5 Cities in Europe You Can Actually Afford to Visit

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Let's face it: Europe is not exactly a “cheap” part of the world to travel in. Especially when most people dream of visiting cities like London and Paris and Amsterdam and Rome – all great cities, of course, but definitely not easy on the travel budget.

So what if you really want to visit Europe, but can't quite afford the price tag of those famous capital cities?

Well, good news! There are some cities in Europe – some major, capital cities – that are still affordable.

Check out my list of 5 cities in Europe that are both budget-friendly AND really cool:

Budapest

Hungary's capital is a fantastic city. It actually used to be two separate cities — Buda and Pest — located on two sides of the Danube River. Today, the cities are combined into one, but you can still feel the different vibes depending on which side of the river you find yourself on. Budapest is known for its architecture along with its wallet-friendly prices.

Great affordable things to do:

  • Visit Castle Hill and Fisherman's Bastion (FREE to just walk around)
  • Walk across the famous Chain Bridge (FREE)
  • Soak at the Szechenyi Baths ($15-$20 for a whole day; less if you go in the afternoon on a weekday)
  • Visit some ruin bars (cost will vary)
  • Cruise the Danube at night ($20-$30, often with dinner included)
  • Take a stroll down Andrássy Avenue to Heroes' Square to admire the architecture (FREE)

Read more: 48 Hours in Budapest

Prague

Prague – the capital city of the Czech Republic, located on the Vltava River – is often named as one of the prettiest cities in Europe. The architecture makes it feel very fairytale-like. But, thankfully, the price to visit Prague has not risen a ton, even though its popularity as a travel destination certainly has. Accommodation will cost you the most here, while things like food, drink, and attractions are, overall, pretty cheap.

Great things to do:

  • Free walking tour with Sandeman's New Europe ($5-$10 to tip your guide)
  • Explore the grounds of Prague Castle (FREE unless you go inside)
  • Visit the Old Town Square (FREE)
  • Stroll across the Charles Bridge (FREE)
  • Have a beer — it's notoriously cheap in Prague
  • Get a view out over the city from Letna Park (FREE)

Read more: Pretty Prague

Warsaw

Poland's capital really surprised me when I visited it for the first time. While Krakow often gets all the attention when it comes to tourism in Poland (to be fair, Krakow is also a great, affordable city in Europe), Warsaw won my heart. I love the mix of traditional architecture in the Old Town and the nearby Soviet apartment blocks. I also love all the history, and the quirky vibe in many parts of the city thanks to its large university-aged population.

Great things to do:

  • Walk around the (new) Old Town (FREE)
  • Learn your Warsaw history at the Warsaw Uprising Museum ($4)
  • Take a tour of the Royal Castle ($7)
  • Relax in one of Warsaw's many parks (FREE)
  • Visit the Neon Muzeum to see old neon signs from the Soviet days ($3)
  • Wander through the old Jewish Cemetery ($2.50)

Read more: 7 Reasons Why Warsaw is Awesome

Berlin

Berlin, Germany, is another one of my favorite cities in Europe. It's a little bit gritty and a little bit hipster, and yet there's a ridiculous amount of fascinating history to be found, too. And, even though Germany is on the Euro, Berlin remains an extremely affordable city. Food, public transport, and even accommodation can be found for reasonable prices.

Great things to do:

  • Take an Insider Tour of Berlin – I recommend their Third Reich tour ($15)
  • Go Museum Island (get a day pass for all 5 museums on the island for $23)
  • Check out the Brandenburg Gate (FREE)
  • See murals painted on an old section of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery (FREE)
  • Go up into the dome of the Reichstag (FREE — you just have to )
  • Stroll through or picnic in Tiergarten (FREE)
  • Visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Holocaust museum beneath it (FREE)

Read more: Berlin: Much More Than Its Past

Bucharest

Lastly, don't count out Eastern Europe. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, was designed to be a “Little Paris,” and boasts wide avenues and detailed architecture. The city is definitely an up-and-comer – its communist ties are still a recent memory and some parts of the city aren't exactly pretty, but Bucharest is very easy on the budget.

Great things to do:

  • Go on a free walking tour with Guided Bucharest ($5-$10 to tip your guide)
  • Stroll through the Cismigiu Gardens (FREE)
  • Tour the Palace of Parliament, the second-largest administrative building in the world ($7-$16, depending on whether you buy a photo pass or not)
  • Chill out at a cafe in the revived Old Town

Read more: A Tale of Two Capitals: Bucharest and Sofia

So WHY are these cities so much more affordable? Well, first of all, many of them are in Central Europe. And many countries in Central Europe have not yet switched over to the Euro, meaning your dollar stretches a lot further here. Many of these cities aren't top tourist attractions yet, either (well, except Prague; tourists have definitely discovered Prague), meaning prices for food and accommodation haven't started soaring since visitors are sharing the space with locals. Add to this plenty of low-cost airlines in Europe that service all of these cities, and you have the trifecta for affordability.

Want a few MORE ideas for affordable capitals in Europe? You can also check out: Lisbon, Sofia, Sarajevo, Riga, Bratislava, and Tallinn. All will offer you a lot more for your money!

Which affordable city in Europe is YOUR favorite?

 

5 affordable cities in Europe

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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