As you will see below, many of the cheapest countries in Europe are grouped together.
More simply, they are the Eastern European countries.
That’s a pretty complex question that I would really hate to over-simplify, at risk of offending anyone.
But key factors include things like them being ex-Soviet states, experiencing relatively recent war, poor tourism infrastructure, and general under-development.
I won’t go any further as every country is very much unique in its past and its present.
But one thing I do want to point out is that these are all incredible countries to visit!
In fact, they are (almost all) very much up and coming, and are set to be huge tourism destinations in the coming decade or so.
We have been to all the countries listed below (except Ukraine) and have had mostly very positive experiences, and they offer just as much as the more famous and traditionally wealthier (and therefore more expensive) counterparts.
One last thing to point out is that every country in Europe has cheap areas and areas that are more expensive.
So the list is based on how cheap they are in general, and your personal travel style and start location will dictate how expensive your trip is. So do bear that in mind!
Without further ado, let’s get started …
**Please note Ukraine is included on this list. Pre-war it has long been one of the best and cheapest European countries. We're not going to remove Ukraine, but of course this does not mean we endorse visiting at this time of war. As with anything in this guide or elsewhere on the blog, it is up to you to research any destination carefully before visiting.**
Albania is starting to become a popular destination in the Balkans, and all we can say is about time!
With its pristine beaches, epic mountain ranges, and delicious cuisine, Albania is not only one of the cheapest European countries - but it’s also one of the most beautiful.
Sharing borders with Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, it’s well connected so is easy to travel to as well!
Albania is also considered to be one of the sunniest countries in Europe making it perfect for a summer getaway, especially if you’re on a budget.
Most popular attractions/cities: The Albanian Riviera, the Albanian Alps, Durres & Tirana
Although this country may not be a ‘tourist hotspot’ just yet, you’ll find tons of amazing things to do in Albania!
If you're looking to explore the best of this city then why not check out this Tirana walking tour?
From there, you can head out to the coast and explore the beautiful Albanian Riviera! This is where you’ll find the country’s finest beaches.
Other popular coastal areas and towns include Saranda, Vlore, and the Ksamil Islands.
If you’d prefer to explore more of inland Albania, then why not head to the Albanian Alps or the beautiful Lake Ohrid?
Here's some more information on the best things to do in Albania...
Or if you want more inspiration on where to visit in Albania, check out this guide, where we showcase our favourite places to visit based on our very own experiences!
Bordering five other countries, North Macedonia is the perfect country to visit if you’re not bothered about being by the coast.
It’s one of Europe’s hidden gems and is yet to be hit by hordes of tourists, so it’s a fantastic place to travel through.
With idyllic villages, towering mountains, and beautiful lakes - you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty that’s found here.
North Macedonia is perfect for budget travellers too as it’s one of the cheapest European countries out there!
Trust me, you’ll definitely want to add this place to your bucket list.
Most popular attractions/cities: Lake Ohrid & Ohrid, Pelister National Park, Bitola & Skopje
Often the first port of call in North Macedonia is the capital city of Skopje. With an authentic old town, great nightlife, and plenty of culture - this place is a must-visit.
Not only that but North Macedonia is known for its natural beauty, and you’ll find plenty of this within Pelister National Park.
However, I also recommend heading to Tikves Lake, hiking up Mount Ljuboten, and kayaking through Matka Canyon. This full-day sightseeing tour will take you to Matka Canyon and some other awesome destinations from Skopje!
Like its neighbour to the west, Albania; North Macedonia is home to the beautiful Lake Ohrid which is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes!
On the shores of this beautiful lake, you’ll find the town of Ohrid which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you can see there are so many awesome places to visit in North Macedonia, so here's some more information...
Montenegro is probably one of the more popular countries in the Balkans as it borders the tourist hotspot of Croatia.
Although many people visit as a day trip from neighbouring countries, I highly recommend that you spend at least a week or two here!
With its stunning coastline along the Adriatic Sea, beautiful national parks, and historical cities, Montenegro has so much to offer.
As well as Croatia, this beautiful country is bordered by Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Serbia so there are plenty of overland transport options.
Montenegro is also one of the cheapest countries to travel around in Europe so what are you waiting for?
Most popular attractions/cities: Kotor, Budvar, Lovcen National Park & Sveti Stefan
You’ll find tons of fantastic things to do in Montenegro so make sure you allow plenty of time to explore this beautiful country.
Although the capital city of Podgorica is definitely worth a visit, it’s the coastal town of Kotor that often steals the limelight! This old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is over 2,000 years old!
However, the highlight of Montenegro has to be its breathtaking national parks!
This country is also home to a variety of unique attractions including the famous Blue Grotto, Tara Canyon, and the beautiful island of Sveti Stefan.
Although Serbia isn’t often considered as a travel destination, I can 100% recommend this beautiful country!
Not only is it one of the cheapest countries in Europe, but it’s also one of the least-visited so you won’t have to battle against the crowds.
Serbia has an interesting history too and for this reason, you’ll find the culture here to be extremely interesting. Many of the traditional foods even have an ottoman/Mediterranean influence, so as you can imagine - they are very tasty!
The country also has such a diverse landscape with historic cities being dwarfed by towering mountain ranges in the background.
Most popular attractions/cities: Belgrade, Novia Sad, Fruška Gora National Park & Tara National Park
With fantastic cities, spectacular mountain ranges, and beautiful national parks, this country has so much to offer.
The perfect starting point for your Serbia itinerary is the bustling capital city of Belgrade! Here, you’ll get to visit historical buildings, take a dip in the river, and try some delicious cuisine.
This fantastic guided walking tour will show you all that Belgrade has to offer!
During your time in Serbia, you’ll want to prioritise the national parks as they are stunning!
There are a couple to choose from, but the most popular ones are Fruška Gora National Park & Tara National Park!
Here's some more information on the best places to visit in Serbia...
If you’re looking for cheap European countries, then don’t miss out on Bosnia & Herzegovina!
Although the country only gained its independence in 1992 and has a complicated history, Bosnia has so much to offer travellers.
It’s one of Europe’s more off-the-beaten-track destinations, which makes it a great place to explore and find some hidden gems.
Like many other places in Europe, Bosnia & Herzegovina is bordered by several countries; these are Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Because of this, you’ll find it easy to travel to and there are plenty of overland options that will save you money!
Most popular attractions/cities: Sarajevo, Mostar, Kravice Falls & Una National Park
To travel between Sarajevo and Mostar, you can take one of the world’s most beautiful train rides! Tickets start from just $6 and you’ll be treated to epic scenery along the way.
I’d recommend heading to Blagaj too which is a stunning village that’s set on a cliff within the Mostar Basin.
Croatia is easily one of the most popular countries in the Balkans, and it’s not hard to see why!
There are plenty of cheap countries in Europe, but not many can match the beauty of Croatia.
With its pristine beaches, stunning national parks, and endless cities to visit, you’ll want to allow yourself at least a couple of weeks here.
Croatia is an up-and-coming tourist hotspot and because of this, some areas in the country will be more budget-friendly than others.
However, you’ll find some fantastic accommodation deals so you don’t need to worry.
So if you're looking for affordable European countries then don't miss Croatia off your list!
Most popular attractions/cities: Dubrovnik, Split, Krka National Park & Plitvice Lakes National Park
You’ll find a HUGE variety of places to visit in Croatia, but let’s start off with the most popular cities.
With its beautiful location on the coast, its historic city walls, and its iconic Game of Thrones filming locations, Dubrovnik has so much to offer!
Not only that, but Croatia sits along the Adriatic Sea so you’ll find plenty of beautiful islands and beach destinations including Hvar and Brač.
Although Ukraine isn’t often thought of as a holiday destination it’s one of the cheapest countries in Europe.
Offering ridiculously cheap accommodation, delicious food, and diverse landscapes, you’ll find this country to be one of the best holiday options for budget travellers.
Ukraine is an easy destination to travel to as well, as it’s bordered by a wide variety of countries including Hungary, Moldova, Poland, and Romania. This means you won’t have to waste money on expensive flights.
It’s also the second-largest country in Europe so as you can imagine there are plenty of fantastic places to visit.
Most popular attractions/cities: Kyiv, Odesa, Myrhorod & Chernobyl
The perfect starting point for your Ukraine itinerary is the capital city of Kyiv! There are plenty of attractions to visit here, and you’ll get to try some of the local dishes too.
After spending a couple of days in Kyiv, why not head to Odesa? This beautiful port city is located on the shores of the Black Sea and is known for its pristine beaches.
Make sure to visit the relaxing spa town of Myrhorod too which is home to mineral-rich underground springs.
One of the more unique ‘dark tourist’ attractions is Chernobyl, which was the site of the world’s worst ever nuclear disaster.
The disaster occurred in 1986, and although it’s not to everyone’s taste understandably - many people choose to visit this historic site now that the radiation levels are at an all-time low.
Romania is a country close to our hearts as we road-tripped here for around three weeks in our beloved camper.
With stunning castles, bustling cities, and vast underground cave systems, you won’t run out of things to do here.
Romania is also one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe, so you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.
Bordered by Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine, it’s also the perfect location for a cross-country European trip.
So, make sure you add Romania to your bucket list!
Most popular attractions/cities: Bucharest, Brașov, Salina Turda & Bran Castle
You’ll find tons of incredible places to visit in Romania, so for the best experience, I’d recommend allowing at least 2-3 weeks in the country. If you can, hire a car or campervan to offer you the most flexibility.
The first stop for many people is the beautiful city of Bucharest which is the country’s capital. Here, you’ll get to explore the old town, explore museums, and marvel at the world’s largest parliament building.
Although Romania has plenty of incredible cities and towns to visit, you’ll also find lots of other attractions in the country.
One of these is the famous Bran Castle which is often associated with Bram Stoker’s ‘Count Dracula’.
Bulgaria is one of the cheapest Schengen countries and one of the most beautiful!
It can be visited during any time of year, as this country offers a variety of winter sports opportunities and pristine beaches for the ultimate summer getaway.
Bulgaria is actually home to some of the best beaches in Europe as it borders the Black Sea to the west, so is a place you’ll definitely want to visit.
Like with the other countries in this guide, it’s extremely budget-friendly too so is a fantastic choice if you're looking for cheap places to visit in Europe!
Most popular attractions/cities: Sofia, Sunny Beach, Belogradchik & Pirin National Park
As Bulgaria is one of the cheapest European countries to visit in summer, it’s no surprise that it’s become a popular party destination.
With its lively boulevard, cheap deals, and variety of nightclubs, Sunny Beach has gained a great nightlife reputation. This makes it a popular spot for young travellers, especially.
However, if you’re not looking to party the night away - Bulgaria still has plenty to offer.
One of the best places to visit is the capital city of Sofia with its incredible architecture, culture, and endless attractions.
If you’re looking to explore the more natural side of Bulgaria then make sure you head to Belogradchik Fortress. Here, you’ll find unique rock formations unlike anything you’ve ever seen before!
Pirin National Park is also a must for the bucket list, as there are plenty of fantastic hiking trails and wildlife-watching opportunities here.
If you’re looking for the cheapest European countries to travel through then don’t miss out on Hungary!
Situated in central Europe, Hungary is bordered by seven countries including Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine.
Home to beautiful lakes, plenty of world heritage sites, and bustling cities, this beautiful country has so much to offer.
You’ll also find plenty of fantastic things to do in Hungary, and even better - many of these attractions are extremely budget-friendly or FREE!
What more could you need?
Most popular attractions/cities: Budapest, Eger, Lake Balaton & Aggtelek National Park
There’s nowhere better to start your Hungary trip than in its capital, Budapest!
This charming city has tons of attractions to visit including the Hungarian Parliament building, Heroes Square, and the Central Market Hall. However, one of the best ways to experience Budapest has to be hopping on this 1-hour sightseeing cruise!
I’d also recommend heading to Eger which is famous for its medieval fortress and historic sites.
As Bulgaria is known for its hot springs, you’ll also want to head to Heviz which is where you’ll find one of the world’s largest thermal lakes.
During your stay in the country, make sure you visit Aggtelek National Park too as you’ll get to see the largest stalactite Cave in the whole of Europe!
Hungary is also home to the scenic Lake Balaton which is the largest lake in Eastern Europe!
You'll find no shortage of things to do in Hungary, so here's some more information that you may find helpful...
There are plenty of cheap European countries to visit, but you’ll want to make sure Poland is right at the top of your list.
Although this country has a devastating history in regard to WWII, Poland is now one of the most up-and-coming tourist destinations in Eastern Europe.
Not only can you travel on a low daily budget, but this country can be visited at any time of year - although Christmas is definitely a great time to visit as the markets are incredible!
Most popular attractions/cities: Krakow, Warsaw, Auschwitz & Tatra National Park
Honestly, I could be here all day naming all the places you need to visit in Poland!
Although you could spend weeks exploring Poland's cities, you need to leave some time for its diverse landscapes too.
One of the best places to appreciate the country’s beauty is Tatra National Park! However, try to visit Bialowieza Forest Reserve, the Bieszczady Mountains, and Ojcowski National Park during your time here too.
Although it’s not the most joyful place to visit, no trip to Poland is complete without a visit to Auschwitz. Here, you’ll get to learn about the atrocities that took place and pay your respect to the 1 million+ people who lost their lives.
Lithuania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit, although it’s not often a place that first comes to mind.
However, this breathtaking country is one of the BEST countries to visit on the continent.
Not only is it cheap, but it has a little bit of everything ranging from pristine beaches to bustling cities so there’s something for everyone.
To make the most of your visit to Lithuania, I’d recommend spending at least a week in the country. This means you won’t have to rush, and if you can hire a campervan - even better!
Most popular attractions/cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, & Aukstaitija National Park
Although not many people realise it, there are tons of fantastic places to visit in Lithuania!
The first port of call is often the capital of Vilnius where you’ll get to wander around old castles, explore museums, and taste some of Lithuania’s delicious cuisine.
Lithuania also has a beautiful coastline, with the best places to visit for a beach getaway being Nida and Palanga!
If I’ve still not managed to convince you then this country is home to some fantastic national parks too.
Although Switzerland, Denmark, and Iceland are all beautiful destinations, if you’re looking for cheaper European countries to visit, why not head to Latvia?
Latvia is one of the lesser-known countries in Europe and doesn’t attract nearly as many tourists as other destinations on the continent.
So, not only will you often have places to yourself but prices here are much cheaper too!
Bordered by the Baltic Sea, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Russia - Latvia is a great destination for a road trip as you can simply hop over the border and explore more of the EU.
Most popular attractions/cities: Riga, Sigulda, Jurmala & Gauja National Park
You’ll find endless things to do in Latvia so be prepared for an action-packed visit!
Riga is the capital city and is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in the country. With stunning architecture, a quaint old town, and a bustling central market, the city has plenty to offer.
You’ll also find other awesome cities and towns throughout the country including Ludza, Liepaja, and Sigulda.
However, if you head to Jurmala you’ll get to relax on its beautiful beach and enjoy some epic sea views.
Make sure you head to Gauja National Park too.
As you can see there are so many awesome places to visit, so I’d recommend spending at least a week in this amazing country if you can.
Estonia is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe and has so much to offer budget travellers.
With relatively cheap accommodation, plenty of awesome destinations, and delicious cuisine - it’s no wonder that this country is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves.
Estonia is located along the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, and is bordered by Latvia and Russia.
Although it may not be one of Europe’s most popular destinations, it’s a country that I can 100% recommend!
Most popular attractions/cities: Tallinn, Parnu, Lahemaa National Park & Soomaa National Park
You won’t find a shortage of things to do in Estonia as this country is full of awesome adventures!
The starting point for many people is often the capital city of Tallinn, which is located off the Gulf of Finland. You’ll find plenty of attractions to visit here including Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Lennusadam Museum, and the TV tower.
Not only does this country offer plenty of awesome cities, but it’s also known for its scenic natural landscapes.
The Czech Republic is still one of the cheapest European countries to visit, even though prices have started to rise over the years!
The majority of the country is extremely affordable for travellers, but just keep in mind that the capital of Prague is the exception to this rule.
Prices here can be up to 50% higher which is quite a step up, even though you do expect the big cities to be more expensive.
Either way, it’s a great option if you’re looking to save money whilst travelling through Europe!
Most popular attractions/cities: Prague, Český Krumlov, Bohemian Switzerland National Park & Moravian Karst
Although Prague isn’t one of the cheapest cities in Europe, it’s still much cheaper than the likes of Paris or Zurich.
As it’s the capital city, you’ll find plenty of fantastic things to do here like visiting Prague Castle, walking over the iconic Charles Bridge, and exploring Old Town Square. If you're looking for a unique activity then why not check out this medieval dinner experience?
Although the Czech Republic is full of magical cities, one of the country’s highlights has to be Bohemian Switzerland National Park!
Not only is this national park home to the largest rock arch in Europe, but you’ll find plenty of awesome hiking trails here too.
I’d also recommend visiting Moravian Karst during your time in the country as you'll find 1,000 caves here that sprawl out for over 90 km!
Here's some more information on the best places to visit in the Czech Republic...
If you’re looking for a cheap country to visit in Europe, why not check out Slovenia?
Slovenia is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Central Europe and is known for its striking mountain ranges, glacial lakes, and lush forests.
This country is mostly landlocked with only a small area being located along the Adriatic Sea.
The rest of Slovenia is bordered by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy so you’ll have plenty of overland travel opportunities.
Most popular attractions/cities: Ljubljana, Piran, Lake Bled & Kranjska Gora
Many people choose to start their Slovenia trip in the capital of Ljubljana. This is a great choice as you’ll get to explore Ljubljana castle, wander through the old town, and cross the famous Dragon Bridge.
This fantastic country is home to diverse landscapes too, and Kranjska Gora is one of the best places to admire Slovenia’s beauty.
No trip to Slovenia is complete without visiting the gorgeous Lake Bled either, so don’t leave this off your itinerary.
Situated in the Julian Alps, this beautiful glacier-formed lake is known for its breathtaking backdrop and the famous Lake Bled Cake!
Here's a round-up of the best things to do in Slovenia...
Although Spain isn’t one of the most expensive European countries to visit, it’s more costly than the places I’ve listed above.
However, you will find affordable areas in the country if you step outside of the tourist hotspots.
You’ll generally find that coastal areas and large cities are more expensive, but there are exceptions to this rule!
Not only that, but Spain offers a HUGE variety of Airbnb properties which are often the best option if you’re travelling on a budget. This means you can cook for yourself, rather than eat out.
Before we take a look at some of the best things to do, you may want to check out our Spain packing list!
Most popular attractions/cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, & the Spanish Pyrenees
Although visiting the more popular cities will be expensive, you’ll always find good bargains if you find accommodation outside of the tourist areas.
For this reason, we can’t leave out the awesome city of Barcelona! Home to the iconic Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and a vibrant central market. Hiring a car in Barcelona is also a great idea, as you can easily explore the surrounding area.
However, if you’re travelling on a strict budget you’ll want to visit some of the countries more off-the-beaten-track destinations.
If you're planning to spend lots of time in Spain then I also recommend checking out the famous Camino De Santiago trek!
Although Portugal may not be the cheapest country in Europe, you can still find some fantastic deals!
If you avoid the more expensive touristy areas, you’ll find plenty of bang for your buck - especially when it comes to accommodation and food.
As there is so much to see in this beautiful country, one of the best ways to see it all is by doing a road trip. If you decide to hire a campervan in Portugal you'll also cut costs on accommodation.
Now, onto the epic places that you need to include on your Portugal itinerary!
Most popular attractions/cities: Porto, Lisbon, The Algarve, & the Azores
There are tons of awesome things to do in Portugal and plenty of fascinating places to visit!
After you’ve visited many of the ‘tourist hotspots’ you’ll find Portugal to be very budget-friendly, especially if you’re travelling through lesser-known areas.
Some of the cheapest cities in Portugal include Alcobaça, Castelo Branco, Santarém, and Viseu. Each one offers cheap monthly rentals, and some of them are just an hour or two away from the more popular cities.
Last but certainly not least in this guide is the beautiful country of Greece!
Like Spain and Portugal, Greece may not be one of the cheapest destinations in Europe but it can still be extremely affordable.
This is especially the case if you’re travelling from more expensive countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore!
Although it’s not the cheapest Mediterranean country, it’s definitely up there as you’ll find accommodation options for as little as $20 per night.
Most popular attractions/cities: Athens, Milos, Mykonos, & Santorini
Before we take a look at the more affordable side of Greece, we of course need to detail the most popular places to visit first.
Athens is the Greek capital and although it’s not the country’s cheapest destination, you will find it to be much less expensive than other European cities.
However, if you’re looking for somewhere a bit more budget-friendly there are plenty of other stunning islands to choose from.
The majority of mainland Greece is also affordable as it’s not as ‘famous’ as the Greek Islands.
As you can see there are plenty of cheap countries in Europe to visit! Of course, some will be more expensive than others so just keep that in mind.
The best country for you will all depend on your budget, your travel preferences, and your travel style!
Although all of the European countries in this guide are worth a visit, some will appeal to travellers more than others.
If you’re looking for a beach getaway then Greece, Portugal, or Spain may be the best option.
Whereas, if you’d prefer a more authentic experience why not check out North Macedonia or Romania?
If you're planning a trip to Europe then here are some other guides that you may find useful: