Looking for budget-friendly destinations in Europe? Here are the cheapest countries to visit in Europe on less than $50 a day.
Traveling to Europe is every traveler’s dream. But that dream is always put on hold due to the fact that Europe is one of the expensive continents to travel in.
But the beauty that lies in the region keeps travelers wishing! What if I told you that you can still explore Europe on a budget and that the best way to do this is by opting to visit some of the cheap countries in Europe.
Though you’re likely to miss out on popular destinations like France, Italy, the UK, or other major European destinations, these countries, though some underrated, are filled with unique culture, history, and immense beauty that you will appreciate.
So in this post, we will be looking at some of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. However, “cheap” in Europe is not the same kind of “cheap” in places like Asia.
You can expect to spend between $15 – $30 a day in cheap countries in Asia but this is not the case for Europe. In Europe, you can plan for around $30- $50 a day and that would be a great bargain.
Quick note: Please note that the daily budgets described in this article correspond to a budget for backpacking on a shoestring, including food, accommodation, and activities.
However, just traveling to these countries won’t immediately guarantee you cheap travels if you spend away your money, there are some tips that you must observe to enjoy these cheap European countries. Below are some of them.
How to travel to Europe for cheaps
Look for cheap flights
Though flying is what mostly ruins a lot of budgets, there are a number of low-cost airlines in Europe that could save you some money on your flight.
Airlines like Ryan Air, Easy Jet, Euro wings and so many others always have cheaper flights. Scout for them and you might just save a lot on your flight.
Save money on accommodation
The best way to save money while in Europe is to save money on accommodation. Instead of staying at 4-5 star resorts, opt for Hostels. Sleep at cheap Air BnBs and make your own food. You can also try out Couch surfing.
Use public transportation
Public transportation in most parts of Europe is well connected, so it shouldn’t be an issue getting around. Trains are always a good and cheaper option and buying a Eurail pass will even make it way cheaper.
You can also easily find low-cost comfortable buses across all Europe hence moving around cheaply.
Skimp on Food
Food is one thing that most people spend a lot of money on and since most parts of Europe have delicious cuisines, you might end up eating away all your money if you’re not careful.
Eat street foods and cook your own meals if the hostel or Air BnB you’re staying at provides a kitchen. This will save you a lot of money – more than you can even imagine.
Save on activities
Luckily for you, there are a number of free activities in Europe that you can participate in without touching your wallet – Europe is like the capital of free walking tours. A number of museums in Europe are also free on specific dates.
This is a great way to make sure that you stay on a low budget as you explore the cheapest countries in Europe.
I could go on and on with these tips but since you came to this post to find out the cheap countries in Europe, let’s move to that.
However, you can check out my previous post on how to travel to Europe on a budget to get all those money-saving tips.
Disclaimer* All these suggested budgets below assume that you’ll be staying in hostels, eating as cheap as possible (not necessarily bad), using local transportation, and observing all the money-saving tips while traveling.
Of course, you can always spend double what’s mentioned in this post because it all goes back to how you travel as an individual. But if you follow the tips mentioned, you’ll realize that you can actually enjoy Europe on a budget.
So without any further ado, let’s look at some of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe where you can expect to spend around $30- $50 a day.
Cheapest countries to visit in Europe
Turkey is a truly unique country. Other than lying on two continents (Europe and Asia) which is already impressive, the mix of both the modern and the historical touches elevates it even further.
It is the mishmash of the west and the East that makes Turkey a historical and diverse country. It’s impressive architecture, history, friendly people and delicious cuisines make it a popular destination in Europe.
From the megalopolis city of Istanbul that is filled with Unesco World Heritage Sites, the beach coastal beach towns, to the picture-perfect Cappadocia, it’s even hard to believe that Turkey is one of the cheap destinations in Europe.
Public transportation is very cheap in Turkey and can set you back as low as $2 within the same city and $7 to different cities.
And since Turkey is very famous for its very delicious street foods, you gotta try them by spending just $5.
Another big plus about visiting Turkey is that it has a number of free things to do which means that you’ll make up for the extra money you would have splurged on other things hence balancing out your budget.
With all the incredible places in Turkey that can be visited at a low cost of approximately $10, truly this Eurasia country is a cheap European destination that all backpackers should head to.
Turkey’s estimated daily budget: Between $30 and $40
Though Hungary has become a popular destination among travelers, it is surprisingly one of the cheap places in Europe. With prices in Budapest starting to creep up slowly, now is the best time to visit this Hungarian city.
With thermal baths sprawling all across Budapest and the famous Hungarian building, Hungary provides both architectural wonders, and high-class relaxation that come highly affordable to its visitors. With that, it’s not hard to see why this landlocked country in central Europe has become the hub for backpackers.
And no, it’s not just the Hungarian parliament (which is btw one of the famous European landmarks) that excites visitors, other places like the Buda Castle, Danube River, Balaton Lake which is the largest Lake in Central Europe and other beautiful places qualify Hungary as one of the most beautiful budget-friendly destinations in Europe.
We all know good quality wine doesn’t come cheap but if you’re a wine lover who wants to explore wine destinations at a low cost, then head to this wine underrated country of Hungary.
Hungary is also known for its delicious meals and you’ll be glad to know that a three-course meal at a Hungarian restaurant will cost you around $16. That goes to show how cheap food is in Hungary. But as a backpacker, you can get away with a proper delicious meal at just $6 at a traditional restaurant but if you opt for street food, $3 is all you need.
You can also expect to save a lot of money on accommodation with shared dorm rooms going for as low as $6 a night or $15 for a private room. Train rides are also pretty cheap going for $1 or $2 with in the city or approximately $12 for really long journeys between different cities.
With that rough break down of prices, Hungary is truly one of the most beautiful and cheap European countries to visit.
Though you’ll need to splurge a bit on some activities like the Danube River cruise, if you save your money on transportation, food, and accommodation, you’ll get away with a daily budget of less than $35.
Hungary’s estimated daily budget: Between $30 and $35
Related post: Best places to visit in Europe in winter
Filled with some of the most beautiful islands in Europe, Croatia is truly one of the underrated countries in Europe. But don’t fret, this Balkan’s country offers much more beauty than even some of the most visited countries on the continent.
With Croatia being a small country, many might choose to ignore it but it offers more than just the islands.
From the incredible Unesco world heritage sites of the Old City of Dubrovnik, Historical complex of split, the cathedral of St. James to so many others. In fact, there are over 10 Unesco sites to explore.
Yes, it’s not just history and amazing architecture that makes Croatia a must-visit country in the Balkans but also the deep blue waters of the Blue Lagoon to explore the underwater town and the incredible wildlife in its 8 National parks. The icing on the cake is that you get to enjoy all these even with a low budget.
Though dorm rooms are a bit pricier compared to other cheap countries in Europe, you can still sleep at $12 a night but a private room can cost you around $20.
If the hostel you opt for has a kitchen, you’re better off cooking your own meals but if not, you can budget for around $10 for a proper meal but you can switch it up with some fast food that goes for approximately $5.
And when it comes to transportation, you might spend a little bit higher than what you might have been accustomed to in other budget-friendly countries in Europe. Buses and ferries are the most common with a bus ride between cities averaging $10 and ferries going for around $15 but local transportation within the same city can be around $5.
Being a country with a lot of luxurious islands and resorts, you can easily get caught in luxurious activities, but if you’re able to keep a fixed low-cost budget, you can get away with $40 a day.
Croatia’s estimated daily budget: Between $35 and $40
Related post: Best winter sun destinations in Europe
Greece is the ultimate European destination but what even sets it apart is that it is super affordable compared to other places like France, Germany, or the UK.
Commonly know for the Acropolis which most people regard as the country’s symbol, Greece is home to some of the most historical monuments in the world.
But it’s not just the Acropolis or its museum that make millions of people flock to this southern Europen country, it’s also the beautiful picture-perfect islands of Mykonos and Santorini that attract visitors, backpackers and A-listers alike.
And no, if you spend money like nothing, you won’t find Greece cheap because it’s so easy to go overboard in a country so beautiful like this.
But if you watch how you spend, you’ll realize that you can even spend $40 a day in Greece.
Of course, sleeping in the blue doomed hotels that overlook the blue waters in Santorini will be crazy expensive, but if you choose a dorm room or a hostel, you can expect to spend something like $15 a night.
Food can be a bit costly but if you want to spend less than $15 on meals, street food should be your go-to. And when it comes to transportation, opt for pubic transportation which will set you as far behind as $10.
Greece being a beautiful country full of amazing things to do in every corner you look, this is where you’re likely to spend more money. Plan for an average of $20 per day on attractions and that is without hiring a tour guide.
The best way you’ll find Greece cheap is to try not to indulge in all the luxurious things in either Santorini or Mykonos and you’ll be surprised how $40 per day will be enough.
Greece’s estimated daily budget: Between $40 and $50
Related post: Most beautiful cities in Europe
Known for its mountainous nature and coastal beaches, Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in Europe if not the cheapest.
The combination of the greenery from the forests, the beautiful landscapes of the mountains matched with beautiful beaches draw in a number of tourists.
Even though it’s still a hidden gem that many tourists overlook, there are tons of things to do and see in Bulgaria.
From exploring the capital of Sophia, Bulgaria’s biggest city, exploring the Seven Rila Lakes in Rila National park, visiting the Plovdiv, the oldest inhabited city in Europe to relaxing from the coastal towns, there are so many things that would fill up your Bulgaria itinerary. And if you’re a ski lover, head up to Bansko which is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe.
And don’t worry, you can still enjoy all this while traveling on a budget. You can expect to spend around $10 a night in a hostel, $6 on food, around $5 on transportation even on long journeys, and $8 on activities.
You can expect to spend even less than that if you go out of Sofia. With all that, it’s not hard to see why Bulgaria made it to this list of the cheapest places in Europe.
Bulgaria’s estimated daily budget: Between $30 and $35
Related post: Why you should travel to Europe in winter
With a bustling and famous city of Bucharest, Romania is increasingly becoming a popular destination in Europe. But even with the growing numbers of tourists, it’s still one of the cheapest countries to travel in Europe.
It might be the architectural wonder of the Palace of Parliament and the incredible nightlife that have put Romania on every traveler’s bucket list, but there are so many things to do in the country.
From appreciating the gothic, baroque architecture, and many historical attractions in Brasov, visiting the numerous castles in Romania, walking through the alleys of the charming towns of Romania, indulging in Romania’s cuisine which the natives swear by to lazing it out on the beautiful beaches along the Black Sea, it’s evident that Romania is not only beautiful but also one of the cheapest European destinations.
Backpackers will be happy to know that a night in a hostel can be as low as $11, a good meal can set you back by $7, transportation for just $6 and activities costing you around $10. Now that’s what they call traveling on a budget.
Romania’s estimated daily budget: Between $30 and $35
Related post: Big mistakes to avoid while traveling in Europe
If you still want to experience the charms of western Europe while traveling on a low budget, then head to Portugal.
With its beautiful beaches and the calm nature, it’s not surprising that Portugal is one of the popular and cheap countries in Europe flocked by a number of tourist.
Many people may not consider Portugal as a cheap country in Europe but when compared to countries like France, Italy or Spain, you’ll know why it made it to this list.
Cities like Lisbon and Porto get a huge share of tourists and their prices are slowly creeping up but you can still get yourself a hostel room at $15 a night ($10 in smaller towns).
If you minimize eating at restaurants, you can expect to spend around $10 on food, $10 on local transportation, and $15 on activities.
Though Portugal might be the most expensive country on this list, it’s still one of the cheap European countries to visit. All you have to do is to budget your money well to spend less than $50 a day.
Portugal’s estimated daily budget: Between $40 and $50
If you want to go off the beaten path in Europe, then Ukraine is your gem. Away from the crowds and it being super budget-friendly – (possibly the cheapest country in Europe) these are enough reasons to travel to this Eastern European country.
But it’s not just that, there are a number of other reasons to visit Ukraine. From the charming and historical city of Kyiv which is also the largest city and the capital of Ukraine to Lviv that also offers architectural wonders- also a Unesco world heritage site, the deeply rooted history in Ukraine satisfies all history buffs.
But it’s not all history and architecture, beach lovers can also enjoy the country by heading to Odesa to enjoy the cool breeze of the Black sea and if you want to participate in winter sports, then the Carpathian Mountains commonly known as the green pearl of Ukraine will satisfy your wanderlust.
And if you’re worried that you need to break the bank to afford all that, worry not as you can get away even with just $25 a day to enjoy all that.
You can expect to spend around $7 in a hostel, food is really cheap as you can get a meal at just $4. And since most activities are free, you can plan for $5 a day on the paid ones. Just like food, transport in Ukraine is equally cheap averaging around $2 within the city and around $6 across the country.
I honestly believe that Ukraine is the cheapest place to visit in Europe and you can even get away with $20 a day.
Ukraine’s estimated daily budget: Between $20 and $30
Another hidden gem that is always overlooked by travelers is Albania. Even though not yet overrun by tourists, Albania depicts beauty like no other country in Europe.
Don’t be misled by its small size, it has a number of things to do and see that will keep you on your feet the entire trip.
From the incredible hikes in Theth that present amazing sceneries, the charming city of a thousand windows, Berat to the gorgeous beaches you can even camp on, there is so much to do in Albania.
And a big plus is that you can enjoy this beautiful country on a tight budget. Hostels are super cheap in Albania, averaging around $8 a night, food costs $5 and you can even get cheaper ones if you opt for street food.
Long-distance bus trips are where you’re likely to spend a bit more like $8 but local transport within the city can be as low as $2- $3. Usually, most money is spent on attractions and entrance fees, but not in Albania. You can enjoy activities for just $4.
Albania’s estimated daily budget: Between $20 and $30
Poland is indubitably one of the most beautiful and cheapest European countries to visit. It is a country known for its impeccable history but party lovers also love it due to its always vibrant night life. Add those 2 together with affordability and you’ll see a swarm of backpackers.
From fairy tale medieval towns, impressive Gothic building to countless outdoor activities, this hidden gem of Europe offers a little bit of everything to all kinds of travelers – both outdoors lovers and history buffs will appreciate Poland.
Some of the things to add to your Poland itinerary include exploring the Capital, Krakow to learn more about the history of Poland and visit Wawel Castle plus a number of museums, learn more about the unfoldings of WWII, visit Wieliczka Salt Mines Poland which is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and for hikers, head up to the Tatra Mountains for incredible hikes.
A huge plus is that you can enjoy all those activities on a budget. A trip to Poland is likely to cost you around $30 a day. Accommodation will take the biggest chunk at $9, $7 on food, $3 on local transport, and $5 on attractions.
Poland’s estimated daily budget: Between $25 and $35
There you have it backpackers – that was the list of the cheapest places to travel in Europe. With that, expensive can no longer be an excuse for not traveling to Europe.
Have you been to any of these cheap European countries? Let me know which country you traveled to and how much you spent daily.
Also, if you have any other suggestions of cheap countries to visit in Europe, leave them in the comment section.
More posts to inspire your travels in Europe