19 Cheapest Cities in Europe to Visit in 2023 (+ Live in!)

by Global Viewpoint

Europe is jam-packed with incredible places, but which are the most budget friendly? Read on to discover the cheapest cities in Europe in 2023.

Have you seen the ridiculously cheap airfare to Europe right now? Thanks to Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), I’ve found roundtrip fares from the U.S. for around $250, and intra-European flights for as low as $10. I haven’t seen flight deals like this since before the pandemic!

However, while the flights to Europe may be cheap, the bigger expenses don’t kick in until after you arrive. Once you hop off the plane, your hard-earned money will be spent on hotels, meals, and tourist attractions. The price of airfare pales in comparison.

For a moment, let’s forget about the popular cities of London and Paris, and instead look to Europe’s lesser-known hidden gems. I’m not just talking about eastern Europe; there are many reasonably-priced cities across western and central Europe, too. I’ve done my best to highlight them below.

Looking to feed your wanderlust and discover the cheapest places in Europe? Here are the 19 cheapest cities in Europe you should visit in 2023!

Cheapest cities in Europe for all types of travelers
This cheapest cities in Europe article covers prices for budget accommodations, meals, and major attractions using Booking.com, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor.

#1 tip for traveling Europe on the cheap

Looking for cheap places to visit in Europe? Before jumping into all the best cities to explore, I want to share a quick tip to save money on the airfare.

For the past 2.5 years, I’ve used Going to find unbeatable flight deals. This free email service is super easy to use. All you have to do is enter your home airport and where you want to go, and they’ll send you mistake fares and other amazing deals. In 2022 alone, I saved thousands of dollars thanks to their email alerts – including most recently, a $237 roundtrip fare from Boston to Norway. On average, I save about $300 roundtrip on selected flight routes. So, trust me when I say that Going is the way to go!

Now, without further ado, here are the cheap places to visit in Europe that you should add to your 2023 bucket list:

The cheapest place to live in Europe will surprise you
What’s the cheapest place to live in Europe? The answer will surprise you!

1. Kraków, Poland

Kraków is the second biggest city in Poland, and one of the cheapest cities in Europe. It rivals the medieval charm of Prague, yet doesn’t draw the same crowds. You’ll find plenty of cheap hostels here, which make it one of the cheapest European destinations. Here’s what you can look forward to:

Krakow is one of the cheapest cities in Europe that has eluded the crowds in 2019
The wrath of European tourism seems to have spared Kraków, one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.

What to see in Kraków

If you’re like me and can’t get enough of Europe’s old towns, then you’ll love visiting Kraków.

The city’s Main Market Square (“Rynek Główny”) is the largest medieval square in Europe! Here, horse drawn carriages glide past colorful buildings and a perfectly imperfect basilica.

St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow, Poland, one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
St. Mary’s Basilica is a brick Gothic church built in the 14th century. Its two towers are of different heights, which is very noticeable to anyone standing in front of it.

The city is also home to the Wawel Castle, a 14th-century castle and cathedral built in the Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque styles. With its unique mix of architectural styles and sheer size, the Wawel Castle definitely has the wow-factor.

Wawel Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe
Wawel Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the historic center of Kraków, among the cheapest places to travel in Europe.

The Polish currency, the złoty, has a very favorable exchange rate to the US Dollar and Euro. The prices for accommodations, meals, and attractions are a fraction of what you’d pay in other major European cities.

Kraków is also a very walkable, so you won’t need to spend any money on public transportation to get around.

Estimated budget in Kraków, Poland

Accommodation per night (budget*): $12-30 Accommodation per night (3 star): $28-45
Meal budget per day: $10-15 Total estimated daily budget: $32-45

*This figure includes prices for hostels, Airbnbs, and 2-star properties.

2. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Located in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, Český Krumlov is one of the cheapest cities in Europe to live (and visit!). It’s just a couple hours south of Prague and looks like it’s been ripped from the pages of a fairytale with its vibrant architecture and well-preserved Old Town.

Beautiful Baroque lining Cesky Krumlov's Old Town.
Beautiful Baroque lining Cesky Krumlov’s Old Town.

This fairytale town offers so much more than a pretty postcard street. In fact, there are dozens of streets that fit the mold, but that’s not the only draw to this magical place. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov is set on a picturesque river with beautiful Baroque and Renaissance architecture as far as the eye can see. A 13th-century castle towers over the historic center, offering panoramic views all around. You can sit outside at a café or restaurant with views of all the above…for cheap!

The heart of the old town of this cheapest city in Europe to live.
The heart of the old town of this cheapest city in Europe to live.

What sets this town apart from others in Central Europe is the sheer number of well-preserved buildings from centuries past. Formerly an important part of Bohemia, Český Krumlov retains its medieval street layout and hundreds of years of beautiful creations that came after it. While many wars had ravaged the surrounding cities, kingdoms, and empires, this town experienced centuries of peace and calm, thus preserving the personality and heritage we see today.

Estimated budget in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Accommodation per night (budget*): $20-30 Accommodation per night (3 star): $45-67
Meal budget per day: $18-20Total estimated daily budget: $38-87
Aerial view of the walled old town.
Aerial view of the walled old town.

3. Porto, Portugal

Porto is a popular coastal city in Portugal, probably the cheapest country in western Europe. It’s often compared to the country’s capital, Lisbon, though it’s less metropolitan and more off the beaten path. Porto is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in Europe that you should visit. It’s also one of the most affordable cities in western Europe for budget travelers.

Known for its port wine, Porto is the gateway to the Douro Valley, one of the world’s top wine regions. It also boasts a rich history and sizzling nightlife.

Porto, Portugal is one of the cheapest cities in Europe. It's definitely one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
Porto gives visitors a front row seat to the scenic Douro waterfront. It’s definitely one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.

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What to see in Porto, a top cheap European city for foodies and wine lovers

Many of the top attractions in town are free to enjoy, including the Ponte de Dom Luis I and Cais da Ribeira that straddle the Douro River. The riverside promenade is like postcard row, strewn with colorful houses, shops, and cafés.

Porto is a cheap city in Europe with so much personality.
Porto is a cheap city in Europe with so much personality.

Another claim to fame for Porto is the Porto Cathedral, a Romanesque church that broke ground in 1100 AD. From the cathedral’s terrace, you’ll have incredible views of the old town (a UNESCO World Heritage site).

Porto Cathedral and old town
Porto Cathedral in the heart of the old town.

In Porto, you could easily get by on $50 a day and still be able to experience it all. For that reason, it deserves a top spot among the cheapest cities in Europe.

Read next: Coolest Vacation Rentals in Portugal

Estimated budget in Porto, Portugal

Accommodation per night (budget*): $18-39 Accommodation per night (3 star): $35-53
Meal budget per day: $17-25 Total estimated daily budget: $43-58

4. Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is top-notch among the cheap places to travel in Europe. With its rich history and vibrant nightlife, there is always something to do in this city.

Belgrade is especially beautiful during the winter months
Belgrade is especially beautiful during the winter months

One of the most unique things about Belgrade is its location on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. This not only provides beautiful waterfront views, but also a variety of water-based activities, including boat tours and river cruises.

Belgrade is also known for its amazing food and drinks. Whether you want to try traditional Serbian cuisine or just grab a drink at a local bar, you’ll find plenty of options at budget-friendly prices.

The scenery around Belgrade is phenomenal
The scenery around Belgrade is phenomenal

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Belgrade is home to a variety of cultural and historical landmarks, such as the Kalemegdan Fortress and St. Sava Temple, both of which offer stunning views of the city.

Overall, Belgrade is a unique and affordable destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into history, culture, food, or just want to have a good time, Belgrade has you covered as one of the best cheap destinations in Europe.

Estimated budget in Belgrade, Serbia

Accommodation per night (budget*): $12-29 Accommodation per night (3 star): $27-42
Meal budget per day: $15-25 Total estimated daily budget: $34-49

5. Athens, Greece

This is a cheap European city with a fascinating story.

Athens is an open-air museum with a history that spans millennia. As the capital of ancient and modern Greece, Athens is home to some of the world’s oldest temples, statues, and monuments. It’s one of the cheapest European cities to fly into and visit in 2023.

The Parthenon is one of the top sights in Athens, one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe.
Constructed in 447 BC, the Parthenon has stood the test of time.

What to see in Athens, one of the top cheap holiday destinations in Europe

Top sights in Athens include the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and Agora. The Acropolis—an ancient citadel that sits atop a stone outcrop—contains several historically significant monuments, including the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, and Erechtheion. From the top of its ledge, you’ll have sweeping vistas of the bustling city below.

The Acropolis of Athens offers sweeping views of the surrounding city
The Acropolis is a great vantage point of Athens’ scenic skyline. You don’t realize how big the city is until you see it from above.

The city is also home to the Panathenaic Stadium, which was the main venue for the Olympic Games held in 1896 and 2004.

The Panathenaic Stadium was the site of two Olympic games. It's definitely among the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
I ran a couple laps around this track, and encourage you to do the same! Athens is definitely among the cheapest capital cities to visit in Europe.

More thoughts on Athens, one of the coolest cheap destinations in Europe

Athens exceeded all my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of things to do here, particularly relating to history and culture.

Athens can totally be done on the cheap if you’re willing to choose a budget accommodation. If you’re going to stay in a backpacker’s hostel, then you should choose one in a good area.

I’ve found TripAdvisor and HostelWorld reviews to be particularly helpful with this. I stayed in the Plaka neighborhood, and found it to be centrally located and safe. It’s also not far away from the airport.

Estimated budget in Athens, Greece

Accommodation per night (budget*): $18-39 Accommodation per night (3 star): $35-53
Meal budget per day: $17-25 Total estimated daily budget: $43-58

6. Budapest, Hungary

Take a budget airline to Budapest, one of the cheapest and most interesting cities in Europe. And you’ll be in for a treat! It’s one of the most romantic cities on this list, and the perfect cheap city break. Budapest is gracefully nestled along the Danube River with access to the region’s best thermal baths, a hot attraction since the Roman times.

Budapest is one of the cheapest cities in Europe, and is known for its thermal baths
There’s a good chance you’ve seen the Széchenyi Baths in Budapest on your Instagram feed.

Who’s hungary to visit Budapest (see what I did there)? This city is known for having the most delicious cuisine in central and eastern Europe. Goulash (meat and vegetable stew seasoned with paprika) originated here, as did Lángos (fried flat bread) and Halászlé (fisherman’s soup).

If you enjoy Austrian food (who doesn’t?), then you’ll be pleased to know that Hungarian dishes are very similar. Both cuisines were shaped during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

What to see in Budapest, among the best cheap places to travel in Europe

If you’re a history and architecture lover, you’ll be awe-struck by the Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle. Both of these iconic buildings are absolutely massive, and watch over the scenic waterfront below.

The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most iconic sights in Budapest, which is among the cheapest places to visit in Europe.
The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most iconic sights in Budapest, which is among the cheapest places to visit in Europe.

Another must-see sight in town is the Halaszbastya (“Fisherman’s Bastion”). This fortress was built in the late 19th century to embody the Neo-Romanesque style. It resembles more of a fairytale castle than one built for practical or strategic use.

From the top, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Danube and the rest of the city.

Fisherman's Bastion is one of the top sights in Budapest and resembles a castle. It's among the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
Though resembling a castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion was built for decorative purposes.

More tips on visiting one of Europe’s cheapest cities

When it comes to visiting Budapest, the other elephant in the room is the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. It’s the largest medicinal bath in all of Europe, and probably something you frequently see on your social media feed. Other popular baths in town include the Rudas Baths and Gellért Thermal Bath.

Though you’ll pay a little extra to enjoy Budapest’s thermal baths, prices for food and accommodation (across the board) are very reasonable here. This makes Budapest one of the cheapest European cities to fly into and visit in 2023. It’s also one of the best places for students to travel in Europe.

Estimated budget in Budapest, Hungary

Accommodation per night (budget*): $14-26 Accommodation per night (3 star): $29-48
Meal budget per day: $18-28 Total estimated daily budget: $46-58

7. Ljubljana, Slovenia

As the capital of one of the cheapest European countries to live in, Ljubljana is a charming city that gives you a great bang for your buck. Despite being among the most livable cities in Europe, it’s somehow managed to stay under the radar. Great news for us!

Ljubljana is among the cheapest and most underrated cities to visit in Europe
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe.

Ljubljana has a reputation for being a green and pedestrian-friendly city. The Old Town has been car-free since 2008, and the city hasn’t looked back since.

In 2016, Ljubljana was deemed the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe. Since then, the city has received numerous other awards for its sustainable and responsible tourism. It’s also one of the cheapest European cities, and the perfect place for budget travelers in 2023.

What to see in Ljubljana

The Slovenian capital is home to a potpourri of cultural attractions. Chief among them are the Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana Cathedral, and Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) in the Old Town.

Located in one of the cheapest European countries to live, Ljubljana Castle towers over the colorful city below.
Located in one of the cheapest European countries to live, Ljubljana Castle towers over the colorful city below.

In addition to the city’s green and cultural initiatives, Ljubljana is a popular destination for its trendy restaurants and cafés. During the summer months, many of them set up shop right along the Ljubljana River, making for a lively alfresco scene. And the best part of all? It won’t break the bank.

Estimated budget in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Accommodation per night (budget*): $15-22 Accommodation per night (3 star): $38-55
Meal budget per day: $16-25 Total estimated daily budget: $44-54

8. Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is a hidden gem when it comes to budget-friendly cities in Europe. This vibrant city is filled with history, culture, and plenty of things to do that won’t break the bank.

Other cheap destinations in Europe can't touch Warsaw with its colorful Old Town.
Other cheap destinations in Europe can’t touch Warsaw with its colorful Old Town.

One of the things that makes Warsaw so special is its rich history and diverse culture. The city has undergone a lot of changes over the years, and this is reflected in the variety of architectural styles that can be found throughout the city. From the stunning medieval castles to the colorful, modern buildings, there is always something new and interesting to discover in Warsaw.

But history isn’t the only thing Warsaw has to offer. The city is also home to an incredible food scene, with everything from traditional Polish cuisine to international flavors. And with a wide variety of affordable restaurants and cafes, it’s easy to find a budget-friendly meal that won’t disappoint.

The spectacular streets of Warsaw
The spectacular streets of Warsaw

And let’s not forget about the nightlife! Warsaw has a thriving music and arts scene, with countless clubs, bars, and cultural events to choose from. And with affordable drinks and cover charges, you can party the night away without breaking the bank.

Overall, Warsaw is a budget-friendly city that has something for everyone. It’s not hard to see why it’s top among the cheapest places in Europe.

Estimated budget in Warsaw, Poland

Accommodation per night (budget*): $14-23 Accommodation per night (3 star): $35-59
Meal budget per day: $18-26 Total estimated daily budget: $42-61

9. Sevilla, Spain

There’s no shortage of Spanish cities that are worthy of this list among the cheapest cities in Europe. However, I chose Sevilla because it offers an exceptional price for what you get. It’s generally much cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid, yet still has all the perks of a large city with a rich culture. As one of the biggest cities in Spain, Sevilla is also one of the cheapest European cities to fly into.

Sevilla, Spain is one of the cheapest and best cities to visit in Europe
Las Setas (“the mushrooms”) is a pedestrian path that dangles above the city.

What to see in Sevilla, one of the Cheapest Places to Visit in Europe

Sevilla is home to a treasure trove of historic and cultural landmarks. Protruding from this smorgasbord of culturally significant sights is the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, a royal palace with a mix of Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture.

The Alcázar was heavily influenced by the Moors who ruled Spain during the Middle Ages. More recently, it was used as a filming location for Season 5 of Game of Thrones.

Sevilla is also cherished for its Plaza de España, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It was built for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, though it truly makes you feel like you’re back in the Old World.

The Plaza de España is in the heart of Sevilla, one of the cheapest cities in all of Europe
The Plaza de España is the heart and soul of Sevilla.

Visiting Sevilla, one of the cheapest places to stay in Europe

Like most of Andalusia, food and drinks here are a fraction of the cost compared to other Spanish cities. Though you will need to venture off the beaten path a bit to find the best spots to enjoy your tapas.

As such, Sevilla is one of the best places for students to travel in Europe.

Read next: Top Vacation Rentals in Spain

Estimated budget in Sevilla, Spain

Accommodation per night (budget*): $23-40 Accommodation per night (3 star): $55-73
Meal budget per day: $19-28 Total estimated daily budget: $49-62

10. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is one of the most underrated European destinations right now. It’s slowly making its way onto the “Best of Europe” lists out there, but has still somehow remained under the radar.

The Bulgarian capital has over 2,000 years of fascinating history. Sofia was first ruled by the Greeks, and later the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. More recently, the city was under Soviet occupation during much of the 20th century.

Sofia is among the cheapest and most interesting cities in Europe
Given its multifaceted heritage, many different architectural styles are at play in Sofia. It’s also one of the cheapest cities in Europe.

What to see in Sofia

Ancient architecture is on full display around the city, particularly in its houses of worship. Boyana Church is a Bulgarian Orthodox church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the inside, you’ll find beautiful frescoes dating back to the 1100s.

Another cultural gem is the Banya Bashi Mosque, which was built in the mid 1500s under Ottoman rule. This mosque is a surviving testament of the Ottoman’s five-century rule over Bulgaria.

Sofia also boasts an array of unique sights dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built in the neo-Byzantine style, is cladded with a massive gold dome. Though built in that fin de siècle era, it certainly has an ancient eastern European feel to it.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral can hold up to 5,000 worshippers.

Sofia is a cheap foodie destination

In addition to its hodgepodge of historic sights, Sofia is also a popular destination for its cuisine. The food here is similar to what you’d find in Istanbul and other eastern European destinations.

A traditional Bulgarian meal includes a fine balance of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and yogurt. Like other cities in eastern Europe, Sofia is also sprawling with bars and clubs. Thankfully, they won’t break the bank, as it’s one of the cheapest holiday spots in Europe.

Estimated budget in Sofia, Bulgaria

Accommodation per night (budget*): $17-26 Accommodation per night (3 star): $39-49
Meal budget per day: $15-24 Total estimated daily budget: $42-56

11. Valletta, Malta: One of the Cheapest European Cities for History Lovers

Cheap Europe cities don’t get much better than this one in the Mediterranean.

As the capital of Malta, Valletta is a treasure trove of unique cultural and historical sites. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s also among the cheapest places to stay in Europe.

In addition to being one of the best hidden vacation spots, Malta is among the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.
In addition to being one of the best hidden vacation spots, Malta is among the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.

Take a walk around the miniature city of Valletta and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The city is entirely encapsulated by walls dating back to the 1500s. Although it’s one of the best cheap holiday destinations in Europe, you won’t find many tourists here outside of the peak summer season. The city is only 1 km by 600m, making it tiny when compared to other European countries.

The streets of Valletta show why this is among the cheapest cities in Europe to visit.
The streets of Valletta show why this is among the cheapest cities in Europe to visit.

Take in the beautiful Baroque architecture, indulge in the local Maltese cuisine, and do some day trips to surrounding fishing villages and historical sites. It’s easy to see why this is among the top cheap European cities to visit.

Estimated budget in Valletta, Malta

Accommodation per night (budget*): $30-60 Accommodation per night (3 star): $70-92
Meal budget per day: $27-33 Total estimated daily budget: $57-97

12. Lviv, Ukraine

Situated in western Ukraine, Lviv is a gorgeous yet cheap city to visit in Europe. It has the charm of cities like Prague without the crowds that come with them. And unlike the Soviet-looking cities around the country, it offers a unique blend of Central and Eastern European architectural styles.

Lviv is top among the cheapest European cities to visit.
Lviv is top among the cheapest European cities to visit.

With many hotels and hostels to accommodate visitors, Lviv is a prime Ukrainian city for tourism. The prices are also incredibly cheap, especially when compared to Western and Central Europe.

Take in the stunning views of the city center from an old-fashioned tram. Stop in one of the 1,500 cafés sprawled around the city. With its relaxed old town, fairytale vibe, and unbeatable prices, it’s no wonder Lviv is among the most affordable European cities.

Estimated budget in Lviv, Ukraine

Accommodation per night (budget*): $7-18Accommodation per night (3 star): $40-73
Meal budget per day: $12-20 Total estimated daily budget: $35-80
Vibrant architecture in the Old Town of Lviv.
Vibrant architecture in the Old Town of Lviv.

13. Bologna, Italy

It only felt right to include Italy on this list of the cheapest (and best) places in Europe. After all, this country has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world (54 in all!). Tucked between Florence and Venice, Bologna is one of Italy’s lesser known gems that deserves to make the cut.

Bologna is definitely among the cheapest and most fascinating cities in Europe
As the seventh largest city in Italy, Bologna is one of the cheapest major cities in Europe.

What makes Bologna among the cheapest places in Europe to visit

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. It’s known for its historic Renaissance-inspired architecture, lively piazzas, and gritty Old World charm. It also holds the prestigious title for having Europe’s oldest university, the University of Bologna, which was founded in 1088.

Visitors are drawn to Bologna for many reasons. The whys and wherefores can be summed up into one common theme: authenticity. While most international travelers set out for the saturated streets of Florence, Rome, and Venice, Bologna has retained its quaint and quiet demeanor. Surprisingly, Bologna is also one of the cheapest European cities to fly into.

Bologna is known for its quaint and quiet passages
Though Bologna is within reach of popular cities like Venice, Rome, and Florence, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

What to see in Bologna

Top sights in Bologna include the Piazza Maggiore and Basilica di San Petronio, which date back to the Italian Renaissance era. The medieval center is among the largest and best preserved in all of Europe. It’s sprawling with pastel-colored buildings and life.

Bologna is also home to the Asinelli Tower, the tallest leaning tower in Italy. Not only does it dwarf the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it also tilts more (yikes!).

Bologna has a leaning tower of its own
Can you spot the tilt?

Bologna is one of the best + cheapest places to visit in Europe, hands down

Though having a mild disposition on the surface, Bologna emits a lively music scene. For this reason, UNESCO considers it a Creative City of Music. Past and present, this city has inspired music on an international scale and been the stomping ground of famous musicians like Andrea Mingardi, Francesco Guccini, and Cesare Cremonini.

Today, Bologna’s harmony is on full display at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Arena del Sole, two historic performing arts theatres.

For all that you get during a trip to Bologna, the price tag is extremely reasonable. You’ll probably want to spend a little extra on the food, which (by the way) is much better than the deli meat offered in grocery stores under the same name. However, the cost can easily be offset by the affordable accommodation prices. This makes Bologna one of the cheapest and best cities in Europe to visit in 2023.

Read next: Top Day Trip Ideas from Bologna

Estimated budget in Bologna, Italy

Accommodation per night (budget*): $25-49 Accommodation per night (3 star): $52-69
Meal budget per day: $21-30 Total estimated daily budget: $53-64

14. Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava is a must-see destination in Slovakia, one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit. It’s only an hour by train from Vienna — perhaps the hottest and most livable city in central Europe — yet it’s miraculously managed to evade the crowds so far. As such, it’s one of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe right now.

Bratislava isn’t the biggest or most glamorous city. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for with medieval charm and Gothic grit.

Bratislava is one of the cheapest and most impressive cities in Europe
With only 400,000 people, Bratislava is one of Europe’s smallest capital cities. It’s also among the cheapest cities in Europe.

What to see in Bratislava

From the Danube River, you can look up and see different slices of Bratislava’s wide-ranging and tumultuous past. From colorful buildings that appear to have been cut out from the pages of a fairy tale, to bleak buildings that remind you of Slovakia’s Communist era, there’s a lot to take in during a visit to Bratislava.

The Old Town is a great place to begin your journey on foot through Slovakia’s capital. Quaint churches, shops, and cafés line its narrow lanes. The main square is surrounded by colorful baroque buildings and alfresco eateries. When you look up, you’ll likely see the Bratislava Castle, perched high above the city, that offers amazing views of the Old Town below. Though it was originally built in the 10th century, the castle was left in ruins and rebuilt during the mid 1900s.

 Bratislava Castle is perched on a hill overlooking the Old Town and Danube River.
Bratislava Castle stands on a hill overlooking the Old Town and Danube River.

Bratislava is an emerging destination in central Europe that still embodies an authentic, Old World vibe. For now, the prices are very reasonable, making it one of the cheapest cities in Europe.

Estimated budget in Bratislava, Slovakia

Accommodation per night (budget*): $16-24 Accommodation per night (3 star): $35-48
Meal budget per day: $14-25 Total estimated daily budget: $39-52

15. Dresden, Germany

Most cities in Germany don’t fall into the ‘cheap’ category, particularly when we’re talking about regions like Bavaria. Berlin is inexpensive for a capital city, but it’s still light-years away from the prices you’ll see in eastern and southern Europe. However, there’s at least one major city in Germany with low prices and a lot to offer – and that’s Dresden.

Dresden is the capital of the Saxony region in eastern Germany. It’s known for its classic architecture, world-class museums and art galleries, and scenic setting along the Elbe River. When you’re standing at the banks of the river, you can spot a striking resemblance between the Augustus Bridge in Dresden and the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. For that reason, many consider it to be the “Florence on the Elbe.”

The city was all but destroyed during the Allied bombings of World War II, but you wouldn’t know it when you’re walking around its sprightly streets today.

What to see in Dresden

Dresden is rich in culture and nature. Art and architecture are on full display amid the myriad baroque buildings and palaces. Zwinger, a palace-turned-museum built in the early 1700s, is among the finest examples of German baroque architecture.

Zwinger is a beautiful palace complex in Dresden, Germany. Dresden is one of the cheapest and most intriguing cities in Europe
Zwinger is a massive palace complex made up of several museums, 700 Old Master paintings, and 20,000 pieces of porcelain.

Another structure in the heart of Dresden that’s equally impressive and sacred is the Frauenkirche.

This Lutheran church has been fully restored to its former glory
This Lutheran church was reduced to rubble during the Second World War. It was miraculously rebuilt to its former glory in 2005.

A beautiful side to Dresden, a top cheap holiday destination in Europe

At the river bank below, you’ll discover some of Dresden’s beautiful gardens, parks, and forests. If you take a steamboat down the river (highly recommended), you can check out Saxon Switzerland, a hilly national park peppered with hundreds of climbing peaks.

Bastei Bridge is a unique rock formation that lies along the Elbe River. It’s accessible via train, bus or boat from Dresden.
Bastei Bridge is a unique rock formation that lies along the Elbe River. It’s accessible via train, bus or boat from Dresden.

Dresden Christmas Markets

When winter rolls around, Dresden becomes decked out with its festive Christmas Markets. They’re known to be some of the best in all of Germany, which is quite the accomplishment given the sheer number of them strewn across the country (like in Munich and Heidelberg). Even during the peak tourist seasons, you’ll find the prices here to be reasonable, hence Dresden deserves a top spot among the cheapest cities in Europe.

Read next: Top Vacation Homes in Germany

Dresden is a sought-after destination for its Christmas Markets
Dresden’s 11 Christmas Markets have a festive atmosphere filled with mulled wine and Christmas music.

Estimated budget in Dresden, Germany

Accommodation per night (budget*): $19-31 Accommodation per night (3 star): $41-58
Meal budget per day: $23-34 Total estimated daily budget: $51-67

16. Split, Croatia

Looking to discover one of the cheapest European countries to visit? Split, Croatia is one of the top destinations.

Split is a beautiful and authentic city that straddles the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. It’s often overshadowed by its southern neighbor, Dubrovnik, though it has an incredible personality of its own. This port city goes back over 1,700 years, when the Roman Emperor Diocletian had a palace built here. Since then, Split has assumed the limelight among the least expensive yet culturally richest destinations in the region.

As one of the cheapest cities in Europe, Split should definitely be on your bucket list in 2019.
As one of the cheapest cities in Europe, Split should definitely be on your bucket list in 2020.

What to see in Split

Much of the city lies within the former palatial walls. Diocletian’s Palace is a remarkably well-preserved complex filled with life, charm, and more than 200 buildings. The white stone walls give off a feeling of mystique, and make you feel like you’re back in ancient times. Today, there’s no shortage of shops, restaurants, homes, and hotels that are jam-packed inside these walls.

Diocletian's Palace is a stunning sight in the heart of Split, Croatia
Inside Diocletian’s Palace is a lively and spirited scene.

What makes Split one of the coolest cheap European cities

One of the most iconic sights in town is the Saint Domnius Cathedral. It was built back in AD 305, and is one of the oldest surviving Christian churches. Another point of interest you won’t want to miss is the Riva, a waterfront promenade that slightly resembles the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. The picturesque adjacent harbor will also make you wonder why Split has eluded the crowds so far.

If your budget permits, a culinary walking tour is a great way to experience the city. Split has the oldest fish market in Europe, where you’ll get to taste local delicacies including Adriatic sting rays, squid, and mussels. Croatia is also known for its wines (DNA research suggests that Zinfandel grapes were first discovered in Croatia rather than California).

Split is known for its amazing Adriatic seafood
Split’s seaside setting means you’ll always be eating fresh seafood.

Even if you take a food tour and don’t hold back on the seafood, you’ll be able to save a boat load of money by visiting Split. It is perhaps the cheapest city in Europe, and certainly one of the most fun!

Estimated budget in Split, Croatia

Accommodation per night (budget*): $17-25 Accommodation per night (3 star): $31-49
Meal budget per day: $18-28 Total estimated daily budget: $38-53

17. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is another incredible yet affordable city in Europe. Though small in size, this Baltic city is mighty with its rich culture and history. Tallinn was occupied by many foreign powers over the centuries—including the Soviets, Germans, Swedes, and Danes— giving the city its eclectic character we see today.

With low prices and high diversity, Tallinn is considered by many to be “the “Silicon Valley of Europe.” It’s also a great place to begin your escapade in the world of European budget travel.

Tallinn, Estonia is one of the cheapest cities in Europe
Tallinn lures visitors with its Old World charm, secluded streets, and eclectic character. It’s also sought-after for being one of the cheapest cities in Europe.

What to see in Tallinn

The walled city of Tallinn is extraordinarily well preserved and vibrant. Many top sights date back to the 13th century, including the Gothic Town Hall, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Nicholas’ Church, and Toompea Castle. All these marvels roll up to Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tallinn, Estonia is an open-air museum and one of the cheapest cities in Europe
Similar to other medieval cities in Europe, Tallinn is an open-air museum with a special mystique and flair to it.

Whether you plan to stop by briefly on a Baltic cruise or choose to spend more time exploring the nooks and crannies, you’ll find your Euros go a long way in Tallinn.

Estimated budget in Tallinn, Estonia

Accommodation per night (budget*): $20-34 Accommodation per night (3 star): $37-51
Meal budget per day: $19-27 Total estimated daily budget: $44-56

18. Bucharest, Romania

This is probably the cheapest destination on this list, but it has so much to offer.

For such a big city with over 1.8 million people, it shocks me that Bucharest has lain low for so long. Romania’s capital is often skipped over for Transylvania and other exotic destinations in eastern Europe. However, there’s plenty to do here to justify visiting for a long weekend.

Bucharest is known for its scenic riverside setting and being among the cheapest cities to travel in Europe
The Dâmbovița River flows through the heart of Bucharest, one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.

What to see in Bucharest

Bucharest is probably the most modern city on this list, though not in a high-tech kind of way. Many of its streets are lined with communist-era buildings from the late-20th century, painting an austere picture of the city’s not-so-distant past.

The Palatul Parlamentului (“Palace of Parliament”) is the most striking aide-mémoire of this. The building isn’t the prettiest or most opulent, but it certainly is one of the biggest. With 12 floors and 1,100 rooms, it’s the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.

Construction of the “People’s House” began in the 1980s as a way to showcase the communist leader’s power and might at the time
Construction of the “People’s House” began in the 1980s, as a way to showcase the communist leader’s power and might at the time. It wasn’t completed until 1997.

More to see in one of the best cheap places in Europe

Other top sights in town are the Romanian Athenaeum, Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, and King Michael I Park. For a glimpse of the city’s older side, it’s worth checking out the Old Town, which is home to medieval ruins and some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

Overall, there are seemingly hundreds of outdoor drinking spaces, or beer gardens, scattered around the city.

Beer gardens or “drinking gardens” provide a lively alfresco scene in Bucharest
Beer gardens or “drinking gardens” provide a lively alfresco scene in Bucharest.

Bucharest is a great launchpad for exploring the other cultural and natural gems strewn around the country. It’s an interesting city that can easily be explored on the cheap.

Estimated budget in Bucharest, Romania

Accommodation per night (budget*): $16-25 Accommodation per night (3 star): $32-51
Meal budget per day: $18-24 Total estimated daily budget: $41-53

19. Prague, Czech Republic

This beautiful city has so much to offer for a budget traveler.

Prague isn’t the dirt cheap city it once was, but it still offers a great bang for your koruna.

As the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is a bustling and culturally rich city in the heart of central Europe. It’s been influenced by many powerful empires, including Austria-Hungary, Bohemia, and the Holy Roman Empire, which have all left their mark on this remarkably well-preserved city.

Prague’s Old Town Square is the top attraction in town. It's steeped in over 1,000 years of history and one of the cheapest cities in Europe
Prague’s Old Town Square is the top attraction in town. It’s steeped in over 1,000 years of history.

What to see in Prague

Prague is most recognized by its Old Town Square, the historic center of the city. This area is jam-packed with baroque buildings, colorful churches, and the world’s oldest Astronomical Clock (built in 1402).

The Prague Astronomical Clock is the oldest still in use today
The Prague Astronomical Clock is the world’s oldest astronomical clock still operating.

A stone’s throw away is the Charles Bridge, a 14th-century Gothic stone bridge that connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. When you look up, you’ll see the Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is known to be the largest “coherent castle complex” in the world.

The Prague Castle majestically watches over the Charles Bridge and Vltava River below.
The Prague Castle majestically watches over the Charles Bridge and Vltava River below. Prague is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.

Other highlights of Prague, among the cheapest places to visit in Europe for budget-savvy travelers

In Prague, a special aura dangles in the air that makes you feel like time has stood still for a thousand years. Experiencing this radiant and mystical city will not drive up your credit card bill, either.

Given how cheap and fun of a city Prague is, it’s considered one of the best places for students to travel in Europe.

Estimated budget in Prague, Czech Republic

Accommodation per night (budget*): $18-30 Accommodation per night (3 star): $42-58
Meal budget per day: $21-27 Total estimated daily budget: $46-59

*This figure includes prices for hostels, Airbnbs, and 2-star properties.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the cheapest cities in Europe

Want to learn more about the cheapest places in Europe to visit and live in? Keep reading to see these common questions (and answers) on the topic:

What makes a city one of the cheapest in Europe?

There are a few factors that can contribute to a city being one of the cheapest in Europe. One is the cost of living in the city, which includes things like rent, food, and transportation. Another factor is the exchange rate between the local currency and the Euro, which can make some cities more affordable for tourists. Finally, the availability of budget-friendly accommodations and activities can also make a city more affordable for travelers.

What are some cheap cities in Europe that are also fun and unique?

Some cheap cities in Europe that are also fun and unique include Belgrade, Serbia; Krakow, Poland; and Lisbon, Portugal. Belgrade is known for its rich history and vibrant nightlife, Krakow is home to a beautiful old town and a thriving cultural scene, and Lisbon is famous for its colorful streets, delicious food, and lively music.

Lisbon is a particularly budget-friendly place to visit in Europe
Lisbon is a particularly budget-friendly place to visit in Europe

What is the least expensive city in Europe?

The title of the least expensive city in Europe is constantly up for debate, as the cost of living can vary greatly from one city to another. However, some cities that are frequently mentioned as being particularly budget-friendly include Belgrade, Sofia, and Bucharest. These cities all have a relatively low cost of living and offer a wide range of budget-friendly accommodation and activities. So if you’re looking to stretch your travel budget as far as possible, these cities are definitely worth considering!

Can you recommend any cheap cities in Europe for a weekend trip?

Sure! Some cheap cities in Europe that are perfect for a weekend trip include Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; and Riga, Latvia. Prague is known for its stunning architecture and rich history, Budapest is famous for its thermal baths and delicious food, and Riga is a charming city with beautiful parks and a vibrant nightlife. All of these cities are budget-friendly and can easily be explored in a few days.

Prague is my favorite European city of all time
Prague is my favorite European city of all time

Where is the cheapest country to live in Europe?

If you’re looking to live in Europe on a budget, there are a few countries that stand out as being particularly affordable. Some of the cheapest countries in Europe include Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia. These countries have a lower cost of living compared to many other European countries, which means you can get more for your money. Additionally, these countries offer a rich cultural experience and have a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, history, and local cuisine. So if you’re looking to live in Europe on a budget, these cheap European countries are definitely worth considering!

Are there any cheap cities in Europe that are also good for solo travelers?

Absolutely! Some cheap cities in Europe that are great for solo travelers include Ljubljana, Slovenia; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Sofia, Bulgaria. These cities are all relatively small and easy to navigate, and they have a welcoming atmosphere that makes it easy for solo travelers to meet new people and feel safe.

Bratislava is a great place for solo travel
Bratislava is a great place for solo travel

Where is rent cheap in Europe?

Looking to find affordable rent in Europe? There are a few places that stand out as being particularly budget-friendly. Some of the cities with the lowest rental prices include Belgrade, Serbia; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Bucharest, Romania. These cities tend to have a lower cost of living overall, which means that rental prices are also relatively low. Other countries and cities that are known for their affordable rental prices include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. These countries have a mix of large cities and smaller towns that offer a range of rental options at relatively low prices.

Other advice to save you money on travel in Europe

In addition to choosing the cheapest cities in Europe to visit, there are many other effective ways to save money on your trip. I’ve written an article that delves into these strategies further, but here are a few helpful pointers:

Learn how to discover the best flight deals

I highly recommend using the Going’s free email service to save big on airfare. Sites like Skyscanner give you the option to filter on the cheapest flights anywhere in the world. Read my article: 13 Travel Hacks for Flying (Tips to Save Time, Money + Hassle). Also read: Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe

Save big on the baggage fees

Whenever possible, leave the suitcase at home and instead bring a carry-on bag. Packing like a minimalist is the best way to save cash!

Take advantage of promo codes

If you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can use my code and get up to $55 off your first booking. You can also use my Booking.com code to earn a $25 cash reward. Cheers!

Take a flight to one of these cheapest holiday destinations in Europe.
Take a flight to one of these cheapest holiday destinations in Europe.

Discovering the cheapest (and best) cities in Europe

I hope you enjoyed reading through this list of Europe’s cheapest cities! Hopefully, your bucket list grew a little longer and gave you some inspiration for your next Europe adventure.

I’ll be updating this article periodically as I discover more of Europe’s hidden gems, so please do share your favorite cheap destinations in Europe with me.

Happy Travels! – Jon

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2 comments

Fareed May 24, 2019 - 09:13

Awesome article and information! I always wanted to check out Budapest and Prague! I passed through Bologna during my time in Italy, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

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Global Viewpoint May 24, 2019 - 09:15

Glad you enjoyed reading it! I’m happy to hear this article sparked your interest to visit those two cities. Happy Travels!

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