How can I travel across Europe on a budget? I’ve had this email from countless readers over the last few years and tried to address the question by sharing some of my favourite tips to save money while travelling across Europe plus also putting together a list of the best hostels in Europe in my guidebook, The Grand Hostels, Luxury Hostels of the World guidebook. Besides accommodation, the other key expenses on a Eurotrip is transportation. Wanderu team did a fab piece few years back where they showed how you can visit 15 cities across Europe for less than $400( £306) Coach is great but I love travelling Europe by train and plane too. Especially in the light of Covid-19, I find trains and planes a more safer option. I wanted to show in this post how you can travel across Europe on a budget, by plane, coach and train in 1 month for less than £182 (or €220/ $250 )
Top apps: Skyscanner and Omio
When it comes to flights, Skyscanner is my go to app. My favourite function off this app is how I can search flight to everywhere on a specified date and it gives me a range of the cheapest destinations I can visit on that date. Skyscanner also allows you to track flight prices in their app so that you can be updated about flight price changes without having to search for the flight prices.
Other app I really recommend downloading is the Omio app.
You can search and compare prices for Train, Coach and Flights so based on your budget , you can pick the best option for you. I much prefer using Skyscanner for flights so I would use the app mainly to compare train and coach prices.
Other general tips and advice: try and book in advance to get the best possible deal. I recommend booking around 60-90 days in advance to get the best possible deals on flights and trains. The itinerary below I have shared is 2 months in advance. April/October also is off peak season so again, to get the best possible deals on transportation and accommodation in Europe, travelling in the off peak/shoulder season of September to October and April to May can offer the best value.
Europe 1 month itinerary, 15 cities
For under £182/$250/€220
Below you’ll find my itinerary for travelling across Europe for 1 month, visiting 15 cities for under £250. Dates I’ve selected were from the March till April 2022. I’ve outlined some quick tips of things to do in each city, linked to previous articles and also shared my personal recommendations of where to stay. If you have any questions about this itinerary, please leave a comment or drop me a line at [email protected]
Since London is a starting point for most people’s Eurotrip, I’ve kicked off sharing some tips of things to do in London on a budget and also where you can stay.
Things to do in London a budget
Where to stay in London on a budget
My favourite hostel in London is the
Part 1: London to Paris: Sunday 6th March 2022
Via Easyjet Cost: €22 (without luggage)
Book via Skyscanner
Or via Eurostar: Cost €98 one way or BlaBlaCar Bus is €40 one way ( 8 hours 15 minutes)
Things to do in Paris on a budget
Here are my 5 top tips to enjoy Paris on a budget
1) Musée D’Orsay (free to enter on the first Sunday of the month along with many other city museums).
2) Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (free entry).
3) A walk through the Tulieries Gardens (113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris).
4) A coffee at the famous Cafe de Flore– at the corner of Rue Saint-Benoît and Boulevard Saint-Germain, Saint Germaine des Prés in the sixth arrondissement. Preferred meeting spot of intellectuals Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
5) A shot of the Eiffel Tower at night from the top of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, at La Terrasse.
Where to stay in Paris on a budget
My favourite place to stay is
The stylish social spaces of Generator Paris are designed to meet all your travelling needs whether you want to relax in the café or enjoy a few cocktails during the weekly events program in the bar. Enjoy affordable luxury in one of their Premium rooms with a private terrace or choose a Shared Room, Quad or Private En-suite. City experts in their onsite travel shop will help you to find the hidden gems of Paris.
Checkout my 7 best budget places to stay in Paris.
2. Paris to Amsterdam. Wednesday 9th March, 2022
BlaBlaCar bus Cost: €17
Found via Omio
Things to do in Amsterdam on a budget
Here are my top 5 things to do in Amsterdam on a budget.
PS Checkout my earlier guide to cheap eats in Amsterdam
1.) Discover the city’s rich history at The Amsterdam City Archives, which is free to visit. The city’s stunning treasury collection is to be found in the basement of the building.
2.) Head to Vondelpark, the green lungs of the city. Visit the Royal Concertgebouw on Wednesdays to be treated to free lunchtime concerts, featuring classical music, popular music dance and theatre.
3.) Visit the Albert Cuyp Market. Scour the market for everything from fruit and vegetables, fish, wigs, clothes and snacks.
4) Sample herring from one of the city’s many herring stands. Vishuisje on Herengracht serves herring with pickles and onions starting from €3.
5)The Anne Frank House is the house in Prinsengracht, Amsterdam where her family were in hiding from the German police. The entry fee for adults of €9 is not budget but provides an unmissable glimpse into a unique and poignant piece of war history (Anne Frank Huis: Prinsengracht, 263-267, 1016 GV, Amsterdam).
Where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget
Part 3. Amsterdam to Rotterdam: 11th March, 2022
Via BlaBlaCarBus. Cost €4
Found via Omio
Things to do in Rotterdam on a budget
Here are my top 5 tips for things to do in Rotterdam on a budget. Also do checkout my recent guide of the best places to eat in Rotterdam on a budget and a video of cool things to do in Rotterdam on a budget.
1. Make a trip to Fenix Food Factory in the Katendrecht district. You can sip on local craft beers or sample delicious cheese. Eating a snack outside on the benches provides a pleasant view of the historic Hotel New York and the surrounding harbour.
2.Visit Mr Hans Bode, local icon and maker of the delicious Rotdog. His food cart, named ‘Hans Worst’ offers delicious sausages, often with a side of chillies or an especially hot variety of habanero peppers.
3. Visit the fabulous Museum Bojimans van Beuningen. There’s a wide selection of Dutch art, also featuring impressionist work from Van Gogh, Monet and Gaugin
4. The Netherlands Photo Museum has a stellar collection of photography from the twentieth and twenty first century.
5. Visit one of the amazing festivals that Rotterdam is famous for (notably Rotterdam Unlimited, North Sea Jazz Festival).
Where to stay in Rotterdam on a budget
Part 4. Rotterdam to Ghent. 14th March 2022
Via Flixbus Cost: €11
Found via Omio
Things to do in Ghent
Here are my top 5 things to do in Ghent. Also checkout my new video & guide to 12 cool things to do in Ghent.
1. Visit Gravensteen, a 12th Century Flemish castle.
2. Visit the MSK Art gallery. The collection is heavy on works of art from Belgium and the Low Counties.
3. Step back in time at the St Pietersabdij Abbey. This is the ideal place to visit in a summer’s day. The gardens are free to explore.
4. View the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb at the St Baafskathedraal along with works by Rubens.
5. Learn about 70,000 years of Ghent’s history at the STAM. This former nunnery, recapitulates the many faces of Ghent, down the ages.
Where to stay in Ghent on a budget
With my favourite hostel, the Backstay closing down for temporary renovation choose the
Part 5. Ghent to Leuven, 16th March, 2022
Via Intercity train
Found via Omio app
Things to do in Leuven on a budget
1. The Stadhuis (Town Hall) is a brilliant example of Gothic architecture dating back to 1439. The exterior is remarkably ornate, with spectacular niches.
2. The M-Museum in Leuven has a collection of Flemish Masters, not to be missed.
3. Visit the Stella Artois brewery if you are a beer fan.
4. Visit the University Library. This was majorly destroyed in the First World War by the Germans but was later renovated.
5. Visit the historic centre and St Peters Church.
Where to stay in Leuven on a budget
My top pick for Leuven is the Hostelling International DE Blauwput Hostel With a great location right behind the train station, the hostel gives you say access to all the main attractions. The hostel has a good onsite bar , clean comfortable rooms, great buffet breakfast included in the room price and the staff are friendly, helpful.
Part 6. Leuven to Cologne. 18th March 2022
Via Deutsche Bahn Trains
Found via Deutsche Bahn website
Things to do in Cologne on a budget
Here are some of my favourite things to do in Cologne on a budget and also checkout my earlier 48 hours in Cologne guide.
1. Visit Köln Cathedral.
2. Walking by the Rhine in the Koln Aldstadt has to be one of life’s great experiences.
3. Visit Museum Ludwig.You can feast over a treasure chest of pop art plus you can look forward to some outstanding temporary exhibitions. Time your visit to the first Thursday of the month when locals can visit the museum (Heinrich-Böll-Platz ) for free and tourists pay a reduced price of €7.
4. Cologne has a hive of flea-markets. The best flea markets are held at Wilhelmplatz, at the South Stadium and at the horse track.
Where to stay in Cologne on a budget
My top pick for Cologne is the fantastic
Part 7. Cologne to Berlin. 21st March, 2022
Via Deutsche Bahn Cost: €18
Found via Omio
Things to do in Berlin on a budget
Here are some of favourite things to do in Berlin on a budget but do checkout my new video and guide to cool things to do in Berlin on a budget, my self guided free walking tour Berlin Mitte and self guided free walking tour of Berlin Wedding, one of Berlin’s upcoming districts. Also definitely checkout Sam Wood’s 15 free things to do in Berlin and 10 movies that inspired me to visit Berlin
1.) Once a symbol of a divided city, the Brandenburg Gate is now the iconic symbol of Berlin and of the reunified Germany and should be visited on a trip to Berlin.
2) A few steps away from the Brandenburg Tor, the Holocaust Memorial is another moving and symbolic architectural gem of Berlin.
3) Enjoy a free lunchtime concert at Berlin Philharmonic on Tuesdays.
4) Invest in the excellent Museum pass Berlin which allows you free entry to all the top museums on 3 consecutive days for just €24.
5) Hop on over to the river Spree embankment in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Here lies the longest stretch of the old Berlin Wall (Berlin Mauer) and is Berlin’s most visited tourist attraction.
6) My favourite day trip from Berlin is the historic city of Potsdam. Checkout my recent guide to my favourite things to do in Potsdam.
Where to stay in Berlin on a budget
Here is a comprehensive list of the best budget places to stay in Berlin on a budget.
Part 8. Berlin to Budapest. 24th March, 2022
With Wizzair Cost: €11
Found via Skyscanner
or take the EC171 from Berlin to Budapest ( 12 hours , change in Prague ) Cost- €43 via Omio
Things to do in Budapest on a budget
1.Walk to Heroes Square along Andrassy Way and enjoy the fabulous architecture of this square dedicated to the memory of fallen war heroes.
2. Eat your way through the Jewish Quarter. The area has some of the best authentic and most affordable cafes and ruin bars.
3. View the marvelous architecture at St Stephen’s Basilica.
4. Kerepesi Cemetery is one of Europe’s largest cemeteries. At over 56 hectares in area, viewing the marvellous statues and architecture is a memorable experience.
5. Budapest has many museums that cost very little money to enter. Don’t miss The Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum among others.
Where to stay in Budapest on a budget
Stay at the
Part 9. Budapest to Venice. 27th March, 2022
With Ryanair. Cost: €22.
Found via Skyscanner
Or via Flixbus- Cost €33 ( 10 hour journey)
Things to do in Venice on a budget
Here are some of favourite things to do in Venice on a budget. If you are foodie, then do checkout my earlier guide to my favourite cheap eats in Venice.
1. Eat at a cicchetti bar in Venice. Cicchetti is a form of Venetian tapas or inexpensive snacks served all day in bars around the city. Locals usually start nibbling ‘cicchetti’ over glasses of local fine Prosecco, often late in the morning, or as an afternoon snack or in the evenings when locals will go on their version of the pub crawl.
2. Visit the Basilica di San Marco. This famous cathedral dominates the famous square with its imposing presence. It’s free to enter and admire the splendid domed interiors.
3. Walk along the Rialto Bridge and take in the cityscapes that have inspired generations of painters and photographers.
4. View Tintoretto’s famous ‘Marriage Feast at Cana’ at the Santa Maria della Salute. The church itself, is an example of Baroque architecture at its best.
5. Take the waterbus to the island of Murano– famous for its glasswares.
Where to stay in Venice on a budget
Checkout my guide to my favourite budget places to stay in Venice.
Part 10. Venice to Milan: 30th March, 2022
With Trenitalia. Cost: €20
Found via Omio app
Things to do in Milan on a budget
1.Visit one of Milan’s many places of worship for free or for a nominal fee. These include the Duomo, Sant’Ambrogio (beautiful ceiling frescoes reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel) and others.
2. Step into the grounds of Castello Sforzesco. This Italianate castle houses museums and other exhibits that cost money to visit, but the green grounds of the castle are free to roam to your heart’s content.
3. Visit the Natural History Museum, the Museum’s of the Castello Sforzesco, and the Archaeological Museum after 2pm on Friday for free.
4. For a fee of €4 you can climb the stairs to the top of Milan’s Duomo for a spectacular panoramic view of Milan.
5. Visit the La Scala Museum for a small fee and gain entrance to one of the most historic and opulent opera houses in the world. It certainly saves on the hefty concert fees.
Where to stay in Milan on a budget
My favourite place to stay in Milan is
Part 11. Milan to Bologna: 1st April, 2022
With Trenitalia. Cost: €10. Found via Omio
Things to do in Bologna on a budget
The real charm of Bologna does not lie in a museum but in the simple act of walking under the row of porticos and just observing the flow of everyday life. One of the most captivating streets to catch the flow of life in this city is Via Zamboni which besides being home to the Teatro Communale is also home to the University of Bologna.
Bologna is the city of porticos and walking under these historic colonnades is one of the highlights of any trip to this city. The perfect way to admire these iconic porticos and also walk off the excesses of the day is to undertake the unique journey of travelling under 666 arches (the longest arcaded walk in the world) to the UNESCO world heritage site of Santuario della Madonna di San Luca (Via di San Luca 36), a beautiful basilica that lies outside the city perched on a hill. The walk to San Luca begins at the arches at Meloncello. It’s quite a hike but a spiritual experience.
Visit the Museum of the History of Bologna housed in the beautiful Palazzo Pepoli. The museum condenses the 2220 years of the city’s history into a few hours, helping you retrace the amazing historical, cultural, artistic and scientific heritage of the city of Bologna. The entry fee is €5.
Visit one of the most important, historic buildings in Bologna- the Archiginnasio, home once upon a time to the oldest university of Western Europe (1088 )- the University of Bologna. Present day it functions as a library. However the main draw for visiting here is the wooden Teatro Anatomico. It’s quite morbid and fascinating at the same time sitting on the benches of the theatre gazing up at the skinless humans of Enrico Lelli overlooking the dissecting table. Dating from 1637, this was the first university to allow dissection of the human body.
If you love movies, the best time to visit Bologna is from the end of June till the end of July when the annual open air film festival- Sotto le Stelle del Cinema is held in Piazza Maggiore. It’s free for locals and tourists.
Checkout also my 48 hours in Bologna post for more tips.
Where to stay in Bologna on a budget
Furnishing using 99% handmade materials inside an old and fascinated building of Bologna downtown ( only hostel in the area )
Part 12. Bologna to Florence: 4th April, 2022
Trenitalia. Cost: €10
Found via Omio app
Things to do in Florence on a budget
1. Step into Orsanmichele, a church and former granary. The famous statues embellishing the exterior of the church are copies but the originals can be viewed for free inside the church’s museum.
2. The first Sunday of each month offers free admission to the city’s museums. Please utilize the opportunity to visit the Uffizi Gallery among others, although, be warned that they might be very crowded.
3. Visit one of Florence’s many green spaces to escape the buildings and hubbub of human voices. Consider one of the following for your garden oasis: Garden of Cascine, Torrigiani Garden, the Iris Garden or the Etruscan Tomb of Montagnola.
4. Florence, like many Italian cities is an outdoor museum. View the replica of Michelangelo’s David at the Piazza della Signoria. There is lots more to view, so keep your eyes open. Admission to the Duomo is free from specific times every day. Don’t forget the un-missable photo opportunity of capturing the bronze doors of the Baptistery of St. John, embellished with scenes from the Bible.
5. A trip to one of Florence’s many outdoor markets is a real pleasure and an opportunity to steep yourself in the local culture.
Also might want to checkout my self guided walking tour of Florence.
Where to stay in Florence on a budget
My top pick for Florence is Ostello Bello Florence..
Features here include a fantastic onsite bar, the loveliest and most helpful hostel staff you will meet on your travels, a good breakfast to start your day, a stunning wee terrace and self catering kitchen and also there is an extensive schedule of events planned in 2022.
My other top pick is
Part 13. Florence to Rome: 6th April, 2022
With Trenitalia train. Cost: €10. Found via Omio app
Things to do in Rome on a budget
1. Eat gelato sitting on the Spanish Steps and spend an evening people watching.
2. Visit the Pantheon.
3. Visit the Basilica of St Peter’s in the Vatican. Inside, you will be able to view Michelangelo’s famous statue Pietà.
4. Enjoy the grounds surrounding the Villa Borghese. Full of leafy, green, shaded pathways, walking leisurely through this beautifully park is an alternative way to enjoy Rome.
5. The Piazza Navona, apart from the splendid fountains and architecture on display at the square, is a great place to watch street performers.
Where to stay in Rome on a budget
My favourite places to stay in Rome on a budget are the
14. Rome to Athens: 8th April, 2022
With Ryanair. Cost: €20. Book via Skyscanner
Things to do in Athens on a budget
1. A visit to the Monistiraki Flea Market is a must when visiting Athens. You can find all kinds of stuff here. My great find was a bunch of DVD’s including the classic Notting Hill. Each DVD for the princely sum of €0.50
2. Try the Souvlaki at Kostas which for 65 years has been serving Athenians probably the best souvlaki in town.
3. Tucked right at the foot of the Acropolis, checkout the colourful streets of Anafiotika especially early in the morning when they are blissfully quiet and devoid of tourists.
4. Head to TAF: an old backyard turned art exhibition space plus bar with great drinks and some of the best coffee in town
5. Sign up for a free tour with a local via the fantastic ‘This is my Athens’ Greeters scheme. Andreas and Magda, two passionate locals showed me a different side of Athens, an Athens slightly off the beaten path. Andreas and Magda took us to the lesser known neighbourhood of Metaxourgiou. Located north of the historical centre of Athens, between Kolonos to the east and Kerameikos to the west, and north of Gazi. Metaxourgeio is a neighbourhood of immigrants and one in transition. You’ll find plenty of interesting anonymous street art pieces that have both English and Ancient Greek sayings, containing statements such as “Art for art’s sake” (Τεχνη τεχνης χαριν). During the tour we tried another variation of the Souvlaki at the hipster paradise , Elvis. It was a good decision. Delicious and super cheap. We ended the tour at Andreas’s favourite bar: Bel Ray Bar in Koukaki. This is a completely non touristy neighbourhood but filled with great bars and places to eat.
For more inspiration, checkout my guide to Athens
Where to stay in Athens on a budget
Stay at the fabulous
15 Cities. 1 month. Trip comes to a grand total of €218 which is £182 or $248
There are some caveats to the figure. It doesn’t include the cost of luggage fees and also transfers from airport to city centre. This is where coach trumps planes. Train travel is the best in my opinion for seeing Europe, when booked in advance.
If you want to leave the nightmare of planes behind and be more sustainable using mainly trains with the odd bus journey involved, then skip Athens and maybe head to Naples after Rome or hop to Ancona and take the ferry to Split or Zadar.
If you head to Naples you add only €45 to the figure which brings it €263 or £220. If you want the option of the ferry to Split which costs €64 in April 2022, then you’re looking at an extra €100 on top so around €320 or £268 which is still amazing value.
The other excellent option is to get the 2 month Eurail pass with 15 travel days allowed for the amazing sum of just €370.