The recent rise of the Euro is definitely one of the biggest concerns for those wanting to travel in Europe but that can’t afford to spend too much. Although high prices are the norm in the more famous capitals of the continent like Paris, London and Stockholm, there are many other cities that deserve a visit. And the best part is, some of the cheapest European cities offer great entertainment, culture and history.
To help you fulfill your grand dreams of traveling this ancient continent, I’ve prepared a guide with the cheapest places, including prices of some basic necessities.
I'll also add an extra tip for saving a lot of money while backpacking Europe: Worldpackers hosts that offer free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of volunteer work.
If you're looking to travel on a budget to some of the cheapest European cities and are willing to commit to somewhere between a week and a few months months of volunteering, Worldpackers can set you up with a host who will provide you with free lodging (plus other potential perks, like meals, tours, bicycle-access, and parties — just to name a few!).
By exchanging a few hours per day of your time, skills, and effort for a host, you can gain much more than simply a less expensive way to travel — but a richer life experience as well.
You'll also become part of the worldwide community of people who believe that travel is a universal right accessible through the power of collaboration. This is what it means to be a Worldpacker! Doing a work exchange in one or more of your desired European destinations will surely be an unforgettable experience.
The types of work vary a lot, ranging from welcoming guests, bartending and leading walking tours to gardening, painting, taking photos or producing social media content. There are several different kinds of hosts too, from hostels and guesthouses to holistic centers, farms and NGOs.
With an impressive mix of culture, history and incredible parties, Krakow is considered one of the cheapest cities in Europe and offers attractions for all types of travelers.
This old capital of Poland is one of the most famous European destinations to celebrate bachelor/ette parties, so don’t be surprised if you find a dressed up and noisy crowd walking around in search of cheap beer and entertainment in the local bars and clubs.
In addition to nights out on the town, the city also has the medieval castle of Wawel and is just a few kilometers away from the Auschwitz complex, which is absolutely worth a visit. Don’t miss the Salt Mines of Wieliczka, a monumental underground structure 327 meters deep and over 300 kilometers long.
Virtually unknown to many people, the capital of Latvia is one of those unforgettable destinations. The whole city has a medieval architecture and keeps the history of this Baltic country preserved despite suffering great destruction during the Second World War.
For many years, Latvia was a Soviet Republic, which even today influences the lifestyle of its citizens and transforms each corner of the city into a tourist spot. One of the must-see locations is the former KGB base, the Soviet Union’s main secret service organization.
On the banks of the Danube river, the city that was so important to the Austro-Hungarian empire has only become an official country in 1993. But don’t be fooled: the capital is rich in culture and history, blending medieval, baroque and Renaissance architecture into a charm without equal.
Get lost in the narrow streets and find the Castle of Bratislava, the Museum of Arms in the medieval fortification and a restaurant to try the delicious palacinka. Also take advantage of the fact that the beer is cheaper than coffee and the buses for any national city costs just 2 euros, with onboard service and entertainment included.
Although increasingly becoming the focus of many tourists, the capital of Hungary is still a cheap destination that will guarantee you incredible moments. The regions of Buda and Pest are divided by the Danube River, but united by bridges with monumental architecture that are the postcard view of the city.
In addition to the whole historic scene - that includes palaces, the museum of Fine Arts, holocaust monument and so many other landmarks - the famous thermal pools are a stop you can’t miss. At night, you will be able to find any type of party you want.
Romania boasts an impressive amount of lakes, mountains, Roman ruins, monasteries and natural parks, making the country one of the jewels of Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately, the capital is not among the most charming, which makes the unsuspecting tourist think there is not much to do there. Big mistake.
Bucharest holds one of Europe’s finest natural history museums and an enviable art collection within its parliament, as well as being one of those cities where you travel back in time just by walking around.
Another spot you can’t miss is Carturesti Carusel, a six-story library built in the 19th century and voted among the 20 most beautiful in the world.
Although it’s the most expensive city in Turkey and prices have risen greatly in recent years, Istanbul can still be a very accessible city. The city was once considered the cultural capital of Europe, home to the most beautiful mosques in the world, Byzantine palaces, Islamic architecture and infinite museums that reflect the rich history of the country. A must-see attraction are the Byzantine cisterns that form miles of underground tunnels.
The history of Bulgaria is marked by Ottoman rule from the 14th century until the late 19th century, which is perfectly reflected in the most important monuments.
One of the best things about this city is that the vast majority of its historical landmarks have free admission or ask for a symbolic token. A great necessity for those that want to enrich themselves with culture without spending a lot of money.
On the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Split has 12 consecutive hours of sun during the summer which will give you plenty of time to see the historic ruins of the city, enjoy the beaches of crystalline water and explore the nearby islands with the super cheap boat-taxis. At sundown, enjoy the free clubs and street parties that take over every corner of this unforgettable city. It's one of my favourites from this list of cheapest European cities.
The city that suffered the most from the war in Yugoslavia did not let itself get beaten down by its battle scars. In a mix of Christian, Orthodox and Islamic heritages, the country learned that coexistence of various united cultures means the secret to its strength.
Stroll through the historic center, smoke hookah in the local bars and try the delicious Burek, a cheese, meat and spice pie that will leave your visit to Sarajevo with a taste of wanting more.
The most charming city of Portugal is worth every second of your visit. Luckily, it's also one of the cheapest European cities to visit. There, you can take a boat along the canals, enjoy the famous wine and eat the best cod in the world at very reasonable prices. If you are Brazilian, a walk around the historic center will help you get to know your own history and origins.
The Greek capital, also considered the cradle of humanity, has the largest collection of Greco-Roman objects, monuments and statues in the world. With each step through the city, travelers can get to know more about the Greek myths and their origins, as well as bathe in the famous Aegean sea. Take advantage of paying a single price for the entrance to every important monument in the city, and the ticket is valid for five days.
Legend has it that Prague was born out of a dream from a princess, so expect nothing less than a magical and enthralling city. With a good amount of medieval architecture and castles to make even the kings envious, Prague has a unique charm.
Its fortifications allowed the place to survive the Second World War and the Russian invasion, reborn as a vibrant and modern city, attractive to young people looking for fun and entertainment.
The Russian capital is the most populated city in the country, as well as an important political, economic, cultural and scientific center. Don’t limit your experience to just the Kremlin and the Red Square, because Moscow has many more things to offer besides these emblematic buildings.
Among the must-see points, there is the Bolshoi Theater, the metro stations, the University of Moscow and the financial district.
Right here is the largest historical center in all of Europe, recognized as a UNESCO site in 1994. In addition to historical wealth,Vilnius is a city that is culturally active, where theater, ballet and music are fundamental pillars of daily life. This artistic vein that is so present in the urban scene guaranteed the city the title of European Capital of Culture in 2009.
The largest and most populous city of ancient Yugoslavia is, ironically, the most unknown to tourists. With its two thousand years of existence, Belgrade has been the scene of countless destructions and reconstructions, making it an icon for history lovers. In the middle of palaces, museums and gigantic and well-preserved churches, you can still visit ruins of buildings bombed by NATO almost 20 years ago.
The main island among the Canaries is, without a doubt, one of the most complete in the archipelago. Its landscape ranges from breathtaking beaches, towering mountains to well-structured cities, blessed by the climate of eternal spring.
Take at least one day of your trip to climb the trail up the Teide volcano and find yourself on another planet with its rocky and inhospitable climate. To contrast, adventure out on a boat in the ocean to see dolphins and whales on the African coast.
Although Rome is still one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world and one of the most visited cities in Europe, it also can be affordable for the backpacker that has planned well and avoids the high season. All the museums have at least one day when the admission is free and restaurants in the city offer big portions of food for a reasonable price.
When in Rome, get acquainted with the ruins of ancient Roman civilization and enjoy the best pasta in your life.
A tranquil city that is well located with many activities, cafes and terraces open all year round, Saranda might be the lesser-known of these cheap European cities, and one of the most impressive ones.
The mediterranean climate of this coastal city is ideal for tourists to enjoy its blue-green sea and warm waters. For those passionate about history, the Turkish and Byzantine ruins are not to be missed.
Half Brazilian, half Spanish, completely into discovering the world. I left home in 2017 to travel for just one year and, well, never came back. If you wanna find me, just look for someone carrying a striped backpack with a penguin on it and a big smile on her face. That will definitely be me.