European destinations like Italy, France, and the UK have been seeing a record number of travelers this year, 600% higher than 2021 levels.
This has been fuelled by favorable exchange rates and social media posts showcasing everything Europe has to offer. One recent post even went so far as to joke that girls who haven’t been to Italy yet this summer might “die” if they don’t go.
These high levels of travelers seeking trips abroad bring an increase in prices and the urge to find the best places to go with the best deals.
Here are The Top 5 Most Affordable European Destinations:
Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is known for its Port Wine, Douro River, and charming cobblestone streets. The city offers a mix of culture, sightseeing, and cuisine. It’s easy to see why Americans are visiting this country in record numbers right now.
One of the best places to visit is Livararia Lello, the oldest bookshop in Porto and rumored to be the inspiration for the Hogwarts library from the Harry Potter series. It’s a small shop full of decorative details and only costs 5 EUR to enter.
Not far from the bookshop is Porto’s busiest and most beautiful train station, Sao Bento. It is free to enter and a must-see for its collection of azulejo tile art that depicts the history of the city. These famous Portuguese tiles can be found throughout Porto on various buildings and churches and can best be seen by wandering the city on foot.
All the best things to see, do, and eat in Porto are extremely affordable. You can expect to pay 15 EUR for an average meal, 1 EUR for a Pastel de Nata (a must-try Portuguese dessert!), 5 EUR for a mid-range bottle of wine, and from 23 – 83 EUR per night for accommodation. It is a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience Europe on a budget.
Dhermi is a small village situated in the Albanian Riviera that has rapidly been gaining in popularity for its cheap food, bargain beers at only 1.50 EUR, and crystal clear seas.
The village has two distinct parts – the picturesque old town in the upper portion and the beach clubs and restaurants in the lower section. Take a stroll through the charming historic streets filled with white-washed buildings and charming churches, and spend the remainder of your day on a sun lounger at Dhermi Beach.
You can expect to pay 10 – 20 EUR during the high season to rent a lounger and umbrella for the day.
Tucked between green cliffs, Gjipe Beach is considered to be the best beach in Albania. If you are looking for an active adventure, you can hike to the peak of the canyon for fantastic views of the cove below.
For an Off Path experience, you can take a small boat to visit Pirate’s Cave for only 10 EUR per person.
To visit Dhermi, you will need to budget 8 – 25 EUR per meal and an average of 40 EUR per night for a hotel.
Bodrum sits at the southern point of Turkey on the Aegean coast. It has a collection of whitewashed houses, lovely markets, and a laid-back atmosphere. Bodrum is quickly becoming known as Europe’s summer hot spot.
The old town, which includes a marina, is small enough to explore on foot. You will find small alleyways filled with art, pretty bougainvillea, stores containing Turkish jewelry and leather goods, along with fresh seafood restaurants.
The Castle of St. Peter is a Bodrum must-see. For only 60 Lira ($2.50 USD), you can take in the amazing views of the coastline from the top as well as gain access to the Museum of Underwater Archeology. You can also visit The Ancient Bodrum Theatre for a variety of cultural events or spend an afternoon at a traditional Turkish hammam.
Bodrum doesn’t have sandy beaches, but one of the best ways to enjoy the sparkling waters is by boat. Not far from the main town you can find some popular beaches that are ideal for swimming and relaxing. The three most recommended are Turgutreis, Gumbet, and Bitez. These are all free and private beaches with plenty of facilities, bars, and restaurants nearby.
Home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Crete draws in millions of visitors each year for its crystal-clear waters and warm hospitality. It is the largest island in Greece and offers a mixture of old seaside towns, high mountains, olive groves, and vineyards.
There is something for everyone in Crete and so much to do that you definitely won’t be bored. One of the biggest highlights of the island is the ancient town of Chania, where you can explore old Venetian mansions, Turkish facades, and local markets.
The Minoan Palace of Knossos is one of the most important historical attractions in Greece. It is a vast complex that, in Greek mythology, is said to be the birthplace of Zeus and the house of the minotaur, who was kept below the palace in an extensive labyrinth. The cost to explore the grounds is only 15 EUR per person.
Elafonisi is consistently voted one of the world’s best beaches for its pink sand dunes and shallow turquoise blue waters. There is no entry fee, but you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas for a low price.
A second popular beach is Balos, a remote lagoon-like area with calm waters perfect for cooling off. Balos is only accessible by ferry, which costs 29 EUR per person.
While in Crete, expect to pay 48 – 98 EUR a night for accommodation and 14 EUR for an average meal. It is definitely a more affordable option than the popular neighboring islands of Santorini or Mykonos.
This picturesque town is located in Italy’s southern region of Puglia, offering history, architecture, and amazing beaches. It’s known for its Centro Storico, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with thick defensive walls, strong arched entryways, and a large castle.
A visit to Aragones Castle will cost you 12 EUR which gives you access to the grounds, their galleries housing rotating exhibits, and panoramic rooftop views.
The most affordable activities in Otranto are also the most popular. Walking through the Centro Storico and taking a passeggiatta – the Italian tradition of an early evening stroll, are a must.
For free you can visit the stunning I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea beach that is famous for its unique limestone rock formations and beautiful blue water. Or spend your day relaxing at Spiaggia dei Gradoni with its powdery white sand beach.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com