Traveling is amazing.
You get to experience many different cultures, meet exciting new people, and taste mouthwatering local dishes. You see more, you experience more – and eventually, you become more.
But unfortunately, traveling is expensive.
Booking your plane tickets, finding a hotel, and eating out can all drain your balance faster than you can say, Guten Tag. Not to mention the costs of buying tickets to events, sights, or parties…
This is exactly the reason why most of us can only afford to travel a few times a year at most – if at all.
But what if there was a way to see the world on a budget?
Imagine traveling to some of the most exciting places in Europe without spending all your hard-earned money…
Well, I’m here to help you do just that!
While there are countless ways you can save a bit of money on your vacation…
…the most important decision you’ll have to make is where you want to go!
Choose an expensive place for your trip, and you’ll end up spending A LOT of money.
But if you choose from my top destinations from this list, you might just be surprised at how cheap traveling to Europe can actually be!
5 Best Budget Destinations In Europe
1. Party Hard In Budapest (Hungary)
Budapest – the capital of Hungary – has long been known for its stunning architecture, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. And most recently: it’s making a name for itself with its vibrant nightlife. With young tourists flocking to the city from all around the world to have the night of their lives, Budapest is quickly gaining a reputation as the party capital of Europe.
Budapest’s cheap beer, clubs with free entry, and street food at a bargain price make it almost impossible for you to overspend while having a night out. Making it the perfect party destination if you’re on a tight budget.
The city itself is home to a wide range of bars, clubs, and pubs – each with its own unique style & atmosphere. You’ll find everything from the famous ruin bars located in abandoned buildings, all the way to some big-name music festivals – such as Sziget – featuring all your favorite artists & bands.
One of the most renowned ruin bars – Szimpla Kert – is located in the Jewish Quarter. Its eclectic decor and lively international atmosphere make it the perfect place for you to start your night out and maybe even make a few new friends. Another popular option is Instant. Located in a former factory, it features multiple dance floors – all with distinct styles of music and vibes – and a huge variety of fancy but affordable cocktails.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Budapest also has a number of trendy clubs and lounges. Enjoy a fancy cocktail and a stunning bird’s eye view of the city from one of Budapest’s many skybars – like the 360 Bar or the White Raven Skybar. You can also find high-end party boats – like the famous A38 – where you can dance your night away while cruising among some of the most spectacular sights on the Danube.
2. Dive Into The Rich History Of Tbilisi (Georgia)
Winding cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, and rich cultural heritage?
Oh, and all at an almost laughable price?
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in…
…then step into a time machine and experience the authentic atmosphere of where Europe meets Asia in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
Strolling down the city’s narrow alleys and picturesque squares, you’ll find everything from ancient landmarks and medieval Templar monuments through Soviet-era architecture all the way to modern art galleries. Pair that with hospitable & friendly locals and mouthwatering cuisine, and you’ll start to see why Tbilisi is a destination that should not be missed.
The city’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many of the city’s most important landmarks. You’ll find the Metekhi Church, the Narikala Fortress, and the Sioni Cathedral all within walking distance of each other. These ancient buildings offer a glimpse into Tbilisi’s past and are a must-see for any hobby historian.
Another important historical site in Tbilisi is the Georgian National Museum. This museum hosts a wide range of exhibits that showcase the country’s rich history, from ancient times to the present day. Here you’ll find precious artifacts – including gold and silver jewelry, pottery, and manuscripts.
One of the most unique experiences you can have in Tbilisi is visiting its world-famous sulfur baths. These baths have been in use for centuries and are said to have healing properties. The most notable of these are the Abanotubani Baths, which date back all the way to the 17th century.
Now, Tbilisi is extremely affordable. Accommodation, travel, food, and experiences are incredibly cheap compared to many other European destinations. Being a relatively small city with decent weather means that once you’re there, it’s also a great place to explore on foot. Guess you won’t have to spend on public transportation, taxis, or renting a car – will you?
But apart from decreasing your costs even more, walking in Tbilisi is enjoyable, too. The city’s narrow streets are lined with charming cafes and shops, and there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. A quick stroll along the picturesque Mtkvari River is a must, as it offers beautiful views of the city.
3. Enjoy Beautiful Nature In Bilbao (Spain)
Bilbao, the bustling capital of Biscay in the Basque Country, is known for its Guggenheim Museum and its vibrant nightlife.
But did you know that you can find some truly breathtaking natural surroundings to explore just a stone’s throw away from the city center?
Just follow any hiking trails, and you’ll be out of the city in no time. And on your way to beautiful forests, mountain ranges, peaks, and beaches.
One of the most popular spots for nature lovers is the Gorbea Natural Park, located just a 30-minute drive from Bilbao. The park’s well-marked trails make it an exceptional place for hiking – but beware of the wildlife. You can come across deer, wild boar, and even bears while wandering through the beautiful natural scenery.
If you’re up for a challenge, make your way through the lush forest and up to the summit of Gorbea, the highest peak in the Basque Country. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. And you can even see as far as the Pyrenees on a clear day.
Another great option for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. This UNESCO-designated reserve is located just a short drive from Bilbao and is home to a wide variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. The reserve is also home to some beautiful beaches, such as Laida and Laga, which are perfect for a relaxing day in the sun on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
For a more active – or spiritual – adventure, make sure to check out the Camino de Santiago. This ancient pilgrimage route passes through Bilbao, and offers you a number of different routes to choose from – depending on your level of fitness and how much time you have. My personal recommendation is the Camino del Norte, which takes you along the coast and through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region.
Finally, if you’re looking for something truly unique, consider visiting the Flysch Route. This geological wonder is located just outside of Bilbao and is a must-see for anyone interested in geology. The Flysch Route is a series of cliffs that have been formed by millions of years of erosion, making them an unforgettable sight to behold.
Now, whenever you choose to escape the city, you’re going to save costs. But this is especially true in Bilbao. You can find affordable accommodation and budget hotels on almost every corner. And packing a day’s worth of food in your hiking backpack is surprisingly inexpensive compared to the rest of Western Europe.
4. Relax On The Beach At Sunny Beach (Bulgaria)
Are you looking for a relaxing holiday destination?
Look no further than Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.
Located on the coast of the Black Sea, this hidden gem offers endless possibilities for relaxation and fun.
As its name suggests the main attraction is – obviously – the beach itself. The town boasts 8 kilometers of fine golden sand, crystal-clear water, and a lively atmosphere. The beach is perfect for lounging, swimming, or even trying your hand at water sports. Take a dip in the warm waters of the sea, or get yourself a tan on a sunbed while enjoying a cold drink from one of the many beach bars.
If you’re looking for a more active vacation, you’ll have plenty of options on that front too. Take a bike ride along the coastal road, go jet skiing or parasailing, or have a go at windsurfing. The town also offers a variety of water parks and amusement parks, making it perfect for families with children.
But if you’d rather relax and indulge your senses, Sunny Beach has plenty of spas and wellness centers for you to choose from. Get a massage or a beauty treatment, or simply lounge by the pool and soak up the sun.
Since you’re practically next door, make sure you don’t miss taking a walk in the nearby town of Nessebar, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest towns in Europe.
In the evening, Sunny Beach comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The town offers a wide variety of bars and clubs – drinks & parties, anyone?
One thing we haven’t covered is the costs. Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in the EU. Despite being reasonably well-developed, with amazing beaches, warm water, and TONS of exciting things to do, Sunny Beach is cheap. And I mean really cheap. Accommodation, food, parties, and even taxis cost only a small fraction of what they cost in other European countries.
5. Indulge Your Tastebuds In Turin (Italy)
Turin, the capital city of the Piedmont region in Italy, is not as well known as some of its “older siblings”. You know, Italian cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, or Milan. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it has nothing to offer. I promise you it does. But at a much lower cost than some of the more popular Italian destinations.
Many visitors and locals claim that Turin has some of the best food in Italy. And while I’ll let you be the judge of that, it is true that the city is well-known for its delicious and diverse culinary offerings. From traditional Piedmontese dishes to contemporary fusion cuisine, Turin will definitely indulge your taste buds.
One of the must-try dishes in Turin is the Bagna Cauda – a traditional Piedmontese warm dip made with butter, olive oil, anchovies, and garlic. It’s often served with raw or cooked vegetables such as carrots, celery, and radicchio. Locals tend to enjoy it in the colder months – but hey, who says you can’t try it whenever you want?
Another popular dish in Turin is Tajarin, a type of pasta that is similar to tagliatelle but with egg yolks added to the dough, giving it a rich, yellow color. It’s often served with traditional Piedmontese sauces like ragu or Tartufo – a sauce made of truffle – leading to a perfectly harmonious, rich flavor.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you’re in luck. Turin is also known as the Chocolate Capital of Italy and is home to some of the best chocolate makers in the country. Be sure to try the Gianduiotto, a traditional chocolate from Turin made of hazelnuts, cocoa, and sugar.
If you’re looking for a more contemporary dining experience, Turin has plenty of options for you as well. The city is home to a variety of fusion restaurants that offer a mix of traditional Piedmontese dishes with international flavors.
And there you have it, the top 5 European travel destinations you should consider if you’re on a budget. Make sure to check my other travel guides as well to find the perfect destination for your next vacation.
As you’ve probably noticed, I usually tend to take the path less traveled – showing you the hidden gems in Europe where you can travel cheaper, and have a more authentic experience. So, if you’d like to read more articles like this one in the future and get to know more about the unknown treasures of Europe, make sure to subscribe to my blog.