To help you with planning your next vacations in Europe, we chose 5 cheap European countries that will not disappoint either you, or your pocket. To keep your options wide, we selected affordable destinations dedicated to 5 different travel styles. In this article, you will find budget ideas for your next beach holidays, road trip adventure, city break, van experience, or gastronomy tour. And in the end, we also included one more amazing BONUS idea!
Please bear in mind that being “affordable” obviously depends on how “dedicated” spender are you, how much comfort are you willing to give up of, and most important of all, how much time are you ready to spend on properly planning your trip. These factors make all the difference when it comes to budgeting your trip. It might seem difficult, but it’s pretty possible to spend a great week or two in these places within a very reasonable budget. Check our top picks below!
1. Affordable beach holidays: Greece
When speaking about budget countries in Europe to spend beach vacations, our immediate idea is Greece and its amazing islands. Of course, we can’t underestimate Athens’ charm and historical heritage, but it’s the islands that are the reason we are always ready to come back to this country.
It’s pretty possible to spend affordable beach vacations in Greece, it all depends on the island you choose. It’s difficult to keep it low cost in the most popular ones, like Santorini and Mykonos, but you have all the other 6000 to choose from! On our trip to Greece amongst the others, we visited Paros and Naxos islands which are a very budget option and you feel the authentic greek atmosphere – we met very few tourists from abroad.
First, the beaches are amazing and the choice is really wide. Second, Greece has very good wine, which for us is already a very strong attraction point. 😀 The food is delicious and you have many local specialties to try that will make you eat and cry for more! Fresh fish, moussaka, tzatziki are the musts to try during your stay.
In Greece, you will enjoy proper quality time at the beach. Real paradise locations are waiting for you and the only difficulty you will have is to decide where to go. So if you fancy relaxed time catching some sun and need an energy boost, then Greece is a great bet for you.
2. Budget road trip: Croatia
Croatia was an interesting surprise for us. We decided to visit it without previous research, so almost without any clue of how it would be. And we can tell you… what a happy discovery!
As we didn’t know too much about Croatia, we decided to do a road trip, so we could enjoy as many places as we could in this unknown country.
The only thing we knew was that the national road from Dubrovnik to Split that goes along the coast is one of the top 10 road trips in the world. No doubt it is! What a journey! The landscapes were breathtaking, the road was smooth, the weather was perfect, so what do you need more? Our road trip gave us the total freedom to choose where and when we stop and how much time we spend in every location. It also inspired us to adventure ourselves and explore small villages and beaches throughout the coast.
If you like to go with the flow and adventure is your “middle name” we are positively sure you are not going to regret choosing Croatia as your holiday destination.
3. Affordable van life: Slovenia
Slovenia actually is a very special destination for us – it was our honeymoon trip! By that time we had already visited several tropical countries, so for that special occasion, we wanted something different. Finally, we came up with experimenting with van life for the first time! And we never regret, it was a really special time!
It was one more gem on our travel map – Slovenia is so close, but we barely had heard about it before. And we have to admit, it is a real paradise for camping and van lovers! The nature is stunning: you will find here breathtaking mountain views, turquoise rivers and lakes and numerous waterfalls all over your way. There are also plenty of adventurous activities available in this area: canyoning, kayaking, rafting – you name it!
Camping and caravaning are very popular in Slovenia, either among locals, or foreign tourists. There are plenty of van rentals there, but we struggled to book ours for a week during high season. If you choose this experience, our advice is to book quite in advance. The company that saved our honeymoon is Spicy Campers. To reach their office, we took a 2 hours bus ride from Ljubljana to Nova Gorica, but our effort got more than paid thanks to the professionalism and kindness of the owner, Greg. Our first van trip was smooth and stressless and we loved the freedom and connection with nature that van life gave us. The adventure in Slovenia was so remarkable for us, that it inspired us to continue exploring #vanlife on a deeper level. That’s how we got our Benny 🙂
If you are also thinking of buying your own campervan, check this article.
4. Inexpensive city break: Poland
As some of you already know, we have a special passion for Poland. Angelina is half-Polish and Pedro lived in Poland for a while and got very attached to its culture, people, and traditions.
We definitely recommend to explore this country, and these are our 3 favorite cities to start from.
The city that was significantly destroyed during World War II, but now has a modern and cosmopolite aspect. This city has pretty much everything to offer: cultural events, restaurants and of course nightlife (just be cautious with their vodka cause in there you “play” with professionals! 🙂).
A pearl of Central Europe with its beautiful architecture clearly expressing the city roots and long history. Here you will find a lot of unique historical monuments to visit. And quite close to the city there are 2 more points of interest: the Salt Mines of Wieliczka and Auschwitz (a place that we believe should be visited by everyone in the world for obvious reasons, despite the strong emotional impact that has on people). Krakow is also a good base for mountains and ski lovers. If you are one of them, you should definitely visit Zakopane village located in the nearby Tatras Mountains.
In our humble opinion, the most romantic city of these three. Wroclaw is situated in the western part of Poland and it had suffered a strong German influence in the past. The old town is perfect for picturesque walks, the cultural offer is wide and the nightlife is crazy! And Poles do know how to party! 🙂
If you fancy culture, history, architecture, and good fun, you should consider Poland as your next destination.
5. Low-cost gastronomic experience: the Czech Republic
This European country is cheap to travel to and has a lot to offer. For example, in Prague, you will find stunning architecture with elegant bridges over the Vltava river. In Karlovy Vary, you will relax in one of the numerous spa centers with thermal springs. But in this article, we would like to highlight the affordable and tasty gastronomy in this country.
The Czech cuisine is for real foodies – it is rather hearty and the portions are huge! Dishes not to miss while in the Czech Republic are without a doubt a pork knee and fried cheese – these are our favorites! In terms of drinks, this country is also blessed! Czech beer is famous for its quality and you have plenty of types to choose from! In the Moravian district, there is also a local wine production and you may join a wine tasting tour in one of the wineries. The ones that also like stronger drinks, should also try Becherovka (a strong herbal liquor) and Slivovice (a plum brandy).
There are many reasons to visit the Czech Republic, so we recommend considering it for your next trip to Europe!
BONUS: Portugal - it has it all!
With 1800 km of coastline, Portugal is a perfect beach destination. The most popular choice is the Algarve region, but we also recommend visiting Costa Vicentina as another beautiful alternative. Here the water is a bit colder, but you have a way fewer tourists.
Road trip in Portugal
Portugal has a very extensive highway network, the roads are really good to drive and car rental is pretty affordable. The advantage of our country is that it is small but very versatile – you can explore several different regions with their own traditions in a very short time. Douro Valley is perfect to be explored by car and the national road N222 is on the list of the most beautiful road trips in the world!
Portugal is not just Lisbon. It has several beautiful and historically rich cities to explore – Porto (of course 😁), Coimbra, Aveiro, Guimaraes, Braga, and we are just starting… 😉
After our honeymoon in Slovenia and a short weekend rental in the north of Portugal (on the picture), we decided to buy our own campervan – Benny. In 3 weeks we managed to do a simple and low-budget van renovation and embraced a trip through Portugal.
We have to admit, that here there are all the conditions for van lifers – a network of budget camping sites, good roads, and beautiful nature. What would you wish more? That’s why recently van renting is getting more and more popular in Portugal.
This topic deserves its own post, but just to give you a hint, if you are in Portugal, you will have a very extended list of must-try dishes from the local cuisine. From seafood to proper steaks, from soups to desserts, all of it over a bottle of good wine followed by that small strong espresso!
We truly believe, Portugal is a very strong candidate for your next vacations in Europe!
We hope this post inspired you to make a decision on your next destination. Just choose one of these 5 cheap European countries and start planning your trip!
In the meantime, take care and… see you Around the World! 😉
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