Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to go to Europe? The good news is that regardless of what your budget is, you can have an epic trip in Europe as long as you manage your expectations.
Europe can be done on a budget if you’re staying in hostels and slow travelling, but that only appeals to a certain demographic. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’re better off using average costs as an estimate to help you plan your trip.
If this is your first time heading to Europe, I don’t recommend visiting more than three cities/countries. Taking a few day trips makes sense, but you want to limit your time on planes and trains so you can enjoy your vacation.
My budget below is based on the average costs for a two-week trip which is a good amount of time. It likely won’t be enough to see everything on your list, so just choose the destinations that appeal to you most and save the rest for your next trip.
Europe trip cost for 2 weeks
|Food & drink||$630|
The above estimate is in American dollars. Please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
Let’s be clear. It’s impossible for me to answer how much does it cost to go to Europe? There are just too many variables, including your travel style and itinerary. Honestly, I’ve never spent the above “average” cost during my European trips. It’s really not that difficult to save money while in Europe, but I wanted to give you some numbers, so you don’t underestimate your trip costs. My estimates are based on a single traveller. If you’re travelling as a pair, double all the costs except for your accommodations.
Doing Europe for much cheaper is possible, but I don’t recommend it. One of my biggest regrets is not spending more on travel. Can you believe I didn’t try tapas when I was in Barcelona? I was so focused on spending as little as possible that I didn’t consider the experiences.
That said, finding cheaper accommodations, so you can spend more on food and experiences is definitely a good way to stretch your budget.
You could also consider cities and countries in Europe that offer good value, such as Budapest and Istanbul. Heck, even Portugal is much cheaper compared to Spain. Eastern Europe will always be more expensive than the west. Major cities also typically cost more than smaller towns.
Another tip is to avoid the summer months of June, July, and August since it’s typically the most expensive time to visit Europe. September is a great time to visit since prices would have dropped and the weather is still good.
I like to estimate $650 for the cost of a Europe trip when it comes to airfare. If you’re flying from other parts of the world, it may be more or less than what I’ve estimated. It’s also worth noting that when you fly and where you’re flying can make a huge difference in price. I’ve seen flights to Amsterdam and Ireland much cheaper than other parts of Europe. Of course, flying in the summer will likely always be more expensive than in the spring in fall.
Being fully flexible is the best way to find cheap flights. However, there are a few other tricks you can use to save. Booking a multi-destination ticket – that’s where you fly into one city and out of another is often cheaper than a direct ticket. To get to your final destination, you can use trains or discount carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet have some ridiculously low prices.
Alternatively, some European airlines give you a free stopover. For example, you could take Swiss and stopover in Zurich, Switzerland for free. Alternatively, you could fly Turkish, where there’s a free stopover in Istanbul, Turkey. Even Icelandair stops in Reykjavík, Iceland, if you’re coming from select North American destinations.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, and it comes with airport lounge access.
As you can imagine, your Europe trip cost will vary greatly depending on your style and where you visit. I recommend budgeting $150 a night for your hotel, which works out to $2,100 for 13 nights. From hostels to luxury hotels, Europe gives you many options so you can easily find accommodations that fit your budget.
If you’re backpacking through Europe, then hostels will probably be your choice of accommodation. If you decide to go that route, the average price is $15 – $20 a night. Alternatively, there are a lot of great boutique hostels out there that cost more but offer a better experience since they’re competing with hotels and Airbnb.
For those who think $150 is expensive, I would argue that it’s on the cheaper end. The reality is that hotels are expensive these days, so getting one for $150 a night is a pretty good deal. Remember, this is just an estimate. In some European countries, some hotels will cost you more while others will cost you less. You can also follow my guide on how to save money on hotels.
Regardless of what city you’re visiting, there will likely be luxury hotel options. If you like the experience or don’t mind spending the extra money, you may want to budget another $200 – $300 a night. Your Europe trip cost will obviously skyrocket if you’re going for luxury stays.
Depending on the city, I sometimes prefer to use Airbnb. I’ve been able to find private apartments in good locations for about $100 a night. If you’re travelling with kids or family, Airbnb can be a great deal since you should easily be able to find a space that fits your entire party. I do admit that Airbnb has become more expensive over the years, but it’s still a good hotel alternative.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you up to 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $500.
Since I’m assuming you’re doing thee cities during this trip, you’ll need to factor in flights and/or trains to each destination. I’m also assuming you’re booking a multi-destination ticket, so you don’t need to backtrack. Realistically speaking, budgeting $400 for location transportation may be a bit high, but remember, you also need to pay for trips to/from the airport, day trips, and any other public transportation you use.
Generally speaking, if you’re in Europe for just two weeks and visiting three cities/countries, getting a Eurail pass won’t be worth it. If you’re going to neighbouring countries or taking day trips, buying tickets as you need them is fine. That said, buying your train tickets well in advance (even before you depart) is usually worth it as you’ll get better prices and a confirmed seat.
This is where things can get tricky. Attractions aren’t expensive, but if you keep going into them, you’re naturally going to spend more. First off, always do the free things in every city. That means checking to see if there are any museums or art galleries that have no entrance fee. Note that even museums with an admission charge usually have a free day, so you need to see if the timing works out.
Parks are always free, and quite often, simply walking around neighbourhoods is the best way to see a new city, and that doesn’t cost you anything. In Europe, there are also many free walking tours – well you need to pay a tip – but, that’s a cheap way to learn about the city.
Finally, check to see if any museum passes will help you save money. Many cities offer something such as free entry into a bunch of attractions for a fixed price for a set period of time, e.g. 24, 48, or 96 hours. You would need to do the math to see if the cost of the attractions you’re interested in makes up for the cost of the pass.
If you plan to pay for some attractions, check to see if Klook sells tickets. By buying your tickets in advance, you can usually get a small discount and skip the lines when you arrive.
Food and drink
The food and drink budget will vary by person, but a rough estimate for a meal, including drinks is as follows:
- Breakfast – $5
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner – $30
That works out to $45 per person per day, which some people will think is too much, while others will think it’s too low. If you like to drink alcohol, you’ll need to budget more. What I personally try to do is balance eating street/fast food with restaurants. I also go to grocery stores to get breakfast and snacks, which I find saves me a lot of money. Cutting back on food will help you see Europe on a budget.
Every city and country you visit will have some kind of local delicacy which I highly recommend you try. To this day, I’m still mad at myself for not having tapas in Spain because I thought it was too expensive. I’m not suggesting you blow your budget on food, but it’s okay to splurge now and then.
Many people forget to include shopping when planning their vacation budget. It’s silly to think that you’ll spend nothing on random things; you’re going to buy gifts for people right? Plus, there will be plenty of souvenirs you’ll want to pick up for yourself, regardless of how tacky they appear. There’s nothing wrong with buying gifts for yourself or friends, and you just want to make sure you budget for it.
As you can imagine, some cities have better shopping experiences than others, so you need to consider where you’re going and budget accordingly. For example, you may be headed to Italy and have every intention of buying a leather purse. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you’ve set aside some money for that purchase.
As a general rule, you should set aside $200 or 200 Euros for those random expenses that come up. Heck, even spending some extra money on sightseeing can be worth it.
Cost to go to Europe
So how much does it cost to go to Europe for two weeks? You know the answer – it depends! But, a good estimate is about $4,180. One time I spent just $2,300 because I focused on doing it for as cheap as possible. Another time I spent closer to $8,000 (for two people) when visiting just three cities. The cost of a Europe trip really depends on you, but it’s not hard to stretch your travel budget.
Is it possible to see Europe on a budget?
Absolutely! But, it will take some planning. The biggest thing to keep in mind is what countries or cities you are visiting. Places like London, Paris, France and Denmark will cost a lot more than places like Romania, Poland, Bosnia, Slovenia, and even Croatia. There are also several other ways to help cut costs and see Europe on a budget, even in the pricier destinations. Take a look at my Europe on a budget article for more tips and advice on how to see and do more for less.
Is it safe to backpack Europe?
Generally speaking, yes. Now, this is somewhat of a blanket statement as Europe is a huge place and different countries, and even cities will have some not so savoury places that are best avoided. But, that’s the same everywhere. Some cities are very backpack friendly such as Berlin, Zagreb, Luxembourg, and Munich.
If you travel smart, follow basic safety protocols, and trust your gut you should be fine. At the end of the day, use common sense. Don’t go to a bar with strangers and get black-out drunk. That’s not a good idea anywhere.
Are rail passes worth it?
It depends. Rail passes can be great in that they take out a lot of planning and leg work and make it easy, but you do pay for that convenience. Oftentimes there are more affordable transit options that are just as comfortable. Many countries have slower local trains that you can take advantage of. In some places, like Ireland, the bus system is actually better connected (and cheaper) than trains, etc.
If you are trying to figure out how much it costs to go to Europe because you are on a tighter budget, it’s worth taking the time to do a bit of planning and do it on your own. If money isn’t an issue and you are more concerned about convenience, then a rail pass might be worth it.
What are some fun things to do in Europe?
Europe is such a popular destination for North Americans because it’s so different from here in many ways. The history and architecture are incredible; it’s wild to think that some buildings are centuries older than Canada. Food is another huge perk to travel in Europe. It’s so varied across the continent and while we do have plenty of food options from different cultures in Canada and the USA, it’s always better from the source.
You may also be interested in visiting Europe for specific events. Perhaps St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, or Carnival in Venice, or the Christmas markets of Germany. Don’t worry about finding things to do in Europe, there’s plenty.
What are the 5 most important tourist attractions in Europe?
It really depends on your likes and interests. What is interesting to me might not be interesting to you. That being said, the most popular tourist attractions in Europe include:
- The Eiffel Tower in Paris
- The Colosseum in Rome
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
- The Acropolis in Athens
- Stonehenge, England
What are some unusual things to do in Europe?
Europe has plenty of weird and wonderful things to do that you wouldn’t necessarily find in North America. A few recommendations include the following:
- Visiting Sedlec Ossuary just outside of Prague (It’s made of human bones)
- Eat haggis in Scotland
- Attend a Krampus Run in Austria (Krampus is essentially a Christmas demon that kidnaps and tortures children. Like an anti-Santa)