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European Summer Vacation Ideas: Budget, Splurget and Luxury

Book a trip to one of these popular European vacation destinations and spend the summer exploring the best of Europe!


Searching for some summer sun or historical visits to some of the world’s oldest monuments? We have some great ideas for budget Europe trips, splurgetting, and luxury European vacations. Check out these European vacation destinations to get inspired for your next trip!

How to Plan the Best Euro Trip for Your Budget

Before booking your cheap flights to Europe, there are a few items to consider when planning your European vacation. Don’t stress, we’re here to help out!

  1. Decide if you’re travelling solo or travelling with a partner or friends. All options are good options when you’re exploring the world!
  2. Get inspiration for where you want to go. If travelling with someone, see if you can narrow down a few European cities you want to discover together. Make sure to check Visa/entrance requirements with your passports.
  3. Decide on a budget for your Euro trip. Always expect a trip to be more expensive than predicted, so never stretch your budget too far at the start of planning. Don’t skip this step – especially if travelling with other people.
  4. Check out which dream European destinations match up with your budget. Not all countries have the same cost of living. Visiting Copenhagen will be a very different budget than visiting Belgrade. Head east in Europe and you’ll notice prices on food, accommodation, and pretty much everything else just drop. Also, note the currency exchange rates.
  5. Check out prices of flights, accommodation and any transportation in between cities like car rentals or trains to get a sense of your major expenses.
  6. Don’t forget to consider the time of transportation between cities – this often eats up a chunk of your vacation time so change cities sparingly or stick to nearby cities.
  7. Start creating your ultimate European vacation itinerary based on the cities and routes that fit in your budget. You might need to play around with some options, but the good news is that every city will bring a unique adventure to your Euro trip.
  8. Book it. Pack for it, and have the best summer trip to Europe!

Find Cheap Flights to Anywhere in Europe

Image of the rooftops in Lisbon, which is a Top Summer European Vacation destination. Budget in Lisbon | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Budget in Lisbon | Skyscanner Canada

Top Summer European Vacations: Budget Destinations

Travelling in Europe on a budget is totally possible. You might have to skip certain cities in order to save your wallet, but there are tons of budget-friendly European vacation options out there. Here are three of budget destinations for your Euro trip:

Lisbon, Portugal on a budget

Portugal is one of the cheaper countries to visit in Western Europe and has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years due to the price. However, Portugal is still overall a budget-friendly destination.

Start in Lisbon and explore the whimsy and romantic streets, especially the tree-lined Avenida de Liberdade and the arches in the main square. Don’t forget to look down to see the beautiful tile work across the city streets.

From Lisbon, you can easily travel to other amazing parts of Portugal including Porto for some Port tasting, Sintra for hiking and architectural marvels, or Algarve for white sandy beaches and great nightlife.

How Many Days: Spend at least two full days wandering around Lisbon before taking off for other European vacation adventures.

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Photo of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, in Sofia, which is a Top Summer European Vacation. Budget in Sofia | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Budget in Sofia | Skyscanner Canada

Sofia, Bulgaria on a budget

Make sure to book plenty of time to explore Sofia, Bulgaria because once you arrive, you won’t want to leave – and the price will allow you to stay for as long as you want.

There are plenty of tourist attractions to visit like the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Banya Bashi Mosque and the Museum of Socialist Art. There are also plenty of great restaurants and cafés to really take in the vibe of this quirky city.

Make sure to grab a snack from one of the remaining “Klek shops,” where you have to squat down to the basement window to order.

How Many Days: Plan for four days with the possibility of extending (because you will want to stay for longer).

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Chain bridge in Budapest, a top Summer European Vacation destination. Budget in Budapest | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Budget in Budapest | Skyscanner Canada

Budapest, Hungary on a budget

Budapest might just be one of the coolest cities in Europe, and it has become a bit of a mecca for backpackers. This means it remains a great value destination for those travelling on tighter budgets. Not only is the historic centre stunning but there are also a ton of thermal baths and ruin bars that keep this artsy city mighty popular for European vacations.

The thermal baths in Budapest are a bit of a maze of saunas, steam rooms, warm pools and springs. Before spending all of your time relaxing, make sure to drop by the Castle District.

How Many Days: Spend at least three days in this capital city (one day just for the thermal baths, of course).

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Image of a giant waterfall in Iceland, which is a Top Summer European Vacation. Splurget in Iceland | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Splurget in Iceland | Skyscanner Canada

Top Summer European Vacations: Splurget Destinations

Splurgetting” is a new term used to describe a type of travel where people spend money on big experiences rather than on expensive flights and accommodations. People will opt for more flexible plans or longer layovers/overnight bus rides in order to later splurge on something more important to them.

Oh yes, we definitely have a few good ideas of where you can travel for cheap and splurge on amazing bucket-list adventures. Here are two great European “splurget” destinations:

Reykjavík, Iceland

The cheap flights to Iceland have made Reykjavík an absolute splurgetting Europ trip destination. There are so many flight deals to get people to visit Reykjavík, but food and activities tend to be expensive when you land.

For a unique adventure, rent a car or a camper to drive around Iceland’s Ring Road. This road encircles the entire country so you can explore everything Iceland has to offer like the lava fields, glacial lakes, lagoons, fjords, and waterfalls. The Ring Road is open all year round but the summer months will provide the best driving conditions and the most daylight.

If you want to splurge on specific activities, you can go on a glacier walk, a helicopter tour, rent a snowmobile, go on a volcano tour, or even go snorkelling at the Euro-Asian tectonic plate.

How Many Days: If you plan to stay in Reykjavík, four full days should be enough to see the sights. If you plan to do the Ring Road drive, aim for 7 to 10 days. It’s doable in 7, but it is much more enjoyable in 10 days.

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Image of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which is a Top Summer European Vacation. Splurget in Barcelona | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Splurget in Barcelona | Skyscanner Canada

Barcelona, Spain

If you’re more into visiting world-famous architecture or partying until 6 a.m., Barcelona is your city to visit.

Barcelona is home to many of the works of the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, like the Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, and Park Guell. You will also have to stop by La Sagrada Familia to see the on-going construction of this enormous and controversial project.

Visiting Barcelona might require a siesta if you plan to partake in the nightly activities. Between flamenco shows, tapas, rooftop bars, concerts and a mass amount of nightclubs, you will find plenty of reasons to stay up late.

How Many Days: Spend at least three full days in this magical city during your Euro trip.

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A view of Big Ben in London from across the Thames as a Top Summer European Vacation. Luxury in London | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Luxury in London | Skyscanner Canada

Top Summer European Vacations: Luxury Destinations

If you’re looking for a more classic and quintessential European vacation, there are plenty of options. We chose our top absolutely-must-visit luxury Europe destinations:

London, England

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey… need we say too much more?

London is a classic city for a more luxurious European vacation. While it is possible to do London on a budget, especially as many of the museums are free, it is a pricier destination. While in town, you will definitely want to splurge on theatre tickets, afternoon tea, and perhaps some high-end shopping.

How Many Days: You could spend a week in London and not see everything on your list. We recommend at least five days if you’re keen on historical sites and museums.

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View of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background as a Top Summer European Vacation. Luxury in Paris | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Luxury in Paris | Skyscanner Canada

Paris, France

We don’t have to tell you how many wonderful sites there are in Paris to entice you into going to this bucket-list city of romance. Instead, we will entice you by telling you about all the amazing cities you can visit once you’re in Paris on your Euro trip!

Once you’ve seen all of Paris, head west to Caen in the Normandy Region, stopping in Rouen on the way. Then head south to the Loire Valley, which is one of the most beautiful regions in France and known for its enormous Chateau Chambord.

Head even more south to Lyon, which is a must-see area for foodies and museum-lovers. A final destination of your France tour could be the picturesque Aix-en-Provence, where you can eat locally produced food and admire the open air.

How Many Days: Paris requires a solid chunk of time, so plan for at least four full days if you are okay with being on-the-go from sunrise to sunset. A France tour requires over a week.

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View of the Barcelona port at sunset. Top Summer European Vacations: Barcelona | Skyscanner Canada
Top Summer European Vacations: Barcelona | Skyscanner Canada

Tips for Saving Money While Travelling

Beyond getting excellent flight deals with Skyscanner, there are a few other tips and travel hacks for saving money while travelling. Follow these few tips to see more of the world for less!

Skip the checked baggage

If you are willing to travel around Europe with just a carry-on, you can save money and back-ache all at once. Many budget airlines that fly within Europe charge extra for checked baggage, which can be skipped altogether if you pack super light in a carry-on bag.

In addition, walking through cobblestone streets or avoiding bicycles in Amsterdam or hopping aboard a ferry in Venice are all much easier to do with a smaller travel bag. So pack light to make gallivanting around Europe much easier, and more fun!

Travel slow on your Euro trip

As much as you want to cram into your vacation days, it can be nice to stay longer in a city to get to know it beyond the main tourist attractions and get to know the place a little better.

Not only will you save money on transportation, but you will also be able to pick up some groceries and do some shopping so you can get to know the part of the city has the best restaurants or coffee shops. When you stay in a city for longer, you get a more in-depth Euro trip and you’ll return to work more refreshed than if you were rushing from city to city.

Discover 10 tips to help you save money on your next Europe trip

Travel in pairs to share costs

Solo travel in Europe is absolutely amazing, but it does tend to be a bit pricier than if you travel around with a friend or a partner.

When travelling in pairs you can share costs of taxis or rideshares, hotel rooms and guesthouses, and even meals! You don’t even have to arrive at the destination in pairs, you can make friends along the way that share these costs.

Learn how to make lifelong friends on the road

Friends "cheers-ing" pints at an outdoor pub patio in London. Tips for Saving Money While Travelling - Euro Trip | Skyscanner Canada
Tips for Saving Money While Travelling – Euro Trip | Skyscanner Canada

How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe

There are a few ways you can use the Skyscanner search engine to your advantage while booking your Euro trip. Skyscanner is designed to get you the best possible deals in the easiest way possible.

Search flexible travel dates to Europe

When entering your departure and return dates, you don’t have to choose an exact date. Instead, you can opt to search throughout the whole month to find the best days to fly to Europe and start your adventure. Once you’re in the search results, you can always open the calendar to see the other cheap flight options available.

Learn more about Whole Month search on Skyscanner

Flexible travel dates on Skyscanner for your Euro Trip.
1. Input flight details and select July from the Whole Month tab

Book Multi-City flights

With the Skyscanner search engine, you can use the multi-city feature to start and end your trip in different locations. There is no need to waste money backtracking to an airport! Instead, simply book your flights from different airports.

As well, you can book in-between flights at the exact same time to book your preferred European itinerary.

Find out how to book multi-city flights

Multi-city search on Skyscanner for your Euro trip

Discover extended layovers

Did you know that on certain airlines and routes you can add in a free layover? It’s true! With certain plane tickets, you can spend a few days in a different city, without having to spend any extra dollars on your flight ticket.

There are a few airlines that do this, including Icelandair (Reykjavík), TAP Portugal (Lisbon or Porto) and KLM (Amsterdam).

How to book a multi-day layover to see another city for free

Set a Price Alert

When you’ve narrowed down the flight you want, you can set a price alert to be notified of any changes in price.

This way you don’t have to check every single day – we do it for you! You will get automatic updates on the selected itinerary so you can track if prices are going up or down and book when the time is right.

Learn to set a price alert to get notified of flight price changes

Set a Price Alert for your Euro Trip

Check the Skyscanner Blog

We are always searching for the best flight deals around the world and sharing them with our readers so everyone can benefit!

Our Weekly Flight Deals to Europe is updated WEEKLY so you always know where to start your search for cheap flights to Europe.

Ready to start planning your Europe trip? Head over to Skyscanner Canada to get the best deals on flights, accommodation and car rentals to make it a summer to remember!

On the go? Download the Skyscanner App to plan your European vacation at your fingertips.