Europe is an incredibly diverse continent, with a multitude of languages, cultures and histories that dissect and intertwine as much as they separate and diverge from country to country.
For budget travelers, however, while this region of the world is fascinating to explore, many countries in Europe have a reputation for being expensive, especially in Western Europe and Scandinavia.
It’s best to avoid places like Norway or the UK if you’re on a budget, but that still leaves an abundance of destinations to explore in Europe.
You can sip cheap sangria on the beaches of Spain or find cheap accommodation in the historic cities of Poland. From the Iberian Peninsula to the colder climates of the former Eastern Bloc, here are the 10 cheapest places to travel in Europe along with some tips.
10 Cheapest Places to Travel in Europe: Get the Best Deals Now!
Italy can be an expensive destination or one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe. While museum admission fees and hotel room costs can add up if you explore places like Rome or Venice, avoid the tourist traps to experience the real Italy.
In doing so, you’ll find a much, much cheaper side of the country.
- Accommodation: The cost of lodging in Italy can vary greatly depending on the destination and the time of year you travel. Hostel beds in the cities can range from 10 Euros at the bottom end to 40 Euros per night in Venice.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Italy can be wonderfully cheap, and in the cities you can pay as little as 1.50 euros for a ride on the subway or bus. Train travel is cheap if you book in advance on specific dates, while bus tickets from companies such as Flixbus are very cheap, with a Rome – Milan ticket costing as little as 15 euros.
- Food: In Italy, you can pay as much or as little as you want for food, but if you are on a budget, you can still get a fantastic pizza at a local restaurant for only 6 euros, while a bottle of wine at the supermarket can cost 3 euros or more.
- Activities: Admission to museums in cities usually costs more than 10 euros, depending on the popularity of the attraction, but you can save money by buying city maps in destinations like Rome. On the coast, you can enjoy many beaches for free, while in the countryside, exploring the villages and towns only really lowers the cost of transportation and food during your stay.
Spain can easily be one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe if you want to explore the western part of the continent. With cheap beer, cheap wine, and cheap food, it’s a great destination for sun seekers and culture lovers.
- Accommodation: Hostels in cities like Madrid and Barcelona can be very expensive, with summer peaks pushing prices up to 40 euros. In low season, you can get a bed for 20 euros, and less in smaller destinations.
- Transportation: Spain has an excellent bus and train network, but to get the cheapest deals, you need to book in advance – especially for trains. A bus from Barcelona to Madrid, for example, costs an average of 30 euros, for a 7-hour trip.
- Meals: Food and drink are a great value in Spain if you eat in. Watch for the Menu del Dia, or Menu of the Day, which many restaurants advertise for as little as 10 euros for a three-course menu including a drink.
- Activities: Museum prices vary from city to city, but many offer free admission on certain days of the week, so check in advance. You can visit most beaches, or enjoy free hiking activities in Spain.
While the news may give the impression that Greece still seems to be in dire economic straits, for the budget traveler, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as the country is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
You either hang out in Athens and explore the mainland or head to the Greek islands. Both options can be done on a budget and you will get fantastic variety on your trip if you combine the two.
- Accommodation: Greece is a very seasonal destination, and in the summer, costs can skyrocket compared to the winter. You can always find good deals on accommodation, and prices for a single room can range from 20 euros to more, even in high season.
- Transportation: If you are hopping from one island to another, the cost of ferries should be factored into your budget as this is the main means of transportation. A ferry from Athens to Mykonos can cost 40 euros in high season, which means a travel time of about 2 to 3 hours.
- Meals: Eating out can be pleasantly cheap in Greece. A gyro can cost only a few euros, while in seaside restaurants you can pay 20 euros per person for a three-course meal and wine in a charming place.
- Activities: Many archaeological sites charge an entrance fee, with the Acropolis in Athens charging 20 euros per ticket. Catamaran excursions to the islands start at about 60 euros for a full day.
Poland is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe, with cheap transportation, food and lodging – and most importantly, cheap beer! – it’s hard to go wrong.
Don’t miss the charming city of Krakow, and when you’re done exploring, head north to Warsaw. Both cities offer remarkable architecture, food, and history.
- Accommodation: Hostel prices in the cities start at about 10 euros per night, and hotel rooms can be found from 30 euros for a double room.
- Transportation: A public bus ride in Warsaw costs only one euro, and an intercity bus from Warsaw to Krakow costs only 5 euros if booked in advance.
- Meals: You can find a solid meal in a local restaurant for as little as 5 euros in non-touristy areas, while beer can cost less than one euro.
- Activities: Costs in Poland are low, and the most expensive tour will be the bus trip to Auschwitz, which costs 30 euros from Krakow.
The Czech Republic is an excellent destination for beer and nature lovers. The country has a treasure trove of small towns to explore, where you will hardly find other travelers.
Of course, you won’t want to miss the beautiful capital city of Prague. Although it is the most expensive in the country, it is still one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
- Accommodation: In Prague, hostels cost from 10 euros per night for a reputable place, with costs decreasing outside the capital. A double room can cost from 30 euros for a nicer hotel on the outskirts of the city.
- Transportation: Bus tickets from Prague to Brno can cost as little as 5 euros, but expect to pay more on the day, while bus tickets in the capital cost about 2 euros per ticket.
- Meals: Visit non-touristy restaurants to enjoy classic Czech dishes for less than 5 euros a plate.
- Activities: Many attractions are free, while some, such as St. Nicholas Church, cost only 3 euros.
Like Prague, Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is becoming more and more expensive. Budapest is still cheap, but explore lesser-known places like Lake Balaton or Debrecen and the prices are even lower.
Don’t be afraid to venture outside the capital and explore more of this unique European country.
- Accommodation: Cheap hostels start from as little as 5 euros, but these are usually hostels for reception. More upscale hostels start at 10 euros, while hotel rooms in the center start at 30 euros for basic accommodation.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Budapest costs about 1 euro per trip, while a bus ride to Debrecen costs an average of 10 euros.
- Meals: You can eat in great restaurants for a good price, with a plate of Hungarian food costing as little as 6 euros for goulash, even in the more touristy areas.
- Activities: A visit to the thermal baths starts at 15 euros, but for a day pass, while a visit to the House of Terror museum costs 10 euros.
Although not nearly as cheap as it once was, Croatia is still a great option for budget travelers looking for beautiful coastlines and history, but to avoid high costs, it is advisable to travel outside of the summer season.
With the popularity of Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik is a must-see city in Croatia. Despite its fame, you can still get a good deal, so be sure to add the city to your itinerary.
- Accommodation: Prices vary from city to city. In Split you can find hostels from 10 euros per night, in Dubrovnik in high season it can be 20 euros or more.
- Transportation: A bus from Dubrovnik to Split will cost from 8 euros, with similar prices between other cities.
- Meals: Outside of the tourist areas, you can find meals in restaurants for about 6 euros, rising in the more upscale places or on the coast.
- Activities: Museums are inexpensive, while entrance fees to national parks, such as the Plitvice Lakes, are 15 euros in high season.
Montenegro is Croatia’s southern neighbor, and in fact, the country offers equally spectacular coastline and history for much lower prices. Despite its small size, there are many incredible things to do in Montenegro.
If you’re not in the mood for a busy itinerary, the beaches are some of the best in Europe for relaxing.
- Accommodation: Hostels in Kotor start at 10 euros per night, while in the capital, Podgorica, you can get a double room for the same price as a dormitory bed in Kotor.
- Transportation: Transportation is good value in Montenegro, and local transportation, either a bus or minivan from Kotor to Podgorica, will cost 6 euros for a 2-hour trip.
- Meals: A local restaurant serving good Montenegrin cuisine will set you back about 5 euros for a meal.
- Activities: Entrance fees are cheap, and access to Durmitor National Park, for example, costs only 2 euros.
Seldom visited, Albania used to be one of the most isolated places in Europe, but now it is slowly gaining a reputation among intrepid travelers as perhaps the cheapest place to travel in Europe.
- Accommodation: Basic accommodation starts from 5 euros in a hostel, while you can find rooms in more upscale hotels in Tirana for as little as 25 euros per night.
- Transportation: Intercity bus travel, while slow and tedious, is cheap and fares cost only a few euros each way.
- Meals: You can dine at “expensive” and upscale restaurants in Albania and you will only be reimbursed for up to 10 euros per person.
- Activities: Entrance fees are minimal for attractions and, of course, beaches and hiking in Albania are all free activities.
Ukraine and cities like Kiev, Lviv and Odessa are experiencing a resurgence in popularity and prices remain exceptionally low even in the most touristy places.
- Accommodation: Hostels in Kiev start at 5 euros per night, while apartments and hotels can cost as little as 25 euros for basic accommodation.
- Transportation: Bus and train travel is cheap in Ukraine, and transportation on the Kiev metro costs as little as 10 cents per ride. A bus from Kiev to Odessa costs 10 euros.
- Meals: Eating in Soviet-style canteens, you’ll get a huge plate of food for just a few euros, while you can easily enjoy a more upscale meal in Kiev for 10 euros per person with drinks.
- Activities: Entrance fees are low compared to traditional city attractions. Tours of Chernobyl cost 100 euros or more, depending on the company, for a day trip from Kiev.
Tip: Multiple Destinations with a World Tour Cruise
What if, instead of visiting these destinations one by one, you discover them in one trip? The ideal is to make a circuit and why not a world tour while you are at it? If this is what you want, the solution is offered by the cruise.
As for the budget, you should know that there are techniques to take advantage of a cruise at the best price, notably by taking advantage of destocking or by booking at the right time.
Be on the lookout for promotional operations
To fill their ships, some companies do not hesitate to run promotional operations, the best known of which is “I love my cruise”. Such a promotion, organized by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), is usually held twice a year for a period of 10 days.
Other promotions are organized regularly, such as 50% off the second passenger, 1 bought = 1 offered, or a free ticket for children. All formulas are proposed so that everyone can enjoy it, with family, friends, couples…
Book at the right time
It is worth mentioning that the best way to take advantage of low prices is to go on a cruise out of season. Here are some suggestions for each destination:
For the Caribbean: between July and September;
For the Greek Islands: from October to January;
For Northern Europe or the Fjords: from June to August;
For the transatlantic: from September to November.
Choose the right cabin
The choice of cabin is one of the main criteria that influence the price of the cruise. In order to benefit from the most affordable prices, the best solution is to opt for the inside cabin. On the other hand, if you are looking for the best comfort, the best thing to do is to compare the prices of inside cabins with those of balcony cabins or outside cabins.