As an avid shoestring traveler with nuanced tastes, I am always pulled towards countries where I can live large on my small budget. Whether I am looking for a longer stay destination or a weekend break in Europe, I take special note of the prices of hostels or hotels in the main tourist towns and the average prices for drinks and food.
Choosing a cheaper destination can save you anywhere between $20-$50 a day on accommodations, drinks, and food. When I begin to look for my next destination I look for beautiful landscapes and architecture to explore on my (rather small) budget. If this list of the cheapest countries in Europe isn’t on your radar now, then read further – your bank account will thank you.
These destinations are often less popular tourist destinations and some of the hidden gems in Europe which mean more time for me to get to know locals and enjoy less crowded beaches. While I always like to spend a few days in the bigger cities, visiting the less known cities and outdoor-enthusiast destinations is sometimes more gratifying for me, and my wallet. Offering beautiful views of mountains, coastlines, and lakes these destinations are one of a kind and won’t break your budget.
Now, what are some of the ways to get around cheaply? Most backpackers know this and tons move around Europe either by hitchhiking, staying at hostels, and keeping a low budget for the day (most stick between 30-80USD per day) and they managed just fine! Of course, visiting the countries mentioned below will help you lower the cost down as the costs in these places are significantly lower than other more expensive European countries.
So, are you ready to read this post now? To start, a backpacker’s best friend is, well, his or her backpack! Getting a sturdy one will actually save you tons of troubles during your travels so check this guide on how to find the best backpacks for traveling to learn more about it!
CHEAPEST COUNTRIES IN EUROPE TO VISIT FOR BUDGET TRAVELERS
Want to enjoy the very best that Eastern Europe has to offer? Visit Poland. This culturally rich country provides countless hikes for outdoors-lovers and great nightlife for the night owls. If you want to escape the real world, go on a hike or a camping trip to the Tatra Mountains. Or if you are looking for a city getaway catch the next train to Warsaw or Krakow. Both cities let you absorb the rich history and culture of Poland and not to mention two of the cheapest cities in Europe that will stretch your budget!
Which cities in Poland you should visit?
The top three popular cities in this lovely Eastern European country are Warsaw (the capital), Krakow, and a lovely quaint town named Gdansk. It is very easy to get around Poland if you want to visit all of these cities and even see smaller towns around the country and going by bus is one of the most efficient transport to see all cities mentioned above.
Planning your cheap European vacation or are you looking for some cheap European holidays? Be sure to put Cluj, Romania on your list. Not only does this city host great nightlife, but there are a plethora of daytime excursions to nearby towns that are sure to excite you. Visit the Turda Salt Mine, this expansive mine was opened to visitors in the 1990s and provides you with a glimpse into the extensive mining industry in Romania.
Which cities in Romania you should visit?
Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is one of the upcoming destinations in Europe and has garnered much attention in the last few years. You can’t blame it though, it is a beautiful city! Other than that, cities such as Sibiu, Brasov, and Timisoara are equally stunning cities to visit.
When deciding where to travel in Europe, Budapest is essential. But, there is so much more to Hungary than just Budapest. While Budapest is extremely cheap and should be visited, take a few days to explore Drebecen. In Drebecen you’ll find that food and accommodations are cheaper than Budapest but the views and opportunities to explore are just as stunning as Budapest. After all, this magnificent capital of Hungary is a gem and one of the cheap destinations in Europe one must not miss!
Which cities in Hungary you should visit?
If you’re going to visit Hungary, you must not miss Budapest (the capital) as it has one of the quirkiest yet laid-back lifestyle you’ll certainly like. However, if you do feel like capitals aren’t your thing, go visit the surrounding towns and villages and try out their local delicacies and learn about their culture. Hungarian cities such as Eger and Siófok are two great examples of smaller cities with awesome personalities.
Looking for affordable European holidays? Slovakia has a myriad of museums and stunning architecture to explore. But, if you’re looking to expand your beer and wine pallet on a budget – Slovakia is your dream come true. Head to the small town of Modra where just about every house has a vineyard. Be sure to check out local distilleries and microbreweries.
Which cities in Slovakia you should visit?
Have you watched this American comedy film called Eurotrip? If you have then you probably remember that the gang went to Bratislava, the capital of Bratislava, and they portray it as a third-world country and a slum but the truth is far from that as Bratislava is, not only one of the cheapest cities in Europe but also one of the prettiest underrated places a lot of people should be aware of. If you do want to visit Slovakia and want to see other places, then you should visit Kolšice, Levoča, Trnava, and Banská Bystrica!
Branching out of Vilnius, go camping on the Curonian Spit. This long sand dune extends into the Baltic Sea and is the perfect place to escape the world. Or, stay in a cottage in Nida – the largest town on the split where you can enjoy the Lithuanian Summer with locals. Not to mention, most of Eastern Europe are well connected by land transport and the journey won’t cost you much either! Lithuania and its neighboring countries are some of the cheap places to visit in Europe.
Greece can easily be done cheap; you just have to be careful not to fall into the traps! Santorini, arguably one of the top romantic destinations is Europe can be enjoyed on any budget. If you avoid sea-view restaurants and book your hotel or hostel in advance you can explore, swim and dive into this awe-inspiring destination.
Which cities in Greece you should visit?
Who doesn’t want to visit Greece at least once in their life? We all have seen the famous destinations in the country repeatedly mentioned in many films, books, and, of course, on Instagram! The top tourist destinations in Greece are Santorini, Athens, and Rhodes – each beautiful on their own.
If you’re looking for the cheapest countries to visit in Europe, Bulgaria has to be on your list. Beyond Sofia and Sunny Beach, head up to the Rila mountains. Visit the Seven Rila Lakes and stay at one of the numerous mountain lodges that host stunning overlooks of the lakes and mountains for a price that won’t break the bank. Head to the city of Plovdiv for beautiful examples of Roman architecture and visit one of the many cultural museums there.
Which cities in Bulgaria you should visit?
Yet another upcoming country that has been on many travelers radar, Bulgaria has garnered a lot of attention from the media lately. Its capital, Sofia, has been on a lot of “Top 10” list of places you must visit (much like this one) and that is for a reason, this city is indeed beautiful! Other than that, cities like Plovdiv, Burgas, and Varna are all popular destinations in the country.
In Ukraine, venture to Lviv – a lovely historic city in the West. From there, you can venture out to the smaller towns and villages next to the Carpathian Mountains. The atmosphere there is impossible to describe. There, you have the chance to be closer to the natural environment around you and enjoy the variety of views available to you. The locals there are extremely welcoming so don’t be afraid to ask for restaurant and accommodation advice. NOTE: Tourists and travelers are asked to take extra precautions when visiting Ukraine as it is marked as an unsafe travel destination from June 2016. Plan your route safely!
Which cities in Ukraine you should visit?
Some of the popular destinations in Ukraine are Kiev (the capital), the coastal city of Odessa, and the young city of Lviv.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in the world, the Bay of Kotor is well preserved and accessible to travelers. Situated on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, Kotor is a perfect place to soak in picturesque views of medieval architecture and the turquoise bay. In Montenegro, you’ll find accommodations and dine relatively cheap compared to many of its Mediterranean neighbors.
Which cities in Montenegro you should visit?
Yet again another underrated destination in Europe, Montenegro has surprised many of its visitors as it shows it charms you would think you’ll only see from places such as the south of Italy and France. The coastal cities like Budva, Kotor, and Herceg Novi has proven its beauty over and over again and you have to see these yourself, too! That said, cities like Podgorica and Ulcinj are also worth the visit.
While accommodations in this country may be a bit pricier than those previously listed, Portugal is without a doubt one of the cheapest cities in Europe to enjoy your cheap European holidays. For adventure and music lovers alike, head to Algarve where you can soak up the coastline in the day and drinking refreshing wines at night.
Which cities in Portugal you should visit?
Who does not want to visit a country full of culture and traditions? Well, Portugal is boasting of not only those but also of beautiful sceneries and amazing food! The top cities in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, and Funchal.
11. CZECH REPUBLIC
Why does the Czech Republic land a spot on so many of my lists? Because this country has boundless opportunities for solo travelers and families alike. If you’ve been to Prague, journey out into the other wonderful cities that the Czech Republic has to offer. The romantic town of Český Krumlov is a great destination for a weekend getaway and because it’s out of the hustle and bustle of Prague, your euro will go even farther.
Perfect for a city break – visit the pastel capital city of Tirana. In Albania, you can eat for about 10 euros a day (drinks included!) while taking in the breathtaking architecture. But, a trip to Albania is incomplete without a stop in Saranda to visit the immaculate Blue Eye Spring. You can stay at a hotel with its own private beach and pool, or meet backpackers at the cheaper hostels nearby.
Not to mention, Albania is an uprising digital hub and one of the top cheap destinations in Europe for nomads.
Which cities in Albania you should visit?
If you want to holiday in the Mediterranean without breaking the bank, Albania is your place to go! With its coastal cities that surround the Albanian Riviera, Tirana (the capital), and Durrës.
For outdoor enthusiasts, travel to the island of Lastovo in Croatia. It’s the youngest nature park and furthermost inhabited island. Far away from the crowds, you can enjoy swimming in crystal clear blue seas during the day and star gazing at night. For city lovers, Zagreb is a perfect city break. Zagreb offers beautiful cathedrals and exceptional nightlife much like the other beautiful Balkan countries you must explore, too. You can also take a day tour to Plitvice Lakes National Park from big cities such as Dubrovnik and Split, as well.
Which cities in Croatia you should visit?
Croatia has received fame in the last few years thanks to The Game of Thrones that gave the country its spotlight highlighting its beautiful forts and old medieval cities. The famous places in Croatia are Dubrovnik, Split, and Istria. That said, you must not miss Plitvice National Park as it is such a magical place to see.
In Istanbul, you can eat like a king for about 5 euros. This not to miss the city is rich in culture, nightlife, and excellent foodie. Jump on a plane and make Istanbul your next city break. Wander through the grand bazaar in the morning and spend your afternoon exploring the extravagant blue mosque. So, if you’re really looking for an experience of a lifetime then Turkey should be on your list as it is certainly one of the cheap places to visit in Europe.
Estonia is located in the Baltics and its capital is Tallinn, a beautiful small city with a charming medieval fortress. A UNESCO World Heritage protected site, you’ll get a glimpse of what life used to be including vendors in old clothing, paved streets, and old buildings. A backpackers hub, you can make sure that your budget will do well in Estonia for what it is worth.
Also, not to mention, Tallinn is one of my favorite city in Europe. I’ve personally been here so many times it is almost like home! If capitals aren’t your thing but plan to visit Estonia anyways in the near future then please read my post about other places to visit in this marvelous of a country.
One of the cheapest cities in Europe – see the picturesque capital city, Skopje from above by visiting the Kale Fortress. Even better: you can get this amazing view of the city for free. Head down to the Old Bazaar if you are looking for to view beautiful mosques and markets. No matter where you end up in Skopje, this capital is sure to impress.
This island country is full of hidden gems. Starting your trip in the cultural hub of Valletta, you can explore aged marketplaces and beautiful homes. The city is nothing short of beautiful. Head to the “silent city” of Mdina to find the old capital of Malta. Malta boasts cultural hubs and beaches alike, let this be one of your next weekend breaks in Europe.
No, Italy is not exactly one of the cheapest countries in Europe but if you plan your trip well, this destination can be done on a small budget. Cinque Terre is a series of picture-perfect fishing towns. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a perfect place to explore by foot, as cars are banned from the towns, just like Venice – another beautiful place in Italy you must visit (but only in low season!).
Which cities in Italy you should visit?
How can we even narrow this down to few cities? It feels like one should visit ALL places in Italy as they are all stunning and worth the visit. However, our top recommendations are Rome, Florence, and Bologna – all are so close to each other and are equally beautiful.
A bit off the beaten track and one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe, Kosovo offers some of the grandest churches in Eastern Europe. It’s no wonder this country is a premier Eastern European destination for Balkan travelers. In Kosovo, you can enjoy macarons and coffee for about a euro – what is better than that? Be sure to spend time in the Ottoman city of Prizren!
Looking for cheap European holidays? Visit old Riga to get your fill in of oversized churches and cobble-lined paths. If you’re an aquatic lover, be sure to spend time in the old harbor town of Andrejsala which has now turned into a top art destination in Europe. For more information about the places to see and things to do, check out this guide to Latvia for more details!