European city breaks are hardly renowned for being affordable and kind to the wallet. A lot of that however is due to ‘crowd mentality’ – we all wanna go where everybody else is going however there are so many other cities in Europe that pack in as much charm and beauty and the old favourites and at a fraction of the cost. These cities are places that will leave you wondering why you hadn’t considered other alternatives outside of the usual suspects and leave you somewhat more open to exploring all the other difference facets and parts of Europe that you would otherwise not think of going to see.

15 Of The Cheapest Cities In Europe That You Need To Visit!

1.) Budapest, Hungary

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I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap things were in Budapest. We lived like Kings visiting here and you can have the luxury experience that you would struggle to have in most other European cities.

2.) Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

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This picturesque city isn’t one you hear lots of people talking about all the time but even taking a peek at photos will leave you wondering why you never thought to visit. All that beauty at an affordable price – I don’t know why you’re not already looking for flights to take you there now! 🙂

3.) Istanbul, Turkey

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Okay, I know some people are weird about classing Turkey as European or Asian but I think it is both. 🙂 (It really doesn’t have to be one or the other). In any case, this is a grand city with a lot of history and stunning architecture that needs to be on your radar.

4.) Valletta, Malta

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The capital of Malta is one of the most affordable capital cities to visit – plus the city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

5.) Valencia, Spain

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This Spanish city packs in as much excitement and sights as it’s sister cities except at a fraction of the price!

6.) Porto, Portugal:

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So much wine was drunk and so much food eaten on our trip to Porto and we left surprised at how little we’d spent – even dining at some of the more expensive ‘tourist trap’ places. Definitely recommended for travellers on a budget.

7.) Nîmes, France

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Everything from our trip to Nîmes was so cheap. Accommodation, transport, food, drinks – everything. And it was not lacking in sights either. For instance did you know the Arena of Nîmes is a much better preserved and grander Roman Amphitheatre than the Colosseum in Rome?

8.) Bratislava, Slovakia

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Recently visited and haven’t stop raving about Bratislava. It’s a pretty city which won’t cost you ridiculous amounts of money to visit either. The food prices are on par with most of Europe but asides that, most things are pretty cheap.

9.) Prague, Czech Republic

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This city packs in so many sights and is a must to see in Europe. The handy prices also helps sway you if you still need convincing (plus there’s a helpful guide on free/cheap things to do see and eat in Prague here)

10.) Riga, Latvia

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Pretty as a picture and kind to the bank account, this city has so much going for it. It’s quickly becoming a favourite travel destination for British holiday makers and with good reason why!

11.) Athens, Greece

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Pretty much anyone you speak to who has been to Athens, will not only tell you how amazing it to visit (all that Greek history, the delicious food, the Acropolis…etc) and they’ll also be quick to tell you how pleasantly surprised they were at the price of things here.

12.) Bruges, Belgium

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This Belgian city doesn’t compromise when it comes to sights to see and things to do, despite the fraction of the price attached to it. I’ a huge fan of Belgian cities so I may be slightly biased but at those prices, you should go check it out for yourselves.

13.) Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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This was home for quite a few years so I feel like I know the in’s and out’s of the city but one of my favourite things to do in Edinburgh was discovering cheap/free sights to see and things to do (my friends and I literally set a lunch time challenge to see what the cheapest (tastiest and most-satisfying lunch we could get was – last we checked, it was under £2). It’s an amazing city and so much cheaper than London to visit.

14.) Krakow, Poland

15 Of The Cheapest Cities In Europe That You Need To Visit!

A traveller’s delight – this city is perhaps the most popular city to visit in Poland and comes up trumps whenever you look for cities to visit in Poland. It’s also very cheap (accommodation here is fantastic bargain) and it is one of those cities that is not only great to visit but easy to do so too, price-wise.

15.) Zagreb, Croatia

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This beautiful city, plus the fact that you can drive to the world renowned Plitvice Lakes National Park is more than enough temptation for this to go straight on to your travel list.

Quick question for you: How many of these cities have you had the chance to visit and what did you think of them?

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  • Brill, let me know when you do. Would love to know what you think

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Will do Gavin! 🙂 Thanks.

  • Joana Martins

    I actually live 3 miles from Nîmes, and it really is an amazing city, and is also an amazing area of France to explore (i live here since almost 3 years and there’re still so many places I want to go!). And as a Portuguese, I must say that there’s no place like Portugal for the food and wine lovers.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You are living my dream Joana! 3 miles from beautiful Nimes!!! Wow!

      We loved every second while in the city, with our only regret being that we couldn’t stay longer! 🙂

      And that wine in Portugal! We loved the varieties available, particularly in Porto (which we loved too) 🙂

      Lloyd x

  • I want to visit so many of these but I’ve never even heard of Cesky Krumlov before. It’s now very formly on my list of places to visit 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! So glad you like it Becky! Have a great time!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Veronika Marková

    I think that Prague is not cheap. I mean hotels, restaurants,…There is lot of turists, so when you want to see the real beauty of Prague, you have to go with somebody who lives in Prague.
    There is lots of beautiful places which you can see (in Czech rep.), but 90% of turists are in Prague. 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      What a stunning picture! Such a wonderful place isn’t it. Prague is such a popular city to visit. Local knowledge always helps find the best places to eat and sleep for sure 🙂

      We’ve found it much cheaper than Paris/London/Oslo et al with just as much to see and do 🙂


      • Veronika Marková

        This is Velké Bílovice. Best place for wine lovers 😀 There live about 3 550 people and there is 500 wine cellars.

        • HandLuggageOnly

          That sounds like our type of town! Hehe!

          Lloyd xx

  • Aleksandra

    I think Belgrade deserves to be on the list! 🙂 food, people, prices,everything!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Good point! We’d LOVE to visit Belgrade too! 🙂


  • Went already to 6 of them. Prague was disappointing to me, but Krakow is beautiful!
    Next on my list: Athens, Porto, Valencia, Bruges and Nimes

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’ll love Nimes, Svenja! Such a stunning place to spend a weekend!


  • Amy Butler

    I’ve been to six! Porto, Krakow, and Valetta are all high on my list for next time!

    I’d like to throw Kiev and Lviv in there as well. Fantastic cities, uber cheap, and not too touristy. (Well, Lviv can get a bit busy, but when you’re the chocolate and coffee capital of a country you tend to draw the tourists. 🙂 )

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Okay chocolate and coffee – take us to Lviv now!!! Haha!

      That’s such a good idea about Kiev too, we’re hoping to visit so much more soon!

      Porto is stunning too! You’ll love it Amy! 🙂


  • Maria Salomonsen

    Well this is awesome! I’ve only been to Edinburgh and recently Prague, but over half of these were actually already on my travel bucket list, just didn’t realize they were especially cheap.. Oh, what to choose next..?!
    I actually just made a blog post about Prague:
    Check it out 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Prague is such a lovely city! so great to see you enjoyed it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • WatchOut

    I live in Austria and Krumlov is a day trip for me, because it’s only 1,5 hours away. I have been there a lot and I love going there. It’s such a beautiful city.
    During the summer it is overrun my tourists and it’s crowded. It’s still cheap, but it’s getting more and more expensive.

    I miss Lake Blad in Slovenia on this list.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhhhh, you’re so lucky! We can imagine how busy it gets in summer, especially with it being cheap(er).

      Lake Bled is incredible, so true!

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • cool that you put Zagreb! But I don’t remember Edinburgh being cheap:)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      We found Edinburgh much cheaper than London but totally know what you mean. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Thanks for including Athens! It’s worth more than just a quick layover before heading off to the islands! I’ve been to Istanbul and I agree, it’s both European and Asian. In fact, it’s this dichotomy that makes it so interesting. Riga looks amazing. I’m keen on visiting both Riga and Tallin, but they’ll have to wait for Brugges first 😉

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Eleanna! So glad you like them.

      Istanbul is so an incredible city isn’t it, we think that mix is what makes it so special too!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Thank you for this list! Budapest is wonderful and really worth seeing. I’d like to visit Istanbul one day but I’m afraid it might be quite dangerous nowadays…

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhh, thanks! 🙂

      Budapest is incredible isn’t it! Such a beautiful city. Totally know what you mean about Istanbul, it’s such an incredible city but it can be a worry at the moment.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Frank Thomae

    Been to 7 of these, will spend time in Krakow this year. A few more additions: Belgrade (Serbia) and Skopje (Macedonia), we spent time in both this year and each was a surprise.
    You haven’t mentioned any Ukrainian cities on this list. Kiev and Lviv are 2 places on our list for 2017 and Ukraine one of the cheapest places around these days

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Kiev sounds fantastic… We’ve heard such great things about the city, Frank… can totally understand why you’d want to visit 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

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  • Jenni Davis

    I have been to 4 of these but my 2 favourites by far are Budapest and Prague, both of which i found friendly, very economical and beautiful places 🙂 I am trying to decide this time between Bruges and Tallinn…has anybody been to Tallinn?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Bruges is such a pretty city…(though, typically more expensive than Tallinn) It might be easy to get a low-cost flight between both cities and have a little two-centre vacation? We did this with Seoul and Tokyo and it was a great way to experience two cities that are, relatively, near each other.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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  • Mizuki Tao

    Hmm, also Chisinau, Moldova or some cities Romania.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Great call on Chisinau. ✨

      Lloyd & Yaya ☺️

  • Leah

    Bruges and Edinburgh defnitely do not belong on a list of cheapest cities in europe. There are loads of places in eastern europe far cheaper than these two cities. And if you think Edinburgh is cheaper to visit than London, you’re not doing London right. London has got loads of completely free museums and galleries to visit – it does not have to be expensive. And even Athens isn’t the cheapest place around. Try looking at places in Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Leah, 😊 We’ve found Edinburgh to be quite a bit cheaper than London (especially for accommodation). We lived in Edinburgh for 4 years and London for 7 years and still find Edinburgh cheaper. You’re so right about the museums, we are so lucky to have them free of charge (and a good transport network in the city, too). I think that’s the thing, no city needs to be expensive as long as you find economical experiences and shortcuts.

      Eastern Europe is most definitely cheaper than places Paris et al but we wanted to focus on cheaper destinations within certain countries which we mentioned. We need another post of all the cheap cities in each country I think. Haha!

      Thanks again for your honest comment. Big hugs, 💛
      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • Leah

        LIVING somewhere is a totally different kettle of fish to visiting somewhere. Living, for sure I bet London is loads more expensive than Edinburgh. I’ve never lived in Edinburgh but I know what it costs to live in London and would totally believe that. But visiting? We found far more free entertainment in London than in Edinburgh, and when we visited London before we moved there we didn’t find it hard to find quite affordable accommodation.

        I don’t see anything in your intro specifying you were focusing on certain countries. Just ‘cheapest cities in europe’. I’d be including places like Split, Tirana, Kotor, and Selcuk. But Cesky Krumlov, Istanbul and Zagreb are fantastic inclusions though. We actually spent two nights right by the Plitvice Lakes in order to visit them, and I wish we’d actually spent the nights in Zagreb and taken a day trip to the Lakes.