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15 of the cheapest countries in Europe you can travel to

Cheapest countries in Europe - Spain

Looking for a European trip, but don’t want to break the bank? Though some parts of Europe can be quite expensive, others are surprisingly quite cheap and will make a great holiday destination for any of our budget-conscious travellers! 

These destinations have been raved about by many budget travellers across the globe, and a few are rapidly rising in the public eye, so you may want to act fast before those prices rise as well… Here’s a list of some of the cheapest countries in Europe to travel to for all your future holiday inspiration!

When are the cheapest times to travel?

Generally speaking, off-season months are the best times to travel if you want to save as much money as possible. You’ll be able to get cheaper rates on hotels and hostels, restaurants as well, and even flights! We’ve got a separate guide for cheap flights to Europe which should help you map your timings, you’re welcome.

The advantage here is that Europe is a great place to visit every time of year, whether it’s travel during the off-season or in the peak of summer! Winter in Europe is sparkly and festive with Christmas markets all around, Spring is lush and sweet, Summer is obviously utterly glorious, and Autumn is crisp and cosy. The cheapest countries in Europe are ready to welcome you at any time! 

Image source:Contiki

What are the cheapest countries in Europe to travel to?

1. Spain

Typically, most of Western Europe is a little more on the expensive side (though you can deffo find cheaper options within). One of the options this side of the coast that you’ll want to consider is Spain. Although popular cities like Barcelona and Madrid can cost more, there are tons of affordable spots throughout Spain. 

Seville and the beachside city of Valencia are great options, which are less busy and full of local Spanish culture. You’ll get to experience the architecture and taste the flavours of Spain all on a budget. Make sure to hit up Valencia in March for a unique fiery festival (literally).

2. Montenegro

Compared to other Mediterranean countries, Montenegro is easy to travel through without spending a lot. Most travellers will visit cities along the coastline like Budva and Kotor, but there are tons of other spots inland you’ll want to explore. We all love coasts and white sandy beaches, but what about fresh mountain air?

Hike through some of Montenegro’s national parks and experience the rocky hills and breathtaking mountain views of Montenegro. Pro tip: generally the Balkans are some of the cheapest countries in Europe, and you can save even more by hopping on Contiki’s Best of Balkans trip to whizz through a handful of them

3. Portugal

Top cities in Portugal, like Lisbon and Porto, are on most of our travel bucket lists. But all budget travellers should add Portuguese cities like Cascais in the Algarve region into the mix because they are just as stunning as Lisbon and Porto, and won’t break the bank!

These cities are the perfect spot to enjoy the sun and plenty of delicious Portuguese specialties. Pastel de nata, anyone? You can spend your days immersing yourself in Portuguese culture and food, and have enough left over for another holiday later in the year!

4. Ireland

One of the cheapest countries in Europe to fly into is Ireland. Many international airports and airlines will make direct and connecting flights into Dublin, making it a really practical destination! Calling all Bostonians and New Yorkers with Irish roots.

Not only is it practical, Ireland is also drop dead gorgeous. Spend a few days exploring Dublin. Then pack your bags and travel throughout the country to places like Galway, Cork and Killarney. Once you’re done the basics, you’ll want to check these 27 things off your list for the full experience.

5. Greece

If you avoid peak travel months during the summer, a trip to Greece may surprise you as a budget-friendly country. Get off the beaten path and ahead outside the main cities, or venture onto smaller Greek Islands such as Hydra, Poros, and Lefkada. Similar stunning views, similar white and blue-domed buildings, the same sunsets but so much kinder to your wallet!

Indulge in buckets of tzatziki (yes, you’ll be wanting buckets of the stuff), olives and salads, and hefty gyros while you lounge around in paradise. From delicious local Greek cuisine to sun-soaked beaches, you’ll have an amazing time immersed in the culture of Greece. 

6. Slovakia

Located in Central Europe, Slovakia gives you lots of room to roam. There are tons of fun, and affordable, outdoor attractions in Slovakia. If you’re an active sort and like to fill your lungs with fresh air, a popular option is hiking or skiing throughout the High Tatra Mountains. 

If you’re more into exploring the cities, try Bratislava. It’s one of the main cities where most budget travellers love to visit! With accommodations and local eats, you won’t have to spend a lot to enjoy your time visiting Slovakia.

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7. Romania

With European cities like Bucharest, Sibiu and Brașov, getting off the beaten path in Romania is easy, and so worth it! Spend your time relaxing on the beach by the Black Sea, or hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. No matter your travel fancy, Romania’s got something for you.

Of course, sightseeing is always a great option. So why not explore some of Romania’s beautiful castles? Two of the most popular castles are Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) in Transylvania and Peleș Castle in Sinaia. Plus, Romania was a principal filming location for Netflix’s Wednesday, so have fun spotting some iconic spots on your travels!

Romania - Peles Castle

Image source:Katy PH / Unsplash

8. Estonia

Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark are notoriously beautiful, but also notoriously expensive. A trip to Estonia is the next best thing. One of Europe’s northernmost countries, it sits just underneath Finland, and as such shares much of its natural beauty!

It has a wildly diverse terrain and over 1500 islands in the Baltic Sea. You’ll see the Nordic influence blended with the Baltic culture into something wonderfully unique. The capital city of Tallinn can be a tad more expensive, as most capital cities are, but if you stick to the outskirts of the city you’ll find tons more affordable options just waiting for you to explore. A trip to Estonia will remind you of travelling throughout Scandinavia on a budget!

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9. Poland

If you’re thinking about heading to Eastern Europe, Poland should be on your list! Its budget-friendly cities make it one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and also one of the most underrated. It has the perfect blend of nature and city. Venture out to witness amazing landscapes in places like Ojców National Park outside of Kraków. 

With a very deep Christian presence, Poland’s architecture feels divine, and if you’re a fan of old stained-glass churches then this is definitely a destination for you. Poland is full of rich history and culture you’ll fall in love with immediately.

10. Hungary

Every year, tons of travellers flock to Hungary for the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest. There’s rich history and a thriving food scene in Hungary that you won’t want to miss! Not to mention how stunning the city itself is – stick around to watch the houses of parliament light up against the Danube.

Best part? You won’t need to spend a lot to try some of the faves like goulash or langos. It’s one of the best and cheapest countries in Europe to vacation to for any budget traveller. For those that love to party and enjoy live music, Budapest is also home to Sziget Festival, one of Europe’s best music festivals, and one that you can enjoy for quite cheap!

11. Bulgaria

One of the cheapest countries in Europe is Bulgaria. You’re bound to save money travelling throughout this beautiful country. The capital city of Sofia is absolutely stunning! And luckily most of the main attractions, even in Sofia, are affordable. 

There are free walking tours across most of the main European cities of Sofia, Veliko, Tarnovo and Plovdiv. All you’ll have to do is tip. Don’t forget to try some Bulgarian pastries like banica and krenvirshka while you’re there. You can visit Bulgaria on Contiki’s Ultimate European which will take you around some of Europe’s brightest stars.

12. Czech Republic

With a beautiful city like Prague, Czech Republic is definitely an affordable option, and a fan-favourite at that. Visiting Prague in Summer is ideal for beautiful weather and cheap drinks, and if you hit it up in Winter you’ll be treated to some absolute fairytale views.

Opt to stay outside of the main city in cities like Bruno, Český Krumlov, and Ostrava, you’ll find your euro will stretch just a tad further. Plus, beer is cheaper than water here. Sounds like a good trip to us!

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13. Slovenia

Nestled between Croatia and Italy, Slovenia’s got some expensive neighbours, but the country itself is a gorgeous paradise doubling as one of the cheapest countries in Europe! With sloping hills and wood cabins, driving through Slovenia feels like driving through the Swiss Alps at a fraction of the cost. And don’t forget the magical Lake Bled!

Ljubljana is a rare European capital city that won’t break the bank, so you can wander through the cobblestone streets and up to the castle stress free! Treat yourself to a traditional Slovenian evening by enjoying platters of meat and folkloric dance. Psst… you can get a gorgeous Slovenian experience on Contiki’s Mini Balkan trip… 

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Image source:Contiki

14. Cyprus

For those who enjoy lazing about under the beating sun, but want to do it on a budget, then Cyprus is the place for you. This is another Mediterranean country on the list so you’ll be able to enjoy their famous diet on the beautiful coastlines.

Being quite a small country, you could realistically tour the entire island depending on how long your stay is, and there are plenty of archeological sites telling tales from bygone eras. The capital city of Nicosia is also on the cheaper side, so you can fully indulge here.

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15. Albania

Albania should be on everyone’s bucket list if it isn’t already. Just north of Greece it’s treated to the same sunny weather as well as dramatic cliffs and coasts and dazzling blue water. It’s a blessing that Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe because it’d be a sin to make its beauty inaccessible to the masses.

There are plenty of things to do in Albania. Make the capital city of Tiana your base, and you can explore from there by taking boats and cable cars. Enjoy heaps of baklava as you think about all the money you’ll be able to save and put elsewhere! 

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