European getaways have always been painted as these lavish, expensive affairs that not all travelers will get to enjoy in their lifetime.

But as new transatlantic flights pop up virtually every day and prices back home reach all-time highs, planning that dream European vacation doesn’t end up costing much more than a domestic holiday, especially if you choose your destination right.

And to help you do just that, travel insurance company Quotezone just released a ranking of the best, cheapest European cities to visit in 2024, a list that was based on factors like popularity, accommodation costs, food prices, tourist taxes, public transport fees, and more.

After all of that was taken into consideration, these five places were crowned the continent’s top budget-friendly destinations:

5. Madrid, Spain

View of Madrid

The No. 5 spot caught us a little by surprise, too – Spain is hardly your typical budget vacation spot.

But when you actually take a look at the prices you’ll pay for traveling musts in Madrid (think hotel rooms, meals, groceries, and transportation), you’ll realize that you might’ve been a bit too quick to judge the Spanish capital as just another pricy hub only a select few can afford.

You won’t struggle to find a great hotel in the city center within the $70-$100 a night range, a quick meal for two rarely surpasses the $30 mark, and a bus or metro ticket is less than $2.

What’s more, there’s no shortage of gorgeous attractions scattered around the city you can enjoy either at a very low cost or entirely free of charge.

Fees for Museo Nacional del Prado, The Royal Palace of Madrid, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía are all under $15, and if you don’t want to spend a dime, you can add Plaza Mayor, El Retiro Park, and Puerta de Alcalá to your itinerary.

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Palace Pena Sintra, Lisbon

This one, you might’ve seen coming.

Lisbon has made news these past couple of years as one of Europe’s trendiest, cheapest destinations, and once you get a good look at the dreamy pastel-colored buildings, you’ll want to pack your bags ASAP.

Accommodation prices are similar to what you’d find in Madrid, hovering around the $70-$100 range, but restaurant meals are cheaper (averaging roughly $14 per person) and a 1-mile taxi ride costs less than $1.5, so rest assured that you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

3. Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel room overlooking Istanbul

Istanbul has always been one of the world’s most fascinating cities, but travelers have never flocked to it quite like they are right now, and that’s because it’s one of the only few decent-value destinations still left in the world.

Most hotels in the city center charge anywhere between $20 and $50, and even higher-end places like Wyndham Istanbul or DoubleTree by Hilton don’t surpass the $135-a-night mark – that’s unfathomable in similarly popular vacation hubs around the world.

The food is exquisite and just as cheap.

Entire trays of kebabs, köftes, meat sautés, mezes, and a piece of baklava or kadayıf to wrap up the meal rarely cost more than $15.

2. Zagreb, Croatia

Aerial view of Zagreb, Croatia

Similarly to Portugal, Croatia has consistently been hailed as one of Europe’s best-value destinations these past couple of years, but the stunning capital, Zagreb, is even cheaper than its Iberian counterpart.

Most hotels are priced at a little over $78 a night, a hefty pint of locally brewed beer is just $3, and most of the city’s major attractions are either free or cost less than $10 to enter, so if you’re going to Croatia to take in the incredible Dalmatian coastline this summer, a stop in Zagreb is a must.

1. Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland

An incredible solo travel destination for womenan uncrowded haven, and now the best cheap destination in all of Europe – Warsaw truly has it all.

Between most hotel rooms costing less than $90 a night, meals adding up to $10 per person, and the fact that you won’t have to pay a tourist tax here, it’s really no wonder the Polish capital took the crown today.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-value destination in Europe and beyond.

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