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1st August 2022

Best places to drive to in Europe on a budget

Find out our favourite places to drive to in Europe if you’re on a budget.

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If you’ve been holiday starved in the last couple of years and you want to enjoy a much-needed road trip but are not sure where to go, read on to find our favourite places for road trips in Europe on a budget.

Montpellier, France

Beautiful buildings in Montpellier, France

France can be quite an expensive place to visit. However, given that it’s the country closest to the UK, getting there is a breeze, and you can save a lot of money on fuel if you stay in France. One of the cheapest cities to stay in is Montpellier. Hotels range between £40 and £160 depending on your budget. You can also find some beautiful Airbnbs for around £60-£70 a night.

Food will generally cost just over £20 a day, though this can be cheaper if you have access to a kitchen. There are also plenty of free activities to do in Montpellier. This includes visiting the Cathedrale de Pierre or enjoying the beautiful Jardin des Plantes in the heart of the city. You can also drive to the beach – or take the tram or bus if you fancy a rest from driving.

If you’re travelling to France for a holiday, be sure to read our helpful French phrases for your driving holiday!

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is a gorgeous part of Italy and one that’s well worth a visit. The area does get busy in the summer, but if you’re able to book an off-peak holiday, a car is one of the best modes of transport to see the coast.

As a result of its twisty roads and hair-pin bends, the area is probably not suited for inexperienced drivers, but it’s a fantastic option for more confident drivers. A popular route is driving from Sorrento to Salerno. You can hug the coast throughout the journey, making it great for taking in breathtaking views.

Good deals can be hard to come by in this area, but hotels can cost as little as £30 and Airbnbs from around £40. You can save some money by staying in less popular towns along the coast, such as Ravello or Minori.

Eating out can be expensive in this area, so if you can cook food in your accommodation – or you’re travelling via campervan or motorhome – this can help keep costs low. You can find supermarkets in Conad, Despar and near Pontone.

Republic of Ireland

There are many places that are worth exploring in the Republic of Ireland, meaning it can make for a great low-budget road trip.

There are a few ports you can take the ferry from: Holyhead or Fishguard in Wales, Liverpool in England, or Stranraer in Scotland. The duration of the journey will vary between two and eight hours depending on which port you take the ferry from. Return ticket prices start from £198 depending on the number of passengers and cars you want to take.

There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in the Republic of Ireland, from Dublin itself to the Ring of Kerry. Prices for a decent hotel will start from £30, and you can also find an Airbnb for just a few pounds more than this.

Munich, Germany

Beautiful architecture in Munich, Germany

Although prices can become inflated during Oktoberfest, Munich – and Germany in general – is an affordable option for travellers from the UK. With incredible historical architecture around the city, even just wandering around the city is a worthwhile activity. There are also plenty of hostels, hotels and Airbnbs that cater for a wide range of budgets.

There are also a number of attractions to visit that are affordable, such as the Munich Residenz (€14, or around £11.90) and St. Peters Church (€5, or around £4.25). And if you’re serious about hitting all the top tourist attractions, you can get a Munich City Tour card, which includes travel in some parts of Munich and provides discounts for more than 80 tourist attractions in Munich and the surrounding area.

And if you want to splurge a little on your trip, you could even tour Neuschwanstein Castle, which is about two hours’ drive from Munich. We’d also recommend the quarkbällchen (quark donuts), which are usually sold on the walk up to the castle and are perfect on cold days.

Budapest, Hungary

Stunning church architecture in Budapest, Hungary

Although Hungary is a lot further away to the UK compared to some of the other countries on this list, it can make for an excellent and affordable place to travel if you don’t mind the longer journey. The drive takes roughly 20 hours, which is probably best split over two or three days if you don’t mind stopping at rest stops and cities along the way each night.

There are plenty of hostels and affordable private rooms to stay in, and you can even get a place all to yourself on Airbnb from about £40 a night.

Tourist attractions are also fairly affordable, with admission for Buda Castle costing just 1,400 HUF (approximately £3), and visits to Lukács Baths costing around 2,800 HUF (approximately £6) if you go on a weekday after 5pm.

You might also want to check out the ruin bars in the area. Even if you’re on a budget, you can get drinks for as little as 600 HUF (approximately £1.30). Each ruin bar is unique as they’re usually buildings that are run down or were facing demolition. These bars aren’t renovated completely, but instead build on the building’s current state, making it something of a selling point.

Tips for keeping costs low on your European road trip

Remember that there will be a few costs that you might not have considered, including the ferry from Dover to Calais – which will usually set you back around £150-£250 depending on how far in advance you book. It’s a good idea to book this as soon as possible, ideally a couple of months before your trip is set to begin.

In fact, as a general rule, the more you can book in advance the better. This includes accommodation, which is usually cheaper when booked in advance.

Affordable insurance with cover for European holidays

If you’re one for good deals, we’ve got something for you. At Sterling, we offer affordable vehicle insurance, whether you need cover for your car, campervan or motorhome. We offer green card insurance for Europe, meaning policies can cover trips to Europe. Get a quote by calling us on 0344 381 9990 or requesting a callback.

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