Cheap European Vacations – Where To Go This Summer

We get a lot of emails from people asking for advice on their planned Europe trips, and the most common question we get is about how much it will cost to travel to the destinations they have planned, and then also if we have some tips for other cheap European vacations they can take instead.

After having traveled extensively through Europe in the last few years we have found that prices vary highly between every country, and depending on where you go you can either make or break your budget. Travel Cheat Sheet for Europe

Cheap European Vacations

Cheap European Vacations

Also remember that it’s not just the destination that decides the price of your trip – to make sure you stay on budget, don’t be cheap with your travel insurance.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, and to spend a little extra money on getting travel insurance with medical conditions (if you have them) – since if you risk it and something bad happens, your trip will certainly be one of the most expensive you’ve taken..!

A General Rule For Cheap European Vacations

As a general rule, countries in Eastern Europe tend to be cheaper – there are some great places to visit in the Balkans and Baltics.

A few exceptions in Eastern Europe is Turkey and Greece, which from our experience are quite expensive to travel in.

Here are some great destinations for those looking for cheap European vacations this summer…


Bosnia is a true gem in the Balkans, with some fascinating cities, beautiful nature and charismatic people.

Traveling by bus around the country is cheap, and a great way of seeing the countryside.

Eating local food and in local restaurants (i.e not the touristy ones) is very cheap; a coffee and Borek (a traditional savory pastry) is about €2, and you can get a descent meal with drink for €5.

Sarajevo and Mostar are two great places we recommend to check out, but there are many other places to see and things to do – like white water rafting in Neretva river.


Portugal is one of my favorite cheap European vacations in western Europe, with charming cities, lovely people and fascinating food.

There is a great variety of things to do in Portugal, from surfing in the south, to exploring the Fado restaurants in Lisbon, or wander the narrow streets of the picturesque town Porto in the north.

There are some great deals to find in Portugal, especially in Porto.

There are plenty of cheap snacks to buy in the corner shops, and there are hostels offering amazing value.


Croatia isn’t as cheap as many other Eastern European countries, but for a beach destination, Croatia is the perfect alternative to Greece (which for the record, doesn’t seem to have gotten any cheaper despite the economic crisis).

The coastline is incredibly beautiful, with quaint fishing villages and islands with awesome nightlife.

Food, accommodation and drinks come relatively cheap, and you can travel cheap both on the mainland as well as go island hopping between the islands.

The capital city Zagreb (which generally seems a bit cheaper) and the historic city Dubrovnik offer amazing culture and history for when you’ve had enough of the beach life.

In all, it’s one of the best cheap European vacations for both sun worshippers as well as culture and history fanatics.


Estonia is our favorite among the Baltic countries – the capital city Tallinn is adorable, with charming cobble stoned streets, interesting attractions and friendly people.

It’s on our list of cheap European vacations because accommodation, food and transport is cheap, and because there are many free sights to check out.

Don’t miss out on trying the huge delicious pancakes at Kompressor (Rataskaevu Tänav 3, in the Old Town) which at €1-5 is a steal!

Checkout of Tallinn Travel video

Berlin (Germany)

I say Berlin instead of Germany because the rest of Germany isn’t as cheap as Berlin.

Summers in Berlin don’t get as hot and unbearable as in many other cosmopolitan cities in Europe, so if you are looking for a shopping weekend getaway, you will find summer a perfect time to visit and get the best of the city.

You can find some great value on accommodation, and there are cheap restaurants, bakeries and bars everywhere.

Berlin is the perfect choice for cheap European vacations for tourists who enjoy boutique shopping, underground partying and museums.

Czech Republic

Some people might complain about how Czech republic isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but in the big picture it’s still cheap and still deserves a spot in the list of cheap European vacations.

You can get a nice hotel room in the city center for the same price as a hostel in other countries in Europe, their famous beer can be enjoyed for €1,5 and you get large portions of their hearty cuisine for well under €10.

The country itself is beautiful and has some interesting places to visit, Prague being the most popular, nicknamed the “city of a thousand spires”.

How to Plan a Trip to Europe

How To Plan A Trip To Europe

How To Plan A Trip To Europe

To travel around Europe is a dream for many people around the world, there is so much to see, so much history and culture to embrace – and it’s all there right in front of you, just waiting to be explored.

But planning a trip to Europe is no easy task, at least not if you want to make the most of your time there and get the best experience possible. It takes a lot of planning, but where do you start? Well here are the three first steps you should consider before starting to really plan the rest of your holiday to Europe.

Where To Go

Choosing the destination is perhaps the trickiest task, as there are just so many places to see and every country has something unique to offer. The question you have to ask yourself is: what do you expect from this trip? Do you want to see old historical towns, party, indulge in cuisine, explore the traditional things or more modern? Chances are that you will want to see a little bit of everything. Your destination also comes down to you budget. The more money you can “throw around” the more choices you have. Generally speaking, eastern Europe is cheaper than western Europe, and northern Europe is even slightly more expensive than the south. Scandinavia is not a budget destination, although it is possible with more thorough planning, but the experience is more that of typical Scandinavian than what foreigners imagine is European. If you don’t mind flying, you can choose to spend some time in different parts of Europe to truly experience the differences. Germany and Austria are sort of similar to each other, but entirely different from the Balkan countries, and so on.

What Transport To Choose

Tips to save money on your next bookings to Europe

Tips to save money on your next bookings to Europe

Now, once you arrive in Europe, you’re going to need a way of getting around as well. The three most common options are to fly, travel by train and travel by bus. Flying within Europe can be very cheap, but requires more detailed planning, and is only really beneficial if you’re traveling a long distance. To fly to the neighboring country will likely be more expensive and take more hassle than to go by train or bus. To travel on land with bus and train will give you the opportunity to see more of Europe as you travel through the countries. Bus is often cheaper than train, but also more uncomfortable. Bus About and Eurolines are popular to travel around Europe with by bus, while EuRail is the obvious choice for train travelers.

How To Plan Your First Adventure Trip

Tips To Save Money On Your Bookings to Europe

Traveling to Europe is not a cheap investment, however, there are many ways you can make it cheaper by a little bit of effort. Here are a few simple tips on how you can save more money on your next Europe trip and still get the most out of your destination.

Use A New Accommodation Booking Engine

It’s easy to just get used to using the same hotel booking site every time you travel somewhere, but today there are so many great booking sites offering incredible deals and good value. There are also many different types of accommodation to choose, that can both help you save money and give you a more memorable trip. If you’re open to new things, then renting out an apartment from one of the many vacation rental websites would be something for you. You can choose to either rent out a room in someone’s house or apartment, or get the whole villa or apartment to yourself, for a price much lower than the hotels. Then you have couch surfing which is entirely free, however that often means that you’ll spend a lot of time with your host, so it’s not at all the same as a hotel, although you get to meet the locals and see a different side of the city you visit. If this is not your thing, and you prefer staying in a hotel or B&B, then choose a booking engine that compares not just with its own hotels, but with other hotel booking sites. Websites like combines the results from different hotel search engines so that you get more options. This will help you get a better deal and save money.

Let Someone Else Find The Flight Ticket

There is a brand new, very effective way of letting go of the hassle of looking for the best and cheapest flight and let somebody else do the job for you. The website is called, where you can offer to pay the person who finds the cheapest or best flight money as a reward. Considering that the person finding the flight can possibly find a better ticket saving you thousands of dollars, 40$ is nothing but a win win for both.

Get Savvy on Your Travel Extras Too

There are always those little extras that you forget when booking your trip, yes flight sorted, accommodation sorted but what about the airport parking. Well thankfully you can now find comparison websites offering all the options and you just choose the cheapest for any particular car park. Be sure to compare prices and were really easy to use plus of course offered stacks of great deals, especially if you can book in advance where the prices got really cheap.

(photo credit: 1)

(photo credit: 1)

28 Responses to Cheap European Vacations – Where To Go This Summer

  1. WhyGo Greece April 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Greece is not expensive , especially if you know HOW to budget for a trip. Bulgaria is definitely cheaper  but not as pretty.

  2. Mario April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Just a correction: Portugal is not in Eastern Europe, as you said.
    Check it here

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Hey Mario, thanks for the comment, but we never mentioned Portugal was in Eastern Europe :)

  3. Lane & Juliet April 19, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Croatia is definitely on our “must see” list.  If you stay away from Prague, Czech Republic is still cheap.  

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Croatia is an amazing place to visit and Czech Republic also has many things to offer any type of traveler.

  4. Love & Adventure April 19, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Thanks for the advice – we were thinking about Greece this fall, but maybe Croatia’s beaches (and prices) might suit us better :)

    • Mel April 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

       Live on Island Vis nice beaches very romantic, close are lots of islands…book in advance for July and August, June and September are nice and cheap

      • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:07 am #

        Hey Mel – thanks for sharing your tips :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Croatia’s beaches really are wonderful – I am sure you will have  great time there :) will you also go inland? there are many great things to see in the whole of Croatia.

  5. Andi Perullo April 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Gosh I haven’t visited any of these places (minus Germany, but not Berlin)! I really need to see more of Europe!!!

    • Jeremy Branham April 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

       I LOVE LOVE LOVE Eastern Europe and have written a comprehensive guide to Slovenia (not included here).  I am also a big fan of Portugal.  This is a great list and I would have included many of these same places (plus Slovenia).

      • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am #

        we also LOVE Eastern Europe – so much culture and things to see – have to agree Slovenia is also a wonderful country to visit – we really loved our time in Bled.

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Hey Andi – YES you really do need to see more of Europe – so many great and diverse counties to visit :)

  6. Alexey April 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I have been living in Prague since 2004. Yes, it has become more expensive. Though beer and alcohol are still way cheaper than in many Eruopean countries. Food as well, you can easily eat for 5EUR, good big meal. The main thing is to stay away, not from Prague, but from the main torusitc areas, and then you are fine. Considering we have one of the best trasnporation system and the size of PRague, you don’t even need to stay in the center.
    If you go to Prague, i can give some advice regarding good very  affordable places to taste Czech beers and eat good Czech food.

    Though I cannot agree with you about Turkey(and it is not Easter Eeurope ;-)). I was there last May and I cannot say it is expensive. I am going there in August, we’ll see.

  7. The World of Deej April 20, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    Prague has been on my list for a long time…glad to hear it also wont hurt my wallet!

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      Prague is a wonderful city, we could easily go back there many more times – so much to see and do :)

  8. Health Tourism April 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm #


    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 22, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      thanks :)

  9. Jeremy Branham April 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I would have included Slovenia in here as well.  On Monday, I am doing a list of European destinations that tell a story – and have included places in Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, and Estonia.

    I’ve got a lot of history and connections with Estonia – first country I ever visited.  I definitely agree with this list and need to make it to Bosnia.

    • Sofia - WinterStays June 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      I love Slovenia, such a beautiful country and the people were honestly among the loveliest I’ve met in Europe, very straight forward 😉

  10. Margyle April 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    These are all great ideas… I especially like the ‘not as hot’ suggestions, because it can get crazy warm during peak season!

  11. Bali Villa Holidays April 23, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Of course this time of the year (early spring) would be the best time to invest on this kind of lifetime experience. I would vote for this tip to further cut your suppose budget allowance and make it achievable.

  12. Paulineplho April 28, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I have travelled to the countries you suggested,except estonia. I really agree your advice and i think croatia is unique and more beauitul than my expectation! Also, sarajevo is a very special place and i went to there at the beginning of this month. It’s historical story is very attractive and touching. Also your video is so great and professional, i like it so much!!^_^

  13. aswatysaran May 28, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    The long vacations tour tips being looks for really wonderful. I known many useful news collection from here! I known many useful news travel news collection from here!..

  14. Michael Luke May 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    How lucky you are as you have already got into these places.I could not wait anymore.I am currently making my plan to spend the next summer traveling these places
    travel deals

  15. SilverServiceTravel June 19, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I agree that Eastern Europe can be cheaper than Western Europe. I went to Germany a couple of years ago (not Berlin). I found it cheaper than France, Italy and England but still had a great time

  16. SilverServiceTravel June 19, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I think you should also consider the smaller less well known cities. I went to Heidelberg and Cologne.

  17. Cristina June 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Croatia and Czech Republic are always on my list. They are relatively cheap to explore but its getting there that makes it really pricey, if you don’t live in Europe.