14 Little-Known Cheap Cities in Europe You Need to Visit

14 Little-Known Cheap Cities in Europe You Need to Visit

With the summer season fast approaching, budget destinations in Europe are beckoning. Delicious food, unfamiliar cultures, and incredible history are just a short flight away.

Flying to Europe is cheaper than ever – you can fly New York to Paris for less than 150$! But what about after you get there? Traveling within Europe has become very expensive in recent years. Tourism is the highest it’s ever been which causes the price of hotels, restaurants, and attractions to be higher than ever before. Don’t worry – if you dodge the allure of hot spots like London and Paris (and get creative) you’ll be able to avoid the high price tags.

Here are 14 budget cities in Europe that you (probably) never thought to visit. These cities are ranked from least to most expensive and are all awesomely affordable. Since ice cream and coffee are the most important things in life I’ve based affordability on those two factors along with beer and hostel prices. Keep in mind that prices will vary depending on the time of year you travel and which areas you visit. 

Without further ado, here are the best off-the-beaten-path budget destinations in Europe. So start planning your summer vacation !

 

Belgrade, Serbia

a blue and white bridge in belgrade, serbia with murky waters below, an urban landscape at the opposite side, and a blue cloudy sky

Belgrade is eclectic, multicultural, and the cheapest destination in Europe. Unfortunately Belgrade has struggled to attract tourism since the Yugoslav War in the 1990s. Even so, it’s surprising that more tourists don’t visit this intriguing and welcoming budget destination in Europe. I learned so much about Serbian language and culture on a free walking tour where our guide explained nuances of Serbian culture and history. We learned why Serbs use two alphabets and got to taste homemade Rakia, the national drink of Serbia. 

Cheapest hostel: New Hostel Belgrade (5.4 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1 EUR

Beer: 2 EUR

Ice cream: 60 cents

 

Lisbon, Portugal

two trams in the center of lisbon portugal colored in bright yellow and white alongside histoirc white buildings with black balconies

A city teeming with a vibrant night scene, you may not see much daylight while you’re here! On my first day I got up early to check out the Tower of Belem and along with other notable attractions. Then I realized that the time to be out is after the sun goes down – Lisbon really comes to life!

Cheapest hostel: Lisbon Knock (6 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2.5 EUR

Beer: 1.8 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

 

Budapest, Hungary

parliament administration building in budapest, hungary with the shadow reflected in the murky river Danube

Budapest is one of my favorite places in the world. The architecture, whether you are looking at a church or an apartment building, will take your breath away with its intricacy, color, and detail. There is everything here – thermal spas, lookout points with stunning views, a rich Jewish cultural heritage, and a language that is frustratingly unintelligible for an English speaker like myself. I could have spent weeks exploring side streets, hipster neighborhoods and local bars as well. 

Cheapest hostel: Cooltour Hostel (5.70 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1.7 EUR

Beer: 2 EUR

Ice cream: 1 EUR

 

Bucharest, Romania

a modern white angular bridge, a bright blue sky in the background, and a yellow tram traversing the bridge.

Perhaps not the most charming city in the world, but Bucharest has a unique authenticity worth exploring. Romania doesn’t attract many western tourists which makes the shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing very affordable. While you’re here make sure to check out the spectacular Palace of the Parliament high up on the hill.

Cheapest hostel: Puzzle Hostel (6.5 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1.5 EUR

Beer: 2.5 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

 

Krakow, Poland

beige and brown cock tower in krakow, poland with a cloudy blue sky

Krakow’s distinct culture, charming vibe, and consistently low prices have always attracted tourists. There are two main areas – the touristy historic section and the less dense, residential area. Make sure to check out both for the full experience, although outside the city center is cheaper for food and drinks.

Cheapest hostel: Shishkin Art Hostel (6 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1.9 EUR

Beer: 2 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

 

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is a very safe city that is also easy to navigate. The free walking tour was a great way for me to get my bearings here. I met many American travelers here and very much enjoyed the free dinner and breakfast offered at my accommodation, Hostel Mostel. It wasn’t the cheapest but the free food and social vibe were worth it!

Cheapest hostel: Nightingale Hostel and Guesthouse (6.70 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 3.5 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

 

Poznan, Poland

Poznan is a university town in western Poland not commonly visited by tourists. This city provides a unique heritage with a lively student atmosphere, medieval castles, and modern green spaces throughout. The city is also super bike friendly – consider renting one to maximize your time here and see all there is to see.  

Cheapest hostel: Blooms Boutique Hostel and Apartments (7 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 3 EUR

Ice cream: 2 EUR

 

Prague, Czech Republic

prague gateway bridge with the city landscape glistening in the background as the sunset occurs.

Today’s Prague has transformed from a cheap, beautiful and historic city to one packed to the brim with tourists. The mass of people perusing Prague’s alleyways for a cheap pint can seem a bit overwhelming, but I thought it added to the festive atmosphere. My favorite night in Prague was spent enjoying a pint with new friends at the Metronome, a hangout spot frequented by locals with a gorgeous view of the city.

Cheapest hostel: Hostel Marabou (9.7 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 1.5 EUR

Ice cream: 2.5 EUR

 

Brno, Czech Republic

a czech republic town with salmon colored roofs and white buildings all nestled around a canal

Brno has a special place in my heart. Maybe it was the coffee cart with free lattes if you promise to do a good deed! The vibe was uncommonly warm and friendly, and the city is small enough to visit with just a few days. Go on a free walking tour, take some pics by the Spilberk Castle, or visit the Moravian Karst nature reserve with remarkable historic caves.  

Cheapest hostel: Hostel Fleda (11 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1 EUR

Beer: 1.5 EUR

Ice cream: 1 EUR

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is a quieter, underrated capital city in Europe. Here you’ll find a completely pedestrian city center with a nineteenth-century quarter, the Old Town neighborhood lining the River Ljubljanica, and countless museums and galleries. 

Cheapest hostel: Simbol Apartments and Hostel (11EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 2.5 EUR

Ice cream: 2 EUR

 

Bratislava, Slovakia

white building nestled on rolling hills in slovenia, the biulding roof is a bright red and art deco design.

Bratislava is just an hour train ride from Vienna yet so many people skip this city. For cheap activities be sure to go on a free walking tour and visit the Slovakian National Museum and Transport Museum which are free on the 1st Sunday of the month. Grab some Pivo (beer) at a local pub or watch a free film screening at the Bratislava beach.

Cheapest hostel: Hostel Brickyard (13 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 3 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

 

Berlin, Germany

traditional white and brown buildings in urban germany with red pitched roofs

Berlin is one of Europe’s most visited destinations, yet it still remains a relatively cheap city for tourists. Check out the hipster music and art scenes and of course taste some German beers at a local pub. 

Cheapest hostel: Cityhostel Berlin (13.75 EUR/night)

Coffee: 3 EUR

Beer: 2.30 EUR

Ice cream: 2 EUR

 

Porto, Portugal

a woman wearing a blue and orange dress is holding three pastel de nata on a dish lined with paper in her left hand and an espresso cup in her right hand

Porto is one of the most charming cities I’ve visited. Set on the banks of the River Duro, Porto is the perfect spot for people-watching, dining, and basking in Portuguese culture. Be sure to taste the local and delicious custard Pastel de Nata, and visit the shop where J.K. Rowling is said to have penned the first Harry Potter book!

Cheapest hostel: M2Students Hostel (15 EUR/night)

Coffee: 2 EUR

Beer: 3.5 EUR

Ice cream: 2 EUR

 

Nice, France

aerial beach view with orange white sands and turquoise and cerulean waters

 

As the largest city on France’s Cote d’Azur, this beach paradise is the perfect base for exploring Monaco or Cannes. There are tons of outdoor markets and chic neighborhoods to explore for a budget traveler. 

Cheapest hostel: Antares Hostel (19.90 EUR/night)

Coffee: 1.5 EUR

Wine: 5 EUR

Ice cream: 1.5 EUR

Getting ready for that budget trip abroad? Click here for more budget travel tips. 

Keep exploring,

Jessie

 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Always love reading about less travelled places. Thanks for this awesome post. We’ve added a few more places on the bucket list.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Always happy to share some travel inspiration 🙂

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