We all know Europe isn’t the cheapest place to travel, but you might be surprised by these affordable destinations for 2020.

There’s a reason most backpackers and new digital nomads head to Asia or South America: travelling Europe can get expensive.

But it doesn’t have to be. It’s totally possible to travel Europe on a budget if you know how. And that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

Nailing cheap travel in Europe comes down to three things: 

  • finding cheap flights
  • choosing somewhere affordable, and
  • knowing how to save money.

Let’s run through each of them!

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Finding cheap flights in Europe 

While Europe might not have the cheapest destinations, it does have one thing going for it: cheap flights.

Budget airlines rule in Europe, meaning you never need to sell half your house just to get from A to B. Sometimes, flying within Europe can be cheaper than travelling domestically.

True story: I’ve spent more money on short train journeys within the UK than on many of my European flights.

A quick flight search will likely bring up plenty of short haul flights for under £100. In fact, it can be pretty overwhelming to see just how many options there are.

If you don’t have a particular destination in mind, JustFly‘s homepage is a great place to look for a deal. Below the usual search tab, they show some of the cheapest flight option from your home city. And that means finding a cheap flight within Europe is as simple as clicking on the options and choosing whichever one takes your fancy.

When you do find a good flight deal, don’t book it too quickly. Many budget carriers will throw in extra costs as you go through the booking process, so make sure you check what’s included first. If they sneakily add anything you don’t need – I’m looking at you, travel insurance – see if you can deselect. 


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Cheap destinations in Europe 

Now you know how to score a great flight deal, where should you look at going? 

These are some of my favourite European destinations – and the ones that have surprised me with how affordable they are. It may well be worth spending slightly more on a flight to visit one of these places because you’ll save on accommodation, food and activities once you’re there.

Tbilisi skyline at night

Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia may well be the most underrated country in all of Europe, and its capital has remained largely undiscovered. It’s also one of the most affordable European destinations I’ve ever been to.

I predict that that may well be about to change, though, as more and more blogs and media outlets have started taking notice. My advice? Visit now, before the crowds arrive and prices start to climb.

Tbilisi has everything you want in a city break: fascinating culture, hospitable locals and incredible food. The food was yet another surprise in Georgia, and easily ranks within my top five cuisines of the world.

If you can spend a little longer in Georgia, I highly recommend doing so. From the Caucasus Mountains to beach side towns, there are so many beautiful places in Georgia. Best of all, many of them are easy to get to from Tbilisi

Average price for a meal out: A hearty meal at one of the more “touristy” restaurants in the main area will only set you back around USD $7 per person – and you’ll be full! Elsewhere, expect to pay no more than half of that for a filling dinner.

Average price for a hotel: Hotel Tato is in the centre of Tbilisi and has modern double rooms for around £20 per night.

2-day Bucharest itinerary: 48 hours in Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

Another capital city that won’t break the bank, Bucharest is perfect for a long weekend.

With an awesome selection of affordable restaurants, Bucharest is a great city for foodies on a budget. You’ll find pork, polenta and sour cream on pretty much every menu, but you’ll be amazed at how varied the dishes are.

Many travellers stop off in Bucharest on their way to the castles and mountains. If you’re looking for an affordable European city break, though, it’s well worth giving this city the attention it deserves.

Bucharest is bursting with history and culture, but it’s small size makes it very easy to explore. You could spend days losing yourself in the quirky mix of old churches, modern bars and Instagrammable libraries – all without breaking the bank.

Average price for a meal out: Expect to spend around USD $3-8 per meal, depending on where you eat. Hint: the hidden local spots are always the best! If you feel like splashing out a little, you can eat at a top restaurant for less than USD $50.

Average price for a hotel: You can get a night in a central hotel with breakfast included for less than £50.

Porto itinerary for 2 days

Porto, Portugal

While most of Portugal is one of the most affordable destinations in western Europe, head to Porto for the best value for money.

A cute and quirky city that you’ll quickly fall in love with, the prices won’t bring down an otherwise fantastic trip. There are plenty of things to do in Porto, and they’re all surprisingly affordable.

If you have a little time, it’s well worth venturing to the surrounding towns. The region makes for a really special road trip, but taking the buses will only cost you a little more time and save you even more money. 

Average price for a meal out: Food prices vary a lot in Porto but you can easily eat out for around USD $6-10 Euros.

Average price for a hotel: A twin room in a central hostel will only set you back £40 – that’s £20 per person! – including breakfast.

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Naxos, Greece

While Santorini and Mykonos may be two of the most expensive places in Europe, you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy the Greek Islands.

Naxos, in particular, offers all of the same white walls, pink flowers and wonderful food that you’ll find on the busier isles. The only different is it will cost you less than half the amount!

You’ll also be able to enjoy renting a quad and many of the other activities that you can enjoy in Greece at a fraction of the price.

Average price for a meal out: Food prices in Naxos are reasonable, with the average meal costing around 7-8 Euros.

Average price for a hotel: With more affordable hotels than the other Greek Islands, you can get a luxury seafront hotel for less than $50.

Malta & Gozo

I would suggest a single area in Malta, but it doesn’t matter too much where you stay. I have a soft spot for the capital city of Valletta, but it’s not the only place to stay on Malta. Outside the UNESCO heritage site capital, Malta has cute villages, remote villas and seaside resorts. So take your pick!

Wherever you base yourself, it’s super easy to get around and explore. The public bus system is well connected and easy to use. Best of all, it’s super affordable. A 7-day pass that will take you around the entire country – including Gozo and Comino – costs just 21 Euros. 

Thanks to its enviable location in the southern Mediterranean, Malta is a great destination to visit all year round. There’s plenty of things to do whatever the weather, and many of them are free or cost very little.

Average price for a meal out: Like many European destinations, food prices in Malta can vary. You’ll never need to pay more than 10 Euros for a good meal, and can often get a drink for that price too.

Average price for a hotel: You can stay at a beach resort with breakfast included for as little as £40 per night.

How to save money on your Europe travels

Now you know how to find a cheap flight to an affordable destination, don’t get caught out spending elsewhere. Here are some tips to make sure your budget trip doesn’t end up costing you more than you thought:

Check your phone contract before you. If you have a contract deal from an EU country, you should be able to use it in other countries. Make sure you know what you can and (more importantly) can’t use while travelling to avoid a hefty phone bill.

Open a map. Some of the cheapest flights in Europe aren’t where you think they are. They can be far out of the city and end up costing you a fortune when it comes to getting to and from the airport. Make sure you take transfers and transport into account when looking at flights.

Make use of free admissions. Many of Europe’s museums and attractions have free or discounted days. If you don’t mind dealing with a larger crowd, the savings can quickly add up.

Eat street. Europe may not be famous for its street food, but it still exists! When looking for cheap eats, head down the smaller back streets or into the areas where tourists don’t go. You never know what treats you might find.

Carry a travel card. All banks and cards come with different fees for spending and withdrawals abroad. Choose one that’s good for travel and you could save a surprisingly amount on exchange rates and bank fees.