Europe is no longer the playground of the rich. It’s a budget traveler’s dream-come-true as well, as we’ll prove to you.
Europe, on the one hand, is a terrific mix of landscape, history, culture, and architecture. On the other hand, it’s this monster that gobbles up cash as fast as you’re able to dole it out.
And it’s hard to know the right way to navigate across this interesting continent, with so many diverse countries crammed side by side, each with its own distinct language, history, and way of life. The good news is that limited-budget travelers can comfortably conquer this labyrinth of countries without exhausting their bank accounts.
I know sticking to a daily allowance isn’t easy, so visiting Europe on a budget is tricky. However, as long as you curtail that spend instinct at Europe’s incredible shopping destinations, restaurants, and bars, you should be able to get by on less in this magnificent continent.
1. Budapest, Hungary
The lovely Danube River cuts through the twin cities of Buda and Pest, giving you one capital city – Budapest. If you want to enjoy a more dignified, suburban experience, go to Buda. This is the side where you’ll find the Presidential Palace and the historic Buda Castle. Towards evening, cross the river and get to Pest, where an exciting night of entertainment and excitement awaits you.
Budapest is a very stable city and great for travelers. It’s also very affordable, and very easily navigable, which is important for visitors. You’ll find friendly hostels, home-stays and Airbnb’s here that are reasonably priced. Food is also fairly economical – the best option would be to buy fresh food off a farm and slap some basic meals together.
2. The Czech Republic
If you love artisan beer, then a visit to Prague is a must. The Czech Republic invented Pilsner and is still producing some cool local beers, and at good prices.
In this country, when you get the urge to drink, you can find traditional beer halls, a whole range of microbreweries and monastery taverns. Check out the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň to taste the original Pilsner. While you’re at it, you can check out lesser-known breweries which produce a good bottle.
Stays and food are relatively cheap here, so if you’re careful with the drink to spend, you’ll do fine. Be sure to include a visit to the Czech Republic as you travel to Europe on a budget.
3. Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia
North Macedonia’s true jewel is the enormous, deep, and richly-blue Lake Ohrid. At Ohrid Town, you’ll find a Roman amphitheater, a fortress you can climb, and frescoed medieval churches. The lake will pull you back, time and again, to its pristine blue depths. You can boat on it, or swim in it if it’s not too cold.
There are lodges and home-stay options near the lake, in case you want to stay close to it. Stay at one of the cheap rooms for rent and explore the nearby Galičica National Park to your heart’s content.
4. Lviv, Ukraine
Lviv offers an excellent taste of Central Europe, situated as it is close to Kraków and Budapest. You’ll find Polish, Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian influences in the magnificent churches.
Ukraine is definitely a cheap destination – one of the cheapest in Europe. You’ll find a number of backpacker hostels here, plus cool cheap coffee houses and quirky bars. Ukraine’s wonderful culture, music, folk dances, and unique art will capture your imagination.
While you’re visiting Europe on a budget and you get to Lviv, do try on one of their national costumes and take selfies.
5. Estonia’s Baltic Coast
If you want to explore beautiful stretches of coastline, lushly forested national parks and pristine islands, head to this region. Estonia’s Baltic Coast is just an hour from Tallinn. You can explore the national parks by foot or by bike, and bicycle the many coastal paths, discovering delightful hidden coves, fishing villages, and beaches.
Stay is cheap here – if you want to rough it out, you can sleep at farms, or even camp out. You can even enjoy a very affordable spa treatment on the island of Saaremaa!
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Tourism is a bit down in Turkey right now owing to the currency downfall but you can take advantage of that.
If you visit now, Istanbul is an amazing bargain city, with hotels, hostels, and homestays being more affordable than ever before.
This atmospheric city has no shortage of mosques, Ottoman markets, museums and more. You can enjoy a nice long stay in Turkey without breaking the bank.
7. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is a tourist-friendly city but because it’s a little out-of-the-way, it doesn’t get as many tourists as it deserves. It’s a charming city, and a good bargain when it comes to budget travelers.
There are several excellent and cheap hostels that try to outdo each other by offering lower rates and better amenities. You, the visitor, will be the ultimate winner of this competition. This port city has many wonderful attractions and is rich in history and culture.
Discover Portugal’s travel costs to better plan your budget!
8. Andalucía, Spain
Andalucía is definitely more budget-conscious when compared to Madrid and Barcelona. Explore the beautiful showpiece cities of Seville, Granada, and Córdoba, with grand monuments from their Moorish past. Be sure to visit the city of Málaga, the birthplace of Picasso. The burgeoning art scene here is sure to thrill. The port city of Cádiz is budget-friendly and interesting.
For a couple of euros, you can enjoy tapas. Home-stays and farm-stays are available, so do check them out. Be sure to apply for your Schengen Visa in Dubai to explore Spain this summer.
Discover Spain’s travel costs to plan your budget easily!
9. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is one of the most-visited cities among those traveling to Europe on a budget. The economy is booming. The museums and the concerts and endless things to do are major draws for visitors.
Every attraction, even top museums, and operas is priced reasonably. If you get hold of a Berlin Pass, you can get further discounts on already reasonable prices.
The city’s many hostels compete with each other to draw the maximum tourists, which bodes well for budget travelers. Berlin is also safe, which makes it one of the best cities in Europe for solo travelers, especially solo women travelers.
Germany is one of those European countries which offer not only a rich cultural advantage but rich natural landscapes. The forests, hills, and snow-clad mountains make this country a must-visit and must-stay.
10. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
You can still see the scars that Sarajevo bears as mute testament to its violent past. The famous ‘Sarajevo Roses’ are nothing but mortar shell explosions filled with red resin.
Everywhere you turn you’ll see something of the wartime, but the city buzzes with life, and Sarajevo is one of Europe’s most welcoming capitals.
The central district is called Baščaršija and has an atmospheric Ottoman-era bazaar that’s worth exploring. The Bosnian coffee makes for a great sip during the chilly evenings. For the Happy Hour person, the good news is that Sarajevo has many tucked-away drinking holes and plenty of clubs everywhere, which makes it one of the best to-visit places in Europe.
Europe has its ups and downs – currencies fall, leadership changes and some areas also see war and strife. What’s important for the budget traveler are safety, reasonable prices, good food, and accommodation. The countries and cities we’ve listed definitely offer all of these. However, it’s best you do your budget homework for each destination before you decide to travel.
Priya is an avid travel writer who specializes in adventurous travel writing. Her blogs and articles give deep insight into various tourist places and act as a perfect travel guide for someone who is traveling to a place for the first time.
Priya has exemplary research, writing, and editing skills which make her easily match the reader’s intellect and interest. She has blogged extensively about her travel experience while traveling to several places like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Europe, Dubai, the USA, Canada, etc.
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