Who wouldn’t fantasize about experiencing the ultimate European getaway, surrounded by lush green landscapes and captivating views of historic wonders frozen in time? However, the extravagant prices demanded by some of Europe’s renowned tourist destinations can deter even the most ardent dreamers. Fortunately, with an area of nearly 4 million square miles, the continent is quite extensive, and numerous delightful and affordable vacation spots remain undiscovered by excessive tourism.
Despite what many people believe, Europe boasts a treasure trove of vacation destinations that provide travellers with reasonably priced deals to explore the finest each country has to offer. What’s more, some of these countries’ most fascinating and significant locations are easily accessible on foot, and immersing oneself in cultural experiences won’t cost a penny. Cancel your summer plans and embark on an adventure to one (or more) of these ten European vacation spots that are budget-friendly.
The Azores, Portugal
The Azores, one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets, boast emerald landscapes overlooking crystal-clear blue waters. This archipelago comprises nine islands, each more breathtaking than the last, and is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. The best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is most enjoyable, and visitors can indulge in various affordable activities such as whale watching, hiking, and paragliding.
- Best Place to Stay: Atlantic Home Azores
- Features: Housekeeping, Beachfront, Free Toiletries
Budapest attracts nearly 30 million visitors each year, and it’s not hard to see why. The Hungarian capital is a vibrant blend of rich historical culture, stunning urban vistas, and lively nightlife that keeps travellers entertained until sunrise. With affordable coffee and beer readily available, and transportation options such as trams and riverboats costing as little as $1, exploring the city can be budget-friendly. And of course, a trip to Budapest would not be complete without experiencing its world-renowned thermal baths. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a dip!
- Best Place to Stay: Danubius Hotel Arena
- Features: Free Wi-Fi, Indoor Pool, Gym
Athens is a dream destination that features on many travel bucket lists worldwide. The great news is that unlike the island of Santorini, which boasts steep luxury, this Greek coastal metropolis is quite affordable! Visitors can easily immerse themselves in the ancient spofour of the Acropolis, relax by the many beaches, and explore the flea markets without breaking the bank. Local beer is also available at reasonable prices, making Athens a budget-friendly destination.
- Best Place to Stay: The Vault Athens
- Features: Tea/Coffee Maker, Soundproof Rooms, Airport Shuttle
Kotor is a feast for the eyes – and for the wallet! This hidden gem in Montenegro is located in a charming corner of the Balkans and boasts a wealth of historical landmarks, UNESCO-recognized walled quarters, endless beaches, and lush hills, all of which can be enjoyed at little or no cost. Furthermore, culture enthusiasts can participate in many walking tours that showcase the town’s most exceptional attractions, and the best part is that they’re entirely free!
- Best Place to Stay: Hotel Libertas
- Features: In-House Restaurant, Mountain View Rooms, Private Beach
Looking for an affordable Spanish holiday that won’t break the bank? Look no further than the Andalusian city of Granada. Unlike the bustling crowds of Barcelona and Madrid, Granada is a medieval cultural stronghold with numerous historic monuments. As night falls, visitors can enjoy the city’s famous bars, which generously serve free tapas, before catching a breathtaking Flamenco show for less than $30. Don’t miss the chance to experience the unique and vibrant culture of Granada.
- Best Place to Stay: Porcel Alixares
- Features: Bar, Wheelchair Accessible, Outdoor Pool
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe, making it an ideal choice travellers seeking a picture-perfect vacation on a budget. With a daily budget of around $50 (or less) covering meals, drinks, and transportation, visitors can explore the city’s stunning Czech landscapes, featuring magnificent cathedrals, castles, and palaces from some of the most significant artistic periods in European history. Even the most casual wanderer will be compelled to pause and marvel at the city’s beauty.
- Best Place to Stay: Iris Hotel Eden
- Features: Restaurant, Currency Exchange, Free Parking and Bar
If you’re looking for an alternative to a typical Roman holiday, consider heading to Puglia (also known as Apulia) for a summer adventure of a lifetime. Located in the southeastern end of Italy and stretching along a beautiful coastline that is not overrun by tourists, Puglia offers a fair price on most travel deals, as well as an array of attractions such as freshly baked bread, charming cobblestone streets, picturesque whitewashed cottages, and stunning sea caves. It’s like stepping into a real-life fairytale!
- Best Place to Stay: Villa Raffaella
- Features: Free Breakfast, Mini-Market, Tour Desk
No Europe-bound traveler’s itinerary would be complete without a stop in Istanbul, whether it’s for the famous hammams or the vibrant bazaars. Istanbul’s rich past is rooted in ancient Greek and Roman empires, and the city exudes a delightful mix of old-world charm and modern metropolitan flair. The eclectic Ottoman cuisine is a highlight of Istanbul’s food scene, and budget-conscious travellers can indulge in delicious eats for just a few dollars.
- Best Place to Stay: Akgun Istanbul Hotel
- Features: Outdoor Pool, Hammam, Sauna
Ksamil is a hidden gem that boasts some of the most peaceful beaches in Europe. With crystal-clear waters, picturesque sunsets, and soft sand, this small slice of Albanian paradise invites visitors to unwind, disconnect from reality, and bask in the warm Mediterranean sun. The wooden boardwalks and decks leading to the turquoise sea provide the perfect setting for that perfect Instagram picture!
- Best Place to Stay: Kuburi Hotel
- Features: Kitchen, Free Wi-Fi, Complimentary Breakfast
Gdańsk, a city in Poland, is an excellent European travel destination for budget-conscious travellers. Many of Gdańsk’s top tourist attractions, such as historical monuments and scenic views, are completely free to explore. Even sampling the delicious local cuisine of pierogi and zapiekanki won’t cost more than $40-50 per day, making it an affordable and enjoyable trip.
- Best Place to Stay: Royal Apartments (Boutique Residence Gdańsk)
- Features: Kitchenette, Linen and Toiletries, Pet-Friendly