keeping this for future reference as I had never heard of Flix Bus they sound great and if you can get used to flying Ryanair you can get used to anything…
Hope this comes in handy for your future travels, Faith! Flixbus is definitely a great budget option. They’re by no means mega-comfortable and there’s often delays, but it does get you to where you need to go eventually haha. Can’t really argue with prices like theirs!
I love this one! 🙂 I live in Europe so I have used almost all from the list but I really like it how you combined them. P. S. Your pins has amaaazing design, love it so much. <3
aw thank you so much for the kind words!!! <3
I was just in the Balkans and had to hitchhike out of desperation in Albania . Lol. Love that you met a lavender farmer!
haha I hope your experience was as fun as mine! Hitch hiking in the Balkans is a lot easier (I’ve heard) than in other parts of Europe 🙂 definitely a neat way to meet locals!
This is really useful for me! I am currently an exchange student in Italy untile Feb 2018 so I’ve been wanting to go out the country and roam around Europe. I most definitely am shocked with RyanAir prices! Thanks for this post!
What an exciting time for you! I travelled so much during my exchange in Munich and decided to move here 😉 You never know what a crazy impact this experience will have on your life. Hope you have an amazing time in Italy!
Love this post! Good timing too, I was just trying to decide about taking a FlixBus for an upcoming trip. Sounds like it is the way to go!
We are also all about the budget airlines (Volotea is my current fav) but I swear my biggest annoyance isn’t the baggage fees or incessant selling, it is the lack of seat back pockets. Sounds ridiculous but for some reason that annoys me ENDLESSLY. #highmaintenance
omg so true – no seat pockets kills me every time because then I’m left scrambling, with my passport, phone, boarding pass, etc. scattered all across my lap hahah. Flixbus is fine if you don’t mind meh service/delays. They’re definitely super budget friendly!
This post is so timely ! Planning a trip to Europe next summer . Thx for sharing ! Fab as always Christina ! Xo Valerie
Yay! Hope you picked up loads of great tips from this post. Safe travels 🙂
Great post with really good advice. Busses are a great way to go and often overlooked by North Americans. But I find them to be really useful in certain areas. I’m still a fan of trains though!
I think buses are tougher in North America since major cities are so much further apart! In Europe though they are amazing since everything is so close 🙂 I’m a big fan of trains now too. They’re just so comfortable and convenient. Thanks for reading, Lynne!
This is all seriously so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to put it together. I’m definitely saving for my upcoming trip, since I’ll be an extra tight budget!
so so happy you found it helpful!! Safe travels, girl <3
I don’t live in Europe but every time I go to The Netherlands I take adventage of those cheap trips in Europe itswlf. I’ve tried bus travels and by plain. Next I want to try train traveling. All in all Europe living is in a travelers best interest.
Absolutely – living in Europe makes us travellers so spoiled 🙂 I can’t recommend train travel enough. It’s so relaxing and beautiful. Hope you get to see for yourself sometime soon!
Cheap travel is one of the things I love most about living in Europe! If I ever stopped travelling around Europe, Ryanair might go bust ;-). This was a great and really informative post!
hahaha yes – I feel so spoiled living here. Thanks for reading, and keep travelling please because I rely on RyanAir way too much for them to go bust 😉 lol
Another cheap way to travel Europe to grab one of the multi festival/trip passes that Stoke Travel have. I picked up one of their Passports and it got me a free festival, and I got to visit Oktoberfest, surf in Spain, La tomatina and Ibiza with all my accommodation, meals and ridiculous parties sorted. They even have unlimited beer and sangria haha.
Hey Christiana, Awesome post loved it. Never know it was possible to travel Europe so cheaply. I will definitely make a point following these tips while a trip to europe this summer.
Awesome! I hope you have an amazing (budget-friendly) trip!
Transportation is one of the things that contribute to a major portion of your entire travel budget. That’s why people search for some cheapest travel option around Europe and your blog presents a very good information about that. It was certainly a good read. Thanks for posting.
Loved your tips. Its great to find such informative article. Will try some of your tips on my next visit for sure.
The tutorial is very detailed, thank you for sharing, wish you always good health to go more places. I’m planning to go to Europe and it’s great to read your post
Hi Chris! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!!
Budget airlines were my best friend when I lived in London! It felt like such an accomplishment to grab an awesome deal and be able to go away for the weekend wherever I wanted in Europe!
Absolutely love this, I have lived in Europe most my life but even I learned something from these amazing tips. Will definitely pin this for later. Thanks for sharing!
I think there’s a lot to be said for different transport being good for different places! There are so many European trips I want to do and all in different ways (road trip through northern Italy? Train through Switzerland?) – there’s so much to consider! This post is really helpful in laying it all out though. 🙂
What a great and helpful post! I’m going to be traveling around Europe for a few months later this year so I’m saving it for later. I’ve heard of a few of these companies, but since I haven’t used them before, I tend to forget about them. So thanks for jogging the memory, too.
Great tips, shame Europes not on the cards for me in the near future. Love the lavanda story!
Great post! I for one wouldn’t really like to spend most of my budget just to get to the place I really want to go to. Sometimes the cheapest mode of travel makes you experience the best story to tell if time isn’t much of a factor 🙂
Oh I love Megabus. I use it all the time to travel from Toronto to Montreal. I didn’t know it exists in Europe too. These are some great info Christina! One day, when I’m less of a chicken, I would like to try hitchhiking in Europe 😛
Thanks for the tips, Christina! I love FlixBus and hitchhiking hehehe. When my mom backpacked Europe in the ’80s she just got a train pass but that seemed so spendy the last time I was there, and ended up going with FlixBus practically everywhere. I do love trains, though.
FlixBus and trains were my favorite ways to get around Europe. I wanted to try BlaBla car, but the timing didn’t work out.
Thanks for the tips.
Personally, I always prefer to use cheap airlines in Europe over buses or trains. They cost almost identical, but you get to your destination much faster and without back pain.
If you book two or three months in advance, you can usually fly between most European Capitals for 30-60 USD. Some good choices are Rynair, Wizz Air, and Norwegian airlines.
hahaha yes – I feel so spoiled living here. Thanks for reading, and keep travelling please because I rely on RyanAir way too much for them to go bust lol
While travelling around the Balkans, I relied on a number of local coach companies to get around. If you happen to be travelling around the Balkans, your best bet is to inquiry at the local bus station for tickets – they’re usually very affordable even the day-of
I don’t live in Europe but every time I go to The Netherlands I take adventage of those cheap trips in Europe itswlf. I’ve tried bus travels and by plain. Next I want to try train traveling. All in all Europe living is in a travelers best interest.
Transportation is one of the things that contribute to a major portion of your entire travel budget. That’s why people search for some cheapest travel option around Europe and your blog presents a very good information about that. It was certainly a good read. Thanks for posting.
Amazing post, so detailed! Very useful as a quick go-to guide, definitely fueled our wanderlust!
Thanks for all the info! I live in Europe, but I want to do more spontaneous weekend trips for cheap more often (I’m writing that as if I’ve ever done it before…) Grew up with travelling through Europe by car, and I dream of doing it again. To visit smaller villages overlooked by tourists, either by free will or because the car breaks down, makes great memories (it is handy being a member of one of these road help companies, especially when travelling with a 15-20 year old car). Oops, mind flew off there… but yeah, recommend people to go by car if they can afford it and don’t want to stay at the big cities most of the time
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.
thanks for reading!
This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!
When you visit to another country, one of the important things that you must concern is budget. You need to prepare carefully everything for your trip. Especially, you should find out the cheapest way, it will help you save money better.
Do you love traveling? Do you want to discover Europe? It’s a wonderful place for people, you can visit many beautiful countries and enjoy some delicious food.
Interesting writing! Europe is very beautiful, I think that most people will choose this place to relax and enjoy.
Useful article for visitors! If you have a decision to travel to Europe, let’s read this writing and discover it.
Very good info. I needed this, Thank you very much for your advice
Europe is very famous for its architecture and beverage. Let’s discover this country when you have a chance!
Hello Christina!! Wow it is an interesting and amazing article and it is very beneficial for all readers especially for all those who travel through it first time. I really like this article and I hope all the readers will be very thankful for it. It is very beneficial for me as I am going through my first flight and this flight will be very useful for me. Thanks for sharing this article with all of us
Thank you for providing such a useful and attractive blog, with very useful details and stuff I never expected, and I would suggest that you write more blogs and blog posts like that for us. Once again, thank you.
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *
- 10 Cheapest European Countries to Visit
10 Cheapest European Countries to Visit in 2023/2024
This article was created by a dedicated and authentic team of passionate travelers from the PTA Team, who are not only experienced travel experts but also proud members of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Our sole purpose is to assist and support fellow travelers in planning their tours with utmost care and precision. With exclusive information, valuable insights, and meticulous analysis, we strive to provide high-quality content that leaves no room for mistakes. Count on us to deliver comprehensive destination reports and all the necessary information to ensure an exceptional and well-planned travel experience for you. Learn More
Article Table of Content
Best cheap holiday destinations in europe to visit for 2023/2024, 1. bulgaria, 6. macedonia, 7. bosnia and herzegovina, 10. moldova.
10 cheapest European countries to visit in 2023 Europe offers a wide range of destinations, each with its unique culture, attractions, and of course, cost. If you are planning a trip to Europe and are on a budget, you may want to consider visiting one of the following 10 countries, which are known to be the cheapest in Europe to visit.
Bulgaria is a great destination for those seeking affordable travel options. Low-cost airlines such as Wizz Air and Ryanair operate flights to the capital city of Sofia, as well as other major cities like Varna and Burgas on the Black Sea coast. Public transportation in Bulgaria is also budget-friendly, with reliable and well-connected buses and trains running throughout the country.
Accommodation options range from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Popular tourist destinations in Bulgaria include the beautiful Black Sea coast with its beaches and vibrant nightlife, as well as ski resorts like Bansko and Borovets.
Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. The capital city is Budapest, which is known for its stunning architecture, thermal baths, and vibrant nightlife. Hungary has a rich cultural heritage, including its traditional music, dance, and cuisine, which features hearty stews, goulash, and spicy sausages.
The country also boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Danube Bend, the Castle District in Budapest, and the Hortobágy National Park. Hungary is a member of the European Union, and its official language is Hungarian. The country's currency is the Hungarian forint (HUF).
Romania is a budget-friendly travel destination in Eastern Europe, with many affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food. Low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air offer direct flights to several cities, including Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, and Timisoara. Public transportation is also cost-effective, with bus and train services that are both reliable and efficient.
Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Romania is home to many stunning natural landscapes, such as the Carpathian Mountains, the Danube Delta, and the Black Sea coast, as well as numerous charming towns and historic cities, such as Brasov, Sighisoara, and Sibiu.
Greece offers many budget-friendly travel options, making it an affordable destination for budget-conscious travelers. The country is well-connected to the rest of Europe, with low-cost airlines like Ryanair, easyJet, and Wizz Air operating flights to Athens and other cities. Public transportation is also reasonably priced, with frequent buses and trains connecting major cities and islands.
Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Greece has many stunning beaches, islands, and historic sites to explore, including Athens' Acropolis, Santorini's famous sunsets, and the ancient ruins of Delphi.
Serbia is a budget-friendly travel destination in the Balkans, offering many affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food. The capital city of Belgrade is well-connected to other European cities by low-cost airlines like Wizz Air, Ryanair, and easyJet, and bus and train services are also cheap and efficient. Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries.
Serbia has many fascinating sights to explore, including the medieval fortress of Kalemegdan, the stunning Danube River, and the monasteries of Fruška Gora. Serbia is also known for its lively nightlife, delicious food, and warm hospitality, making it an ideal destination for budget travelers.
Macedonia, also known as North Macedonia, is a small landlocked country in the Balkans, bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. Skopje is the capital and largest city, famous for its eclectic architecture, vibrant nightlife, and bazaar. Macedonia is a budget-friendly travel destination, with affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food.
Skopje and Ohrid are both served by low-cost airlines like Wizz Air and Ryanair, and public transportation is reasonably priced. Accommodation options range from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Macedonia is known for its stunning natural beauty, including Lake Ohrid, the Mavrovo National Park, and the Vodno Mountain.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, often referred to simply as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, bordered by Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. The capital and largest city is Sarajevo, known for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning mountain scenery. Bosnia is a budget-friendly travel destination, with affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food.
Low-cost airlines like Wizz Air and Ryanair operate flights to the capital and other major cities, and public transportation is reasonably priced. Accommodation options range from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Bosnia is home to many cultural and historic sites, including the Old Bridge in Mostar, the Stari Grad in Sarajevo, and the Kravica Waterfall.
Albania is a small country in the Balkans, bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Greece. The capital and largest city is Tirana, known for its vibrant energy, colorful buildings, and rich history. Albania is a budget-friendly travel destination, with affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food. Low-cost airlines like Wizz Air and Ryanair operate flights to Tirana and other major cities, and public transportation is reasonably priced.
Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Albania is home to many beautiful natural landscapes, such as the Albanian Alps, the Ionian Coast, and the Butrint National Park, as well as fascinating historical sites like the Berat Castle and the Apollonia Archaeological Park.
Croatia is a beautiful country located in Central and Southeast Europe, bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The capital and largest city is Zagreb, known for its Austro-Hungarian architecture and rich cultural heritage. Croatia is a popular travel destination, but it is possible to travel on a budget. Low-cost airlines like Ryanair and easyJet operate flights to several cities, and public transportation is affordable and reliable.
Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Croatia is known for its stunning coastline, national parks, and historic sites, such as Dubrovnik's Old Town, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and the Diocletian's Palace in Split.
Moldova is a small landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Ukraine and Romania. The capital and largest city is Chisinau, known for its green parks, wine cellars, and historic sites. Moldova is a budget-friendly travel destination, with affordable options for transportation, accommodation, and food. Although not served by many low-cost airlines, flights to Chisinau are still reasonably priced.
Public transportation is affordable, with buses and trains connecting the major cities. Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and food prices are generally lower than in other European countries. Moldova is known for its wine cellars, natural beauty, and historic sites, such as the Orheiul Vechi Monastery, the Cricova Wine Cellar, and the Stefan cel Mare Central Park.
In conclusion, Europe is full of diverse destinations, each offering its own unique culture, attractions, and cost. The 10 countries mentioned above are ideal for budget travelers, offering affordable accommodations, food, and transportation, along with a wide range of activities and attractions to explore.
Which is the best country to visit in europe.
This is a subjective question and depends on personal preferences. Some of the popular countries to visit in Europe are France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany, and the UK.
Which European country should I visit first?
Again, this depends on your interests and preferences. Some popular destinations for first-time visitors to Europe are Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and London.
What are the 17 countries in Europe?
The 17 countries in Europe are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
What is the friendliest country in Europe?
Again, this is subjective and varies from person to person. However, some countries that are known for their friendly people and welcoming atmosphere are Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Croatia.
Which is the cheapest country to visit in Europe?
The cheapest country to visit in Europe varies depending on the cost of living and exchange rates. Some of the most budget-friendly destinations in Europe include Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
What are the 8 most popular cities in Europe?
The 8 most popular cities in Europe are Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Vienna.
Which country has the most beautiful cities in Europe?
This is subjective, and it depends on personal preferences. However, some of the countries with the most beautiful cities in Europe include Italy, France, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.
What is high season in Europe?
High season in Europe typically runs from June to August, with July and August being the busiest months.
Which country is best for a first trip?
The best country for a first trip to Europe depends on your interests and preferences. However, some popular destinations for first-time visitors include France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany, and Austria.
What is the least visited European country?
According to recent data, the least visited European country is Liechtenstein, followed by San Marino, and Andorra.
Share Your Comment
Best Europe Shopping Places in 2023/2024
- by PTA Team
- May 31, 2021
Upcoming Festivals in Europe 2023/2024
- Apr 25, 2021
Best 30 Beaches in Europe 2023/2024
- Apr 22, 2021
- Meet the Team
- Talk to The Broke Backpacker
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Budget Travel
- Work & Travel
- The Broke Backpacker Manifesto
- Travel Resources
- How to Travel on $10/day
Home » Budget Travel » How to Travel Europe Cheaply: Get Around on a Budget in 2023
How to Travel Europe Cheaply: Get Around on a Budget in 2023
The most important step to becoming a badass broke budgeteer: learn the wicked ways of the low-cost lifestyle. Meaning, HOW exactly to travel on the cheap-o.
And there’s no better way to get used to budget backpacking than learning how to travel Europe cheaply .
Europe is a great teacher in the ways of penny-pinching. Compared to other popular backpacker digs like Southeast Asia and South America, Europe is expensive as hell. You’re usually only one careless “treat yo’ self” away from backpacker bankruptcy. Everything has a cost: even using a public bathroom!
That means you have to be wise and wily with the way you spend your dollars.
Luckily, there are many ways to slash your astronomical Europe budget down to shreds and have a grand old time traipsing across the old continent, while spending relative pennies!
Transport is easily one of the biggest expenses on your trip. So, today I’m teaching you, dear young padawans, the ins and outs of travelling around Europe on the cheap.
On the cheap – and even, believe it or not, FOR FREE.
10 Ways to Get Around Europe on the Cheap
No money no problem.
Learning how to travel Europe on a budget comes down to a few tricks: cook your own food, stay in hostels or couchsurf, and take advantage of free things to do (each European country has heaps!).
However, when you’re trying not to break the bank, transportation may often be your Achilles’ heel, your downfall, and your sweetest enemy. Here are the best ways to travel Europe on a budget.
Do You Want to Travel FOREVER??
Pop your email in below to get a FREE copy of ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day!’.
1. Catch a Cheap Bus
Taking the bus is probably the cheapest way to travel around Europe. It’s easy to find budget options all over Europe – even for long distances.
One of the most popular options for cheap bus travel is Flixbus . It’s an operator so efficient, it is quickly swallowing up other smaller national low-cost bus operators all over Europe.
Flixbus has probably the most extensive options: over 2,500 destinations across 35 countries (even Turkey!).
And my dude, just wait till you see their prices. They’re staggeringly low! I once took a 14-hour bus ride across the entire northern Spain to France for just $30.
Other great options are Eurolines (everywhere), Megabus (the UK), and Lux Express (the Baltics). Many countries also have their own low-cost buses mostly operating nationally, like Polskibus in Poland and Onnibus in Finland.
You can always find deals, but your best bet on dirt-cheap tickets is to book early. There is a limited amount of the cheapest discount tickets for each route.
Bonus tip: Take the word of a seasoned backpacker when I say that night buses SUCK. However, they save you a night’s accommodation cost. Plus, they make sure you’re not wasting precious daylight hours on travel time if you’re only travelling for a short time.
Bookaway is another supreme service that we strongly recommend for booking routes and rides across Europe. HOWEVER, their service isn’t available in all European nations. Your best bet is to check out both services, compare prices and services available, and choose the best (and cheapest) for you!
2. Get Railed with a Train Pass
Travel around Europe by train , also known as interrailing, is a super popular way of backpacking across Europe.
Few other places have a similar opportunity for train travel. Europe has very extensive rail networks, and usually, its trains are clean, fast, and comfortable. (At least in Western Europe – who the hell knows what’s up with the Communist-era clunks clanking around post-Iron Curtain countries.)
In Western Europe though, rail travel gets EXPENSIVE. It’s not out of the question to have to splash $60 for a simple cross-country ticket. That’s why a lot of broke train travellers get a rail pass that lets them get serious discounts on their journeys.
Using a rail pass does come with a bit of planning. Usually, they’re restricted to a certain region or cluster of countries, and their prices depend on which countries you want to check out. (More expensive countries have more expensive rail passes.)
They also come with conditions. You can only have a certain amount of travel days within a time frame. (E.g. 10 travel days in two months.) That means that you can use the pass for unlimited free travel for 10 days over a period of two months.
Getting a rail pass is not worth it everywhere in Europe. If you mainly plan to hop to countries that are not covered by the rail pass, or that don’t have great rail networks, you can get by fine without one.
Also when you’re adventuring somewhere like Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the few train options you have are already cheap. That might mean overspending by getting a pass.
However, if you plan to check out places like France, Germany, and Austria, a rail pass is a great addition to your Europe packing list . And it saves you a lot!
3. Catch Flights, Not Feelings
Listen, no other place does low-cost flying quite as well as Europe. The prices for low-budget airlines can be absolutely RIDICULOUS. Route prices start at around $8 – no kidding. When I still lived in Finland, a return flight between my city and London was half the price of a one-way train to my hometown!
So, low-cost airlines are definitely worth checking out if your plans include hopping between countries on different sides of Europe.
Some of the most popular low-budget airlines in Europe are:
There is an art to finding cheap flights . But you’ll get a hang of it quickly. My favourite sites for finding and comparing flight prices are Skyscanner and Momondo.
I highly recommend checking airlines’ own websites around holidays as well. Around Christmas and Black Friday, you can find huge discounts.
Sadly, there is no such thing as an almost-free lunch. Low-fare airlines make their money through extortionate extra fees. Everything costs – from meals onboard to even printing your boarding pass at the airport. Checked baggage can cost $30+, and some charge extra for “big” cabin luggage as well.
4. Share a Ride with a Merry Stranger
Travelling solo? So are many others! Cut costs and maybe make a friend on your intercity travels.
When you think of rideshare apps, you probably think of Uber. Taxi apps are dope for getting around cities in Europe on the cheap for sure.
Mostly getting a cab through an app is cheaper than on the street. Uber operates in many European countries, plus there are tons of smaller operators in different countries and regions.
So, rideshare apps are cool beans in cities. What about between cities?
Europe also has platforms that allow private people to publicly post their upcoming trips. They post that they’re going to Marseille, you get in touch, and ka-ching ! You’ve got a cheap-ass ride to another town. Note that this is not digital hitchhiking; you’ll have to split travel costs with the driver and other passengers.
The absolute best platform for long-distance rideshares is BlaBlaCar . I found it the best cheap way to travel around Spain and France, but it’s also available in 16 other countries in Europe. BlaBlaCar doesn’t actually have any of its own cars; it’s just a platform connecting drivers and passengers.
If BlaBlaCar doesn’t tickle your fancy, it’s always possible to find rideshares and carpooling through other ways as well. Try posting a note on your hostel’s info board, or find a rideshare group on Facebook for the country that you’re in.
5. Go Drive Yourself
Living the vanlife in Europe is many backpackers’ dream. And it can easily be one of the cheapest ways to travel Europe if you’re exploring countries like Switzerland or Norway.
My motorbike-loving friends won’t stop raving about how great it is to ride your bike down the wide-open highways across Europe. (Somewhere in the distance, Born to Be Wild starts playing…)
Plus, driving yourself gives you the greatest flexibility to stop at cute roadside towns. You can come and go as you please without being held behind by such measly human inventions as – pssht – bus schedules. Bonus points if you camp along the way to cut costs even more.
If you’re planning on a self-directed adventure, there are a few things to consider before launching off:
- You’ll either need an international driver’s licence or an EU licence
- Taking rental cars over the country border is usually not allowed . So they’re best for single-country stretches. You also have to return them to the same office where you picked them up or pay an abysmal extra fee.
- Toll fees stack up! Set up your GPS to avoid toll roads. (But make sure that it doesn’t direct you to completely stupid roads – speaking from experience…)
In the end, you might do campervanning or motorbiking more for the experience than the price. You’re not only paying for the car; petrol, parking, and insurance fees rack up.
While rentals can be very cheap, they can also be very, very expensive. $20 a day in Greece is not too bad if you can split that with a travel buddy. But paying $50 a day in Madeira by yourself is gonna make even the toughest traveller cry bitter tears. So if you’re gonna live the vanlife across Europe, find a smart purchase or rental (not cheap – cheap cars don’t last), and get good at the van-bum life: it’s a good life. 🙂
6. Thumbs up, Everybody
You might’ve thought you dreamed it but there IS a legit way to travel Europe for free. That way is called hitchhiking ! Is this the cheapest way to see Europe? Potentially definitely.
Hitchhiking has long been one of my favourite ways of adventuring. And the scene is especially boomin’ and bloomin’ in Europe.
It’s not for everybody: you gotta be at least a bit of a social butterfly to keep your gracious rides entertained with small talk (and big talk, if it comes to that).
This becomes especially fun when you don’t speak the same language. But let me tell you, it’s surprising how much you can find out about someone’s family, hobbies, and life just through a few universal words and body language.
And sure, hitchhiking is not completely without its risks, either. I’ve done lots of kilometres in strangers’ cars as a solo female traveller . While 95% of the people who pick you up are just simply kind human beans, I’ve had a few creepy encounters as well.
The best countries to pick up lifts are in Central and Eastern Europe. The worst luck I’ve ever had has been in Spain and Germany – basically Western countries with a lot of motorways that are unsuitable for stopping for thumb-riders.
Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….
These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.
Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…
7. Compare, Compare, Compare!
No one ever said budget travel in Europe was easy. Counting pennies comes with a lot of time spent crouching over your phone screen, figuring out the routes that are going to save you the maximum amount of time and money. Trip planning takes effort.
Sometimes booking through the airline’s or railway’s own website is the cheapest option; sometimes the best deals are found on third-party websites. Occasionally, a train can actually be a lot cheaper than a bus.
Sometimes – and this is a secret most hardcore shoestring sailors won’t tell you – it’s just simply better to choose the more expensive option, for the sake of pure convenience and your sanity.
Rome2Rio is a great planning tool when you’re trying to find routes from city to city and can give you approximate prices on both buses and trains. But you have to book tickets on the sites of the operators themselves. Omio (former GoEuro) shows you comparisons between train, bus, and air travel, but doesn’t actually show all available tickets from low-cost operators.
8. Take a Hike, Buddy
When you’re thinking about how to travel around Europe cheaply, long-distance hiking is actually a very viable option. If you can find a free camping spot, all you end up paying for is your food.
Obviously, it’s hard to cover long distances on foot. It IS slow as hell, but it is one of the most rewarding ways to travel I’ve ever tried.
Europe is a hikers’ wonderland. Long, well-established trails can be found almost in all countries, and many long-distance trails stretch over borders as well. Long-distance hiking might be an option for you if you’re already reasonably fit, you’re prepped for hiking abroad , and can carry all your stuff in one bag.
I’ve walked the famous Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain. While it did take over a month, it was a fantastic way to get a more detailed look into the life on the Spanish Northern Coast.
I’ve also hiked long stretches of Via Dinarica, a long-distance hiking trail going from Slovenia to Kosovo, and can vouch for it being one of the BEST ways to experience the Balkans .
We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.
Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!
9. Wheels Away
Are you a fan of the Queen song Bicycle Race? Then you’re probably a biking enthusiast.
Travelling long distances on a bicycle, AKA bikepacking, is becoming more and more popular in Europe. In general, Europeans LOVE biking which means that most cities are pretty bicycle-friendly.
Covering large-ish distances on a bike is not a superhuman feat either. You’ll likely encounter other adventurous cyclists around Europe too.
Some of the best destinations for bikepackers in Europe include Denmark, the Netherlands, France, and the UK. You can combine your biking adventures with camping to cut costs even more. Just make sure all your stuff fits in the bike bags, that you have a good bike for long-distance biking , and that you bring heaps of happy vibes with you.
10. Travel Eastern Europe
Okay, technically this isn’t a method of getting around… But it is possible to travel around Europe really damn cheaply if you head to the right side of the map. I’m talking about backpacking Eastern Europe , of course.
Most first-time backpackers head to Europe’s most touristed capitals to see the Colosseums and Mona Lisas that they know so well from other people’s stories. Eastern Europe might not have as many famous attractions as the most popular destinations but it has a LOT going for it.
Delicious food, fairytale towns, lack of hordes of tourists, excellent mountainage, and fascinating history? Sign me the fuck up.
Oh yeah, it’s also super cheap to travel. In some of the cheapest countries in Europe like Bulgaria, North Macedonia, or Georgia, you can spend as little as $20 per day!
Lastly… Travel Insurance is Very Much Recommended
It might seem counterintuitive to spend more money to save money. But trust me, travel insurance is the one thing that’s going to save you HEAPS if you ever end up needing it.
A savvy budget traveller should always consider getting a good travel insurance policy before leaving home. Health care in Europe is not usually full-bankruptcy-expensive (looking at you, USA…) but you never know what can happen on your adventures. Hospitalised by dodgy booze? Fell out of your top bunk? Bitten by a manic street dog?
World Nomads ’ mission is to support and encourage travellers to explore their boundaries. They offer simple & flexible travel insurance, and safety advice to help you travel confidently.
They’ve been doing it since 2002 – protecting, connecting, and inspiring independent travellers just like you.
Get a quote below or read our in-depth review!
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Travelling Europe really doesn’t have to feel like highway robbery. When you get the basics of budget travel in Europe down, spending the most minimal amount of money possible becomes second nature!
One thing that’ll surprise you about pro-level budgeting is that it’s hard work.
It takes a lot of time and effort to compare different route options and read through hostel reviews to make sure that booking cheap doesn’t mean that you’ll also book shitty.
When you’re hitchhiking and couchsurfing, you have to always be socially ON. (An introvert’s nightmare that can even terrify some real social butterflies like myself.) If you start noticing symptoms of a traveller’s burnout – it’s time to take a break.
Even when you’re travelling Europe on a shoestring budget, I always recommend having what I like to call “the fuck-it fund”, for days when you just gotta say, “ fuck it, I’m booking into a hotel” . A few days of stress-free spending makes for one happy budget backpacker and means that you get to keep going at your low-cost adventures all refreshed.
Travelling on a budget in Europe is not always the easiest feat. But as you’ve seen now, there are a lot of infrastructures that helps heaps if you’re trying to watch your spending.
And the best part? Everyone else is on a budget too! Bonding over shared cheapskating is a truly unique way to make friends on the road.
So gather up your pennies, book a budget bus, and get travelling!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
Share or save this post
i found it super hard to travel cheap in europe, everthing is just expensive 😀 i also start using this app ” ATM Fee saver” and i can highly recommend it to you! its briliant you will save some money on those ATM over there… check it out for further travels
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Cheapest 17 Countries In Europe To Visit In 2023
Who said Europe is not for on-budget travelers?
With approximately 700 million visitors annually , the tourism sector in Europe is booming. The fabulous continent features some top tourist locations in the world, from Bohemian Prague to lively Paris and from energetic Lisbon to timeless Rome. Travelers are advised to follow one basic rule to benefit the most from their trip to Europe: let one's heart serve as the guide rather than a travel guide. The European culture is a superb illustration of how the whole range of human abilities transcends language and geographical boundaries. No passionate traveler can resist the allure of this magnificent continent; it is more than simply another place to visit. However, the majority of the popular tourist destinations in Europe will also push travelers' financial limits. Therefore, tourists need to come up with new ideas and go to less-known but lovely European countries if they are seeking the most affordable destination to visit. Here are the cheapest 17 countries in Europe to visit in 2023.
Related: Are You Planning A Summer Trip To Europe? Here Is Where To Start
UPDATE: 2022/12/02 17:58 EST BY ROBYNNE TRUEMAN
More Affordable Countries To Visit In Europe In 2023
We want to keep all of our information and travel recommendations current to provide readers with useful tools to plan their trips. We have updated this list to include some exciting new destinations for 2023 that help backpackers get by on a budget in Europe.
Slovakia is a joy to discover since it is located in the middle of Europe. There are several intriguing historical sites and cultural icons for travelers to explore, including ancient castles and medieval villages hidden among its breathtaking surroundings. Wherever tourists walk, they will discover the country's rich history and legacy, and they will explore many local customs and traditions. Slovakia is endowed with some stunning landscapes in addition to its numerous old cities and villages, which are fascinating to visit.
- Top destinations: Spiš Castle , Orava Castle , Bratislava , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $106 per day
16 Czech Republic
Significant cultural and historical cities and landmarks may be found in the Czech Republic, a nation that has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. Prague is by far the most well-known tourist destination in the Czech Republic . The city is often regarded as one of the most stunning capitals in the world, with a well-maintained core. The country is rich also with bewitching scenery and natural beauty.
- Top destinations: St Vitus Cathedral , Charles Bridge , Prague Castle , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $87 per day
Estonia is wholly distinct, it doesn't need to fight to stand apart. The splendid allure of its capital Tallinn, designated as a UNESCO-protected Old Town , has captivated Europe visitors’ hearts. The hypnotic area is currently among the continent’s most alluring cities. In addition, Estonia's unpopulated countryside and huge tracts of woodland offer spiritual sustenance to those drawn to the outdoors in urban Europe.
- Top destinations: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral , Narva River , Tallinn, and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $85 per day
Montenegro is situated at the border of the east and west. The rugged mountains of this intriguing country have the most exquisite scars from the collision and smashing of numerous civilizations. Tourists may learn about the rich cultural heritage of Montenegro from vibrantly painted Orthodox monasteries, Roman floor mosaics, Venetian stone walls, Illyrian gray castles, ornate Catholic churches, humble and minimalist mosque minarets, as well as flat socialist-style structures.
- Top destinations: Budva , Kotor , Njegos Mausoleum , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $82 per day
Slovenia is the perfect destination for travelers seeking ideal green and safe getaway. The country is a marvelous symphony composed of elements from four separate worlds that is evident in the cuisine, culture, and natural wonders. Everywhere tourists go, they will find breathtaking scenery and boutique experiences, whether they like to take the well-traveled pathways or veer off the beaten path.
- Top destinations: Postojna Cave , Piran , Bled , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $72 per day
Related: Is One Week Enough To See Europe? Here's What To Consider
The best 3 words to describe Romania are "authentic", "natural", and "cultural". It is a vibrant nation steeped in history, arts, and stunning scenery. There are a ton of fascinating possibilities in Romania just waiting to be found. A magnificent panorama of lofty mountains and undulating hills is dotted with imposing stone cathedrals and dazzling monasteries. While lively Bucharest is full of vitality, Transylvanian communities have lost all sense of time.
- Top destinations: Sinaia , Oradea , Iași , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $60 per day
Hungary, a Central Europe country, has many interesting places to visit and is easy to access from Europe due to its strategic position. The nation is home to several little, charming towns as well as low mountain ranges, wonderful rivers, beautiful lakes, vast plains, and other incredible natural features.
- Top destinations: Budapest , Transdanubia , Lake Balaton , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $58 per day
Bulgaria is a diversely landscaped nation with a long history, which has left it rich in ancient culture and endowed with a beautiful natural environment. There is plenty to discover in this brave and lovely Balkan country with towering granite peaks housing magnificent mountains, enormous national parks where endangered species wander free, stretches of sandy beaches that embrace the Black Sea, along with remnants of the Soviet regime.
- Top destinations: Belogradchik Fortress , Melnik , Veliko Tarnovo , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $49 per day
Belarus, long considered by tourists an intriguing place, has suddenly become one of Europe's top destinations. Easy visa procedures, thriving café and art scenes, as well as friendly locals, all contribute to this surge. In addition, the capital Minsk is home to vibrant nightlife, world-class museums, and an outstanding collection of Stalin-era buildings.
- Top destinations: Mir Castle Complex , Nesvizh , Brest Fortress , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $68 per day
Lovely Poland has long been known for its hospitality. Today, hotels in large cities, manors, and castles in gorgeous settings, as well as the magnificent farms and rural vineyards, provide visitors the chance to experience this heartwarming conviviality. Polish delicious cuisine is inextricably related to their hospitality. This nation offers a wide range of attractions, including stunning national parks, historic towns, and unique culture.
- Top destinations: Warsaw , Kraków , Gdańsk , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $43 per day
In addition to being one of Europe's most reasonably priced travel destinations, Serbia is a bustling and raucous country that is small enough to allow travelers to experience both the urban sensuality of Belgrade and the slower pace of other towns or national parks in a matter of days. Serbia provides simple access to the diverse array of cultures and history that meet in this part of Europe.
- Top destinations: Belgrade , Novi Sad , Golubac Fortress , and many others.
- Budget: Approximately $28 per day
Portugal is probably the cheapest country in Western Europe. Its popular coastal city Porto is one of the most vibrant cities worth visiting in 2023, and the most convenient for budget travelers. Foodies and wine lovers often visit Porto and enjoy many of its attractions including the Cais da Ribeira and Ponte de Dom Luis I, leading to the Douro River. Some also enjoy a promenade on the riverside and admire the colorful houses, cafés, and shops. It is recommended to visit the Douro Valley, one of the world’s top wine regions , rich in history and nightlife.
- Top destinations: Lisbon , Porto, Algarve Coast
Many Spanish cities are worth visiting in Europe. However, Sevilla is one of the biggest cities in Spain and the cheapest as it offers an exceptional price for what someone can get. Sevilla is much cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona, yet still has a rich culture and is home to historic and cultural landmarks.
- Top destinations: Sevilla , Cordoba , White Towns of Andalusia
- Budget: Approximately $96 per day
Visiting Lithuania may not be at the top of many people's bucket lists, but for a budget destination in Europe, it has so much to offer. Located south of Latvia, the capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, a gorgeous city with baroque architecture and a medieval Old Town. This unassuming city is a hub for arts and culture, inspiring artists for centuries. Travelers can't miss the iconic landmarks of Vilnius including the Vilnius Cathedral and St. Anne's Church.
- Top destination: Vilnius
- Budget: Approximately $60-79 per day
Albania is an up-and-coming travel destination for 2023 with beautiful beaches, epic hiking trails, and charming old towns to discover. The best part of visiting is Albania is undoubtedly how far the American dollar stretches. Budget backpackers will want to add Tirana, Ksmail, Berat, and Shkodër to their itineraries. Ksamil has gorgeous beaches while hiking in Shkodër (from Theth) is an epic adventure.
- Top destinations: Tirana, Ksamil, Shkodër, Saranda
- Budget: Approximately $46 per day
Latvia is often overlooked in favor of its (also lesser-known) neighbor, Estonia . However, Latvia is a great destination to consider for budget travel in Europe in 2023 due to low prices and a lively, culturally rich capital city. The capital, Riga, has a historic city center and stunning Art Noveau architecture. It's also one of the greenest countries in Europe with forest covering almost 45% of the nation.
- Top destinations: Riga, Jurmala
Ancient and modern Greece has a fascinating story to tell. Athens, its beautiful capital is one of the cheapest European cities to fly into in 2023, and home to the world’s oldest statues, temples and monuments. People visit this beautiful open-air museum to learn about a history that spans millennia and visit the Acropolis ancient citadel, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena Nike, and many other significant monuments.
- Top destinations: Athens , Milos, Paros
- Budget: Approximately $99 per day
Wealth of Geek$
Affordable European Travel: Destinations for the Perfect Honeymoon on a Budget
Posted: October 24, 2023 | Last updated: October 24, 2023
Despite the uptick in travel costs, it’s possible to go on a European honeymoon without breaking the bank. With the Euro and the U.S. dollar hovering around parity and new low-cost airlines making it easier to get over the pond, couples can plan the honeymoon of their dreams even with a more limited budget.
If you’re interested in ideas for an affordable yet unforgettable European honeymoon, we have some information you won’t want to miss.
Flying To European Destinations Can Be Affordable
By saving money on flights, newlyweds can say “I do” to a honeymoon in Europe. Low-cost Icelandic airline PLAY offers cheap flights and no-frills service to romantic destinations such as Paris, Barcelona, and London. Their paradigm is that by paying less, you can play more. Their New York Stewart, Boston, and D.C. flights connect through Iceland to many different destinations in Europe. PLAY frequently runs offers from the United States to Europe so you can snag more a more affordable flight and save some cash for your getaway.
If you plan a honeymoon in the shoulder or off-season, you can also score more affordable flights on traditional airline carriers.
Milan is the place to be if you want a less touristy city. It is the architecture, food, and fashion capital of Italy.
Milan is one of the cheapest countries to fly to in Europe. There are numerous flights from JFK via American, Delta, and Alitalia. The best time of the year to score a cheap flight will be January and February.
A city full of canals, impressive churches, and Danish food, Copenhagen competes with Helsinki as one of the happiest cities in the world. Copenhagen offers stunning Danish cuisine, beautiful churches, and museums.
With round-trip flights to Copenhagen ranging from $300 to $ 850, you can save extra cash to keep your wallet happy and indulge in Danish culture.
London is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, offering a wide range of hotels and price points. Use the extra cash to explore attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the Greenwich walking tour. Or enjoy a romantic evening observing the city from The London Eye, one of the world’s tallest Ferris Wheels.
Rome is a city like no other, where emperors ruled and gladiators fought. As a major European city, it hosts a hub for ITA Airways and Vueling Airlines, with cheap flight options to the rest of Europe.
Round-trip flights can range from $345 to 850 from many of the major cities in North America.
Many people have talked about moving to Portugal, but you may be asking why. Lisbon sits in the most affordable country in Europe, boasting excellent weather and fantastic food, and it is close to many other European countries like France and Spain .
There’s only one way to know why everyone you know has just returned or is planning a trip to Portugal!
Amsterdam features 16th-century architecture, romantic canals, museums, and even the Stroop Waffle. Amsterdam has the third busiest airport in the world, with direct flights from 19 U.S. cities, making it a great entry point into Europe. With round-trip flights ranging from $300-900, it’s possible to find one within your budget.
Paris is an iconic Europe destination that screams expensive. But it’s possible to book an affordable flight. Use the money you save on airfare to visit cafes, have a romantic dinner at one of the fine French cuisine restaurants, and tour any of the city’s finest sites like the Louvre, Versailles Palace, and the Eiffel Tower.
Madrid is full of world-class attractions, fantastic food, and plenty of soccer, all in one of the cheapest major cities in Europe. A round-trip ticket in the offseason to go to Madrid can range from $400 to $800. With the many airlines flying through Madrid, there are plenty of opportunities to find a great flight deal .
The home to the Guinness brewery, impressive castles, and excellent countryside, Dublin is a Medieval city with picturesque views and so much more. The round-trip tickets can go for as little as $400 to $500.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful European cities, with fantastic architecture, stunning beaches, and more great soccer. Catching a flight from NYC or Boston to Barcelona can be as cheap as a $300-700 round trip. With Iberia, Vueling, and LEVEL bringing about cheap fares, it is a perfect time to book that trip to Spain!
Looking for more adventures, then visit Iceland. Reykjavik can be the cheapest European city to fly to from North America, with PLAY offering some shockingly low fares. You can see geysers in the Golden Circle, relax in the Blue Lagoon, and enjoy an adventure-packed trip for cheaper than you may think!
Oslo brings city life to nature. It is surrounded by forest hills perfect for hiking and a waterfront where people swim and kayak. Travelers can find affordable round-trip tickets from North America for as little as $550, helping to offset the high prices commonly found once you’re in Oslo.
Helsinki has become one of the cheapest European cities to fly into. Round-trip flights from NYC, Boston, and LAX can range from $600-800. Ranked as one of the happiest cities in the world, see for yourself what it is all about.
A city transforming into one with a fun night scene and a blossoming foodie scene, Zurich draws visitors from all over. Stroll the shops set amongst the scenery of the lake and snow-capped Alps mountains.
Even though Switzerland is an expensive country, there are cheap flights to be found. Flying on Swiss Airlines, you could find flights ranging from $540 to $700 round trip with other options available.
A modern city full of glass, steel, museums, and shopping avenues, Frankfurt especially comes alive in December. With the third busiest airport in Europe, competition among the airlines has created lower fares for budget-conscious travelers.
Istanbul has it all; architecture, 2500 years of history, and cuisine from many lands. As a bustling metropolis, Istanbul invites people from far and wide to visit, admire, and enjoy the cultural melting pot. As the central hub of Turkish Airlines, the world’s largest fleet of airplanes, you can be connected to other destinations for a more extended honeymoon.
Warsaw may not be on everyone’s bucket list, but it should. This city has beautiful landmarks, incredible old town streets, active parks, and traditional Polish Cuisine. As one of the cheapest European cities to fly into, it will not break the bank to experience the extraordinary Polish epicenter.
A world-class city with history, museums, palaces, and so much more, Vienna has magic that is often overlooked. It has been ranked the most livable city in the world, bringing many people through and acting as another cheaper entry point into Europe.
If you want history, architecture, food, and great beer, look no further than Prague . It is one of the most affordable cities in Europe, showing off its beauty with beautiful castles, fantastic 16th and 17th-century architecture, and unique beer at great prices.
Stockholm is where fashion, music, technology, and nature all exist in a destination that genuinely welcomes anyone. Stockholm is full of hip bars, dining, and luxury shopping close to nature, offering splendid views and hikes. Stockholm is not on the cheap side of European cities, but more affordable flight options make a trip possible for a broader range of travelers.
Known as the “Pearl of the Danube,” Budapest is an affordable, vibrant, and dynamic city. It comes with lively nightlife, great food, incredible architecture, and a rich history. The town is known as one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
Athens, Greece, is a city full of culture, historical landmarks, and Greek culture. Experience the picturesque town through neighborhoods like Plaka, with museums, taverns, and beautiful restaurants. Visit the marketplace, where Socrates and Plato would have great debates, and visit many ancient landmarks. Flying to Athens can be a cheap trip during off-season months if you can travel outside of summer, helping you save across the board.
More From Wealth of Geeks - Most Haunted Places in All 50 States
Most Haunted Places in All 50 States
More From Wealth of Geeks - Ten Fall Activities in Pigeon Forge, TN
More From Wealth of Geeks - Fall in New England: 11 of The Best Places To See Fall Leaves
Fall in New England: 11 of The Best Places To See Fall Leaves
More for You
Ravens take down Bengals as Joe Burrow's exit makes big impact
Satya Nadella instructed Microsoft to design its own silicon chip—and it could end Nvidia’s stranglehold over the sector
Newly released audio reveals Trump’s words about January 6 crowd
Social Security Update As Millions To Receive 2 December Payments
Where are the Hamas fighters?
Friday night's meteor shower could be spectacular. Here's when to watch and where to look.
Leaked coup tapes upend the Georgia RICO case: Melber Report
Chilling map shows the utter devastation of a nuclear attack on the US
It’s not just a stereotype: Gen Z really does ‘have a work ethic problem’
Boeing 787 Becomes Largest Passenger Plane To Land In Remote Antartica
Experts raise alarm after Biden strikes agreement with China to shut down fossil fuels
FDA recalls another 27 eye drop products: What you need to know as a consumer
Trump 'made his own bed,' cannot add witness for writer's trial - judge
Iran's betrayal leaves Hamas nowhere to go
2024 NFL first-round mock draft: Three QBs in the top 10
Fox Sports Anchor Admits to Making Up Reports as a Sideline Reporter
Significant storm to blast Northeast, Midwest just before Thanksgiving
Maria Menounos had pancreatic cancer symptoms for a year. Doctors said ‘everything's fine’
While Dodging a Shutdown, Congress May Have Just Given Some Jan. 6 Rioters a Break
The seven new types of old age – and how to tell which one you are
Photo Credit: Photo credit: Getty Images
The Cheapest European Cities To Fly To Before The End Of The Year
As summer travel to Europe surges, the autumn and winter seasons promise exceptional opportunities for those seeking transatlantic adventures due to declining costs, particularly in airfare. Fall, as a non-peak season, consistently offers more budget-friendly travel. Domestic flight ticket prices are approximately 10% lower than their summer peaks, and international flight costs are decreasing by 5%. To secure the best flight deals, consider broadening your destination search. You can also explore various departure airports, remain flexible with your travel dates, and utilize price alert tools.
Here are five of the most economical European cities to fly into this season.
Hamburg, Germany: A Hub of Fall Charm
Though Oktoberfest has concluded, Hamburg offers a slew of classic fall activities. Visitors can partake in apple-picking Halloween festivities and revel in winter coziness within its inviting cafes. Exploring the city’s multicultural culinary scene is a must, where a world of flavors awaits. For a dose of history, embark on day trips to neighboring castles and palaces. Include the splendid Ludwigslust Castle, often referred to as the “Versailles of the North.”
Ibiza, Spain: Beyond Summer Parties
Ibiza is renowned for its extravagant summer clubs and parties. However, visiting the Balearic island in autumn or winter reveals another dimension of its charm. Fewer crowds pave the way for restaurant reservations at fine dining establishments, and Ibiza hosts the annual Ibiza Sabor food festival throughout October. This season also beckons to hiking or biking across the island, as the milder temperatures provide an ideal setting for beach outings now and then.
Oslo, Norway: A Cultural Hub with Natural Beauty
The Norwegian capital, Oslo, serves as a cultural hub with a thriving urban core and seamless access to nature, making it an exceptional fall destination. If the chilly weather gives you pause, explore one of Oslo’s remarkable museums, such as the Munch Museum or the Museum of the Viking Age. Those willing to brave the outdoors may be rewarded with natural wonders ranging from whale sightings to appearances of the mesmerizing northern lights.
Florence, Italy: Harvest Season in Tuscany
Late summer transitioning into fall marks the harvest season in Tuscany. Florence provides an ideal home base for forays into the picturesque countryside. It’s a season of grapes, truffles, olives, and grains, promising delectable meals everywhere you turn in the region. The lighter crowds make this an excellent time to explore some of Florence’s most renowned sites, from the Uffizi Gallery to the Duomo.
Brussels, Belgium: Embrace Fall with a Walk in the Park
Brussels parks are at their finest during the fall season, and a leisurely walk is best enjoyed with a rain jacket in tow, just in case. Opt for the 18th-century Park Royale, the fall-foliage-rich Park of Tervuren, or the English-style Bois de la Cambre. As the temperature drops, indulge in a cup of hot chocolate from one of the numerous chocolate shops or savor a Belgian beer at a local bar.
Yacht Very Boogie! Bougie & Abroad Blavity #Shorts
Revealed: The cheapest - and most expensive - European places for a holiday in 2023
As the cost of living continues to surge, holidays are getting more expensive. But these locations won't break the bank.
Demand for holidays abroad in 2023 is close to hitting pre-pandemic levels according to tour operators and travel agents.
But with bookings surging, the price of taking a trip away is also on the rise.
Many travellers are struggling to match the price hike, especially living costs and inflation so high.
Helpfully, the UK’s Post Office has released its annual Holiday Money Report to help budget holidaymakers make savvy destination choices.
Here are the three places in Europe for a cheap holiday , as well as the European country that ranks as the world’s most expensive destination.
- ‘I hate Europeans sometimes’: Waiter calls out stingy tipping culture - but are we really that bad?
- Ouigo, Avlo and Lumo: These cheap European train companies are competing with budget airlines
What are the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe in 2023?
The Holiday Money Report, published by the Post Office each year, ranks worldwide destinations in terms of affordability .
The bad news is, prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples have risen in 80 per cent of resorts and cities worldwide.
On the plus side, the surge in the sterling’s value will help the holiday budget stretch further in some destinations this year.
Despite the rising costs, the Post Office found that Britons are prioritising trips away and only 27 per cent of those surveyed expect to cut back on holiday spending this year.
Many, however, say they will need to start saving earlier this year to afford their trip while 43 per cent are opting for holidays abroad because they cost less than UK breaks .
To find the world’s cheapest destinations for 2023, the report compared the costs of eight staple tourist items including coffee, beer, sun cream and a three-course meal.
Turkey’s Marmaris is the cheapest holiday destination in Europe for 2023
For sunshine and sea on a shoestring, Turkey’s Turquoise Coast awaits.
Marmaris, a beach resort of cobalt water and glitzy marinas, ranks as the cheapest holiday destination in Europe according to the survey.
The coastal hotspot took the top spot last year, but has slipped to second place in 2023 despite the Turkish lira being cheaper.
Like many places, prices have more than doubled since last year because of inflation and a 55 per cent rise in the minimum wage paid in bars and restaurants.
That said, you can get a coffee for £1.45 (€1.65), a bottle of beer for just under £3 (€3.40) and a three-course meal for two people including house wine for around £40 (€45.60).
Portugal’s Algarve has the cheapest coffee and wine
If you like bargain beverages, Portugal’s Algarve offers the best value for money.
It ranked as the cheapest destination in the Eurozone in the Holiday Money Report, although prices have risen by a third since last year.
However, the coastline of rugged rock formations and whitewashed houses boasts the cheapest coffee at £0.81 (€0.92) and wine at £1.81 (€2.06) of all the destinations worldwide.
Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach is best for cheap meals
In Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach on the edge of the Black Sea, eating and drinking is also pleasantly affordable.
A cup of coffee at the coastal resort costs just £0.96 (€1.09) while a bottle of beer is £1.91 (€2.18).
- Summer prices are soaring: Here’s how to book a cheap holiday in 2023
- Rail fares across Europe: The countries with the most expensive train tickets
Sunny Beach is the cheapest place in Europe for a three-course meal for two with wine at just over £36 (€41). That’s good news for travellers looking to try the locally-caught seafood.
Don’t forget to finish your dinner with a shot of rakia, a Bulgarian brandy made from fermented fruit .
Iceland’s Reykjavik is the most expensive holiday destination in 2023
Coming in at the bottom of the rankings worldwide is Reykjavik in Iceland .
The capital city of striking modern architecture and geothermal swimming pools is one of the most expensive places to eat and drink in Europe.
Reykjavik has a burgeoning craft beer scene and a vibrant nightlife but evenings out might weigh heavily on your wallet - a bottle of beer or a glass of wine will set you back nearly £9 (€10.25).
If you’re thinking of eating out, be prepared for a bill of around £136 (€156) for a three-course meal for two with house wine .
You might also like
Why you should think twice before using Google Maps for your hike
Volcano tourism: Can you visit Sicily’s Mount Etna during an eruption?
Thailand’s ‘floating train’ is a unique railway experience
- Travel recommendations
- The taste of travel
- Tips & tricks
- Travel experiences
The Cheapest European Destinations to Fly To from Every State
Good news for Americans this summer: 2018 is your year to plan a European getaway. According to our data, median airfare to many European cities is the cheapest we’ve seen in 3 summers . Across the board, low-cost carriers and new flight routes are making travel across the pond even easier (and less expensive).
So start planning now . We found that overall interest in travel to Europe is up 27% since 2016 — the highest we’ve seen for summertime. And to help you plan your Eurotrip confidently, we gathered up the cheapest European flights you can take from every. single. state. Whether you dream of snacking on brie by the River Seine or riding the graffitied trolleys of Lisbon, now’s your time to make it happen.
- Iceland is a keeper. A third of the airports we looked at came back as Reykjavik being the cheapest destination to fly to. Here are our top tips to plan the perfect Icelandic getaway.
- Make way Dublin. Though Reykjavik is the clear winner when it comes to the cheapest destination for most US airports, Dublin is a close second. Good news is, this historic city of Joyce and Guinness has been undergoing a decidedly modern update over the past few years. Plus, some of the major groups have been opening up new hotels in this once-room-strapped city.
- Stay North and West. With a few exceptions (hello, Budapest), the cheapest fares seem to be found on travels to Northern and Western Europe. But don’t let that deter you from your dreams of walking Prague’s Charles Bridge. Our Anywhere tool can help you figure out if you’ve found a good deal.
- Book ahead. Our general guideline for European travel is to book 6 months ahead for the lowest fares. As we’re already well within that window, now’s the time to get booking.
- Rent it out. Several of the top cities on our list below (we’re looking at you, Reykjavik), may be cheap to fly to but are notoriously expensive once you get there. One way to cut down costs is to opt for a vacation rental over a traditional hotel room. We’ve got you covered .
The Cheapest European Destination for All 50 States
Note: For states without an international airport, we’re using the closest major airport.
Not seeing a destination that fits your budget? Use our Explore tool to see where you can fly to (at home or abroad) that fits your wallet.
All data is based on median airfares conducted from KAYAK US and is intended to be used as a guide. Travel dates are May 25, 2018 – September 3, 2018, and search dates are February 21, 2017 – February 21, 2018. The Top 10 European Cities (of the top 200 most searched European Cities with a minimum 50 clicks) was pulled for the top 3 international airports in each US State. All flights considered are economy, round-trip. Prices and availability subject to change.
About the author
Explore more articles
- How we work
- Hotel owners
- Advertise with us
- Airline fees
- Low fare tips
- Badges & Certificates
- Terms & Conditions
Do not sell my info ON
* The definition of "sale" under the California Consumer Privacy Act is applicable only to California consumers.
This Is the Best European City for Expats
By Connor Sturges
Whether it’s in pursuit of a new community, better weather, or a new adventure, there are many reasons people pack up their lives and become expats. And it seems like the idea of moving to a new country is more appealing than ever—and gone are the days when it was reserved for retired people . With remote work becoming a more viable option for people of all ages experiencing wanderlust in their hearts, the possibility of the expat lifestyle is now more within reach than ever.
Ever thought about moving to Europe ? Who hasn’t? But the challenge would be where to move. A recent Travel Far and Wide study might have the answer, having ranked key European cities by affordability , walkability , and happiness scores.
A version of this article originally appeared in Condé Nast Traveller UK .
10. Zürich, Switzerland
Zürich secures 10th place and is the first of four Swiss cities to feature on the list. Happiness and walkability scored top marks, but the notoriously high cost of living let the city down. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment here costs $2,032.52, the most expensive of any top 10 destination. That said, the average monthly salary is a whooping $6,838.09, so pre-retirement expats should still have lots of spare change to experience all that Switzerland’s largest city offers.
A street scene from Basel, Switzerland
9. Basel, Switzerland
The second Swiss destination to make the top 10 is Basel, often regarded as the cultural capital of Switzerland . The art crowds descend on the city each year for Art Basel, and there’s no shortage of stunning architecture; marvel at the city’s intricate structures while sipping coffee on the banks of the Rhine. Rent is considerably cheaper in Basel than in Zürich at $1,268.75, although the city scored the lowest for nightlife at just two points.
8. Vienna, Austria
The only Austrian city on the list is by no means the most affordable European city for the everyday traveller, but it’s a different story for expats in Vienna . The average cost to rent a one-bed apartment is $925.93—the cheapest on the list—while the estimated monthly cost of living is $3463.33.
A vineyard in Stuttgart, Germany
7. Stuttgart, Germany
The sixth-largest city in Germany is another popular destination for expats searching for a better quality of living. The city scores top marks for walkability and four out of five for happiness and nightlife. The south German city is notably cheaper than its Swiss counterparts, but it relatively has the worst safety index out of all the top 10 at 67.88.
The colorful traditional Houses of Copenhagen at sunset
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
The capital of Denmark is an increasingly popular travel destination—millions of tourists a year visit the beautiful gardens, historic palaces and fascinating museums each year. However, Copenhagen ’s charm attracts more expats than ever, thanks to safe streets, a high happiness score, and high average wages ($5,112.89 a month).
5. Munich, Germany
Munich may have a reputation as Germany’s party town, thanks to the millions of tourists that descend each year to experience the raucous Oktoberfest celebrations. Still, the historic city is also a great place for folks looking to relocate. The safety index is a solid 80.65, while the average cost of a monthly travel pass is just $69 (nice). Naturally, Munich scores top marks for nightlife, while the happiness index is also five out of five.
Mid-afternoon at Nerudova Street in Prague, Czech Republic
4. Prague, Czech Republic
Forget everything you think you know about Prague. Yes, it does remain one of the most popular destinations in Europe for bachelor parties, but this plays into the city’s favor when it comes to nightlife (top marks, of course). Where Prague excels is in its affordability factor. It’s the cheapest city in the top ten to rent a one-bed apartment at an average of $1,057.61 a month, and the estimated monthly cost of living for an expat is just $2,231.10. Salaries are considerably less than in Switzerland and Austria, but this is all relative; monthly travel could set you back just $25.53.
The Untertorbrucke Bridge over the Aare River, in Bern, Switzerland
3. Bern, Switzerland
Switzerland ’s capital is one of Europe’s key business hubs, so it’s little surprise this is where the most significant average salaries are found ($6,686.48). The average rent is almost half that of Zürich’s at $1,325.07, while the moderate travel and monthly living costs are also slightly cheaper. Bern is built around a crook along the Aare River, and some areas date back to the 12th century, making it a great place to settle for lovers of history and architecture.
The shore of Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the Alps in the background
2. Lausanne, Switzerland
If one thing’s evident from the Travel Far and Wide study, it’s that Switzerland could be Europe’s most livable country for expats in search of a better quality of life—even though this city just misses out on the top spot. Lausanne scores top marks for happiness, nightlife and walkability, while the safety index scores 73.86. Expats expect an average monthly salary of $5,718.46 and a cost of living clocking in at $3,917.70 a month.
1. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is officially Europe’s best city for expats, scoring a high 75.21 out of 100 for safety and perfect ratings for happiness, walkability and nightlife. Public transport costs are surprisingly reasonable, while the average one-bed rental costs an average of $1,061.50 a month—considerably less than many of the other contenders in the top ten. The monthly cost of living is around $2,850.92, while the average salary is $3,401.03, leaving lots of disposable income to explore all this beautiful city offers.
Hotel Violino d’Oro: First In
Europe Travel Guide