I LOVE exploring Europe, every new country offers something different, every new city has it’s own gorgeous architecture and history and every new place delivers incredible cuisine. However, Europe can be EXPENSIVE so finding the best CHEAP European destinations is a must!
Which is exactly why I asked these travel experts what they thought was the best and cheapest countries to visit in Europe. As you are heading to the cheapest destinations in Europe, make sure you are saving money on your European flights too!
Just 2 hours from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, Bansko is one of the most budget-friendly ski and hiking towns to visit in Europe. The mountain town has once again been ranked as the cheapest place to ski in Europe. You’ll find Bansko in the foothills of the Pirin National Park with the Rila and Rhodope mountains also within easy reach, the town has a superb climate – cold enough to be the countries number 1 ski resort in winter, yet summers are hot and warm.
There is fabulous hiking through a series of mountain huts, amazing fresh food and superb mountain lakes to explore. Much of Southern Europe swelters in summer, Bansko benefits from hot days and cooler nights, with little rain, but often spectacular thunderstorms. Rent an apartment for US$180 a month and eating out is cheap – – €3 for breakfast, €4 for lunch and €9 for dinner. A large beer will cost you €1.50, a litre of Bulgarian wine is €5.
My favourite time to visit though is the summer in Bansko, which brings the festival season –a host of free festivals in the town square – from the amazing internationally renowned Jazz festival toOpera, Bohemia and Bansko Beat.
Sarah & Nigel from A Social Nomad
Belgrade is a fantastic budget destination. You can enjoy the great restaurant scene, gorgeous architecture, and endless river views for half of what it would cost to visit western Europe. Some of my favourite things to do in Belgrade include visiting the Hotel Moskva for cake, exploring the communist monuments and architecture around the city, and visiting the colourful neighbourhood of Zemun.
You can visit most museums for less than $4 USD, and most even have free days. If you’re trying to travel super low budget, you’ll be happy to know you can find hostel dorm beds for about $10 per night and private rooms for about $30. You can always rely on eating street food, which will cost you about $10 per day. However, if you want to enjoy the amazing restaurant scene, budget $20 per day for food, knowing that you’re going to eat some amazing meals for this price. You can even take taxis almost anywhere in the city for under $4, making it a great place to enjoy a bit of luxury at budget prices.
Sofia from Sofia Adventures
Part of the Baltic States, Latvia is one of the cheapest countries we visited on our European travels and it’s easy to find reasonably priced accommodation and food and drinks.
Latvia is a compelling mix of historic sights, beautiful coast and stunning nature and our road trip brought us to some of the country’s most popular spots. We loved stepping back in time and exploring the maze of streets in the Old Town of Riga, Latvia’s capital city and getting away from it all in the seaside town of Jurmala, famous for its natural mineral spa resorts. Nature and outdoor adventures drew us to Sigulda, where the medieval Turaida Castle and Gutmanis Cave, are among its most popular attractions.
Food and drinks in Latvia are both delicious and cheap. Most of our meals for two were less than €20, with a more formal three-course evening meal with drinks coming in at less than €30. We spent around €2 on a local beer. It was relatively easy to find good quality hotel accommodation for around €80 per night in Riga although there is an abundance of cheaper options in both Riga and throughout Latvia.
Elaine & Dave from Show Them The Globe
Skopje, Macedonia is one of the most underrated capitals in Europe. It might not look too exciting at first but there are actually plenty of things to do in Skopje. While most of the people focus on all the crazy statues in bulk amounts that were thrown around the ccentre or the ancient-looking yet modern architecture the city has much more to offer.
You can find here the second largest bazaar in the Balkans (after Istanbul) where you can spend hours just wandering around, getting lost in the narrow lanes and enjoying the vibrant life that goes by. Skopje is also home to some of the best examples of brutalist architecture in Europe – after the tragic earthquake in 1963 a big part of the city was rebuilt and some concrete masterpieces were created then.
The city is also a great nature getaway as just at the outskirts you can find stunning Matka Canyon or Mount Vodno with some hiking trails. Skopje is also one of the cheapest cities in Europe – a decent accommodation would cost you around €30, the dinner is less than €10 you can expect to pay less than €2 for a really good coffee.
Kami from My Wanderlust
Yerevan, Armenia is one of the most affordable cities in Europe and into the Caucasus and should be on everyone’s radar when planning their future travels. The Armenian capital city offers a relaxing experience, world-class food (and stellar ingredients), and efficient transportation all for extremely cheap prices for travellers.
You can enjoy food at a cafeteria for less than $2 or eat at a nice restaurant for less than $5. A glass of wine is usually around $2 and will knock your socks off because it’s so good. Getting around the city is easy on the metro which costs around $.20 per ride, or you can opt for a taxi ride which will be around $1 for a 4-kilometre ride. Hostels are also extremely affordable and you’ll likely not pay more than $5 per night for a bed in the city centre if you plan accordingly.
Getting to Yerevan is easy from Tbilisi and more and more flights are starting to open up to the city… so expect it to be a more commonplace name in the future! But, for now, Yerevan remains a secret to most travellers and it most definitely shouldn’t be!
Megan from Megan Starr
Mostar is the fifth largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is situated in the south of the Herzegovina region. It has a rich heritage reflected in the myriad of architectural styles within the city, as well as in the diverse religious buildings you can visit. The beautiful city is still recovering from its recent troubled past – over 2000 people died in Mostar during the Conflicts of the early Nineties.
Mostar is a great destination for travellers on a budget as the main attractions are free or have low entrance fees. The principal sights are within a compact area and easily covered on foot but if needed, taxis and buses are cheap. Start at the iconic Stari Most (The Old Bridge) which were recently rebuilt with mostly original stone after the 16th Century bridge was destroyed during the war in 1993. Watch as the famously daring divers plunge into the Neretva river below. Browse the markets stalls and shops in the cobbled streets of The Old Bazaar and when night falls, revisit everything again when the beautiful buildings are sympathetically illuminated. There are free/donation walking tours on offer which provide valuable insight into the Mostars culture and history.
There are a number of museums to visit such as the 19th Century Musilibegovic House (2 Euro), the developing Bosnaseum and the Ottoman Biscevic House (2 Euro). For a fantastic – if stomach-churning – view of Mostar, climb the narrow minaret in the stunning Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. (6 Euro).
Dining out is very reasonable and make sure you indulge in some delicious Turkish coffee. Accommodation is cheap with dorm beds starting from £7. As a family of five, we stayed in a brand new, two bedroom apartment ideally located across the road from Stari Most for just £40 per night.
A fascinating, friendly city, regenerating Mostar is an ideal budget destination.
Sinead from Map Made Memories
Slovenia is one of the nicest and most budget-friendly destinations to visit in Europe, offering a wide range of attractions and activities that are bound to keep visitors entertained for weeks at the end. Among the most famous places to visit in Slovenia, there is the gorgeous, fairytale capital Ljubljana, which is an absolute must with the beautiful city centre, the castle and the many city parks. Another popular destination is Lake Bled: here, there is a beautiful castle that provides gorgeous views of the lake, and a cruise of the lake takes to a small island in it!
Getting off the beaten path, Bela Krajina (on the border with Croatia) is a real gem, packed with small yet unique archaeological sites; tiny yet charming villages; forests with fantastic hiking trails and many hidden spots that provide incredible photo locations.
Slovenia is incredible value for money. A great meal can be as cheap as €10, and it can be accompanied by one of the best wines and craft beers to be had in Europe. A bed in a hostel dorm can be as cheap as €10. With such good prices, it’s an unmissable place to visit!
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Recently chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the best value destinations for 2019, Albania is a country with something to offer every type of traveller where you’ll get incredible bang for your buck.
Start in the country’s capital Tirana, where gritty streets and relics of the Communist era sit right alongside trendy cafes and colourful plazas. Heading north, the lofty peaks of the Albanian Alps conceal countless hiking trails for those seeking a touch of adventure, while the spectacularly rugged coastline is dotted with secluded bays and uncrowded shores for explorers looking to while away their days in the sunshine.
The impossibly pretty Ottoman towns of Berat and Gjirokastra will delight those who’ve come for the history, and the flourishing food scene will make an everyday end on a high note and a full belly.
Wondering how much a trip to Albania will cost? Hostel beds are a steal at around €8, while beachfront private rooms are an absolute bargain from around €30. A simple meal at a traditional eatery will set you back just a couple of Euros, or you can really indulge in a multi-course degustation at one of Tirana’s best restaurants for just €15.
Freya from The Sandy Feet
Sarajevo, as one of many other Balkan cities, is an incredibly cheap destination. Besides that, it rightfully receives the title of the most intriguing city in Europe.
Until this day not many tourists choose Sarajevo as their vacation or getaway spot thinking it’s not safe or interesting enough. However, in reality, it is an absolutely safe place to go to with tons of activities and things to do.
To learn more about the country’s past I recommend visiting at least one of many museums in Sarajevo, go to famous war tunnel, take a free guided tour where you’ll learn details about Yugoslav war, ethnic, religious and cultural differences of people and how two different religions found its way in the city.
Walking the streets of Sarajevo, stopping at various historical sights and monuments can also tell a lot of stories.
Beer lovers should also take a trip to Sarajevo beer plant. Coffee enthusiasts must try domestic Bosnian style coffee. Foodies – pay a visit to countless restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, and definitely try such dishes as pljeskavica, cevapi, burek, and grilled chestnuts. I highly recommend checking out a Teahouse Dzirlo, located in the city centre right next to the main square. There, a vast selection of tea is served with lots of smiles with beautiful views of Sarajevo on the background.
A type of street food meal for two people costs between 4 and 6 euros, at the nice restaurant, including drinks, between 7 and 12 euros. Bosnian coffee costs around 1 euro. A price for a very nice one bedroom flat not far from Old Town is between 15 and 20 euros. We stayed a bit outside the city centre and paid 10 euros per night for a spacious one bedroom apartment.
Sarajevo is truly a wonderful destination for anyone who loves history, food, long walks, nature (yes, it is surrounded by mountains and hills) and meeting people. With this city, you get all of it and even more while travelling on a budget and saving for your next trip.
Anna from Road is Calling
Have you heard of Dracula?
Yes, of course, you did, but what else do you know about Romania? Most people have prejudices and either skip Romania completely or only visit the most well-known places such as Dracula’s castle (Bran castle) or nearby historical towns of Sighisoara (UNESCO) or Brasov, but this country has a lot more to offer. For prices well below the European average, you can get beautiful towns, mountains, monasteries and seaside. Every region of Romania is completely different and definitely worth visiting, so rent a car (around 20 EUR per day) and go exploring. Get accommodated with locals for less than 10 EUR/person/night and don’t hesitate when stuffing yourself with delicious local food such as sarmale, mamaliga or papanasi (the main course is usually less than 5 EUR).
It is difficult to suggest you only one place or region, so I have decided to point out two to you. Transylvania (where I lived for nearly a year) with its capital Cluj-Napoca and mountains, fortified churches and beautiful small towns is the most developed region with a rich history and many communities. Maramures is also my favourite, the very northernmost region, seemingly untouched by time, where traditions are still alive.
Anna, Diana and Misa from Czech Souls
Croatia is easily one of Europe’s hottest travel destinations. And no, it’s not because they did so well in the World Cup! Instead, it’s because the whole country is littered with prime, sunny destinations, mostly at an affordable rate. And, after 2 months spent driving from the northern border with Slovenia, right down to Dubrovnik, I can honestly say that Kastel Kambelovac is one of the best places to visit.
Yes, as you’d expect it is incredibly cheap. You can dine out for around $4-6 per main at a nice, modern restaurant. Our favourite was a small Italian restaurant which came with outdoor seating on the harbour. We loved this part of Croatia so much that we actually lived and worked here for 5 weeks. Our 2nd-floor apartment cost just $300 for the entire stay!
And it came with everything you need, including a private balcony directly overlooking the water. Kastel kambelovac is also perfectly located just a 20-minute drive from the heart of Split. This gives you access to everything you’d wish to see there. However, you’re not stuck in a busy, noisy city. Instead, you can relax in a restaurant overlooking calm blue waters to your heart’s content!
Bradley from Dream Big, Travel Far
Lately, I have been following the cheap flights that Ryanair offers and one of them was a flight to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, that I couldn’t say no to especially since it’s two hours away from the gorgeous Kotor Bay. I didn’t have big hopes for Podgorica since it a new capital without a lot of recommendations from others, but I really enjoyed it. I loved their Avanturisticki public park, which is filled with exercise-loving-locals walking, running and working out. I also liked finding the old Ottoman mosques, something I wasn’t aware it still existed especially after the religious wars in that region. Not to mention the Moraca river! I was mesmerised by its deep turquoise colour and would have been happy to just stay there for a whole day! These three activities were completely free. The city was a happy surprise to my wallet with taxis costing between one to two euros and two-course meals costing 10 euros!
It is a small city but surrounded by nature parks that I would love to visit in the future and it is two hours or less away from the stunning beaches of Montenegro.
Esra from Arabian Wanderess
If you are looking for a budget-friendly European destination with amazing food, beautiful natural scenery, incredible history and modern developments, Poland is a perfect choice!
Poland essentially has it all. While it is growing in popularity in recent years, it is still a somewhat underrated country, so prices haven’t increased drastically. While you will find things more expensive in the big tourist spots like Warsaw and Krakow city centre, it is not excessive, making it affordable to enjoy an extended stay exploring what this country has to offer.
If it is a great meal and drinks you are after, markets and street vendors are great for well priced traditional meals and snacks. As for accommodation, look for a house to rent instead of a hotel, especially if you are staying in the beautiful city of Zakopane.
One of the best experiences you can have in Poland is the bold contrast between the modern, growing cities such as Warsaw, and the historic old town areas that are usually a hop and skip away. You get the best of both worlds. Poland is also a convenient gateway to many other neighbouring countries.
Holly & Simon from Four Around The World
Wow, these cheap European getaways look incredible and I for one, can’t wait to book a trip to each of these places. Cost of Travel in Europe can be so difficult to budget for so thank you to our travel experts for sharing their favourite Europe destinations and prices of Europe trips – this makes it much easier for us to travel around Europe cheap!
What is your favourite cheap country in Europe to explore? Let us know in the comments below
Whilst planning your cheap European vacation, here are a few helpful resources to ensure you get the best out of your time and budget!
- Seat61 – Super helpful website if you are looking at train travel around Europe.
- Cheap Flight trick – A detailed post on how to get cheap flights around Europe with this trick.
- Tips for travelling Europe – A comprehensive 100 tip guide to exploring Europe.
- Destination guides – Browse of European destination guides for an introduction to cities and towns in Europe.
- Europe tips and inspiration – Browse this variety of European blog posts from my favourite blogger, including book and TV guides to get you inspired to visit Europe.