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Low-Cost birding trips in Europe (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi everyone,

So with the New Year upon us, I'm trying to plan out one or two birding trips for the year ahead. There are lots of spots I'd like to see...the problem is that most birding tours are prohibitively expensive, at least for my budget. Would anyone have recommendations for low-cost (say £750/euros or under) birding trips in Europe - be they for a full week or just a few days? You can PM me if you don't want to post publicly.

Any recommendations at all would be greatly appreciated.

Wishing you all a happy New Year,

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Are you asking about guided, organised birding trips or doing it independently?
If the latter, you could do worse than a cheap flight to Majorca, birding without a car seems feasible in the north-east of the island (see the Mallorca 2016 thread for ideas).


Well-known member
If you want an organized tour, then anywhere in Europe a week, air ticket, accommodation, food and the guide add up to much more than 750 EUR.

If you want an independent tour, it is easy in most bird destinations in Europe for this price. I could do 5-7 days in Canaries, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, south of France, assorted Balkan countries, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Georgia or Turkey.

To make an independent trip of the quality of a commercial trip, you need to spend about as many afternoons planning as the trip itself will take. There are now many 'where to watch birds in...' books, trip reports in sites like cloudbirders and updated records in places like observado.org.

Your biggest factor is finding cheap air ticket and pick cheaper hotels or B&Bs. Using the car helps a lot with the latter, because you can find a cheap but decent hotel in out of the way place. If you feel youthful and want to camp, it is even cheaper. Your second factor is going with somebody else which splits the cost of car rental and hotel.

Drive, twitch, sleep etc. And drop in some sightseeing or swimming in the sea if you want. In most places in the West Palearctic you now find similar paved roads, supermarkets with the same brands of food, hostels with similar quality etc. The main difference is whether outside the window there are palms and bulbuls or sheep and gulls. ;)

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
It depends very much on what your goals are
For instance I went to Extremadura with 5 friends. Very cheap easyJet flight, cheap 7 seater car hire, inexpensive hotels. We had a ball and managed to catch up with all our targets. Cost a few hundred pounds each in total.

On the other hand a friend has had a guided trip in Georgia which picked up lots of Western Palearctic "ticks". But flights might consume a considerable amount of your budget. Once there day to day costs aren't high.

If you are "adventurous" you could book a cheap flight based on these Trip reports - http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=244

and then search out a local birder from


Well-known member
I had some good tours by booking a cheap flight to a well known holiday destination like Seville, Alanya or Corsica, then driving immediately away from the tourist sprawl to the real nature.

Maybe I am a hardcore guy, but I am a bit disappointed with finding a local birder. Those I found were nice but usually could take you around their home patch and show you common species, which you would later on see yourself. I found bird sightings from the internet and trip reports enough and better.

OK, some local birders are an exception. One in Canada gave me a tip to see three polar bears in the suburbs. I am still thankful to him :)


Registered User
Can I throw Bulgaria into the mix? I am biased because I live here but some fantastic birds! If you want a guided tour have a look at Neophron, I can highly recommend them!



Well-known member
It obviously depends on what you are interested in seeing to some degree, but for value of new species I would say Madrid would be a very good bet if you are looking for something on the cheap. I had a mini trip in April last year where flight and accomodation in a cheap central hotel room were £178 for four nights. The day I got there I got on the bus to El Pardo for a few Euros and less than half an hour later was wandering around and seeing species including Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black and Griffon Vultures, Bee-eaters, Subalpine Warbler, Hoopoe, Little Bittern, Short-toed treecreeper, Nightingale etc etc.

The next two days I had trips booked with Luis Sitges the first day was for steppe and wetland and had species including great and little bustard, calandra lark, white-headed duck, flamingo, lesser kestrel, stone curlew, purple swamphen and a fleeting view of black-bellied sandgrouse. The other day we went to Monfrague National Park for the day and had over the course of the day we had around 15 raptor species including Bonelli's Eagle, Black Winged Kite, more Imperial Eagle, Egyptian Vulture etc plus birds like Black Stork, Alpine Swift, Iberian Azure Winged Magpie, Spanish Sparrow, and five or so species of heron on a short detour.

I would really say though that the best bet is to find a country you like the look of it's species and then find some people to contact to see what the optimal way of doing it is.


Well-known member
I have done regular 4 night breaks away to places like Finland, Poland, Hungary, Spain etc.

You can book cheap flights yourself via Ryan Air or EasyJet for instance, then book cheap accommodation via someone like www.booking.com, and cheap car hire if you drive on line too. This brings price right down, and then you can book a day tour or even a 4 hour tour with local birding companies.

Birding tour company web sites of course want you to go the full hog and pay for a weeks total guiding, but they often also offer private day tours. These don't come cheap either, but compared to the full weeks tour with them, they are pennies.


Well-known member
Birding tour company web sites of course want you to go the full hog and pay for a weeks total guiding, but they often also offer private day tours. These don't come cheap either, but compared to the full weeks tour with them, they are pennies.

I'd add to that that more specifically, you can use them to target species which require some specific knowledge to find while just using your own means to pick up the more common ones - I'd suggest scheduling guided day trips towards the end of a longer visit to give you time to pick up the common species first so you aren't wasting that precious paid time on species that you would have found yourself.


Inglorious Bustards
With flights to Gib from £30 and the ability to witness thousands of migrating raptors then the straits of Gibraltar should be on your list if not at the very top.

Accommodation options are numerous and guiding is easy and relatively inexpensive. This would be well within your budget for a week.email [email protected] and they will be able to help with a specific budget tour.


Registered User
Mallorca - Staying in Alcudia or Peurto Pollensa gives access to a number of excellent birding areas - on foot, by bike, or by bus.


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