Sure the huge major cities like London and Paris are some of the most iconic cities in all of Europe to visit afterall millions of people visit these cities every year. They are packed with history and culture and money saving deals can most certainly be found but it will take work. London and Paris for example are two of the most expensive cities to live or visit. They don’t need rock bottom prices to attract tourists and their money, the city itself does that for them. However what you have to keep in mind is that a big city is just that… a big city. The people are here are a little less friendly and the culture is a little more drowned out amongst the hustle bustle of city life.
If you really want to experience a culture as well as priceless art, monuments, and rich history, consider staying in one of the smaller cities or even on the outskirts of the larger cities. Here you are much more likely to find hotels with lower prices because they are not inundated with tourists and are more likely to give you a good deal. Public transportation is much more widely available as well so getting into the heart of the historical areas is usually just a short train ride away. Don’t think of that as inconvenient but a chance to not only save some serious money on hotel costs but you’ll travel with the locals and may even get to know some of them.
If however you still want to see some of the most famous cities in Europe there are plenty of them that offer huge discounts on hotels. European countries have felt the slow economic growth in the tourism industry just as much as any other places and some are still seeking to attract visitors. Places like Berlin, Poland, Croatia, and Greece have hotels about half the price of other European cities and are great place to become the jumping off point of your European vacation.
Timing is Key
While summer is typically when most people in the United States want to take vacation, after all it is when schools let out and people are dreaming of getting out of the office for some relaxation and fun. Though keep in mind that every other tourist is thinking the same thing that you are and that drives the costs of everything upward. From airfares to hotels to train tickets, it all goes up in the peak season. If you want to save some serious money consider traveling anywhere in Europe during the fall or winter when the hotels and airlines are looking to sell tickets and huge discounts. If you wait until the weather warms up you likely pay twice what you would have off-season on nearly everything.
Europe in the fall is breathtaking and the dramatic decrease in the crowds makes visiting the iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, or the Colosseum much more enjoyable. It’s easier to get a table at the best restaurant, explore the natural beauty, or even find a seat on the metro if you visit in the off season. Snowy winter is equally as fascinating with lots of outdoor experiences and Christmas celebrations.
Strategy is Everything
So now you know when to go and where to stay the biggest obstacle many will face is paying for sky high airfares. For a family of four, by the far the largest price tag will come on insanely high cost of flying across the great blue ocean and just getting there. If you plan ahead you can get great deals on airfares. First, think about where you fly into in the first place. It doesn’t matter if you necessarily decide to stay in that particular city, but flying into cities like Dublin, Belfast, Reykjavik, or Istanbul where the government doesn’t charge as many taxes to the airports and these saving are passed on to you.
Certain airlines as well also offer fantastic discounts just for stopping off in their country. Iceland Air for example offers flights much lower than other simply for laying over in Iceland for a day and exploring their beautiful country (something well worth you time). Search other budget airlines like RyanAir (an Irish company) for more cheap fares to lots of major European destinations. Though keep in mind that Iceland Air doesn’t fly out of all American cities so if you want to take advantage of their fares you many have to fly out of a different airport than you usually would have.