How to cross Europe with a low budget in one month

Dolly C.
cross Europe with a low budget
These years, the currency value in Europe is dropping, travelling around with different transportations becomes cost-effective and lesser time consuming. On the other hand, travelers’ growing awareness of sharing economy business such as Airbnb, Blablacar, U2GUIDE, etc., have made the trips in Europe more budget friendly. You would most likely say, ¨I had my breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, and I am going to have dinner in Barcelona¨.


So, ONE month! You might wonder how to spare your days effectively in each different country but also not miss out the good scenes.


Here we want to share the travel experience and the itinerary from a group of travelers (Xiaoxiao, Meng, Shuyu) who did cross Europe with low budget in one month. These three travelers are from China, taking flight from Beijing to Frankfurt, Germany, and started this grand trip.


They chose to take a car as their main transportation, with 8 countries crossed

1- Germany

2- Czech Republic

3- Austria

4- Hungary

5- Slovenia

6- Croatia

7- Italy

8- Switzerland


There are many routes you can consider to cross Europe with a low budget, no matter you want to start from the west, or east, or south, or north, crossing the borders is not as difficult as we discussed before in the article ¨How can you drive from North America to South America¨. Regarding the accommodation, Airbnb, hostels and Couchsurfing are mainly recommended to the budget travelers, besides, it is also a friendly way to meet new people or make friends in a city you travel to.


The itinerary to cross Europe

 car as main transportation


Frankfurt, Germany >> Kassel, Germany

Duration: 2 days


Frankfurt airport is typically cheaper to fly in from other continents. We choose to move around in small towns because it’s easier to find available and cheaper parking lots, and we wanted to relax after our long flight. However, if you wish to visit the big cities like Berlin, park the car in suburban area and take the subway to connect to the city center because parking is costing a lot in the city center.


Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic >> Prague, Czech Republic

Duration: 5 days


Entering from Karlovy Vary, and exiting from Krumlov to Austria was our plan. Czech is not an expensive European country, and you can manage to find a great meal in local markets with 5 euros only. What we really recommend Karlovy Vary is their hot springs. Karlovy Vary is a very famous spa town, the city has dozens of springs, each spring water has different temperature. The highest can be 72 ℃. It is said that the spring water contains more than 30 kinds of minerals, which can treat digestive and metabolic disorders and other diseases. Many people have tried to drink the spring water, but to be honest, the taste is not good, do not want to drink for the second time.


Vienna, Austria >> Budapest, Hungary  

Duration: 3 days in Vienna, 3 days in Budapest 


From Vienna, you can choose to drive to either Budapest (Hungary) or Bratislava (Slovakia), taking 3 hours and 1.5 hours respectively. We chose to go to Budapest. And there are really many things to visit in the city. Spending around 3 days was perfectly fine in this trip. On the other hand, Budapest is another city in Europe that you wouldn’t spend so much money. Furthermore, we moved around in Budapest city with a 72 hours pass which costs 12 euros approximately.  


Ljubljana, Slovenia >> Postojna Cave, Slovenia >> Pula, Croatia

Duration: 3 days in Slovenia, 2 days in Pula


Slovenia is quite cheap compared to the nearby countries such as Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. But it's more expensive than most countries in Eastern Europe. In particular, the capital city Ljubljana can cost dramatically more than the surrounding countryside towns. One option to save money is to stock up on supplies and foods in a large, major supermarkets. These prices are often less than the smaller markets you'll find around town. But even so, you can still find a big pizza costing 8 euros for two people.


Venice, Italy >> Milan, Italy

Duration: 5 days


Venice, is well known for its art, canals and beauty, but not for its affordability. You can see Venice cheaply with enough planning and by seeing the city the way locals do. Getting around Venice can be cheap too, especially since it is impossible to spend money on rental cars, taxis or bus service. Surrounded by water, you can only get around Venice on foot or by water. Try to take advantage of  free sights (a museum pass costing 18 euros for 9 museums), and water buses and leisurely strolls.


Lucerne, Switzerland >> Zurich, Switzerland

Duration 3 days


We all know Switzerland is the top 10 most expensive place to live. Fast food meal can cost 15 euros, a coffee can cost 5 euros, and going to restaurant can make you spend at least 40 euros for one meal. The good way to dine here with low budget is dining at lunch time. It’s cheaper for lunch and if you would like to save money, choose Asian restaurants.


Füssen, Germany >> Würzburg, Germany >> Frankfurt, Germany

Duration: 4 days and back to Frankfurt airport


After car returning, don’t miss Würzburg. It was on our way to Frankfurt airport but we stopped by Würzburg. It is renowned for the Residence, regarded as one of the finest palaces in Europe and a high point of Baroque art (also UNESCO cultural world heritage).

 itinerary to cross europe


Lastly, this is their cost of transportation


The total distance of this itinerary is around 2760 miles. Cost of fuel and car rental was approximately 1300 Euros, and divided by 3 persons is around 435 euros per person.

Comparing with airfares, travelling in a group with a car to cross Europe is cheaper, especially you consider to cross more than 8 countries.

Little tip for car rental:

Most rental agencies offer hybrid or diesel cars with better fuel efficiency, ask for it if you wish to save some fuel.

There are many other routes you can take for crossing Europe. Transportation and accommodation could be the two factors of main expense, but other than that, it’s good to save budget by making friends with locals during your trip and letting them show you their way of living!

Traveling as a solidary experience

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