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Top 10 Budget Friendly Trips to Europe

Budget Friendly trips to Europe

Vacation time is approaching, and you are looking for your next destination. No need to go to the ends of the world to get a change of scenery, Europe has it all: varied cultures, wild landscapes, and exciting European capitals. But the budget can quickly climb in the trendiest European destinations. So, where can you travel affordably to in Europe? Well, we have prepared a selection of inexpensive destinations in Europe, perfect for small budgets and beautiful vacations!

1. Croatia

‌Let’s start this top budget friendly European destination with Croatia which is renowned for being one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, while remaining one of the least expensive! Nicknamed “the sea of ​​a thousand islands”, Croatia opened up to tourism only ten years ago and quickly won the hearts of travelers. We understand why: heavenly beaches, and breathtaking wild landscapes, but also picturesque villages, and dynamic cities rich in history such as Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, and even Zadar.

Credit: Matthias Mullie

For nature lovers, don’t miss exploring the Plitvice National Park: a natural wonder that is home to 16 lakes and more than 90 dizzying waterfalls! Guaranteed to fall in love with this park of great beauty. A word of advice: choose the low season and arrive early to enjoy the show in peace. Another alternative, a little less known and therefore less frequented: is the Krka National Park.

Budget Friendly Activities in Croatia


1. Explore Dubrovnik’s Old Town

  • Description: Walk through the ancient city walls, narrow streets, and historic buildings.
  • Cost: Free to explore on foot; entrance to city walls around 200 HRK (about 27 USD), but free if you choose to admire from outside.
  • Tips: Visit early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and save on expenses.

2. Swim at Zlatni Rat Beach, Brač Island

  • Description: One of Croatia’s most famous beaches with clear waters and a unique shape.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Bring your own snacks and drinks to avoid higher prices at beachside cafes.

3. Hike in Plitvice Lakes National Park

  • Description: Discover cascading lakes and waterfalls in one of Croatia’s most beautiful national parks.
  • Cost: Entrance fee varies (80-300 HRK, about 11-41 USD) depending on the season.
  • Tips: Visit in the off-season (spring or autumn) for lower prices and fewer tourists.

4. Wander Through Split’s Diocletian’s Palace

  • Description: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient palace is now part of the vibrant city of Split.
  • Cost: Free to explore the general area; some attractions within the palace have an entrance fee.
  • Tips: Enjoy free walking tours often organized by local guides or tourism boards.

5. Visit the Roman Amphitheater in Pula

    • Description: One of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, hosting various events.
    • Cost: Around 70 HRK (about 9 USD) for entrance.
    • Tips: Check for free or discounted entry days, often available during local festivals.

2. Andalusia

Andalusia is one of the best destinations for affordable travel in Europe. Unlike other very touristy destinations like Palma de Mallorca or even Barcelona which have high prices for Spain, Andalusia is one of the affordable regions of the country. You can land in Seville, Malaga, or Granada to enjoy beautiful sunshine all year round and discover a region rich from a cultural and natural point of view! Indeed, in addition to its attractive prices, Andalusia offers a varied palette of landscapes: fine sandy beaches, lakes, villages in the mountains, green fields, rock formations, etc.

But Andalusia is also a warm culture, a rich historical heritage, delicious gastronomy, a gentle way of life, and traditions that endure like flamenco! In short, Andalusia is a summary of the best of Spain at meager prices!

Budget Friendly Activities in Andalusia

Exterior Alhambra
Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA

1. Explore the Alhambra in Granada

  • Description: Visit the stunning palace and fortress complex, known for its beautiful Islamic architecture.
  • Cost: General entrance is around 14 EUR (about 15 USD), but free on certain days for EU citizens.
  • Tips: Book tickets well in advance to secure a spot, and consider visiting during off-peak hours for fewer crowds.

2. Wander Through the Historic Center of Seville

  • Description: Discover the charm of Seville’s historic center, including the Seville Cathedral, Giralda Tower, and Alcázar.
  • Cost: Free to wander; entrance fees for specific sites.
  • Tips: Look for free entry days or times, such as Monday afternoons for the Alcázar.

3. Relax on the Beaches of Costa del Sol

  • Description: Enjoy the sun and sand on the beautiful beaches of the Costa del Sol, including popular spots like Marbella and Málaga.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Bring your own snacks and drinks to save money on beachside cafes and restaurants.

4. Visit the Mezquita-Catedral in Córdoba

  • Description: Explore this unique building that combines a mosque and a cathedral.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is around 10 EUR (about 11 USD), but free during early morning hours.
  • Tips: Visit between 8:30-9:30 AM for free entry.

5. Hike in Sierra Nevada National Park

  • Description: Enjoy hiking and stunning views in one of Spain’s most beautiful national parks.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Pack your own food and water for a cost-effective and enjoyable day out.

3. Bulgaria

Now we’re heading to a slightly more confidential destination: Bulgaria! If you don’t know much about this destination, you should know that Bulgaria is home to many natural and heritage treasures and is known for being one of the budget friendly countries in Europe. The cost of living there is almost half as high as in France: enough to travel without depriving yourself! But then, what to see and what to do in Bulgaria? Surrounded by Romania, Turkey, and Greece, Bulgaria also has a coast on the Black Sea and is crossed by the Balkan Mountains.

So, in Bulgaria, there is something for everyone: mountainous landscapes, heavenly beaches, and coves, but also cities with impressive historical heritage like Sofia, the capital. Bulgaria is also the opportunity to experience a real change of scenery, in less than 3 hours of flight, by discovering a rich culture with customs and traditions imbued with different Slavic, Greek, Persian, and Ottoman influences!

Budget Friendly Activities in Bulgaria


1. Explore Sofia’s Free Walking Tours

  • Description: Discover the capital city’s main sights, including Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Vitosha Boulevard, and the National Palace of Culture.
  • Cost: Free (tips appreciated).
  • Tips: Join a free walking tour to get a local’s perspective on the city’s history and culture.

2. Hike in Rila National Park

  • Description: Enjoy scenic hikes in one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful national parks, home to the famous Rila Monastery and the Seven Rila Lakes.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Pack a picnic and plenty of water, and be prepared for changing weather conditions in the mountains.

3. Visit the Rila Monastery

  • Description: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its stunning frescoes and architecture.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Dress modestly as it is a religious site, and consider bringing your own food to avoid high prices at local eateries.

4. Relax on the Beaches of the Black Sea Coast

  • Description: Enjoy the sun and sea at popular beach destinations like Sunny Beach, Varna, and Burgas.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Visit less touristy beaches for a more relaxed and budget-friendly experience.

5. Wander Through the Old Town of Plovdiv

  • Description: Explore the charming streets of Plovdiv’s Old Town, featuring ancient Roman ruins, colorful houses, and art galleries.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Visit the Roman Theater, which is often free to explore unless there’s a performance.

6. Visit the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

  • Description: Discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site, an ancient Thracian burial site with well-preserved frescoes.
  • Cost: Around 6 BGN (about 3.50 USD).
  • Tips: Combine with a visit to nearby Rose Valley for a full day of exploration.

4. The Algarve

Portugal is a destination known for being relatively inexpensive, and the Algarve is no exception! Exploring the Algarve is a guarantee of exploring breathtaking landscapes under brilliant sunshine, and without breaking the bank! Located in the very southwest of Europe, the Algarve region can be visited all year round thanks to its warm and sunny climate. To benefit from the most advantageous rates, it is still advisable to avoid the high season (July – August) because the beauty of this region attracts many tourists and thus drives up prices in summer.

So, what to expect when you go on vacation to the Algarve? On the nature side, you will enjoy golden sand beaches worthy of the most beautiful postcards, rocky cliffs, and other impressive wild landscapes. As for culture and heritage, you can get lost in the streets of white and picturesque villages, such as Faro, Portimao, or Albufeira. Finally, gourmets will delight in local gastronomic specialties, mainly based on fish and seafood!

Budget Friendly Activities in The Algarve

The Algarve
Credit: Diego Gennaro

1. Relax on Praia da Marinha

  • Description: Enjoy one of the Algarve’s most beautiful beaches, known for its stunning cliffs and clear waters.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Bring your own snacks and water to avoid high prices at beachside cafes.

2. Explore the Old Town of Faro

  • Description: Wander through the historic center of Faro, with its cobblestone streets, Arco da Vila, and the Cathedral of Faro.
  • Cost: Free to explore; small fees for certain attractions.
  • Tips: Visit the Municipal Museum for a budget-friendly cultural experience.

3. Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

  • Description: This scenic coastal trail offers stunning views of cliffs, beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and start early to avoid the midday heat.

4. Visit Lagos’ Ponta da Piedade

  • Description: Explore the dramatic cliffs and rock formations of Ponta da Piedade, a must-see natural wonder.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Visit at sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views and great photo opportunities.

5. Discover the Benagil Cave

  • Description: Famous for its unique cave with a natural skylight, accessible by boat, kayak, or paddleboard.
  • Cost: Varies; boat tours around 20-30 EUR (about 22-33 USD), renting a kayak or paddleboard can be cheaper.
  • Tips: Consider joining a group tour for a more budget-friendly option.

6. Explore the Markets in Loulé

  • Description: Visit the traditional market in Loulé to experience local culture and purchase fresh produce and handmade crafts.
  • Cost: Free to enter; shopping prices vary.
  • Tips: Go in the morning to see the market at its liveliest.

5. Poland

We are now heading towards a country sometimes neglected in the choice of vacation destinations, and yet Poland has a lot to offer travelers! This Eastern European country has many attractions, whether you are looking for history, heritage, medieval architecture, large green spaces, or the beach! Among the must-see visits during a trip to Poland, we of course find beautiful Warsaw and its vibrant culture, as well as Krakow, the ancient Polish capital which has a rich history and exceptional heritage.

On the nature side, explore the Białowieża National Park, which is home to free-ranging bison in the heart of a magnificent primary forest. We must also not forget the superb Baltic coastline and many other wonders! Finally, note that Poland is very well served with 5 airports from France. With advantageous prices on plane tickets and a very affordable cost of living there, Poland is a good idea for an inexpensive destination in Europe!

Budget Friendly Activities in Poland

Warsaw Uprising Museum
Alper Çuğun from Berlin, Germany

1. Explore the Old Town of Kraków

  • Description: Wander through the historic streets of Kraków’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit landmarks like the Main Market Square and St. Mary’s Basilica.
  • Cost: Free to explore; some attractions may have small entrance fees.
  • Tips: Join a free walking tour for a guided experience, and don’t miss the Cloth Hall and Wawel Castle.

2. Visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum

  • Description: Learn about the history of the Warsaw Uprising during World War II through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
  • Cost: Around 25 PLN (about 6 USD), free on Sundays.
  • Tips: Plan your visit on a Sunday for free entry and allow a few hours to fully explore the museum.

3. Hike in the Tatra Mountains

  • Description: Enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the Tatra Mountains, ideal for hiking and outdoor activities.
  • Cost: Free to hike; some trails may have small fees for maintenance.
  • Tips: Stay in budget-friendly accommodations in Zakopane and bring your own food for picnics.

4. Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine

  • Description: Explore this historic salt mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its underground chapels and tunnels.
  • Cost: Around 100 PLN (about 24 USD) for a guided tour.
  • Tips: Book tickets in advance online to secure your spot and possibly get a discount.

5. Discover the Historic City of Gdańsk

  • Description: Stroll through Gdańsk’s picturesque Old Town, visit the impressive St. Mary’s Church, and explore the European Solidarity Centre.
  • Cost: Free to explore the city; small fees for museum entries.
  • Tips: Climb the tower of St. Mary’s Church for a small fee to get panoramic views of the city.

6. Prague

Visit one of the most beautiful European cities without breaking the bank: it’s possible in Prague! The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is known for its magnificent historical monuments and breathtaking architecture. During your visit, don’t miss Prague Castle, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, or even St. Vitus Cathedral. In addition to its assets in terms of history and heritage, Prague is a city where life is good. It is indeed very pleasant to stroll through its streets to soak up its very particular atmosphere, with its medieval feel, and local life.

Beer lovers won’t be left out either, with the city’s many traditional beer bars. Living there is very affordable if you avoid the most touristy areas. As a couple, with family or friends, Prague is one of the best destinations for a budget friendly trip in Europe!

Budget Friendly Activities in Prague

1. Explore Old Town Square

  • Description: Wander through Prague’s historic Old Town Square, featuring the Astronomical Clock, Church of Our Lady before Týn, and numerous statues and historical buildings.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Arrive early in the morning to enjoy the sights before the crowds arrive.

2. Visit Charles Bridge

  • Description: Walk across this iconic medieval bridge adorned with statues, offering beautiful views of the Vltava River and Prague Castle.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Visit at sunrise or sunset for a more peaceful experience and stunning photos.

3. Climb Petrin Hill and Tower

  • Description: Enjoy a hike up Petrin Hill, visit the Petrin Tower for panoramic views of the city, and explore the surrounding gardens.
  • Cost: Free to access the hill; around 150 CZK (about 7 USD) to climb the tower.
  • Tips: Bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens.

4. Visit Prague Castle Grounds

  • Description: Explore the extensive grounds of Prague Castle, including St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, and Golden Lane.
  • Cost: Free to wander the grounds; entrance fees for specific buildings (about 250 CZK, or 11 USD, for a full ticket).
  • Tips: Visit the castle early or late in the day to avoid the heaviest crowds and enjoy the changing of the guard ceremony at noon for free.

5. Stroll Through Letná Park

  • Description: Enjoy sweeping views of Prague from Letná Park, which also features beer gardens, walking paths, and the large Metronome sculpture.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Bring your own snacks and drinks to enjoy a budget-friendly picnic with a view.

6. Discover the John Lennon Wall

  • Description: Visit this colorful wall covered in graffiti and messages of peace and love, a tribute to John Lennon and a symbol of free expression.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Tips: Combine this visit with a walk through the picturesque Lesser Town (Malá Strana).
Prague - Budget Friendly trips to Europe
Credit: William Zhang

7. Budapest

In addition to being one of the budget friendly European destinations, Budapest is also among the most beautiful capitals in Europe! Budapest perfectly represents all the riches that Hungary has to offer. Nicknamed the “Hungarian Versailles,” the city impresses with its architecture and historical monuments, such as Buda Castle, Saint Matthias Basilica, the Hungarian National Opera, and many others.

Budapest is also known for its magnificent thermal baths, such as the Gellért Baths or the Széchenyi Baths, as well as its panorama of the Danube which runs along the city. Besides, why not let yourself be tempted by a peaceful boat trip to discover the city differently? Budapest is a low-cost destination ideal for relaxation, but also for partying! The Hungarian capital can be discovered at night with its many inexpensive bars and its unmissable festive atmosphere. It is, therefore, an ideal getaway for travelers looking for heritage, relaxation, a change of scenery, and fun, all without breaking the bank!

8. Lithuania

If you are still wondering where to travel affordably in Europe, why not give Lithuania a try? Located in the northeast of Europe and still little frequented by tourists, Lithuania is undeniably one of the inexpensive destinations to consider for your next vacation. So, what to do and what to see in Lithuania? This Baltic country is home to a large number of architectural wonders and will delight history lovers with its tumultuous past.

The capital, Vilnius, is a must-see with its pretty cobbled streets, medieval and Gothic buildings, and vibrant ambiance. Without forgetting the town of Trakai with its castle on the water. Lithuania also delights hikers with lakes and forests as far as the eye can see, but also the Curonian Spit National Park and its dunes and lagoons. In short, a stay off the beaten track, exotic, and at a low price!


Travelers can immerse themselves in the charm of these European destinations without draining their wallets. Whether seeking tranquil landscapes, vibrant city life, or a combination of both, these affordable options cater to diverse interests.

By opting for less-explored regions and embracing the off-peak seasons, one can unlock the true potential of these destinations, enjoying not only cost savings but also a more authentic and less crowded experience. And no matter which location you choose, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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