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Top 15 Cheapest European Cities You Must Visit in 2024

April 10, 2024

Europe is generally not a cheap travel destination, especially Western Europe. Yet, there are few places in the world as rich in cultural and natural treasures as Europe. Europe is generally safe, predictable, and enjoyable to visit. It’s no wonder that many of the world’s most visited cities are located in Europe.

Europe is huge, with many countries and regions, small and large, each with different attractions, cultures, languages, architecture, customs, and cuisine. Often, even within a single country, there are differences between regions and cities. Therefore, it’s difficult to generalize and talk about countries when it comes to budget-friendly travel.

As a result, we prefer to focus on cities in our next article. In this article, we will introduce 15 European cities that are relatively inexpensive travel destinations, making it easy to organize a European trip on a lower budget.

Throughout the article, we will discuss the factors that can help organize an inexpensive European trip to the continent’s most interesting and affordable destinations.

First, let’s look at the criteria for organizing an affordable trip to the cheapest European cities and our personal travel tips, then we’ll move on to the list of the 15 cheapest European cities.

What to know before visiting the cheapest European cities

Best time to travel to the cheapest cities in Europe

In most European countries, summer is the absolute high season. It is true that the weather is most favorable in most places during summer and that it is almost only pleasant to go to the beach in summer, but this means that summer season is the most expensive too.

The most expensive months are July and August, but June and September are still relatively expensive. Unless you’re going hiking in the mountains or going for a beach holiday, spring or autumn is the best time. The weather is perfect for sightseeing, temperatures between 15-22°C are much more suitable for sightseeing than the summer heat. The best spring months to visit European cities are April and May, and the best autumn months are September and October. In spring, most places in Europe are decorated with colorful flowers, and in autumn, trees add color to the cities.

Another thing to remember if you are looking for a cheaper way to travel in Europe are the school holidays. If you don’t have children going to school, travel during school time. During the school holidays, everything is full of tourists, which increases the expected costs for hotels and entrance fees. After a little searching on the internet, you can find school holiday dates for each country.

Similarly, public holidays are more expensive, so this should also be taken into account if you want to visit European cities cheaply.

Costs and services in the cheapest European destinations

As we have written, Europe is very different in many aspects. One of the biggest differences is in cost. The further north and the further west you travel, in general, the more expensive your trip will be. The exception to this is some Mediterranean countries, which can be relatively cheap even though they are in the west.

The quality of services is more difficult to define. We have found that it is the hotel, restaurant, etc. that makes the difference in service quality, rather than the city or country. You cannot say that everything is better in Germany than in Albania. Nor is the quality of service always proportional to the price, because there are simply expensive European countries where, even if you pay a lot for a hotel and meals, the service is still not as good as in more hospitable but cheaper places.

For the best value for money, you can check hotel booking sites (such as and for restaurants and other services, Google Map can help you with its ratings. We think it’s a good idea to travel in Europe if the hotel you’re booking is rated at a minimum of 8.5 out of 10 or 4-4.5 out of 5 on the internet. You can find well-rated hotels and restaurants in almost any price range.

Options for a low budget travel in Europe


Many tourists save money on their travels by staying overnight in campsites or maybe even owning their own caravan. It’s worth noting that wild camping is banned in most European countries, and both locals and police bother travelers about it. So, in principle, there’s no reason why you can’t park your car or caravan somewhere and sleep in it. But legally, in most European countries, this is illegal and can be punished. The question is what exactly constitutes wild camping. We don’t think that simply sleeping in a car is, but we have heard of cases where people have been fined for it.

So the best solution is always to book a campsite. There are a lot of campsites in Europe, often well-equipped and offering a wide range of services, so this could be a good choice. In the case of camping, however, you will have a lot of equipment to count on, whether you buy or rent. This can lead to unexpected costs.


Airbnb has gained popularity in recent years as a form of accommodation booking. The concept of Airbnb was to create a separate marketplace for owners and renters of private accommodation. On Airbnb you will usually find smaller accommodation. Sometimes you can also find special ones. The disappointment for us, however, is that it is often not cheaper than hotels. If you sympathize with the idea, you should consider it when looking for accommodation for your trip to Europe.

Private accommodation

Private accommodation is often advertised not (only) on Airbnb, but also on, or other price comparison and booking sites. So it’s worth checking them out on several websites and even Facebook, where they advertise accommodation in Facebook groups. Make sure you always book on an official website to avoid scams. Also, the more popular and well-known the accommodation you book at, the more likely it is that you will be treated fairly.

Public transport

European public transport is one of the best organized and most advanced in the world. So you can count on public transport if you can’t or don’t want to rent a car during your European trip. Major cities can be reached mostly by plane, long-distance bus or sometimes by train. In the countryside, you can get around by bus or taxi.

Public transport varies greatly in price and quality. In Eastern and Central Europe, connections are less frequent and the vehicles are older. But it is cheaper. Western Europe, on the other hand, is very well-developed but more expensive.

One more comment: forget hitchhiking as a mode of transport in Europe. It is dangerous and unpopular.

What makes a European trip expensive

We list the points you should pay attention to when organizing your trip. What are the things that can be particularly expensive in Europe?


The cost of plane tickets has significantly increased lately, so it’s worth carefully considering where and when you travel. By selecting the best time and choosing from affordable destinations, you can organize a budget-friendly European city exploration. We’ll show you the places where you can fly cheaply, and the services are also budget-friendly.

Car rental

In Europe, car maintenance and use is one of the most expensive in the world. Cars are also expensive, as are the parts and staff needed to maintain them. This makes car rental expensive. If 3–4 people are traveling together, it’s almost certainly worth it financially, but with less people it is more a matter of comfort whether you need to hire a car.

Road tolls

In Europe, the highway network is tolled in all except a few countries. In most countries in Southern Europe, tolls are definitely high. Listed as the most expensive are the Portuguese, French, Italian (the absolute most expensive), Croatian and Serbian road networks. With the gated toll system, you can spend tens or even hundreds of euros on tolls on a longer trip. The sticker system is much preferable, but it is only available in a few European countries.


Fuel is also related to car travel. Fuel is very expensive in Europe. The price is different depending on the country, but in 2024 it is roughly between €1.5 and €2 per liter. This has made driving quite expensive, and other modes of transport should be considered where available.


Hotels are generally quite expensive in Europe. You’ll only find very few places with well-rated 3-4 star hotels for less than 100 euros per night, and 5-star hotels for less than 200 euros, but the truly good 5-star hotels actually cost several hundred euros per night.

There are cheaper European cities where you’ll likely find a room in a well-rated hotel for less than 100 euros per night, and we’ll introduce these below.

Breakfast in the hotel

The next point you definitely do not save on is paying for breakfast in the hotel. If you are not a big eater, you don’t eat a lot of breakfast, then paying for hotel breakfast is completely unnecessary. You will pay €20-40 per person per breakfast, and you will get little more than you could buy in a hypermarket. In almost any European city, you can get breakfast by buying it in a shop (e.g. a sandwich), ordering some coffee or tea from a fast food restaurant or café, for under €10 per person.

Entrance tickets

Tickets are another aspect to plan for in advance. In Europe, entrance tickets to some places are relatively expensive. So if you are on a tight budget, think carefully about what you want to pay for and what you really want to see. Read up in advance on the internet, what other travelers say about which attractions, what type of tickets are worth paying for.

With all points covered, here are the top 15 European cities to visit relatively cheaply.

List of the top 15 cheap cities to visit in Europe

1. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the largest city and capital of Hungary, with a population of around 1.7 million. Along with Vienna and Prague, it is one of the most popular urban destinations in Central Europe, but cheaper than the other two cities.

Budapest’s main attractions are the Hungarian Parliament, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Chain Bridge. These are absolute must-sees in the city. We can also recommend the St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square, Matthias Church, Buda Castle Palace and the lookout on Gellert Hill.

In our opinion, Budapest has one of the most beautiful urban panoramas in Europe, and fortunately, many of the sights we recommend are also the best places to admire this fantastic panorama.

Apart from the stunning views, when exploring Budapest, you have the chance to delight in the local cuisine, which captivates many tourists. These include Hungarian fish soup, langosh, goulash soup and chicken paprikash. Hungary is a destination worth trying local specialties because Hungarian cuisine is unique in the world, with many signature dishes that you won’t find elsewhere.

Additionally, Budapest has the advantage of being a very popular destination for solo travelers in Europe. It is one of the safest cities on our list.

In terms of costs, you can enjoy your trip to Budapest without breaking the bank, as neither the hotels nor the restaurants are expensive (although due to high inflation in recent times, they have become considerably more expensive). You don’t have to pay entrance fees to most attractions. Public transport is also cheap, although the service is not of good quality. Budapest is not difficult to get around by car compared to other European cities, and parking is plentiful.

Since Budapest is one of the most affordable cities worth visiting in terms of value for money, it definitely deserves a place at the top of our list.

You can read our article about Budapest below, where we give you a detailed description of what you need to know about Budapest when you travel there.

2. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of around 15.5 million. Although Istanbul is located on the border of two continents, Europe and Asia, most people think of it as a European city.

Istanbul is a metropolis with a huge cultural heritage and a wealth of great attractions. It is also one of the cheapest destinations in Europe if you plan your trip wisely.

The main highlights of Istanbul are the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar, the Galata Tower, the Dolmabahce Palace, the Kiz Kulesi and the Ortaköy Mosque. In addition, there are countless other attractions for tourists.

Istanbul is the perfect destination in spring or autumn for those who love the vibrant city life, want to try the famous Turkish gastronomy and love historical monuments. Turkish cuisine is very popular and offers delicious dishes, such as kebap, köfte and baklava. Perhaps the most impressive is the Turkish breakfast, which makes you feel like a king as the table is filled with local delicacies. In Istanbul, you can enjoy delicious food while admiring the breathtaking panoramas of the city, whether it’s the view of the Bosphorus or the Golden Horn Bay.

Istanbul is an urban destination that has a lot to offer for tourists, so don’t miss it.

Click here to read our article about Istanbul, where we write in detail about Istanbul and its attractions.

3. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and largest city, with a population of 1.4 million. A perfect destination for exploring the Balkans or visiting on an Eastern European road trip.

Sofia is less popular among tourists than other European cities, which is perhaps the reason why it is so easy to organize a low-budget trip.

Its main sights are located close to each other in the city center.

The best things to do in Sofia include visiting the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Sveta Nedelya Church, the St. George Rotunda Church and the National Palace of Culture. Another interesting building is the Russian Church.

The Borisova Gradina Park is also famous, which is a huge park in the center of Sofia, offering many recreational opportunities to visitors.

The Bojana Church is located a little outside the city, which is also worth a visit if you are in Sofia.

Sofia is therefore a good choice for those who want to explore Eastern Europe in more depth.

4. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar is one of the cheapest places on our list, so if you’re looking for budget-friendly cities, Mostar is the best choice.

Mostar is a beautiful city located in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, known for its rich historical heritage. Situated just a few hours away from the Croatian coast, it’s often included in beach holiday itineraries for a day trip. Divided by the Neretva River, Mostar features charming streets, a famous stone bridge, and stunning surroundings with green water.

With its Ottoman architecture, mosques, and stone houses nestled on hillsides, Mostar offers a unique vibe. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the river, exploring the old houses, narrow streets, and local restaurants and shops for an authentic Balkan experience. The city’s main attractions include the Stari Most (Old Bridge) and the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque.

Venturing beyond Mostar, tourists can explore the surrounding countryside, which boasts attractions like the Dervish House in Blagaj and the Kravica Waterfall near Ljubuski.

5. Seville, Spain

Many people wouldn’t think of Seville as one of the cheapest places in Europe, but in reality, for much of the year, it’s actually quite affordable to visit.

The beautiful and vibrant Andalusian capital of Seville offers a huge range of cultural, historical and gastronomic delights. It’s the perfect place to spend a few days in Andalusia, with all the charm and warm Mediterranean style that a tourist expects from Spain. It has many attractions, but the most important are the Plaza de Espana, the Torre del Oro, the Real Alcazar, the Cathedral with the Giralda and the Metropol Parasol.

Seville is one of the most photogenic places we’ve visited and a surprisingly cheap European destination. Hotels and restaurants are affordable, entrance fees are not too expensive, and many of the most interesting sights are free of charge. No other city in Spain reflects the Spanish atmosphere and lifestyle as much as Seville. For this reason, we think Seville is a must.

6. Granada, Spain

Granada, the capital city of the province of Granada, in Andalusia, Spain, lies at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where four rivers meet: the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil, and the Beiro.

Famed for its medieval Moorish architecture dating back to the Moorish era, Granada is particularly known for the Alhambra, a highly popular tourist destination in Spain. This medieval Nasrid fortress and palace complex is situated within the city.

Besides exploring the Alhambra, visitors to Granada should also take in the panoramic views from viewpoints like the Mirador de San Nicolas and the Mirador de Sacromonte.

Another notable landmark is the Granada Cathedral, a Renaissance cathedral celebrated for its gold and white interior and a stunning domed chapel adorned with stained-glass.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, the Sierra Nevada mountain range offers spectacular vistas and excellent hiking opportunities. In winter, it transforms into a renowned ski resort destination.

7. Athens, Greece

Most people have heard about Athens from their history lessons. Athens is the capital of Greece, with a population of around 3.5 million, including its surrounding areas.

Athens is a budget-friendly travel destination, offering relatively cheap flights, accommodation, affordable transport options, and great food. This makes the city an ideal choice if you’re looking for cheap and exciting European destinations on a budget.

Athens is a great choice for those interested in history and the Mediterranean way of life. The main attractions of Athens include the famous Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, the Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the historic Panathenaic Stadium.

Athens also offers incredible panoramic views from various spots across the city.

And as you explore the streets of Athens, don’t miss the chance to taste the delicious dishes of Greek cuisine.

8. Skopje, North Macedonia

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, is one of Europe’s cheapest cities to visit. Less overrun by tourists compared to other cities on this list, Skopje boasts numerous hidden gems waiting to be explored.

From historic landmarks like the Stone Bridge to cultural sites such as the Skopje Fortress, there’s plenty to see. The vibrant Old Bazaar offers a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry.

Whether you’re making a walking tour through its charming streets or its significant architectural sites, Skopje promises a memorable and affordable travel experience.

9. Prague, Czechia

Prague is one of the most popular cities in Central Europe, along with Budapest and Vienna. The city of Prague is home to 1.3 million people, but with its agglomeration it reaches 2.7 million inhabitants.

Prague is ideal for a short trip for 2–3 days, especially in spring or autumn.

Walking along the banks of the Vltava in Prague, admiring the famous buildings and the picturesque city, is a great experience in itself.

Prague’s main attractions include Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Old Town Square with the Orloj, the Dancing House, St. Vitus Cathedral and Vysehrad.

Prague is also full of the best places to take beautiful photos. If you want to find out about the best places to photograph, we recommend this photography guide to Prague, written by locals.

Prices are not at Western European levels, making it a much more affordable destination than some of its neighboring cities. So, in terms of value for money, Prague is definitely a good choice.

If you would like to read more about Prague, we can suggest an article on the best Prague tours recommended by a local.

10. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, located in Montenegro, is one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe.

In fact, getting to Kotor is affordable, with nearby airports in Tivat or the capital, Podgorica, and accommodations are more budget-friendly than in other parts of Europe. Activities and entrance fees are also available at reasonable prices, with dining costs being comparable to average European prices.

The city holds numerous attractions to discover, like its charming streets, historic buildings, and picturesque waterfront. The medieval Old Town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is surrounded by high walls, inviting visitors to stroll through narrow streets and explore centuries-old churches and squares.

The iconic Bay of Kotor, with breathtaking views and scenic villages, further enhances the city’s appeal.

Furthermore, the Kotor Fortress, reached by a short hike up the mountainside, offers one of the most stunning views of the Bay of Kotor. This memorable panorama adds to Kotor’s charm, making it a special destination for budget-conscious explorers.

While it attracts more tourists than some other cities on the list, it’s still less crowded, offering a more authentic experience.

11. Tirana, Albania

Tirana, located in Albania, is one of the most affordable European capitals to explore. In Tirana, you can find cheap travel options, including cheap flights to the city and budget-friendly other services. Accommodations in Tirana are reasonably priced compared to many other European cities, and activities and dining options are available at very affordable rates.

Exploring Tirana unveils a blend of attractions, from its vibrant streets and historic landmarks to its picturesque parks and bustling markets. The city’s iconic landmarks include the Skanderbeg Square, adorned with historical monuments, and the Et’hem Bey Mosque, showcasing stunning Ottoman architecture.

Tirana also serves as a convenient base for day trips to nearby destinations. Visitors can travel to Lake Bovilla for outdoor adventures or explore the coastal charm of Durres, Albania’s second-largest city, known for its ancient ruins and sandy beaches.

So Tirana isn’t just the most affordable city in Europe, but with its vibrant atmosphere, it can be especially appealing for those wanting to explore the Balkans. Despite its growing popularity, there are still many hidden gems waiting to be discovered by foreign tourists, similar to other parts of Albania.

12. Krakow, Poland

Krakow is one of the best cities in Poland to explore on a budget.

The city is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Exploring the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is among the best things to do in Krakow, where you can marvel at highlights like the Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica, and Wawel Castle.

Besides Krakow’s historical landmarks, you can find many places for leisure in the surrounding area. The nearby Tatra Mountains offer opportunities for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Just a short drive from Krakow, you can visit popular destinations like Lake Morskie Oko.

Overall, Krakow offers a budget-friendly travel destination that’s worth a visit for a few days, whether you’re exploring historical sites or recharging in nature. If you want to read more about how to spend a few days in Krakow, check out this long weekend Krakow itinerary for some ideas.

13. Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, stands out as one of Europe’s most affordable destinations, perfect for a city break or as part of a Croatia itinerary. Compared to other parts of Croatia, Zagreb offers budget-friendly options for travelers. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, with historical landmarks, vibrant street scenes, and lively markets.

Visitors to Zagreb can explore its charming Old Town, characterized by its cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and picturesque squares. The city’s most popular square, Ban Jelačić Square, serves as a focal point for gatherings and events. Other notable attractions include St. Mark’s Church, Zagreb Cathedral, and the Dolac Market, where visitors can sample local food.

Zagreb also serves as a convenient starting point for exploring other parts of Croatia. With its central location, travelers can easily embark on day trips to nearby attractions like Plitvice Lakes National Park or the coastal towns of Split and Dubrovnik.

Overall, Zagreb offers a mix of cultural experiences and natural beauty at affordable prices, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers seeking to explore Croatia’s capital city.

14. Valletta, Malta

Valletta, the capital of Malta, may not seem one of the cheapest places to visit at first glance, but hotels and flights often come at reasonable prices. It’s worth noting that visiting outside the peak summer season can offer better deals, as the climate is conducive to excellent spring or autumn visits.

Valletta offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and architecture. Visitors can explore its UNESCO-listed historic center, characterized by narrow streets, Baroque buildings, and charming squares. Key attractions include St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master’s Palace, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offer panoramic views of the Grand Harbour.

Additionally, Valletta serves as a gateway to discovering the rest of Malta’s attractions, including the ancient megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk, and the stunning Blue Grotto sea caves.

In short, in Valletta, with smart planning and a little flexibility, you can find affordable options on really cheap, and have a great time exploring the historic streets and taking in Malta’s rich natural beauty.

15. Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, offers budget-friendly travel experiences with its affordable accommodations, dining options, and attractions. While it may not be as well-known as many other European destinations, Belgrade has a rich history and vibrant culture waiting to be explored.

Visitors to Belgrade can stroll along the bustling streets of the historic city center, where they’ll find a mix of architectural styles ranging from Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian to modernist buildings. The city’s iconic landmarks include the Belgrade Fortress, offering panoramic views of the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, and the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.

In addition to its historical sites, Belgrade boasts a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to explore. Visitors can also enjoy the city’s green spaces, such as Kalemegdan Park, for a relaxing break from sightseeing.

Overall, Belgrade offers a budget-friendly destination with some interesting cultural attractions and entertainment options for travelers looking for cheap places in Eastern Europe.

And that concludes our list of the 15 best cities to visit in Europe on a budget. You can find more information about many of the affordable European cities listed here in our other articles, where you’ll discover detailed insights about each destination. We hope you found the list helpful and gained some new ideas from it.

Other cheap places to visit in Europe

If you didn’t find everything on the list, we recommend some additional relatively cheap European cities for exploration, just listing them:

  • Riga, Latvia
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Udine, Italy
  • Maribor, Slovenia
  • Graz, Austria
  • Rouen, France
  • Frankfurt, Germany

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