Cheapest European countries to visit in 2023 & 2024
While travelling anywhere is something every one of us looks forward to, trips to Europe just hit differently. Perhaps it’s the high effort and lengthy flight over, maybe it’s the complete contrast of “old world” buildings, or it could be the world-famous attractions that we’ve always wanted to see. One thing’s for sure – it’s got a reputation for being expensive.
But that’s not always the case. If you can fork out a cool S$1,000+ on flights, you can travel to some of the cheapest European countries that don’t compromise on unforgettable experiences. We sussed out affordable European cities where you can find comfy hotels well below S$150/night, with plenty of cheap and free attractions as well, with an estimated breakdown of costs you can expect.
Note: Our estimated budget for food is for mid-range spending and dining out. More costs can be saved if you go for cheaper dining options. Flight prices and exchange rates are also accurate at the time of writing.
Table of Contents
- Cheapest European countries to visit in 2023 & 2024
- What is the cheapest month to visit Europe?
- 1. Croatia – Free Game of Thrones filming locations
- 2. Türkiye – Free entry to mosques & bazaars
- 3. Portugal – Dramatic countryside views & cheap Port wine
- 4. Romania – Count Dracula’s castle & winter ski slopes
- 5. Czech Republic – Known for classical concerts & architecture
- 6. Spain – Cheap wine & tapas
- 7. Hungary – Attractions within walking distance
- 8. Slovenia – Treasure trove of outdoor sights
What is the cheapest month to visit Europe?
Dubrovnik Old Town in Croatia.
Image credit: @keziasdf via Instagram
Before we dive into our list of cheapest European countries to visit, we’re going to start with the most obvious hack for the best savings: that is, travelling off-peak.
That said, the cheapest months to visit Europe would be from late fall to winter, around mid-October to late March. Hotel rates and airfares – both of which comprise a bulk of your travel budget – can dip during this time, and you can visit attractions without having to battle as many crowds. Plus, you’ll get cooler weather, too.
Peak season is typically during the Western summer months from late May to the end of August, so you might want to avoid travelling during this time.
1. Croatia – Free Game of Thrones filming locations
Think of the ultimate Mediterranean holiday and Greece will probably come to mind. But despite reasonable airfare, the attractions there are rather pricey to visit. Enter Croatia, which offers just as much – if not more – with cities strewn with historical buildings, and a gorgeous coastline that’ll be the envy of all who’re following your journey on social media.
Stone Gate, a landmark in Zagreb’s Old Town.
Image credit: @travels_by_marlene via Instagram
Let’s start with the capital city of Zagreb, where there are plenty of free attractions such as markets, parks, and pretty neighbourhoods to wander through. A visit to the famous Museum of Broken Relationships costs just €7 (~$10), with most of the city’s main attractions such as the Zagreb City Museum costing below S$10. You can also ride the shortest funicular in the world here for just €0.66 (~S$1).
The island of Hvar in Croatia, which you can access from Split via island-hopping tours that cost about S$80/person.
Image credit: @secret_adriatic_experience via Instagram
You want to factor in more time to head to other cities, though, particularly to the coastal town of Split, where the sparkling blue sea awaits you. The free attractions here such as Diocletian’s Palace, Forest Park Marjan, and Kasjuni Beach will be well worth the trip. Nature lovers can also unwind at Plitvice Lakes National Park, or get a dose of history at Fortress Klis (both €10, S$14.50).
Plitvice Lakes National Park has unreal views of waterfalls, rivers, and cliffs.
Image credit: @littlelokun via Instagram
Game of Thrones fans will want to travel further south to Dubrovnik, where a good chunk of the hit series was filmed amongst the city’s medieval buildings. Plenty of the filming locations, such as St. Dominic Street and Ploče Gate, are accessible to the public for free. For stunning views of the city, you can either hike up Srđ Mountain or take a cable car up from €15 (~S$22).
Image credit: @barokowa via Instagram
Average costs for tourists in Zagreb:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = €0.70
- Flights: From S$1,219 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as Lufthansa, Qatar, and Turkish Airlines.
- Average meal: From $50/day. A serving of brudet – a traditional Croatian fish stew – costs around S$6.
- Transport prices: Car rentals can cost as low as S$7/day. The 5-hour bus ride from Zagreb to Split costs from €17.90 (~S$26), while the 4-hour bus-ride from Split to Dubrovnik costs around €19.99 (~S$29).
2. Türkiye – Free entry to mosques & bazaars
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Image credit: @danielgarrett47 via Instagram
If you’ve walked along Arab Street, you might’ve had a tiny taste of Türkiye, with a handful of shops selling some colourful glass Turkish lamps, bowls, and carpets. Now, turn your gaze to Istanbul and imagine the famous Grand Bazaar lined with a bazillion of these glimmery trinkets, plus small cafes selling freshly brewed pomegranate tea and sweet Turkish delight.
Image credit: @sherinecharvia via Instagram
That’s just the tip of the iceberg; must-sees include iconic and intricately designed mosques such as the Blue Mosque which has free entry for visitors. Meanwhile, paid attractions like the Galata Tower and Dolmabahçe Palace cost about ~S$35 per entry. You can also book a tour of Istanbul’s most famous attractions for ~S$115.
Alternatively, check out this Istanbul welcome card (S$122.40) for access to tours and public transport that’s valid for 7 days.
Image credit: @ionajesstownsley via Instagram
Gorgeous sites also await those who venture outside of the city, too. Over at Cappadocia, visitors flock over to witness – and even ride – hot air balloons that float over the gorgeous rock formations of Devrent Valley. Another city worth visiting is Pamukkale, famous for its stark blue-and-white natural thermal pools. It’s also got gems such as the Cleopatra Antique Pools and Hierapolis ancient theatre.
These natural white limestone formations and thermal pools are known as the Travertines of Pamukkale.
Image credit: @sudhacsingh via Instagram
You can book a 4-day tour from Istanbul to these cities to see all its best gems. Otherwise, you can take short direct flights to both cities from Istanbul, which will set you back about S$100.
Average costs for tourists in Istanbul:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = TRY20.44
- Flights: From S$1,200 – Direct flights available on Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
- Average meal: From ~S$20/day. A yummy kebab or doner costs about S$5.
- Transport prices: From TRY15/person (~S$0.75) for a single-ride ticket. Taxis are rather affordable too. It costs about TRY72.22 (~S$3.53) to travel ~15 minutes from Taksim Square to the Blue Mosque.
3. Portugal – Dramatic countryside views & cheap Port wine
View from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte in Lisbon.
Image credit: @snapwithanl via Instagram
If you’re a fan of dramatic European coastlines, historical buildings, and of course, cheap Port wine, you’ll feel right at home in Portugal. The capital city of Lisbon alone has plenty to offer, whether it’s the liveliness of street performances around the city, or the charm of wandering through the historic neighbourhoods of Alfama.
Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio square faces the harbour.
Image adapted from: @michaelmuller3980 & pavlosji via Instagram
Free attractions are aplenty here, such as the viewing point, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, from which you can see the whole city. Landmarks such as Praça do Comércio and Basilica of Estrella will also give you plenty of content for your camera roll. Access to other attractions like museums and monuments in the city won’t cost you more than S$15.
Want to feel like you’re in an epic movie? Visit Castelo dos Mouros.
Image credit: @jako_irena via Instagram
Not to be missed is also the municipality of Sintra. Outdoorsy folk can go ham on hiking the trails in Sintra National Park, to access stunning views of cliffs, beaches, villages, and the rather dramatic Castelo dos Mouros (€12, ~S$17). Some attractions worth visiting include the Initiation Well that’s part of the Quinta da Regaleira castle (~S$16) grounds.
The Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira.
Image credit: @the.scatty.traveller via Instagram
You can also book a day tour to Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril from Lisbon (S$129) to see villages, castles, medieval streets, and the stunning cliffs of Roca Cape.
Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
Image credit: @konstapic via Instagram
Those who’re feeling adventurous will find it worthwhile to head to Porto, too. The city’s famous for its full-bodied, sweet Port – where bottles cost as low as €5 (~S$7.25). You’ll also find a goldmine of wine tastings (from ~S$30) and vineyard tours (from ~S$135) from local tour operators. Otherwise, stroll along the riverfront to get an eyeful of the city from the Dom Luís I Bridge.
Pro tip: You can get the Lisbon City Card from S$31.85 for unlimited access to public transport from 24-72 hours, which includes free admission to selected attractions. The train ~3-hour ride from Lisbon to Porto costs from S$23 upwards.
Average costs for tourists in Lisbon:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = €0.70
- Flights: From S$999 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates.
- Average meal: ~S$40/day. Portuguese custard tarts cost just ~€1 (~S$1.45) per pop.
- Transport prices: Lisbon is very walkable, and public transport options cost from €1.50 (~S$2.15) per ride.
4. Romania – Count Dracula’s castle & winter ski slopes
Romania isn’t quite the first place Singaporeans would think of when planning a trip to Europe. But what if we told you the “legend” of vampires originated from the Romanian region of Transylvania? Perhaps it’s time to explore the country’s many dramatic medieval castles, monasteries, and stunning natural landscape.
Image credit: @bon_vivant_ripon via Instagram
First up, the capital city of Bucharest has plenty to offer. Explore the free admission Stavropoleos Monastery, or catch a classical music performance (from S$30) at the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall which has been standing since the late 1800s. You can also dive deep into Romania’s past at the “Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum (RON30, ~S$9).
Poiana Brasov ski slopes are part of the Carpathian Mountain range.
Image credit: @poianabrasovro via Instagram
Don’t stay in the city all the way, though. Take a 2.5-hour train to Brasov to visit Bran Castle (~S$16). This castle is said to have been the abode of the Count Dracula. Once you’ve checked that off your list, consider heading up to the ski slopes southwest of Brasov for skiing in the winter, or hiking at Pietrele lui Solomon in the summer.
Image credit: @georgeaxente via Instagram
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, drive all the way up to Merry Cemetery (RON5, ~S$1.45) in the quiet village of Săpânța. It’s got over 700 hand-painted tombstones that’s worth the 9.5-hour journey from Bucharest. Of course, hit up Sibiu town, Cozia National Park, and Cluj Napoca city en route.
Average costs for tourists in Bucharest:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = RON3.42
- Flights: From S$992 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as KLM, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
- Average meal: From $40/day. A hearty traditional sarmale (cabbage rolls) costs about S$9.
- Transport prices: Train tickets from Bucharest to Brasov cost from S$9, 1-way. Car rentals can also be as low as S$11/day.
5. Czech Republic – Known for classical concerts & architecture
The National Theatre.
Image credit: Prague Ticket Office
When a city was once home to legendary classical music composer Mozart, you know it’s going to be oozing with culture. That’s Prague for you. Classical concerts, ballets, operas – the city’s got it all. Prices vary depending on the show and theatre, but watching one at the famous National Theatre will set you back around S$55 and up – pretty worth it if you’re a fan of the genre.
Image credit: @ruthtaljaard via Instagram
That aside, it’s easy to explore the city on foot and admire the classical architecture surrounding you. Head over to the Old Town Square that’s been standing since the 12th century, then take a 10-minute walk over to Charles Bridge, a walking bridge that overlooks the Vltava River.
National Library of the Czech Republic.
Image credit: @p.kattaleeyaz via Instagram
Other affordable must-sees include the National Library of Prague (CZK220, ~S$13), Prague Castle (S$17.60), and Prague Astronomical Clock (S$14.70).
Image credit: @jazzfang via Instagram
Should you want to explore gorgeous cities such as Karlovy Vary, renting a car can be pretty affordable from as low as S$13/day. Fun fact: You needn’t spend a lot on attractions in Karlovy Vary as the city’s colourful and hilly nature makes it a pandora’s box of free photogenic corners.
Average costs for tourists in Prague:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = CZK17
- Flights: From S$1,025 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as British Airways, Finnair, and Swiss
- Average meal: From ~S$20/day. A crispy Koleno pork knuckle costs from CZK200 (~S$11.75).
- Transport prices: Public transport tickets cost from CZK30 (~S$1.80). Cheap car rentals from S$20/day can also be found.
6. Spain – Cheap wine & tapas
We know what you’re thinking: Barcelona isn’t exactly the cheapest city to visit in Spain. But we’re not here to talk about the capital city. We’re here to talk about other cities that are much more affordable but serve up just as much culture and beauty.
Plaza de España in Seville.
Image credit: @costyfoxy via Instagram
Seville, for one, is chock full of free sights to explore. Simply stroll around Plaza de España and Parque de María Luisa for picturesque views everywhere you look. Foodies will also find themselves right at home with the city’s vibrant tapas culture. Head over to Calle Mateos Gago, a street lined with tapas bars. You’re also bound to find plenty of cheap Spanish wine while you’re there.
Parque de María Luisa in Seville.
Image adapted from: @tantodeplanta & mrassmann2 via Instagram
Another city worth visiting is Valencia, a haven for art lovers. Spend hours devouring the artworks at the Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia, or snap plenty of pics at the whimsical Gulliver Park – both of which are free to visit. Besides walking the streets to admire the city’s many landmarks, paid attractions such as The City of Arts and Sciences and the Church of San Nicolás won’t cost you more than S$15.
Aerial view of Gulliver Park in Valencia.
Image credit: @db._.10 via Instagram
While you’re at it, check out these things to do in Catalonia that include countryside tours and adventurous activities like skydiving and theme parks.
Average costs for tourists in Seville & Valencia:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = €0.70
- Flights: From S$1,147 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.
- Average meal: From ~S$40/day. A glass of wine with a free tapas costs around €2 (~S$2.90).
- Transport prices: Both cities are very walkable. Return flights to Seville and Valencia are about S$100 from Barcelona.
7. Hungary – Attractions within walking distance
Image credit: @lyn.x10m via Instagram
Budapest, Hungary is the perfect city to visit if you don’t want to spend too much time on the road or in transit. Most of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance from each other, which means it’s not only convenient, but you’ll also save on transport costs. Best part is, there’s a tonne of free sights and attractions, including Heroes’ Square, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Margaret Island.
Vajdahunyad Castle looks like it stepped right out of a storybook.
Image credit: @tom.parisien via Instagram
Other paid attractions are also easily accessible within the city, with some notable ones costing well below S$10. These include Vajdahunyad Castle, St Stephen’s Basilica, and Matthias Church. If you’re a fan of onsen spas, splurge a little on Széchenyi Thermal Bath (~S$29), though – Hungary’s known for its natural thermal springs where you can soak your troubles away.
Image credit: Queen’s Court Hotel & Residence
It’s also worth noting that accommodation options here are relatively affordable, costing well below the S$150/night mark. We took a quick look at the options available and found Queen’s Court Hotel & Residence (S$127/night) which has a swimming pool that resembles a modern and luxurious Roman bath.
Pro tip: Get the Budapest Card from ~S$48 for unlimited public transport, free and discounted walking tours, admission to attractions, and discounts on spas, shops, and food around town. They have cards that last a duration of 23-120 hours with the prices costing more for longer durations.
Average costs for tourists in Budapest:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = HUF265.39
- Flights: From S$1,100 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as Swiss, Lufthansa & KLM
- Average meal: From ~S$20/day. A good bowl of goulash (meat stew) goes for about S$8-S$14.
- Transport prices: The city is incredibly walkable, but should you wish to take public transport, tickets cost from HUF450 (~S$1.70) for a single-trip ticket.
8. Slovenia – Treasure trove of outdoor sights
Image credit: @chrisd_225 via Instagram
If you’re a nature lover and Slovenia isn’t yet on your list, it’s high time to pay attention. This Central European country is famous for its national parks, caves, and lakes, embellished with castles, fortresses, and manors. That said, go right ahead and spend a day in the capital city of Ljubljana to enjoy free attractions such as the Ljubljana Cathedral and the sights around Dragon Bridge.
Vintgar Gorge with its crystal clear waters.
Image credit: @vintgargorge via Instagram
But, be sure to factor in time for a road trip around the countryside. Up north about a 40-minute drive from the capital is the gorgeous Lake Bled, home to Bled Castle (€15, ~S$22) which sits on a hilltop. Nearby this area is Triglav National Park which is famous for its hiking and walking trails. Must-visits are Vintgar Gorge, the crystal clear Lake Bohinj, and the Savica Waterfall.
Image credit: Park Škocjanske Jame
Those who’re up for an adventure can then head about 1.5 hours southwest of Ljubljana to check out Postojna Cave (from €29.90, ~ and Skocjan Caves (from €16, ~S$23).
Average costs for tourists in Slovenia:
- Exchange rate: S$1 = €0.70
- Flights: From S$1,080 – Connecting flights are available on carriers such as Air France, Lufthansa, and Swiss.
- Average meal: From ~S$20/day. You can find local pork Carniolan sausage for €7.5 (~S$11)
- Transport prices: You can rent a car from as low as S$21/day.
Affordable European countries to visit if you’re on a budget
Germany, Switzerland, France – we love y’all but visiting these countries can get kinda pricey. That doesn’t mean that folks on a slightly tighter budget need to miss out on a Eurotrip of a lifetime. These cheapest countries in Europe aren’t just affordable for travellers, but they’ve got tonnes of gems that’ll give you an equally fulfilling experience.
Cover image adapted from: @lyn.x10m, @littlelokun & @costyfoxy via Instagram
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