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 traveling around the continent is slowly slipping through your fingers, don’t panic. You can still travel on a small budget.

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

 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.

Budapest

#2 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!

Historical Prague

#3 Lisbon

 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.

Lisbon

 #4 Madrid

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

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

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.

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

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
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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76 thoughts on “6 Europe’s Less Expensive Cities”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Mike | Earthdrifter

    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’.

  4. 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 :-)

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

  6. Escape Hunter

    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.

      1. Escape Hunter

        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.

  7. 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!

  8. Elena @ Elena's travelgram

    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 ;)

  9. Tim | UrbanDuniya

    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)

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

  11. 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 :)

  12. 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… :/

    1. Agness Walewinder

      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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. Jen Seligmann

    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.

  16. 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!)

  17. Lisa - Wee Wanders

    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.

  18. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    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!

  19. 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!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      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!

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