May 12, 2022

Ranking the Best Summer Budget Holidays of 2022

Holidays allow us to recharge our batteries, get away from everyday life and have a well-earned rest from the usual daily routine. They also allow us to experience different cuisines, sights, activities, climates, and cultures, whether we opt for a relaxing beach break or a whistle-stop city tour.

The good news is that exploring the many treasures the world offers needn't cost a fortune, and you certainly don't need to win the lottery to travel. Here at DiscoverCars.com, we have compiled the best budget summer getaway destinations for 2022.
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Methodology
We wanted to discover the best budget summer getaway destinations because of an increasing number of Covid restrictions being lifted after holidays were all but halted over the past two years. We explored the following ranking factors:

  • Closest Airport
  • Average Flight Cost (from London Heathrow to the destination's closest airport)
  • Average Cost To Stay There For A Week
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels
  • Number of Attractions
  • Most Popular Attraction
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction
We looked at 11 European cities, all renowned for being tourist hotspots in the summer months, using a seed list from Forbes. We collected the data on the premise that our readers would go away for a week and used the period from 15th to 21st of August 2022 for any data that required dates to be inputted.

To calculate the cost of an average flight, we used Google Flights and recorded the top 11 round-trip prices from London Heathrow to the city's nearest airport.

Additionally, to discover the average cost to stay at the destination for a week, we used Expedia and recorded the price of the top 15 recommended hotels in each city (not including ads) to create an average price.

To work out the average cost of rental cars, we used our internal data (DiscoverCars.com) to record the average price for all medium-sized cars offered in the location.

Moreover, we found the cost of the most popular attraction the location offers by taking the most popular tourist attraction in the city according to TripAdvisor, recording the price of a ticket for adult admission or overall/standard ticket if it was not split into age ranges/concessions.

Finally, the number of affordable restaurants, attractions, and hotels was collected using TripAdvisor. To find the number of affordable restaurants and hotels, we used the 'cheap eats' and 'cheap hotels' filter options.
Prague, Czech Republic
In first place is the city of Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic in Central Europe and scored 53 out of 70 points. It is nicknamed "the City of a Hundred Spires," as it's well known for its Old Town Square, Baroque buildings, and Gothic churches.

Prague is brimming with world-famous attractions such as Charles Bridge, which links Prague Castle to the Old Town. You can also climb up to Letná Park, which provides breathtaking views of the city, and visit the exhibitions in the contemporary Rudolfinum Gallery.

Because Prague is in central Europe, it remains an inexpensive option for those on a budget compared to other European cities. The city has lots of free attractions, like the Charles Bridge, outside the Dancing House, the medieval Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, the Lennon Wall, and St Michael Church. Prague's public transportation is also very affordable and reliable.

  • Closest Airport: Prague Airport (PRG)
  • Average Flight Cost: £153
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £1,173
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £243
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 1,201
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 442
  • Number of Attractions: 3,993
  • Most Popular Attraction: Prague Zoo
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £8.50
Rome, Italy
The city of Rome, which is in central Italy in the region of Lazio, scored 50 out of 70 points. It is close to Italy's Mediterranean western coast. Rome is frequently referred to as the 'Eternal City', which is a reference to the city's longevity, with the term first coined by the poet Tibullus.

There is a range of archaeological treasures and exciting attractions in Rome. These include the breathtaking Trevi Fountain, the historic Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple, and the Vatican City, which was founded by Pope Julius II in the sixteenth century.

Although Rome is known for being over-priced, the city can be enjoyed on a budget. For example, the city offers a range of different budget accommodation options in great locations in the center.

  • Closest Airport: Rome Ciampino Airport (CIA)
  • Average Flight Cost: £238
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £1,054
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £396
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 2,951
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 797
  • Number of Attractions: 5,920
  • Most Popular Attraction: Pantheon
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul placed third and scored 46 out of a possible 70 points. It is a major city in Turkey, located on the Bosphorus Strait in the country's northwest region. The most commonly spoken languages in Turkey are Turkish, English, Kurdish, and Arabic.

Top attractions in Istanbul include the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, which was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, Turkey's first museum, the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar, which features stalls of goods like spices, sweets, teas, and dried fruits.

The great thing about Istanbul is that it can be as accommodating to one's particular budget as desired. Shopping choices, for instance, vary widely from designer boutiques to malls, corner markets, and jam-packed bazaar stalls.

  • Closest Airport: Istanbul Airport (IST)
  • Average Flight Cost: £348
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £1,363
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £219
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 1,546
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 715
  • Number of Attractions: 4,294
  • Most Popular Attraction: Dolmabahce Palace
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £6.43
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana, which is both the capital and the largest city of Slovenia, scored 38 out of 70 points. It is often viewed as an undiscovered gem of southeastern Europe. It was once the historical capital of Carniola, which is among the Slovene-inhabited areas of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Some of the best things to do in Ljubljana are visiting Prešeren Square which is where the city meets up and celebrates major annual events, as well as the National Museum of Slovenia, home to many historical exhibitions, and the Museum of Modern Art. You may need to take some time out from your vacation to visit beautiful Tivoli Park, which provides a calming oasis in the middle of this bustling city.

In Ljubljana, it's easy to stick to a budget with its welcoming outdoor cafe culture, especially for those looking to backpack across the country. However, for the mid-range travelers among you, it's still possible to experience a great value for money vacation.

  • Closest Airport: Ljubljana Airport (LJU)
  • Average Flight Cost: £223
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £775
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £375
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 147
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 31
  • Number of Attractions: 679
  • Most Popular Attraction: Ljubljana Old Town
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria and is located in the country's southern region. The city came in fifth place and scored 37 out of a possible 70 points. It is the oldest consistently occupied city in Europe and is among one of the oldest in the world.

Some of the best things to do and see in Plovdiv include the Plovdiv Roman Stadium, visiting the Bachkovo Monastery, and marveling at the sights of the Regional Ethnographic Museum.

Plovdiv is among the cheapest cities in Europe, meaning you don't need to spend a lot of money to really experience the city's ancient culture and stunning architecture. There are also many accommodation choices on offer. These range from luxury hotels to one of the city's many guesthouses.

Furthermore, although walking is the most popular way to get around the city, public transportation is also extremely cheap.

  • Closest Airport: Sofia Airport (SOF)
  • Average Flight Cost: £188
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £364
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £313
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 81
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 26
  • Number of Attractions: 21
  • Most Popular Attraction: Plovdiv Old Town
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0
Vienna, Austria
Ranking sixth place is Vienna, which is the capital and largest city in Austria and scored 36 out of 70 points. It is frequently referred to as the 'City of Music' or the 'World's Capital of Music' because more renowned composers, such as Schubert and Strauss, have lived there than in any other city.

Vienna boasts some of the best museums, and galleries, alongside legendary cafes. These include the MuseumsQuartier, which encompasses 60 celebrated cultural institutions, and the traditional Cafe Central, which has links to Freud and Trotsky.

Although Vienna has a reputation for having a high living cost, visiting this city doesn't have to cost the earth. With careful planning, the city can be enjoyed on a budget as it has lots of free attractions and special deals.

  • Closest Airport: Vienna Airport (VIE)
  • Average Flight Cost: £158
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £1,179
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £697
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 689
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 84
  • Number of Attractions: 2,014
  • Most Popular Attraction: Schonbrunn Palace
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £25.98
Athens, Greece
In eighth place was Athens, which scored 35 out of 70 points for its suitability for those on a budget. It can be found in the south of Greece and stretches out across the central plain of Attica. Athens is best known as the city where democracy originated from and the ideology that all citizens should possess a voice in the governing of society.

Make the most out of your adventure in Athens by taking care not to miss out on places of interest like the Acropolis, which is a symbol of the grandeur of Ancient Greece; the National Archaeological Museum, which contains the largest collection of Greek antiquities; and finally enjoy a picnic at the National Gardens, which can be found behind the Parliament.

Athens is a very affordable destination and is one of the cheapest European cities. This is because there are options for travelers with different budgets. For instance, there are many dorms in the city and lots of great value street food like gyros and souvlaki. Public transport like the slower ferries and buses are also low cost.

  • Closest Airport: Athens Airport (ATH)
  • Average Flight Cost: £247
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £1,888
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £454
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 804
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 94
  • Number of Attractions: 2,291
  • Most Popular Attraction: Acropolis
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £16.76
Graz, Austria
Ranking ninth place is Graz, which scored 25 out of 70 points. It is the largest city in the southeast of Austria and is the capital of the mountainous state of Styria. The city is situated on the Mur River, 155 kilometers south to the southwest of Vienna. The Roman Empire used Graz to defend itself against enemies in the southeast.

Things to do in Graz, which was awarded the accolade of European Capital of Culture for 2003, include visiting Alstadt von Graz (the Old Town) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking in the dazzling beauty of the Herz Jesu Kirche (Church of the Sacred Heart) which is the largest church in Graz and finally seeing the architectural wonder that is the Eggenberg Palace.

Graz is a very affordable city, and one reason for this is that the city has lots of budget-friendly and even free places of interest. For instance, visiting the Grazer Schlossberg, the site of a historic fortress, offers impressive views of the city and is free.

  • Closest Airport: Graz Airport (GRZ)
  • Average Flight Cost: £188
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £650
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £602
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 111
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 12
  • Number of Attractions: 345
  • Most Popular Attraction: Schlossberg
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0
Lahti, Finland
Lahti, which is a city in the south of Finland, scored 24 out of a possible 70 points for its suitability for those on a budget. It can be found at the southern end of Lake Vesi, which is northeast of Helsinki. Lahti has state-of-the-art skiing resorts such as Messilä and the Salpausselkä Ridges.

The city has some amazing sights for tourists on offer, like gazing out on one of Finland's 187,888 lakes, including Vesijärvi, having a coffee at Kahiwa Coffee Roastery, and even exploring the Wood Architecture Park.

Lahti is a very affordable city. For example, food prices in supermarkets are lower than in many other countries. The city also has accommodation to suit any budget, these range from five-star luxury hotels to clean and comfortable hostels.

  • Closest Airport: Helsinki Airport (HEL)
  • Average Flight Cost: £200
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £750
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £469
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 25
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 1
  • Number of Attractions: 72
  • Most Popular Attraction: Motorcycle Museum of Finland
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £10.0
Marbella, Spain
Marbella, which is a city in the south of Spain on the Costa del Sol, scored 24 out of 70 points. It belongs to the region of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Marbella has a micro-climate where the weather differs from the surrounding areas of Spain.

Marbella isn't just about partying; there are lots to do and see in this beautiful city. This includes enjoying the sunrise at one of Marbella's wonderful beaches, such as San Pedro de Alcántara, discovering the seafront promenade, and visiting Plaza de Los Naranjos and the old town.

According to freelance copywriter Joanna Styles, who is based in Malaga, Marbella has a high-end reputation, but with careful planning, tourists on a budget can certainly enjoy a visit of their own. There are lots of affordable restaurants, for example, off the beaten tourist track in the old quarter where the locals go. Marbella also has miles of free blue flag beaches and crystal clear waters.

  • Closest Airport: Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP)
  • Average Flight Cost: £234
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £3,459
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £526
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 154
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 11
  • Number of Attractions: 440
  • Most Popular Attraction: Marbella Old Town
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0
Oradea, Romania
Finally, we have the city of Oradea in northwest Romania, which scored 22 out of a possible 70 points for how budget-friendly the destination is. Oradea is the green capital of Romania and the city with the most palaces in Romania.

Some of the most exciting things to do and see in Oradea include visiting the architectural wonder of the town hall, exploring the Black Eagle Palace, walking along the Crișul Repede river, and finally having a stroll along the Calea Republicii which is Oradea's main shopping street.

Oradea is an underrated Romanian city and for this reason, it is significantly cheaper than other European cities precisely because tourism isn't exactly booming there. Oradea also has a range of budget hotels and inexpensive restaurants with cheap and tasty food.

  • Closest Airport: Oradea International Airport (OMR)
  • Average Flight Cost: £374
  • Average Cost of Accommodation for a Week: £373
  • Average Cost of a Rental Car: £654
  • Number of 'Cheap' Restaurants: 34
  • Number of 'Budget' Hotels: 12
  • Number of Attractions: 146
  • Most Popular Attraction: Black Hawk Palace Arcade
  • Average Cost of Most Popular Attraction: £0

We hope we have shown that no matter what your budget is, there are amazing and unique places to visit all around Europe this summer.

If you're looking to rent a car for your summer trip, please consider choosing us as we are a leader in online car rental bookings. This is because we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose the best deal for your individual family's needs.

We also operate in more than 145 countries and 10,000 locations, so we're sure to have the car rental deal for you, no matter where your next road trip happens to be.
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