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If you’re looking for an epic yet budget-friendly vacation for 2024, these five affordable European destinations are exactly what you’re searching for!
It’s no secret that the cost of any vacation can add up fast—especially if you’re headed to a tourist destination. However, despite the recent 6% annual increase in overall prices, including hotel and flight costs, you may be surprised to hear that planning a trip out of the country can still be more affordable!
We’ve rounded up 5 of the best European destinations for a budget-friendly trip in 2024! Thanks to how far the U.S. dollar goes in Europe, they’re surprisingly affordable while still offering beauty, adventure, and delicious food!
Castle tours, walks along the Danube River, the Bükk Mountains, and mineral spas are just a few of the dazzling attractions Hungary has to offer budget-savvy travelers. Many of the highlights in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, are free, including a walk across the Chain Bridge over the Danube and exploring Castle Hill. And if you venture outside Budapest to the stunning mountains and lake-studded landscapes, the prices go down even further.
Even if you plan to stay in Budapest with a lush hotel, use local transportation, and try a few restaurants, the average cost per person is a mere $81 per day! You can save even more by choosing a hostel, walking around town (which should be on your list anyway), and trying some of the delicious street food like lángos!
As it turns out, fall is the perfect time to plan a budget-friendly trip to Italy. Not only is the weather better, but the prices of everything (including hotels) are lower during the off-season. As a whole, Italy is one of the cheapest destinations in Western Europe, and there are plenty of ways to live lavishly without spending like it.
Some of Italy’s most popular attractions always carry hefty price tags, such as the Colosseum or Vatican. But many other popular activities are free, like visiting the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, walking the Via Appia, exploring St. Mark’s Square, or touring the Duomo.
Another way to save money is by shopping at the local markets for groceries or a quick bite rather than a sit-down restaurant. And if you stick to one region, you can depend on the incredibly affordable local transportation system to get around for your entire trip!
You may not have heard much about Bulgaria…but that’s a great sign that visiting will be cheap! Most people only know about this stunning country for its Black Sea retreats. But there is so much more to discover here!
The Bulgarian countryside is a hiker’s paradise, especially in places like Central Balkan National Park, which offers everything from waterfalls to scenic passes. The country also abounds in gorgeous castles, quaint villages, and more than 200 archaeological sites. All of these cost little to nothing to visit.
Hotels are also incredibly affordable in non-summer months, offering breakfast and even shuttle service for as little as $15 per night! Or, chill out at a ski resort with stunning views, starting at just $36 per night.
If sunshine and nature are the keys to your dream vacation, Portugal is the place to be. This country abounds in natural attractions, like the volcanic trails in Madeira, the soft sands of Praia de Faro, and the beach-side cliffs in Lagos. Other stunning yet cheap or free sites include the Roman ruins at Milreu, the breathtaking library of Livraria Lello, Tomar’s Convento de Cristo, and the mesmerizing sites in ancient Evora.
Besides the inexpensive attractions, Portugal’s food, lodging, and transportation are also very affordable. In fact, 2 people can enjoy a budget-friendly week for only $620! For example, a daily metro pass costs a mere 6 euros ($7), and you can get an entire meal for less than $5. Plus, the average budget-range hotel is only $46 per night for a couple, while hostels offer even cheaper accommodations.
For another country with a gorgeous Mediterranean climate, check out Montenegro. You’ll find everything from medieval towns to pebble beaches on turquoise waters to towering mountains. Some of the country’s top affordable sites include the medieval Kotor Old Town (free), Mogren Beach ($2), Mount Lovcen National Park ($2), and the Tara Canyon and Ðurdevica Tara Bridge (free).
The hardest part will be choosing what to see! But thanks to the cheap bus ($2-$15 per trip) and ferry system (free), you’ll be able to get around this tiny country just fine. For the ultimate cheap vacation, stay in Ulcinj, where hotels cost a mere $25 per night. Otherwise, budget lodgings from $35-50 per night abound. Local food, such as burek, is also incredibly affordable and will give you an authentic taste of each town. And you can always visit the many farmer’s markets for fresh produce and local delicacies on a dime.
Which of these affordable destinations will you visit in 2023? Don’t worry—if you can’t pick just one, there’s a good chance you can afford two this year, thanks to how much money you’ll save!
Ready to book that trip to Europe? Check our recommendation for the best travel booking websites to get great deals.