We definitely understand what it’s like to get bit by the travel bug but not have enough money to act on it. You may also feel as though Europe is much further than 3000 miles because of this financial barrier. This, however, makes us sad! So we have found some of Europe’s most affordable cities because everyone should be able to experience traveling overseas!
Oftentimes more affordable cities come with pricier plane tickets. No worries, we have factored this into our list below and have provided tips on how to keep prices as low as possible.
Sofia, Bulgaria is the first on our list! After calculating and comparing expenses such as a three-star hotel, transportation, food & drink, and even some activities, we found that Sofia can cost you under $50 a day! This has won Sofia the title of the cheapest city in Europe. Unfortunately, Sofia is a city with pricy airfare. But if you don’t mind spending time in transit, you can fly in to a less expensive city and take the train.
Even though flying into Berlin is not the cheapest during the spring and summer months, the unique city makes up for it with the cost of accommodations as well as flights back to the United States. The healthy competition among hotels and hostels keeps costs low while still maintaining their quality. According to CNN, Berlin also has some of the most affordable 5-star hotels. With fancy living aside, European 3-Star Traveler Index said that the average traveler spends about $108 a day.
This city maintains its excellent currency exchange rate for Americans while also offering affordable accommodations. In fact, Hotels.com has rated Riga as the second most affordable city in Europe with an average daily cost of $82. Airfare will be expensive though - probably more so than other European cities. To save some money, you can look into flying to an alternative destination but then have a connection to Riga. However, the low-fare carriers will more than likely take you to an inconvenient airport. Be sure to weigh out all of your options before committing (especially baggage and check-in fees!).
This cultural hotspot provides something that few European cities have... affordable airfare. This past year, it was recorded that a flight from San Francisco to Lisbon was half the price of a flight to London. Hotels.com also noted a seven percent drop to $115 for hotel accommodations. Lisbon unfortunately struggles with keeping the value of other currencies, but the U.S. dollar still holds decent value.
As The Economist’s Big Mac Index notes, the Ukranian hryvnia is undervalued but nearly 50%! This gives travelers incredible spending power. The European Backpacker’s Index of 2013 says that transportation, accommdations, food and drink, and some activities costs on average $26! Finding affordable and moderately direct flights will be difficult, but smart spending is possible with student discounts!
Now that Istanbul has recently transformed into a worldwide air hub, competition has allowed for the declining of flight costs making it extremely affordable to travel to. Spring and summer airfare are consistently of the least expensive in all of Europe. With its vast hotel availability, accommodation costs are also able to be kept low. Unfortunately, Istanbul’s location makes it incredibly difficult to travel around the continent in a timely and affordable manner. Any train or bus ride will be painfully long. Not to worry, this destination is filled with trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes! Just be mindful about how much you would like to spend before going out.
Prague, Czech Republic
During the past decade, Prague has become a popular destination among travelers. This, however, has been the stimulus for price hikes. Surprisingly enough, Prague has remained affordable! The European Backpackers Index gives this city a daily cost of about $41. This is partially due to more modest lodging accommodations so if you do not want to sacrifice your housing quality, then be sure to do some research. Perhaps you can make up for any lost dollar with your beer purchases. Beerpints.com reports that Prague averages $1.06 per pint!
Budapest’s affordability is attributable to many things, one that stands out the most is its currency, the forint. Due to the exchange rate, the U.S. dollar is able to be stretched far. Eating, drinking, and sightseeing throughout Budapest on a budget is incredibly easy! Even with the more expensive hotels factored in, the average hotel will cost about $100 a night. Thermal spas are a must if you are in the area. Admissions can be as low as $4. But because airfare is usually on the more expensive end of the spectrum, consider flying to Vienna and then hop on a train (it’s only a few hours away!).
Krakow is yet another city where the currency exchange rate allows for deeper American pockets. Krakow accommodations also receive great rankings. Average lodging costs for a backpacker are roughly $25 and a budget traveler is looking at around $58. Great airfare is possible, so check out flights today! The city may be a bit more expensive than neighboring areas, but Krakow is rich with history and attractions.
The city of Vilnius has a lot to offer. With a favorable exchange rate, you can tour the city and see all of its wonderful attractions. Vilnius is also Europe’s largest baroque old town. Check out flights and hotel rates today!
Europe is closer than you think! With a little bit of planning and budgeting, the possibilities are endless!
Written By: Christine Sarkis