How to Tour Europe on a Budget in 2024
Visiting Europe is on every traveler’s wish list. In fact, with so many unique countries packed together, you could explore Europe multiple times and still have endless new opportunities to experience. After all, each destination is filled with distinct backdrops, languages, cultures, food, and so much more. This makes touring Europe a perfect option for seeing the most during a single trip.
And although it sounds like an expensive endeavor, there are ways to travel to and within Europe on a budget. Researching ahead of time, prioritizing your itinerary, being mindful of hidden costs, and taking advantage of expert guidance are just a few of the strategies budget travelers can use to save money while making the most out of a Europe trip. Plus, don’t forget, when you book through our travel experts all of these details are handled for you!
Here’s how to travel through Europe on a budget in 2023, along with three of our favorite European tour travel package offers available now:
Choose the Best Time
For budget-minded travelers, the off-season is likely the best time and cheapest way to visit Europe. You’ll be able to take advantage of lower prices and the best deals for airfare, hotels, and attractions—even more expensive cities. In addition, the tourist crowds will be smaller, and you will have more space to explore during your visit.
If mild temperatures and beautiful weather are a vacation essential, the best time to visit is usually during the spring or fall. This is when you’ll get moderate prices balanced between peak season and off-season. The summer months are not only hot in many top destinations, but it’s also the most crowded. June, July, and August tend to have the highest flight prices.
And the winters can be cold, making outdoor sightseeing more challenging. This means the prices in December, January, and February are the cheapest. Still, despite the weather, we love a good winter European escape because the lack of tourists provides a more genuine experience. The cheaper fares are also a bonus!
Select a Budget-Friendly Area
Europe is a continent full of diverse cultures, delicious cuisines, and incredible historical sites that make it one of the most popular destinations in the world. It can also be a great place to visit on a budget if you know where to go.
The old cities of Prague and Amsterdam are great places to start if you’re looking to explore on a budget. With unique historical architecture and plenty of inexpensive accommodations, these cities offer travelers the perfect mix of culture and affordability.
Eastern European countries like Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary offer budget-friendly experiences as well. Each of these countries has unique natural attractions, historical sites, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.
If you’re looking for a European island escape, the Canary Islands of Spain and Greece can be a perfect way to create an epic trip on a budget. Their stunning sandy beaches, delicious seafood, and wide range of outdoor activities make them great destinations for those looking for a relaxing vacation.
Read More: 8 Days in London and Paris
Enjoy Cheap or Free Attractions
It’s possible to explore your European destinations on a budget thanks to free or inexpensive endeavors. Many cities feature beautiful parks, perfect for a picnic or just taking in the sights. And famous fountains (like the Trevi Fountain in Rome), monuments, and statues are sprinkled around for you to gaze upon.
Also, research before you travel to discover special discounts or even free entry for museums, attractions, and more. For example, teachers and anyone under 26 can visit the Louvre in Paris for free! And multiple top museums in major cities like London and Madrid museums offer free entry.
Once you have your list of free must-sees, you can round out your itinerary with paid activities or events you can’t miss—whether it’s theater tickets or an indulgent dinner.
Eat and Drink Like Locals
Speaking of food, it’s okay to splurge on one or two meals. But there are plenty of ways to save money while experiencing local delicacies. Avoid the overpriced, touristy hotspots, and seek out authentic restaurants favored by the locals. Talk to hotel employees, cab or bus drivers, or anyone you meet about where they go for a good meal.
You can round that out by hitting local markets to stock up on snacks and drinks you can keep in your hotel room. We also highly recommend experiencing your European city’s street food scene. From crepes in France and Belgium fries to German sausage and Greek gyros, it’s the ideal way to taste authentic flavors at ideal prices.
Walk or Use Local Transport
Europe is known for its amazing public transportation, and it's a great way to get around both your local destination and between various cities on your tour. From bus to subway, many cities offer multi-day transit passes for extra savings. And, of course, walking is a perfect way to get from here to there while also showing you more pockets of the place you’re exploring. Some of the best moments can be found unexpectedly when you’re trekking through Europe on foot.
If you’re touring across the country or even between multiple countries, there will likely be multiple options for transportation. Before traveling to Europe, be sure to research all of your transit options to take advantage of the best deals. Not only will this help keep costs low—it'll also ensure that you have an unforgettable journey! Top low-cost travel options include:
- Train - Train travel is incredibly popular in Europe, though its affordability differs from country to country.
- Bus - Traveling by bus is another cheap option for traveling through Europe
- Airplane - Sometimes it's even cheaper to fly between countries than take a train.
Take a Guided Tour
Thailand to Ireland, Vietnam to Rome—our guided tours get you to the world’s iconic destinations and attractions with fast passes, hotels, and transportation all lined up. And local tour guides and pre-planned detailed itineraries create an authentic and immersive cultural experience.
Depending on the length of your stay, the tours offer various vacation options for individuals, couples, and small or large groups. With something for every traveler, pick a destination and start exploring.
Top reasons to choose a Liberty Travel guided tour:
- Offers and sales thanks to our partnerships with top tour companies
- Local tour guides give you detailed insights at each destination
- Enjoy detailed itineraries with free time built-in for personal exploration
- Your tour is crafted for you; including group size, activity level, and interests
Read More: The Advantages of Guided Tours
Tours to Try
Fiestas & Siestas: Southern Spain by Design
How will you celebrate in Spain? Chocolate and churros or cobblestones and culture? High-stepping horses or strolling historic piazzas? Choose your own adventure by taking the complimentary YourChoice Excursions that you love the most during this 9-day celebration in Southern Spain with Globus Tours
- Day 1 – Welcome to Madrid
- Day 2 – Tour the city with your choice of two excursions.
- Day 3 – Browse the streets of Cordoba, continuing to Seville
- Day 4 – Explore Seville during one of three excursions
- Day 5 – Journey to Jerez, plus a Flamenco show
- Day 6 – Discover Jerez during one of three excursions
- Day 7 – Tour Marbella before journeying to Málaga
- Day 8 – Sightseeing tour of Málaga
- Day 9 – Journey home
Best of Croatia and Slovenia
Idyllic islands and the remnants of Venetian riches dot this epic Croatia and Slovenia Trafalgar tour. Travel from Zagreb to Slovenia’s ‘green’ capital, along Croatia’s sparkling Adriatic coastline, stopping in the scenic, lakeside town of Bled during this expansive vacation, taking you through two countries and 11 cities in 11 days.
- Day 1 – Welcome to Croatia
- Day 2 – Sightsee the vibrant and historic medieval town of Zagreb
- Day 3 – Explore the beauty of lakeside Bled in Slovenia
- Day 4 – Onwards to Ljubljana and Opatija
- Day 5 – Enjoy a day in coastal Pula and the fishing port of Rovinj
- Day 6 – Experience stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Day 7 – Admire historic Trogir and journey to Split
- Day 8 – Spend a full day in Split with an optional tour of the Dalmatian Islands
- Day 9 – View the extraordinary walled city of Ston
- Day 10 – Discover Dubrovnik with local favorites and iconic views
- Day 11 – Farewell Dubrovnik and journey home
That's Amore!: Italy By Design
This 7-day Italy journey by Globus Tours inspires La Dolce Vita in every way with dazzling sights, dreamy delights, and delicious bites! How will you fall in love with Italy? Hunting for truffles, digging into the life of St. Francis, or delighting in olive oil? It’s all about doing what you love with the complimentary YourChoice Excursions.
- Day 1 – Arrive in Rome
- Day 2 – Discover Rome’s major landmarks before your choice of excursions
- Day 3 – Explore Narni before journeying to Spoleto
- Day 4 – From truffle hunting to olive oil production, choose from three excursions
- Day 5 – Sightsee through Pienza before traveling to Florence
- Day 6 – Choose from three excursions in Florence
- Day 7 – Journey home
Read More: Best Hidden Gems in Europe
4 Tips Before You Travel
- Prioritize: Prioritizing your European travel itinerary ensures you stay within budget. Consider which locations and experiences are must-see and must-do and which can wait until your next trip.
- Research, research, research: Look up everything from activities to transportation wherever you plan on visiting.
- Plan: Advance preparation gives you a better chance at finding cheaper flight and accommodation prices.
- Watch out for hidden costs: Airline baggage fees and taxes, currency exchange fees, and transportation costs all add up. Be sure to consider all of these costs when budgeting.
Or, you can skip these steps by going straight to your travel consultant! They can do all the research for you while helping you stay within budget. Connect with us to plan your customized trip or book a tour package now!