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. Despite this, there are so many other cities in Europe that pack in as much charm and beauty as the old favourites and at a fraction of the cost. This is why I want to show you some of the cheapest cities in Europe that I just know you’ll love.
I’ve tried to not just share the obscure cities, but also include some more iconic cities that are cheaper than more expensive European cities like Paris or London.
This way, you can visit well-known cities that have a global appeal, without having to break the piggy bank.
Take a look, below, at the cheapest cities in Europe to visit. Have the best trip.
1.) Budapest, Hungary
I was totally surprised at how much cheaper things were in Budapest, from the likes of London or Paris (for example).
We lived like Kings visiting here and you can have the luxury experience that you would struggle to have in most other European cities for a fraction of the cost. It’s easily one of the cheapest cities in Europe to visit and perfect if you’re on a budget.
Oh, and don’t forget to head out on the River Danube and see the city on a river cruise. It’s one of the best ways to see Budapest and it’s so nice and relaxing; especially at sunset.
2.) Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
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 a more affordable price – I don’t know why you’re not already looking for flights to take you there now!
To be honest, outside of the capital, there are quite a few of the cheapest cities in Europe that are based in the Czech Republic. Just make sure to do your homework and visit more regional cities.
Plus, you can easily book a one-day tour from Prague that’s well worth doing if you’re short on time. We loved it.
3.) Istanbul, Turkey
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.
There is honestly so much to see in Istanbul, especially as it’s one of the cheapest cities in Europe if you’re looking for a more global city and love a hive of activity.
Plus, with such a large European city, it means you get loads of choice when it comes to costs. Like, eating out in the markets and exploring the city is reasonable; especially when comparing it to the likes of Milan or Barcelona.
Whilst here, don’t forget to book the Topkapi Palace Guided Tour that allows you to skip the line. This way, you’ll get straight inside without all the hassle of the queues.
4.) Valletta, Malta
The capital of Malta is one of the most affordable capital cities to visit – plus the city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s too gorgeous to miss.
Plus, it’s not just the cheapest cities in Europe. Malta, as an Island, can be relatively cheap too. Just make sure to travel out of the summer season and avoid the holidays.
Finally, don’t forget to save money and book this all-in-one tour of Gozo, Comino, and Blue Lagoon by boat. It’s an incredible way to see a huge chunk of the islands and well worth it so you’re not wasting money with multiple journies.
This will keep costs lower and you’ll also miss most of the crowds.
5.) Valencia, Spain
This Spanish city packs in as much excitement and sights as its sister cities except at a fraction of the price. It’s so much cheaper than the likes of Barcelona, especially for accommodation.
Plus, lots of historic buildings and churches cost very little to enter. This all means that you can enjoy one of the cheapest cities in Europe without breaking the bank.
6.) Porto, Portugal
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.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Porto is recommended for travellers on a budget. This is especially true when comparing it to the capital, Lisbon. Yes, it’s still more expensive than some other regional towns in Portugal but it’s incredible to visit and has just as good a vibe and things to do as Lisbon.
Just make sure to travel in the winter months and it’ll keep costs lower.
7.) Nîmes, France
Everything from our trip to Nîmes was so cheap. Accommodation, transport, food, drinks. Everything.
It’s not lacking in beautiful spots, either. Nimes is steeped in Roman history and can easily be seen by strolling the city.
For instance, did you know the Arena of Nimes is a much better preserved and grander Roman Amphitheatre than the Colosseum in Rome? This makes it a great option if you want to explore Europe’s Roman history without paying Rome prices.
8.) Bratislava, Slovakia
Recently visited and haven’t stopped raving about Bratislava.
It’s a pretty city which won’t cost you ridiculous amounts of money to visit either. Plus, it’s pretty easy to get to from the likes of Budapest if you’re travelling in this region.
The food prices are on par with most of Europe but aside from that, most things are pretty cheap; especially when it comes to accommodation.
9.) Prague, Czech Republic
Prague packs in so many sights and is a must-see in Europe.
The handy prices also help sway you if you still need convincing. Though Prague can be more expensive than cities like Bratislava, it’s still one of the cheapest cities in Europe that’s popular.
It’s much more budget-friendly than, say, Oslo or Copenhagen and you’re still having that vibrant city trip.
10.) Riga, Latvia
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 travellers and a good reason.
Not only that, Riga is a great place to explore more of Latvia and explore this relatively small country. It’s well worth visiting and much cheaper than other comparable-sized countries like Belgium.
11.) Athens, Greece
Pretty much anyone you speak to who has been to Athens, will not only tell you how amazing it is to visit. I mean, all that Greek history, the delicious food, the Acropolis; it’s got something for everyone.
Now, compared to island spots like Santorini or Mykonos, Athens is a city that’s pretty well-priced and budget-friendly. You can easily explore the neighbourhoods without a guide and street food is relatively cheap here. Gyros all around!
12.) Bruges, Belgium
The stunning Belgian city of Bruges doesn’t compromise regarding sights to see and things to do, despite the fraction of the price attached to it.
I’m a huge fan of Belgian cities so I may be slightly biased but at those prices, you should go check it out for yourselves. Although not one of the very cheapest cities in Europe, it’s still much more affordable than, say, Stockholm (which can be pricey).
Plus, you’ll save loads of money on public transport as Bruges is such a walkable city.
13.) Edinburgh, United Kingdom
This was home for quite a few years so I feel like I know the ins and outs of the city but one of my favourite things to do in Edinburgh was discovering cheap and free sights to see and things to do.
Yes, it might be one of the more expensive cities in Scotland; but it’s still a capital city that’s considerably cheaper than other European cities like; London or Paris.
Not only that, so many of the museums and galleries are free to enter. This saves a heap when visiting Edinburgh for a trip.
14.) Krakow, Poland
A traveller’s delight – this city is perhaps the most popular city to visit in Poland and comes up trumps whenever you look for places in Poland to visit. You see, Krakow is an amazingly well-connected city for cheap flights. It has a network of flights that run all across Europe with airlines like Ryanair. This means you can grab a bargain if you pack light.
Also, accommodation here is an epic bargain for what you get. Your money goes a long way here.
15.) Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is one of the beautiful Croatian cities (and towns) that you have to visit.
Also, the fact that you can drive to the world-renowned Plitvice Lakes National Park is more than enough temptation for this to go straight onto your travel list.