Cheap European vacation spots have been beckoning travelers since the Vikings invaded from the north, Moors arrived from North Africa, and Genghis Khan's hordes swept in from the east thousands of years ago. In more modern times, impoverished artists flocked to Paris during the nineteenth century, and the intelligentsia of the world followed them well into the twentieth century, perhaps best symbolized by Ernest Hemingway who found his vacation mecca in Spain. No matter the time period, Europe is and has always been popular with tourists as an all around awesome vacation destination. And while many larger European cities such as London and Paris are not known for being cheap, you can still find relatively cheap hostels and food options for cheap vacations even in these cities.
After World War II, cheap trips to Europe became more affordable for a greater percentage of the world's population, and having a summer vacation or a year abroad in safe, comfortable, and inexpensive lodging became a rite of passage for young people. This is best symbolized by the free-spirited hippies and college students who hitchhiked and backpacked their way around the continent in the 1960s. The kinds of lodging used by these people remain, forming a large network of hostels, pensions, guest houses, apartment rentals, bed and breakfast inns, and inexpensive hotels that serve as lodging around the continent. Whether you are looking for a cheap vacation in Italy admiring the great works of art in the Sistine Chapel or a cheap trip to Greece exploring the ancient ruins at Delphi and the Acropolis, you will find excellent inexpensive accommodation everywhere. Cheap hostels in particular are often even available without reservations, however, you will always get a better price if you book before you arrive. Some of the most rewarding and authentic experiences will be had a less expensive forms of lodging. You can sleep in a medieval castle in Germany or Switzerland, help your host milk the cows on a farm in Hungary, or float down rural Middle Thames River on an authentic barge in England.
Today, cheap European vacation spots can be found all over the continent. A cheap vacation in Italy is a good example of what is available throughout much of Western Europe. The Italian Riviera and the coast of Tuscany, on the border with the famous French Riviera and Monaco, are regions known for their jet set lifestyle and as destinations for the rich and famous. Further south is the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Both areas have hotels and resorts that provide access to the glittering lifestyle and sparkling beaches at very affordable prices. Even in expensive cities such as Venice, Rome, and Florence, you will find you can enjoy a cheap vacation in Italy staying in reasonably priced hotels, many of which are part of the area's rich history.
One way to enjoy cheap trips to Europe is to eat like the locals do, and one way to do this is to seek out locally patronized restaurants, such as the authentic tapas bars in Spain and Portugal. Cheap food is also available at convenience and grocery stores, and often hostels offer a free meal in the mornings to help you save money. Another way to eat like locals do is to shop like they do, every day in local markets such as the Cours Saleya in Nice. This, of course, assumes you have a kitchen to cook your fresh produce in and a dining room table to eat it on. This brings us to another way to enjoy cheap trips to Europe—vacation rentals. These are available everywhere and in all varieties. There are rustic farmhouses for rent in Normandy and modest apartments in Berlin, and everything in between.
There are some cheap European vacation spots that are more known for bargains than others. The famous party island of Ibiza, with its huge nightclubs and discos, offers numerous inexpensive hotels and beach resorts. Some are apartments that can sleep as many as eight to ten people, saving even more money. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the countries of Eastern Europe have become an emerging cheap destination, providing places to experience the grandeur of great cities like Prague and Budapest, and glittering beaches like the Croatia coastline across the Adriatic from Venice and Ravenna.