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Top 10 Cheap European Cities to Visit

November 30, 2023

Europe in general is not a cheap destination, especially Western Europe. Yet there are few places in the world with as much cultural and natural treasure as Europe. Europe is a safe, predictable and enjoyable destination. No wonder so many of the world’s most visited cities are in Europe.

Europe is huge, with many countries, large and small, that are different from each other. So it is difficult to generalize. Even within a single country, prices can vary widely. That is why we have chosen to list cities, which is more specific.

In this article, we will present 10 European cities that are relatively cheap destinations, making it easy to organize a trip on a lower budget.

We will go through the aspects that can help you organize a cheap trip. So let’s look at the main aspects.

When to travel to most European cities

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 is the most expensive tourist season.

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 European cities 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 European cities

As we have written, Europe is very different in many aspects. The biggest difference 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 Romania. 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 trip 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 will list the points you should pay attention to when organizing your trip, so what are the things that can be particularly expensive in Europe.

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 2023 it is roughly between €1.5 and €2 per litre. This has made driving quite expensive and other modes of transport should be considered where available.

4-5 star hotels

4-5 star hotels are usually quite expensive in Europe. You will not find a well-rated 4-star hotel for less than 120 euros/night, a 5-star hotel for less than 200 euros, but the really good 5-star hotels cost many hundreds of euros per night. There are cheaper European cities where you can probably get a 4-star hotel stay for under 120 euros/night, which we will present below.

Breakfast at 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, we 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 €5-10 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 10 European cities to visit relatively cheaply.

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 previous two cities.

Budapest’s main attractions are the Hungarian Parliament, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Chain Bridge. These are absolute must-sees in Budapest. 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 where you should try the local specialities, because Hungarian cuisine is unique.

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 cost, Budapest is not an expensive destination, neither hotels nor restaurants are expensive (although they have become much more expensive recently). 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.

Because Budapest is a European destination worth visiting for the value for money, it should definitely be on the 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. Istanbul is a metropolis with a huge cultural heritage and a wealth of attractions. Nevertheless, it is not a high-priced tourist destination. Although Istanbul is located on the border of two continents, Europe and Asia, most people think of it as a European city.

The main sights 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. And you can enjoy Turkish food while admiring the breathtaking panoramas of Istanbul, 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. Naples, Italy

Naples is the third largest city in Italy and the capital of the Campania region. The city has a population of about 1 million, but with its agglomeration it reaches 3 million. The area around the city is rich in history and culture. It is famous for its folk art and cuisine. Naples is the homeland of pizza. It is also a relatively cheap European city to travel to.

At the same time, it is an interesting area, beautiful, stylish, with a very strong vibe, but also littered, smelly and noisy. Naples is a vibrant city, day and night, with huge crowds, noise and bustling people, chaos and honking cars. It is worth seeing at least once in a lifetime, because it is a great experience.

In the case of Naples, not only is the city an excellent destination for tourists, which becomes a lifetime experience, but the surrounding area of Naples also offers many breathtaking places to visit. Just think of the popular Amalfi Coast, the history-rich Pompeii or the famous Vesuvius volcano. The area around Naples is extremely rich in natural, historical and cultural treasures.

4. 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 the Balkans in more depth.

5. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The city of Mostar is located in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is one of the most beautiful towns in the Balkans, with a huge historical heritage. Because the Croatian coast is only a few hours away from Mostar, many people include a day in their beach holiday to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most popular city.

Mostar is a picturesque town famous for its charming streets, imposing stone bridge and beautiful location. Mostar is divided into two parts by the river Neretva with its fantastic bright blue water. Mostar is a real Mediterranean town, with beautiful Ottoman buildings, mosques, stone houses clinging to hillsides and charming narrow streets.

In Mostar, it’s worth just strolling along the river around Stari Most. You’ll find interesting little old houses, narrow streets and locally styled restaurants and shops that offer a fascinating Balkan experience. The two most famous attractions are the Stari Most and the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque.

The area around Mostar also has plenty to offer for tourists, so it’s well worth driving out to the countryside. The most important attractions are the Dervish House in Blagaj and the Kravica Waterfall near Ljubuski.

6. Valencia, Spain

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and the capital of the Autonomous Community of Valencia. It has a population of around 800,000. The name Valencia is rarely mentioned in tourist articles, although it is definitely an interesting Spanish city to visit.

In Valencia, prices are absolutely affordable, hotels are definitely cheap and there’s a wide selection of everything. The huge park that runs through the city offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation, walking and sightseeing. Valencia’s main attractions include The Central Market of Valencia, the Serranos Gate, the City of Arts and Sciences, the Valencia Cathedral, the Bioparc Valencia and the Placa de la Verge, a spectacular square in the city. Valencia is an ideal European destination for a few days when visiting other parts of Spain. It is easily accessible from Barcelona or the Costa Blanca.

7. Seville, Spain

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.

8. Granada, Spain

Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil and the Beiro.

It’s known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra. The Alhambra one of the most visited tourist sites in Spain. The Alhambra, a medieval Nasrid citadel and palace, is located in Granada. It is one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture.

In Granada you should not only visit the Alhambra itself, but also the viewpoints around the city, such as the Mirador de San Nicolas and the Mirador de Sacromonte.

Another famous building in Granada is the Granada Cathedral, which is a Renaissance cathedral with a gold and white interior, known for its stained glass domed chapel.

Alternatively, if you are interested, you can travel up to the Sierra Nevada mountain area, which offers excellent mountain views and good hiking opportunities, and is a famous ski resort in winter.

9. 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 an affordable travel destination, offering cheap flights, accommodation, cheap local food and affordable transport options. This makes the city an ideal choice for those looking to explore an exciting European destination 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 offerings of Greek cuisine.

10. 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 an 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.

So this was the list of the 10 cheapest cities in Europe. You can read about most of the European cities listed in our other articles, where you can also find more detailed information about them. We hope you found the list useful and that it gave you some new ideas.

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