• 3 February 2020

Travel is great – it broadens the mind and expands your horizons but it can be pricey! If you want to hit the road without breaking the bank, here are ten affordable European travel destinations to consider for your next trip:


Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria

Budget travel in the Balkans doesn’t get any better than Bulgaria. It is a gorgeous holiday destination with a surprisingly affordable price tag. You can choose to travel the wine country,  explore the snowy peaks or simply settle for a trip to a seaside town like Varna or Nessebar. Alternatively, make your way to the capital of Sofia. Here you can eat, drink and stay quite comfortably for around €40 a day – a bargain in anyone’s book.

Related: How to explore Sofia, Bulgaria like a pro

2. Hungary

Traditional Hungarian food at a local street market in Budapest
Traditional Hungarian food at a local street market in Budapest

The Hungarian capital of Budapest is a cash-strapped traveller’s dream. If you steer clear of tourist traps, you can enjoy a surprisingly affordable travel experience. Visit the city’s marvellous castles, cathedrals, and (of course!) thermal spas, all of which can be explored fairly cheaply. You can also head towards the countryside like Lake Balaton in Transdanubia, an easy 90-minute train ride from Budapest. Hike, sail and swim to your heart’s content and sample some well-priced local wines to boot.

3. Poland

Poland is a well-known Eastern European budget travel destinations, with cities like Krakow offering the visitor a real affordable travel experience. Food comes in at approximately €4 for a proper breakfast and €6-8 for a decent lunch/dinner. A typical dinner can include pork loin with all the trimmings or baked salmon with spinach and potatoes. Yum! There are several free tourist attractions to be enjoyed around Poland, which are super budget-friendly.

4. Slovakia

Looking for an affordable skiing destination? Slovakia gets our vote. The country is home to a number of small ski resorts. The best developed of which are near Poprad, in the High Tatras, which is just 20 minutes or so from the airport, and in Jasna, which is less than an hour from the airport. It enjoys a rather long ski season, running from early December until late April. The capital Bratislava is also exceedingly affordable, with a three-course meal coming in at around €5 – oh yes!

5. Bosnia

Old Bridge in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina come in among the most affordable countries throughout the entire continent of Europe. Average spend in this Balkan country comes in at around €47 per day. On this budget you won’t have to cut back on food either – the country is known for its fresh produce and organic fare. Explore beautiful historic towns like Mostar along with the bustling capital of Sarajevo. After emerging from the turbulent years of the Bosnian War, the Bosnia and Herzegovina of today boasts many layers of intriguing culture and traditions. Not to forget the beautiful landscapes! Bosnia is a unique opportunity to visit one of the most underrated countries in Europe.

6. Serbia

One of six republics that came from the former Yugoslavia, Serbia is a fascinating country in the Balkan region. Its vibrant capital of Belgrade is within easy travelling distance from wonderful national parks and  small towns that are begging to be explored. Here you can still catch a glimpse of traditional life without large groups of tourists.  And it’s affordable! Reasonably priced local street food includes dishes like ‘burek’ – a flaky pastry filled with cheese or meat that is a must-try. Public transportation is also cheap and dependable.

7. Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

While Turkey’s reputation of being the ultimate ‘east meets west’ European travel destination has pushed prices up, the decline of the Turkish Lira is making it more affordable once again. There are a great variety of markets and attractions to explore at every turn, not all of which require an entrance fee. Accommodation in Istanbul and surrounds can be a bit more expensive than you expect. If you plan your budget correctly – Turkey is definitely worth the visit! Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Istanbul. See hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadoccia. Step back in time at historic sights in Ephesus, Pamukkale and more.

8. Portugal

Portugal is another affordable travel option. Lisbon is one of the more reasonably-priced Western European capitals. It’s a great option if you wish to follow the road less travelled. Enjoy the culture, vibe and monuments in Lisbon. Travel north to Porto to sample authentic ports and wine – Portuguese food and wine are affordable and delicious! Travel south to the Algrave to relax on the scenic beaches and wander through quaint towns. Don’t forget to try Pasties de Nata (Portuguese egg tart pastry) while you’re there!

9. Greece

Corfu, Greece
Corfu, Greece

After years fo economic crisis, the beautiful country of Greece has relied on tourism income to initiate a much-needed upswing. From the bustling capital to the picturesque islands, Greece is definitely a bucket-list destination. And an affordable one to boot! Take advantage of affordable pricing on everything from accommodation to meals. Pick up delicious street fares like souvlaki or a gyro for less than a euro in some places! You will help to boost the Greek economy while you’re at it.

Top Tip: Steer clear of the ‘obvious’ islands of Santorini and Mykonos – go for the similarly scenic destinations like Paros, Skiathos or Ios. It’s much cheaper.

10. Croatia

Known as the Jewel of the Adriatic, we’re as happy as you that Croatia made it to this list! Overlooking the blue waters of the Adriatic, cities like Dubrovnik in Croatia are definitely at the top of our log for budget travel. It’s home to all sorts of extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Sites, charming historic sites and medieval attractions. Accommodation prices are affordable and there are great deals on tourist attractions and activities.

Seeing amazing European destinations on a budget is totally doable! From Eastern European hidden gems to popular bucket-list worthy destinations. You can see them all! Crunch the numbers, pick your favourite and get going – we’re right behind you!

Questions & Comments

  1. What happened to number 4 on this list? You start out 1 Bulgaria, 2 Hungary, 3 Poland, 5 Bosnia…I assume 4 is Slovakia?

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello, Lizette! You are absolutely right! Slovakia, number 4 got lost. We’ve added it! Thanks for letting us know.

  2. I would love to do this tour, when is the next one and what is the cost.
    I’m from South African, Johannesburg…When is the best time of the year….I have a limited budget.

  3. Like to visit these places together with Berlin minus turkey. Can a trip be arranged for me & my wife accordingly

  4. Do you have a combo tour of Portugal, Spain and Morocco?

  5. Is there any tours to Southern Italy and Greece?? Please update me on it.

  6. what are inclusive on your tour package how about the plane ticket

  7. Pradip Kumar Padhee says:

    I am interested to tour Eastern Europe. Please send me details.

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