Europe, the second smallest of the world’s continents, is composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia. It occupies nearly one-fifteenth of the world’s total land area. It is also bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south (west to east) by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Kuma-Manych Depression, and the Caspian Sea. This continent has so much to explore that is why we have piled up the top 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe.
Ready to travel and discover Europe? Here is the list of Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe.
1. The Albanian coast
Looking for Mediterranean sun and sand, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to Capri or the Côte d’Azur? Simply head further east and you’ll find sun-drenched beaches untouched by modern development. Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and as yet under-explored by the tourist hordes. On its southern Ionian coast, steep grey mountains frame azure seas and golden sands.
Sarande is almost in touching distance of Corfu and is a handy entry point from Greece. From here you can aim for the beaches of Ksamil and nearby islands. Cheap seafood, warm seas, and a smattering of isolated Greek ruins and Ottoman towns: the perfect recipe for a classic European sojourn.
2. Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Though the scars of Sarajevo’s past as a city under siege are still evident. There are remnants of mortar shell explosions, filled with red resin to form “Sarajevo Roses”, and the museums document the horrors of Sniper Alley. Today, the city buzzes with life and is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.
One of the most welcoming capitals in Europe, its central district of Baščaršija is a delight to wander through. Browse in the Ottoman-era bazaar or linger over a Bosnian coffee. The after-hours scene is quirky and cool, with tucked-away drinking holes and an ever-evolving club scene.
3. Bansko, Bulgaria
Hitting the slopes without breaking the bank can be a challenge. Especially when the main Alpine resorts are located in some of the most expensive countries in Europe! However, eastern Europe has a few intriguing ski destinations, including Bulgaria’s Bansko on the Pirin mountain range.
The country’s main ski resort has good beginner and intermediate runs. There’s a decent range of shared or private accommodation to choose from, easily making Bansko one of the best places to visit in Europe with friends. The town itself has considerable charm, with numerous traditional old pubs hidden down its cobbled alleyways.
4. Czechia (Czech Republic)
Though ever-popular Prague is not quite the dirt-cheap city break destination it once was, you’ll still find Czechia (Czech Republic) to be a good-value country for independent travel. The country that invented Pilsner is justifiably famous for producing some of the best beers – at pretty good prices.
But there’s plenty of other reasons as to why it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe. In Prague, the choice of watering holes ranges from traditional beer halls and monastery taverns to a new generation of microbreweries. Continue the Czech beer trail with a visit to the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň, before striking out to the country’s lesser-known spots, such as charming Olomouc, a pint-sized Prague without the tourists.
5. Estonia’s Baltic coast
Known for the popular city break destination of Tallinn, small and beautiful Estonia also provides swathes of wilderness, with beautiful stretches of coastline, a scattering of islands, and forested national parks along its long Baltic coastline. With so much centered on the outdoors, it’s arguably the cheapest country in Europe.
An hour from Tallinn, 725-square-kilometre Lahemaa National Park is best explored by bike. You can cycle its coastal paths, discover rugged coves, windswept beaches, and fishing villages and even sleep on hay bales at a farm. Venture further west and the summertime resort of Pärnu has fantastic beaches, The island of Saaremaa offers soft-carpeted pine forest countryside and very affordable spas.
6. Leipzig, Germany
As far as European travel goes, Berlin is an anomaly. It’s one of the few capitals where the cost of living is lower than the national average. It’s a legacy of the country’s former divide, which still means former East Germany is notably cheaper than western centers like Frankfurt and Munich. But as prices gradually rise in gentrifying Berlin, there are other eastern cities to venture to, including buzzing Leipzig.
The city that kick-started the 1989 protests that led to the country’s reunification has long had a fierce, independent spirit. Over the past few years, it’s also developed quite a reputation for its thriving artist enclaves and offbeat nightlife. Its culture scene is in constant flux, with old industrial buildings, such as the former cotton mill the Spinnerei, converted into cutting-edge spaces.
7. London, England
London and budget aren’t words that usually go together. However, London has more free world-class attractions than any other European city. There’s the British Museum, home to enough treasures to satisfy the most curious of history hunters; the vast Tate Modern, with stupendous views from its terrace and ever-changing art collections; the Natural History Museum with its magnificent dinosaurs; and beautiful Victoria & Albert Museum – all free, all of the time.
And don’t forget the open spaces: spend a day tramping across Hampstead Heath, another meandering along with the South Bank, or perusing East End markets and you’ll get more of a sense of city life than if you’re stuck in a queue at an overpriced attraction. For food, opt for the popular street-food markets and your budget will stretch further – you might even have enough left for an overpriced pint.
8. The Peloponnese, Greece
Think of budget travel in Greece, and the image is still one of island-hopping, sleeping on the deck of a ferry, or camping on the beach. However, the slow pace of island travel and the popularity of the main resorts all add to the cost.
Instead, consider the many-fingered peninsula of Greece. It has some fine beaches – less developed than those on the main islands – and it is home to the ancient sights of Epidaurus and Olympia. Medieval villages, spectacular rack-railway journeys, and appealing Byzantine towns all await those who explore beyond the package holiday destinations.
9. Budapest, Hungary
Straddling the Danube, the twin enclaves of Buda and Pest together make one of the most beguiling capitals in Europe. Their main pleasures won’t break the bank, making it one of the top cheap places to travel to.
Spend the day lounging by the pools in the spa, taking the occasional dip, cooling off under the fountains, and watching the old men play chess at the waterside tables. Come evening, the “ruin-bars” of District VII beckon – idiosyncratic bars tucked away in the neighborhood’s courtyards. The tipple of choice is the cheap local white or rosé drunk long as a spritzer, perfect in the baking heat of summer.
Budapest is one of the best places to visit in Europe in the Spring (March to May) or Autumn (Sept to Nov) as the climate is at its most pleasant – ideal for those outdoor spa days and pounding the pavements.
10. Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Any grand tour of Europe includes a string of beautiful Italian cities: refined Florence, alluring Rome, and glamorous Venice. While there’s no doubting their charms, they are well and truly on the tourist trail, which pushes up prices, particularly in high season.
Escape from the mainland to Sicily and you’ll find in its capital Palermo a city both redolent of the Italy of yesteryear and – if you ask a Siciliana country apart. Undoubtedly run down in places, the city unfolds many surprises. There are churches covered in exquisite mosaics and cluttered neighborhood markets, where you can snack on local street foods, like arancini (rice balls) and panelle (chickpea fritters), as you wander.