Budapest, Valencia, Marseille, and Sicily are considered “hidden gems” of autumn in Europe, offering beauty to rival famous destinations but at more affordable prices.
October brings cool autumn weather, fewer tourists, and many festivals and events across Europe. Below are 10 destinations that meet these criteria while remaining budget-friendly and lesser-known to international travelers. These places have been dubbed “hidden gems” of Europe and were listed by Canada’s travel magazine The Travel as recommendations for travelers planning an October trip.
Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, is located along the Adriatic coast. It is known for blending ancient charm with beaches and vibrant nightlife. While the tourist hotspot Dubrovnik attracts more visitors, Split offers a more affordable experience in Croatia.
The pleasant autumn weather in the city allows travelers to comfortably stroll along Planka pier or through the cobblestone pathways within Diocletian’s Palace, which preserves Roman ruins dating back to the 4th century.
Must-see attractions: Diocletian’s Palace, Riva waterfront promenade, Marjan Hill. Accommodation: Hostel Nova Route (from $44 USD).
Spain’s third-largest city, Valencia, offers a Mediterranean atmosphere with sunshine, sea breezes, and lower costs compared to Barcelona or Madrid.
Must-see attractions: The City of Arts and Sciences complex, La Lonja de la Seda (UNESCO-recognized heritage building), beaches, central market. Accommodation: Red Nest Hostel (from $25 USD).
Thessaloniki, located on the Thermaic Gulf, provides travelers with a culturally rich and historically significant experience similar to Athens but at a fraction of the cost. The city has been a crucial center under Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule, resulting in a blend of architecture and culture from all three empires. Combined with beautiful beaches and affordable flights, Thessaloniki is Greece’s hidden gem.
Must-see attractions: White Tower, Aristotelous Square, Galerius Arch. Accommodation: Stay Hybrid Hostel (from $61 USD). Photo: Unsplash
Marseille, situated on the Mediterranean coast, offers a relaxed and budget-friendly experience with its open-air markets, affordable eateries serving delicious Southern French and North African cuisine. As France’s oldest city, it boasts a wealth of historical landmarks, from the old port to elegant 18th-century architecture. The pleasant autumn climate extends into late October, making seaside walks ideal.
Must-see attractions: Notre-Dame de la Garde cathedral, Palais Longchamp memorial, Vieux Port (Old Port). Accommodation: Premiere Classe Marseille Est – La Valentine (from $85 USD).
As one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, Sicily offers an authentic Italian experience with more affordable prices compared to Rome, Venice, or Florence. Mild weather, cheap flights, and uncrowded beaches in October make it an excellent choice for an autumn getaway.
Must-see attractions: Pretoria Square, Monreale Cathedral, Teatro Massimo opera house. Accommodation: Verdemare Hotel (from $89 USD).
The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, often goes unnoticed by most travelers in Europe, resulting in lower costs compared to other European capitals. Local dishes like ćevapčići sausages and stuffed cabbage provide a delightful and budget-friendly dining experience for most visitors. Belgrade, situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, offers picturesque riverside walks, making it a perfect destination for enjoying the cool autumn weather. It’s also a top backpacker destination in Europe.
Must-see attractions: Belgrade Fortress, Skadarlija bohemian quarter, Nikola Tesla Museum. Accommodation: Play Hostel (from $28 USD).
Porto, located on the northern coast of Portugal, serves as an alternative to the well-known Lisbon. The region offers more affordable accommodations, especially youth hostels. Porto’s old town is filled with colorful tiled buildings along winding streets. Enjoying local wines under the gentle autumn sun is a recommended activity in Porto.
Must-see attractions: Clerigos Tower, Porto Cathedral, Livraria Lello – one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Accommodation: Nice Way Porto Hostel (from $61 USD).
As one of Poland’s most famous and captivating destinations, Krakow attracts visitors with its well-preserved medieval old town, proximity to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and its rich European history, including the tragic events of World War II. Nevertheless, Krakow remains relatively affordable compared to most Western European cities, offering budget dining options and affordable daily expenses.
Must-see attractions: Main Market Square, Wawel Castle, Schindler Factory Museum. Accommodation: Dizzy Daisy Hostel (from $68 USD).
Ireland’s capital, Dublin, combines the allure of ancient history with modern-day vibrancy. The city boasts affordable eateries, traditional pubs, and upscale restaurants.
Must-see attractions: Phoenix Park, National Museum of Ireland, Trinity College Library. Accommodation: Ashfield Hostel (from $118 USD).
Budapest’s wealth of historic architecture, historical landmarks, and lively nightlife make it “one of the reasons to visit Hungary,” according to The Travel. It also boasts some of the “most attractive prices in Europe.” Flights to Budapest are often more affordable than other destinations like Paris or London. The Hungarian capital can be chilly in winter, but the pleasant October temperatures make it perfect for outdoor strolls or relaxing in outdoor cafes.
Must-see attractions: Thermal baths, Heroes’ Square, Parliament building. Accommodation: Classic Hotel (from $36 USD).
Hotel room prices were surveyed based on published rates from booking apps and hotel websites for October stays.