Your Ideal Budget Trip to Europe

Tripoto
19th May 2019
Photo of Your Ideal Budget Trip to Europe by Pranab

Gone are the days, when a vacation or backpacking trip to Europe was a distant dream. Today, if planned well and in advance, one can make the most of their budget and create everlasting memories, what with formation of the European Union (Schengen Visa <3).

About the phrase 'Budget trip': We stayed with friends / CouchSurfing wherever we could, mostly walked around the cities or took public transport, rarely ate / drank at restaurants (The supermarkets in Europe are aplenty, and cheap too!)

Although this is about a budget trip, our own was not very cost effective, thanks to impromptu plans and impulsive decisions. But it surely was a 'no regrets' one. We mostly ended up booking expensive flight tickets and AirBnB rooms. CouchSurfing everywhere was not viable at such short notice. That said, with the exception of a handful of countries, the EU is not very expensive to pass through.

Itinerary

Mumbai - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Madrid - Barcelona - Mumbai

Prague - 3 days

Photo of Your Ideal Budget Trip to Europe 1/1 by Pranab
Old Town Square
Day 1

Prague is a great option for you to enter Europe -- the chill out vibes, the street music that follows you everywhere around the corners, the history and culture, and even the bustling party life.

Getting around the city is easy, as it is very well connected by public transport. And cheap at that. Buy a multi-day pass, and hop-on to any mode of transport, worry free!

Stay - We stayed at a very neat & spacious apartment booked through AirBnB. Look up, and you will find loads of options.

City expense rating - $$

Things to do: Explore Old Town Square, Stroll across Charles Bridge, Visit Prague Castle, Admire the Lennon Wall, Drink their World famous beer, Walk the backstreets of Mala Strana, Night Life.

Prague to Vienna - BlaBlaCar

Day 5

Vienna - 3 days

Photo of Vienna, Austria by Pranab
Photo of Vienna, Austria by Pranab

What can I say about Vienna. Everything around it, is perfect and beautiful to the tee. The city centre is beaming with Orchestras, breathtakingly beautiful gardens, classical musicians and shopaholics.

However, we did miss the vibrance of Prague here. People in general seemed a bit formal, and, (maybe because it was cold), not too many of them were out on the streets.

Stay - Austria is tad more expensive than its neighbouring countries. While we were fortunate to be staying with a friend, you will still find a whole lotta options, if you book well in advance.

Things to do: Visit Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens, Belvedere Museum, Get a taste of the Vienna State Opera, Prater Amusement Park for the adventurists, Naschmarkt Farmer's market.

City expense rating - $$$$

The beauty of the place makes up for lack of anything else. So much so, we even sang original songs that we'd almost forgotten about ^_^

Vienna to Budapest - Flixbus

Budapest - 3 days

Day 8
Trams in Budapest

The city we were most looking forward to. What with the famous Ruin Bars and their insane parties, the view of the city from Fisherman's Bastion, the Danube river in all its glory while passing through the city, or even a chill picnic day at Margaret Island, for those who want to spend some time with family.

Do note that while they accept Euros in cash, they will always only return the change in HUF / Ft.

Budapest City Centre. One last photo, since we love the city so much

Photo of Your Ideal Budget Trip to Europe by Pranab

Stay - Budapest has many cheap accommodation options including cool hostels that will take you on boat parties, pub crawling walks, or help you with valuable local information that backpackers so need. We loved staying at Meander Hostel very close to the city centre, and made a lot of new friends too!

Things to do: Look at the majestic Parliament Building, Széchenyi Thermal baths (a must do), House of Terror, Fisherman’s Bastion (the view of the city is to die for), Ecseri Flea Market, Ruin Pubs, The Buda Hills, Citadella atop Gellert Hill.

Budapest to Madrid - WizzAir (Low cost airline, but be very sure to read their Terms & Conditions, to avoid last moment surprises).

City expense rating: $$

Day 11

Madrid / Villaviciosa de Odon / El Casar De Talamanca - 2 days

Madrid is a tidy big city, like most world cities. Though we would've loved to explore other parts of Spain instead, we just could not do without visiting our crazy loving friends Carlos and Ari, who live in a small town, 75 Kms from Madrid.

Clearly, we did not have enough time to go around Madrid, except to chill with our friends in their tiny, quaint little town, and it was QUITE the experience.

Stay - While we stayed with friends most days, we did book an AirBnB for around 40 Euros on the last day. Eating out at fancy streets may be expensive, but ask around for 'Tapas bars' that fill your plate with a mouthful, every time you order a drink!

Things to do: Retiro Park, Royal Palace of Madrid, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Puerta del Sol (the main tourist hub), Flamenco Tablaos, Beer at a beer terrace.

Madrid to Barcelona - AVE High Speed Trains (You can also choose cheaper options, but we wanted to experience being on a train that plies at 318 kmph!)

City expense rating: $$$

Palacio Real de Madrid

Photo of Madrid, Spain by Pranab

El Casar De Talamanca

Photo of Madrid, Spain by Pranab
Day 13

Barcelona - 5 days

There is a reason we booked and stayed in Barcelona, the longest. WE LOVE IT, and you will too! No, not just Soccer, Barcelona is much more than that.

The people, they are friendly and happy. The streets so musical, the hills so pretty. Oh and the Mediterranean Sea, Barceloneta, is all heart, heart, heart. So many reasons, we just cannot stop about it.

Barceloneta

Having missed the opportunity in Madrid, we decided to go for a Flamenco performance on Thief Street, in a small vicinity with narrow lanes, low lights, and tad intimidating.

We were charged a mere 5 Euros a head (those who know it, Flamenco performances can be expensive. Real expensive).

Day 14

Those were the best 5 Euros we spent on the entire trip.

Violeta and her Flamenco troupe. Mesmerizing.

I'd recommend that the best way to familiarise yourself with this breathtaking city, would be to take up a biking tour of the city. The tour lasts 3 hours, and gets you well acclimatised with the various faces of Barcelona, and so you know what all you'd want to do for the rest of the days there.

Biking tours are aplenty, and the one we took with Michelle & Friends cost us 18 Euros, with a nice bike for yourself, and an excellent guide.

Michelle &amp; Friends Biking Tour

Photo of Your Ideal Budget Trip to Europe by Pranab

Stay - Due to paucity of time, we found an AirBnB room reasonably priced (given the short notice). We have in the past, experienced the joy of CouchSurfing in Barcelona and Barceloneta. Do not be surprised if your host is a professional guitar player or artist, full of life.

Things to do: Las Ramblas, Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló (for some Gaudi architecture), City beaches, Camp Nou (for its grandeur, and of course, Football lovers), Park Güell, Small town Gràcia, Plaça de Catalunya, Drinking and dining at Carrer de Blai Barcelona!

City expense rating: $$$

Pro tip: Take a local SIM from the likes of Uniconnect for Data. Apart from uploading your images & videos, you will need to use a lot of Google Maps. A lot!

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