Europe on a Budget: 6 Affordable Active Holidays

Stunning views of the Cinque Terre | Sue Badyari
Stunning views of the Cinque Terre | Sue Badyari

Europe on a Budget: 6 Affordable Active Holidays

From Portugal to the Balkans, here are six affordable walking and cycling holidays to enjoy over summer. With comfortable accommodation full of local charm, daily luggage transfers and helpful navigation all included, these self-guided active trips will not break the bank. 
Travel to some of Europe's most iconic landscapes - from the rainbow-painted Cinque Terre villages to the whimsical castle of Sintra - on a budget friendly active holiday.
Exploring the Italian Riviera |  <i>Sue Badyari</i> Palace of the Moors at Sintra |  <i>Bobby Rahe</i> Walking in Bulgaria's mountains

Camino dos Faros: The Lighthouse Way, Spain

A spectacular trail that connects all the lighthouses of the rugged Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), between Malpica and Finisterre, whilst staying as close as possible to the coast. Following a series of small footpaths and dirt trails along stunning cliffs that offer sweeping views over the Atlantic Ocean, you will come across almost-deserted beaches that cannot be reached easily by car and swim in small coves that remain uncrowded even in the middle of summer.

>> View Camino dos Faros: The Lighthouse Way

Enjoying the coastal walk of the Lighthouse Way in Spain

From Sintra to Cascais, Portugal

Set amidst pine-blanketed hills, Sintra looks as if it has been plucked straight from a fairytale book. It is Europe's finest example of whimsical and colourful Romanticism architecture, home to flamboyant palaces, mansions and gardens. Traverse on foot the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to the rugged and dramatic coastline -- dotted with fishing villages and sandy beaches -- for views of the so-called 'Hell's Mouth' and Cabo da Roca, continental Europe's westernmost point.

>> View Portugal Palaces and Coast Walk

The stunning colours of Pena Palace in Sintra |  <i>Larry Ebbs</i>

Cinque Terre, Italy

Find your true colours on one of the most spectacular parts of the Italian coast. The famed Cinque Terre is a series of five small, rainbow-painted picturesque fishing villages -- Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore -- dug into the cliffs, with 15th century cobbled streets and virtually no cars. Following well-marked coastal footpaths, the route promises views of lush vineyards and fragrant olive groves, with panoramic vistas of the emerald blue sea throughout.

>> View Cinque Terre Walking Tours
Riomaggiore harbour, one of the stunning Cinque Terre villages |  <i>John Millen</i>

Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria

Calling all keen walkers seeking an alternative mountain experience! Teeming with history and beautiful natural landscapes, Bulgaria is a land where time stands still: old water mills are still in operation, sheep graze peacefully in their pastures, farmers still make hay with a pitchfork and wooden carts pulled by horse are the norm. The trip concentrates on the Central Balkan National Park, known for its lush green valleys, sheer cliffs, peaceful forests and quaint villages.

>> View Balkan Mountains Walk

Bulgaria offers fantastic hiking trails for walkers

Camino Sanabrés to Santiago, Spain

Reach the holy city of Santiago de Compostela following one of the oldest Camino routes and along rural hamlets, past picturesque chapels and through shady oak and chestnut woods. The quiet paths predate Christian pilgrims, going back to when Celt, Phoenician and Roman traders travelled these lands; their use of the trail resulted in many hospices, temples and monasteries being built, which complement perfectly the beautiful Galician landscape.


The Fisherman's Trail - Rota Vicentina, Portugal

South of Lisbon awaits a contrasting landscape of wild beauty, where tourists rarely visit despite endless beaches and authentic fishing villages: this is the Alentejo region, which covers a third of Portugal's landmass but only four per cent of its population. Part of the Rota Vicentina long-distance footpath, the Fishermen's Trail follows the coast from the picture-perfect beaches of Odeceixe to the traditional village of Porto Covo, perched on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

>> View The Fishermen's Trail - Rota Vicentina

Get away from the crowds on the Rota Vicentina long-distance walking path |  <i>John Millen</i>

Find your next active holiday in Europe


Have you been on any of these trips? Let us know in the comments below.
Italy, Spain, Portugal, Balkans, Bulgaria, Affordable active holidays, Budget Europe tours

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