The 10 Best Cities in Europe on a Budget in 2016

Lisbon Portugal
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Europe on a budget can sometimes feel impossible in popular cities such as Rome, Paris, Venice and practically anywhere in Switzerland, however it is entirely possible to see, experience and totally enjoy Europe on a budget – you just need to know where to go! Here are the 10 best cities to visit if you’re on a budget:


1. Lisbon, Portugal

Let us begin with one of my all time favourite cities in Europe that is still somehow flying under the radar; Lisbon. If you like colour, a vibrant culture, friendly locals and a great food scene, then there is no way you will not enjoy Lisbon. Although not the cheapest city out of this list, Lisbon deserves the top spot as it somehow manages to keep visitation numbers lower than it deserves (perhaps due to its’ remote location in comparison to the typical Euro trip route). Thus you can have a really genuine experience in Lisbon, which is if you ask me, one of the coolest cities in the world.

Currency: Euro

Related: A Quick Guide to Lisbon; Portuguese Tarts Recipe


2. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Now for another one of my favourite hidden gems in Europe – which is the entire country of Bosnia & Herzegovina itself, but you will likely start your journey in the capital; Sarajevo. Bosnia & Herzegovina has struggled in the past, but is slowly on the road to recovery and offers travellers who are willing to go out of the way in the Balkans a unique experience. Thanks to its’ unique location the whole country is relatively little-known to travellers in Europe, making in an absolute gem. The easiest way to arrive is by plane into Sarajevo or by bus from Dubrovnik (Croatia), and starting your journey near the border in Mostar.

Currency: Convertible Mark

Related: 10 Reasons to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina


3. Budapest, Hungary

So long as you steer clear of the tourist traps along the river and check yourself in to a local apartment or Air Bnb, then Budapest is another great city in Europe to visit on a budget. This city has so much to see and do that I would recommend visiting for no less than 3 days, even up to a week! It is also incredibly accessible (often combined with Prague and Vienna), and provides a nice gateway into Romania (I took the overnight train into Brasov).

Currency: Hungarian Forint

Related: Budapest bucket list; 5 Sites you Must see in Budapest

Bucharest Romania (Flickr)

via stavrepoleos

4. Bucharest, Romania

With that said, one of the cheapest cities in Europe is indeed located in Romania – that being the capital, Bucharest! This city tends to get a “love it or hate it” approval or otherwise, but if you’re just looking for cheap and are happy to go out of your way to get there, this is another one of Europe’s cheapest cities, located in the East.

Currency: Romanian Leu

Related: Visiting Peles Castle; Visiting Dracula’s Castle

Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

5. Berlin, Germany

This wouldn’t be a complete list without mentioning my former home (for just a couple of months, mind you!); Berlin. I absolutely adore Berlin and for that reason alone chose to move there for a couple of months in 2014 to trial it as a city to become an expat in. One thing lead to another and I wound up back in Australia as my base, but I truly loved my time in Berlin! Accommodation is reasonable, food is VERY cheap, and the young people have a strong sense of community, making this one of Europe’s most enjoyable cities.

Currency: Euro

Related: Berlin Coffee Guide; Berlin Brunch Guide

Kiev Ukraine


6. Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev is the cheapest city in all of Europe to visit in 2016, so what are you waiting for!? I visited Kiev way back when I was a teenager, to visit my cousin who was living in a small village outside of the city. It was incredible experience and completely unlike any other city I had been to in Europe at the time and still to this day I would say I’ve never been anywhere in Europe quite as chaotically intriguing as Kiev. Be sure to stay a while to dig beneath the surface as you’ll soon discover this city is a true gem.

Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia


7. Belgrade, Serbia

Another city that faced troublesome years throughout the 1990s was the capital of Serbia; Belgrade. However nowadays the city appears more peaceful than ever and in the spring time can be especially charming (I fondly recall my few days there and it really really surprised me!) The urban centre has great gelato (my fondest memory), a unique al fresco dining scene and some really friendly locals. Best of all, its SUPER cheap!

Currency: Serbian Dinar

Related: A weekend in Belgrade

Krakow Poland

Via Nick Moulds

8. Krakow, Poland

Most travellers in Europe have been to or at least heard of Krakow, which is commonly dubbed the prettiest city in Poland. However should you have more time to explore the country, Warsaw is equally beautiful and impossible charming, as is Wroclaw and many other hidden gems throughout Poland. However Krakow stands out as it has a truly important look into the history of Europe when you visit nearby Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps to remember those lost in the Holocaust.

Currency: Polish Zlotych

Related: A Quick Guide to Krakow


9. Prague,

Although it was much cheaper throughout the 90’s, Prague is still one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe and offers an absolutely magical city to visit year round (even in winter at -22 degrees – THAT was a trip I’ll never forget!) The accommodation is forever creeping up in price, but the food is still cheap (and the beer – incredibly cheap) and there are great offerings for things to do. Be sure to visit nearby Cesky Krumlov as it is even cheaper and filled with charm also.

Currency: Czech krona

Related: Prague Bucket List; Where to eat Vegetarian in Prague


10. Riga, Latvia

There’s a high chance you haven’t heard of Riga, the capital of Latvia located in the North of Europe. Although it isn’t particularly easy to get to, once here the city is incredibly affordable and has a unique location to explore surround countries (I visited on a trip to Russia, stopped over for one night en route to Turkey). The old town is impossibly beautiful and is packed with charm, making this another gem I’m so glad to have uncovered!

Currency: Euro

Related: Riga for One Day

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    Ana - Marija
    March 25, 2016 at 5:45 am

    Just came back from Budapest, and it was one of the beauties cities we ever been! Definitely travel on a budget! Must see 🙂

    March 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Really need to add Chisinau.

    March 11, 2016 at 8:54 am

    […] Best Destination in 2014, Lisbon was featured as Europe’s coolest city on CNN and World of Wanderlust named that same city as the best budget destination in […]

    February 29, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Mentioning mainstream Riga when Vilnius is undoubtedly the best from the Baltics, I consider a bad taste. 🙂

    February 20, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Brooke, I love your blog, but it seems to me that you exaggerated a bit when you strongly encouraged people to visit Budapest for one week (I think other cities deserve more such a long visit, Kraków for example). In my opinion Kraków is a way better than Budapest, and there travelers should stay for one week. But still – this is my opinion, our views can differentiate 🙂

    February 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Awesome post, there’s so many to add to my bucketlist!

    February 8, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Have been to Prague, Riga and Kiev. Budapest is on my must see list now!


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    Villroses hage
    February 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

    A great list! Some of my favourite places + some unknown….

    February 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Awesome list! I wouldn’t have thought to try these off-the-beaten path cities, but I’m sure that is exactly what makes them extra charming. And okay, I will have to visit Lisbon this year!! No more putting it off, you make it sound too lovely to resist!

    February 3, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    There is calm, cheap, tasty and beautiful in Kiev!

    Svjetski putnik
    February 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Nice list, I’ve been in 5/10 countries and capital of my country (Sarajevo) is also on the list. Riga is beautiful city, I’m in love with it. Budapest is also beautiful, and Belgrade is almost like my second home. I’m eventually not sure how Berlin matches in this list, because it’s not cheap for sure.

    February 2, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Great post, I hadn’t even considered half of these places! x

    February 2, 2016 at 4:00 am

    A few places to add to this years list of places to explore!

    Cathy Keller
    February 1, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you for the list and the lovely photos! I’m going to try to visit some more lovely places. This will help!

    rajasthan tour operators
    February 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    The most hard thing is to get the visa of Europe countries if you are the outsider of Europe.
    Prague Lisbon Budapest are in list.

    Half This World Away
    February 1, 2016 at 6:51 am

    These are all really nice cities… but i find if you want to save money in Europe then stay away from the Capitals and discover some of the local towns. In Prague for example, a pint of beer would be about 90 CKZ (about $4 USD) however if you visited the gorgeous little city of Olomouc then it’s about 25 CZK… So many people travel Europe by going city to city but there is so much more to see and hidden gems to discover!

    February 1, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I have Prague, Bucharest and Budapest down and I can’t wait to go to Serbia! Awesome list hopefully will strike some of these off my list this year :]

    Zerina Šemsović
    February 1, 2016 at 12:35 am

    OMG, Thank you sooooo much for mentioning my city Sarajevo, and actually it is really amazing and warmhearted city. I love your list and i’ve visited most of these cities, Prague and Budapest are my favourite European places.
    Great post tho!

    January 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Another helpful post – definitely adding Lisbon and Budapest to my 2016 adventures. Thanks Brooke!

    January 31, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I am surprised that Berlin made it on the list. I have to say that Hotels are reasonable and the food is cheap ( if you know where to go)

    V Mills
    January 31, 2016 at 9:06 am

    What about Ljubljana in Slovenia ?
    Definitely should not be overlooked

    Shannon Off Duty
    January 31, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Lisbon is definitely very cheap, I can attest to that. Also, one of the best cities in the world!

    January 31, 2016 at 2:54 am

    I’m planning to buy my ticket to Prague next saturday !
    Can’t wait to visit this city, I head soooooooooooo much about it ! 🙂

    Great post. 🙂

    Kenza from

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    January 31, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Yes, I was so pleasantly surprised by how cheap everything was in Lisbon:)

    Gabi @ Books & Trips
    January 31, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Yay for Bucharest! I live here and I can attest, it’s a pretty cheap city, with lots of fun opportunities, filled with parks, amazing Orthodox churches, beautiful architecture (especially the city center), culture, delicious food & a great night life!

    Shannon @ The Little Weekender
    January 30, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    We visited all of these cities except Lisbon on a 5-month trip around Europe in 2009. I would love to go back to all of them. Loved them!

    January 30, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Para tu información ESPAÑA existe. Las mejores playas hoteles comida clima y cultura y al mejor presupuesto. Que pena de chica

    January 30, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Great list but you have missed some places that are like 10 times cheaper than all the cities in the list and still stunning and interestng – for example Sofia, Bulgaria! I recomend that you visit this amazing hidden place if you still haven’t (not only Sofia but the whole country). Trust me, I don’t know a person that has been there and hasn’t absolutly fallen in love with it…

      Lowest Room Rates
      January 30, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      That’s right there are many others those can be included in the list. But when it is just 10, it has to be very selective. I think the list is great. No doubt Sofia is a great place to be.

    January 30, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I only have four cities remaining to complete this list, not to mentioned that I have lived in two of them 🙂
    I agree with every word of this post! Great job 🙂

    January 30, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Great to hear that Lisbon also counts as a budget friendly city since I’m planning to go there!! Really want to visit Budapest as well!! Oh and btw you forgot the “Czech republic” after prague 🙂

    Kind regards,
    Sarah from

    Joy Della Vita (Lisa)
    January 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I’m glad Berlin made it onto your List!

    xx – Lisa – JoyDellaVita Travelblog

    January 30, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Great post. Really great places that are affordable.

    Kisses from ❤

    January 30, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Interesting list with many great spots (adore Lisbon as well). Most countries in eastern Europe are actually much cheaper and probably as nice as many western European countries. However, I must say I haven’t visited all places on the list but I wouldn’t visit Budapest at the moment (though I loved it) because I am really reluctant to Hungarian politics at the moment 🙁

    Rebecca Sharp
    January 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Totally right about Budapest, it seems that a lot of countries that don’t have the Euro are cheap (not the UK of course!) and Budapest was so affordable when I went. I hope this is true of Berlin, I’m going next week!

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    January 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    These are excellent recommendations! I went to Lisbon 6 months ago and absolutely loved it. You’re right, it’s the perfect place to visit on a budget because it’s quite easy to live cheaply. Unless you find yourself going to Belem to get Portuguese tarts every day…

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    January 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Latvia is a place I’m dying to go to, and serbia too!!

    x Carina /

    January 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Belgrade sounds amazing:)

    January 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I have visited Prague and Berlin but I am yet to see all the other places! Unfortunately whilst the cities might be cheap, my plane ticket from Australia certainly won’t be!


    January 30, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve never visited any of these places, but I’d love to go!

    January 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I visited Budapest and Prague recently – really beautiful cities! Ali x

    January 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Great ideas! Although I’m quite surprised that Berlin made it on the list, I always thought of it as one of the expensive cities in Europe! 🙂
    Krakow is absolutely stunning and whoever goes there, should try and visit Zakopane as well which is only 2 hrs away and is based in the beautiful Tatra mountains. It’s stunning! 🙂

    January 30, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I’ve been to a few of these places, and am traveling to some in a few months time. Cannot wait! Great list.

  • steenbergen.bart@gmail.cpm'
    January 30, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Loved Prague. Krakow is on my wish list. Heard a lof of good stories about that city. But as I am living now in Uruguay – Europe seems so far away.

    Robyn Hunter
    January 30, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Also hows Kiev with the unrest?

    Robyn Hunter
    January 30, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I found berlin to be one of thetmost expensive cities during my travelling, and that was with free accommodation! I think you underrating the baltics – Vilnius is gorgeous and affordable, and tallinn is very medieval and cheap. Both have amazing ppl – very friendly. There lots of specials for flights with Europe to and from both cities and the bus isn’t a bad option.

    January 30, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Budapest and Prague are wonderful! I was just there last month!

    January 30, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Great post, so many places I want to go to!!!