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Cheapest European countries to visit in 2024

Every year, more and more people dream of taking trips to Europe. This continent has everything you need for a fantastic holiday, from its blue coastlines and sandy beaches to its winding mountain trails to its historical attractions that date back over a thousand years.

Autumnal landscape, Jamnik, Slovenia
The beauty of the Balkans © Getty Images

Let’s look at less popular (yet no less impressive) budget-friendly European destinations that will surprise you with their prices, exchange rates, and beauty.

Cheap European destinations where you can travel on a tight budget

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Romania
  3. Albania
  4. Slovakia
  5. Hungary
  6. Montenegro

Bulgaria – Where the valley of roses is ringed with lavender fields

The stunning Balkan country of Bulgaria is one of Eastern Europe’s diamonds for budget travelers. Valleys of roses and lavender fields lie not far from Sofia, the wonderful low-cost seaside area of Kranevo, and thermal mineral springs. You can experience all of this for around $25 per day!

Best places to visit in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a  diverse country, with unusual places to go and see and different cultures around every corner you take. Here are the best destinations you should visit when you’re there.

Enjoy the cheapest seaside destination without sacrificing service quality in Obzor

Obzor pleases visitors with its clean air and endless beaches. Go catch some rays on the 8-kilometer picture-perfect white sandy public beach. Outdoor enthusiasts can get their fix of adrenaline by surfing or water-skiing. Bring your beach essentials or rent a sun lounger and umbrella for about 2 euros.

Admire an architectural gem of Bulgaria, Plovdiv

Plovdiv, one of the oldest European cities, is called Bulgaria’s “city of artists.” When wandering around the ambient ancient streets, it won’t be long before you see the jaw-dropping Roman amphitheater. Guess how old it is…well, it was built in the 2nd century AD by Emperor Trajan-and it still stands today.

Sofia – The youngest European capital

Sofia is known as one of the youngest capitals in Europe, and the city’s history dates back to the Neolithic period. To feel the true spirit of Sofia as a local, go cycling around the Boris Garden (Borisova Gradina) Park to the lovely central market, where you can stock up on rose oil and experience local life.

Sunrise View of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria
Sunrise View of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria © Getty Images

Everything about Bulgaria in numbers

Area: 110,994 km2 Language: Bulgarian Capital city: Sofia
Population: 6.9 million Local Currency: Bulgarian lev Time zone: GMT+3

Average monthly temperatures in Sofia, Bulgaria

Avg Temp Sofia Bulgaria

Romania – Why did Count Dracula like this place?

People mistakenly associate Romania with poverty. After the overthrow of the dictatorship, abject poverty receded. The country has evolved over the year, and now it’s considered a cheap country to travel to. Nevertheless, its incredible beauty will remain unchanged, making Romania a great vacation spot.

Best places to visit in Romania

It seems like Romania is a country of everything: it has its own Paris and Salzburg, the “Romanian Dead Sea,” mountains, the Black Sea coast, wine to rival the French – and castles shrouded in mystery.

A grim legacy welcomes you in Bran

The room of fear in the home of Vlad Tepes terrifies even adult travelers to Count Dracula’s castle in Bran. Another 30 kilometers away, you’ll come upon the picturesque town of Braşov. It is called the Romanian Salzburg, with the largest Gothic church in the country, the Black Church.

Get healthy for cheaper in Lake Techirghiol

The saltwater and healing mud of Lake Techirghiol’s benefits are comparable to those of the Dead Sea in Israel. Dedicate the first half of the day to sea bathing and the second half to wellness procedures in the local treatment centers of Techirghiola.

Bucharest – Romanian Paris with Romanian prices

Bucharest old town (Centrul Vechi) in Lipscani district with historical buildings, Romania
Bucharest old town © Getty Images

“Paris of the East”- this was the nickname of Bucharest before World War II when its modern palaces and architecture reminded the visitor of Paris. Significant parts of the city have preserved their elegance to this day. Make sure to find hidden gems, like the Cărtureşti bookstore with Verona Garden behind it. Or Eden Garden, hidden away behind the abandoned Palatul Ştirbei.

Everything about Romania in numbers

Area: 238,397 km2 Language: Romanian Capital city: Bucharest
Population: 19.2 million Local Currency: Romanian leu Time zone: GMT+3

Average monthly temperatures in Bucharest, Romania

Avg Temp Bucharest Romania

albania tamara river
The North of Albania is filled with hikes and waterfalls to explore © Getty Images

Albania – Become in awe by the Adriatic Sea

Albania is a hidden gem that travelers need to see before it starts to gain more popularity. It is one of the few traditional Muslim countries in Europe. Albanians have yet to learn enough from their neighbors about serving tourists at a top level; however, with the pristine, breathtaking nature and the affordable prices, it has so much potential to be a vacation hot spot in the coming years.

Best places to visit in Albania

Whether you like spending time in the rugged mountains or on white sandy beaches, Albania has something for everyone.

Vlorë – Splash in the waves of the Adriatic Sea

‘Two seas in one place’ is not just a marketing stunt-it’s the reality of the Albanian town Vlorë. The city stretches along the coastline of the sandy beaches of the Adriatic Sea and the small pebbles lining the Ionian Sea. A tremendous additional benefit is the super budget-friendly restaurants in the city: you can try hearty local meals for around $6.

Come to the “Albanian Maldives” of Ksamil

Albania has its own Maldives – but a few times cheaper! – in the small resort town of Ksamil in the country’s south. Turquoise water and stunning white sand beaches are at your disposal. You can even see the Greek island of Corfu from here: it is only 2.5 km by water between the two countries. You can get there by ferry if you have enough time.

Tirana – A capital with a great mix of Turkish and Italian

Throughout its history, Tirana acquired the grandiosity of Turkish conquest, the elegance of Italian culture, and some strictness of Soviet architecture-and turned all this into a thoroughly modern city. Go to the Cemetery of the Martyrs memorial complex for a stunning view of the city. Then, climb back down and pamper yourself with delicious wine from the family-owned Chobo winery.

Albania, Tirana, resurrection cathedral, albanian orthodox church
The capital of Albania, Tirana is great for a weekend getaway © Getty Images

Everything about Albania in numbers

Area: 28,748 km2 Language: Albanian Capital city: Tirana
Population: 2.8 million Local Currency: Albanian lek Time zone: GMT+2

Average monthly temperatures in Tirana, Albania

Avg Temp Tirana Albania

© Getty Images

Slovakia – A landlocked central European beauty

Historically, the rule holds that the smaller the country is, the more fortresses it has. The grand fortresses of Slovakia were erected to keep foreign enemies out, but today, instead, they attract foreigners from all around the world. (Well, not only the fortresses but also their reasonable prices!)

Best places to visit in Slovakia

Slovakia, the heart and center of Europe, has a lot of amazing sights to see. And yes, “the heart and center of Europe” is not an exaggeration. In a picturesque spot in the Kremnica Baths in central Slovakia, you will see a granite block with an inscription that informs you that this is the location of the geographical center of Europe.

The whole city of Levoča is a UNESCO World Heritage

Levoča is a magnificent old town, the historical center still surrounded by fortified walls. Much of its medieval area is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not far from the Town Hall, you will see the Cage of Shame that was used for public condemnation. You can get in to feel like a petty criminal of the 16th century.

Poloniny – Wild animals in the center of Europe

People mistakenly think there is no actual wildlife in Europe. To prove them wrong, come to the Poloniny National Park, located on Slovakia’s border with Poland and Ukraine, to see an untouched lost paradise called the Wolf Mountains. You may be lucky enough to see lynxes, wolves, bears, beavers, wild horses, and huge bison (preferably from the car window).

Wander through a paradise for pedestrians in Bratislava

View over Novy Most bridge at night
View over Novy Most bridge at night in Bratislava © Getty Images

While Amsterdam is known as a paradise for cyclists, the capital of Slovakia is an excellent place for people who adore walking. You can walk around the city center within a couple of minutes. Afterward, go up to Bratislava Castle and admire the Cathedral of St. Martin and the Franciscan church. Traditional local medovníky gingerbreads will boost your energy for walking.

Everything about Slovakia in numbers

Area: 49,035 km2 Language: Slovak Capital city: Bratislava
Population: 5.4 million Local Currency: euro Time zone: GMT+2

Average monthly temperatures in Bratislava, Slovakia

Avg Temp Bratislava Slovakia

 

Hungary – From Formula 1 Grand Prix to thermal baths in one day

Although Hungary has no access to the sea, that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most visited countries in the world. Marvelous architecture, fabulous thermal baths, tasty street food, and, of course, the Hungaroring circuit hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Best places to visit in Hungary

From hot springs to the Danube river, there’s an abundance of sights waiting for you to see in Hungary.

Debrecen – The second capital of Hungary with non capital-like prices

The main tourist attraction of Debrecen is the Nagyerdei thermal park. Just imagine yourself relaxing in the spa, with a stunning forest view. The best thing about Debrecen is that anyone can afford it: accommodation prices start from $20. Many expats are known to stay and live in Debrecen.

See a potential movie location in Eger

Eger is definitely worth your attention, especially for its 13th-century castle. It withstood the siege of a 40,000-strong Turkish army in 1552. There is a breathtaking view from the northernmost minaret above the Baroque streets, 100 steps up. Afterward, you can relax in the bar with some alcohol. Don’t mix up the sequence – first the minaret, then the bar!

Budapest – The city with a noble Parliament building

Parliament Building and the Danube River, Budapest, Hungary
Parliament Building and the Danube River, Budapest, Hungary © Getty Images

Budapest is a thriving European capital built for avid explorers. Relax in the thermal baths that the ancient Romans first used. Be sure to keep your camera ready: the territory of the baths is just a godsend for aesthetes.

Everything about Hungary in numbers

Area: 93,030 km2 Language: Hungarian Capital city: Budapest
Population: 9.7 million Local Currency: Hungarian forint Time zone: GMT+2

Average monthly temperatures in Budapest, Hungary

Avg Temp Budapest Hungary

Montenegro – Europeans live at high altitudes

Would you like to visit the site where Brad Pitt played his first role? Then come to Montenegro! It is an ecological reserve in Europe. This budget-friendly country offers you a great spot to rest on the coast of the Adriatic Sea (where it is entirely safe to leave your belongings on the sand while you swim).

Best places to visit in Montenegro

The tiny territory of Montenegro miraculously encompasses high mountains, green valleys and meadows, emerald lakes and rivers, medieval cities, and, of course, the blue sea.

See no boundaries between past and present in Budva

Budva harmoniously combines ancient and modern architecture with many modern and run-down yachts. The old town, the citadel, and the sculpture “Dancer from Budva” are a must! Service quality is top-notch, despite the relatively reasonable prices.

Kotor – Count how many cats you will meet on your way

View over rooftops from hillside, Perast, Kotor
View over rooftops from hillside, Perast, Kotor © Getty Images

Every house and every street in Kotor greets tourists with a special atmosphere. Old houses, churches, narrow streets, and dozens of cats per one city walk. Yes, the fluffy creatures are everywhere here! Its perimeter is surrounded by a vast, relatively thick stone wall, which turns the town into a large fortress.

The only cinema in the country is in Podgorica

Podgorica was severely damaged during World War II, so there are few historical sights here. Nevertheless, the abundance of cafes with reasonable prices and delicious ćevapčići will make for it. Hot tip: the Millennium Bridge is much more beautiful at night. And if you want to say that you have visited the only cinema in the country, that’s in Podgorica.

Everything about Montenegro in numbers

Area: 13,812 km2 Language: Montenegrin Capital city: Podgorica
Population: 0.6 million Local Currency: euro Time zone: GMT+2

Average monthly temperatures in Podgorica, Montenegro

Avg Temp Podgorica Montenegro

Want to find out more about the cheapest vacation places? Read Kiwi.com Stories

Frequently asked questions

Which countries have the cheapest gas?
How can I travel on a budget?

  • Be flexible with your travel dates.
  • Travel out of season.
  • Search for discounts.

What are the cheapest countries to retire in?
All these countries are so affordable that the average pensioner can afford to buy a house or land there.

  • Budget for flights (getting to the country).
  • Budget for other transportation (bus, taxi, or train for getting around the country).
  • Budget for your accommodations (define what type of accommodation you want and count how many nights you will stay).
  • Budget for food (determine how many meals you'll eat a day and research roughly how much each will cost).
  • Budget for activities (even if you are going to travel on a minimal budget, it is always better to allocate around $10–20 dollars per day, in case you can't resist something interesting).

How can I make money and travel at the same time?

  • Become a freelancer
Find appropriate platforms, get customers, and forget about sitting and working in one place!
  •  Capture and sell
Traveling around countries, you will encounter innumerable beautiful places. Try to take good shots, upload them on stock websites, and get money.
  • Start a travel blog
Share your travel experiences with people to help them out and monetise the content.

How can I find low-cost flights?

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