Travelling comes with a price and Europe has a general perception of being a travel fantasy for a large chunk of tourists. It is true to a large extent as airfare, lodging, food and local expenses can add up to make your European sojourn an expensive affair.
However, there are also places in Europe which are not just pocket-friendly but are no lesser than any other destination in terms of attractions and things to explore. These European cities have history, nightlife, culture and much more than one can expect.
Here are 10 of the cheapest cities you must visit in Europe.
1. Athens, Greece:
Great historical value, alluring antiquity, magnificent Acropolis, cultural experience, dropping value of Euros, crumbling Greek economy, the famous Greek hospitality, and scope for bargaining in almost everything—all combine together to make Athens one of the cheapest cities you must visit in Europe. Don’t fly directly to Athens as it may cost you a little higher.
It’s cheaper if you land in any other nearby European destination and make a road trip to Greece. Hotel tariffs are all time low and the food is amazing yet reasonably priced. Ticket for museums and famous sites such as Temple of Poseidon and Keramikos will barely cost you anything and are free for children.
Overall a great destination to explore right now, Athens is quintessential Europe without digging deep into your pocket.
2. Budapest, Hungary
Inexpensive lodging, pocket-friendly meals, some of the great castles and cathedrals to explore and awesome spas costing peanuts, Budapest is a budget traveler’s paradise. All you have to do is to stay away from the popular tourist magnets.
Walk up to Castle Hill and soak in the incredible view from the top and along the Fishermans’s Bastion. You can also explore the history museum, National gallery, and library for a small fee. There are great low-priced hostels offering a comfortable stay and in case you are travelling with family, you can find good hotels little away from the main centre.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Though Istanbul is little far, the airfare to this majestic city of Turkey is often an exciting deal. All thanks to nearly 12.56 million foreign visitors heading to the largest city in Europe in a year.
The declining rate of Turkish Lira, government’s effort to attract more tourists and plenty of free tourist attractions, make Istanbul not just pocket-friendly destination but also one of the best deals that you can get now.
Although you may find accommodation little expensive than expected, a little effort can get you reasonable lodging options too. There’s plenty to do in this gorgeous city where East meets West. You may also indulge into delightful yet budget shopping in the colourful souks or bazaars.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
Talk about the 90s and Prague was budget-travellers’ favourite destination. There were great sites, good food and affordable accommodation. But then the word spread quickly and it soon became a crowd-puller.
Today the prices have gone up and hotels are little expensive but Prague is still one of the cheapest cities in Europe you must visit provided you are willing to lodge in hostels and ready to scout for pocket-friendly food and drink.
With a huge number of bars and clubs that are opened till late, Prague offers a great low-cost nightlife. Natural beauty, historic sites and breweries in Prague add up to make it an exciting destination without going too heavy on your pocket.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
Cheap flights and even cheaper local prices make Lisbon a preferred destination in Europe for a budget traveller. The capital city of westernmost country of mainland Europe, Lisbon is slowly and steadily rising up in the travelling scene.
There is plenty to explore here and entry to most of the sites are either free or you need to buy low-priced tickets ranging between 1-to 10 euros. Apart from impressive ancient ruins, white-domed cathedrals, cobbled alleys and scenic charm Lisbon is also famous for lively nightlife which is pretty much affordable due to a huge number of bars and clubs.
The sleepy backstreets during the daytime turn into one of Europe’s most raucous drinking addresses by night. Restaurants are mostly family run and offer great food for cheap prices. Public transport is efficient enough to take you places and you can find reasonably priced hotels in the Old Town.
6. Paris, France
Contrary to its image of being an expensive city, Paris can be reasonably cheap if you are willing to stay a bit away from touristy spots or the main tourist districts. Food in Paris is exceptional and you can find a pretty good deal if you look around. The main attractions will also cost you much lesser than most of the other big European destinations.
There are plenty of activities in Paris which will cost you nothing but will make your trip memorable such as exploring the Montmartre neighbourhood, admiring the Eiffel Tower from a distance, taking a good look of the Arch de Triumphe from the street, and strolling the Champs-Élysées.
The Paris Big Bus Tour is an affordable way to explore Paris up close and a pocket-friendly Seine River Cruise is a must-do activity in Paris for first time visitors. Paris Pass is also a great way to save in Paris if you wish to visit museums and other ticketed attractions. Overall, Paris is one of the cheapest European destinations if you can plan well and in advance.
7. Bucharest, Romania
One of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe and the capital city of Romania, Bucharest was once known as the Little Paris. However, the face of the city is changing fast and today it is an ideal mix of new with old. A glass modern glass façade against a charming heritage edifice is a common sight here.
There are museum, churches and monasteries to explore. Romanian Atheneum, The Arch of Triumph, Revolution Square, and Old centre are attractions that will cost you nothing. Parliament Palace does have an entry fee however it is equally impressive to gaze upon from a distance without paying a dime.
Street food is available everywhere and is a good deal for budget travellers. You can also find some great hostels and lodging options for reasonably low prices. Walking tours are the best way to explore Bucharest and it’s free. Gradually emerging as a tourist destination, Bucharest, right now is of the cheapest cities you must visit in Europe.
8. Kraków, Poland
Cozy cafes offering great espresso and reasonably priced nibbles, excellent nightlife with underground bars, beer gardens, and plenty of history make Krakow a must visit cheapest cities in Europe. What makes it even more alluring is that one of the oldest city of Poland is a bargain destination too.
Most of the popular tourist attractions are located in the Old Town. There are some clean and excellent hostels available for lodging, and Krakow’s market square called Plac Nowy is buzzing with affordable bars and cafes. The city where bargain is a way of life is not just picturesque but extremely fascinating.
If legends to be believed, Krakow was built on the cave of a dragon who was slain by the mythical King Krak.
9. Moscow, Russia
The 860-year-old capital city of Russia, Moscow is not just an iconic city but can be fairly cheap too provided you are willing to make an effort to find the local deals.
Although the number of hostels are lesser than other big destinations in Europe, you can find budget hotels if you look around. High-end restaurants are a complete rip-off, however, the food stalls near metro stations and Stolovaya (quick canteen-style eateries) are reasonable food options available here.
Metro is cheap and the most efficient way to get around. Clubs and cafes are affordable too and most famous tourist attraction Red Square is free of cost.
10. Warsaw, Poland
Krakow might be more famous and popular with tourists but the Capital city of Poland Warsaw has plenty to bring it up in the popularity ladder. Apart from being a city which rose again from ashes after being completely destroyed by the Nazis during the World War II, Warsaw is also about diverse yet striking architecture ranging from restored Gothic to contemporary glass and steel edifices.
Centred around the old market square, Warsaw’s popularity is also due to its reasonable local prices. There are not just one or two but three lovely beaches on the Vistula River. You can enjoy free ferry here.
Warsaw has a dazzling nightlife with a huge number of clubs and bars. Student bars are reasonably priced. Lodging is affordable too with cheap yet nice and clean apartments and hotels.
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