Everyone knows travel in Europe is notoriously expensive for the budget traveler – right? Or is it just a case of a few expensive cities having become representative of all Europe?
Even exorbitant Oslo has its free attractions and cheap eats if you know where to look. But this list of the cheapest cities in Europe will tell you which are the best places to go this summer in your gap year or backpacker budget. And not only because the dollar is doing really well, and airfares are the lowest they have been in years! You’ll see, as expected, that all the cities on this list are in Eastern Europe. Take this opportunity to explore the unique cultures of Eastern Europe!
10. Zagreb, Croatia
It is possible to enjoy this little Croatian town on the way to Plitvice National Park for less than $35 a day! Fantastic isn’t it? While the tourist herds head to the country’s beach resorts, you could go against the flow (with lots of other people) to charming old Zagreb. This city is like Prague, but one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
Zagreb is great for browsing museums, strolling the squares, drinking coffee in cafes, enjoying theater and cinema, and swimming in the lake. If you travel in Europe in winter, with prices slashed even more, you could enjoy skiing at Mt. Medvednica.
9. Warsaw, Poland
Expect to spend less than $35 a day in Warsaw too. The Polish capital is one of the cheapest cities in Europe. Plus it’s a bright and blossoming place to visit. It has more or less left behind its World War II past. You can still see some museums about the past. But modern Warsaw loves its craft beer and you’ll find young people having fun at the city’s hip bars and nightclubs. Plus the cobbled streets look just like those picture postcards. Don’t miss Warsaw – it’s one of the best affordable destinations in Europe.
8. Cesky Kumlov, Czech Republic
Beautiful Prague is probably on your bucket list. But while you’re on a budget and in the Czech Republic, we suggest you check out Cesky Krumlov. This is a beautiful little riverside town with the same red roofs you’ll see in Prague. Plus it has a castle complex that is completely free to visit! Food is quite cheap in the city, and if you’re staying at a hostel or joining a tour, you may be able to enjoy free drinks. This town is three hours by train from Prague. You can enjoy a day here for just 32 USD!
7. Kiev, Ukraine
Ukraine is a fascinating country, and Kiev one of the best affordable destinations in Europe. If you travel in Europe with an adventurous spirit, you should make your way to relatively remote Kiev. This city has been one of the cheapest cities in Europe for years. A backpacker can get by on less than $30 a day in Kiev. Doing what? Well, there’s gold-domed churches, cycling in Golosiyivsky Forest, farmers’ markets to explore, offbeat buildings in Sculptures’ Alley to take selfies with, local handicrafts to buy, see the world’s smallest book at the Museum of Miniatures, and more. Do you still need convincing?
6. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzeghovina
This part of Europe has come out of its troubled past. It’s a great time to go. Sarajevo is set deep in the mountains, so the journey to get there is bound to be rewarding. You’ll find it’s one of the safest cities in Europe today! Sarajevo is small, very old, with people of different religions living together. It’s small enough to walk or bike around. There is a lot to see, from the Old Town with cobbled streets, to the lovely Academy of Fine Arts, white marble cemeteries, street markets, bridges, museums, and lovely views from the surrounding hills. It’s easy to travel here for less than $30 a day!
5. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is cheap if you stay away from touristy places around the river. But this rule applies everywhere. In gorgeous, romantic Budapest on the river Danube, there are free walking tours, free architectural tours of Castle Hill, a colorful Jewish Quarter you don’t need to spend anything to experience, Hungarian souvenirs to buy in Great Market and much more. All for a little over $25 a day of your carefully rationed travel money!
4. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade was also troubled in the ‘90s, but it’s peaceful now. Like Budapest, this city also sits on the Danube river though it’s a lot more humble-looking city than Budapest. But it does have some striking buildings like the fortress, its beaches, its chapels and cathedrals, the Avala Tower with its beautiful views over the city, and more. We deliberately chose the picture above to show a side of Belgrave with lots of history and character that you may fall in love with.
3. Bucharest, Romania
Romania is the country of gypsies, Dracula and mysterious castles, right? Surprise, surprise, it’s a lot more than that! When you travel in Europe, try to make it a point to visit Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It’s an energetic modern city with a lot of old architecture, churches, villas and trendy cafes rubbing shoulders. A visit to the crazy Palace of Parliament, which is the largest government building in the world, will alone make a visit to the city worthwhile!
2. Krakow, Poland
Krakow has always been of the best affordable destinations in Europe. You’ll find prices of food, drinks, nightlife is very cheap here. So much so, that you can enjoy a day in Krakow for less than $25! Plus, the city has excellent old architecture, like the Wawel Castle and the medieval Rynek Glowny square, and it’s only an hour away from the must-visit camp of Auschwitz.
1. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia is one of the best affordable destinations in Europe. The prices are extremely reasonable – you can stay at the cheapest hostel in the city for less than $7 a night! Flights from other major European cities can be a little expensive because the city is out of the way. So it’s best to go there if you’re traveling for a while in Europe. Sofia is best enjoyed like a local. Just walk around, look at the architecture and enjoy local foods like boza and baklava.
Do you like this list of Europe’s cheapest destinations? Which among these super-cheap East European cities are you most intrigued by? Let us know below. And if you like the list, please share!