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Budget travellers, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to discover 11 of the cheapest cities in Europe that I’ve had the opportunity to visit.
On my most recent trip overseas (and the one before that), I fortunately got to visit some of the cheapest cities in Europe. This helped balance out the not-so-cheap places I visited (I’m looking at you Sweden, Denmark, UK…). If you’re a fellow budget traveller, I thought it would be helpful to list some of the cheapest places to visit in Europe in one simple blog post. These are all places I’ve personally visited.
I also wanted to note some other budget travel tips before we dive in, like booking flights through FlightHub. Seriously, their tagline is ‘cheap flights,’ so you know you’re getting the best deal. For travel between countries, I used FlixBus a lot. For accommodation, check out hotel deals on FlightHub as well. Otherwise, I book most of my hostels through Hostelworld (I also religiously read their reviews). Most importantly, if you want to save money on food and drinks, hit up the supermarket. Ok, let’s go!
The cheapest places to visit in Europe
1. and 2. Wrocław and Warsaw, Poland
I was told Poland was one of the cheapest countries in Europe, I just didn’t realise how cheap. If you want to visit the cheapest cities in Europe, head to Poland immediately. Accommodation-wise, a dorm bed in a hostel cost me approximately €12. A public transport ticket was less than €1 in both cities, and I used Uber to get to and from the Warsaw bus station because it was so cheap. Groceries in Poland are also ridiculously inexpensive – I was most impressed by the fact a can of cider cost me just over €1! As for dining out, my meals ranged from less than €2.50 for a plate of perogies to €6 for the biggest serving of oven-baked perogies you’ll ever see.
I also found Poland to be a very friendly country and everyone I met spoke good English. Between Wrocław and Warsaw, I definitely preferred Wrocław. I can’t wait to return and visit other cities like Krakow, Poznan and Gdansk.
Cheap accommodation recommendations: Check out TOGOTO Hostel in Wrocław, which is very modern and across the road from the Old Town. I personally stayed in a private room here. In Warsaw, I stayed at Oki Doki City Hostel. It wasn’t my favourite hostel of the trip, but it’s great if you prefer more of a social/party atmosphere.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Another one of the cheapest cities in Europe is undoubtedly Prague. I’ve visited Prague twice now and I think it’s awesome. There are a lot of free attractions to keep you busy and I personally loved just walking around the city. One day I went from Prague Castle to the New Town and across the Charles Bridge to the Old Town. The food and drink in Prague is also crazy cheap. I remember getting a lunch deal for about €5 with tip, which included a bowl of goulash and a beer. A friend from Australia actually lives in Prague and she said it’s also one of the cheapest cities in Europe to live in as well (in case you’re curious 😏).
Cheap accommodation recommendation: I highly recommend Sophie’s Hostel. The female dorm was basically an apartment, with a kitchenette and ensuite bathroom.
4. Zagreb, Croatia
I previously wrote a 24-hour guide to Zagreb; a city I was fortunate to visit in 2017. I didn’t expect it to be one of the cheapest cities in Europe, so I was pleasantly surprised. In Zagreb, I found a private room for approximately €30 a night and found food to be pretty inexpensive too. I also appreciated that the couple of attractions I visited didn’t put a huge dent in my travel budget either. Personally, I don’t know if Croatia’s popular coastal towns – like Split and Dubrovnik – are also cheap places to visit in Europe. But I really enjoyed my brief visit to Zagreb, which you can read all about here.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: I stayed at Dots Hostel, a small family-owned hostel walking distance from the bus stop and Old Town. I would stay there again.
5. Budapest, Hungary
Next stop – Budapest, another beautiful but cheap place to go in Europe. One of the things I liked the most about Budapest was that there seemed to be an endless amount of things to do. I did so much walking and sightseeing, but I definitely didn’t tick everything off my list. A lot of Budapest’s best attractions are also free, which is obviously even better. I found drinks and meals in Budapest to be inexpensive. A lot of my meals came from the local Christmas market too!
Cheap accommodation recommendation: I stayed at Wombats Hostel in Budapest, which is in an awesome location. I stayed at quite a few Wombats across Europe and they’re a fantastic hostel chain; if you’re looking for cheap accommodation elsewhere.
Speaking of hostel life, here are my top hostelling tips and great ways to meet people when travelling solo.
6. Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius was definitely one of the best places I visited in Europe in 2019. In fact, it made my favourite destinations post. It’s a beautiful city with friendly people and lots of fun things to do. I’ve already written a post detailing the things you can’t miss on a visit to Vilnius, But let’s talk about why it’s one of the cheapest places in Europe. Firstly, the city centre is very compact so you can walk everywhere. But I heard that a bus to Trakai Castle 40 minutes away only cost €2 anyway. Food and drink-wise, you can easily get a meal for between €3 and €6. I was also able to stay in a private room for under €30 a night.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: Old Town Trio was one of the best hotels I stayed in across Europe. My private room was huge, with a large desk and very clean bathrooms across the hall.
7. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a busy port city. But if you look past all of the tourists, you will find one of the cheapest places in Europe. I found a bed in a female dorm room for less than €15 per night. The best part though was that the hostel was located within the Old Town (score!). I didn’t take public transport in Tallinn, but I did use Uber a couple of times because it was about a quarter of the price I’d expect to pay in Australia. For food and drinks, I paid less than €8 for most meals. Check out Pizza Grande for cheap and delicious pizzas (a small costs approximately €5), and visit the food stalls at Balti Jaama Turg.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: I stayed at Tabinoya – Tallinn’s Travellers House and like I said above, it was great!
8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
I headed to Ljubljana in 2017 so I could see Lake Bled. It was too expensive to stay in Lake Bled so I did a day trip from Ljubljana, which is fortunately one of the cheapest cities in Europe. I highly recommend visiting Lake Bled (it was a highlight of my year in 2017). You can get an inexpensive local bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, which cost me €6.30 for a return trip.
Now, back to Ljubljana itself. I found I didn’t spend a lot of money there, as a lot of the must-see attractions are free to visit and I walked everywhere. I also found food and drinks to be inexpensive.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: Check out Vila Veselova, a really nice hostel walking distance to the bus station and Old Town.
9. Riga, Latvia
From Vilnius I headed to Riga; another cheap destination in Europe. A typical meal for me in Riga was less than €8. Check out Street Fries Kitchen for brunch and head to Riga Central Market for cheap snack food. I feel like the most expensive experience I had in Riga was visiting the Skyline Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel. But that €6 cider was worth it for the views 😉.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: I stayed at APPART-31, where a single room with shared bathroom cost me about €17 per night. It was outside of the Old Town, but I could easily walk everywhere and it was surrounded by good food options.
10. Athens, Greece
Athens is a surprise addition to this cheapest cities in Europe list. I thought it would be more expensive because of the influx of tourists that visit on their way to the Greek islands. But as it turns out, Athens is one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe. It’s also such an interesting city, thanks to its fascinating blend of ancient sites and modern facilities. You could easily pick up street food or a snack for under €3 (check out Oven Sesame), whereas at a restaurant you’re looking at an average price of €10 per meal.
I made my way to Athens because I got a cheap flight from there to Singapore, so I’d check it out if you’re looking for one of the cheapest European cities to fly into from abroad as well.
Cheap accommodation recommendation: If you want to stay in a hostel, I highly recommend Mosaikon. Every staff member was so friendly and welcoming, the rooms are very modern and its location is spot on.
11. Bratislava, Slovakia
I visited Bratislava on a day trip from Vienna back in 2017. I really enjoyed my brief time there and it didn’t take me long to realise it’s another one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe. Food and drink was inexpensive, as were a few of the tourist attractions. I highly recommend doing a free walking tour when you visit Bratislava as well.
The cheapest cities in Europe
Well there you have it – some of the cheapest places in Europe that you need to visit pronto! Basically, make a beeline for Eastern Europe and your wallet will thank you.
Before you go, check out my 2017 Europe trip recap, my packing list suggestions and my top tips for visiting Europe as a solo traveller.
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