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These Are The 3 Cheapest Summer Destinations In Europe To Visit For 2024

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Summer in Europe is right around the corner, and many of you have already started making plans and getting those reservations in before hotel rates and airfares go up.

If you haven't booked your Paris hotel yet, it could already be too late.

Panoramic View Of A Coastal Area In Albania, South Eastern Europe

With the Olympic Games being held in France, more nonstop flights launching to Spain and Italy, and a series of train routes debuting simultaneously, it will be a busy season in the continent's sunny South, and you should expect consumer prices to soar in response.

Not all sunny European destinations will be off-limits to the average budget traveler, however, with three in particular ranking as some of the cheapest destinations, except they're just not what most people would associate with a summer vacay.

Goodbye Amalfi, hello Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria:


Woman in Albania with backpack and flag

A once-forgotten country in the heart of the Balkans that spent most of its recent history terrorized by a communist dictatorship, Albania was reborn in the 21st century a liberal democracy with clear Western aspirations, and it's certainly making up for lost time in the tourism front.

Up until the nineties, tourists were not allowed to visit Albania unless for very specific reasons and under strict conditions, so we wouldn't be surprised to learn you don't know it borders the Mediterranean Sea, or that it has beautiful, Maldives-like white sand beaches, and an immense cultural wealth.

umbrellas on a beach in ksamil, saranda, albania

From the ancient Greco-Roman ruins of Butrint, one of the most fascinating archaeological zones in the Mediterranean basin, to the sun-kissed coastal Vlore and the Old World charm of Gjirokaster and Berat, two UNESCO-listed cities with a preserved medieval heritage, it couldn't be more inviting.

Fortunately for budget travelers, this trendy Med spot is incredibly affordable to travel in, with overnight stays in three-star hotels in Vlore, one of the leading leisure destinations, starting from only $28, while five-star resorts can cost as cheap as $168.

Clock Tower In The Inner Citadel Of Gjirokaster Castle Set Against The Backdrop Of Green Mountains, In The Old Town Of Gjirokaster, Albania, South Eastern Europe

Eating out in Albania, you will spend an average $20 per day on food, and even if you treat yourself to a nicer, three-course meal and a jug of wine in a mid-range restaurant, you're unlikely to get billed more than $30, or the equivalent in the local currency.

In fact, a one-week trip to Albania costs only $546 per person, making it the cheapest Mediterranean destination by a mile.


Aerial View Of Old Town Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Still in the Balkan peninsula, Bosnia-Herzegovina is yet another hidden gem of Europe that has long been overlooked due to its association with a war in the nineties, and the now defunct, socialist state of Yugoslavia, which it shared with the likes of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and others.

As an independent state, it is one of the continent's most diverse, torn between a half-Muslim and half-Christian (and in the latter, Catholic and Orthodox subdivisions) populace, and boasting an unusually high number of historical landmarks for a country that's this… ‘secondary'.

Kravice Waterfalls In Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Eastern Europe

For starters, it is home to two of the most iconic bridges in Europe. One of them, Stari Most, dominates the skyline in Mostar, arching over a fast-flowing, crystal-clear Neretva River, while the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

THE Franz Ferdinand, and the event that essentially triggered World War I.

Bosnia is also littered with ancient, stone-built cities and gorgeous natural spots, such as the Kravice Waterfalls, a refreshing swimming site in the hot summer months, and the resort strip of Neum, its only city on the coast.

Latin Bridge In Sarajevo, Capital Of Bosnia And Herzegovina, Eastern Europe

You see, though Bosnia's access to the Mediterranean is largely fenced off by Croatia, their neighbors still left them with a 9 km stretch of coast (that is, Neum) so they can flock to the seaside when temperatures soar above 90 degrees in July.

Despite its proximity to Croatia and one of the most expensive Croatian cities at that (we're looking at you, Dubrovnik), Neum is a fairly affordable coastal town, with the luxurious Grand Hotel Neum Wellness & Spa costing $110 to book per night, and the even cheaper, beachfront Hotel Adria only $65.

Cobbled Old Streets In Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Mostar, the most popular tourist destination in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you can find decent hotels with breakfast included for only $54, while in Sarajevo, the national capital, Hotel Saraj has rates starting from $32.

In terms of daily expenses, you should budget $28 for food daily, only $8 for local transportation, and if your accommodation isn't already paid for, an average $65 on hotels, in line with some of the hotel rates seen above.

Overall, a one-week stay in mostly-balmy Bosnia is only setting you back by $520, all included minus flights.


Alexander Nevsky Cathedral In Sofia, Bulgaria, Eastern Balkans, Eastern Europe

Last but not least, Bulgaria is the only country on this list to not straddle the Mediterranean Sea.

That's not to say it isn't subtropical, at least in the hot summer months, when temperatures soar above 90 degrees along its Black Sea Coast.

Now, here's the thing: though it may be called the Black Sea, it is anything but.

Bulgaria's prized coastal waters are in fact bright blue in nature, and in places like Varna and Sunny Beach, two bustling resort cities, they even turn a lovely crystalline hue.

A Sand Stretch Of Beach In Sunny Beach, A Seaside Resort In Bulgaria Bounded By The Black Sea, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Balkan

The Black Sea is the New Mediterranean, you see, with water temperatures are just as high, and a comparable list of ancient, historic cities lining its shores, such as Nessebar, dubbed the Dubrovnik of Bulgaria, as it sits on a fortified island surrounded by walls, and the 2,700-year-old Sozopol.

Away from the Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria is a breathtakingly diverse country full of mountains – it houses the tallest peak in Southeastern Europe – meandering rivers and cobbled towns, and even if History's not your forte, there's just no escaping the occasional Greco-Roman ruin.

Rila Monastery In Bulgaria, Eastern Europe

Plovdiv, in the scorching-hot central region, where it's over 100 degrees in July, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. Not that you wouldn't immediately notice it is primeval in nature, with its preserved 1st century century and prehistoric hilltop dwellings.

National capital Sofia, on the other hand, is where the Classic Era, medieval times, and Bulgaria's more recent communist past clash, making for an impossibly eclectic cityscape of towering high-rises, Roman remnants, Byzantine churches, and Soviet-inspired monuments.

Lion Bridge In Sofia, Bulgaria, Eastern Europe, Balkan Peninsula

Sounds amazing, huh? What if we told you there are beachfront hotels in trendy Sunny Beach for as cheap as $74 this July, or that you can book yourself an all-inclusive stay at the local Helenda Sands for an acceptable $194?

Perhaps you're a budget traveler, and you don't care about beaching all that much, and in that case, a 4-night stay at a centrally situated guesthouse in Sofia is only going to set you back by $283. Again, it's four nights, not a single overnight.

In total, you should budget $69 per day if you're visiting Bulgaria in the high season, including costs for food and accommodation, and if you're really the splurging type, you're still looking at a reasonably affordable $1,127 for the week.

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