by Annie 

Published: March 22, 2022

Updated:  March 21, 2022
image of the Stockholm, Sweden skyline, one of the most expensive places when you are planning a budget for travel in Europe

Choosing where to go on your trip to Europe is one of the hardest decisions because there are so many incredible places to explore! Figuring out your budget for travel in Europe is one way to help you narrow down your destination options. Some places are much more affordable than others -- Scandinavian countries are the most expensive to visit while the Balkans are insanely affordable

Because indie travel is all about seeing the world your way, it’s tricky to nail down exact budgets for each place. In this article, I’ve based these price categories on comfortable accommodations (B&B, apartment, private rooms in hostels), public transportation (bus, tram, and metro), at least one meal out per day, and two major attractions per day. 

Honestly, I usually do it for less than the prices I've listed here. I’ll go cheap on accommodations but spend more on food than these budgets say because I'm all about the good eats! These dollar amounts you see here are meant to give you a starting point for planning your trip to Europe. Here’s a guide with everything you need to create an incredible Europe trip.  If you want someone to talk to or a little help making it happen, check out these options.

What Should Your Budget for Travel in Europe Include?

  1. Airfare

  2. Accommodations

  3. Sightseeing & Experiences

  4. Food

  5. Transportation

  6. Shopping & Souvenirs

  7. Health Care & Travel Insurance

  8. Visa & Entry Documentation

  9. Miscellaneous for Unexpected Expenses

You can get the details of planning your travel budget in this article. 

Tips for Planning Your Itinerary Around Your Budget 

image of water and cliffs in the distance from the fjords of Norway

Prices vary across the continent. Norway is expensive, but there are tons of ways to save!

When visiting Europe, neighboring countries usually have similar prices. The big changes happen as you go from one major region to another. You could spend a week (or more) visiting Norway (one of the most expensive places on the continent) and then catch a flight from Oslo to Belgrade, Serbia which is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. This lets you mix things up to save money, though I’m a fan of overland travel whenever possible (fewer flights are better for the environment!). 

This list will tell you what to expect for a daily budget while visiting your country of choice. Now you can plan your budget for travel in Europe and choose the destinations that work best for the time and money you have to spend. Keep in mind that big, popular destinations within a country will be a bit more expensive than out in the countryside. Cost will also vary by season -- it’s most expensive to visit when everyone else is visiting! These numbers are based on my personal experience and travel style. They won’t be exact, since we’re generalizing  by country, but they’ll give you a good starting point.

Here’s how we’re going to break it down:

  1. Most Affordable: Less than $50 per day
  2. In-Between Places: Between $50 and $100 per day
  3. Won’t Break the Bank: $100 per day or less
  4. Bring Your Wallet!: $150+ per day

Planning Your Travel Budget by Region

image of houses lining the canals in Amsterdam, one of the more expensive destinations if you're planning your budget for travel in europe

Major cities like Amsterdam are more expensive than off-the-beaten-path spots

Let’s have a quick breakdown of prices by region. We’ll start with the most affordable and work our way up to the most expensive. Honestly, the biggest impact on your travel budget once you’re on the usually accommodations and food. Here’s an article with tips for saving on accommodations. There are some great options that will help you make more room in your budget for travel in Europe.

  • Eastern Europe: $50 per day will go far in this region. This includes everything from the Baltic states to the Balkan Peninsula. 

  • Central Europe: $50 to $80 per day for places like Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and their neighbors. 

  • Western Europe: $80 to $100+ per day. This is where you’ll find the most variation on the continent. Southern countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy are slightly less expensive than the Netherlands or France. 

  • United Kingdom: $100+ per day based on the “middle of the road” amenities, though there are a ton of ways to save!

  • Scandinavia: $150+ per day. The Nordic countries are by far the most expensive part of the continent to visit.

What to Budget for Travel in Europe: The Most Affordable Spots

image of a beach in Albania, an incredibly affordable destination in Europe

Albania is absolutely gorgeous and super affordable!

I’ve listed these in alphabetical order, just to keep things simple. I’ve left comments on the places I've loved to give you a little extra information. 🙂 

  • Albania - I absolutely loved this country! It’s crazy affordable, has gorgeous beaches, incredible food, friendly locals, and history galore. Highly recommend it! 
  • Bulgaria - I love the Balkans and can’t wait to get here! Everything I’ve seen or read about has my dying to go!
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina - If you go to the Balkans, please do not skip this country! It’s one of my absolute favorite places and I keep going back. If you need convincing, here’s an article with my top reasons to visit Sarajevo. 
  • Estonia - Ah, the Baltic countries! I haven’t visited yet, but I’ll get there sooner rather than later and this one is at the top of my list. 
  • Kosovo
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro - this country is insanely gorgeous! It’s the most mountainous country in Europe, plus the beaches are incredible too. Nature-loving travelers, this one's for you!
  • North Macedonia - this is next on my list for the Balkans! I can’t wait to go. 
  • Romania - beautiful nature from the Black Sea coast to the Carpathian Mountains, amazing food, wonderful people, cute little towns, and such a memorable experience!
  • Russia
  • Serbia - I’ve heard so many great things and can’t wait to have a visit!
  • Slovenia - this place is GORGEOUS!!! It was such a pleasant surprise! If fairies are real, they live here. 
  • Slovakia - another beautiful country. I loved the High and Low Tatra Mountain, but didn’t make it to Bratislava. My husband did though and came home with rave reviews!
  • Turkiye - Istanbul was incredible and super affordable. That city is a foodie’s dream! Plus, there’s a ton of really cool history too!
  • Ukraine - I hope to visit someday when this insane war is over. 🙁 

These destinations will really help you maximize your budget for travel in Europe. They tend to be less-visited and full of hidden gems. They're great options for getting off the beaten path and finding new and exciting experiences. Here's an article with my list of the best places to visit in the Balkans, if you're looking for inspiration. 

Tips for Saving

Honestly, these are the destinations where I feel like I can go all out and still not break the bank! There is a ton of incredible street food in these places that will have you eating well for less than $5 per meal. Look for little apartments on Booking.com that are being rented by locals. These are the kinds of places I like to stay and can usually find an awesome spot for less than $25 per night, whether that’s solo or if I’m splitting the cost. Here’s an article with more about finding affordable accommodations. 

Travel Budget Breakdown:

  • Accommodations: $25 per night
  • Food: $15 per person, per day
  • Transportation: $0  (cities in these destinations are super walkable so you don’t really need to use public transportation)
  • Sightseeing: $10 per person, per day

What to Budget for Travel in Europe: The In-Between Places

image of Gothic architecture in Prague, one of the more affordable destinations when you're planning a budget for travel in Europe

Prague is an absolutely gorgeous city and really affordable! You can splurge or save, depending on your budget.

There are a few destinations that span budget ranges, depending on where you are in the country. In some of these places you can live it up on $50 a day, but major cities might have you closer to $80 or $100. 

  • Andorra - a tiny little country on the border between Spain and France. 
  • Austria - Salzburg has a special place in my heart, and the entire country is gorgeous! 
  • Czechia - I absolutely LOVE Prague - it’s one of my favorite European cities. You can do it Budget Travel style, if you’re careful. Once outside the city though, prices drop pretty dramatically. 
  • Croatia - this is the most expensive country in the Balkans because it’s so popular for its coastline and islands, but further inland prices drop significantly. 
  • Hungary - very similar to Czechia with prices. Budapest can be more expensive, but once outside the city, it’s super affordable.
  • Greece - Outside of Athens and the major island destinations, things hit the ‘Most Affordable” zone quickly! 
  • Italy - the major cities and regions like Tuscany are more expensive, but the countryside is really affordable!
  • Poland - I’ve only visited border towns, which were very inexpensive but the cities with major attractions, like Krakow, see prices jump a bit. 
  • Portugal  - same story. You can visit Lisbon affordably, but once you get outside the city, it’s much more budget friendly. 
  • Spain - again, outside of Barcelona and Madrid, prices drop significantly.

Tips for Saving

The easiest way to save in these destinations is with your choice of accommodation. Look for something outside the main center and near public transportation to get better prices. Have a nice meal out for lunch when it’s a little cheaper but the same menu. Pick up a bottle of wine in the grocery store and have a picnic in the park for dinner!

Travel Budget Breakdown:

  • Accommodations: $40 per night
  • Food: $20 per person, per day
  • Transportation: $5 per person, per day  (public transportation is the way to go in the big cities)
  • Sightseeing: $15 per person, per day

What to Budget for Travel in Europe: $100 Per Day Places

image from Dingle, Ireland, of a boat sculpture with the sea and green hills in the background

Ireland is magical and gets more affordable as you get off the beaten path like in the cute little town of Dingle.

If you budget $100 per day, you can visit most places in Western Europe. Of course, it’s easy to spend more in the major cities. If you know what to look for, you can still have an affordable trip to some of the most iconic destinations in the world! Again, this is all about how you like to travel. Spend the money on what’s important to you and save on the areas that don’t matter so much. This flexibility is what I love most about indie travel. You can learn more about it in this article

Because these countries have such a variety of things to see and do, they’re more difficult to categorize. My comments would turn into a novel, so I’m skipping it for this group. I truly believe that anywhere can be affordable, but it’s all about what kind of experience you want to have. When you're planning your budget for travel in Europe, these destinations are definitely worth the money.

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland 

Tips for Saving

Visiting during the slower seasons (not summer!) will help you save money on your trip. Looking for accommodations outside the city center but close to public transportation is another great way to find lower prices. If you’re an adventurer and want to get out into the countryside, camping will help save you a ton of money over traditional accommodations. The same tips apply for food -- go out for lunch, enjoy the street food or a picnic for dinner. 

Travel Budget Breakdown:

  • Accommodations: $55 per night
  • Food: $20 per person, per day
  • Transportation: $5  (cities in these destinations are super walkable so you don’t really need to use public transportation)
  • Sightseeing: $20 per person, per day

What to Budget for Travel in Europe: $150+ Per Day Places

image of the colorful waterfront in Copenhagen, one of the most expensive destinations to visit when you're planning your budget for travel in Europe

Accommodations and food in Copenhagen, Denmark are pretty expensive, but there’s so much to see just walking around the city, which is totally free!

These places are just more expensive, even if you’re super careful about your budget. This list is primarily Scandinavian countries. Their economies and social programs are set up a bit differently than most other European countries. Though they’re more expensive to visit, these places consistently rank in the happiest countries in the world. They’re some of my favorite countries to visit with absolutely breathtaking scenery, great food, and friendly people!

  • Denmark - a perfect mix of Scandinavian and continental attitudes. Beer and wine are much more accessible, and the people are wonderful. I can’t wait to go explore more of this place! 
  • Finland - this is the one Scandinavian country I haven’t visited yet, but based on my research, it looks like prices are similar to the others.
  • Iceland - This place is magic! It’s like landing on another planet. Because the majority of what’s great to see is nature based, camping makes it really affordable if you’re on a tight budget. 
  • Monaco - If you want luxury, this is the place! 
  • Norway - absolutely incredible scenery, but it’s one of the most expensive countries I’ve visited. It’s definitely worth it, just make sure you plan appropriately. 
  • Sweden - my first love! This is where I caught the travel bug. It’s expensive, but Stockholm is a beautiful city and what I’ve seen of the countryside is gorgeous. 
  • United Kingdom - London can be pretty pricey, but prices drop a bit as you venture off the beaten path. Scotland is one of my absolute favorite places ever and I hope to get to Wales soon!

Tips for Saving

When you arrive in the Scandinavian countries, buy your booze at the duty free shop in the airport! Bottle shops are super expensive, open short hours, and not particularly easy to find. Seriously, we paid more than $50for a box of wine when I was in Iceland on a girl’s trip! Yes, a box because we’re classy like that. 🍷 To save on food expenses, limit your eating out to once per day (breakfast or lunch will save the most) and hit up the grocery store for picnic provisions. 

Accommodations and eating out are the places you’ll really notice the price difference. This is where private rooms in a hostel or camping, if you’re an adventurer and want to see the countryside, can add up to serious savings! As always, staying outside the city center will save money too. Here’s an article with more about finding affordable accommodations.

Travel Budget Breakdown:

  • Accommodations: $100 per night

  • Food: $30 per person, per day

  • Transportation: $0  (the main parts of the cities are fairly walkable)

  • Sightseeing: $20 per person, per day

Conclusion

While these prices will have some variation from person to person and place to place, now you’ve got a good starting point for planning your travel budget. One of the best things about indie travel is the ability to mix and match your travel style based on what’s important to you. 

Below you’ll find a few articles with helpful information on planning your trip to Europe and saving money along the way:

There are a few other ways you can get all the knowledge, information, and support you want for your indie travels. Sign up for the newsletter to know when new articles are published and discover sweet travel deals I find around the internet too. I’d love to connect over on Instagram or Facebook and get to know you more!

If you want to learn more about creating your own international trips and meet a community of like-minded travelers, check out the Indie Travel Collective! We have regular events and you can come check out everything the community has to offer with a free two-week trial. We’d love to see you there! 

Sometimes planning your own trip to a brand new place can be overwhelming. If you’d like a brain to pick about your travel plans or even a little help putting them together, check out these consulting services. They’re all designed for fiercely independent travelers so you have full control of your trip and only get the assistance you want. 

Now get out there. The world is waiting for you!

Your Turn

Is budget a factor in where you choose to go on your next trip? What other tips do you have for saving money on your indie travels?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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About the author 

Annie

Fun Lover. Food Eater. Bold Explorer. Big Dreamer.

Annie is a fiercely independent traveler who loves to create unique and interesting experiences. She thrives on finding the magical moments and hidden gems waiting around every corner. Her passion for helping others make their travel dreams come true fuels her work as a travel planner, consultant, educator, and community builder.

  • This is such a helpful guide for people, especially if it’s their first time in Europe. It’s crazy how different prices can be in countries that are near to each other.

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