This post was written by Andrew Larson, a semi-retired software engineer turned globetrotter and full-time travel enthusiast who now runs Wanderlust 15. For more information, visit Andrew at Wanderlust 15.
7 Cheap Holiday Destinations in Europe
From beautiful beaches to crumbling cathedrals, Europe is full of amazing holiday destinations that you have to see to believe. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your getaway? Where are the budget-friendly alternatives to big cities and expensive resorts? If you’re looking to travel without breaking the bank, here are just seven of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe.
- Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is the very image of a European vacation. With cobbled streets framing cultural touchstones like Sandor Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica, you’ll enjoy a rich sense of history as you grab a hot greyano vino and walk the outdoor marketplaces under a fresh canopy of fallen leaves. You won’t need to spend a lot of money, either; though Budapest has a thriving tourism industry, its prices remain well below the average European hot spot. You can also find tucked-away shops and bed-and-breakfasts if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path and down the stones.
- Costa del Sol, Spain
Also known as “Coast of the Sun” or “Sun Coast,” Costa del Sol more than lives up to its name by offering tons of beaches, boardwalks and bungalows for the sun-loving traveler. Most public places are free for anyone who feels like exploring, so you’ll only have to spend as much as you want to, and even famous attractions like El Torcal Natural Park are low-priced. Just keep in mind that Costa del Sol spans several different towns and communities along the shoreline, so prices may fluctuate depending on your exact location.
- Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is where old Europe meets new Europe. With ancient basilicas towering over glitzy fashion boutiques and throngs of pedestrians on smartphones, it’s a place filled with equal parts modernity and serenity. You’d be surprised by how inexpensive it is, too! While not the single cheapest holiday destination in the country, you can find hotels and restaurants for a fraction of the price of other European cities. There are also markets filled with everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit to help you curb everyday expenses. All things considered, Prague is a must-see location for travelers on a budget.
- Moscow, Russia
You haven’t been to Europe until you’ve been to Russia, and Moscow is the glittering centerpiece of an elaborate tableau. With almost 12 million people packed within its borders, it’s a modern metropolis that offers a constant thrum of energy in the form of shops, restaurants, theaters, malls, bars and nightclubs. While some of these activities will cost you, you can stretch your money even further by taking advantage of free and low-price attractions like museums, parks and town squares. One thing is for sure: You won’t want to miss Moscow if you’re looking for cheap travel in Europe.
- Nesebar, Bulgaria
One of the most beautiful towns in Bulgaria is also one of the oldest. Founded sometime in the sixth century, Nesebar has carefully preserved its heritage by cultivating a wide variety of churches, museums and cultural landmarks. From ancient monasteries to elaborate towers dedicated to religious icons, you’ll find plenty to see and do in this gorgeous relic of centuries gone by. Best of all, many of Nesebar’s attractions are completely free, so you’ll be able to enjoy true Bulgarian history without paying a dime.
- Crete, Greece
Many people assume that Greece is expensive because it’s such a popular tourist destination, but places like Crete are actually a gem for the budget-minded. Not only can you find inexpensive accommodation along the coast, but the island is full of shops, cafes, bistros and market stalls that make wining and dining a cheap experience as well. As with any large area, your exact expenses will depend on your location and season, but cities like Agios Nikolaos are especially renowned for their affordability. Do your research before you go to figure out which destinations are within your price range.
- Algarve, Portugal
Known for its sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, Algarve is a tropical paradise for any beach lover. Explore the colorful tide pools of Algar Seco; snorkel in the underwater caves of Ponta da Piedade; grab a drink at one of the many bars and clubs dotting Falesia Beach. You can even feed the dolphins at the Zoomarine water park! If it has anything to do with sand, surf or swimming, Algarve probably has it, and you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy it. Algarve is widely considered one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
These are just a few of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe. Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or just crossing another continent off your bucket list, these cities will give you everything you’ve ever wanted in a European vacation.