Travel in Europe doesn’t have to be expensive! We’ve partnered with adventure travel expert Jeremy Scott Foster from TravelFreak, as he talks about some of the cheapest places to travel in Europe this year.
There’s no doubt that traveling around Europe can be expensive. Long-distance flights, pricey hotels, and fancy dinners can add up faster than you thought. And while Europe is home to some of the most expensive countries in the world, it’s also home to some of the cheapest. Traveling doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you look for the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
The truth is, the cost of your trip will depend on how you travel and where you travel to. If you know where you look, you can trek through some of the cheapest countries in Europe without burning through all your hard earned Euros.
Bulgaria consistently tops the list of cheapest countries in Europe, and for a good reason! No matter where you go in the country, you can find a good deal on accommodations, food, and entertainment.
The capital of Sofia is the perfect destination for a city getaway. But, if you’re looking to soak in a bit of sun, then head to the coastal town of Sunny Beach. It’s been named Europe’s cheapest resort destination four years in a row.
Hungary is considered one of the cheapest countries in Europe year after year. Although most travelers flock to Budapest for the thermal baths, grandiose cathedrals, and thriving nightlife, they often skip Hungary’s other cool towns and villages. The neighboring cities of Pécs, Miskolc, and Eger are also worth visiting.
For cheap flight deals to Hungary, check out Wizz Air, a low-cost airline based out of Budapest. Wizz Air flies to over 60 destinations, so you can easily get to Hungary no matter where you are in Europe.
And to top it off, Hungary has some of the cheapest dining options in Europe. You can eat like a King for just a few Euros (and yes, that’s including a bottle of local beer)!
If you want to visit one of the cheapest cities in Europe, look no further than Bucharest. Romania’s capital city is a must-see for any traveler on a budget.
Staying in the city is extremely affordable, with shared hostel rooms starting at just a few bucks a day. But if you’re looking to splurge, you can also book the best room in a luxury 5-star hotel without breaking the bank.
4. Czech Republic
Known for its gothic cathedrals and medieval castles, Prague remains one of the top tourist destinations in the Czech Republic. Although the capital city is considered one of the cheapest cities in Europe, it can still be 50-100% more expensive than other places in the country.
Your dollar will stretch much further if you choose to stay outside Prague. Český Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, and Brno are other beautiful and affordable cities that you’ll find in the Czech Republic.
But no matter where you are in the country, you can always count on cheap food and drinks. The Czechs aren’t lying when they say that their beer is cheaper than water!
Although Poland’s trains are less advanced than other European countries, they’re still an affordable option if you know where to look. By purchasing the weekend ticket (Bilet Weekendowy), you’ll have unlimited rides on most trains throughout the whole country.
Even the country’s top attractions are cheap! Most of Poland’s monuments and buildings are free to visit, and Government run museums offer free entrance at least once a week. With all that saved money, you can buy a few extra beers (which are also ridiculously cheap!).
Although Bratislava is Slovakia’s capital and largest city, many travelers breeze right past it on their way to Vienna or Budapest. Despite the lack of tourists, this charming city is worth exploring for a few days if you’re looking for a more affordable option in Europe.
While hotels in Slovakia are fairly cheap compared to the rest of Europe, the cost of food and drink is the real bargain in Bratislava. For €5, you can enjoy several bottles of beer or even a three-course lunch.
Iceland may not be the cheapest country to visit, but it can be the cheapest place to fly into Europe. Because of Iceland’s geographical location, it’s easy to find affordable tickets from North America to Europe by flying through beautiful Reykjavik.
However, you can save even more money with Icelandair’s Stopover Program. Before jumping on your connecting flight to Europe, enjoy a layover in Iceland at no additional cost. That’s like going on an extra vacation for free!
From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the ancient monuments of Rome, it’s easy to see why Italy is one of Europe’s top destinations for travelers. Unfortunately, this means that hotels and restaurants can be extremely expensive during high season. Despite these high costs, Italy still remains one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe.
If you want to travel to Italy on a budget, your best bet is flying into Milan. Milan has not one, but three international airports. And, it’s easy to find a low-cost budget flight that flies into one of them.
Once you’ve landed, getting around Italy is also easy and affordable. Most cities and villages are connected by Italy’s rail system. If you book early enough, you can snag great deals on domestic train tickets.
If you’re looking for pristine beaches, delicious street food, and an endless supply of wine, then make sure to add Portugal to your travel itinerary. It’s surprisingly one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe.
Portugal’s national airlines, TAP Air Portugal, has some of the best airfare deals around. Their prices are often lower than other European budget airlines, making it easy and affordable to fly into the country.
Even Lisbon and Porto, Portugal’s largest cities, are cheap to visit. Hotels and hostels are competitively priced year round, so you can save money even during the busy summer months.
Albania is a country that is often overlooked in favor of Croatia and Greece. However, this hidden gem on the Balkan Peninsula has some of the most striking (and least crowded) coastlines in all of Europe. This means you can enjoy a relaxing beach holiday without spending too much cash.
And unlike most vacation destinations, you can stay in a luxury hotel or resort on the Albanian Riveria for cheap. On the other hand, you can save a few extra bucks by staying in a hostel. Albania’s hostels are known for being clean, comfortable, and very affordable.
London is notoriously known for being one of the most expensive cities in Europe. However, if you book the right deal, you can find extremely cheap flights to Europe from the US by flying into London first.
With a flight leaving every minute from one of the city’s five international airports, London is by far the busiest aviation hub in the world. For this reason, it’s one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe. Therefore, you shouldn’t have a problem scoring a good deal on flights.
Depending on where you go, Greece can be one of the cheapest countries to travel in Europe. Although it’s possible to splurge on high-end hotels and fancy dinners, you can still travel through Greece on a budget.
One of the biggest misconceptions about traveling through Greece is the high cost of getting to the Greek Islands. But in reality, getting to the islands doesn’t have to be expensive. To save money, consider traveling by ferry or boat. Although the one-way journey can take several hours, it’s far cheaper than flying to Santorini or Mykonos during peak time.
Thanks to its central location, Dublin is a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of Ireland and Europe. Dublin Airport is served by several budget airlines like RyanAir and Airlingus, making it one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe.
However, if you’re interested in staying a few days in Dublin, keep in mind that it can be an expensive city. Save money by booking shared a dorm room in a hostel, or by taking advantage of the city’s bike share program for transportation.
If you book early enough, you can find some amazing airfare deals from the US to Germany. And once you’re in Germany, it’s easy to travel using one of the country’s low-cost carriers, like Eurowings, Condor, AIR Berlin and Germanwings.
But why fly when you can travel on one of the most efficient railway systems in Europe? The German railway system is every bit as clean, safe, and fast as you think it would be. Not to mention, riding the train offers you unparalleled views of the Alps and the Danube river.
Eastern Europe is home to some of the cheapest cities in Europe, and Ljubljana, Slovenia is no exception. With turquoise lakes, snow-capped mountains, and medieval castles, it’s easy to see why Ljubljana attracts millions of backpackers and travelers each year. And, the cost to travel to Ljubljana is considerably cheaper compared to its neighboring countries like Austria and Italy.
Ljubljana is well connected by train, so traveling outside the country is just as easy as it is affordable. But if you want to spend a few days exploring the rest of Slovenia, you’ll find that traveling by bus is the cheapest way to go.
Spain has something for every type of traveler, from breathtaking architecture to mouth-watering cuisine. And best of all, Spain can be extremely cheap.
If a beach holiday is up your ally, then consider spending time on Mallorca or the Canary Islands. Even during high season, you can always find affordable flight deals from Europe.
And who’s says dining in Spain has to be expensive? In some regions around Spain, bars hand out small snacks, or tapas, for free when you order a drink. And we’re talking generous portions of croquetas, fried potatoes, and even paella!
With glistening waters, sandy beaches, and cascading waterfalls, Croatia is a traveler’s dream. While you could easily spend hundreds of dollars traveling through this Adriatic country, it’s definitely possible to do Croatia on a budget.
Although Dubrovnik is worth a visit, crowds of tourists tend to drive up the prices of hotels and restaurants. Your money will go a lot further if you spend time in cities such as Zagreb or Split. And if you choose to visit Croatia during the offseason, you can still enjoy the islands and coastlines without the high costs associated with them.
As you can see, there are numerous places to see in Europe that are wallet-friendly. Now that you know it’s possible to explore Europe on a budget, you’ll have to face the most challenging task: Deciding where to go!
Jeremy Scott Foster of TravelFreak is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.