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6 Europe’s Less Expensive Cities

Different people have different goals or bucket lists, but one of the most common things people want to do before they die is see the world; and one of the most common reasons people don’t get around to fulfilling their dream: money. If you realise that your life’s ambition of travelling around the continent is slowly slipping through your fingers, don’t panic. You can still travel on a small budget.

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In love with Prague’s winter scenery

 

To show you how, here are Europe’s least expensive cities. Head to these destinations and you can explore a whole host of different cultures for less than you thought:

#1 Budapest

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Budapest at night. Photo credit: Moyan Brenn.

 

 The Hungarian capital absolutely has to be the cheapest city in Europe. Not only did it rank first in a study by HouseTrip.com, but it was also named most affordable city in the annual Post Office Travel Money survey. At just £117 for two nights’ accommodation, sightseeing, an evening meal for two, drinks and transport it’s definitely budget-friendly.And that’s for an average tourist. If you travel in our “tramp style”, you can easily do it for less than $25 a day.

#2 Prague

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Historical Prague

 

The Czech capital also featured in the Post Office survey, where it was found that meals and drinks were much cheaper than anywhere else in Europe. Prague has long been a budget option for backpackers, but it’s since been overtaken by other Eastern European cities. When visiting Prague 2 years ago, I easily survived for less than $25 a day doing couchsurfing and indulging in traditional Czech trdelnik!

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#3 Lisbon

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Stunning Lisbon. Photo credit: Ramon Bataller.

 

 Portugal is a popular holiday destination and you can easily reach the capital of Lisbon for one of the best-value breaks within the Eurozone. Prices have fallen by 15% since last year, so it’s around half the price of stopping in Paris or Amsterdam.

 #4 Madrid

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Madrid at night. Photo credit: Luis Feliciano.

 

Barcelona is perhaps the more popular city of the two, but the Spanish capital is a lot kinder to your wallet. There are lots of cheap hostels and hotel rooms around the city – from as little as €11 a night – while the tapas culture makes dining out much more affordable. Drinks are also cheap if you stick to beer or sangria.

 #5 Edinburgh

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Edinburgh in autumn colors. Photo credit: Glyn Ednie.

 

Although it has been labelled as the most expensive city to stay in the UK, taking a short break in Edinburgh can actually offer tourists great value for money when you consider all the costs. You can enjoy affordable prices on food, drink and entertainment once there – with plenty of free attractions to enjoy. Add in the fact that if you’re from UK you don’t have to worry about currency exchange rates and the allure is only too clear! Consider couchsurfing and nothing can stop you from spending less than $25 a day.

#6 Nice

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Stunning view of Nice. Photo credit: Simon.

 

A trip around Europe wouldn’t be complete without a stay in France. Rather than heading to the pricey capital, go south to the Côte d’Azur to Nice. There is lots to do in the city, but it’s also a good base for exploring Monaco and Cannes.

Postcards from Prague (the cheapest city in Europe I’ve ever travelled to)

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What city would you pick to visit on the cheap this summer?

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Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"

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{ 80 comments… add one }
  • The Guy June 9, 2014, 11:19 am

    Another great list and an interesting one two. With your frugal approach to travel this shatters the concept that certain places such as Nice, Madrid and so on are pricey. They can be managed on a low budget as you prove time and time again.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 2:00 am

      I agree!!

      Reply
  • Andrew June 9, 2014, 11:34 am

    An interesting list – although if you head way east to Bulgaria and Romania you will find cheaper places. And Albania I think although I haven’t been there. But for feature cities that everyone wants to go to, this is a great list. It’s good to see that Prague, despite the increase in tourists over the years, hasn’t become ridiculously expensive. Very keen to get to Lisbon one day, good to hear it’s not too costly. And Budapest, great bang for your buck! Great post!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 2:00 am

      Many thanks for the info xx

      Reply
  • Mike | Earthdrifter June 9, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Madrid, Lisboa and Prague look fascinating. I really want to check out Krakow too. I wonder if you’d consider those Eurail/Interail train passes as ‘budget friendly’.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 2:00 am

      Prague is definitely worth visiting!!!

      Reply
  • Heather June 9, 2014, 1:32 pm

    I’ve been to five of the six and love them all! Budapest and Lisbon are particular favorites. Not only are they beautiful and fascinating destinations, they aren’t the least bit crowded! After traveling in Asia for two years, that’s a real plus :-)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:59 am

      Great to hear that. I hope I will enjoy Europe for the next year :).

      Reply
  • Talon June 9, 2014, 2:53 pm

    Romania has some very inexpensive and great cities as does Poland. Prague is my fav on the list, though. Unbelievably expensive and wonderful.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:59 am

      Great to hear that. Thanks Talon!

      Reply
  • Escape Hunter June 9, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Edinburgh cheap? Nice? Sounds surprising,…
    When I was in Lisbon 6 years ago it was very expensive – one can easily see that from the metro journey prices.
    Budapest is quite expensive, but substantially cheaper than Vienna or Ljubljana. Hmm… loved it!
    If you want to spend the least possible, then go during the winter. It’ll be very cold, though.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:58 am

      Lisbon is very affordable nowadays.

      Reply
      • Escape Hunter July 19, 2014, 8:55 pm

        Since that comment I’ve been there & back.
        Guess what: it was awfully more expensive than I had anticipated.
        Well, I went a bit too deep for too long and transportation in the metropolitan area of Lisbon is quite costly.

  • Michelle June 9, 2014, 5:08 pm

    Great list! There’s lots of cities i love in Eastern Europe! They’re cheap and I have just as much, or even more fun than in lots of other more expensive cities in W. Europe. Doing another mini E. Europe trip next month to Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro…so excited! :D

    LOVE Budapest and Prague! Bratislava is also great! I didn’t know Lisbon is so affordable…Portugal is still on my Europe bucket list!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:58 am

      I totally agree!! I’m going to Portugal next month, can’t waaaait!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  • Elena @ Elena's travelgram June 9, 2014, 6:18 pm

    Based on my experience Nic can be cheap in off-season e.g early May or late September. A hotel room costs around 60 eu for two, but if you travel with company, you can rent a flat, and it would cost around 15-20 eu per person a day if you stay for at least 4-5 days. Don’t forget to bargain :)

    Hitting on Spain this summer and spending 5 days in Madrid. Oh, and you can find nice deals in Malaga. We’re renting a room in a shared flat in the city center for just 90 eu per person for 6 nights ;)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:57 am

      Great to know that. Many thanks Elena for sharing xxx :)

      Reply
  • Tim | UrbanDuniya June 9, 2014, 6:33 pm

    I haven’t seen much of Europe, and Rome is certainly not the cheapest place in Europe, but I found food and drink there to be particularly good value (especially when you consider the quality of much of the food)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:56 am

      Accommodation in Rome is a bit expensive, I admit.

      Reply
  • rebecca June 9, 2014, 9:14 pm

    would not of thought Edinburgh was so cheap. I certainly found Poland to be pretty cheap and most places around Eastern Europe

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:56 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Poland. I read your blog posts on that, superb!

      Reply
  • Stef June 9, 2014, 9:32 pm

    As I haven’t been to Budapest and Nice yet, I would choose Budapest but I’d live to spend some more time in Prague, Lisbon and Madrid. Those are definitely cities I could imagine living for a while. And before heading to Ecuador in the end of August I will have a short stopover in Madrid to wander a bit around and have some tapas :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:55 am

      Budapest is amazing and so cheap. Never been to Madrid though.

      Reply
  • Dennis Kopp June 9, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the great tips Agness, this might come in quite handy for my upcoming Europe trip. While I loved Budapest and would definitely visit again, I will also keep Nice in mind when visiting France. Hopefully you are right and it will not be too expensive there. After all my time in Asia, I am quite concerned about the prices in Europe… :/

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:55 am

      I’ve already been to France and let me tell you it was pretty affordable. At that time I was travelling with Cez so we shared the expenses. Not too bad.

      Reply
  • Katie June 9, 2014, 11:09 pm

    Prague is such a great city! And pretty affordable. I actually found Europe to be not that terribly expensive (except Switzerland – sheesh that country is outrageous!). Nowhere near as cheap as SE Asia (sigh), but still not as bad as I was expecting. I was surprised to see Nice and Madrid on your list, good to know for my next Europe trip!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:53 am

      I know. Everyone complains about Europe being way too expensive, but it’s not.

      Reply
  • Matt June 10, 2014, 2:11 am

    Perfect! 2 of these (Nice and Madrid) were already on my radar for my Euro trip later this year. And now I’ve gotta look into Lisbon and see if I can make it fit because I’d love to go there. I just didn’t realize that it was considered of the cheaper European cities. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:53 am

      I hope you can make it there soon!!

      Reply
  • Jen Seligmann June 10, 2014, 9:50 am

    There are definitely some cheaper places to visit in Europe. I was absolutely blown away by Prague for its beauty and charm and shocked at how cheap it was. We were having a decent sized delicious meal and a beer each every night for less $15 for two people.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:52 am

      I love everything about Prague!

      Reply
  • kami June 10, 2014, 10:45 am

    I’d definitely add Warsaw to that list! And these days visiting Kiev and Lviv seem to be a bargain (before the revolution they were still dirt cheap but now it’s even more affordable!)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:52 am

      Definitely. Warsaw was also very affordable when I traveled there last year.

      Reply
  • Lisa - Wee Wanders June 10, 2014, 11:21 am

    Great suggestions and lots that I have still to visit! I can recommend Vigo in the north of Spain as a less expensive city with tapas for on offer for very little. My hometown, Glasgow can also be less expensive if you choose your places wisely – certainly cheaper than Edinburgh.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:52 am

      Oh, didn’t know that! Thanks for the info Lisa!! x

      Reply
  • Yara Coelho June 10, 2014, 3:46 pm

    I totally vouch for Portugal, one of the coolest and least explored country in Europe.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:51 am

      Agree and I’m gonna see it next month!

      Reply
  • Jess @UsedYorkCity June 10, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Wow, some of these were very shocking (but pleasantly so!) I would love to do Budapest and Lisbon…I’ve been enjoying a lot of wine from near Lisbon lately, which is much more affordable than Spanish wine, but similar tastes because of proximity!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:50 am

      Budapest is amazing!!

      Reply
  • Chris June 10, 2014, 4:08 pm

    Hi Agness, great list of places to visit, each for their own unique reasons. It’s been a while, about 10 years actually but I’ve been to 5 of the 6 places on your list and loved them all. The only one I Haven’t been to is Lisbon, and Portugal is definitely on our list for this nomadic adventure. Including Edinburgh in this list is a risk, it was expensive when I was there in 2000, but the Aussie dollar back them was terrible. Our strong dollar means we’d certainly get better value for money now. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:50 am

      Hi Chris. Thanks for sharing. I am going to Lisbon next month. I’ll be visiting Fatima as well so I hope it’s cheap and beautiful!

      Reply
  • Anna | slightly astray June 10, 2014, 11:30 pm

    I’m surprised at Edinburgh and Nice being on this list! But it just goes to show that any place can be a “budget destination” if you know where to go for affordable eats and entertainment. Out of this list, I’ll be in Budapest and Prague this summer, so I’ll really be looking forward to giving my wallet a break. :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 11, 2014, 1:49 am

      Actually you are right. Any place can be an affordable travel destination if you know where to look for a cheap accommodation and restaurants.

      Reply
  • Becky Padmore June 11, 2014, 8:11 am

    Great list, Lisbon is my favourite! :-)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 12, 2014, 12:48 am

      I can’t wait to make it there <3!!

      Reply
  • Franca June 11, 2014, 8:26 am

    We are in Madrid right now! From the list there are still some places we haven’t seen though like Lisbon and Prague (for Dale only, I was there years ago), it’s good to know they are affordable cities, it makes easier for us to choose where to go ;)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 12, 2014, 12:48 am

      Are you in Madrid? Wow, that’s so awesome! Enjoy yourselves!!

      Reply
  • Julika June 11, 2014, 9:39 pm

    Great list! Just a few things to add: Lisbon is actually way cheaper than Paris — an espresso for example costs roughly around 2.50 € in Paris, in Lisbon the average espresso price is 50 cents.
    In my experience, the cheapest city with Euro currency is Ljubljana, and — as some of the fellow commenters said already — Romania has to be the cheapest country in Europe in general. Over all, you could say that Western Europe is rather pricey (except Portugal), but there are still some great ways to save money there. If you want to travel on the cheap though, Eastern Europe might be the better choice.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 12, 2014, 12:53 am

      Hey Julika! Long time no see! Thank you for sharing. I am moving back to Europe next month and I can’t wait to explore France once again, Spain and Portugal for the first time!!

      Reply
  • Emily June 12, 2014, 1:43 am

    I am so happy to hear Prague is easy on the budget – we plan to head there this summer! I can’t WAIT!!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 13, 2014, 2:23 am

      Prague’s the cheapest one, so don’t worry about your budget !! :D You will be absolutely fine :)

      Reply
  • Colleen Brynn June 12, 2014, 2:22 am

    Well I am a lucky girl to have been to all of these places, and I can say I loved each and every one of them! Great list… definitely a list for every traveller!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 13, 2014, 2:23 am

      Thanks Colleen. You’ve been to all of them? Wow, impressive!

      Reply
  • Nick Paton June 12, 2014, 6:45 am

    Just the list I needed to come across! I was having a chat with a friend from home about possibly doing a cheap trip to Europe at the end of the year and this has given me some great ideas!

    Reply
  • Sam June 12, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Been to 4/6 (Budapest is my favorite!!! May be biased by my Hungarian family), currently living in one (Madrid!) Can definitely say that Madrid is a cheap place all around – both to live and travel – the alcohol is unbelievably cheap for Western Europe and the restaurants won’t break your bank either.. Then again having only live in NYC before my viewpoint of what is ‘cheap’ is a little skewed…

    I’d also add (as a few other people have pointed out) Kraków and Warsaw – surprised you didn’t represent your native country! But I absolutely love Poland for so many reasons, the prices being just one of these =)

    Good to hear that Edinburgh is cheap, I’m heading there in August, although I’m going for the festival and I can tell already just looking up hostels that they definitely raise prices in August. Great list!!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 13, 2014, 2:16 am

      Hi Sam. That’s so cool to hear that!!

      Reply
  • Shalu Sharma June 18, 2014, 6:17 pm

    Lovely places to go in Europe. I am thinking of going to Edinburgh this year. The weathers lovely at this time of the year. At this moment in time, the weathers pretty nice. Thanks for showing cool places and mentioning about its expensiveness.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 19, 2014, 2:13 am

      Edinburgh’s amazing in summer!

      Reply
  • Maneesha Malhotra June 19, 2014, 7:12 am

    Hmm Very Nice ! This post is such a nice post about Expensive Cities of Europe! I never been in Europe but I hear more Europe’s cities. This is amazing & great list of Europe’s cities.Well my favorite one is “Budapest”

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 21, 2014, 10:59 am

      I hope you can make it to Europe one day! Budapest is amazing!

      Reply
    • Alex-Wanderlust Marriage April 20, 2015, 5:46 pm

      Cool list! I’ve made it to all of them except Nice. I’d add Krakow, Poland to the list. It’s gorgeous and even cheaper than Prague and Budapest.

      Reply
  • Vacations Gateway June 19, 2014, 8:06 am

    I agree totally with all mentioned here in this blog. I recently went to Europe to Study and I was so surprised, all things come in my budget. Thank you for making this publicly available. :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 21, 2014, 10:58 am

      Where are you studying? What city and country?

      Reply
  • Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon June 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Awesome suggestions. Europe can be so expensive, I think these cities would make a neat base to venture out from.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 21, 2014, 10:56 am

      Definitely Zoe!

      Reply
  • Lucia June 20, 2014, 11:56 pm

    Happy to say I’ve been to 4 out of these! I was really surprised by Lisbon and Edingburg, I’ll definitely up them on my list since I always assumed they were expensive, yay! :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 21, 2014, 10:56 am

      Great to hear that Lucia. I have not been to Lisbon yet, but I’m going there next month. Fingers crossed it’s gonna be cheap!

      Reply
  • Charlie June 21, 2014, 4:44 pm

    Wow, I’m super surprised Edinburgh made the list!! I found it heaps expensive when I went there a few years ago for a weekend away with my mum. I loved Prague, that’s a great one for the list :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 23, 2014, 2:12 am

      I fell in love with Prague at first sight!

      Reply
  • Cynthia June 25, 2014, 9:41 pm

    I agree with Prague and Madrid, they are very budget-friendly! Sofia and Bulgaria more generally is even cheaper, you can have a really nice time for next to nothing!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder June 26, 2014, 1:57 am

      That’s so true.

      Reply
  • Greg Prohl July 1, 2014, 2:53 pm

    Nice list with some surprising inclusions. I would recommend Krakow – fantastic! My wife and I were there one year ago and also Prague same trip and we found food, accommodations, basically everything cheaper in Poland. Also I have to say we found the Polish cuisine much tastier! But Prague is a beautiful city, easy to get around and lots of affordable things to do.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder July 2, 2014, 12:50 am

      Thank you Greg for stopping buy. As for Prague, it’s one of the most beautiful and affordable cities in Europe!

      Reply
  • Tiaraa July 1, 2014, 4:59 pm

    My God! I needed this! I will soon be travelling to Madrid and Lisbon and am happy to know that they are among Europe’s cheapest cities. However, I found Edinburgh a bit expensive…maybe i did not do the necessary research. But otherwise very appropriate list…wish to visit all those places someday. Thanks 4 compiling it.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder July 2, 2014, 12:49 am

      I’ll be in Lisbon in exactly 3 weeks so I can’t wait to share some of my budget travel tips with you!

      Reply
  • Daniel July 10, 2014, 8:23 am

    Thanks for the amazing post. This is an awesome place.

    Reply

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