Daydreaming about a new adventure, but worried about the cost? Trying to budget for your European travels can be pretty stressful. The expenses can add up if you don’t do your research and end up just following the crowds. Here are 5 hot European destinations that you can explore on a budget with a few simple tips. Make good choices!
This fairytale city is a must-see for anybody wanting to get off the beaten trail and have an authentic central-European experience. With delicious traditional food, stunning architecture, and a deep history to delve into, you’ll always wish you had just one more day. Food and drinks in Krakow are downright cheap, so make the most of it and dine like a king. As with most places in Europe the further you wander from the main town square, the lower the bill will be, so enjoy a stroll away from the tourist hotspots to find yourself a meal. Gospoda Koko is a local favourite, where you can get an appetiser, main course, side dish, and a drink for the equivalent of just €7. If you don’t mind the lack of table service, it’s a perfect choice to experience the local specialties – don’t pass up the pierogi!
For those who want to get out and experience the outdoors in a picturesque location without overspending, look no further than Lake Bled in Slovenia. This incredible destination somehow still slides under the radar of most tourists, and features numerous hikes with views of the church, which is set on an island in the middle of the lake. A lot of great spots here are within reach on foot, so keep your wallet in your bag and get hiking! For those who prefer to cycle, you can hire a bike for just €5 and cruise around the edge of the lake. An easy shuttle-ride away is the Vintgar Gorge, an incredible canyon cut through the hills by water flowing from the Julian Alps. With only €4 entry, there’s no reason not to go and marvel at the views and get lost following a few of the trails. 48 hours isn’t even close to long enough in Lake Bled, but you can still fit a lot in.
While not usually known for being a low-cost travel destination, flights to Barcelona can be very affordable if booked at the right time – and once there, it’s easy enough to keep your costs down with a few simple tricks. The sunny city has plenty of free activities, including walking tours, so get your bearings from someone in the know and only pay whatever you think the tour was worth at the end. Make good use of the public transport, which is very reasonably priced if you avoid buying single-use tickets. If you’re going to be staying a few days, you can pick up a T10 ticket which gives you 10 journeys for just €9.95, including the buses, metro, trams and trains. Keep your distance from the tourist traps and journey just a couple of extra stops on the tram to find reasonably priced bars and restaurants. You can also enjoy an expense-free afternoon at one of the numerous sandy beaches? One of the most popular would be the thriving Platja Barcelona, but be prepared for a crowd. If you head for Nova Mar Bella, be prepared for nudity.
The Hungarian capital is known for making travellers’ lives a little bit easier, with money stretching a lot further here than some nearby countries. Particularly notable here are the cheap alcoholic drinks, with some of lowest prices in Europe. Here you can pick up a glass of wine or a bottle of beer for just €1, or if you’re feeling a bit fancy a large cocktail would set you back less than €4 – so for those looking for a party atmosphere, Budapest is the perfect location. The famous ruin bars are well worth a visit; the crumbling remnants of World War II were transformed into thriving party spots, where you can make the most of these affordable drinks and dance the night away.
This beautiful city can be explored easily on a budget. Like Budapest, you’ll find the meals and drinks in Prague are very well priced; Krcma is a local spot in the Old Town, serving authentic Czech dishes for around €7 (and you won’t be disappointed with portion size). You can also make the most of the many street markets, with various foods, knick-knacks and souvenirs on offer. Havel market is exclusively for produce, or for a broader range have a wander around the Prague market. Here you can pick up regional homemade products even cheaper than you would find in the local cafes and restaurant, with an awesome atmosphere to go with it.
You can experience all these epic spots, and loads more, on Busabout’s unique Hop-On Hop-Off network, which is even friendlier on your wallet thanks to the Student Pocket Guide discount. The Hop-on Hop–off network is neither a traditional tour, nor a totally independent trip. It offers travellers the best of both worlds with the flexibility to experience Europe their way, the added support of door-to-door service and the freedom to create a personalized itinerary. Throw in a Busabout Guide and Driver and you’ve got yourself Europe’s best freestyle travel network.
Written by Rachael Kusel