Europe has a reputation for being one of the more expensive destinations to travel. It is true, some countries can make a big dent in your wallet! However, there are some great cities in Europe that are still very budget friendly. Some are known for cheap food and drink, whilst others have some bargain accommodation options. So if you are looking for a European city break, take note of these amazing affordable cities in Europe to visit!
When it comes to the most affordable cities in Europe to visit, Budapest tops the list. The beauty of Budapest is that there are so many free sites to visit. You can easily spend a day wandering to the top of Gellert Hill. From here, you will be rewarded with amazing sights of the city. At the top you also have the Citadella, which you can explore for free. From the Citadella, you have beautiful views and photo opportunities of the Danube. Many people travel to Budapest to try the infamous public baths. For those on a budget, Rudas and Kiraly are cheaper than the more famous baths in Budapest.
Budget savvy travellers can find beer for as little as 1 €, and cheap meals for around €3-5! Local style cafes are easy to find, as are smaller stands selling fast food. I always find moving a few streets away from the tourist traps means food drops in price! Accommodation is also very affordable in Budapest. I used a great BnB which was around 20 euros a night. I was a private studio flat in a great location. This meant I could also cook for myself if needed. Hostel dorm beds can be between 8-12 Euros. Nicer hotels can still be found without breaking the bank.
Bucharest in Romania is a surprisingly hipster city in Eastern Europe. With close transport links to the mountains, the Black Sea and the famous Bran Castle, Romania has increased in popularity in the past five years. Its nature and landmarks are not the only draw to tourists. Romania is affordable, however, Bucharest is not the cheapest city to bar hop in. Romania uses the Romanian Leu. Beer can be found for around 6-8 Lei which is around €1.30-1.80. The more hipster the establishment, the more expensive the beer. Vodka is pretty expensive so stick to local drinks where possible. Bucharest has a banging nightlife scene with jumping bars which spill out over the Old Town.
The Old Town is one of the more popular places to stay in Bucharest where you can find a boutique hotel room for around €90. Universitatii or Piata Romana are other neighbourhoods to consider if you don’t mind a bit of travel to get to the hustle and bustle. Nice Airbnb rooms can be found for as low as €25. Whilst hostels are naturally cheaper with dorm beds from €9. Tours are affordable and worth doing because there is so much recent history to learn about. Tours can be done on foot (pay by tip) and bike. You can visit the market, do food tours or bar crawl events. There are also a few free things you can do such as visit the many parks, Arch of Triumph, Umbrella Alley and the famous library. – Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
One of the smallest Capital cities in Europe, Valletta is also one of the most affordable! Like many places, certain aspects are cheaper than others. When it comes to Valletta, and even Malta in general, food and drink stand out! Maltese food is heavily influenced by Italy, and you can pick up a pizza slice for 2 euros! The streets are lined with quaint coffee shops. Spend a Euro, enjoy a traditional thick black coffee and watch the world go by. Thanks to the tiny size of Valletta, you can walk around the city in a day. No need to spend any money on public transport – the city is small enough to explore on foot. There is a lot of culture in Valletta itself, with plenty of museums and churches to visit. I really recommend the War Remnants museum, it is one of the top things to do in Malta.
If you want to find some nightlife, or do some shopping, head to Sliema. You can reach this town from Valletta by hoping on a ferry. It will take 20 minutes and is very scenic. Plus, the ferry will only set you back €1.50 ! Most people choose to stay in Sliema too. Thanks to the cheap price of the ferry, you can easily base yourself here and then get to Valletta cheaply. The people of Malta love to stroll along the promenade in the evening sun, another free activity! Malta is so small that from Valletta, you can take buses to any other part of the island. Spend less than 2 euros, and you can hop on a bus to the beach, or the famous silent city of Mdina.
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria is a city full of surprises, including how light it is on your wallet. It is a great destination for a cheap city break, and is one of the most affordable cities in Europe. It boasts low-cost public transport, accommodation and food, plus lots of wonderful historical (and free) sightseeing spots. Hotels in Sofia are very affordable at around 30 euros a night in a 2 star including breakfast. If you are looking for a bargain stay then downtown hostel dorm beds start from €7 . Private rooms start from around €20 a night. Most of the top sites in Sofia can easily be explored by foot. If you need to take the underground metro – one ride will cost you just 80 cents a ride! We recommend using it just to admire some of the beautiful interior designs on the platforms!
There is plenty to do for tourists in Sofia on a budget. There is a great free daily walking tour that guides you around the major city sites. Sofia is also home to the first free daily food tour in Europe. On this tour you get to taste small samples of traditional Bulgarian cuisine from a handful of interesting and trendy family owned restaurants. Sofia has a decent nightlife scene too and drinks are cheap – usually around 1.5 euros for a glass of wine or a beer. – Caroline from CKTravels
Krakow is one of the most affordable cities to visit in Europe, which is great because it’s full of history culture and amazing food. No matter what kind of tourist you are, you’ll find something to enjoy about Krakow. To give you an idea of how cheap Krakow is, a beer cost less than $2, a one way bus ticket less than $1 and double rooms start around $30 per night. Dorm rooms, of course, are much less. Polish food is also quite cheap, especially if you eat at a milk bar (government subsidised restaurants). Here, a meal is normally around $4-5. This is a great way to experience local food and culture.
In addition to cheap prices, there are also plenty of free activities. Many of the museums have specified free days, or you can wander around the streets of Kazimierz. There are several free walking tours available to teach you about different aspects of the city’s dark past. Alternatively, if the weather is nice, wander around and discover the amazing street art in Krakow.
Berlin has long been among the most vibrant cities in Europe. If you travel on a shoestring budget, the artistic and cultural capital city should be the top of your travel list. Berlin is a paradise for budget-friendly travelers and is a pleasant, walkable city. However, if you don’t feel like walking, a day ticket ABC will set you back about €8.
If you plan to spend more than a day here, there’s an abundance of cheap hostels costing between €10 and €25 a night. Consider spending a few nights in an Airbnb in Kreuzberg for about €50 a night if you’re feeling fancy. Keep in mind, Airbnb in Berlin are usually much cheaper than ordinary hotels. Because you saved so much on accommodation, you’ll have plenty of cash to try out all the amazing street food. You can’t beat a €6 currywurst washed down with a pint of beer you got at Lidl for less than a euro!
Locals sure knows how to party, and the nightlife scene in Berlin is impressive. This hip city hosts a number of annual festivals and cultural events throughout the year, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. If you’re not into clubbing and looking for some free stuff, Berlin has got you covered. There are plenty of parks to chill out, canals, flea markets, street art, and food markets to explore. Hang out on Tempelhofer Feld, clap along to live-on-stage performers at the outdoor karaoke at Mauerpark, or get lost in the Holocaust Memorial. A museum junkie? You should know that Berlin has its own Guggenheim museum, and it’s free if you visit on Mondays! – Ivan from Mind the Travel
Tbilisi, capital of Georgia in the Caucasus, is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. It’s also one of the cheapest for tourists. Accommodation, food and transport in Tbilisi are all incredibly good value. Expect to pay around 15 USD/night for a boutique hostel in the city centre or marginally more for a private room in a guesthouse (a generous home-cooked breakfast is often included). Getting around Tbilisi is a breeze – the city centre is very walkable. Travelling further afield costs just 0.5 lari (15 cents) by metro or bus.
There are stacks of free things to do in Tbilisi, ranging from green spaces and hiking trails to free galleries and museums. Some of the city’s most important landmarks are churches and monasteries (Georgia is predominantly Eastern Orthodox), all of which are free. There are several free walking tours that showcase different sides of the city, from its Soviet-era architecture to the ‘Tbilisi courtyards’ that provide a window onto everyday life.
Food and wine is a highlight of any trip to Tbilisi. If you’re travelling on a tight budget, there are plenty of local restaurants where you can fill up on delicious Georgian fare for 5-10 USD a head. A glass of homemade wine only costs a few dollars. Wine tasting at one of Tbilisi’s chic bars will set you back around 10 USD per person. Just remember that while prices are low, so are local wages. Tipping (waiters, guides and taxi drivers) is much appreciated. – Emily from Wander Lush
Portugal is the cheapest country in Western Europe, and in Porto you’ll find that the prices are even lower than in Lisbon. At Casa da Horta, a volunteer-run vegetarian restaurant, you can get a lunch set meal that includes a drink, soup and main dish for €5.50 . And for dessert, a pastel de nata (Portuguese egg custard tart) at one of the city’s bakeries will cost not much more than a euro. For an egg-free and dairy-free version that tastes just as good as the original, head to vegan restaurant DaTerra.
Quite a few of Porto’s museums are free on the weekends, and even during the week the entry is just €2.20 . But to be honest, even more enjoyable than visiting the museums is just wandering about the Ribeira district and other picturesque areas of the city. The entire historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and feels like an open-air museum. Porto’s street art is also pretty amazing. Stop in at Dedicated Store Porto and ask the friendly owner (who’s a street artist herself) where to find the best murals by Vhils, Mr Dheo, Hazul and other great Portuguese artists. – Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
According to the cost of living index, Vilnius is one of the cheapest cities in Europe. And as it is a capital, there is a huge amount of things to do. Thanks to low costs of living, it won’t hurt your wallet like cities in central or northern Europe. For example, a taxi around the city centre costs around €2 . Public transportation is even cheaper, at around 65c for a half hour journey! A beer in a pub will set you back around €3 . The average restaurant bill for two will come to around 24 euro.
What sets Vilnius apart from other European capitals is its compactness. Buildings are predominantly low-rise, and the city is full of parks. Many associate Vilnius with street-art. Small pieces can be seen around the old town, and mini-galleries can be found all around. The artistic centre of the city is Uzupis. This tiny, self-proclaimed republic has a population of 7000. Of them, around 1000 of them are artists. You can also marvel at the Vilniaus Dievo Motinos Ėmimo, an orhtodox cathedral facing Uzupis (shown here in the picture). Vilnius is also known for its military history. There are several large museums dedicated to WWII and Soviet occupation. The city’s main landmark is Gediminas’ fortress. It was constructed in 1400. It is a UNESCO site that also opens one of the best views onto the city. – Alexander from Engineer on Tour
Like it? Pin it!