In a good year, almost 1.5 billion tourists make their way to Europe. They travel in search of history, and to experience the culture, but also for a chance to sample some of the world’s best food.
Many European countries are rightly famous as some of the top foodie destinations around. Fortunately, you don’t have to dine in Michelin Star restaurants at every meal to get the best of it.
Here’s how you can experience the best tastes of the continent by visiting some of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
1. France Is Not One of the Cheapest Places to Travel in Europe
Like ultra-expensive Norway, France doesn’t belong on any list of cheap travel destinations. Time spent in Paris is guaranteed to blow your budget.
Yet, France has a place here because –
- It’s on every serious traveler’s bucket list
- Everyone deserves a chance to enjoy authentic French food
Besides, there are plenty of other places in France apart from Paris to wine and dine for next to nothing.
Try visiting less well-known cities and towns where you can revel in fresh local eats, like oysters right out of the ocean in Bordeaux.
Shop like a local in village markets where you can pick up the freshest charcuterie, baguettes, and cheese for a farm-style picnic or a slap-up lunch.
Spoil yourself by taking advantage of prix-fixe (set menu) meals in restaurants. These work out to half the price of ordering items separately.
Drink wine, it’s cheap.
Champagne is among the more expensive drinks you’ll encounter during your travels to France. To save money, you can opt for sparkling wine instead.
When you compare these two beverages you’ll see that they’re almost the same thing. Also, you can get sparkling wine in Italy, which is altogether a cheaper option.
2. Budget-Beating Italy
Nowhere will you get better pasta and pizza, the budget-friendly staples of a western diet, than in Italy.
Likewise, markets overflow with locally-produced variations of cheese and meats that you won’t get anywhere else – at a little more than cost-price.
Choose self-catering accommodation for your trip to Italy. Not only will you save on accommodation but you’ll get to sample the very best of Italian produce, pastries, cheese, and wine at a fraction of the price.
Drink water, it’s pure, refreshing and free from aqueducts all over the cities.
3. Charming Croatia
Croatia is top of the travel pops right now as one of Earth’s most fascinating and cheapest destinations.
There are so many ways to enjoy Croatia without spending a cent, from lounging on pebble-strewn beaches to wandering cobblestoned streets.
Food-wise, you can’t afford to miss out on locally-produced cheeses, squid, grilled meat, and pašticada stewed beef. Put Kremsnita cake and Bermet with mustard on your list too.
Avoid touristy joints and you’ll find no shortage of cheap meals to take advantage of in Croatia.
4. Pretty Portugal
Portugal is a gorgeous and often overlooked cheap European destination. Lisbon is one of the best places to travel if you love architecture, history, and low-cost eats.
Don’t miss the chance to try custardy pastel de nata from a street vendor, or the opportunity to linger over several glasses of cheap local wine at a street cafe.
Spicy pork baps, salt cod pie, and clams are other staples of the wallet-conscious traveler.
Pick a low-key side-street eatery, many of them come with gorgeous rooftop views and a chance to hang with the locals.
5. Tantalizing Turkey
This eastern European hotspot of culture is a treat for travelers on a budget and one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.
With the exchange rate in your favor at around 8 to 1, you can’t go wrong when you’re looking for cheap eats in Turkey.
It’s all happening on the street in Istanbul, where food vendors rub shoulders as they ply you with cheap, delicious eats.
Try the best hummus you’ll ever have, munch on simple yet delicious fish sandwiches, or bite into lip-smacking durum wraps with chicken, beef or lamb slivers.
Don’t skimp on the Turkish coffee, it’s all it’s made out to be.
6. Amsterdam Eats
Amsterdam has a lot on the cards for freewheeling travelers, and the food is great too.
You won’t find better gouda and other Dutch cheese anywhere on the planet.
Sweet pickled herring is a delight, and Dutch apple pie and olibollen (deep-fried dough) are a treat. You can’t — and probably won’t —leave Amsterdam without trying a few handfuls of sugar-sprinkled poffertjies.
7. Brilliant Belgium
Chocolate, waffles, and beer, what could go wrong? These staples of the Belgian experience are much cheaper when you get them at the source.
In Belgium, there’s no need to visit a high-end eatery ever. You can sample all the best Belgian fare on the streets.
Prepare for fragrant by hints of saffron, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon in almost every dish.
What’s more, the eye-popping portions are usually double what you’re used to, so get a foodie friend to tag along.
Some of Belgium’s most classic eats are sausage with cabbage and potatoes, mussels, meatballs, Flemish stew, and shrimp croquettes.
Cheap buffets will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Rather head for the central marketplaces. Here vendors still take pride in their presentation of delicious traditional eats.
You’ll find Hungarian goulash filled with beef, potato, and paprika, of course. It’s the national dish of Hungary and for good reason.
Salami and other cold cuts are some of the best internationally, poppy seed pastries are unusually good and the apfelstrudel is legendary.
The Hungarians are no slouches when it comes to chocolate confections either. Head straight for the factory and stock up.
Go Further for Less
The world is your oyster when you know how to live like a local during your trips.
Splurging on fancy meals and accommodation is no guarantee of a better experience. Instead, go further for cheaper rather than get bogged down in the usual tourist spots.
What’s your take on the cheapest places to travel in Europe? Scroll down to join in the conversation.