Betty Williams once said, “When all else fails, take a vacation.”
And we suggest taking a vacation even when nothing is failing. But then you say, “Vacations are expensive,” “How to travel when you do not have a good budget?” etc.
However, that will not stop us from telling you how important it is to take a break every now and then as everyone has the right to change their surroundings. You have the right to relax for a while, so we have penned the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.
Cheapest Places to Travel in Europe 2023
If you have always wondered if a Euro trip will cost you a kidney, we have some good news. Europe is not restricted to the fashion-capital Milan, honeymooner’s favorite Paris, or the green heaven Zurich. There’s a lot more to explore.
Portugal, Hungary, Romania, and Croatia are among the top choices when it comes to an affordable vacation in Europe. Alternatively, you can also opt for less popular tourist destinations like Slovenia, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. As you keep reading through the blog, you will also get to know how to plan an easy-on-the-pocket trip to everyone’s favorite Greece and Italy!
If you come from one of the biggest countries in the world, you might find most of the European countries smaller. However, they have so much to offer, from high-rise skyscrapers offering you breathtaking views of the city to gorgeous lakes, churches, and national parks offering you every penny’s worth.
So, let’s quickly take you to the details of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.
Hungary is a must on the list if you love to walk and explore historical sites on vacation!
Hungary is located in Central Europe and is bordered by Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Croatia, and Austria. This beautiful country is a treat to the eyes and takes you to old times with its heritage sites and gorgeous lakes. You feel like you are in the Victorian era of beautiful gardens and historical buildings.
The country is known for its thermal baths, and you will find one of the world’s largest thermal lakes in Heviz. But there’s a lot more!
Budapest, Eger, Sopron, Pecs, and Debrecen are must-visit locations for first-time travelers, while Lake Balaton and Aggtelek National Park are the most popular tourist attractions in the country among tourists. The capital Budapest, accurately called the city of lights, particularly has a lot of rich historic architecture to offer to tourists, including Heroes Square, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and the Central Market Hall. Walk through the city on your own or hop onto a sightseeing cruise for an hour-long trip around Budapest. Enjoy the view of the city while enjoying a glass of your favorite trip to make it a memory you wouldn’t forget soon. Also, visit Buda Castle, the Danube River, and the Historic Spa Town to immerse in the essence of this beautiful town.
After Budapest, you can go to the spectacular lake Balaton which is only a hundred kilometers from the capital. You can see sandy beaches, mountains, lush gardens, and vineyards around the lake. The water is shallow and beautifully clear to go to on a good day. Lake Heviz is another attraction in Hungary for nature lovers. It is surrounded by forest and allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
The best part is that most tourist attractions do not have hefty tickets, which makes Hungary one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Do not miss the delicious street food while you appreciate the beauty of the amazing architecture in this country.
The Great Market Hall is Budapest’s oldest indoor market and is one of the best places to buy souvenirs to bring back home. Alternatively, shopping from other cities apart from the capital will help you cut costs.
Best Time to Visit Hungary
Fall and spring are considered the best seasons to visit Hungary because of the nice weather and rain throughout the period. So, it’s best to plan your trip between April and May or September and October. But, make sure to check the online tickets for tourist attractions to estimate the influx of visitors.
On the other hand, if you want to visit most landmarks for free in Budapest, the city sponsors a “Night of the Museums” in June.
Daily Budget: $40-$90
Accommodation Cost: Hostel/Dorm rooms cost $15-$30, while hotel rooms are between $30 and $90, depending on where you rent one.
Food Cost: Food costs vary considerably according to where you eat. Street food costs $1-$2, fast food is around $5 per meal, while a nice dinner at a restaurant will cost more or less $20.
Transport Cost: Monthly bus tickets are $24 to go around the city, but the ease of walking can help you avoid transportation costs.
Bulgaria could be your dream country to visit if you love nature and enjoy adventurous activities. It is the poorest country in the EU, but the people are incredibly welcoming.
The region is quite undiscovered by tourists yet, so you do not have to worry about jam-packed locations when you visit the splendid country. Also, given how inexpensive it is, you may consider it the cheapest Schengen country.
Besides being considerably more affordable than West-European countries, it is also among the most economical ones in West Europe. You can enjoy a long trip in Bulgaria at a fraction of what you would have to pay in another country. If you have been to other European countries, you will find it more relevant to peak royal times with villages, castles, and hills.
The beaches along the Black Sea make Bulgaria the perfect choice for both summer and winter. It offers winter sports in cold weather and fun beach parties during the summer months. The nights are as lively as the days, with various nightclubs and restaurants offering cheap deals.
Sofia and Plovdiv are the top choices among visitors as they have more to offer than the smaller cities. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is truly the epitome of majestic beauty with its culture, architecture, and endless tourist attractions. On the other hand, Plovdiv offers a relatively modern approach to life and is the youthful part of the country. Also, add Bansko to your bucket list, as it is the ultimate snowboarding and skiing destination in winter and the perfect hiking spot in summer.
Belogradchik, Burgas, Pirin National Park, and Sunny Beach are our all-time favorites when planning a trip to Bulgaria. However, if you do not like a huge crowd, skip Sunny Beach on your trip.
Pro Tip: Always check the driver’s rating when you take a Taxi, as Taxi drivers often charge more to tourists. Also, avoid talking about communism to the locals as it might not be a pleasant conversation.
Best Time to Visit Bulgaria
Bulgaria is the hottest in August, with the highest average temperature of 29°C. Thus, the best time to visit this temperate country is between June and August.
Daily Budget: $40-$60
Accommodation Cost: $25-$50 per night for a hotel; $15-$25 per night for a hostel
Food Cost: Street food costs $1-$3; fast food costs $5 on average; restaurant meals are between $8 and $25.
Transportation Cost: $18.19 for a monthly public transport ticket.
The next one on our list of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe is somewhat similar to Bulgaria in terms of expense and architecture – magical Slovakia. Slovakia is one of the countries with the most castles per capita in the world.
The castles and lush greenery make Slovakia one of the most beautiful sites in Europe, combined with medieval villages, magnificent churches, chateaus, and a busy old town. As more people discover this hidden gem, it might become a popular tourist spot and more expensive. But for now, it is among the cheapest countries to travel to in Europe. Besides the castles, you can enjoy mountainous sceneries, ancient caves, and wildlife.
Like most European capitals, Bratislava is among the best spots in the country, but the outdoors competes closely. Bratislava is among the smallest capitals in Europe and offers Blue Church, Bratislava Castle, Slavin, and four Bratislava Statues. You will also get to see numerous galleries throughout the city. While the capital is always slightly expensive, transportation is quite economical. Walk around the city to cut down the cost further. As you visit other cities, go to the national parks, as they are absolutely free!
Did you know: Slovakia is also home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites you can discover without paying high ticket fees?
Furthermore, if you are an avid hiker, you can go hiking, snow-shoeing, or cross-country skiing in Slovakia, according to the weather.
Best Time to Visit Slovakia
Spring is the best time to visit Slovakia for pleasant weather during the day, as it can get quite hot during the summer (June – August). At the same time, winters are also quite chilly.
Daily Budget: $40-$60
Accommodation Cost: $10 for an air-conditioned room with Wi-Fi; $30 or more for a four or five-star hotel.
Food Cost: $6-$10 for an individual meal.
Transportation Cost: 3.50€ for a 24-hour ticket; 11.40€ for a 168-hour ticket.
When we hear “Romania,” it seems to come from “romance,” and it wouldn’t be wrong if it did, as the place is one of the most beautiful parts of Europe!
Romania is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe in 2023, especially if you want to spend a peaceful time in the countryside. When planning your trip to Romania, start from the capital Bucharest to visit some of the most historic locations, including the Revolution Square, Arch of Triumph, the 15th century Old Town, and many museums. Taking a bus is affordable and convenient, but the buses are typically not in good condition. And that is why many people prefer walking through the city.
Other than the capital city, you must browse through Brașov, Sibiu, Salina Turda, Peles Castle, Liberty Bear Sanctuary, & Bran Castle whether you trip solo or go with your family. Explore the cities on foot or rent a bike to explore the splendid Romanian cities. It is best to book a sightseeing tour of Bran Castle.
The old city of Sighişoara’s historic center is perfect for everyone looking forward to learning about the country’s history. It depicts what life was like in the middle ages; you can also see stone structures lining small streets throughout the town.
The Citadel of Alba Iulia is one of Romania’s most attractive tourist destinations. It has two churches with museums that have sculptures and bars to relax while you are in the city. The views are stunning, and you wouldn’t want to miss it on your trip to Romania.
Romania has a lot to explore, and you must spend at least two to three weeks in the country to make the best of your time, especially when it’s inexpensive.
Best Time to Visit Romania
When visiting Romania, it is best to plan your trip between April and October to enjoy exploring the city when the weather is pleasant. Autumn and spring are the most suitable to treat yourself to gorgeous views.
Daily Budget: $40-$70
Accommodation Cost: $10-$25 for hostel or dorm; hotels are between $25 and $45 per night.
Food Cost: Fast food costs $5-$7; restaurant meals are around $15-$20.
Transportation Cost: Buses in Romania cost $0.30 per ride, and a monthly pass is around $16.52.
Who has not wanted to go to Greece after seeing the mesmerizing pictures of Santorini on the internet? Visiting Greece is a dream come true for everyone who loves island vibes.
Before we tell you where to go, you must remember that Islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes are pricier and unsuitable for a budget trip. However, the country has so much to offer that you will not miss these expensive touristy attractions.
Lefkada, Tinos, Alonnisos, Hydra, and Poros are gorgeous Italian islands offering accommodation, food, and transportation at better prices, allowing us to add Greece to the list of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. These islands have a similar outlook to other cities, including beautiful beaches, terrace hillsides, taverns, and magical views. The walkways, old buildings, and beach views make me tell everyone that they must go to Greece once in a lifetime.
Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the most beautiful locations in the country. It is widely known as the cradle of Western civilization. You can find many interesting attractions, including historical architecture and modern towns. The archeological ruins in the city, including Agora, Acropolis, and Parthenon, are must-seeing sites besides the gorgeous Greek nightlife on the beaches.
Due to the high tourist influx, Greece is not the right choice of the cheapest European countries to visit in August. Santorini and other similar picturesque islands cost high during peak season. On the other hand, Athens and Corfu are affordable options. Athens is one of the cheapest cities to fly to in 2023.
Start your trip to the capital and explore other islands eventually. You can stay in Greece for as less as $20 per night; you just need to find the right offers!
Best Time to Visit Greece
Budget travelers should visit this stunning country in May or October, skipping the peak summer months. Despite the hot weather, most tourists visit Greece to spend the summer on the islands. Greece typically experiences rainfall and cold weather from October to March.
Daily Budget: $60-$100
Accommodation Cost: Hostel: $20-30; Hotel: $20-50 per night.
Food Cost: Street food costs $2-$3; restaurant meals may cost up to $30.
Transportation Cost: 24-hour bus/metro pass costs $4-$6
When counting economic countries in Europe, some people consider Portugal a cheap Schengen country while others don’t. But you can fit your Portugal visit if you plan according to your budget.
There’s a lot to do in Portugal, such as diving in the tidal pools of Leça Da Palmeira, wine tasting in the Douro Valley, driving through Parque National Da Serra Da Estrella, exploring the amazing Castles of Sintra, etc. As there is so much to see in Portugal, you can always bend the itinerary according to your budget. The food is also finger-licking good; if you are a food enthusiast, you must taste everything you can!
Budget tip: Plan a group road trip around the country to explore most parts. Start your trip from the capital city Porto and move forward to Lisbon and Algarve. Other affordable cities include Castelo, Viseu, Branco, Santarém, and Alcobaça. The islands of Madeira and the Azores are also beautiful tourist destinations but slightly expensive due to their higher popularity among visitors.
Going to the Faro district is a must if you are a fan of nature and love spending time on cliffs and sand. You can unwind and enjoy peaceful days there without denting your pocket. Moreover, the Convent of Christ in Tomar, the 12th-century Templar Castle, and the ancient town of Evora are also free to explore. You can also go scuba diving and hike along the volcanic hiking trails in Madeira.
The best part is that most museums in Portugal offer FREE entry on Sunday. Make sure to get your tickets online before they are sold out. Also, head to the Praca Luis De Camoes to buy some souvenirs if you want.
Another stunning part of Portugal is Madeira, which tourists have not explored yet. The unmatched beauty of this part of Europe has led to the title “The Hawaii of Europe.” Enjoy an amazing view of the land from the Miradouro das Cabanas or go surfing in Sao Vicente. Ponta do Rosto, on the far east of the island, is the perfect spot to watch a beautiful sunset.
It is better to bring smaller bags to Portugal instead of huge bags as the streets are usually lined with cobblestone, and carrying big suitcases can be difficult. Also, ditch your heels and flats for this trip, and pick your best pair of sneakers.
Best Time to Visit Portugal
Compared to other Eastern European countries, most people visit Portugal from June to August, making it the most expensive time to visit this region. Prices drop during other months, especially between November and February, as it’s cold.
Daily Budget: $40-$70
Accommodation Cost: $15-$35 for hostel; $35-$55 for hotel per night.
Food Cost: Street food is $3-$4; restaurant meals cost $10-$30.
Transportation Cost: Monthly bus pass costs $41; a single ticket costs $1.60.
Slovenia is a beautiful yet tiny country surrounded by Hungary, Austria, and Italy. It is perfect for people who cannot choose between mountains and beaches, as you can find both in Slovenia!
While the beaches are absolutely free to visit, you might find the accommodation a little expensive during summer. However, Moon Bay, Mestna Beach, Koper Beach, and Portoroz Resort are somewhat affordable during late spring before the arrival of tourists. Besides the beach, you must visit the Triglav National Park, Škocjan Caves, Lake Bled, Ljubljana, and Štanjel on a budget.
We suggest starting your trip at the capital city, Ljubljana, and later visiting Piran, Maribor, Koper, and Ptuj per your preference. Koper is a simple town with Venetian vibes and a few interesting places to explore. Tito Square is the main attraction, including the buildings around it, such as Loggia, Praetorian Palace, and Bell Tower.
Alternatively, if you are looking for mouthwatering food in Slovenia, add Izola to your list. It might hurt your pocket a little, but the restaurant at Marina Hotel offers seafood in all forms, shapes, and sizes!
Besides, hiking to the top of Mount Triglav is one of the best activities while you are in Slovenia. It might be a little difficult for first-time hikers, but a must-have experience if you are an experienced hiker.
Take the day tour from Ljubljana that will take you around Lake Bled, Bled Castle, Lake Bohinj, and Vintar Gorge. It is one of the preferred and undoubtedly easiest ways to visit some of the spectacular sites in the country.
Best Time to Visit Slovenia
Late spring to early autumn is the best time to visit this beautiful country as tourists start coming in summer. The arrival of tourists leads to higher accommodation prices, especially in the capital Ljubljana.
Daily Budget: $55-$100
Accommodation Cost: $15-$30 for hostel; $40-$100 for hotel.
Food Cost: $6 for fast food such as Mcdonald’s; $10-$25 for restaurant meals.
Transportation Cost: Monthly bus ticket costs $15.
If you think Italy is out of your budget, this guide might help you think differently.
While Italy might not be the cheapest country in Europe, it certainly isn’t among the most expensive. The affordable travel system in this country makes it a favorite, and you can also stay for free – keep reading to know how!
We heard a popular Anna Akhmatova quote, “Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life,” from the locals, and we can’t disagree.
But, to make your trip to Italy affordable, you will have to skip touristy cities like Milan, Venice, and Florence and opt for Southern Italy. However, that does not mean it won’t be a fun trip. Leece, Puglia, and Gargano Peninsula are beautiful regions to explore the country’s rich history. Also, Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an economical Florence alternative.
Compared to other capital cities worldwide, Rome is not as expensive as you’d expect. You can get fast food or breakfast even at lower prices than in the countries mentioned above. Lunch and dinner might seem expensive, but not as crazily priced as most people think.
The best part about Italy is the amazing architecture and mouth-watering pasta you rarely find anywhere else. You can visit churches and museums around the country with few to no entry fees.
If you are confused about traveling across cities, the local slow trains help you significantly cut costs, though they might take a little longer. Yet, they are an absolute favorite if you are a tourist on a budget. We also got to know that Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese Gardens are stunning attractions that don’t cost you a penny!
While nobody told us, do you know you can stay in a castle for free in Italy?
You can stay in a 1000-year-old Tuscan castle as a Worldpackers volunteer by offering to help in the farm, kitchen, or garden. The best part is that you can stay there for as long as three months!
Best Time to Spend in Italy
Summer is not the best time when visiting a country like Italy because of its high tourist density. The cities are more expensive than usual, and you might not find free accommodation either. Thus, winter is the best time to visit the country. The weather is not too cold, and you can explore vineyards in early spring and fall.
Daily Budget: $50-$100
Accommodation Cost: $40-$80 for one night
Food Cost: $19 for a good restaurant meal; $3 for an average breakfast
Transportation Cost: Rail pass for $50
Croatia is the last on the list, but it is stunning without a doubt!
This beautiful European country has everything from magnificent architecture, pristine beaches, and stunning national parks to rugged karst peaks – every region in this country is spellbinding. It is considered a picturesque country shaped in a beautiful crescent.
Start your trip from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and move to other cities like Dubrovnik. The latter has historic city walls and coastal views that make you want to stay there forever. You can go kayaking and hiking per your preference. But, it can be a little pricey if you are on a tight budget, so you may skip it if you want.
You may even say that Croatia is the safest and cheapest Schengen country as it does not cost you much to visit the most popular locations in the cities. Visit Zadar, Rovinj, Riva, Pula, Brač, Hvar, and Split for an unforgettable experience. Split has a rich history with modern towns. You must visit the Diocletian’s Palace in this city for a royal, medieval experience. This palace is an ancient complex with more than 200 buildings – something you might have never experienced before.
Best Time to Visit Croatia
Though the best time to visit Croatia is between June and September, budget travelers may visit the country in May and June before the influx of tourists. The weather is also more bearable in Spring, as June to September is the peak summer.
Daily Budget: $50-$80
Accommodation Cost: Hostel: $20-30; Hotel: $30-50 per night
Food Cost: Street food $2-$3; restaurant meal: $10-$25
Transportation Cost: Around $8 per hour; get Dubrovnik pass
The Bottom Line
Finding the cheapest countries to visit in Europe is no more a hassle with our detailed list of all the affordable countries in Europe. You visit all your favorites from Italy, Greece, and Portugal to stunning. Other locations like Croatia, Spain, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Romania are also among the most affordable places in Europe for a memorable trip. Plan your trip according to your budget to not overspend.
What country are the most hospitable people?
New Zealand is considered the most hospitable country among visitors, followed by Spain and Italy. The people of Greece and Canada are also friendly and welcoming.
Which country in Europe has the least travel to?
The sovereign microstate Monaco is the world’s second smallest country and welcomes the least number of visitors in Europe. However, you may say that the quality of visitors visiting this state overpowers the quantity in others, and some of the most powerful and wealthy people visit Monaco.
What is the unfriendliest country in Europe?
Expats consider the Netherlands the unfriendliest country in Europe, according to a report by Forbes magazine. While it offers a good living standard, many people avoid visiting the Netherlands.
What is the cheapest country in Europe to visit?
Some people consider Romania the cheapest country to visit in Europe, while others believe it is Croatia. The expense of your trip depends on the time you visit the region. High-season visits cost more than low-season.
What is the most beautiful country in Europe to visit?
Spain and Greece are among the most beautiful countries in Europe, with beaches and beautiful architecture. Alternatively, Italy and Romania are also incredibly beautiful to go on a trip on a budget.
Diana was an active fitness model in the past. She has had numerous shoots done at different locations and found out that her true interest was in exploring the world! Later on, this passion motivated her to write multiple tarvel blogs about whatever place she visited and discovered, and here it is! Enjoy reading a variety of blogs by Diana to get a lively experience of several places.