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50+ Amazing & Budget-Friendly Weekend Getaways in Europe

If you are short on vacation time, weekend trips are the your best option. These 50+ destinations are the best budget-friendly weekend getaways in Europe!

Europe is a vast continent with many amazing places, but these cities are the best budget-friendly weekend getaways in Europe. There are cities right at the beach and those with an intense history. Places that bring you closer to nature and those that make you want to eat all day long. Cities that are more than worth a short trip there and that just might make you want to return there so you can explore more.

On this list, you will find amazing locations all over Europe. Therefore you are bound to find a great location wherever you want to go for a weekend.


All Weekend Getaways in Europe


The best budget-friendly Weekend Getaways in Europe

When it comes to Europe it is hard to say where one should go first, as the number of places worth a visit is seemingly endless. After all, every single country has great places that are perfect for a short trip. However, the places on this list are the very best destination if you are planning one or several budget-friendly weekend getaways in Europe.

Discover the very best of Europe and get to know new places that you should add to your travel list.

Structure of this list of budget-friendly destinations in Europe

In order to make it easier to look for destinations in a certain area of Europe I decided to divide the list into seven regions. It is not an entirely traditional split, as I realized that different people have very different concept when it comes to the region of some countries in Europe.

— read more —

I actually had a debate on Twitter about where Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia belong. And the discussion on there made me realize that there are two very different ways to see it. One is based on the old East-West line, while the other splits the countries by adding Central Europe.

Therefore you will find the countries of Europe divided into Northern, Western, Southern, Central, East-Central, East und South-Eastern Europe. In the case of the Balkans, I decided to go with a geographical approach, so it does include Slovenia.

I decided to compile the countries Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia in the special East-Central category. It is based on no geographical or political aspects. I know that the regional affiliation of these countries can be the topic of a hot debate. And in recognition of both points of view it seemed fitting to grant them this status. Interpret it however you want and according to what you learned in school or university. Just be aware of the fact that there is another way to see it.

Weekend Trips in Northern Europe / Scandinavia

Sweden

Gothenburg

Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg is one of the best places to visit in Scandinavia. A smaller and more affordable version of Stockholm, Gothenburg is becoming more well known as it has won the world’s most sustainable destination four times in a row!

The best time to visit the city is in December for the Gothenburg Christmas Markets. There are four Christmas markets but the main one is at Liseberg Amusement Park. It combines roller coasters with seasonal stalls, Swedish sweet treats and a festive ice skating show, making it fun for all the family. The Christmas Markets have plenty of festive food choices such as traditional Swedish gingerbread called Pepparkaka, sweet mulled wine called glogg, and even a four-course Swedish Christmas buffet dinner all under one roof. 

The city itself is one of the most walkable and combines local designer shops with (free!) tropical botanical gardens. Gothenburg is also a great place for modern foodies, especially those who love the Swedish fika culture, as the Haga neighbourhood is home to the largest cinnamon rolls in Sweden! 

Weekend Getaway destination Gothernburg

Gothenburg is also the jumping off point for the West Sweden islands, if you have time and want to visit some Swedish nature.

Submitted by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within

Finland

Helsinki

Helsinki may not be the first European city that comes to mind when you think of budget-friendly weekend getaways in Europe, but it surprisingly has a lot to offer budget travellers. The Finnish capital is known for being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are a large  number of key attractions in Helsinki that are either free or relatively cheap to go to, such as Helsinki Cathedral, Suomenlinna, and visiting Puu-Kapyla.

One of the biggest ways to blow your budget while in Helsinki is to constantly eat out at restaurants – they don’t come cheap! A great alternative to the ever growing restaurant scene in Helsinki is to stop by Teurastamo, where they have converted unused buildings into various restaurants, bars, and even a gin distillery. Another must-try eatery in Helsinki is Cafe Regatta, which is considered by both locals and tourists as the best cafe in the city (don’t forget to try their cinnamon buns).

It may be one of the smallest European capital cities, but there are a lot of great activities to do in Helsinki and because of its size, many of the main tourist sites are within walking distance of one another. Helsinki is very easy to navigate, and if you want to use their public transportation, purchasing the multi-day transportation card through the HSL app is the best way to stay within your travel budget.

People will be shocked when you tell them that you’ve travelled to Helsinki on a budget, but it’s completely doable with the right planning and mindset. 

Submitted by Krista from Krista the Explorer

Weekend Breaks in Central Europe

Germany

Dresden

I navigated the German landscape as a full-time traveler for over 2 years and Dresden is the one city I can’t ever get out of my head. Once decimated by WWII bombing raids, Dresden has resurrected itself to become the “Florence on the Elbe.” For all of its ornate Baroque details, it is still often overshadowed by the western monoliths of Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt.

If you want to see Germany on a budget, Dresden should be your destination, not a side trip. You can get all of the currywurst and historic-church-bells-ringing-as-the-sun-sets ambiance that you’d find in other German cities, but for a fraction of the price. Plus, you have to option to extend your trip and visit the incredible Sächsische Schweiz region for a day.

Dresden Weekend Itinerary

Here’s a weekend itinerary you won’t want to miss:

  • Have a morning stroll along the Elbe River with a fresh cappuccino from Café Schinkelwache.
  • Get lost in Altstadt, marveling at sites like the Frauenkirche, Zwinger Palace, Katholische Hofkirche, and Dresden Opera House.
  • Eat a traditional German meal at Dresden 1900 with a commanding view of the Frauenkirche from the patio.
  • Explore what life was like behind the Iron Curtain at Die Welt der DDR Museum.
  • Catch a free evening concert during the summer concert series at Großer Garten.

Need more ideas? Get out of the city to visit Schloss Moritzburg, the hills of Radebeul, or the world-famous porcelain manufactory in Meissen. Dresden and its surrounding area is full of wonder, artistry, and breathtaking views. And with plentiful accommodation, accessible public transportation, and affordable cafés on every corner, you’ll likely be surprised by just how far your euro will go.

Explored by Courtney from Court the Blog

Nuremberg

Nuremberg is the perfect for a budget friendly weekend getaway in Europe. One of Germany’s most beautiful cities, Nuremberg is located just an hour from Munich and is filled with castles, good food, cobblestoned streets, history and lots of beer. 

Nuremberg has built itself up from the ashes and it’s dark past, but retained its medieval charm. There’s endless things to see and do in Nuremberg. Exploring Nuremberg Castle is a must, and the views from the top are incredible. Better yet, it’s free! You can also visit the Documentation Centre and Nazi Rally party grounds to learn about Nuremberg’s history. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to just explore. Wander through the old town, admire the bridges, walk the Way of Human Rights and make sure to shop in the boutique stores and stop for coffee and ice-cream, while watching life go by around you.  

View over the houses of Nuremberg - a view you see during weekend getaways in Europe

Nuremberg is home to some epic food and drink choices, and you absolutely have to try traditional Nuremberg sausages and of course, the local beer! There’s also plenty of budget friendly places to eat and drink. Albrecht Durer Stube is a great traditional spot for a meal, and Alex Restaurant has a huge range of options without breaking the bank.  

You’ll quickly fall in love with Nuremberg’s medieval feel, cobblestoned streets and its history. It’s easily one of the best spots for a weekend getaway.  

Submitted by Emma from Emma Adventures

Munich

Munich is a terrific weekend destination that can be easily experienced on a budget. The reason why Munich makes the cut as a weekend destination is that it has plenty of places where you can unwind while also exploring a few tourist attractions. 

If you are on a budget, stay at one of the many hostels close to the Central Munich train station. 

From here, you can head to Marienplatz which is the central area of Munich. You can climb up to the top of St. Peter’s church for a panoramic view of Munich. You could also explore the Viktualienmarkt. This is the primary market area in Munich. You will find plenty of shops selling a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, eggs, venison, meat, wine, etc.

From here you must visit the famous Hofbräuhaus to experience the fun vibe of a classic beer house. 

During your time in Munich, you should also visit the vast English Garden where you could enjoy a boat-ride or ride a horse or simply have a few more glasses of beer while people-watching! Beerhouses here let you bring your own food. So you could save money by buying food at supermarkets and then eating it here after a glass of beer.

While in Munich, you could also visit the BMW showroom and factory and marvel at the beauty of the world’s most expensive cars. Additionally, you could also consider visiting the Olympiapark or the Nymphenburg Palace. 

Public Transport in Munich

However, the best way to ensure that you do not spend much while you are in Munich is by purchasing a Munich Card or the Munich City Pass that gives unlimited free access to all modes of public transport in Munich and free or discounted entry to most tourist attractions. If you are heading out to other Bavarian towns, buy the money-saving Bayern Ticket

Submitted by Vrushali K from Couple of Journeys

Trips to East-Central Europe

Poland

Wroclaw

For quite a few years now, I’ve been telling anybody who will listen that Poland is the perfect place for a budget weekend in Europe. Whilst Krakow remains its most visited city, my most recent trip to Poland (and perhaps my favourite so far) took me to lesser-known Wroclaw. 

Wroclaw’s historic old town is a delightful patchwork of cobbled streets and colourful buildings, centered on one of Europe’s largest market squares. It is at this square that the absence of stifling crowds of tourists is most noticeable – a far cry from the trappings of Paris or Rome. Here, you can tuck into an extremely filling plate of traditional dumplings for less than the cost of a beer in London. These prices are typical in the dozens of enticing restaurants and cafes across the city.

Things to do in Wroclaw

Aside from the bargain food and drink, my favourite thing to do in Wroclaw is completely free – searching for dwarfs! The streets of Wroclaw are covered in hundreds of tiny figures, each of them completely unique, and as a collective they turn the city into an open-air exhibition. Their origins as an anti-communist symbol are equally fascinating, and capture the unique spirit of this brilliant city. 

You can’t help but notice the dwarfs everywhere you go, and the hunt to see them all can take you to some of the city’s other main attractions. The river Oder is a particular highlight during the summer, and it is here you’ll find the spectacular ‘Cathedral Island’ – one of the most photogenic spots in the city. If the weather isn’t on your side, the Racławice Panorama is a must visit. This giant 19th century painting commemorates an historic battle and is wrapped around the walls of a custom-built rotunda. It needs to be seen to be believed.

by Matt from TwoTicketsTo

Krakow

As one of the most charming cities not only in Europe but in Poland, Krakow is a city that will steal your heart.  Krakow has Europe’s largest central square dotted by hundreds of restaurants and cafes as well as pigeons and horse carriages. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, central squares in Europe are common locations for pigeons to gather though many continue to be wary of people  Not in Krakow however.  The pigeons welcome people and allow people to get very close and feed them by hand.  The sheer amount of pigeons in the central square is remarkable.  The center of the square has a large building called Sukiennice, once a cloth hall, currently occupied by dozens of vendors and tourists walking through looking to buy authentic Polish items.  It’s a great place to find some hidden gems.

Krakow has plenty of fabulous restaurants offering local Polish cuisine for friendly prices.  Be sure to try pierogi or potato pancakes when in the city,

Not too far from the center is Wawel Royal Castle which has some remarkable history and also an underground area with tombs.  Closeby there is also the dragon’s lair, a small cave found under the hill with a story of a mythical dragon that once lived there.

Krakow is also a great starting point for local visits to Auschwitz or the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has an amazing underground tour that should not be missed. The city has plenty of tours that provide transportation to locations in and around the city.

Submitted by Diana from Travels in Poland

Gdansk

Gdańsk, part of the tri-city area of Poland, should be on everybody’s bucket list. From the sheer beauty of the city to the history that oozes from every corner to the wealth of day trips you can do from the city itself, it’s a great option for a budget Polish city break. Affordable flights and plenty of low-cost Airbnb options mean you don’t have to spend a lot to have an amazing few days in this pretty city.

Explore Długa, the main street filled with restaurants and bars, or head to the other side of the river to enjoy seafood and ride the AmberSky ferris wheel. There are museums aplenty, and you can board a pirate ship and head down the river to Westerplatte – a location that was a huge part of early WW2. Now an open-air museum, you can climb up a watch tower and look out over the Baltic Sea, or explore crumbling buildings that were half-destroyed in battle.

Head to the docks and find out all about the Polish solidarity movement and Lech Walesa, and keep going a bit further out to the Energa Stadium, a football ground that is also home plenty of things to do on a rainy day – the FunArena has escape rooms, go-karting and more. Sopot and Gdynia, the other two cities in the tri-city area, are within easy distance. They make for wonderful day trips! To put it simply, Gdańsk has it all – beauty, charm, good food and plenty of things to do.

Explored by Katy Gilroy | The Lilac Scrapbook

Warsaw

An ideal long weekend getaway destination in Europe, Warsaw is the perfect city for those traveling on a budget. It offers an interesting mix of traditional and modern, attractions of all kinds, and great food and nightlife scenes, so anyone can find something to love about it.

There are plenty of things to do in Warsaw on a budget. Many attractions can be visited for free, including the Royal Castle (which offers free admission on Wednesdays), the beautiful University Library Gardens, and the Chopin Museum (which also offers free admission on Wednesdays. You can also wander through its gorgeous old town, take unique free walking tours (like street art and Jewish history), and visit its parks without spending any money.

It’s also easy to find budget-friendly hotels or apartments in the city center and feast on hearty Polish food at ridiculous prices. Lunch at traditional diners called milk bars will only cost 10-20 PLN (about $3-$6), and a full 3-course meal at a more upscale restaurant (after which you literally can’t breath) should not cost more than $16. Take advantage of these prices and indulge yourself in a mountain of pierogis (Polish dumplings), potato pancakes, soups, stews, and other delicious Polish dishes.

By Or from My Path in the World

The best Weekend Getaways in Europe: Warsaw

Czech Republic

Prague

The Czech Republic’s capital city has slowly turned into one of Europe’s best city breaks. And it’s understandable why! The stunning architecture, delicious dishes, tons of history and… it is very affordable. 

There are a lot of things to do in Prague, including visiting the world’s largest castle complex. It covers over 70,000 square meters, has a stunning castle garden and multiple buildings in both gothic and romanesque style. But this is not the only spot in Prague where you can enjoy the beautiful architecture in the city. Prague’s Old Town Square is another hot-spot for this. On this square, you can find the famous astronomical clock. This is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest that is still working! Every hour on the hour (between 9 AM and 11 PM) you can see the statues of the apostles move around above the clock.

Prague is also known for its cheap beers – and they are very proud of their beer! You simply cannot leave Prague without drinking a pint of Pilsner Urquell. In some restaurants, it’s even cheaper to order a beer compared to a glass of water (and I love it!). Beer being the national drink of the Czech Republic, the people of Prague haven taken it even further with their beer spas. Yes, you read that correctly – bathe in beer! 

If you want to surround yourself with some of Europe’s most beautiful architecture in a city that feels like a fairytale, Prague is the perfect place!

Submitted by Nele from The Navigatio

Hungary

Budapest

Budapest is one of the most charming and historically enchanting capitals in Central Europe. Situated on a Danube riverbank, the capital of Hungary was made up of three different cities – Buda, Pest and Obuda – which were unified into one that we now recognize as Budapest. While the city is mostly known for its outdoor thermal baths and extraordinary ruin bars, there is so much more the city can offer for all types of travellers.

Compared to surrounding Central European capitals, Budapest is a super affordable option for budget-travellers. Prices of hotels and restaurants in the city centre are a bit higher but, in general, you can spend around €25-€50 per day. This should include a comfortable hotel room (or a hostel if you prefer!), all the meals of the day and one or two attractions.

The best part of Budapest is that the city is very walkable, so it saves you a bit of money. Also, if you do need to use public transport at some point, you can get a 24-hour travelcard that is only around €5 and lets you use the metro, buses, trams, trolleybuses, suburban railway lines and even city boats.

Asides from being a low-cost destination, Budapest has it all. No, really. You can admire spectacular architectural wonders such as the Parliament building, Opera House, Fisherman’s Bastion or the Chain’s Bridge, you can immerse yourself into wild Hungarian nightlife in Szimpla Kert or spend the day in different museums such as House of Terror.

If you need to relax, you can always spend an afternoon in Gillert’s spa and enjoy a wonderful sunset view from Gillert’s hill. Oh, and definitely don’t forget to get a taste of Hungarian cuisine and their famous Tokaji wine by the riverside.

Submitted by Leta from The Nerdy Me

Slovakia

Bratislava

Slovakia’s capital might not be on everybody’s radar but you should definitely consider visiting Bratislava if you are looking for a budget friendly weekend getaway. 

The city has a beautiful old town with lots of cute buildings and cafés. Spend your time visiting the impressive Bratislava castle, the blue church or try some delicious Slovak food. The Slovak National dish is called Bryndzové Halušky, which are potato dumplings with sheep cheese usually served with bacon sprinkles on top. I can recommend the Slovak Pub for some cheap and authentic Slovak food.

When in Bratislava, also make sure to visit the nearby Devin Castle from where you can get incredible views of the Danube river. Another attraction in Bratislava is the UFO bridge and also make sure to walk up to the Slavín War Memorial. From there you can get amazing views of the whole city.

And if you are considering a trip to Bratislava you can also fly to the Vienna airport if you can get a better flight deal. From the Vienna airport you can take a one hour direct bus to the Bratislava Old town which will only cost you around 5€. Bratislava’s central location also makes it a unique place to visit. Not only Vienna is close but you can reach Budapest within 2.5 hours or Prague within 4 hours by train.

Submitted by Becky from Becksplore Travel

Weekend Getaways in Southern Europe

Greece

Crete

A great budget-friendly weekend idea is to jump on a plane and head to the southern part of the Aegean Sea. The Greek island of Crete offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy a fantastic couple of days without spending a fortune.

You can choose to land in the capital of Crete, Heraklion, and discover some of the many budget-friendly activities you can do in the areas.

Spending a weekend in Heraklion can represent a great opportunity to explore the culture and the history of the island. It’s in the this region, just a few kilometers from the capital, where you will be able to visit the Archaeological Site of Knossos, the second most important archaeological site in Greece, only second to the Parthenon in Athens. During the visit you can learn about the Minoans, one of the most important ancient civilizations which dominated all over the Aegean Sea as far back as the Bronze Age.

When visiting Heraklion and the Archaeological Palace, it’s a great idea to also explore the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, located right in the center of town and exhibiting hundreds of objects found on the island, and specially in Knossos.

But not everything is just history. Heraklion is a city with plenty of restaurants, tavernas and night clubs where to enjoy some time. If you are a fan of swimming, you can also visit beaches such as Agia Pelagia or Ligres, only a few minutes from the center of town.

Submitted by Gabi Ancarola from The Tiny Book

Italy

Italy is one of these countries you fall in love with the minute you arrive. Therefore you usually cannot help it but to return there again and again.

And luckily the country has so many amazing places, that you will always be able to explore a new one.

Italy has some of the best weekend getaways in Europe, so be sure to check out these 7 cities including my personal favorite Bergamo.

Read More: Affordable Weekend Trips in Italy

Spain

Most people that visit Spain for the first time end up exploring Madrid or Barcelona. However Spain offers a lot more beyond these two cities.

The ten weekend trip destinations on this list are all worth a trip. So be sure to plan one or many trips to Spain so you can explore all of them.

Read More: Great Weekend Trips in Spain

Portugal

A fantastic coast line, beaches, vibrant cities and great food – all of these things can be found in Portugal. Lisbon is a popular choice when planning a trip, but there are many more places to see. Faro, Evora and Penich are just some of the many places to see in Portugal.

Read More: Budget-friendly Short Trips in Portugal

Budget-friendly Short Trips in Western Europe

France

Annecy

Annecy is well known as being the “Venice of France.” This small city is located in southeastern France nestled in the alps between Lyon and Geneva. Charming canals wind through the city, with cafes and shops dotted along the sides. The canals then lead to the most stunning alpine lake called Lake Annecy. 

So why should you visit this small town? It has ample charm and stunning views, making it an ideal stop during a trip to France or as a day trip from Lyon or Switzerland!  

To make the most of your time in Annecy, you’ll definitely need to get out on the lake in the summer and paddle boat or swim. With mountain views from the lake you could spend a lot of time just taking in the scenery. 

Other incredible things to do include visiting the Annecy Castle Museum, exploring the gorgeous Palais de L’Isle (which was a former palace, then prison, and now art museum) located in the Thiou Canal, taking a hike up Mont Veyrier, and, being an alpine city, eating all the cheesy, gooey things! 

Annecy is a gem in France that few get to visit, but it is well worth your time to see! It is also very walkable and easy to get to via train from Lyon or Geneva. With affordable things to do, delicious alpine cuisine, and charming canals, a visit to Annecy is a budget European destination you never knew you needed to visit.

Submitted by Kat from Worldwide Honeymoon

Carcasonne

Carcassonne is an historic city deep in the south west of France, famous for La Cite, the renovated medieval citadel. Home to many battles and a chequered history, La Cite was renovated in the seventies and is now a must visit on any trip in south west France.

For the budget conscious, La Cite is free to enter and you can wander to your heart’s content, heading for the big well, the oldest in La Cite and rumoured hiding place of Visigoth treasure.  Stop for a beer though, or enter the chapels and certain parts of the castle and you will have spent quite a few euros before you even realise it! Another great way to see the citadel for free and at its best is to take a walk around the outside, where you’ll find fewer people and some great views. 

For a more authentic French experience visit the new town, known as la ville basse and enjoy the wonderful Saturday morning farmers market in Place Carnot, surrounded by bistros and bars where breakfast or a beer won’t cost the earth!  

Head for the Aude, the clear sparkling river which runs through Carcassonne from the Pyrenees, on its way to the Mediterranean.  The bridges are fascinating, some of them very old and you’ll pass through vineyards and pretty woodlands as you stroll…all for free, of course!

Submitted by Philip from The Gap Decaders

Condom

The town of Condom and the surrounding area of what used to be called Gascony offer pristine rolling hills, picturesque villages, and delicious local dishes, all with very few tourists to share with. And, as an added bonus, most of the best things to see and do are free or close to it!

As one of the larger towns of the area, Condom makes a good base for lodging. Among its historic sites, the ornately carved 14th-century Cathedral Saint-Pierre and its cloisters stand out as the highlight. However, a quick 10-minute drive will take you to the even more impressive Flaran Abbey, which also houses a collection of important artworks. 

You can reach 3 of France’s Most Beautiful Villages (there’s an official list) within a 15-minute drive of Condom: Montreal-du-Gers, Fources, and Larressingle. Stroll through each of these beauties and discover what earned them their place on this prestigious list. 

The charming village square of Fources flaunts large trees, lush green grass, colorful flower boxes, and quaint arcade houses that circle the central plaza. In Montreal-du-Gers, visit the 4th-century Gallo-Roman Villa de Seviac and marvel at the mosaics. Larressingle, complete with a moat, church, and ruined castle, has the title of France’s smallest fortified city. Although it is small, it may be the most beautiful of these 3 villages. Budget time to linger at one of the 3 local restaurants and enjoy the local specialties. 

These specialties include some of France’s best-known dishes, such as duck confit and foie gras, and you will be greatly relieved at the affordability of this gourmet fare perfectly paired with local wine. Although vineyards dot the hillside, Armagnac reigns king here. Be sure to enjoy a glass after dinner or visit the Armagnac Museum.

Explored by Denise from Chef Denise

Jura Mountains

The French Alps are a prized destination for visitors, both in winter and summer. But an Alpine vacation can be expensive: restaurants are delicious but costly, and accommodation is at a premium, whether you’re looking for a tiny studio or a luxury chalet.

Within sight of the Alps lies a more unusual French destination, an older but smaller mountain range called the Jura, where prices are more modest, local food is delicious, and there’s plenty of fun in both summer and winter.

Given the difference in height, the activities are a little different. The highest peak in the Alps is 4800 meters, while the highest point in the Jura is just over 1700 meters. So while you’ll experience black downhill skiing runs in the Alps, you’ll be slipping on your cross-country skis for the Jura’s more than 1000km of trails.

5936 – view from the Jura Mountains over Lake Geneva
Things to do in the Jura Mountains

In winter, apart from cross-country skiing, you’ll enjoy snowshoeing, dogsledding – and yes, downhill skiing, although not from the same height, of course. The après-ski is also fun, especially when it involves local products like Mont-d’Or cheese, one of the great culinary experiences of the Jura. The cheese comes surrounded by a thin strip of wood and is usually eaten hot and melted, by twirling potatoes inside.

Jura Mountains European Weekend Trip Destination
5921 – a typical scene of the Jura Mountains

In summer, this is a hiking paradise, with some of France’s most spectacular hikes. Furthermore the Jura is dotted with lakes so everything from swimming to kayaking can help break the heat of summer. The Jura is also rife with grottoes and caves to explore, and mountaintops off which to base jump.

There’s no question this is a paradise for nature lovers, but while there are expert-level tracks and trails, beginners are welcome and there is an easy version of every activity.

How to get to the Jura Mountains

The gateway to the Jura is across the border, in Switzerland. From Geneva, you can reach the mountains by car in half an hour. By train, Geneva will do, as will Bellegarde-sur-Valserine in France. 

Contributed by Leyla from Offbeat France

United Kingdom

Rye, East Sussex

Rye, East Sussex is a charming town to spend a budget-friendly weekend getaway. Only around 2 hours from London by car or train, this ancient medieval town sits near the coast and is rich with history dating back to the mid-1200s.

The towns labyrinth of cobbled streets and half-timbered buildings are enchanting, and a weekend can easily be spent navigating the historic streets that look as though they’re straight out of a child’s fairy tale. 

Things to do in Rye

There are plenty of things to do on a budget, from a visit to the Rye Town Model for some town history portrayed through a sound and light show of a miniature version of the town (adults £3.50, children £1.50), the Rye Castle Museum (admission is free but donations are encouraged) for some interesting facts about the town and artifacts spanning over past centuries, Ypres Tower (adults £4, children under 16 free), dating back to the 1200s and was involved in defence and trade before being used a prison, or climb the church tower at St Mary’s Cathedral for £4 on clear days for sweeping views of the rooftops of Rye and beyond. 

There are numerous places to enjoy a drink or bite to eat in Rye. Some popular stops are Marino’s Fish Bar for proper fish and chips and great value. Order it for takeaway and enjoy it by the River Brede. If you’re for a unique place to stop for a pint, the Rye Waterworks is a cozy place to visit and is popular with locals – it was once a pump house, soup kitchen, then public toilets, and is now an award-winning micropub!

Rye is a place to visit and doesn’t require a lot of expense to enjoy. You’ll leave this tiny town feeling enchanted and yearning to return.

Houses in Rye - on of the best Weekend Getaways in Europe

Submitted by Sarah from In Search of Sarah

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is known as being one of the most affordable cities in the UK across the board. For example, it is the 3rd cheapest city of 69 in Britain for a proper night-out including food and drinks and taxis and kebabs. At the same time, it is one of the more exciting cities to explore when it comes to culture, architecture, and nightlife in the otherwise somewhat sleepy capital in Northern Ireland.

Many of the main tourist attractions in Belfast City Centre are also free for entry including the Ulster Museum at the Botanical Gardens, the City Hall found smack in the centre of the city, and the Titanic Quarter which is like a massive open-air museum commemorating the docks where the Titanic was originally built.

But just exploring the small city, which can be covered fairly extensively through a weekend, is the main draw, like the cobbled streets of the Cathedral Quarter and the serene riverside strolls along the Lagan River. Then in the evenings the bars are hard to beat when it comes to local banter (or craic as it’s called here) with some of the oldest and most homely pubs in all of Ireland. 

Contributed by Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor  

Netherlands

Maastricht

Where is Maastricht?

Maastricht is the capital of the dutch province called Limburg, right at the south of the Netherlands. Maastricht is also the second oldest Dutch city, and known for being the hometown of the famous violinist Andre Rieu but also for being the birthplace of Euro, as the Maastricht Treaty was signed right here!

Being the second oldest city in the Netherlands, and not having been destroyed by WWII, means that when walking through the streets of Maastricht, you can enjoy the beautiful old architecture, cobblestone streets, and many cozy alleys and squares.

For those who enjoy art, Maastricht is also known for hosting, every year, the European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF).

How to get to Maastricht?

You can easily reach Maastricht either by train or car.

Must see in Maastricht

When in Maastricht one can’t leave without checking these spots:

  • – Wijk neighborhood
  • – Center Ceramic and enjoy a walk along the river Mosa
  • – Appreciate the view from Sint Servaasbrug
  • – City park (Stadspark)
  • – Visit the Helport
  • – Enjoy a slice of Limburgs pie right next to the Bisschopsmolen
  • – Visit the Vrijthof square following a visit to the Saint Servatius church.
  • – From there, go grab a nice drink at the Market square.
  • – And finally, check out the Bassin area

If you have never been to Maastricht, you should definitely add it to your to-go list! You will not regret it.

Submitted by Barbara from Porty’s Diary

Luxembourg

Luxembourg (City)

Don’t let the “lux” in Luxembourg fool you – this quaint little country can be a very budget-friendly weekend destination! Here are just a few low-cost features Luxembourg has to offer:

Transportation in Luxembourg

Earlier this year, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make all its standard-class public transport free! Not that it was expensive before – a 2-hour ticket only cost €2, while an all-day second-class ticket cost €4. But now, you can save those euros and put them towards treating yourself to one of Luxembourg’s world-class pastries.

Attractions in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is packed with beautiful castles, and they’re not expensive to visit. Admission to most castles is under €10 per person. Museums are surprisingly inexpensive as well – for example, the permanent exhibits at the National Museum of History and Art are free, while access to their temporary exhibits is only €7.

But if you’re planning to visit more than two attractions, buying the Luxembourg Card is your best bet. You can purchase a 1, 2, or 3-day card, which gets you free access to over 60 museums, castles and other attractions. If there are more than two of you traveling, the Family Card is an even better deal.

Hiking in Luxembourg

Another budget-friendly activity in Luxembourg is hiking. There are numerous hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty all across the country. Plus, walking is free – although I would recommend investing in a trail map so you don’t get lost. My favourite hiking trails are the Mullerthal Trail and the circular routes, which start and end at the same point.

Despite being the richest country in the world by GDP per capita, Luxembourg can be a budget-friendly destination. At least with a little bit of planning! 

Submitted by Darlene from Thirsty Journeys

Budget-friendly Destinations in Eastern Europe

Estonia

Tallinn

If you want to go away for a weekend without breaking the bank, then you should head to Tallinn. With its many towers, cobblestone streets and red-tiled roofs, this city looks as if it came straight out of a fairy tale.

The first thing you should do after arriving is going for a walk through the Old Town. Make sure to stop by the Town Hall Square. Here, you can visit the Tallinn Town Hall or check out the oldest pharmacy in Europe. Or how about climbing on top of the nearby city wall and into its towers?

If you want to visit the town’s best viewpoints, go up to Toompea Hill. Back in the days, the upper class lived here, where they could, literally, look down on the workers below.
Today, you can find a great view of Tallinn as well as a beautiful Orthodox cathedral.

Tallinn is also famous for its many affordable museums. Check out Kiek in de Kök, the old watchtower up on Toompea Hill, or visit the National Museum in the Guild Hall.

If you’re looking for a different experience, we recommend the NUKU Museum of Puppet Arts, where you can spend a few hours getting creative. Create your own stage, play with puppets and have fun!

While in Tallinn, make sure to try some Estonian food. You will find many restaurants offering traditional and modern Estonian cuisine around the Old Town. The III Draakon, just by the Town Hall, is a great place to try elk meat for only a few Euros. You definitely won’t overspend here.

Submitted by Daniel and Ilona from Top Travel Sights

Latvia

Riga

Riga is a small and charming UNESCO World Heritage site city and the capital city of Latvia. There are heaps of fun things to do in Riga that are free or inexpensive, which makes it a great wallet friendly destination and perfect for a cheap weekend away. 

Highlights include soaking up the cobbled streets and numerous squares of the old town, whilst checking out magnificent old buildings such as the Riga Blackheads and the three brothers (or join one of the many free walking tours to learn more about Riga’s history). As Riga is a fairly compact city, you’ll be able to explore a lot of the old town by foot meaning you don’t need to spend any money on public transport to get to the major attractions. 

Dining out in Riga will not break the budget either with many cheap places to eat including Lido – a very popular chain restaurant that serves hearty local Latvian cuisine buffet style and charges by weight (you can eat here for under €5). Alternatively many mid-priced restaurants in town offer main courses for under €10, or head to Riga Central Market where you will find bargain street food stalls. 

After the sun sets head to one of Riga’s most popular nightlife venues – Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs. Food and drink in this basement bar is super cheap and there is live music several nights a week. We recommend ordering the 5 euro beer platter to accompany your drink – it comes with delicious dark garlic bread and is very popular with locals.

Riga has plenty of affordable hotel and hostel options all over town, plus it is also served by several budget airlines including Ryanair and Wizz Air.

Explored by Caroline from CK Travels

Lithuania

Vilnius

Europe is often known as being expensive, too expensive to have a good time! Most people know to visit Europe on a budget, you head to Eastern Central Europe. But, what about the Baltic states? The Baltic countries are made up of three small countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Although these countries are small, they pack a punch and they’re a lot cheaper than the rest of Europe. 

One of the most beautiful cities in the Baltics is Vilnius, Lithuania. Whether you prefer to stay in hostels or in hotels, you can easily find accommodation for 50€ for two nights. Just because Lithuania is cheap, it doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. 

Some of the best things to do in Vilnius are St Anne’s Church, Vilnius Cathedral, Gedmina’s Tower and the Republic of Užupis. Although Užupis is located within Vilnius, it is also one of the smallest republics in the world. As you cross the bridge from Vilnius into Užupis, you can pass through border control (tourist information) and get your passport stamped. Warning, if you get your passport stamped, make sure you get it stamped on the way back to Vilnius. 

For great places to eat, that won’t cost an arm and a leg, head through the gates of dawn and down Ausros Vartai. Along this street you will find plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can find local bites to eat.  Don’t forget to explore the Baltic Way Monument. The monument pays tribute to the two million people who in 1989 joined hands across 675.5km through the three capital cities of the Baltic states.  The human chain was formed to protest against the Soviet occupation, in 1990 Lithuania became independent.

Submitted by Fiona from Travelling Thirties

Weekend Escapes in Southeastern Europe

Ukraine

Kyiv

Heading off to Ukraine when planning weekend getaways in Europe is something of a wild card; it’s definitely a bit of a detour from the standard tourist destinations. But even though it doesn’t yet see the tourist numbers of other European cities, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be a really unique and super affordable city break. 

Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital is so rich in history that you can’t miss taking a free walking tour of the city. Tours will show off Kyiv’s dramatic Soviet style architecture whilst talking you through the city’s colourful past, and then point out some of their most beautiful golden-domed churches (Saint Michaels and Saint Andrews are stunners!). On the flip side, Andriyivskyy Descent is where you’ll find independent cafes, local galleries, modern street art and bric-a-brac stalls lining the winding cobbled streets. Don’t miss popping into Lviv Handmade Chocolate café at the bottom of the road for a ridiculously rich melted chocolate drink and hand-crafted truffles.

On the far side of the city you can visit the Kyiv Monastery and caves for a tiny entrance fee. This religious complex with expansive gardens, ornate, whitewashed churches and adjoining catacombs with candle-lit underground caves and mummified monks is something of an experience!

When you’re in Kyiv, make sure you try out the local foods; places like Mitla and Korchma Taras Bulba serve up very affordable portions of traditional Ukrainian borscht, dumplings and shots of the local Ukrainian spirits! And for something even more budget-friendly, the local street food, perepichka (a sausage in a deep-fried doughnut) can be picked up in the city for the equivalent of 50p!

Submitted by Michaela from This FP Planet

Lviv

Lviv, Ukraine is one of the best places for the city break in Europe. It is stunningly beautiful, full of history, with lots of great restaurants and cafes and, most importantly, very affordable prices. With so many great things to do in Lviv you will not be bored for sure.

The city, located near the border with Poland, is full of attractions, most of them are packed in the center of the city near the main square – Rynok. That’s where you will find the most beautiful pastel houses, cobbled streets and impressive churches. If you are fit enough you can climb to the town hall tower for the best view of the city – it is a bit challenging but worth the effort.

Lviv has also some of the jaw-dropping interiors, like the Ethnographical Museum or House of Scientists. The most beautiful one is, however, the Opera where you can attend the show for a very fair price or just visit the place during the day. Lviv’s culinary scene is spectacular, you can try here dishes from all over the world and relax with a cup of delicious coffee in one of the numerous cafes.

The city is still not very popular among foreign tourists, but it is a matter of time when the world discovers how amazing Lviv is!

Explored by Kami from My Wanderlust

the Balkans

The countries of the Balkan offer a lot and while many would not consider them when planning incredible weekend getaways in Europe, these 11 destinations should definitely be on your list.

Explore the more commonly known cities like Sofia, Split or Zagreb. Or plan an adventure to the hidden gems of the Balkan like Kotor.

Read More: Amazing Weekend Getaways in the Balkans

Weekend Getaways in Europe

Hopefully this list of incredible weekend getaways will have helped you determined where to go next. And chances are, that you also added several cities in Europe to your future trip list.

Let me know which one of these cities you have already explored and which one you will explore next!

Planning a weekend getaway in Europe? Pin it for later!

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