These 4 Underrated European Destinations Are Cheapest For Budget Travelers

These 4 Underrated European Destinations Are Cheapest For Budget Travelers

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Here’s one travel truth we refuse to gatekeep: Europe doesn’t have to be expensive. 

There’s so much more to Europe than overdone capitals and pricey hotspots. For budget travelers, the savings are found in the hidden gems – and not just in Eastern Europe, either.

This season, travelers looking to save some coin should skip Barcelona, London, Paris, and Vienna.

Head to these four underrated European destinations instead for a cheaper European holiday:

Woman looking at island in france

El Palmar, Spain

Just 30 miles south of Cádiz along the Andalucían coast lies the underrated and affordable surf capital of El Palmar de Vejer. 

While this beige sandy village doesn’t look like much at first glance, travelers will find it’s so much more than meets the eye. 

Friendly surf camps, fresh seafood, and funky beach bars come at a budget-friendly price tag. 

Surf hostels go for $25-30 per night, while simple hotels and glampsites cost $40-70 per night.

A main dish in a simple local restaurant averages about $10. Tapas go for about $3 a plate, and a glass of wine or beer will cost you only $2.50. 

The Guardian describes the affordable nightlife scene here as “low-key lively,” buzzing with “attractive twentysomethings grooving to Khruangbin.”

wine and tapas on the beach in Andalusia Spain

Extreme budget travelers will love El Palmar’s hitchhiker-friendly roads. While public transport isn’t great in the village, truck drivers and locals are usually happy to pick up travelers on their way to the area’s untouched beaches and kitesurfing hotspots—no pricey rental car needed. 

El Palmar won’t be a well-kept secret much longer, though. Travelers should explore this coastal hidden gem while it’s still affordable and under the radar. 

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Surfers on the beach at el palmar spain

Riga, Latvia

Spectacular Art Nouveau architecture, Baltic beaches, hopping nightlife, and the biggest market in Europe for just $40 per day? Yes, please!

The Latvian capital is a true hidden gem for budget travelers. Visitors will enjoy strolling along the banks of the River Daugava and taking in some scenic history in this walkable capital city. 

Tourists can snap something for the ‘gram in Centrs neighborhood or take a budget-friendly picnic to Kronvalda or Bastejkalns Parks. Most of Riga’s historical and cultural sites are free or cheap (under $7). 

You can find hostel beds for as little as $12 per night, or top-rated social hostels for $25 per night. Nice budget hotels average $45, while more full-service hotels cost about $80. 

riga street view

Nightlife in Riga offers some of the best value (and best times) in the Baltics. 

Local beers start at $2 at the bar, and simple drinks made with local liquor Riga Black Balsam can go for as little as $5. Most clubs are free entry. Beer bikes and pub crawls cost around $36.

According to Hostelworld, travelers love the nightlife here so much that Riga has replaced Prague as the bachelor party capital of Europe.

riga latvia panoramic view

Biarritz, France

What do Coco Chanel and Queen Victoria have in common? Well, besides world-class elegance, they both frequented the beaches of Biarritz back in the day. 

The architecture of this French surf town evokes old money and vintage Hollywood glitterati. These days, La Grande Plage is full of younger generations of visitors soaking up the sun with a bottle of chilled wine or a $10 liter of sangria.

Quite literally everyone in Biarritz, regardless of budget or nationality, gathers on its beaches and cliffs at sunset to send off the sun-soaked day with beach parties.

biarritz france beach town

Like any European beach town, Biarritz’s summer peak season prices can get a little lofty. Still, budget travelers can find dorm rooms in surf hostels for $37 (board rental included) or rooms in simple hotels for $82. Those prices drop by a third in the off-season, so cash-conscious travelers should time their trip accordingly. 

Considering the glamorous European beach holiday you’re getting, this vintage French gem offers top value. 

Restaurant with view of French riviera

Bratislava, Slovakia

The “Little Big City” lives up to its nickname – and then some. 

This underrated quirky Eastern European capital is usually overshadowed by nearby Vienna and Budapest, but deserves to finally get its fair share of the hype. (It’s also a great budget hack to base your trip in Bratislava and take a day trip to Vienna, just an hour away by train).

If you don’t fall in love with Bratislava’s eclectic architecture, you might have the hots for its $1.60 pints. That’s right – Bratislava ranks number one as the city with the “world’s most stupidly cheap beer.”

Accommodation won’t break the bank, either. Hostels start at $10 per night, while budget hotels and apartments go for $55-80. 

bratislava street in europe

Bratislava is also one of the cheapest destinations to get some culture. Front-row opera tickets are less than $45, over $300 cheaper than most European cities. Plus, no need to pay museum admission to take in art; Bratislava’s street art is all around and (obviously) free. 

Plenty of historical and cultural sites are free as well, like the Bratislava castle and Presidential Palace. Others are super affordable, like $11 for a boat trip and admission to Devin Castle. 

Free public film screenings down at Bratislava’s Magio Beach are a crowd-pleaser. Budget travelers also love picnicking on the castle walls to watch the sun go down over the Danube.

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Whether you’re looking for old Hollywood vibes, a laid-back surf town, or a quirky party city, there’s something for every budget traveler in Europe this summer.

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