There’s no denying that exploring Europe can become a fairly pricey affair. But that doesn’t mean budget travelers can’t explore the continent. If you’re wondering what are the cheapest European countries to visit, you’ve come to the right place.
While regions such as Western Europe and the Nordics are known to be very expensive, there are also many European destinations that don’t have to break the bank.
The catch? Well, there is no catch, really. Some of these cheap places to travel in Europe may just not be as well-known for tourism yet. For example, relatively few people visit Albania compared to Italy. But take it from me, it’s such an incredible and cheap country to visit in Europe!
Are you ready to spend as little as $70 (€65) or even under $50 (€46) a day per person? If so, get ready to add these cheapest countries in Europe to your next itinerary.
Cheapest Countries in Europe
From free walking tours to very affordable prices for things such as street food, these destinations have it all. Who knows, my list of the cheapest countries to travel in Europe may even surprise the most experienced explorer.
- Average daily costs: $40-$60 (€37-€56)
- Top 5 places to visit: Bucharest, Brașov, Sighișoara, Timisoara, Sibiu
Home to many castles, colorful old towns, and gorgeous landscapes with primal forests, Romania is bound to surprise you. It also happens to be one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.
Its Transylvania region, associated with the legendary Count Dracula, is dotted with lovely Medieval towns and unique fortified churches. The nature in the heart of Romania is truly wild, offering spectacular hiking trails and remote lodges where you can observe brown bears – essentially a kind of European safari.
Accommodation and dining are cheap. Many restaurants have set lunch menus for $4. It’s all about pork dishes, different stews, sausages, and cabbage rolls in Romania – and everything is tasty. Looking for a place to stay? Count on paying around $10 a night for hostels, while charming Airbnbs and budget hotels can be found for around $25-$30 a night.
More about Romania:
- 5 Reasons Why I Utterly Loved Traveling In Romania
- Romania Travel Guide: Planning A Trip Through Transylvania
- Average daily costs: $50-$65 (€46-€60)
- Top 5 places to visit: Tirana, Gjirokastër, Berat, Korcë, Accursed Mountains
Albania is a best-kept secret – and one of the cheapest places in Europe.
Looking for an unspoiled Mediterranean beach? Albania still has natural beauty in spades. Meanwhile, Albania’s main mountain range, dramatically known as the Accursed Mountains, is an increasingly recognized region for hiking and climbing. Cultural highlights include the picturesque towns of Gjirokastër and Berat, owing to their Ottoman influences and UNESCO World Heritage Status.
The costs? As an indication, a bunk bed in a modern hostel in Tirana costs around $8 per night, while a room in a hotel can be booked for $15-$20. You can spend as little as $5 on good but cheap food in a typical Albanian restaurant. Even if you dine in tourist restaurants, don’t expect to pay more than $12 for an appetizer, entrée, wine, and dessert.
Such prices truly have more in common with Southeast Asia’s budget backpacking destinations than the rest of Europe.
Although Albania is a developing country, it is very safe. Its infrastructure has also improved, making traveling there now a lot easier. Go there before the word gets out.
More about Albania:
- Average daily costs: $50-$70 (€46-€65)
- Top 5 places to visit: Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, The Algarve, Azores
Known for its surfer beaches, cute old towns with tiled buildings, delicious pastries such as the pasteis de nata, and melancholic Fado music, Portugal has truly captured the spotlight in recent years.
While prices in central Lisbon and Porto have increased somewhat in recent years, on the whole, Portugal remains very budget-friendly.
Expect to pay about $16 a night for a hostel and $32-$43 for a budget hotel in Lisbon or Porto. Meals in the capital may cost around $11-$16. But you’ll get much lower prices if you explore the amazing countryside and the stunning Atlantic coastline.
Or if you head to Portugal’s third-biggest city of Coimbra, where J.K. Rowling once found inspiration for the Harry Potter novels. Head to the Portuguese interior, and you can find set meals (pratos do dia) for as little as $6.
More about Portugal:
- Portugal Travel Guide: 29 Most Phenomenal Places To Visit
- A Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Portugal
- The Ultimate Azores Travel Guide | Top Islands to Visit & More
- Average daily costs: $45-$70 (€42-€65)
- Top 5 places to visit: Mostar, Sarajevo, Kalinovik, Trebinje, Banja Luka
Okay, what do you know about Bosnia?
Don’t be embarrassed. Many people might not know much about this country at all, or they still associate it only with the conflict that raged there in the 1990s.
But this Balkan country is truly a hidden gem and possibly the cheapest country to visit in Europe. If you’re a curious traveler, you will find so much to love in this authentic destination.
One highlight is the Medieval town of Mostar, once a key stop on the Silk Road trading routes between Venice and Istanbul. Another surprising highlight is the capital, Sarajevo, which (although small) I consider one of Europe’s most underrated capitals. With its fascinating blend of Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman influences, Sarajevo has a warmth and atmosphere you may not expect.
Prices are very reasonable, too, with budget rooms not costing much more than $21 per night and meals regularly in the $5-$8 range.
Given its proximity, Bosnia can make for an attractive add-on to a trip to the more expensive Croatia.
More about Bosnia:
- Soulful Sarajevo: One of Europe’s Most Underrated Capitals
- Travel Guide: 10 Must-Do Things In Beautiful Bosnia
5. Southern Italy
- Average daily costs: $70-$90 (€65-€84)
- Top 5 places to visit: Puglia, Palermo, Naples, Matera, Sicily
Wait… what’s Italy doing here?
I know you may not necessarily think of Italy as one of the cheap European destinations, especially if you’re thinking of places like Rome, Venice, or Milan.
But the situation is so different in the south of Italy that it may as well be a different country. While nowhere as economically prosperous as the north of Italy, the southern regions are also much more affordable to travel.
Take, for example, the region of Puglia, colloquially known as the heel of Italy’s boot. Here, you can easily find beautiful B&Bs starting at about $30, even at the heart of the ancient city of Lecce. Prices do go up during August, when many Italians spend their summer holiday in the region, so it’s always best to avoid this peak season if you can.
Southern Italy is chock-full of cute towns with chalk-white houses, gentle olive grove landscapes, windy streets strewn with Vespas and Fiat 500s, and tons of toe-tinglingly good beaches that are delightfully uncrowded.
More about Italy:
- Average daily costs: $45-$65 (€42-€60)
- Top 5 places to visit: Laheema National Park, Soomaa National Park, Tartu, Tallinn, Saaremaa
Think of the Baltic state of Estonia as a little bit like Scandinavia… but on a budget.
Its landscapes are reminiscent of Finland, with its many pine forests and peatlands, while its people are similarly obsessed with saunas and cross-country skiing. Of course, Estonia has a character all to its own. Think of Nordic influences with Baltic culture and some remains of former USSR architecture.
Don’t miss the fascinating KGB Museum at the Viru Hotel in Tallinn, hiking the Soomaa National Park, or staying in the university city of Tartu.
The tourist center in the capital of Tallinn is relatively expensive, closer to Western European prices at times, though this is only true for a small 2 square kilometer area where the cruise ship tourists go. The rest of Estonia is delightfully budget-friendly, with $10 hostels, $20-$30 hotels, $5-$10 dinners, and plenty of free attractions scattered across the country.
The Baltic States are relatively small, so you could easily see all three on a single trip.
More about the Baltic States:
- How to combine Helsinki and Tallinn in one trip
- Visiting the Museum of Soviet Vehicles in Estonia
- 17 Top Things To Do In Riga, Latvia
- 12 Best Things To Do in Vilnius, Lithuania
- Average daily costs: $40-$60 (€37-€56)
- Top 5 places to visit: Bay of Kotor, Budva, Horceg Novi, Podgorica, Zabljak
While small in size, Montenegro has enough to keep travelers entertained for at least a couple of days. There are also many ways to save money here, from completely free entrances to most of the attractions to cheap apartments and hotels on the lovely Adriatic coast.
Start with a visit to the Bay of Kotor. With its deep blue waters surrounded by towering mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most stunning places in the Balkan Peninsula.
If you like to party, make your way to the coastal city of Budva, a city that never sleeps. If you are just looking for a relaxing and affordable vacation, you should consider a few nights in the lovely town of Herceg Novi.
As for the accommodation, you can find great places to stay for around $30 a night, even in peak season. As for eating out, expect to pay $6-$12 for a meal in a restaurant, while a bottle of beer in a bar will set you back $3.
Make sure to try the local delicacies such as pljeskavica (the Balkan version of a burger), cured meats like prsuto, seafood pasta with a delicious red sauce, and black risotto made from cuttlefish ink.
Suffice to say it’s one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe and the best starting point for your Balkan backpacking trip.
9. North Macedonia
- Average daily costs: $45-$70 (€42-€65)
- Top 5 places to visit: Skopje, Ohrid Lake, Prilep, Bitola, Tetovo
With its delicious foods, lively culture, and super cute small towns, North Macedonia is one of the cheap countries in Europe you won’t forget anytime soon. The country’s capital city, Skopje, has countless statues, museums, and other cultural attractions.
However, a favorite destination is the picturesque Ohrid Lake, one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes. In the town of Ohrid, there are countless churches worth visiting, and the local food is delicious and extremely cheap ($4-$6 for a meal in a restaurant). Other notable places of interest include Marco’s Towers in Prilep and the lovely town of Bitola.
Buses between cities are plentiful and cost-effective. For example, a return bus ticket from Skopje to Ohrid is a 3-hour trip priced at $13. As for the accommodation, expect to pay $25 per night for an apartment in the center of Skopje.
In Ohrid, the price for rooms and apartments ranges from $15-$30 a night. No visit to Macedonia is complete without trying the local foods. Try some pita (stuffed pie), sarma (cabbage rolls), tavce na gravce (beans cooked in a skillet), and Pastrmajlija (fried dough pie).
- Average daily costs: $70-$85 (€65-$79)
- Top 5 places to visit: Tinos, Lefkada, Ikaria, Athens, Agistri
You wouldn’t think Greece is one of the cheap European countries to visit, but stranger things have happened.
Sure – the most famous tourist islands like Santorini, Rhodes, and Mykonos are definitely very pricey. When it’s peak season in Santorini, even a hostel dorm bed can cost upwards of $90.
But there are many amazing cities and islands in Greece that you can visit without breaking the bank. Instead of traveling to Mykonos, try spending a few nights on the lovely island of Tinos. Here, you’ll find marble villages, terraced hillsides, beautiful beaches, and excellent deals on accommodation.
The island of Lefkada is also home to affordable hotels, casual tavernas, and plenty of attractions. And there are plenty more examples.
Greece becomes much cheaper if you avoid August, the peak month for tourism. Airbnb’s that cost $64-$96 a night in August will easily drop to $32-$43 in September. Oh, and Greece isn’t only about the islands. Greece’s mainland offers tons of cultural and historical highlights without the high prices seen on the package holiday islands.
You may be surprised by how inexpensive Greece actually can be and why I see it as one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
- Average daily costs: $35-$50 (€32-€46)
- Top 5 places to visit: Plovdiv, Seven Rila Lakes, Bansko, Varna, Sofia
Bulgaria is a beautiful country in Eastern Europe, well-known for its diverse history, gorgeous architecture, and delicious cuisine.
The city of Plovdiv is a great place to kick off your travel adventure. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town and discover the city’s Roman heritage, or go for a walk through the lovely Tsar Simeon’s garden. There are also plenty of free activities that you can enjoy while visiting this fascinating city.
However, there is more to Bulgaria than the cities. Consider the Seven Rila Lakes and the cute mountain lodges, where you can pay around $15 per night. There is also the mountain town of Bansko, which is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe.
If you are visiting in summer, head out to beach destinations like Sunny Beach, Varna, and Nessebar, where you can enjoy the deep waters of the Black Sea.
Train tickets in Bulgaria are extremely cheap: you can go on a 4-hour train journey for as little as $5. Expect to pay $2,5 for a bottle of beer in a bar and around $7 for a meal in a nice restaurant. When it comes to accommodation, a bed in a hostel costs, on average, around $8, while a room in a 3-star hotel will set you back roughly $12-$15 a night.
- Average daily costs: $50-$60 (€46-€56)
- Top 5 places to visit: Krakow, Gdańsk, Ojcowski National Park, Warsaw, Lublin
Poland is also well-known for its national parks, such as Ojcowski National Park (near Krakow), which is home to picturesque castles and stunning caves. Visit the Old Town and local markets in Gdańsk and go hiking in the Tatra Mountains. Or head out to the capital of Warsaw, where you will find countless hostels and budget-friendly hostels that offer rooms for $15 per night.
If you wish to explore Polish cities with an experienced guide but don’t wish to overpay for the tours, I recommend using Walkative. They offer free tours in all major cities, including Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan, and Lublin. Just be sure to tip your local guide at the end of the tour.
When it comes to dining out, the cheapest option is eating at a Bary mleczne (milk bar). These places are usually much cheaper than normal restaurants and attract plenty of students and locals. Wondering what to order? Go for a bowl of pierogi, try the amazing Polish soups, or have a slice of Szarlotka (Polish apple pie) for dessert.
- Average daily costs: $50-$70 (€46-€65)
- Top 5 places to visit: Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Prague, Karlovy Vary, Cesky Krumlov, Olomouc
Although it’s probably one of the most popular tourist destinations on this list, cheap European vacations to the Czech Republic are still plenty possible. The capital city, Prague, is a great place to visit if you are on a budget, as most of the attractions are free to explore.
Just imagine walking about the incredible Jewish Quarter, the Old Town Center with its perfectly preserved architecture, and the medieval castles.
Beyond Prague, consider exploring the cobbled streets of Karlovy Vary, which is home to hot mineral spring spa centers, parks, and cafes. The fairytale city of Cesky Krumlov is not to be missed, with its narrow cobblestoned streets dotted with picturesque houses with red roof tiles.
Prices for hostels and hotels in the Czech Republic vary depending on the city you are planning to stay in. In Prague, you can rent an apartment for $30 per night for two people, while in smaller cities, expect to pay $15 for a dorm in a hostel.
Czech cuisine is delicious; order a plate of homemade goulash with bread dumplings for $5 at a restaurant or visit one of the many kebab shops where you can eat for $3. In case you are craving something sweet, find a street vendor that sells trdelnik. You won’t be disappointed.
- Average daily costs: $55-$85 (€51-€79)
- Top 5 places to visit: Budapest, Lake Balaton, Morahalom, Héviz Lake, Miskolc
Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Order a piece of cake and listen to live classical music performance at the New York Palace, eat local delicacies at the Great Market Hall, and go bar hopping in the Jewish Quarter – home to the famous Hungarian ruin pubs. In the evening, go on a Danube River Cruise and enjoy a romantic 2-hour boat trip (about $12).
Once you leave Budapest, head out to Lake Balaton. It’s a fairly popular tourist destination famed for its pristine beaches. Hungary is also home to many thermal spa resorts, such as the one in Morahalom and Héviz Lake.
When it comes to food, Hungarian cuisine is hearty and tasty. You can tuck into a beef and veggie goulash or a delicious fried dough topped with savory condiments, also known as langos.
If you’re looking to travel Europe on a budget, Hungary is the place to be. A meal at a mid-range eatery costs $15 per person, while a set meal in a local dining establishment will set you back around $7. There’s also great-value accommodation available in the country, ranging from hostels to Airbnb apartments.
- Average daily costs: $40-$60 (€37-€56)
- Top 5 places to visit: Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis, Leskovac, Tara Mountain
For friendly people, amazing food, and there are tons of cool tourist attractions, your next cheapest country in Europe to visit should be Serbia.
Let’s start with the northern part of the country. Visit the lake of Palic, where you can enjoy stunning views and try food specialties like fish stew and goulash. Your next stop should be the lovely city of Novi Sad, which is famed for its medieval fortress, the beautiful river promenade, and many lively clubs and bars.
In Belgrade, explore the main Knez Mihajlova street, go for a stroll in Kalemegdan Park, and try grilled meat specialties at one of Skadarlija’s restaurants. No visit to Serbia would be complete without having a shot of rakija (local moonshine).
If you like hiking, make sure to visit Tara Mountain. Travelers who wish to go skiing will be happy to hear that Kopaonik is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe.
You won’t have to spend a lot when visiting Serbia. An Airbnb apartment in Novi Sad costs around $20-$30 per night, while a dorm bed in a hostel costs $10. Eating out is also affordable, and a basic meal will cost you not more than $10 per person in a nice restaurant.
Ukraine was featured in the original list before the war. The original text is kept here.
- Average daily costs: $30-$60 (€28-€56)
- Top 5 places to visit: Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Cherkasy
Of the cheap countries to visit in Europe, the Ukraine is an unexplored wonderland, perfect for intrepid adventurers.
The capital, Kyiv, has seen a lot of tourism development over the past few years. There are many free things that you can do in Kyiv. Visit the city’s open-air museums, discover the Main Astronomical Observatory, admire more than 150 street murals, or pop past St. Vladimir Hill for panoramic views of Kyiv.
Then, make your way to Lviv, one of the most picturesque cities in the region that is well known for its abundance of green spaces and Soviet architecture. Another favorite is the coastal town of Odesa, where many locals come to spend their vacation days in the summer season.
Ukraine is one of the most budget-friendly countries around. Hostels offer dorm beds for $4, while a night in a hotel for two people is priced at $30. If you want to eat out, expect to pay $3-$7 for a meal in a local restaurant. Beer and wine cost $1-$2 in a bar.
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