15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!

February 21, 2024

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit! travel soultravelers3 budget luxury long stay
What are the cheapest countries in Europe to travel to? Do you dream about taking a trip to Europe, but worry about costs? I've written a lot about cheapest ways to travel Europe, so check out our many blog posts. Do you need best tips on budget-friendly European destinations? This guide & list of Europe's cheapest countries will help you plan a fantastic low budget trip. It's truly a total myth that travel has to be expensive and we prove that daily on our travels! No matter if it is family travel or couples travel, or solo travel, or digital nomads, absolutely ANYONE can travel Europe cheaply. Sure fall, spring or winter travel is cheaper, but low budget travel in summer is possible. Pick the right place so you can skip the heat and crowds of the summer high season

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit! sunset  budget beauty balkans backpackers digital nomads slow travel

I have been traveling to Europe on a budget regularly since I lived in Italy in 1975! We spent a decade traveling Europe very cheaply as a family,  pioneering OG slow traveling as digital nomads. Now we have been traveling Europe as a couple, doing Schengen Shuffle travel since  2022. I have become an expert on traveling luxuriously in Europe on a low budget.

No matter if it is by van or bungalow, hostel, hotel or airbnb apartment, one can always find ways to cut costs. Europe is my favorite destination! Best budget travel secrets are when to visit Europe and where are the cheapest European countries & places. We're discovering new places and ways every day. Traveling Europe on a budget  doesn't mean sacrificing the high standard of your trip & can make it better. Our list of the cheapest countries in Europe will help you plan a perfect European adventure without depleting your savings!

These are the 15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!

1. Bulgaria

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  bansko bulgaria ski and hot spring resort

Bulgaria is one of the cheapest and most beautiful countries in Europe. We discovered Bulgaria because it is a digital nomad haven & was out of Schengen zone. (This is no longer the case, as of 2024). We rented a large one bedroom furnished apartment with balcony,  pool, sauna, fast internet, washer, great hiking, walkable to all needs, for 260 euros a month! There are lots of apartments like that available. Bansko is a lot cheaper even than our rental apartments in Southeast Asia and Malaysia! Bulgaria also has some of the best beaches in Europe as well as beautiful mountains and charming cities. The best places & bases in Bulgaria are Sophia, Varna, Burgas and Black Sea areas, Bansko and Plodiv. Bansko is cool, cheap and not crowded in off season and feels like budget Switzerland! The photo above was taken on our walk to the grocery store. We spent the last two summers in Bansko for July and bargain in Europe summer! Plus only a 3 hour drive to Greece. Bulgaria has some of the best food in Europe. 

Bansko is located in the UNESCO world heritage Pirin mountain range and is famous for being fantastic for winter skiing and for the seventh consecutive year topped the list for the cheapest ski resort in Europe and North America! The town is walkable from end to end, there are plenty of great restaurants with food delivery widely available, good grocery stores, endless hiking, mineral spas, mountain biking, horseback riding, river rafting, mountain climbing  are all popular activities. In 2016, a digital nomad called Matthias Zeitler ( from Germany) co-founded Coworking Bansko, which started the trend of making Bansko a digital nomad haven. He started the summer annual Bansko Nomad Fest.This is a wonderful European country that most miss. Bulgaria offers all the charm of more popular European destinations at super low bargain prices! 

2. Albania 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  albania soultravelers3 digital nomads travel albania riviera saranda ksmail corfu
Albania is another gorgeous and super cheap country in Europe. With its awe-inspiring beaches and spectacular  mountain ranges  Albania is not only one of the cheapest European countries, but it’s also a magnificently beautiful one. We were stunned by the beauty of Albania's riviera last September and October, especially Ksamil. This photo shows Ksamil which is by far the most beautiful beach we have ever seen in Europe. And we have seen tons of gorgeous beaches in Europe. Surprisingly, it looked more like Bora Bora, Tahiti or Bali with it's white sand, clear azure sea and mountains. Nearby Saranda was our base and also beautiful with a wonderful walkable, long beach promenade. Saranda is only a half hour ferry ride from Corfu, Greece or a bit longer to Italy. Corfu is a fantastic day trip, but, prices are so much cheaper to base in Albania. We booked a large apartment with sea views, 2 terraces, near the beach with 4 beds in Saranda for about 845 euros total for almost 2 months in the fall. I  will be writing more about this European well kept secret paradise that makes Thailand look expensive!

We also discovered Albania as a digital nomad Schengen shuffle country. We like it so much, that we are returning to Albania this summer! U.S. citizens may stay up to one year in Albania without applying for a residency permit. Best areas to visit in Albania are the capital and largest city of Albania, Tirana, the gorgeous Albanian alps like Theth, beach Ionian Sea areas like Ksamil and Saranda, Unesco Berat, Shkodër & Lake Shkoder, Vlore, Gjirokastër and near the iconic Lake Ohrid. It is truly shocking that an undiscovered beach paradise could be found in Europe today, much less that it would be so cheap! We have not tried exploring Albania by van yet, but I read and hear that one can free camp all along the gorgeous Albania riviera. If you like to avoid crowds, I would skip this beach area in high season July or August, but it is perfect in fall or spring. Even the winters are mild, but too cold for me. 

3. Montenegro 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  montenegro most beautiful kotor riviera perast unesco mountains sea spectacular

Montenegro is a spectacularly stunning beautiful country, a cheap Europe destination and one of my favorite counties on this planet. When we first visited it in 2007, I wrote a blog post called "Montenegro ....Who Knew?"  
It was so impressive then and still impressive on our recent visit long stay in fall. I just booked an exquisite apartment in Montenegro for September and October on the beach in a new area. This cheap country  is so special that I have even looked at buying a home or apartment there. Hostels, hotels and apartments are cheap to rent in spring, fall and winter. We splurged on a luxurious, new,  very large home with killer sea views of Kotor riviera for about 400 dollars for ten days one recent October. 

Kotor Riviera is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Cruise ships have ruined it a bit, in the old town, so be careful to avoid those crowds, especially in summer. The weather is still like summer in the early fall and late spring , but without the crowds or higher prices. Even the locals tend to take off in summer. But this is typical of most beautiful places in Europe since everyone and Europe takes their long summer vacations in July and August. This is when most tourism sites and beaches make their money. Some tourists do a one day road trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia to visit or a fast stop on a cruise. My advice is explore Montenegro deeper and stay as long as you can. My lead photo for this blog post is also in Montenegro and it is the private island of Sveti Stefan on the Budva Riviera. It is a famous resort visited by many celebrities, including Orson Welles, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Princess Margaret, Carlo Point, and more. So much beauty and available to all of us at bargain prices!

4. Croatia 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  croatia dubrovik view soultravelers3 couples travel family trip

Croatia is another mind boggling beautiful and extraordinary country with budget bargains galore! We were blown away when we first visited Croatia by camper van in 2007. George Bernard Shaw said Dubrovnik was “paradise on earth” and after twenty five days budget camping there one August in 2007, we must concur, as we fell in love with this most beautiful and romantic “pearl of the Adriatic”.It becomes clear almost immediately why UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. We did a slow travel road trip all over Croatia 
by rental car in fall 2022 ( and it's neighbor Montenegro) & still love it. Endless spectacular places to visit besides Dubrovnik, like Split, Zadar, Rovinj, Zagreb wineries, Korchula, Istria, Havar,  Bibinje, Krka National Park & Plitvice Lakes National Park to name a few. 

 You can find cheap budget lodging in Croatia. We found bargains in high season summer, but shoulder season bargains are easier. Croatia is the most popular beautiful budget European travel destination in the Balkans. We loved luxury budget van camping Croatia in our vintage camping van on a budget in high season summer. We also loved staying at this bargain budget airbnb in Dubrovnik for just 33 dollars a night and just paid $23 dollars a night for an airbnb apartment in Split. They are saying Montenegro is the new Croatia and Albania is the new Montenegro. In my opinion, everyone should do deep dives in all 3 of these countries! They may not be as slick as some western European countries, but they make up for it with extraordinary beauty and low prices. 

5. Cyprus

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  larnaca cyprus beaches budget

Cyprus is another fairly recent discovery for us because of our Schengen Shuffle long stay years of traveling Europe cheaply.  It has some of the warmest winters in Europe, so that interested me. Cyprus is a very popular holiday/vacation destination, with 300 days of sunshine, but primarily in summer and winter is "off season" although temps are usually in the seventies and it is a mostly sunny beach location. So for cheapest costs, you  will do best by traveling there in the off season.There is no heating or insulation inside the homes in Cyprus, so be aware that nights can be cold in January and February inside, so make sure you have heat. Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Troodos Mountains and Nicosia are all great places to stay on a budget. 

I loved being able to walk every day on the beach in Larnaca. The European Environment Agency’s ranks Cyprus first among the European Union’s 27 nations for having the cleanest swimming waters. Cyprus is Europe's sunniest island, set in the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey. The winters are similar to Spain and California, so mostly short, sweet and early spring & warmer temperatures arrive in March. All 3 are near beaches yet also have mountains for snow skiing if one likes that. We stuck to the beaches in Cyprus, but great to know one can do both in the winter. We stayed in an airbnb large, furnished home with 2 bedrooms and huge terrace for 3 nights in January for 100 dollars total. We stayed in a beautiful, new one bedroom airbnb apartment in Larnaca that was a 5 minute walk to the beach, for $640 per month from January through April. Larnaca is a small town so all of it is very walkable.The early-10th-century Greek Orthodox cathedral of St. Lazarus is a lovely, magnificent stone church and incredible example of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus.

6. Poland 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  krakow poland horse carriage old town

There are lots of cheap European countries to visit, but Poland is a surprisingly delightful & affordable destination for travelers, digital nomads and expats. Krakow, Warsaw, Lodz, Katowice, Lublin, Gdansk, Tatra National Park are the top places to visit.  Krakow or Cracow in Poland is a UNESCO World Heritage site, fairy-tale ancient city and a popular, cheap city break holiday destination for many Europeans. Sadly, most Americans miss this gem which is the prettiest city in Poland as it is the only one that escaped WWII bombings. All costs are very low to moderate and will vary depending on the city, with major cities having higher rental prices compared to smaller towns.

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  poland krakow beauty travel cheap  budget low cost

We loved our  visit to Krakow  when we first visited in 2009 & our recent Krakow visit in 2023! It's enchanting, fairytale-like, rich in history and with a thriving arts community. It's atmospheric Old Town and it's famous Jewish District, Kazimierz, as well as it's close proximity to Auschwitz, makes it well worth a visit. Krakow is a world-renowned college town, so crammed with creativity, flavor and life. Author Wihelm Feldman wrote at the turn of the century that to find the soul of Poland, you must seek it in Krakow and that remains true today. Don't miss their  to-die-for delicious dumpling festival complete with colorful native costumes and traditional music! We were very pleased staying at a charming B&B that we found online called The Tango House,  that has old world charm, but with stylish modern rooms and a fantastic location right off the main square ( the Rynek Glowny, biggest square in Europe). It also had excellent wifi in your room, and a very good breakfast included. Depending on your Poland location and time of visit hotels run about $25 - 45  a night and hostels less at $15- 25 a night.

7. Greece 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  greece corfu islands holiday paradise budget trip

Like many of these beautiful, cheap European countries, Greece is in the Balkans. But unlike most,  it is also a Schengen country, so low budget more like Spain, Portugal and Italy. We love Greece and have done many long stay trips there in Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, Crete, Mykonos, Olympia, Mycenae, Peloponnese, Delphi,Samos, Lindos, Palace of Knossos, Chania. This past summer and fall we visited  Meteora, Thessaloniki and Corfu. We pioneered world schooling our child for a decade and she loved Greek history and Mythology, thus our extended stays in Greece. We saved a lot of money traveling Greece cheaply as a family by using our vintage van. Or a combination as sometimes we left the van like in Santorini and used ferries and other housing. 

We spent over a month on beautiful Santorini in Greece and had it all to ourselves in June. It's unique and breathtaking geological position on a volcano plus 4000 year old history along with it's stunning beauty makes it a "must see" on everyone's list. We loved Santorini camping which has everything you need including bungalows for those without a tent or RV, plus a great pool, good internet pool side, fab restaurant and lovely people! June or September are great months for Santorini but do NOT go in July and August. 

This past Sept we drove ( with a driver) 3 hours from Bansko, Bulgaria to Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki and then paid 92 dollars total for 4 days in a quiet airbnb there ( Sept 1-4). We also visited Meteora as a day trip and then flew to Corfu and ferried then onto the Albanian riviera. Our itinerary was a perfect example on how to cut costs but enjoy luxury travel. 

8. Czech Republic 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  prague at night soultravelers3 budget travel czech republic

The Czech Republic is one of the cheaper countries in Western Europe and it is beautiful. It has a large, thriving digital nomad and expat community. Low costs and beauty attracts. Prague is spectacular and even prettier than everyone says. Most agree that it ranks high in the ranking of the most beautiful cities in Europe. No crowds in October, so always know that when you go is key,  as that affects prices. Prague of course will be more expensive than other places in this country, but it is still much cheaper than London or Paris etc. Prague, Český Krumlov, Brno, Pilsen,  & Moravian Karst are the most popular spots. When we first traveled to Prague in 2007, we saved a lot of money by camping in our vintage van. 

The campgrounds in Prague are different than we have seen anywhere else. We picked one amongst many in a northern suburb just ten kilometers from the center of Prague on an easy bus and tram route. What was strange is they were in peoples backyards of quite nice suburban homes. They have parking space for about five or six small RV’s an even a couple really tiny “zimmers” or rooms to let for those without a tent or RV. It was all very neat and well cared for and the showers, bathrooms and dishwashing sinks (known as sanitary facilities in European camper-speak) looked new. We stayed at one on a street filled with house after house with camping in the backyard and the family was very nice and helpful. They even did laundry for you for a low cost so we took advantage of that. It was late in the season, so there were only two or three RV's during our stay. I have forgotten the name, but it is the one next to autocamp Trojska ( which is the one we had planned to go to, but it was closed for some reason. Another advantage for kids is it is only two bus stops away from the Prague Zoo.

Don't miss this amazing Mozart puppet show for all ages.! It is a "must see" if you go to Prague. 

Also, don't miss the  lovely, cheaper, authentic Cesky Krumluv, one of the prettiest towns in the Czech Republic (and another Unesco World Heritage Site), It is very close to the Austrian border and we especially loved it and Prague. Today hotels run about $30-50 per night and hostels for less of course. You will save money also if you stay longer and get the monthly rates on airbnb apartments. 

9. Portugal 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  sintra portugal pena palace instargram star budget travel

Portugal is a diverse, beautiful and popular country that can also be very cheap if you know when and where to go. We first traveled all over Portugal in 2008 and fell in love with it. We also just did a winter road trip by car from Barcelona to the Algarve, Sintra and Lisbon, very cheaply. We've been to Lisbon, Algarve, Sintra, Obidos, Porto, Vianado Castela, Douro Valley, Vigo, Nazare, Alcobaca. Cabo de Roca, Evora, Cabo De Sao Vicente, Salema,Olhao, Portimao, Lagos and more. We did them all cheaply. The prices of course will vary depending on when you go and where you go. Camping in Spain & Portugal Algarve can be both low budget and the luxurious way to vacation in Europe. Countless Europeans do this every winter in campsites or various cheap lodging options. You can save a lot on lodging this way, although trains are also very cheap in Portugal. 

We spent 221 dollars for a cute budget lodging in the Algarve near beaches & Portimao recently for 12 days dec 26 through Jan 6th. We stayed in a beautiful sailboat in Lisbon for 35 dollars for a night. We've paid 8 euros  a night for a great place with our camper van. A rental bungalow there costs about 18 dollars a night in winter now, but they book up fast.  We've been to Portugala few times, so know the best secrets. We've visited Lisbon in several  seasons, including this warm winter. Like most places in Europe, especially beach areas, avoid in July and August when prices are at their highest. 

10. Slovenia

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  slovenia lake bled cheap budget low cost beauty Ljubljana

Another cheap European country gem is Slovenia!  Like most Americans, we knew little about Ljubljana or Slovenia, other than it was part of the former Yugoslavia like Croatia and Montenegro. It gained its independence in 1991 and is very popular with European tourists. Slovenia is richer than most central European nations and uses the euro. It is called the greenest country in Europe with lovely countryside and the Julian Alps (named after Julius Caesar). Ljubljana is a pretty small city and the largest in Slovenia. Some call it a mini Prague and it has lovely pedestrian bridges, willow-lined streets, imperial Austrian and Slavic architecture. We stayed cheaply with bargain fall rates  at Camping Jezica in a northern suburb because it has easy access by bus to the Old Town. Both Ljubljana and Lake Bled are must sees and Piran, Koper and Maribor are bargains too. Camping is cheapest and hotels run about 40- 60 dollars a night and hostels much cheaper. 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  slovenia dragon lake bled Ljubljana cheap

Lake Bled is in Slovenia near the Austrian border, just 45 km northwest of Ljubljana, so it is an easy drive. Lake Bled  has special charms including its magical island with a church in the center and castle looking down from a nearby hill. It is a popular tourist spot in summer, but was not busy in late September, despite the good weather and beautiful harvest colors, much to our delight. Picturesque and peaceful,Lake Bled is a delight in the fall with bargain prices. Don't miss it!


11. Spain

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  spain white villages sea mountains beautiy budget

Spain is an extraordinary beautiful country and our favorite travel destination. We've been traveling all over Spain since 2006, living luxuriously on a tiny budget. Spain is a country known widely for it's sunny beaches and amazing museums, but that's not all. Spain has so many beautiful white villages and so much history! Exotic Andalusia Spain's famous Costa del Sol with it's rich history, ancient ruins, fascinating culture and traditions is a perfect European vacation spot for the whole family, including kids. As I told the Frugal Traveler in the New York Times, "Spain is great for families". Over 60 million people visit this area every year and many, like us, are return visitors. It has the best winter weather in Europe and is over hundred miles long, filled with sandy beaches, rolling hills and  majestic mountains. We spent many warm winters in Spain & every season. Our daughter immersed in Spanish in Spain.There are many ways to explore Spain on a budget & we know the best secrets and tips. Van life, car road trips, trains, airbnb or bungalows can all be done smartly on a low budget. There are endless places to do budget travel is Spain. We have been to Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Marbella, Galica, Bilbao, Costa Brava, San Sebastian, Santiago de Compostela, Austrias, Santillana Del Mar, Jerez, Granada, Valencia, Sitges, Cordoba and more,  all on a tiny budget. 

 Barcelona is one of our favorite places in Europe. We have been visiting this Barcelona  luxury camping resort since 2006. I wrote about how to winter in Spain in our popular classic post "How to do Extended Travel & Mini-retirements" that is filled with links. I think Andalusia in the small villages, is the perfect combination of exotic and modern with wonderfully accepting people and fascinating culture with a rich history. We also have spent many years visiting Barcelona area on a budget. We store our vintage van there when we travel other methods. 
We have become accidental trail blazers in extended family travel with tons of varied experiences in digital nomad  living (and roadschooling) on our open ended world tour since 2006, so grateful we could help others, since 70% of families dream about extended travel.

At our luxurious Barcelona beach resort, we pay 17€ a night in our vintage van and  43€ a night, 294€ for a week, 756€ for a month to stay in a 3 bedroom bungalow. ( Not in July and August when prices sky rocket). We cook our own food mostly & buy in local farmers markets and stores like Spaniards On our recent winter road trip we stayed in budget bungalows, hostal  and hotels for under 38€ a night but would pay much less for a long stay. 

12. Turkey

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  turkey cappadocia istanbul budget beauty hospitality

Turkey straddles Europe and Asia and is another beautiful cheap European destination for budget travelers and digital nomads. Istanbul is a very beautiful city somewhat similar to San Francisco or Barcelona at first glance since it is a sunshiny busy port. It is a huge, sprawling city of fourteen million people. Home to three mighty empires in the past, I was surprised to find it to be such a familiar and inviting modern European city. Some how the name Istanbul conjures up exotic imagery, and that is there if one hunts it down, but it was more like Rome or Paris than the Moroccan cities we visited.Turkey offers so much on a low budget, from Mediterranean coastal towns to rural areas to city living. We have visited most of Turkey and highly recommend Istanbul, Fethiye and the Turquoise Coast, Cappadocia, Antalya, Ankara, Bodrum, Izmir, Pamukkale and more. 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  turkey istanbul riviera budget cheap good food hospitality

Fethiye is considered the crown jewel of the Turquoise Coast and the cliff-side, rock cut Lycian tombs and grand sarcophagi are awe inspiring.  Fethiye on Turkey’s Riviera is a European-like atmosphere popular with digital nomads. We found it to be more like Spain, France or Greece, yet it has its own special flavor and beauty. Again, also in Turkey,  you will find your cheapest prices in smaller cities, off peak season summer,  camping or long stay apartments or hostels. Food costs are low.  In Istanbul the cost of a one bedroom apartment with utilities is $225 per month. Hotels run from $10 per person in a 2 star hotel in Turkey to  $40-$45 for 4 star high end hotels. Hostels are cheaper of course. Turkey has the best hospitality we have ever encountered. 


13. Hungary 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  hungary budget beauty spas

Hungary is another amazing one of our cheapest countries in Europe to travel to! Budapest is the capital of Hungary and many call it the "Paris of the East". Budapest, the "city of baths", is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. We were charmed by this world class city at first glance in 2010. The beautiful Danube River  divides Buda and Pest. Family  travel is about exploring exotic places together.  For us, Budapest seemed like an exotic place, but we found it to be a world class city and very charming. The drive from Vienna was pleasant and on excellent roads. We went by van & saved money that way. This is a photo of the Hungarian Parliament Building,  one of the most famous buildings in Budapest. It is the 3rd largest Parliament building in the world. Budapest is a popular, bargain city for tourists and digital nomads. 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  budapest hungary cheap budget paris of the east

We so loved the friends that we met in Denver and his parents were from Hungary so that experience, discussion about their travels in Hungary and sharing a traditional Hungarian meal with them added to our excitement. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment will vary between 400 and 700 dollars per month. Campsites are cheap and convenient if you do van life or rent a car. Budapest is most popular but also visit Eger, Pecs and Sopron. Late fall is often very cold and rainy so be aware of that. 

14. North Macedonia 

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit! ohrid lake beauty budget fish ancient

Don't miss North Macedonia as it is one of Europes cheapest countries and a beautiful hidden marvel! North Macedonia is famous for it's  Unesco Lake Ohrid area, budget prices, mountains and idyllic villages. Lake Ohrid is on the North Macedonia–Albania border in the Balkans and southeastern Europe. We will be writing more about it soon as we are renting an apartment on this famous lake this summer. It is a wonderful spot for sightseeing, nature and relaxing and not too hot. We have rented a lovely, large, new apartment steps from the Lake and near a National park for 640 dollars a month ( on the Albanian side). Hotels run about  25 to 40 dollars a night and hostels much cheaper. 

  Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest fresh water lakes in Europe. The hoards of tourists have not discovered this area yet, but they will. I already hear a lot of raves from digital nomads and full time travelers.  The best places to visit in this area are Lake Ohrid & Ohrid, the capital Skopje, Pelister National Park, Bitola & Tikves Lake. 

15. Italy

15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  italy cheap budget trip  beauty low cost

Are you surprised to see Italy in  our list of cheapest beautiful  countries in Europe? If you skip the tourism hot spots in Italy, Portugal and Spain, you can see them on a low budget! Travel to Italy does not have to  be expensive if you are smart. We’ve visited Rome & Italy many times ( I lived in Italy in my early twenties when I modeled with Ford Models), so know the budget tricks. Big cities tend to be intense with crowds, tourists & traffic, so we tend to like to stay in more relaxed areas (cheaper too) & go into the city ( like Rome) for the day as day trips and most of Europe makes that easy with great mass transit. We have loved visiting  Milano, Florence, Venice, Verona, the Italian Riviera like Portofino, Cinque Terra, Capri, Pompeii, Umbria, Tuscany, Pisa, Bari, and more on a low budget! There are tons of cheap places to visit in Italy. When, where and how you travel counts a lot. We've done both camping van travel in Europe very cheaply as a family as well as using airbnb apartments. Hostels are another cheap lodging option. 

We love slow travel in our vintage van  & amazing  Italy camping travel , but this last time we did a short airbnb stay between our 3 month "Schengen shuffle" winter beach stay in Cyprus & back to our vintage van digital nomad long stay near Barcelona where we are house hunting. Did you know that you can stay at the nearby beach with a sea view while visiting Rome? We've even taken the fun  Barcelona-Rome Cruise Ferry a few times with our vintage van! We love Italy & have done a lot of travel around Italy over the years, but we didn’t know that great beach was there in Rome! It is part of the Metropolitan City of Rome & a coastal suburb near the airport in Fiumicino. We paid less than one hundred dollars per night and really enjoyed our stay, so can recommend this place and area!


15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit!  beauty beach beachlife europe low cost cheap

Budget travel and living large in Europe  on little is a lot easier than most realize. Much depends on your personal taste, travel style,  how much time you have and when you come. We love Europe, beauty, luxury and doing it on a tiny budget. Let me know your fave places in the comments and why you love it. 

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Holly Giordani

Oh I love a good budget guide! I had no idea Greece and North Macedonia would be on this list, so helpful as we’re planning our next Europe trip! Thanks!

jeanne dee

Aw, thanks Holly!! So happy to enlighten you on a few budget tips! Greece is always wonderful and Lake Ohrid area is perhaps the least visited place on this list, but very special I hear. I can not wait to explore this area this summer! So I will be writing more on the topic! Enjoy your Europe trip planning!! Btw I am a Michgander too! :)


LAst Summer we went to Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Greece and loved all 4 of them. Two countries were new to us, and certainly Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia were countries that were 'cheap' to us.

jeanne dee

Thanks Cosette!! It is great to see more western Europeans exploring these countries more. The fact that you found 3 of these countries "cheap" in high season says it all. :) We hope more Americans wake up to the value in these countries and how to travel cheaper. We never see Americans unless we are in major European cities like Rome or Paris or London. We never see them in campsites any where in Europe either ( even in Spain or France or Portugal or Italy). So many bargains missed. :) We're looking forward to more slow, deeper explorations this year in Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia.


Such a great list! Headed to Italy & Spain late summer this year - my bank account is glad they are on this list!

jeanne dee

Thanks bunches Amanda! Those are 2 of my fave countries! I am sure you will love Italy and Spain and yes, one can find great budget deals there as well. Even in summer there are ways to avoid the crowds and higher costs.


The Balkans is such a stunning region and great options for this list. Id love to see more of Italy - great tips!


I remember camping at lake como but these days are gone. There are many affordable places in Europe but surprised to see Italy on the list. We went last summer (Umbria) in pretty non touristy places and it wasn’t cheap. Guess it depends on where you’re coming from too as certain currencies will get you far!

jeanne dee

Thanks Cass and I so agree that the Balkans are special! So much beauty at low cost! We can't wait to explore more there this summer. Italy has always been one of my favorite places since I lived there in my twenties!

jeanne dee

That is so funny Marga because when I first went to Lake Como I stayed at the divine, luxurious villa d'este with a beau, thus endless happy memories! I lived in Italy in my early twenties, but we also explored all over Italy in our vintage van and looooved it. More happy memories & just different types of sublime. :) Even in my 70's I still really adore camping in my vintage camping van and all the amazing luxury campsite resorts in Europe. We do apartment rentals and hotels too, but lux camping is my fave way to travel europe.

Summer is always more expensive every where in Europe, but one can find some bargains and cheap stays even then in Italy. Likely not much different than Portugal, you can spend a lot or little depending on where you go and when. Even winter in Lisbon was expensive, but we found a cheap place in the Algarve. Both would have cost much more in summer. :)

You are right to currencies make a big difference too and I did like it better when the dollar was stronger than the euro. :) When we traveled the most in Europe as a family sadly, the euro was sky high and dollar super low. We had to get cleaver to stay on budget.

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