Top European Destinations to Visit in 2019

It’s that time of the year when you’re looking for recommendations on your next holiday. Then you start discussing with your travel partner and end up fighting, deals fly away and you end up booking destinations that you have visited so many times that now it starts to feel boring. Hey, don’t worry, I’m here with a list of European destinations divided by budget, depending on the cost of living there. These top European destinations to visit in 2019 are perfect for solo travellers too. Ready to pack? Let’s go!

EXPENSIVE DESTINATIONS:

1. Copenhagen, Denmark.

The beautiful capital of Denmark was nominated Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel of 2019, so why not spending at least 4-5 days there? Copenhagen is a city rich in art, history, and the food cuisine is dynamic and stimulating. The only downside is that you need to save a lot before going there as it is one of the most expensive cities for tourists. If you want to be sure to find decent weather, the best season is of course summer. It will be fresh but sunny, even though summer in 2018 was exceptionally hot. It was hotter and sunnier over there than it was in Sicily! However, going there in summer could be even more expensive than going there off-season.
Make sure to check the upcoming events for 2019 in Copenhagen.

2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Either if you’re looking for a romantic city or a crazy holiday with your friends, Amsterdam is the city for you. There are many crazy stereotypes about it, but what Amsterdam has to offer will go beyond your expectations: a vibrant music scene, a growing presence in world culinary art and landscapes that will blow your mind. Amsterdam is mostly known for its museums, such as Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum.
Make sure to check the official tourism board website.

THE “IT DEPENDS ON YOU” DESTINATIONS:

3. Rome, Italy.

Rome can be extremely cheap or extremely expensive. It’s a city that hosts so many tourists that unfortunately local businesses have taken advantage of it. Touristy accommodations and restaurants are everywhere, some of them are incredibly good, some others are labeled as tourist traps for a good reason: you pay a lot for the worst quality ever. Rome can’t be visited in 48 or 72 hours if you want to make the most out of it. Forget public transportation and walk for hours, it’ll be the most rewarding experience ever. Plan your days carefully and spend at least 5 days in the eternal city. It’s better to visit Rome during the first week of each month because museums and sightseeing (including the Colosseum) are F R E E every first Sunday of every month.
This is the tourism board official website.

4. Berlin, Germany.

Every backpacker in the world must visit Berlin sooner or later. Again, Berlin is neither cheap nor too expensive. I spent one month there in October and it was the perfect time because it started to be chilly but not too cold. Berlin has an interesting history and it helps us understand how a city once divided had to unite and change its shape considerably after the wall. Berlin is dynamic, modern, multiethnic, and people are ready to welcome you as a tourist.

5. Barcelona, Spain.

Reasons to visit Barcelona: sun, food, architecture. I think I have given enough reasons to visit the capital of Catalonia. Just like in Italy, you will need more than 3-4 days to visit it. I was there for 2 days only and I skipped Park Güell, biggest mistake ever! It is even free if you go right before opening time. Modernist architecture is what really blows everyone’s mind when visiting Catalonia’s capital. You can find touristy-restaurants that are actually very good when it comes to tapas and typical Barcelonian food. The best month to visit Barcelona is September, when it’s still sunny but not too crowded, but it will be high season so it might get expensive. Otherwise, two good months to visit Barcelona are March or October.

CHEAP DESTINATIONS:

6. Wrocław, Poland.

You can reach Silesia’s most iconic city with Ryanair from any city in Europe. It usually take 2 maximum 3 days to visit the entire city and fall in love with it. If you’re looking for a unique architecture with a unique history, then Wrocław is the city for you. If you want to know more about it, check my blog post about it.

7. Cefalù (Sicily), Italy.

Do you want to avoid mainstream destinations but still visit a city rich in history and food culture? Located in the Northern Sicilian coast, Cefalù will surprise you. The city centre is small and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I used to go there once a year when I lived in Sicily and even if it was “winter” (February), it was pleasant to walk along the coast or the beach eating handmade gelato.

8. Riga, Latvia.

I asked my friend Paula to tell about her experience in Riga. Why Latvia is the hottest destination in 2019?
“Latvia is, without doubt, one of my favourite destinations in Europe. I don’t even have the feeling, that I saw all of it. I was overwhelmed by this beautiful city. The old town is mesmerizing with its cute little alleys and stunning buildings. And as it is not already on everyone’s radar, the city is wonderfully empty! There are no huge crowds or queues anywhere, making my time in Riga super relaxing. And isn’t that what vacation is about?

Picture by https://lavieenmarine.com

9. Prague, Czech Republic.

I couldn’t end this list without talking about Prague. Cheap and beautiful, you can visit the city in 3 days. Prague is so rich in history and it is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to architecturally-speaking. When it comes to street food, Prague is the city for you, just like Copenhagen. Chimney cake? Yes, please. The best time to visit Prague is summer for sure, but it’s peak season. If you want to enjoy Czech Republic’s capital city without many tourists around, then you should go between February and March.

Let me know which one of these you’d like to visit!

How to visit two countries with less than 125€ / 150$

One of the best traveling advice that I can give you is to subscribe to airline companies newsletters, especially the low-cost ones. Example giving: Ryanair, Vueling, Easyjet.

Click here to read a full list of low-cost companies

Same applies to hostels engines. This is my favorite.
Around twice a week and sometimes, even more, low-cost companies send deals directly to your email address and some of them are extremely good deals. Of course, the negative aspect is that the lower the price, the more uncomfortable the departure time will be, but this is just a small aspect. Also, it will happen when you can’t plan your days off from work or when you still have lessons at university. But sometimes you can be lucky enough to find the perfect deal. That’s what happened to me.
I was still in Stockholm during my 7-month-long experience there, when I got a deal for the winter sales. I couldn’t travel for too many days because I was working as a babysitter almost every day and I was living on a budget. Except for the weekend, where I was busy exploring Stockholm. But the deal was incredible and I wanted to go elsewhere for 2 days, but still, I wanted to challenge myself and travel as much as possible and as cheap as possible. But thanks to that newsletter, I booked two plane tickets for 9,99€ each. Yes, you heard me, basically 10€ per ticket. The available destinations weren’t many, but I picked a city smaller than the capital where I had never been. So I picked Düsseldorf. I still had 105€ to cover 2 nights in a hostel, food, major attractions and transportations and less than 5 days to get all those things done.

Budget: 125€ – 20€ = 105€

The first thing I had to do after booking the flight, was to plan my itinerary quite carefully so that I could watch the most things with the fewer time. The nearest city to Düsseldorf was Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. Some people had told me that it is a small cute city that you can visit in less than 12 hours. After that, I thought about going to Germany again by bus, Köln this time. That’s where I spent two more days before going back to Düsseldorf by train and then back to Stockholm again.

From Airport Weeze to Eindhoven I should have taken the bus, which cost 18€ per person per run. Well, it was so late that there were no buses, but since we had booked the ticket and there were just 2 more people with me, the company sent a private driver. Just for the three of us, a stroke of luck! Anyway, the bus is the cheapest and 18€ are just fair if you think about the fact that you’re basically crossing international borders. Well, Germany-The Netherlands, but still.

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Budget: 105€ – 18€ = 87€

So again, subscribing to websites or search engines can be a life-saver or, better, a wallet-saver. Hostel world is a great search engine for hostels and in Germany and the Netherlands, you can get a bed in a dormitory for 20-30€. Also, Airbnb could be a great opportunity, you can get a room for 15€ if you’re alone, otherwise if you are with other people you can share a room and pay like 8€ per night per person. That’s what I did. I was with three crazy friends that I met in Stockholm, an Italian and a Chinese (two of the best travel partners ever found) who were off school and shared an Airbnb room for 9€ per person (27€ in total). I think that Airbnb can give you more of an insight into how to live like a local could be.

Budget: 87€ – 9€ = 78€

I visited the city center (in particular the beautiful St. Catherina’s Church) and the famous flying pins. I also wasted 1 hour at Primark because I really wanted to try all those cute outfits on, but still didn’t buy anything because of my budget. Yes, I know,  life is made of sacrifices, pain, and sadness.

 

I spent around 7€ for breakfast and lunch (the first consisted of a coffee and a bagel, the latter in a sandwich with unidentified objects). Anyway, Eindhoven is a nice town and I wish I had more time to visit it!

 

Budget: 78€ – 7€ = 71€

After visiting Eindhoven in a couple of hours, I took the train from the central station to Düsseldorf. I wanted to go straight to Köln but it was more expensive than going to Düsseldorf first and then get another train to Köln. The ticket had a cost of 16€. The cheapest way though is car sharing, it’s a great way to move around Europe driving a couple of hours. I don’t drive though, I have no driving license (yet). With car-sharing, you can pay 8€ instead of 16€.

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Budget: 71€ – 16€ = 55€
The bus from Düsseldorf to Köln cost 4€ with DB Bus (https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml)
Budget: 55€ – 4€ = 51€

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Again, also in this case airbnb was a life-saver, I paid 15€ for a night in Köln. I visited the city in two days and let me say it: it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The Cathedral is probably the major attraction in Köln, it’s the tallest Gothic cathedral in Germany with a height of 157 mt.

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Visiting Köln in late November was a great idea, because of the Christmas markets all over the town. The largest was probably right next to the Cathedral and walking through the market you could smell a real Christmas atmosphere that I had never felt for years. Let me say it, the food is magical there and the Glühwein was the best way to keep your body warm in spite of the cold. I spent around 25-30€ on those markets for 1 lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast and 1 lunch for the next day. It may sound a lot, but I love food and that’s the best way to explore a culture, right? And anyway you need to eat, so…

The Christmas market offers live music and great friends too! I managed to meet a friend from Bonn who was also in Köln. Christmas is magic, apparently!

 

I’d really recommend Sauerkraut, Bratkartoffeln, Backfisch, Bratwurst… I’m hungry again, you can literally find any kind of typical German food. Try as much food as you can. I wanted to take pictures of the food I tried, but it disappeared before I could take the camera.  This is the only one that I took.

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Budget: 51€ – 30€ = 21€

Around 16:00 I took the bus from the Hauptbahnhof to the Airport in Dusseldorf. It took a couple of hours and the price for the ticket was 20€, probably the cheapest way.

Final Budget: 21€ – 20€ = 1€

You can save much more money and therefore travel as cheaper as possible by following these tricks:

  • Hostels and Airbnb are cheap, but not free. If you want to sleep for free, then try couch-surfing. https://www.couchsurfing.com/ is the best way to save money but also to get to know many people around the world! It’s easy to use and you can easily make friends with locals. Trust me, you won’t regret it and it’s safe! So go ahead!
  • Public transportation can be cheap, but not if you book a few days before. Try car sharing, you can share the cost with other people that are going towards the same place as you.
  • Even though a sandwich is way cheaper than a restaurant, it might be a bad idea to buy things at the supermarket and eat as cheaply as possible. Remember that a great part of a trip is to try the local food at least once. After that, you can live with just some bread and coffee. Tons of coffee. I’m not telling you to try the fanciest restaurant ever, but almost every country has its street food tradition, which is usually cheap.

I came back to Sweden with just 1€ in my pocket, but with much more energy in my body after visiting Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany).