10 Budget Friendly Cities in Europe to Visit

Europe is a dazzling continent that is full to the brim with beautiful places and cultures to experience. However, it poses a challenge to the budget traveler: it is super expensive. The reality is that most people are able to travel on a relatively tight budget!

Fortunately for me, living in Switzerland has allowed me to travel for and wide and explore over 16 countries on the European continent!

While there is still plenty of cities I haven’t visited yet, there are indeed so many other abundances of captivating cities in Europe that don’t require much of a budget to see and pack in as much charm, beauty, and old favorites and will probably give you the best time of your life! It’s important to know where to go; thus is why, in this blog post, I wanted to show you some of my favorite cheapest cities in Europe.

Depending on where you live, your flight may play an important role, budget accommodation and eating inexpensively is the way to bring down costs significantly. With some plan ahead, all of this is going to be possible!

Everybody, strap yourselves in because Giorgy aka G-Extreme is about to show off some recommendations for the unmissable beautiful budget-friendly cities you can visit in Europe!

NOTICE: The information here is updated as best we can in light of COVID-19. Please check before you go anywhere what modifications have taken place to avoid any inconvenience!

#1. CESKY KRUMLOV, CZECH REPUBLIC

Where is it?
Český Krumlov is an enchanting medieval town located in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic
It’s one of the most loveable small cities in Europe and it is an absolute delight to walk through. Its center has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992 and it is actually one of the best-preserved towns in Europe.

Why go?
Walking into Krumlov is like taking a journey through history to the 14th-century with its numerous picturesque Renaissance buildings.
The highlight of the city is the Ceský Krumlov Castle which was built in the 17th-century and is also home to the beautiful Rosenberg Ballroom, the splendid Chapel of St. George, and a wonderful baroque theater. You will also get to see some amazing paintings and tapestries inside.

Other interesting places to visit are the formidable Roman Catholic Church of St. Vitus, which is also the burial place of a number of important Bohemian families, including the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenberg, and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum which displays the works of artists such as Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, as well as a permanent Schiele exhibit which displays the artist’s most important works. 

Hey Goofball! 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.


#2. ZAGREB, CROATIA

Where is it?
Zagreb is the capital and biggest city of Croatia and it’s located along the Sava river.

Why go?
This beautiful city is famous for its rich history that dates back to Roman times as well as its dazzling coastline. The historic Upper Town contains most of the city’s main attractions as well as its most charming architecture and breathtaking views. 
Some other highlights include the Zagreb Cathedral which is probably the most astonishing building inside and out in the whole city.

If you’re looking for a break from the noise of the city, Zagreb park is the perfect place for that as it is home to lovely meadows, streams, and lakes.

Make sure to also visit some of the city’s innovative and quirky museums such as the Museum of Broken Relationships where you can find extraordinary mementos that tell compelling stories of love and heartbreak.


#3. VALLETTA, MALTA

Where is it?
The capital city of Malta is one of the most affordable and smallest European capital cities to visit – not only the capital, the whole Island too!

Why go?
Valletta has been Malta’s seat of power for centuries and was founded by the Knights of St. John’s Order it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. It’s indeed a city full of history that’s worth exploring.
Some of its main attractions include St. John’s Co-Cathedral which served as the conventual church of the Knights for over 200 years.

Despite its modest exterior, this cathedral is richly decorated on the inside and it’s a perfect example of the Baroque artistic style. The Upper Barrakka Gardens are also not to miss if you’re looking for a peaceful way to spend your day. Aside from offering the best views of Malta, the garden hosts a collection of statues and plaques that honor significant events in Maltese history.

Besides, Malta itself is a relatively cheap island to visit if you’re not visiting during the holidays or the peak season, so you can tour the whole island if you have the chance!


#4. BRUGES, BELGIUM

Where is it?
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bruges is the crown jewel of Belgium.

Why go?
This small Belgian city is so splendid to the point that it’s called “an open-air museum”; just taking a walk through its street is enough to make you fall in love! Amazing beer, delicious chocolate, and wonderful sights, what’s not love?

One of the main points of interest in Bruges is the Basilica of the Holy Blood which is a beautiful renaissance building that consists of two chapels and is said to house the blood of Jesus Christ. If you’re looking for a calm romantic getaway, you should definitely visit The Lovers’ Bridge and Lake of Love, a picturesque haven in the middle of Minnewater Park. The Belfry tower is another unmissable attraction and besides its rich history, it offers fantastic views of the city!


#5. KRAKOW, POLAND

Where is it?
Krakow is one of those cities that should be on everyone’s must-travel list and it’s probably the most popular city to visit in Poland. 

Why go?
Recognized as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, its Old Town has been declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. 
The Old Town is a labyrinth of cobbled lanes, alleys, and wide streets with historic merchant houses and sprawling squares where medieval churches magnificently stand.

It’s the place that best sums up Poland’s great history and culture. Krakow is also known for its buzzing nightlife and lovely cafe culture.  Sukiennice Cloth Hall, Barbican and St. Florian’s gate, and the Jewish quarter are some of the main attractions of the city.


#6. ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Where is it?
Historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is typically known as the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center.

Why go?
One of the reasons that make Istanbul special is that it straddles two continents: Asia and Europe, divided by the narrow waterway known as the Bosphorus.

It’s a dynamic city that has a diverse history as it once was home to the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. The Hagia Sophia is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and is also Istanbul’s main attraction. It was once a church and a mosque and now it stands as one of the most visited museums in the world. 

The Grand Bazaar, the Galata Tower, and the Blue mosque are also some of the places you shouldn’t miss when visiting Istanbul!


#7. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Where is it?
Prague is simply an alluring city that astounds most visitors with its beauty and splendor.

Why go?
Aside from its warm atmosphere and tasty cuisine and beer, Prague is also home to some awe-inspiring architecture! The perfect place to experience this impressive architecture is the city’s Old Town Square which includes the Town Hall, the lovely Týn Cathedral, and the monumental Church of St Nicholas.

The Old Town Square also includes Prague’s famous astronomical clock which was built in the 15th-century is widely regarded as the best-preserved medieval mechanical clock in the world.

Another important place to visit is Prague Castle which is probably the city’s most popular tourist attraction. The castle has traditionally been the seat of Czech rulers and presently it’s the official residence of the Czech president. The ground of the castle hosts many buildings such as St Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St George, and Golden Lane.

Don’t miss a wonderful experience of the city’s best views by taking a cruise on the Vltava river!

Though Prague can be more expensive than cities like Bratislava, it’s still one of the cheapest cities in Europe that’s really popular. It’s much more budget-friendly than, say, Oslo or Copenhagen.


#8. RIGA, LATVIA

Where is it?
The capital of Latvia is the largest city in the three Baltic states and is home to one-third of Latvia’s total population.

Why go?
Riga is becoming increasingly popular among tourists because of its vitality and affordability. It’s a city with so much history to uncover as it has lived under Swedish, Polish, Russian Empire, Soviet and Nazi rule. 
Its historical center, Vecrīga, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riga’s architecture is impressive and will surely grab your attention ranging from wooden buildings to art nouveau, from Modernism to Gothic.

Some of the highlights in the city include The Three Brothers, which form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga, The Art Nouveau District, and the House of the Blackheads.


#9. TALLINN, ESTONIA

Where is it?
Tallinn is one of Europe’s lesser-known cities, but it is quite a remarkable city, possibly the most beautiful city in the entirety of Northern Europe. 
Tallinn’s Old Town in Kesklinn is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why go?
Strolling around this magical city will transport you back to medieval times with its cobblestone streets and Gothic architecture, it feels like a fairytale!

For the best view of the city, head over to the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform and enjoy an unobstructed view of the harbor, bell towers, and the terra-cotta-colored roof tiles. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Town Hall square are also some of Tallinn’s most popular attractions!


#10. LYON, FRANCE

Where is it?
Founded 2000 years ago, Lyon is the third-largest city in France, and it’s located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. 
It’s another important UNESCO World Heritage Site with its big renaissance old town, Roman ruins, and historic industrial districts.

Why go?
The city is known for its rich history, impressive architecture, and world-famous cuisine. If you’re in Lyon then you must visit the Vieux Lyon which is one of the largest renaissance old quarters in Europe and it includes many attractions, such as the Place du Change, the former business square of the city, and Rue St-Jean, a popular place to walk – partly for its traboules.

Other highlights include the Musée des Beaux-Arts and Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse which is the city’s premier food market and a foodie’s dream come true!

OTHER BONUS CITIES

I’ve tried to not just share the famous European city, therefore including some hidden marvelous cities, more affordable as well, than the likes of Paris or London. Hereby, I made a shortlist of well-known cities that are famous but still able to keep you on a low budget!

#1. Hungary, Budapest

It may be surprising, but Budapest is one of the cheapest cities in Europe compared to the likes of London or Paris (for example). Check out this blog post to discover the hidden gems of Budapest during your visit!

#2. Porto, Portugal

Another pleasant surprise is Porto, a city with so much charm and authenticity it will blow your mind and definitely recommended for travelers on a budget! For more details on unmissable things to do in Porto, check out this blog post!

#3. Athens, Greece

Not only Athens is amazing to visit for all the Greek history, the delicious food, the Acropolis, etc…, but it could also be surprisingly cheap too! Check here to know what you could do in Athens during your adventure!

I hope I inspired you and left you wondering how such beautiful unusual cities that you might never have heard of before are placed in Europe? I know, I know… and I really hope you take them into account and also leave you more open to exploring all the other different facets and parts of Europe.

It can also be challenging to visit Europe on a budget, but with this list, you will be able to make the most of your trip as well as save a lot of money! So, where are you heading next? Let me know in the comment below!

 

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