15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit
Gallery Of 15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit
15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit
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Whenever I go back to visit family in the UK, my brother will unfailingly make a quip about how I’ve been to all these places that eat their pets but haven’t even been to North Wales or the new café in Treorchy or somewhere else hyper-local that I have no interest in visiting.
And as much as it pains me to say it, he does have a point.
I’ve always thought there’s no such thing as cheap countries in Europe. I’ve purposely sought out budget destinations half way across the world instead of staying in Wales, the UK and Europe because I’ve assumed that it’s not possible to travel Europe on a budget.
I’ve always considered Europe to be expensive AF, and spending X amount of money on 1 week in France has always seemed a bit silly when that same amount of money could buy me 3 weeks in Peru or 6 weeks in India or 9 weeks in… you get the picture.
Currently elbows deep in research for mine and my boyfriend’s upcoming Europe trip this summer, I’ve realised that not only is it possible to travel the continent on a budget, but some of the cheapest countries in Europe are just too damn gorgeous to miss out on!
Seriously, you’d be the je suis idiot not to go!
It seems the two unwritten rules to finding the cheapest countries in Europe to visit is a) go as far east as you can without hitting Russia and b) head to the countries that have experienced recent financial struggles .
It really is as simple as that!
Another sure-fire way of keeping costs down is to go where the tourists don’t follow.
When was the last time someone told you they were going on an all-inclusive holiday to Albania?
In this post I’ll be giving you a rundown of 15 cheap countries in Europe that I personally find the most aesthetically pleasing and exciting, the ones that have me screaming “Hot dang, hand me the Ćufte!” and bulk buying Lonely Planet guides. This isn’t an exhaustive list and there are a few that were near contenders but just missed out on making the cut.
What’s my criteria for being a “cheap country” in Europe?
Well, to me “cheap” in Europe is anywhere you can visit and spend less than $50USD per day while still enjoying yourself.
So, are you ready to travel Europe on a budget?!
15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit
One of my favourite things about Bulgaria, though I’m yet to visit the country so it could totally change, is that they apparently have a specific word to use for that “I need a hug” feeling you get.
I was taught how to say Гуш by a Bulgarian man in Nepal in exchange for me teaching him the correct usage of the Welsh cwtch. I think it’s the best and most innocent cultural and linguistic exchange I’ve ever taken part in!
A lot of people’s trips to Bulgaria are limited to the ski resorts, Borovets and Bansko being two of the most popular, where prices are naturally slightly inflated due to you being in the middle of a freaking mountain range.
So, it might be a bit surprising that Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. Accommodation in a hostel dorm room in Sofia, the city’s capital starts as low as $5 USD per night, and a 2-3 course meal at an inexpensive restaurant from $10 per person.
Not only is Bulgaria hella cheap, but it’s also home to some of the most stunning and underrated destinations in Europe: Seven Lakes, Sozopol, the Black Sea… the list goes on.
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro / © Jaroslaw Woznica
I just went onto Google Translate to find out how to say “I love Montenegro” in Montenegrin and apparently, it’s not one of the supported languages?! What’s up with that, Google?!
One of the smallest countries on the Balkan Peninsula, Montenegro is a pocket-sized slice of perfection and one place that really shouldn’t be underestimated!
When I visited Kotor – one of the most visited towns in Montenegro, famous for its cats and impressive Bay – I paid just $7 a night for a bed in a very nice hostel, which included an authentic Montenegrin dinner. The price of beer in a supermarket is around €1.10 and, in a pub, just a few cents more at $1.80ish.
My trip to Montenegro was short but oh-so-sweet, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since and explore more of the country, namely Sveti Stefan, Budva and the jaw-dropping Durmitor National Park.
If the fact that it’s one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe isn’t enough to persuade you to add Montenegro to your bucket list, the outline of the country looks like a Game of Thrones sigil. Winter is coming to Montenegro all year round.
Did this peak your interest in Montenegro? Check out my post on all the to plan your trip to one of Europe’s best kept secrets!
Kruja, Albania / © Sergii Figurnyi
Albania was never on my radar until I started following the amazing Anita Hendrieka, New Zealand travel blogger who lives in and writes .
I devour anything Anita publishes on Albania and have added so many beautiful places to my “places to visit before I die or the UK gets kicked out of the continent altogether” thanks to her. These are including the capital city Tirana, Sarandë and Ali Pasha Castle. If I ever manage to visit the latter I think my castle-loving heart will explode.
Still very much off the typical tourist trail, travel in Albania can be crazy cheap, and you can get by on as little as $20 per day. For perspective, I spent more than that on my Dominos order this morning. #Priorities
The entire country of the Republic of Malta is 5 times smaller than the City of London. Let’s just let that sink in for a moment…
The country is so small that you can drive from one side to the other in just a few hours. It’s mad when you really stop and think about it – I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours yesterday just coming out of Auckland.
Located in the Mediterranean, Malta comprises of three islands – Malta, Comino and Gozo – each of which are absolutely stunning in their own right! The Mediterranean climate means that winters are mild and summers are hotter than Satan’s house-cat, making Malta a great destination to visit all-year round.
You don’t care about the weather though, right? You’re wondering why Malta is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.
Well. I visited last January for 3 days with a friend and spent less than £100 the whole time. This includes eating out at least twice a day, transport and a twin room in a nice but not fancy hotel. Our flights from London were less than £50 return, meaning we the total cost of our nice little weekend break was less than £150 .
Also, the professional translator in me can’t help but mention the language! The Maltese language is just mesmerising. The country’s complicated past has gifted it with this unique language that looks and sounds like a fusion of Arabic, Italian and English but is very much its own. If you speak Italian, you’ll find yourself thinking you can make out words here and there but it’s completely different.
A trip to Chernobyl has been on the agenda for over a year now, and had I realised how dirt cheap it is to travel the Ukraine, I would have acted on the urge long before now!
Many people are hesitant to visit Ukraine, and those feelings aren’t exactly unfounded: there’s a lot of unrest in the country, mostly focused near Crimea and the Russian border areas . The rest of the country is mostly trouble-free.
Kiev is a vibrant city just waiting to be explored, with Lviv and Odessa alternative options for a city break in Ukraine. But if you really want to be blown away by Ukraine’s beauty, you need to head a little out of the city.
Visit Ukraine in winter and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported right into a scene from Frozen. The countryside transforms into a real-life Winter wonderland. The Carpathian Mountains and Bukovel are two unique skiing destinations if you fancy a bit of a change from the likes of Zell am See and Tignes, and Khotyn Fortress is the perfect stop for history buffs.
Ukraine is undoubtedly one of the cheapest countries in Europe. Period. If you travel on a budget you can expect to spend less than $15 per day, with a hostel bed in Kiev starting from just $4 USD per night.
Google Translate came up trumps with this one!
I say I love Poland but I’ve only ever spent so my unfaltering adoration for the home of pierogi is limited to that one fantastic city. That said, I have no doubt that everywhere else in Poland will ignite the same feeling inside – all I have to do is go there first!
Every time I see a photo of a different Polish city, I want to visit: Gdańsk, Wrocław, Warsaw, Poznań, you name a city and it’s probably already on my bucket list!
Then there’s the more unique side to Poland, the little bit creepy Chapel of Skulls and the bendy trees at Krzywy Las. And the nature! I’d love to go camping in or near the Tatra Mountains and see the stunning Lake Morskie Oro in real life, not just on the background of my laptop.
With so much to offer, it’s quite incredible that Poland is still considered one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit. A hostel bed in Krakow starts at $5 and take my word on it that food is cheap. So cheap! In fact, it’s so cheap that it’s dangerous. You won’t stop ordering pierogi. Soon you will become pierogi. You are pierogi now.
Famous the world over for being the birthplace of Count Dracula as well as Vlad the Impaler, the real-life historical figure who inspired the character, there are so many better reasons to visit Romania than vampires.
Real talk for a second. I’m from Wales and if there’s one thing Wales knows best , it’s castles. Once upon a time we had 600 castles, now we have 100 because you know, buildings crumble and war happens and what-not.
Now Romania has a lot of castles too. Exactly how many, I couldn’t tell you because Google won’t tell me BUT Romania might just pip Wales to the post in the race to be King of Castles.
Some of Romania’s most beautiful castles that I just can’t wait to visit in person someday are Corvin Castle, Peles Castle and, of course, Bran Castle.
I was supposed to visit Romania 2 years ago. Lured in by its frequent appearance in lists of cheap countries in Europe, I booked a mega cheap Ryanair flight from Stansted to Timisoara, with the intent to travel around the country visiting as many castles as I could.
Then I realised it was January and I like my toes too much to spend winter in Romania.
A bed in a mixed dorm hostel in Bucharest, the capital, starts as low as $7. A lot of lesser visited cities and towns in Romania won’t have hostels, but a double room in a budget hotel will set you back no more than $20. A basic set meal in a non-tourist restaurant will cost you around the same as a night in a hostel, $7.
Take my advice and head to Bosnia & Herzegovina now while it’s still considered one of Europe’s cheapest countries.
I can feel it in my bones that it’s going to be one of the places to visit in the next few years. In fact, it’s already well on its way and most travel bloggers I know have already visited either Sarajevo or Mostar for at least a day.
There’s a lot more to this picturesque country than just the capital city and Mostar, though. It’s packed full of scenic national parks, glistening waterfalls and rugged mountains that would rival those found virtually anywhere else in the world.
Some of the most incredible places in Bosnia & Herzegovina on my list are Kravice Waterfall, Sutjeska National Park, Blagaj and Buna Springs.
Bosnia & Herzegovina went a bit viral a few months ago, with people apparently surprised to find out the country has some coastline. If you look on a map without zooming in, it does look like Croatia is hogging the sea a little bit, but Bosnia & Herzegovina does have 12 miles of coastline. The only coastal town in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Neum is also worth adding to your list.
Travelling on a budget, you can expect to spend around $25-30 per day in Bosnia & Herzegovina, with dorm beds in Sarajevo and Mostar starting at $7.
The westernmost country on the list, you might find it hard to believe that Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. Well, it’s not the cheapest on the list, but on a backpacker’s budget you can expect to easily spend less than $50 per day, which if you remember is my main criteria for making the list.
Often overlooked by neighbouring Spain, Portugal is the perfect destination for solo travellers, couple travellers and families.
Last year when my stepdad tasked me to find a cheap holiday in Europe for me, him and my sister, Portugal was the country I was championing.
I just knew that in Portugal there would be something for all three of us to enjoy! Beaches and the ocean for him , lots of pretty buildings and streets to get lost in for me, and decent Internet for my then 16 year old sister who would probably have spent the entire time on Snapchat or TikTok or whatever the current “thing” is.
We didn’t end up going to Portugal, or anywhere for that matter – he bought new tyres instead – but the idea has been firmly planted in my mind ever since. Porto, Lisbon, Cascais, Sortelha… there are so many dazzling places in Portugal I just can’t wait to explore one day!
To give you an idea of the cost of travelling Portugal, a bed in a decent hostel near the centre of Lisbon will set you back $10, and a pint of local beer €1.50. Food will probably take up a significant portion of your budget; not because it’s expensive but because you’ll likely buy €50 worth of pastel de nata every day.
Riga, Latvia was my first European winter break and I couldn’t recommend it enough! It’s cheap, it’s beautiful and it’s easy. Getting to the city, getting around the city, finding things to do in the city… everything was a breeze!
During winter Riga transforms into what I can only describe as the visual representation of Christmas. Twinkling lights, giant Christmas trees, buildings wrapped up like presents and, of course, the snow!
Beyond Riga, some of the most exciting places to visit in Latvia are Gauja National Park, Turaida Museum Reserve and Cesis.
With an extensive coastline, Latvia also has a fair few beach resorts great for an off the beaten track summer trip. Jurmala is the most popular of these resorts, and is just a 20 minutes’ drive from Riga.
The Baltics in general is one of the cheapest areas in Europe, and even though I wasn’t consciously trying to stick to a budget, my 4 days in Riga was very low-cost!
I took €100 in cash and withdrew an additional €50 while I was there, and my accommodation was paid for before I went. The trip was a post-break up gift to myself so I splashed out a little bit more on a hotel than I normally would have, but hostels are as cheap as $6 per night.
Prizren, Kosovo / © Scottiebumich
Much like Albania, Kosovo’s addition to this list is thanks in part to a fellow travel blogger, this time Lavdi from . Currently living in South Sudan, Lavdi is extremely vocal about Kosovo and the struggles of travelling with a passport from a country that’s not always recognised.
The smallest country in the Balkans, Kosovo is only recognised as an actual country in its own right by around half of the world – a fact which, in 2019 is quite frankly astounding. It’s a disputed territory, with some still considering it to be part of Serbia.
Europe’s newest country, Kosovo is like freshly fallen snow – beautiful, fresh and completely unspoilt. Most people visiting the country will only make a quick stop in Pristina as part of their Balkans road trip, but there is definitely more to the country than the capital!
Peja and Prizren are two more cities that are worth a visit, and the Mirusha Waterfalls and Rugova Mountains the places to go for a taste of Kosovan nature.
A dorm bed in the centre of Pristina costs approximately €10 per night, and a typical meal at a local restaurant less than €5.
Matjka Canyon, Macedonia / © Pebo
Entirely landlocked by its five neighbouring countries, Macedonia isn’t your typical European holiday destination, but it is certainly one of the most affordable countries in Europe!
Prices for a dorm bed at a hostel in the country’s capital, Skopje, start at $6 USD with single or double private rooms going from as little as $15. A meal at a local restaurant will cost about $5, leaving you comfortably full with no room for dessert.
The spectacular Lake Ohrid is what puts Macedonia on the map for most people thinking of visiting, but there are many more awesome places to visit in the country.
The exceptionally beautiful Mavrovo National Park is a great destination all year round – a ski resort in winter and perfect for picnics, swimming and climbing the rest of the year.
As well as natural beauty and lively cities, Macedonia is a country of impressive archaeological sites, with Stobi and Heraclea Lyncestis Bitola two of the most well-known.
There are a few facts about Estonia that I’m just obsessed with.
The first is that the country is majority female, with 8.4 men to every 10 women – a fact that pleases all of my senses. Secondly, there’s an Estonian folk tale about a man called Kalevipoeg who talks to hedgehogs. The next time someone asks me what my ideal superpower would be, I’m going to declare myself Queen of the Hedgehogs.
The country’s capital city, Tallinn, is a popular as a cheap city break and a cruise stop, with more than 4.6 million people visiting a year – all you need to do is look at a picture of the city to see why!
Outside of Tallinn one-fifth of the country’s land mass is covered with bogs and mires, the most magical of which is the Viru Bog, an apparently popular place to go hiking that looks like it was taking straight from a promo poster for the Twilight Saga.
The cost of a dorm bed in Tallinn is as cheap as $10, and you can expect to spend no more than that on a decent meal at a local, non-touristy restaurant.
Oh, Estonia also has around 200 wild wolves. Heckin’ cool, right?!
There’s an old Czech proverb that really resonated with me when I first heard it. I often repeat it to myself, but in English because I have no idea how to pronounce the original.