Cheapest European Destinations for Summer 2024

Summer in Europe is a dream for many travelers. The continent offers diverse cultures, rich histories, and stunning landscapes. However, a European summer vacation can sometimes seem out of reach due to high costs. But fear not! There are plenty of affordable destinations where you can experience the magic of Europe without breaking the bank.

Traveling on a budget doesn't mean sacrificing fun or comfort. In fact, budget-friendly travel can be more rewarding. You get to explore less touristy spots, immerse yourself in local cultures, and often find more authentic experiences. Plus, saving money on travel means you can spend more on unique experiences and souvenirs.

We've scoured Europe to find the best budget-friendly summer destinations. These cities offer a mix of cultural richness, historical significance, and vibrant local life, all at an affordable price.

1. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a city that feels like stepping into a fairy tale. With its stunning castles, beautiful old town, and charming cobblestone streets, Prague offers a rich cultural experience. Accommodations and dining are surprisingly affordable, making it a great choice for budget travelers. You can explore historical sites such as Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, wander around the Old Town Square with its famous Astronomical Clock, and enjoy budget-friendly meals in local pubs.

2. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, known for its thermal baths and stunning architecture, is a haven for travelers on a budget. Enjoy a soak in the historic Gellért Baths, take a walk along the Danube River, and indulge in delicious Hungarian cuisine, all without spending a fortune. The city offers plenty of free or low-cost attractions like the Fisherman's Bastion and Heroes' Square. Don't miss a river cruise at sunset for a magical view of the city.

3. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, with its vibrant city life and breathtaking views, is an affordable gem in Western Europe. Explore the historic neighborhoods like Alfama and Bairro Alto, enjoy fresh seafood, and take in the stunning views from one of the city's many miradouros (viewpoints). Lisbon offers plenty of budget-friendly accommodations and dining options. The iconic Tram 28 offers a scenic and inexpensive way to see the city's sights.

4. Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a city steeped in history, from its medieval old town to the haunting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. The city is lively and full of energy, with plenty of affordable attractions and places to stay. Don't miss the chance to explore the beautiful Wawel Castle and the bustling Main Market Square. The Kazimierz district, with its trendy bars and cafes, is perfect for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia combines ancient history with modern vibes. Explore Roman ruins, vibrant markets, and beautiful churches without stretching your budget. Sofia's affordable prices extend to accommodations and dining, making it a perfect budget destination. Visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Vitosha Boulevard for a mix of history and shopping. The city's free walking tours provide a great overview of its rich history.

6. Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, known for its eclectic architecture and energetic nightlife, is a great destination for budget travelers. Visit the massive Palace of the Parliament, stroll through Herastrau Park, and enjoy the city's lively cafes and bars. Bucharest offers a range of affordable accommodations and local eateries. The Old Town is perfect for budget-friendly dining and entertainment.

7. Riga, Latvia

Riga is famous for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture and rich cultural scene. The city's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering plenty to see and do without spending much. Enjoy local delicacies and affordable lodging in this Baltic gem. The Central Market, housed in old zeppelin hangars, offers a taste of local life and flavors at great prices.

8. Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, with its dynamic nightlife and historical sites, is perfect for those seeking an affordable European adventure. Explore the Belgrade Fortress, enjoy the bustling Skadarlija district, and take in the city's vibrant atmosphere. Belgrade's cost-effective options for food and lodging make it a budget-friendly choice. The Ada Ciganlija, a river island, offers beaches and recreational activities without breaking the bank.

9. Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava offers picturesque old town charm and stunning riverside views. Wander through the cobbled streets, visit Bratislava Castle, and relax by the Danube River. The city's affordable prices make it easy to enjoy a summer vacation without overspending. The Blue Church and UFO Observation Deck provide unique and inexpensive sightseeing options.

10. Valencia, Spain

Valencia is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant festivals, and delicious paella. Enjoy the city's sunny weather, explore the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, and relax on the beach. Valencia's affordable accommodations and dining options make it a fantastic summer destination. The Turia Gardens, a park created in a former riverbed, offers plenty of space for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Tips for budget-friendly European trips

  • Plan ahead: Book flights and accommodations in advance to get the best deals. Websites like Skyscanner and Kayak can help you find the cheapest flights, while and Airbnb offer a range of affordable lodging options. Planning ahead also gives you time to research free or low-cost attractions and activities in your destination.

  • Travel off-peak: Consider traveling during shoulder seasons (late spring or early fall) to avoid peak prices. The weather is still pleasant, but you'll find fewer tourists and lower prices for flights and accommodations. This also means shorter lines at popular attractions, giving you more time to enjoy your trip.

  • Use public transport: Save money by using public transportation instead of taxis or car rentals. Many European cities have excellent public transport systems, including buses, trams, and metros. Consider purchasing a daily or weekly pass for unlimited travel. In cities like Berlin and Vienna, public transport is not only cost-effective but also a great way to see the sights.

  • Eat like a local: Enjoy meals at local markets and eateries to experience authentic cuisine at lower prices. Street food and small local restaurants often offer delicious meals at a fraction of the cost of touristy restaurants. In places like Lisbon and Budapest, you can enjoy hearty meals for under $10. Don’t forget to try local specialties like Polish pierogi or Spanish tapas.

  • Stay in budget accommodations: Look for hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels to save on lodging. Websites like Hostelworld can help you find clean and comfortable hostels with great reviews. Many hostels offer private rooms for those who prefer more privacy. Alternatively, consider staying in a guesthouse or using services like Couchsurfing to find free accommodation with local hosts.


Traveling through Europe on a budget is not only possible but incredibly rewarding. From the fairy-tale streets of Prague to the sunny beaches of Valencia, there are plenty of affordable destinations waiting to be explored. So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to enjoy a European summer adventure without breaking the bank.