9 cheapest countries in Europe to visit in 2023

Apr 19, 2023

Europe is a fascinating continent with rich history, vibrant food, romantic culture, and dazzling natural beauty. Re: expensive price tag.

Europe sometimes feels out of reach for budget travelers (especially compared to Asia and South America, where you can get a meal for less than $2 and a luxury hotel for under $40 a night). But, there are countries in Europe that offer affordable travel experiences that are equally beautiful and culturally rich that are less crowded and won’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for an affordable European adventure, I’ve got you, sis! From the picturesque hills of Greece to the vibrant nightlife of Hungary, there are tons of underrated bucket list destinations where you can enjoy all that Europe has to offer without spending a fortune.

Let’s go!

Top 9 cheapest countries to visit in Europe

  1. Portugal

    Portugal has a beautiful coastline, historic sites, and vibrant culture. Lisbon, the capital city, gets overshadowed by London, Paris, and Rome, but it has ALL the old world charm, cobbled streets, and amazing food at a much cheaper price point. On the coast, you won’t want to miss Porto (hello vino lovers!), the Azores (crystal clear water, anyone?), or Algarve (how are the emerald water and sea caves still under the radar?). In fact, this surf camp in Portugal is on my must-do 2023 list!

  2. Bulgaria

    Bulgaria is the most affordable country in Europe. In general, eastern European is less expensive than western Europe- and not because it sucks, which is what I would have said to someone if they said this to me a year or two ago ha. The country is famous for its stunning natural scenery, deep green forests, ancient ruins, and beaches. Accommodation, food, and transport are all affordable in Bulgaria. The capital city Sofia is brimming with cathedrals and palaces and framed by mountains. The food has a Greek vibe to it, with emphasis on roasted red peppers, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheeses, roasted meat, etc.

    Ready to book the flight? This is my BEST tried and true travel hack for finding the cheapest flights. Seriously, don’t book a flight without looking here first!

  3. Croatia

    Croatia is another affordable southern European country, especially if you avoid the peak tourist season. The country is famous for its stunning coastline and Golden Cape beach, historic sites (Game of Thrones fans will lose it over these filming sites in Croatia!), and beautiful national parks. Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is a must-visit destination, with its stunning old town, city walls, and sea cliffs on the same water that is home to the Greek Islands. If you’ve always dreamed of visiting the pastel seaside cliffs of Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast, Dubrovnik is RIGHT on par with its beauty at a fraction of the cost.

  4. Turkey

    Turkey is a transcontinental country— half in Europe, half in Asia— is super affordable for travel. As of 2023, 1 turkish lira = 19 USD, and I still can’t believe how affordable it was. I stayed club level at the Ritz Carlton in Istanbul, then flew to Cappadoccia for the most magical week of my life hot air ballooning, horseback riding, and hot tubbing in stunning Mediterranean desert valleys!

    I stayed in an unreal boutique luxury cave hotel (easily the most unique stay I’ve ever had!) for less than $100 a night. And yes— Istanbul is rich in history and culture with the iconic Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Grand Bazaar, but the true beauty of Turkey is in Cappadocia’s Rose Valley, Love Valley, and the moonscapes bursting with flowers and vineyards in the Mediterranean microclimate zone.

5. Hungary

Hungary is an affordable central European country famous for its thermal baths, including the iconic Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. It’s also renowned for its wine, cuisine, and folk traditions. Budapest, the capital city, is a beautiful and vibrant city, with its historic sites, museums, and cultural events. It’s also a great place to visit around the holidays, with one of the most famous European Christmas markets, and is an easy access point to take the train to Prague and Vienna.

6. Greece

I know what you’re thinking- how can Greece be on this list? We’ve all see the prices for those white walled, blue roofed cliff villas with the private pool overlooking the sea. I have 4 words for you— avoid peak tourist season in the summer. Okay fine, 7 words. I’m not saying to go in the winter, which can be wet and chilly, but if you can aim for September or March, you’ll find fewer crowds and more savings. Visit the more affordable Greek islands of Crete, Andros, Tinos, Corfu and Naxos for stunning water, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine. Athens, the capital city, is a must-visit (re: crowded but worth it) bucket list destination with the Acropolis and Parthenon.

Budget travel (and sanity) pro tip: Do not check a bag. I’ve packed for 3+ weeks in Europe without checking a bag and watched other people lugging 50lb suitcases up 7 flights of stairs & down cobbled streets. Here’s exactly how to pack everything you need into carry on luggage.

7. Poland

Poland is another central European country perfect for budget travel. The country is rich in history and culture, with its medieval castles, stunning architecture, and fascinating museums. Krakow is one of the most popular cities to visit in Poland, with its historic old town, Wawel Castle, and Jewish quarter.

8. Romania

Romania is another eastern European country that offers affordable travel experiences. The country is home to some of the most beautiful castles in Europe, including the famous Bran Castle, which is said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The cities of Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca are also worth visiting, with their vibrant cultural scenes and excellent nightlife.

9. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a central European country that offers affordable travel experiences. The country is famous for its stunning architecture, including the Gothic Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. Prague, the capital city, is a popular destination, with its vibrant cultural scene, excellent nightlife, and historic sites.

Throwing in Italy as an honorable mention here, because you can make it cheap if you’re strategic. Visit during off season, get a private room in an affordable hostel (be sure to answer the questions on this list before you book a hostel), and take the train from city to city. Also, drink more wine than water— purely for affordability 🙂

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Are you new here? Let’s be friends! I’m Sarah— a solo female traveler (& world’s okayest travel blogger) helping you travel the world, discover surprising destinations, & have a laugh getting off the beaten path. Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to stay in touch (I promise not to spam you- just to share the best travel hacks, guides, itineraries, embarrassing stories, and unmissable experiences)!

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