Looking For Budget Friendly Travel Destinations in Europe?
It’s a land resounding with royal histories seemingly straight from the storybooks, where kings and queens once walked in gilded palaces. Europe is home to legends, panoramic beauty, and artistic heritage, and is nothing less than regal. In one of their classic one-liners, Lonely Planet describes it as a “fairytale castle,” and even if you had the courage to disagree with such an expert, you wouldn’t have the grounds. There seems to be magic lurking around every corner of the continent, making Europe one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.
And there are so many ways to start wandering into this labyrinth of myths and wonders. You could start the adventure in Florence, where the Renaissance was born, or in the quiet beauty of Holland, where windmills embellish the wide-open skies. How about the Swiss Alps, where snow-capped mountains become the canvass of lush green fields and deep blue lakes? Or the Scottish Highlands, where century-old castles still stand almost perfect? As you turn your head around, you’ll find yourself lost in a real-life wonderland – until an inescapable dread of the money leaking from your pocket brings you back to reality.
But there’s no need to worry (sigh of relief) because there is absolutely no reason to stop yourself from undertaking the great European exploration. Below, we’ve listed the 10 friendliest budget travel destinations in Europe, enough to spark that thrill of conquest and adventure as you discover the magic of the continent with your own eyes, minus a vicious vacuum cleaner stubbornly cleaning out your funds.
P.S. If you want a few tips on how to travel cheaply when you arrive at your low budget destination, you can hoover up these handy tips: How to travel cheap in Europe.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #1
Prague, Czech Republic
This may have been one of the hardest countries to attempt to spell as a kid, but the Czech Republic still brings about some kind of childlike wonder in you as you arrive. Clearly, the boredom of spelling lessons didn’t ruin us completely. Ready yourself for some mugs of local Pilsner beer – which, by the way, is an absolute bargain! So make sure to pick up a few specialties for your friends back home.
You’ll be treated to cobblestone streets, stunning taverns and of course, amazing gourmet as you go along. Make sure to try some trdelnik, the most delicious crossbreed of ice cream-donut you will ever taste. Probably the only breed too.
Prague or Cesky Krumlov are great places to start your trip, with rich histories dating back centuries. Take a tour with Sandeman’s New Europe (freeee!!) tours to get your fill of history here without making an enemy of your wallet. Actually, this counts for pretty much any major city of Europe.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #2
Looking forward to devouring some juicy steak? Andalucía, Spain is the answer. Even if meat’s not really your thing, the wide array of delicacies presented by a good tapas restaurant is sure to put a smile on your face (and a food baby in your stomach). Think melted cheeses, roasted veggies, delicate cuts and decadent wines. Erm… Yes. Please.
Its magnificent countryside is perched on the southern side of Spain, which means you get sunny skies and lush green foliage draping around ancient castles. Taste the flavors of Iberia, inhale art in its local museums, and then, hop on to a ferry heading to Morocco for your next adventure.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #3
Begin your Mediterranean journey in the city of Paphos, just to the southwest of Cyprus. From here, you can take a stroll around ancient ruins, before cooling yourself by taking a dip into its stunning white sandy beaches.
They apparently have not quite caught up with the grabbing at money going on in the West, meaning that a trip to the art gallery here is actually still free – wow! Perhaps one of your best investments here would be a two-day travel card (£8.85) or a city bus tour (£15.05).
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #4
Believe it or not, Warsaw is one of our favorite travel destinations in Europe, and for a good reason. Famous art galleries and museums are within reach by walking, and your necessities are ultra cheap: for example, a 48-hour travel card costs just £5.16! Five pounds, sixteen pence. What!
This beautiful medieval city glows especially at night, where you can enjoy the Old Town Square and feed on local delicacies during your stay at the local market.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #5
Another (quite thrillingly) low budget travel destination comes in the very attractive form of Budapest. If you’re attempting to cut back on costs after an ‘accidental’ visit to one of its famous luxury spas, you can enjoy the free sights of Gellért Hill, as well as the flourishing Nagycsarnok, the city’s biggest (and most delicious) food market. Enjoy good deals with the native gourmand and prepare your palette for a taste explosion. When you’re done, visit Castle Hill and take picturesque snaps by the garden lounge towards the Royal Palace.
As an added bonus, you can annoy everyone back home by singing George Ezra’s Budapest in the weeks before you leave.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #6
A true remnant with an old-town atmosphere, Riga is a quaint city carved out of cobblestone and high-topped gothic architecture. It is graceful, quiet and reserved – and somewhat kitsch, thanks to multi-colored buildings accented with large windows which welcome guests.
In Riga, you get to enjoy a cup of coffee for just £2.66 (!), and a visit to top galleries in various museum sets you back as little as £3.10. Enjoy the impressive structure of Blackheads House and Alberta Iela, then proceed to the Central Market to buy some goodies.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #7
High Tatras, Slovakia
This mountainous forest, the tallest range in all of Eastern Europe, promises to draw you closer to nature. How could it not, when its white-gilded snowfields and sapphire lakes contrast with the vibrant green color of the pine forests perched above the alpine range.
Get your backpacking gear on; you are in for a treat. Experienced and beginner hikers can find their best routes, while mountain chalets welcome the travelers with warm rooms and a good meal. Delve into some incredible beginners’ backpacking tips first, here.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #8
Who wouldn’t be astounded by the spectacular hillside overview of Rio Tejo? Lisbon is a picture-perfect sight draped with domed cathedrals, cobbled streets, and haunting ruins. If you’re looking at the postcards on offer around the town and none of them quite match up to your own, carefully captured or posed pictures, simply create a personalized postcard direct from your phone. It’ll most likely be budget-friendlier too!
You may well stammer at the frightening and impressive scene that was once the Great Lisbon Earthquake; the city has since redefined itself, reconstructing beautiful facades into one of the first seismically preserved architecture in the whole land.
Munch on fresh seafood offerings during your stay while sitting in a classic terrace garden as the sun goes down.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #9
This is where legends were born! The city is the scene of that well-loved fable in which Paris elopes with the beautiful Helen. With a splash of Byzantine, Mycenaean and Ottoman influence, this whimsical city is surprisingly one of the most budget-friendly yet culture rich travel destinations in Europe.
Drop by Ancient Olympia, then visit the ancient ruins at Corinth and Mycenae. In Kastro, succumb to a food-fest of the local delicacies with a medieval flair. End your trip at Monemvasia, a cliff where you can see the waters of the Aegean Sea.
Travel Destinations in Europe Tip #10
Literally oozing with nostalgic Baltic beauty, Vilnius is a traveler’s favorite – due equally to its pocket-friendly accommodations, as to its alluring attractions. It is the largest European baroque town, decorated with clusters of Catholic and Orthodox structures rising from cobbled pathways and majestic hills. Visit the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania to experience some ghostly pangs of royalty before seeking out and enjoying some homegrown flavors in Lokys.
Well, there you have it. Exploring Europe doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, it shouldn’t be. With these budget travel destinations, you can enjoy the best of the continent’s hidden gems, at a price you can easily afford – without sacrificing on culture, experience or beauty.
Discover more: Into a bit of activity when abroad? Or maybe you just want to see the world at a slower pace? Take a look at our favorite cycling routes around Europe. It’ll probably reduce your transport costs too!
Discover even more gorgeous European destinations to get your inspiration flowing.