You shouldn’t let an unrealistic price tag get in the way of your dreams of traveling to Europe. You’d be surprised at how affordable exploring the continent can be, especially when you plan ahead and check out all the underrated summer destinations in Europe that are hidden gems. You can still soak up so much local culture, delicious food, incredible views, and ancient history without shelling out a lot of money for expensive tourist hot spots like Rome or Paris. Next time you get the travel bug, check out the cheapest places to travel in Europe for 2022.
When taking a cheap trip to Europe, especially when airfare is at a high, you’ll want to check out off-the-beaten-path destinations will give you an authentic local experience that’s away from touristy attractions and high-traffic destinations. There’s nothing as eye-opening as staying in a residential town, hanging out with the locals, and getting a grounded experience that’s vastly different from your life at home. Plus, these places offer quiet, sandy beaches, medieval castles, and idyllic landscapes that you couldn’t find anywhere else on the planet. Whether you’re a student who is traveling on a tight budget, or simply a student of the world, these cheap getaways to Europe are the ultimate life hack for wanderlust-ers. These cheap vacations probably weren’t on your bucket list before, but you might just be inspired to move them to the top of the queue.
The best part about these underrated summer destinations in Europe is that they’re cheap to get around. With plenty of outdoor activities, free tours, and winding streets to discover on foot, the most you’ll spend in a day will be on the amazing regional food. You’ll just want to save up some cash for transportation costs like trains or buses that’ll take you to these tucked-away towns. If you want to take a cheap vacation to Europe, these underrated and budget-friendly fairy-tale destinations should be at the top of your list.
The southern region of Portugal along Cape St. Vincent is known as the Algarve. Its stunning cliffside views and special beaches make for a picturesque summer destination, and the ancient architecture and delicious seafood are just an added bonus. You can explore windy rock formations along the shore in Carvoeiro or go snorkeling to spot dolphins. The charming towns and fishing villages are far from touristy and also much cheaper than more popular European getaways.
Located south of Bologna, Brisighella is a historic and charming town in Italy that’s a great option for Europe on a budget. Marvel at the medieval castle, clock tower, and church that frame the town on three hills, which you can also hike in the summer for amazing views. You’ll want to explore Brisighella’s cobblestone streets and lush countryside on foot to enjoy the local culture. The money you save should go towards tasting the traditional wine, olive oil, and delicious regional food.
The historic town of Dinant is in the province of Namur in Belgium and is an ideal stop on your European train tour if you want to slow life down a little bit. There’s plenty to see without spending too much money, like viewing the iconic Dinant Citadel or picnicking along the Meuse Rivier. Dinant’s Notre-Dame Cathedral is free to enjoy, as well as the Adolphe Sax saxophone museum.
Located in the Murcia region of southeast Spain, Cartagena has a lot to enjoy for free. Snap a photo in the bright-yellow town hall square, see the roman theater ruins in Old Town, hit the beach at Playas de Marbella, or check out the Marine Archaeology Museum (it’s free on Saturday). You can also enjoy touring the local churches for free, like the pastel tower Cathedral de Santa Catalina, and the medieval monastery Church of Santo Domingo. There’s even a historic bullfighting ring-turned-shopping mall called Cartagena La Serrezuela.
Take your getaway to the Scottish Highlands in lakeside Plockton. This is a great destination if you want to spend time in nature and really connect with the town. You’ll discover beautiful mountain views from various lookouts around the city and maybe even spot a fluffy Highland cow. You can even sleep or grab a bite in the grand Duncraig Castle, or at least enjoy the woodland path on its grounds.
Positioned nearby the Czech Republic border, the city of Kraków is known for its rich cultural history and the Cloth Hall renaissance-era trading outpost. You can walk through the gorgeous city squares through to church-lined Old Town to enjoy the gothic architecture. And definitely don’t miss viewing the St. Mary’s Basilica, the famous 14th-century Gothic church.
Kaunas is a vibrant urban landscape that has everything you need for a European adventure. See its picturesque Old Town by foot and spot the unique street art, rest in the grass on the riverside, admire the local churches and abandoned castles, and visit the Folk Music Museum. You can even ride the funicular or mini train car to Aleksotas Hill for under two euros to catch a great view of the red rooftops of the town and the Nemunas river.
The medieval village of Conques, which is nestled in southern France, is known for the abbey-church of Sainte-Foy, dubbed “the jewel of Romanesque art.” There’s tons of history and culture to explore, but it’s also a great town to get active with summer activities like hiking, fishing, cycling, and kayaking. Plus, the fairy-tale architecture is so unreal that you won’t want to go home to reality.
An hour north of Copenhagen, Denmark, you’ll find Helsingør. It’s known for the Kronborg Castle, which is actually the real-life setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet (it’s called “Elsinore Castle” in the books for the English translation). You can visit in the summer to see a performance of the play, tour the castle’s chapel and dungeon, or catch an incredible view of the region at the top of the steeple.
Escape the crowds in Greek hot spots like Athens or Santorini by cehcking out the ancient ruins in Argos. This Peloponnesian destination is the oldest continuously inhabited city in all of Europe. If you make it to this bucket-list location, there’s plenty of budget-friendly historical sites to visit, like the Ancient Theatre of Argos, Byzantine Museum of Argolis, and dozens of ancient ruins. You can also connect with locals at the Kapodistrias Barracks flea market or one of the region’s top-notch wineries.
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