The likes of Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Munich get a lot of love from North American travelers – and for good reason! Those cities are amazing. But lately, some of the best flight prices we've seen are to places in Europe that are a little off the beaten path.
We're not talking about lesser destinations, just smaller ones. The places I'm referring to can get you a dream trip to the Amalfi Coast, Belgium, Ibiza, or the Fjords of Norway among many others.
The latest pricing trends show that these unique destinations are getting cheaper, and that means a flight directly into these smaller airports is more accessible for travelers.
So what exactly are we talking about? I'm glad you asked.
Naples and the Amalfi Coast of Italy
Imagine: It's summer 2024 and you're sipping an Aperol Spritz on the Amalfi Coast.
OK, now snap out of it. That's not going to happen unless you get going on your planning with a flight deal like this doozy we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members last week.
This flight deal to Naples, Italy (NAP) included some availability during August and September along with some fall and winter availability from many of these cities.
Flights to Italy in the $400s are so rare. Typically, those fares will run you $1,100 or more. Plus, all of these flights are flying Delta and its airline partners.
Naples, in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, is just about an hour from the Amalfi Coast, which would make for a perfect 2-in-1 vacation for you, some loved ones, and maybe even the whole family at these prices!
Speaking of Delta, the Atlanta-based carrier also joined in on this big sale on flights to Istanbul (IST) this year or next.
And again, the fares to this far-flung European locale were all below $499 roundtrip. Insane!
Flying all the way from Portland (PDX) or San Diego (SAN) to Turkey is surely a $1,200 roundtrip flight. These savings are enormous.
Everyone's aiming for Amsterdam, London, or Paris, but triangulated in between them is Belgium, which is definitely worth a visit all on its own.
These prices might just be enough to get your attention, too.
The beauty of a trip to Brussels (BRU) or nearby Antwerp is that you can parlay it with a quick visit to another city, too. As I said, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Munich are all just a couple of hours away by train at the most. A cheap flight into Brussels can kickstart a Europe trip like no other.
But there is a best way to fly to Brussels, in my opinion. And that's flying United's Polaris business class.
Thanks to Turkish Airlines' Miles & Smiles loyalty program, you could book these lie-flat seats for just 45,000 points each way. Plus, the deal included nonstop flights to Geneva, Switzerland (GVA) too.
Just like Brussels, Geneva is close to Zurich and some cities in France, but often gets overlooked as a European destination. You can change that with a business class flight there, though!
Dublin gets most of the headlines when it comes to visiting the Emerald Isle, but you can find some fantastic value by flying into the Irish countryside instead.
Cork, Ireland (ORK) is close to the Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher, and miles and miles of greenery that's so unique to the country.
And you don't have to make the long road trip from Dublin Airport (DUB) to make it happen for $566 or less roundtrip!
These flights are normally priced around $800 or $900 from many of these cities, giving travelers a little extra money for a Guinness or three while you're exploring the countryside.
Outside London, the United Kingdom has so much to offer. The likes of Glasgow (GLA) and Manchester (MAN) are chief among them for travelers looking for a slightly different experience than you'll find on the big city streets.
This flight deal, flying Icelandair (and eligible for Iceland stopovers!), connects travelers from all of these cities to Scotland and Manchester during the winter and spring months, when the English Premier League season is in full swing!
We found very similar prices from similar cities flying to Manchester (MAN) as these fares shown above to Glasgow, too.
Azores Islands of Portugal
Lisbon and Porto get a lot of love from fans of Portugal, but many travelers don't even know you can fly nonstop to the Azores islands of Portugal from the United States.
Little-known Azores Airlines runs some tantalizing routes from the east coast of North America to Madeira (FNC), Ponta Delgada (PDL), or Teceira Island (TER).
If you're not familiar with the Azores, get familiar!
Azores Airlines' nonstop flights can be as cheap as $515 roundtrip, too. You'll pay nearly twice that, with a connection, by connecting through Lisbon or other cities in Europe.
I'm happy to report that this trend of amazing flight deals to smaller destinations includes islands in the Mediterranean, too.
First stop: Malta (MLA), which has something for history buffs, archaeologists, and beach lovers alike.
These coast-to-coast prices aren't as cheap as some other destinations, but rest assured, these savings are huge. Most Malta flights would be tough to book for less than $900-$1,000 roundtrip.
And for all of our Delta fans out there, you can fly your favorite airline most of the way, too. Delta and its partners lead the way on this sale!
Here's a flight deal for the more party-hearty: Ibiza (IBZ).
If you have a college student or post-grad you need a Christmas present for, how about booking them a spring break trip to Ibiza? At nearly $300-$400 off regular rates, it's on par with what you'll pay to spend spring break in Miami or Cancún in some cases.
Northern and Eastern Europe
Instead of featuring one destination, sometimes airlines' sales are so far-reaching that we just have to feature them all.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) does this a lot, too…
Scandinavian Airlines runs an impressive network all over Europe but features especially cheap fares in Northern and Eastern Europe.
Sure, you can fly to big cities like Stockholm or Copenhagen, but cities like Bergen, Norway (BGO), Gothenburg (GOT), or Vilnius, Lithuania (VNO) are significantly cheaper and have so much to offer travelers, too.
When you aim for the smaller European cities, you can find an epic roundtrip fare like this one!
No crowds, cheap living, and an insanely cheap flight await if you aim for smaller cities like this.
Minneapolis to…Pretty Much Anywhere
You can also flex your stash of points and miles to get to places like these when sales pop up. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club made it happen a few weeks ago.
As few as 30,000 points roundtrip could take you all over Europe thanks to Air France and KLM's huge networks. And just look at your options! Bilbao, Spain (BIO), Bordeaux, France (BOD), Dusseldorf, Germany (DUS), and Luxembourg (LUX) are just a few of the cities available to travelers with a few points saved up.
Our team of flight deal experts is seeing unusually good value flying to some of Europe's hidden gem cities right now, and it's a great time to book your trip.