A European getaway isn’t exactly known to be friendly on your wallet. However, there are plenty of ways to get that dream trip without having to sell an organ. If you know how to coordinate your trip, you can save a lot of money and have a great experience simultaneously.
These cities have many things to do and see. They will have you wondering why they weren’t on your bucket list before. They are full of history, nightlife, and culture.
Download the Skyscanner app and set up alerts to any of these cities (or others on your bucket list). I have about 30 different alerts set up at a time and whenever a price drops I get notified. Thanks to Skyscanner I booked a roundtrip ticket from Miami to London (no layovers) for less than $350, when the regular price was over $600!!
THE CHEAPEST CITIES IN EUROPE TO VISIT
Yes, it is completely possible to visit beautiful, cultural, and exciting cities in Europe even when the currency exchange isn’t entirely favorable. You can enjoy gorgeous Mediterranean beaches, delicious Spanish tapas, and marvel at some castles in Germany. All without breaking the bank.
Here are the most exciting and beautiful destinations in Europe for savvy traveler on a budget.
Budapest is one of the most historic cities on the planet. The city is filled with cultural, historical, and beautiful sights. Its a perfect blend of the old and modern world, with architecture that is quite literally jaw-dropping.
You can bathe in some beautiful Turkish baths looking at centuries-old architecture, or even head to some thermal springs that have medicinal qualities around the city (and all over Hungary).
Budapest is considered the cheapest holiday destination in Europe because the Hungarian forint is so weak, you can really stretch your money here. For about $60 USD (or 50 EUR), you can have a hotel room, dinner for two, a bottle of wine, and a cup of coffee. If you head to museums and concerts, your budget might have to stretch a bit. But for the same experience in, say London or Paris, you would pay triple (if not more) that amount.
Porto is one of the cheapest “tourist traps” in Europe. You can eat and drink for days and spend very little in this beautiful city.
Although I’m normally a big fan of tourist buses that take you along the city sights, aportó is an extremely walkable city and it is much nicer to explore on foot. If you get tired (or it rains), you can simply call an Uber. The prices are very reasonable. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of this city, there are plenty of free things to do including great parks, beautiful views, and loads of art and culture.
3. ATHENS, GREECE
A beautiful metropolis with so much cultural and historical value. Due to the crumbling Greek economy, your money goes a long way in this incredible city. The Greeks are famous for their hospitality and food, so be prepared to leave a couple pounds heavier and a whole lot happier.
Check out the Acropolis or head to Monastiraki which is known for its iconic landmarks, like the ruins of Hadrians Library.
Pro tip: flying directly to Athens can get pricy, but if you fly to a nearby airport from another European city you can find airfare for half the cost.
4. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
This little gem of a city isn’t big, but it will probably become one of your favorite cities in the work, and that’s a bold statement. Filled with amazing sight, great food, and affordable accommodation, you’ll have a hard time leaving.
Prague offers a lot of bars and nightlife that’s open to the late hours, perfect for college backpackers. Besides that, the historic beauty and natural sights will leave you satisfied without putting much of a dent in your wallet.
Prague has a lot of cheap food options, including its legendarily cheap beer. There’s plenty of public art to marvel at, including sculptures by the famous and controversial David Cerny.
5. VALENCIA, SPAIN
This beautiful Spanish city offers just as much as the more popular ones at a quarter of the price. Valencia has an iconic food market, known as the Central Market of Valencia. Walking through this large market will give you an authentic feel of how the Valencies live.
Or head to the beach to sit and relax. Valencia has many beaches that are unspoiled and uncrowded with tourists.
Valencia also has a lot of options for some retail therapy. A lot of the barrios, or neighborhoods, have their own street market once a week. You can find many special pieces in these markets for the most unique look.
6. EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
The United Kingdom is infamous for outrageous prices, however, if you want the luxury of the UK without the hefty price tag head to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is the most visited city in the UK, outside of London. There are plenty of wonderful and free things to do.
Get outdoors and hike Arthur’s Seat for a beautiful view. Perhaps head to the National Museum of Scotland, where the first successful clone is housed (Dolly the Sheep). The museum is free to visit and perfect for a rainy day.
Also, for Harry Potter fans, you may know J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh and a lot of the films and movies are inspired by this wonderful city. Take a Harry Potter tour and live your fantasy of being a wizard.
7. ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Yes, I know there’s a tad of debate whether Istanbul is considered European or Asian, but why can’t it just be both?
Istanbul is a completely different world. The clash of Asian and European culture makes this one of the most exciting cities in the world.
With its beautiful architecture and culture, and not to mention the delicious Turkish food, this city should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Explore the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest marketplace, and get lost in the winding streets hunting for great bargains. Istanbul is incredibly cheap as there are plenty of free things to do and street food to try. This city can accommodate any budget.
8. ČESKÝ KRUMLOV, CZECH REPUBLIC
It’s likely you haven’t heard of this city, as Prague is a much more popular destination in the Czech Republic. However, this charming city has a lot to offer.
The city is filled with beautiful streets, castles, and old buildings to marvel at. Basically, everything in this city is affordable from hotels, the grocery store, or even dining out, making it one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
You’ll feel like you entered a fairy tale town in a Disney movie.