10 Affordable European Holiday Destinations for Budget Travellers

Let’s face it, we all enjoy a holiday or European break but sometimes our piggy bank’s don’t. Lucky for you, there are plenty of cheap European holiday destinations to visit. So even if you are on a budget you don’t have to sacrifice travel adventures.  Here, we explore in no particular order, 10 affordable holiday destinations in Europe.

  1. Budapest

First on the list is the beautiful city of Budapest. This popular holiday destination has been compared with the likes of Paris yet it differs due to its affordability for all. There are so many incredible things to do in this city, all for a fraction of the price of larger cities, from its elaborate structures and gothic architecture to its exquisite spas. A popular yet affordable destination to add to your bucket list.

2. Zadar, Croatia

Zadar, located on Croatia's stunning Dalmatian coast, is a hidden gem that offers both affordability and a rich cultural experience. Known for its beautiful sunsets and Roman ruins, Zadar provides a perfect blend of history and natural beauty. Accommodation and food in Zadar are reasonably priced compared to other European destinations. You can find comfortable lodging in charming guesthouses or budget hotels, and enjoy delicious Croatian cuisine in local konobas (taverns) without spending excessively. The city's location also makes it a great base for exploring other parts of Croatia.

3. Krakow, Poland

The ever popular city of Krakow leads the way as a destination steeped in history and culture. It continues to be an affordable holiday destination despite its popularity and attractiveness to visitors from all over the world. Its 13th Century main market square is the largest medical square in Europe. A charming urban destination, this place has so much to offer from spectacular buildings, film festivals and international cuisine.

4.  Prague

It’s no surprise that Prague makes this list. A city where fairy-tale charm meets affordability. The Czech capital is famous for its Gothic architecture, historic bridges, and lively squares. Budget travellers will find plenty of free or low-cost attractions, such as the Old Town Square and the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral. Beer is famously cheap in Prague, and local restaurants serve hearty Czech dishes at reasonable prices. The city’s well-connected public transport system makes it easy to explore further afield, such as the stunning Prague Castle.

5. Bordeaux, France

Renowned for its world-class wine, Bordeaux offers much more than just vineyards. This French city is an architectural gem with its 18th-century buildings and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed city centre. Stroll along the Garonne River or visit the Place de la Bourse with its stunning water mirror. It boasts an array of affordable bistros and cafes where you can savour exquisite French cuisine. Public transportation is efficient and reasonably priced, making it easy to explore the city and its surroundings on a budget.

6. Gdansk, Poland

Located on Poland’s Baltic coast, is Gdansk, a city rich in history and charm. The reconstructed Old Town, with its colourful facades and cobblestone streets, transports visitors back in time. Key attractions include the Gothic St. Mary's Church and the Gdansk Crane, a symbol of the city’s medieval port history. The Museum of the Second World War provides profound insights into the impact of the war on Poland and the world. With a favourable exchange rate and low-cost accommodations, Gdansk is a perfect destination for budget-conscious travellers.

7. Faro, Portugal

The gateway to Portugal's Algarve region, combines historical charm with natural beauty. The old town, surrounded by ancient city walls, is a labyrinth of narrow streets and quaint squares. The Faro Cathedral, located in the heart of the old town, offers panoramic views of the city. The nearby beaches are perfect for relaxing under the sun without the crowds typical of more famous Algarve resorts. Faro’s vibrant market, Mercado Municipal, is ideal for sampling local produce and delicacies at affordable prices. Accommodation and dining in Faro remain reasonably priced, making it an excellent option for a cost-effective holiday.

8. Malta

Malta is a blend of cultures and histories, offering sun-soaked relaxation and exploration at a reasonable cost. Valletta, the capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with historical buildings, museums, and stunning sea views. The Baroque architecture, especially St. John’s Co-Cathedral, is breathtaking. Public buses offer a budget-friendly way to explore the island’s attractions. Malta’s culinary scene is both diverse and affordable, with numerous local eateries serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Accommodation options range from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, ensuring something for every traveller's budget.

9. Santander, Spain

Situated on Spain’s northern coast, is a hidden gem combining urban sophistication with natural beauty. The city boasts beautiful beaches perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Santander’s cultural offerings include a modern art centre and the Maritime Museum. The local cuisine, heavily influenced by the sea, is both delicious and affordable, with numerous tapas bars offering a taste of Cantabria. Accommodation and transportation costs are generally lower than in more touristy Spanish cities, making Santander an attractive option for budget travellers.

10. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, the sun-kissed capital of Portugal, is a city of stunning views, historic trams, and warm hospitality. The cost of living in Lisbon is relatively low compared to other Western European capitals, making it an excellent choice for budget travellers. You can explore the narrow, winding streets of the Alfama district and savour delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts) at reasonable prices. Accommodation ranges from affordable hostels to budget-friendly boutique hotels. Lisbon’s extensive public transport network also allows easy and economical exploration of the city.

Europe is filled with destinations that provide rich experiences without the high costs often associated with travel. Lisbon, Kraków, Budapest and Prague are just a few examples of cities where you can enjoy history, culture, and local cuisine on a budget. By choosing these affordable destinations, you can make the most of your holiday without compromising on the quality of your experience.

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