10 Affordable Weekend Getaways in Europe

When you think about Europe, you may feel like it’s out of reach for your travel budget, but there are plenty of ways to save at your destination. There are many affordable cities where you can spend a weekend that won’t break your budget.

Stockholm, Sweden

panorama of stockholm

You aren’t going to get away with dining super cheap in Stockholm, so start your day off with a fika fix. Fika is coffee and the Swedes drink it by the barrel. Tour medieval Stockholm. Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s heart and the buildings still stand from the 1200’s.

Wander the historical streets early in the day to avoid large crowds. Spend your next day in Djurgården, the Royal Game Park. There are so many things to do on the island, from the world’s oldest open-air museum – containing Stockholm’s only zoo – to Gröna Lund, a theme park built in the 1800’s.

Read an interesting article about 7 surprising things that Florida and Sweden have in common.


hurches on Santorini Cliffs with orange sky

With the economy of Greece being less than optimal, it’s the perfect time to get fantastic deals on hotels and airfare. Travel to the more popular locations instead of smaller, out of the way cities, because that’s where you’ll find the best deals to fit your budget and get better service, even if there are more tourists.

Athens and Santorini are among the top places to visit, where you can enjoy amazing views of the water, white beaches and delicious Greek food.

Dublin, Ireland

river liffey in dublin

Purchase a Dublin Pass to get the most bang for your buck with discounts on dining, shopping and even unlimited public transportation! Purchase online before you go to save 20% off.

Your Dublin Pass is valid for 12 months from purchase and “activates” upon your first use. Dublin is also the perfect place to go for a romantic getaway. With budget bed and breakfasts and cozy pubs everywhere, it’s hard to go wrong. Don’t forget to read 8 Good Reasons to Visit Ireland and 5 Free Things to Do in Dublin.

Cappadocia, Turkey

hot air balloons at cappadocia

Right on the border of Europe and Asia, Cappadocia is a truly breathtaking and unique vacation destination. Set on a high plateau in central Turkey with volcanic peaks and a moon-like atmosphere, it has a different feel from anywhere else and has a warm, arid climate in the summer and has cold, snowy winters.

Because the area was formed by ancient volcanoes, there are a lot of volcanic deposits that are essentially, soft rocks. Buildings have been carved into the cliffs, including hotels, houses, churches and monasteries.

You can stay in 3- to 4-star lodgings, dine out, use public transportation and rent a car, all for less than the cost per night to stay in many economy hotels worldwide.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Skyline as seen from Almada

The economy in Portugal isn’t all that stable and tourism is a major factor in getting the budget under control and helping to get the country back on its economic tracks. You can visit Portugal for about $55-70 per person per day, including dining out at some nice restaurants and staying in a decent hotel.

The busy travel season runs from mid-July to mid-September. Skip those times and end up skipping most of the crowds, higher hotel rates and the sweltering heat. The country is a water lover’s dream, with fantastic surfing, tons of seafood and one of the best and most affordable aquariums in the world, the Oceanario de Lisboa.

Vienna, Austria

townhall in vienna

Got a sweet tooth and also think ice skating sounds like fun? Vienna, Austria just opened a huge free ice rink. You just pay to rent skates. If you’re already in Europe, RyanAir has some fantastic flight deals. When you get there, strap on your skates and get some exercise, then put back the calories you just burned off with a dessert buffet.

Try famous Viennese sweets like Sachertorte, Palatschinken, Knödel and grab a quick bag of Maroni on the streets (those are hot chestnuts). Vienna is a great place to buy “street food”. There are many types of sausages available at street vendors and you can visit the Naschmarkt that sells stalls full of local and international foods.

If you need to warm up, try some of the local wine, as Vienna is one of few world capital cities with its own vineyard.

Prague, Czech Republic

View of Prague

Prague is a winter wonderland in December, plus there is so much to do for super cheap or even free! Some of those awesome free things include the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral.

These destinations are popular with tourists for a reason. You can save a little more and avoid crowds by sightseeing in the suburbs. Žižkov, Vinohrady, Smíchov and Holešovice are all great to explore with their parks, bars, museums and historical architecture.

Street food abounds, too, which is easy to eat on-the-go and doesn’t leave your wallet empty.


Frankfurt Germany Skyline

The site of both World Wars, Germany has a lot of history, much of which was bloody. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany has become a wonderful tourist destination. The whole country is rich with culture and cool things to see and do. Save on ticket prices by purchasing airfare to Frankfurt via Reykjavik on Iceland Air.

Add Iceland as a stopover for as long as you want for no extra cost! Purchase a city pass for major German cities like Frankfurt and Berlin and save big on attractions on your trip. Get discounts on museums, gardens, transportation, restaurants and more.

Paris, France

eiffel tower with boat in paris

Paris can be very spendy if you don’t plan out your trip ahead of time. Spring, fall and winter are good times to travel to France. Anytime, but summer, really. Fall and winter are going to be the least expensive times and also the least crowded.

While shops and museums may be open shorter hours, you will be able to do more than you would in summer, since tourists are scarce. If you plan to do any real sightseeing in Paris, you should get a Paris Pass. Gain entry to 55 museums and monuments (unfortunately, the Eiffel Tower is not included), amazing attractions like the Seine River Cruise, unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER within Central Paris, an awesome guidebook and coupons for dining and shopping.

Just looking to take a few relaxing days out wandering the streets? Well, that’s a great way to save money, especially since there are so many things to walk around and see without having to pay entrance fees. Stroll the Champs de Elysee, take pictures of the Arc and the outside of Notre Dame, cross the bridges over the Seine, buy a baguette or crepe from a street vendor, enjoy the sculptures outside of the Louvre and on and on.

You should visit Paris and see all the popular tourist attractions and go to all those places visited by millions of people from around the globe every year, but still find some time to do 5 unconventional things that will make you feel like a true Parisienne.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik View

Iceland is #1 in cod production in the world. They fish extensively for it and create amazing dishes with it, too. Not only that, some Icelandic restaurants use geothermal vents for power and cook exclusively with the steam produced by these natural wonders. Amazingly, the heat from the vents can start water boiling in about eight seconds. Way to use the earth for economical and eco-friendly energy!

While the restaurants may be on the expensive side, you can find lodging for relatively cheap and you can walk all over the city. You can always rent an apartment or house and save on your food budget and just go out for lunch or dinner each day. That way, you’ll be able to do more things than expected and also try the local cuisine without breaking the bank. Other great frugal activities include viewing the Northern Lights, soaking in hot springs and looking for the elusive Iceland elves.

About the author


A self-proclaimed budget travel enthusiast, Shereen spends her days looking for fantastic travel bargains, watching great (and sometimes really bad) movies with her husband, planning theme parties and preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

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