Who doesn’t dream of having the perfect European vacation amid abundant green vistas and bewitching panoramas of historic glory caught in time? But the luxurious prices that some of Europe’s famous tourist hotspots demand can discourage even the most impassioned dreamer. Thankfully, at nearly 4 million square miles, the continent is considerably sized and several of its charming travel destinations remain unmarked by excessive tourism.
Contrary to popular belief, Europe is a goldmine of holiday spots that offer travelers reasonably priced deals through which to explore the best of what each country has to offer. Even better is the fact that some of these countries’ most exciting, important locales are walkable, and soaking in cultural flavors doesn’t cost a dime at all. Clear out those summer plans and jet set off to one (or more) of these 10 vacation spots in Europe that won’t break the bank.
10 The Azores, Portugal
Dramatic Sea Cliffs of The Azores
Emerald vistas stand guard over azure waters in the Azores, one of the best-kept secrets in Portugal. An archipelago with nine islands to explore, each more stunning than the last, the Azores are a haven for natural indulgence. Summers are the most pleasant time to visit, and adventurers can enjoy activities like whale watching, hiking, and paragliding without thinning out their pockets.
9 Budapest, Hungary
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary
It is not without reason that Budapest witnesses a footfall of nearly 30 million each year. The Hungarian capital is a bustling confluence of rich historical culture, panoramic cityscapes, and nightlife that keeps travelers up till the sun comes out. Since coffee and beer flow freely, and getting around on trams and riverboats costs as low as $1, a day out in the city can be easy on the pockets. Don’t miss taking a dip in Budapest’s world-renowned thermal baths!
8 Athens, Greece
Panathenaic Stadium at Night In Athens
Travel buckets around the world list Athens as a dream destination. The good news is that, unlike the island of Santorini, that prides itself on steep luxury, this Greek coastal hub doesn’t cost a bomb! Visitors can comfortably lose themselves in the ancient glory of the Acropolis, enjoy local lager by Athens’ many beaches, and browse through flea markets without going over budget.
Tourists can dedicate time on their itinerary to the sought-after Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Santorini, both of which are conveniently accessible from Athens by flight or ferry.
7 Kotor, Montenegro
Medieval town of Kotor, Montenegro at night
Kotor is a treat to the eyes — and pockets! Tucked away in a quaint corner of the Balkans, this historic site in Montenegro is an underrated travel gem. The town’s UNESCO-recognized walled quarters, boundless shores, and lush hills can all be savored at little to no cost. In fact, many walking tours that take culture enthusiasts around the town’s best spots are totally free of cost!
6 Granada, Spain
View of Granada In Spain
The Andalusian city of Granada is ideal for a postcard Spanish holiday that doesn’t break the bank. Away from the madding crowds of Barcelona and Madrid, Granada holds its own as a fortress of medieval culture with many monuments. As dusk falls, visit Granada’s famous bars (which are generous with free tapas) before catching a breathtaking Flamenco show for as little as under $30.
5 Prague, Czech Republic
Scenic summer aerial view of the Old Town pier architecture and Charles Bridge over the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic
One of the cheapest destinations to have a picture-perfect vacation in Europe, Prague lets travelers enjoy its thrills and spills on an affordable daily budget of about $50 (or less) — meals, booze, conveyance, all-inclusive! The Czech cityscapes are famously dotted with cathedrals, castles, and palaces, harking back to the richest artistic periods in European history. Even the most nonchalant wanderer will be compelled to stop and marvel.
4 Puglia, Italy
Brindisi in the afternoon, Puglia, Italy
Give that Roman holiday a miss and head to Puglia (or Apulia) for the summer of a lifetime! Famously dubbed the “heel of Italy,” Puglia lies in the southeastern end of the country, on a coastal stretch that isn’t swarming with tourists. Its relative obscurity allows Puglia to give visitors a fair price on most travel deals, among other attractions — freshly baked bread, cobblestone streets, whitewashed cottages, and sea caves. It’s everybody’s favorite fantasy storybook come to life!
3 Istanbul, Turkey
rooftop view in Istanbul
Whether for the celebrated hammams or the bustling bazaars, Istanbul is a destination that deserves to be on every Europe-bound traveler’s itinerary. Given its rich past that ties it to ancient Greek and Roman empires, Istanbul is drowsed in the old-world charm that is delightfully balanced out by its smart, metropolitan character. The eclectic Ottoman cuisine is key to the city’s everlasting love affair with food, and even the budget traveler can eat to their heart’s content for a few odd dollars.
2 Ksamil, Albania
Beach in Ksamil
Ksamil is an underrated hotspot of some of the most tranquil beaches in Europe. Pristine waters, dreamy sunsets, velvety sand — this little slice of Albanian paradise asks travelers nothing more than to just kick up their feet, lay back, disconnect from reality, and soak in some well-deserved Mediterranean sun. Boardwalks and wooden decks trailing into the turquoise expanse form the ideal backdrop for that perfect Instagram snap!
While Ksamil enjoys maximum footfall during the summer months, it’s a good idea to consider visiting during shoulder season (around March), with springtime ensuring heavenly weather and travel deals even cheaper than usual — perfect for travelers on a tight budget!
1 Gdańsk, Poland
Waterfront in Gdansk at sunset
Gdańsk stands out as a European travel destination where travelers get the best bang for their buck … because they’re not compelled to shell out too many bucks at all! Several of Gdańsk’s top tourist attractions, including historical monuments and lush vistas, are free to enjoy. Even overindulging in the local Polish fare of pierogi and zapiekanki will not stretch the daily budget beyond $40-50.