12 Cheap Europe Summer Destinations Worth Visiting

12 Best Affordable Summer Destinations in Europe

Save on your Europe trip this season!

Visiting Europe in summer could often be a nightmare. Prices of flights, hotels, and tours skyrocket, and crowds overwhelm popular tourist spots. Thankfully, there are some lesser-known gems in the continent where you can travel on a budget during this time of the year. Read on to discover cheap Europe summer destinations that will help you stretch every dollar (or euro, in this case) on your dream vacay! 

Also read: 10 Tips for Getting Cheap Flights in the Summer

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Places to visit in Europe in summer for those on a budget

1. Porto – Portugal

cheap europe summer destinations

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Porto is a laid-back coastal city in northwestern Portugal best known for producing port wine — which is just one of its many charms. Turn back the clock and take a stroll through the UNESCO-listed Ribeira District, which sits along the serene Douro River. The district’s quaint cobblestone streets and winding alleyways will make you feel like a fairytale character. 

Here, you can cross the 300-metre-long Ponte D. San. Luis, a wrought iron bridge that was once the longest of its kind. You can also take the Elebador de Ribeira to enjoy panoramic views of the city. A ride on this public elevator costs just €2.5. 

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Free attractions in Porto include the Chapel of Souls, the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, and Porto Cathedral. The first is an exquisite church covered in blue and white ceramic tiles called azulejo. The tiles here depict stories of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. 

Meanwhile, the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is a 19th-century landscape garden with incredible river views and shady avenues lined with cypress trees. Lastly, come to Porto Cathedral to see a shining example of 12th-century Romanesque architecture. Inside, there are baroque azulejo murals depicting the life of the Virgin Mary and scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis

Estimated daily expenses: €120–130

2. Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a hidden gem among cheap Europe summer destinations. Here, you can tour the Ottoman-era bazaar area of Bascarsija

Its top landmark is Sebilj Fountain, a wooden fountain built by Mehmed Pasha Kukavica in 1753. It is said that whoever drinks from this fountain will return to Sarajevo someday. 

cheap europe summer destinations

Sebilj Fountain (left); Gazi-Husrev-beg Mosque Clock Tower (right) | Image credit (L-R): Jennifer Boyer; Bernard Gagnon

There is also the Clock Tower next to the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, which is set to the lunar calendar. When the clock hands hit 12 o’clock, the mosque’s minaret delivers the call to prayer and the tower bell rings at the same time. 

Outside Bascarsija, there are other fascinating sites to see. The city’s Latin Bridge is where Archduke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated in 1914. His assassination was the trigger for World War I, a conflict that changed the course of history. You can also visit the Sarajevo War Tunnel, dug to transport goods and people during the siege of Sarajevo. Today, the tunnel is a museum documenting the Yugoslav War. 

Estimated daily expenses: €60–70 

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3. Gdansk – Poland

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Gdansk is one of the best cheap Europe summer destinations for history lovers. The city bounced back and forth between German and Polish control for centuries. Under German rule, it was named Danzig. In 1938, Hitler demanded that the city be handed over to Germany and Poland’s refusal was used as a pretext for the invasion in 1939. 

Visitors can learn more about the city’s past at the Museum of Gdansk which has several branches around the city. The Museum of Amber documents the city’s history as a centre of the amber trade, and the Museum of the Polish Post Office is one of the spots where WWII broke out in 1939. The museum’s exhibits honour the workers who defended the post office during the invasion. 

Apart from visiting museums, you can take a walk down the colourful main street of the city, Dlugi Targ and snap photos of its iconic Neptune Fountain. Dlugi Targ began as a merchant road in the 13th century and has many restored historic buildings. As for its iconic Neptune Fountain, here’s why it’s named as such: According to myth, goldwasser (Gdansk liquor) once gushed out of the fountain and the sea god Neptune was besieged by locals eager for free liquor.  

Estimated daily expenses: €50–60 

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Scams and Theft in Europe

4. Costa de Sol – Spain

Did you know that entrance is free for most beaches in Spain? This makes the region of Costa de Sol one of the best summer destinations in Europe. This sun-soaked stretch of paradise in Andalucia offers powdery sands, dramatic coastlines, and plenty of water sports options from jet skiing to kayaking. 

Burriana Beach is one of the region’s finest, surrounded by sheer cliffs and boasting 800 metres of soft beige sand. There are plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops here, including Restaurant Ayo: a joint famous for its wood-fired paellas that cost only 6 for a large plate. 

cheap europe summer destinations

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Within Costa de Sol, you can see the city of Malaga, one of the best cheap Europe summer destinations. The city is not as touristy as Madrid or Barcelona, and has lower prices as a result. There, you can see the magnificent Alcazaba Palace for just 3.50 and a third-century Roman theatre for free. 

Estimated daily expenses: €170–180

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5. Malta

cheap europe summer destinations

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Malta, a small island country in the Mediterranean, is one of the best cheap summer destinations in Europe. Rooms here usually cost under 138 a night and there are plenty of free things to do as well. 

cheap europe summer destinations

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The beaches, cliffs, and sea caves are free to enjoy. Famous sights along Malta’s coast include the Blue Grotto, Azure Window, and Xlendi Cliffs. There is also the beautiful Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offer panoramic views of the capital Valetta’s harbour. The Knights of the Italian Langue of Saint John used these gardens for recreation. The gardens also hold memorials of important figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Thomas Maitland, and Gerald Strickland, a former prime minister of Malta. 

Estimated daily expenses: €180–190

Also read: 22 Countries With Digital Nomad Visas for Long-Term Workcations

6. Faro – Portugal

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One of the most overlooked cheap summer destinations to visit in Europe is Faro, a resort town in southern Portugal. The city is the gateway to Ria Formosa Natural Park, where you can hike to saltwater lagoons and spot migratory birds. You can see flamingoes in the park, along with turtles, foxes, and badgers. Entrance to go hiking in the park is free, but a boat tour will cost between 24 and €34.  

cheap europe summer destinations

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After exploring the park, head to Faro’s beaches to soak in aquamarine waters and white sands. During summer, you should still be able to find secluded spots on offshore islands such as Culatra Island and the Deserted Island. The main beach in the city, Faro Beach, may get crowded in the high season. So, if this is part of your itinerary, you might want to visit during the shoulder period at the start and/or end of summer. 

Estimated daily expenses: €150–160

7. Ljubljana – Slovenia

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Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital and a fairytale destination you can enjoy on a budget. Surrounded by mountains and situated along the Ljubljanica river, it provides breathtaking natural beauty. The city was named Europe’s Green Capital due to its green areas which cover 75% of the land. You won’t find gridlocked traffic here as the city centre is pedestrian-friendly.  

History and art lovers will feel at home in this culturally rich city. The National Gallery of Slovenia is a must-go for any art fan. The regular ticket price is only 8 and for that amount, you get access to a vast collection of works from the 13th century to the present day. 

To learn about Ljubllana’s past as the Roman city of Emona, drop by the City Museum. This museum holds remnants of a Roman road and documents the history of the city from prehistoric times. 

Estimated daily expenses: €80–90 

8. Puglia – Italy

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Known as the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is one of the cheap Europe summer destinations that deserve more love. The region is famous for its olive oil production, producing 40% of Italy’s olive oil and 12% of the world’s. Tour the countryside and bask in the sight of olive trees dotting sun-dappled hills. Venture down south to see unspoiled, award-winning beaches fronting the Ionian Sea. One of these beaches, Marina di Pescoluse is especially beautiful, to the point of being dubbed “the Maldives of Italy.” 

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Apart from its natural beauty, the region is rich in cultural heritage. Located in central Puglia, Alberobello is a small town famed for its many trulli: whimsical huts with conical-shaped roofs. The trulli of Alberobello have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and date back to the 15th century. You may book a stay in some of these lovely huts on Airbnb for a truly memorable vacation.

Estimated daily expenses: 70–80

Also read: 8 Hidden Beaches in Italy That Only Locals Know About

9. Budva – Montenegro

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Budva is a historic European city and beach destination rolled into one. In this idyllic town on the Adriatic Sea, you can explore the fifth-century medieval old town (Staari Grad), which has many beautifully restored buildings and cobblestone alleys. Stone fortress walls built by the Venetians surround the town. For a small entrance fee of €2, you can enter the fortress walls and enjoy incredible views of the Budva Riviera

cheap europe summer destinations

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Facing the Bay of Budva, the gorgeous Kamenovo Beach is one you shouldn’t miss. During summer, there’s nothing better than laying under the warm sun and wading into the aquamarine waters of the Adriatic Sea. The beach has a free section for travellers on a budget.  

Estimated daily expenses: 90–100

10. Corfu, Greece

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If Santorini in the summer sounds too expensive, try out Corfu for a slice of Greek sun-and-sand paradise. Located a one-hour flight from Athens, Corfu is an island bursting with history and unspoiled beaches. 

cheap europe summer destinations

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You can take a stroll down the Old Town (Kekyra), and visit the Vlacherna Monastery which sits right over the sea. Dating back to the 17th century, the monastery was featured in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only

You’ll have plenty of pristine beaches to choose from here. Head to Glyfada Beach to walk in powdery light brown sand or take your snorkelling gear to Paleokastritsa Beach to marvel at its teeming marine life. There is a beach in Corfu called Canal d’Amour with two rock formations forming a channel. According to legend, every couple that swims through this channel will soon get married. 

Estimated daily expenses: 110–120  

Also read: 7 Tips for Exploring Greece on a Budget

11. Skopje – North Macedonia

cheap europe summer destinations

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Not to be confused with the Greek region, North Macedonia is a republic with an intoxicating blend of Mediterranean, Balkan, and Ottoman cultures. Its capital, Skopje, is among the cheap Europe summer destinations that are ideal for history and culture lovers. 

Image credit: wikipedia

The city was the birthplace of Mother Teresa and holds a memorial museum for Nobel Prize-winning nun. You can learn about the nun’s early life in Macedonia at the Mother Teresa Memorial House

Stroll through a 12th-century Old Bazaar packed with jewellery shops, bakeries, and Turkish cafes. Within the bazaar, you’ll find the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, which has an Ottoman rose garden. 

Estimated daily expenses: 70–80

12. Paphos – Cyprus

cheap europe summer destinations

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Paphos is a coastal town in Cyprus filled with Roman ruins, ancient tombs, and turquoise bays.  At the Paphos Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos, you can see mosaics depicting scenes from Greek mythology and the remains of five Roman villas. If you want to hit the beach, make your way to Coral Bay or Vrysoudia Beach. These beaches in Paphos offer calm, shallow waters ideal for swimming and sparkling sands. 

Estimated daily expenses: €100–110

Also read: 10 Best European Countries That Won’t Break the Bank

Above are our best summer destinations in Europe for travellers on a budget. Other than choosing the right destination, booking hotels and flights in advance is important to stretch your dollar. Do you have any recommendations for a summer vacation in Europe? Share them on our Facebook page today! 

About Author

Joyce Lee
Joyce Lee

Joyce is an aspiring writer who lives on black coffee and Netflix. In her free time, she reads, goes for long walks at sunset, and dreams of faraway places.