The 23 Best and Cheapest Places to go in Europe This Summer

The lakes of Macedonia
The lakes of Macedonia | © SF / Shutterstock

Europe is notoriously expensive: especially when you think of places like Paris, London and Rome. An irresistible mix of culture, history and landscape, the continent can be a money-snatching fiend at the best of times. But, if you go at the right time and avoid all the big places (those pricey cities), you’ll find that you’ll actually be able to shake off that horrendous spending habit and enjoy the place that little bit more. So, grab a notepad, whip out your credit card, pack your suitcase and check out these cheep places to stay in Europe this summer.

1. The Czech Republic...

Ruins, Building

Aerial view of the Old Town in Prague, Czech Republic
© Bill45/Shutterstock
Believe it or not, Prague isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but you’ll still find the Czech Republic to be good value for money. The home of Pilsner, you can still pick up a beer for as little as €2. Bargain. If Prague’s not up your street, head to Olomouc for traditional booze trails, classy taverns and some stunning architecture.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €45
Beer: €2.50
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€50

2. Andalucia, Spain...

Architectural Landmark

Andalucia, Spain
© In Green / Shutterstock

Tapas, cheap beer, magnificent cities and countryside for days – this glorious part of southern Spain really does have it all. With the likes of Seville, Jerez, Córdoba, Granada and Málaga under its name, you needn’t bother exploring any other European country because it’s all here. The wonderful tradition of free tapas originates in this part of the world, which means you can taste Iberian flavours for peanuts, and if you really want to continue your budget adventure, hop on the ferry to Morocco. Yes, really. It’s that close by. If not, magical histories, exquisite museums, and the loveliest people are waiting to greet you in true Spanish style.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €55
Booze (small beer): €1.70–2.50 per caña
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€45–80

3. Budapest, Hungary...

Historical Landmark

Hungarian Parliament Building at Danube River, Budapest, Europe
© Artur Bogacki/Shutterstock
Budapest really is fabulous, and is one of the few continental hubs that won’t burn a hole in your already burning pockets. A day at a spa in this part of the world will only set you back a very doable €15. Whether you’re visiting with the bae or your fella, lounge by the pool, cruise on the river or tipple your way through idiosyncratic bars in the baking heat of summer. The choice is yours.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €30–45
Beer: €2–2.50
Goulash: €6
Hostel: €15–30

4. Porto, Portugal...

Museum

Porto, Portugal
© Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock

Two words: people watching. Yes, Porto really is the best place in the world for a coffee and a cheeky bit of people watching. Whilst it’s a little more pricey than the other go-to destinations on this list, the no-frills local restaurants and waterfront cafes and bars really are worth the extra cash. Aside from putting on a few extra calories, discover a load of superb art museums, get lost in Serralves Park and drinks lots and lots and lots of wine.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €45–50
Glass of vinho verde: €3.50
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€65

5. The High Tatras, Slovakia...

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature

The High Tatras, Slovakia
© Standret / Shutterstock

The high what? Tatras – a mountain range few have actually ever heard of. We don’t know why, though. Slovakia’s pride and joy is full of magnificent parks – including the gargantuan 2,655m (8,711 ft) high Gerlach – and wonderful chalets. And if you’re a hiker, biker or cycler this really is your domain. It’s great for tubing and rafting too.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €35–45
Beer: €1
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€50

6. The Peloponnese, Greece...

Natural Feature

Ancient theatre in Epidaurus, Greece
© Ekaterina Mironcheva/Shutterstock

There’s more to Greece than Athens and Santorini. The Peloponnese really is having its moment. Fine white, sandy beaches (much quieter than the main islands), ancient sights like Epidaurus and Olympia, medieval villages and Byzantine towns await for those that want to go beyond what you see in the travel mags.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €30
Ouzo: €3
Souvláki (shish kebab): €4
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€40

7. Gdansk, Poland...

Museum, Architectural Landmark

Gdansk, Poland
© Ross Helen / Shutterstock

There’s lots of history in this gritty port town in the Baltic riviera. The shipyard crane dates all way back to the 15th century, and the city was, of course, the birthplace of the Solidarity anti-communist movement. Celeb status aside, the place looks ancient but it is in fact really hip, and very modern. After you’ve explored the buzzing city, head to the coastal resort of Sopot for drink-related beach party debauchery. Fun times and plenty of ghastly Kodak moments.

The costs:

Daily budget: Basic €30
Vodka shot: €1
Hostel/budget hotel: €22/€65

8. The Albanian coast...

Natural Feature

The Albanian coast
© Ross Helen / Shutterstock
Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to explore, and luckily, has escaped the hands of the millions of tourists exploring other parts of the continent. If you fancy the perfect beach break, well, this is it. On Albania’s southern Ionian coast, expect lots of mammoth mountains, azure seas and white, white sand.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €35
Bottle of red wine: €8
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€30

9. The lakes of Macedonia...

Natural Feature

The lakes of Macedonia
© SF / Shutterstock

Lake Ohrid really is the jewel in Macedonia‘s sparkling crown. Aside from snapping the beguiling lake to death, waltz through the frescoed medieval churches, uncover ancient Roman amphitheatres and climb epic tundras to get the best views from a crumbling fortress. Or, simply just swim, dive or sail the waters by boat. With cheap private rooms to rent and lots of really lovely glamping spots, the area is perfect for travellers young and old on a budget to kick back and relax.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €35
Wine from €4 per bottle (gasps)
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€40

10. Bruges, Belgium…

Architectural Landmark

Bruges, Belgium
Elijah G / Unsplash
If history is your passion, travel to Bruges. Go back in time as you enjoy the city’s many medieval buildings. Here you can visit a local Chocolate Museum or explore colorful scenery through a canal trip. Since it is named one of the cheapest cities in Europe, the destination is ideal for travelers on a budget. Spend the night at the Snuffel Backpacker Hostel. The accommodation puts an emphasis on hospitality, offering informative staff and helpful facilities for backpackers. Recommended by Hilla Ofman.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €55
Very strong beer: €4
Hostel/budget hotel: €18/€50

11. Thessaloniki, Greece…

Architectural Landmark

Thessalonikki view from the old city
Dragos Gontariu / Unsplash

Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, is a modern metropolis displaying a crossroad of diverse cultures. The destination is known for its young population and student vibe. This is because one of the largest campuses in Greece, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is located here. Backpackers looking to meet new people will particularly enjoy this city. Visitors can also explore the area’s ancient monuments and rich history or shop till they drop. With beautiful beaches, a thriving culture and affordable prices, Thessaloniki truly has it all. Recommended by Hilla Ofman.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €50
Gyros: €3
Hostel/budget hotel: €30/€60

12. Split, Croatia…

Historical Landmark, Shopping Mall

Split, Croatia
Tom Wheatley / Unsplash
Split is famous for hosting the Ultra Europe music festival, which attracts thousands of visitors every summer. But the town has become a hot spot for tourists all year long, as it’s fairly cheap and offers so much to see and do. For relaxation, tan at the beach. For shops, cafes, galleries, and cathedrals, walk around Diocletian’s palace. The Roman monument, located in the city center, is full of history and is considered a UNESCO world heritage site. In Split, the residents are relaxed and informal and the scenery, with mountains and light blue waters, is truly awe-inspiring. Recommended by Hilla Ofman.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €55
Bottle of wine: €6
Hostel/budget hotel: €40/€80

13. Barcelona, Spain…

Market

logan-armstrong-hVhfqhDYciU-unsplash
Photo by Logan Armstrong on Unsplash

An avant-garde and modern city, anyone can fall in-love with Barcelona. It’s full of life and ideal for the young, sight-seeing here is endless. Besides the beach, top tourist attractions include the impressive Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and the Camp Nou football stadium. The city is home to the best of modern art and architecture and is famous for displaying the works of Dali and Gaudí. And Barcelona can certainly be budget friendly. Spain is known to be cheaper than other European countries. Backpackers can save money by visiting local restaurants, avoiding tourist traps and finding cheap hostel deals. Recommended by Hilla Ofman.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €60
Patatas bravas: €3
Hostel/budget hotel: €50/€80

14. Cádiz, Spain…

Museum, Archaeological site

The city skyline of Cádiz, Spain
Jordi Vich Navarro / Unsplash
One of Spain’s most beautiful regions, this southern beach area is perfect if you want a relaxing vacation with your kids. With affordable food, drinks and lodging, you can rent an apartment for the family and lounge on the beach. The Spanish are very tolerant of children in restaurants and bars, so don’t be surprised to see children running about pretty much everywhere you go. Nearby beach areas offer family-friendly whale and dolphin watching tours, and there’s also a few water parks in the region if the kids get tired of the beach. Teens will also enjoy walking around the medieval historic town center. Recommended by Lori Zaino.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €50
Bottle of local wine: €7
Hostel/budget hotel: €35/€65

15. Krakow, Poland…

Park

Kraków, Poland
Takenori Okada / Unsplash
Krakow is both extremely cheap and child-friendly. Your kids will love the Dragon’s Cave located underneath the Wawel Hill. Not only is it a cool den to explore, but children always go crazy over the fairy tale of the Wawel dragon. This activity is best done between April and October during good weather. If you’re visiting during the winter, the Polonia Wax Museum or the Museum of Live Butterflies are both fun and inexpensive ways to escape snowy weather. If you want to splurge, a family carriage ride is the way to go. Recommended by Lori Zaino.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €40
Beer: €2
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€60

16. Lisbon, Portugal…

Market

Iconic yellow tram travelling through Lisbon, Portugal
Aayush Gupta / Unsplash

Lisbon’s main mode of transport – the tram – isn’t just to get from A to B. Children (and adults too) will adore this, especially the older tram cars which date back to the 1930s. The longest and most famous route you should take is on the tram 28, leading you through neighborhoods like Baixa, Alfama, Graça and Estrela. Once in Alfama, hop off the tram to tour the Saint George castle. Kids can run around exploring the space and the old cannons, and there’s also morning activities and games with knights and squires. Lisbon is a great place to have inexpensive meals and restaurants are also very kid-friendly, so enjoy a beer or a meal out in the city. Recommended by Lori Zaino.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €55
Pastel de nata: €1 each!
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€65

17. Vilnius, Lithuania…

Historical Landmark

Vilnius Old Town, Vilnius, Lithuania
Vitalijs Barilo / Unsplash

Significantly less touristy than many other Eastern European cities, Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius is one of the best low-cost destinations in the Baltic states. There are a ton of free things to do in the city. Take a simple stroll around its historic Old Town, which is home to quirky locales like Užupis, a ‘republic’ of artists with its own anthem and constitution. You can also see the Literatu Street Project, an artistic homage to Lithuanian literary greats. In Vilnius, even activities that aren’t free, aren’t that expensive. For example, entrance to Gediminas’ Tower, with its gorgeous views out over the capital, costs just €4. Recommended by Helen Armitage.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €40
Restaurant dinner: €7
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€45

18. Riga, Latvia

Park

Rīga, Latvia
Kseniia Samoylenko / Unsplash
Brimming with eclectic historical buildings, it’s no wonder that Latvia’s vibrant capital Riga is often hailed as an architectural pearl. Nowhere is this more evident than in its charming Old Town, where the restaurants may be typically expensive, but many of its attractions are relatively cheap to visit: the Porcelain Museum, celebrating Riga’s porcelain industry heritage, the quirky Sun Museum and the beautiful St. Peter’s Church. Stop by Riga’s legendary Central Market for affordable, locally made eats like pickled cucumber and smoked eel, and amble through the Old Town to Bastejkalns park for a picnic when weather permits. Recommended by Helen Armitage.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €45
Beer: €3

Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€40

19. Sofia, Bulgaria…

Market, Store

Sofia, Bulgaria
Fred Moon / Unsplash
Sofia – nestled in the heart of western Bulgaria against the backdrop of the majestic Vitosha Mountain – may be one of Europe’s cheapest capitals to visit, but that by no means makes it a second-rate destination. The city, one of Europe’s oldest, is home to a rich history, from the medieval Boyana Church to the even older Rotunda of St. George, dating back to the 4th century. For tourists who like to travel in style, there are plenty of affordable multi-starred hotels alongside many inexpensive, yet upscale restaurants serving classic, authentic Bulgarian cuisine. Recommended by Helen Armitage. The costs:

Basic daily budget: €50
Cocktail: €4.50
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€40

20. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina…

Architectural Landmark

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ADEV / Unsplash

Blighted by the war as recently as a couple of decades ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo, has truly risen from the ashes and is today a cosmopolitan city home to a rich history, both distant and recent, as well as a vibrant nightlife. Visit (free of charge) local landmarks like the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, built in 1532 and considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans, and the Latin Bridge, site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which triggered World War I. Make sure to indulge in some of Sarajevo’s deliciously cheap ćevapi, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national dish. Recommended by Helen Armitage.

The costs:

Basic daily budget: €40
Cup of coffee: €2
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€35

21. Warsaw, Poland…

Museum, Building

Warsaw Old Town, Warsaw, Poland
Elijah G / Unsplash
While Krakow may often be Poland’s more raved about city, its capital, Warsaw, is more than worthy of a visit. After being largely rebuilt in the aftermath of World War II, it boasts a far more modern ambience than its southern neighbor. For a dose of culture, there’s quite possibly no better place in Europe to visit on the cheap. Many of Warsaw’s museums and art galleries, including the National Museum and the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, cost less than €5 to visit, while catching a ballet or opera performance at the Teatr Wielki can cost as little as €7. Recommended by Helen Armitage.
The costs:

Basic daily budget: €50
Beer: €3
Hostel/budget hotel: €30/€55

22. Piran, Slovenia

Museum, Theater

Piran, Slovenia
Mikita Karasiou / Unsplash
Another slightly off-piste European choice, this coastal town offers some of the freshest, cheapest and tastiest seafood in the world. Climb to the top of the bell tower for spectacular views or spend the day wine tasting in the neighbouring countryside. Recommended by India Irving.
The costs:

Basic daily budget: €55
Seafood restaurant meal: €12

Hostel/budget hotel: €30/€60

23. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina…

Cemetery

Beautiful townscape in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Datingscout / Unsplash
Mostar is a relic of the Ottoman Empire. Its old town exudes a true old-world charm and boasts the stunning reconstructed medieval bridge, Stari Most. Enjoy the seasonal summer produce as fruit and vegetables come into their prime. Recommended by India Irving. The costs:

Basic daily budget: €35
Market lunch: €2.50

Hostel/budget hotel: €30/€50

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