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 the cheapest places to travel in Europe this summer.
The Czech Republic…
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 €1.50. Bargain. If Prague’s not up your street, head to Olomouc for traditional booze trails, classy taverns and some stunning architecture.
Basic daily budget: €40
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€40
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.
Basic daily budget: €40
Booze (small beer): €1.70–2.50 per caña
Hostel/budget hotel: €16/€35–80
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.
Basic daily budget: €30–35
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.
Basic daily budget: €45–50
Bottle of vinho verde: €3.50
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€45
The High Tatras, Slovakia…
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.
Basic daily budget: €35–45
Hostel/budget hotel: €15/€30
The Peloponnese, Greece…
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.
Basic daily budget: €30
Souvláki (shish kebab): €3
Hostel/budget hotel: €20/€30
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.
Daily budget: Basic €30
Vodka shot: €1
Hostel/budget hotel: €12/€35
The Albanian coast…
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.
Basic daily budget: €25
Bottle of red wine: €6
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€30
London a budget city? Yes, really. A weak pound and Brexit has made one of the most expensive cities in the world that little cheaper. While things like travel and the cost of living are sky high, there’s oodles to do in the ‘Big Smoke’ that won’t cost you a single penny. Here, you can explore the British, Victoria & Albert and Natural History Museums for absolutely nothing. And don’t forget the parks. Oh, the parks!
Basic daily budget: £30
Pint of beer: £5
Fish and chips £8
Hostel/budget hotel: £25/£80–100
The lakes of Macedonia…
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.
Basic daily budget: €20
Wine from €2.50 per bottle (gasps)
Hostel/budget hotel: €10/€25
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