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The Cheapest European Cities to Fly to: Unlocking Europe on a Budget

Are you dreaming of a European adventure but worried about the high flight prices that often come with it? Don’t worry! In this guide, we will reveal a strategic approach to making your European trip more budget-friendly. By targeting the cheapest European cities to fly to, you can significantly reduce your airfare expenses, giving you more money to spend on exploring and experiencing Europe.

Let’s face it – high flight prices to Europe are a common obstacle for many travelers. With costs often exceeding $800 and some summer fares exceeding $1,000 for roundtrip tickets, planning an affordable European getaway may seem like a daunting task. However, with the right strategy, you can turn things in your favor.

The key to affordable European travel lies in strategic planning. Instead of focusing solely on direct flights to your final destination, consider looking at the cheapest cities in Europe. This approach allows you to find budget-friendly long-haul flights, which in turn can lead to more savings on your overall trip.

Just like how certain U.S. airlines offer cheap transatlantic fares, there are specific European cities that consistently offer much cheaper flights than others. By identifying these budget-friendly entry points, you can set yourself up for a more economical journey.

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There are several European destinations that stand out for offering roundtrip fares under $500, and sometimes even under $300, making them well worth considering. Regions like Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula, and Scandinavia are particularly noteworthy for providing cost-effective options for budget-conscious travelers. Even if these locations weren’t initially on your radar, it would be wise to consider taking one of these flights because once you arrive in Europe, flights within the continent are incredibly affordable. This means that you could secure a low-cost long-haul flight and then connect to your final destination, ultimately saving a significant amount of money.

Take a look at the incredibly cheap flights available from Barcelona (BCN) across Europe… That’s right! You just need to get there, and once you do, the entire continent is at your fingertips. So if you’re planning a trip to Rome this year, the best strategy is not to search for a direct flight from the U.S. to Rome (FCO). Instead, consider looking at flights to Lisbon (LIS) and Madrid (MAD) as well, as they could potentially offer fares that are half the average price there.

Let’s explore these destinations where affordable flights abound and start planning your trip today.

Dublin: The Gateway to Affordable Europe

A European getaway is a dream come true for many travelers. And when it comes to choosing the perfect destination, the Emerald Isle immediately comes to mind. With its enchanting charm and captivating beauty, Ireland has always been a popular choice for tourists. But now, it’s even more accessible than ever for budget-conscious travelers. 

With its convenient location in Europe, Ireland’ largest airport serves as an excellent starting point for your European adventure. Whether you’re planning to visit other countries on the continent or continue your journey within Ireland itself, there are plenty of transportation options available to suit every traveler’s needs.

Dublin is an excellent entry point for finding cheap flights to Europe. With a well-connected airport facilitated by Aer Lingus and robust competition from various airlines, the Irish capital invites budget-conscious travelers to embark on an affordable European getaway. The flag carrier has a codeshare agreement with British Airways, creating a seamless travel experience for passengers flying with both airlines, while the Dublin airport is also home to Ryanair, one of the best-known low-cost carriers in Europe, which offers incredible flight deals for a bargain.

Nordic Wonders on a Budget

Next on our budget-friendly tour is Scandinavia, where the landscapes are as enchanting as the affordable fares. You can discover the enchanting Nordic wonders without breaking the bank by flying straight to the capital of Denmark, Norway, or Sweden as your entry points into Europe. Despite the region’s reputation for expensive flights and high living costs, airfares to Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm have become more affordable due to competition from airlines such as SAS, Norse Atlantic, Icelandair, and Finnair.

Copenhagen consistently offers some of the cheapest airfares among European cities, not only from major hubs but also from smaller airports across North America. With careful attention to sales, you can save significantly. Let the cheapest fares from these Nordic gateways be your starting point for an affordable exploration of Europe’s captivating north.

Barcelona and Madrid – Affordable Spanish Adventures

Spain, with its vibrant cities of Madrid and Barcelona, presents a tempting starting point for budget-conscious travelers seeking affordable European adventures.

If you’re aiming to experience Spain on a budget, Madrid (MAD) is a strategic airport to target for cheap flights almost any time of the year. The fares are consistently among the most budget-friendly you’ll find across the continent.

It’s not a secret that Madrid, with its well-connected airport and a plethora of budget-friendly airlines, stands as a gateway not only to the heart of Spain but to the entirety of Europe. The city’s central location makes it an ideal starting point, offering the potential to explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of Europe without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, a cheap flight to Madrid opens the doors to a European adventure that’s as affordable as it is enriching. If you can get to Spain for cheap, you can leverage this affordability to reach almost anywhere in Europe for less.

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Moreover, if you have a small stash of points and miles, even the best flight deals get better! Deals like the AAdvantage miles promotion frequently include flights to various Spanish cities, including Barcelona. Barcelona’s airport, El Prat, which is the second busiest airport in the country, serves as a well-connected major hub, facilitating budget-friendly flights to and from various European destinations. The city’s rich history, artistic treasures, and coastal charm make it an enticing entry point for a European adventure, and its strategic location allows for easy and affordable onward travel.

Portugal: Porto and Lisbon – Mediterranean Magic on a Budget

Portugal, with its charming cities of Porto and Lisbon, which are among the cheapest cities in Europe, is another option for budget-conscious travelers looking to experience Mediterranean magic without breaking the bank. Although Portugal is often overlooked by travelers, its cities offer inexpensive flights within Europe and are top destinations for travelers as well. Porto, known for its historic architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, and world-famous Port wine, provides a unique European experience without the hefty price tag.

Budget-friendly flights, often offered by TAP Air Portugal, make Porto an ideal starting point for a budget-friendly journey through Europe, while Lisbon Portela airport serves as a major hub for a huge number of budget airlines, which makes it one of the best cities to fly into when traveling to Europe.

Recent deals with significantly reduced fares have made Portugal an attractive choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking a taste of Mediterranean magic. 

cheapest european cities to fly to

Whether you prefer the historic elegance of Porto or the coastal charm of Lisbon, Portugal serves as a gateway to affordable European exploration that won’t strain your travel funds. Consider these cities as your starting point for an affordable and enriching journey through the heart of the Mediterranean.

Other Cheapest European Cities to Fly to

You can go beyond the usual routes to uncover budget-friendly gems. These honorable mentions aren’t just alternatives; they are strategic gateways to unique European experiences, thanks to their affordability and strategic advantages.

Reykjavik in Iceland, Vienna in Austria, and Budapest in Hungary open up opportunities for exploration throughout Europe, all while keeping your budget intact.

Reykjavik: Gateway to the North Atlantic

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, isn’t just a destination; it’s a major hub for cheap flights from both Europe and North America. Thanks to the low fares offered by Icelandair, this North Atlantic city has become an enticing entry point for budget-conscious travelers. Reykjavik’s airport is perfectly designed for stopovers, allowing you to explore the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland before continuing your European adventure with budget flights.

Highlighting the budget-friendly trend, the Boston to Reykjavik route stands out as an excellent illustration of low-cost travel, making Iceland’s captivating landscapes an accessible starting point for your European expedition.

With the Northern Lights dancing in the sky and the Blue Lagoon inviting you to relax, Reykjavik offers a unique start to your journey without breaking the bank.

Vienna: Your Affordable Gateway to Central Europe

Vienna Airport (VIE) stands out as a strategic choice for budget-conscious travelers. As fares soar elsewhere in Europe, Vienna Airport has maintained a reputation for offering cheap flights from the U.S. This classical city, steeped in history and culture, becomes your affordable gateway to Central Europe.

Austrian Airlines, with its robust network throughout Europe, ensures seamless connections to your next destination and direct flights to countless destinations across the continent. Explore the grandeur of Vienna, immerse yourself in classical elegance, and then effortlessly move on to your next European adventure without burning a hole in your pocket.

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Budapest: Where Your Dollar Goes the Furthest

Budapest (BUD) is an under-the-radar European city where your dollar goes the furthest. This charming Hungarian capital, divided by the Danube River, offers a perfect blend of Eastern European charm and affordability, possibly the cheapest European city on our list and even one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe. The airport, often overlooked by mainstream travelers, provides an excellent entry point for those seeking an authentic European experience without the tourist crowds.

Budget-friendly flights to Budapest make it an ideal starting point for exploring Hungary and, subsequently, other European destinations. Delve into the historic thermal baths, marvel at the stunning architecture, and let the vibrant nightlife captivate you – all while keeping your budget intact. Not to forget, Budapest airport is a hub for WizzAir, one of the best budget airlines in Europe, and offers some of the cheapest flights on the continent.


If you’re looking to embark on a European adventure without breaking the bank, consider starting your journey in Spain, Ireland, Portugal, or the Scandinavian countries, some of the cheapest places to travel in Europe. These countries offer a variety of attractions, from stunning beaches and vibrant cities to picturesque landscapes and rich cultural heritage. By strategically choosing the cheapest European cities to fly to, such as Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, or Budapest, you not only save on airfare but also open up a world of possibilities for exploration and discovery.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking new experiences, these destinations have something to offer. From the architectural wonders of Gaudi in Barcelona to the breathtaking cliffs of Moher in Ireland, from the charming streets of Lisbon to the beautiful fjords of Norway, Europe is full of affordable and unforgettable experiences waiting to be uncovered. Unlock Europe on a budget and make your dream trip a reality!

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