51 European cities by price: European Backpacker Index for 2014

London View Eye Big BenNow in its fourth full year, the Europe Backpacker Index has been totally updated for 2014. Primarily due to a few notable currency shifts, the rankings have changed on quite a few key cities so it’s helpful to take a fresh look at each of them.

The decline of the Turkish Lira has been dramatic to the point that Istanbul is back into the bargain category again, and everywhere else in that country is even cheaper. The other best bargains continue to be in the former East, with wonderful cities like Krakow, Budapest, and Prague still far cheaper than their counterparts a bit to the west.

We’ve also added four new cities this year due to popular demand, bringing the total to 51. You’ll find Valletta (Malta), Vilnius (Lithuania), Santorini (Greece), and Interlaken (Switzerland) included to help round things out even more.

Are you a hotel person rather than a hostel person?

If your budget is higher than that of a backpacker you should check out our:
>>>Europe 3-Star Traveler Index for 2014

The above list shows some significant shifts for some cities on the list below, indicating that certain destinations are better bargains than others, depending on your style of travel.

How the Backpacker Index works

Prices for most things (hostels, transportation, attractions) are fixed and certain, but prices for a “budget lunch” or a pint of beer can vary depending on where you go. Still, our estimates are based on a lot of research, and should be very close if not right on.

Costs for each city

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
  • Two public transportation rides per day
  • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but here we take the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
  • Three “budget” meals per day (We took our minimum meal price and added 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
  • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

Interactive map at the bottom of this list

As of summer 2014, we’ve finally added an interactive map that shows the Backpacker Index price for each city as you roll over it with your cursor. You can click on the city names to see all the details about each city as well.

Additional backpacker resources

European Backpacker Index for 2014

From cheapest to most expensive

1 – Bucharest, Romania (cheapest)

Definitely not Romania’s most charming town, Bucharest seems in little rush to attract visitors from the West. Fortunately, those that make the effort to come will at least be rewarded with low prices all around, which certainly help make up for the other frustrations of visiting. And that huge parliament building is worth a look. Hostels seem to be getting cheaper lately, so it’s even more appealing for the backpacker set.

  • Currency: Romanian leu
  • Cheap/good hostel: Funky Chicken Hostel = 15.64/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 39.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RON80.24 – US$24.69/day

>>>Bucharest prices and weather


2 – Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev is a long way from the normal backpacking trail so it doesn’t get any accidental visitors. It’s also still somewhat challenging for those who don’t know Russian or Ukrainian, though that part is likely to change in the coming years. Fortunately Kiev is quite cheap for budget travelers.

  • Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia
  • Cheap/good hostel: Magic Bus Kiev – 65.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 90.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 42.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: UHR211.00 = US$25.61/day

>>>Kiev prices and weather


3 – Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia remains a fantastic bargain among European capitals, with a very pleasant city center that is quite welcoming of foreign tourists. Prices of nearly everything are very cheap, except for inbound flights from other major cities. For this reason, Sofia is out of the way for anyone who isn’t doing an extensive tour of the region.

  • Currency: Bulgaria Leva
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostel Mostel – 13.70 (includes breakfast)
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 13.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: BGN37.37 = US$26.32/day

>>>Sofia prices and weather


4 – Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade is one of the Balkan cities that had years of trouble in the 1990s and still struggles a bit to attract tourism. You won’t find an abundance of checklist attractions here, but you will find a lively and interesting urban center with good nightlife and appealing prices.

  • Currency: Serbian Dinar (prices below are in euros)
  • Cheap/good hostel: Avnoy Hostel – 4.52/night
  • Transportation: 1.28
  • Meals: 7.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.00
  • Attractions: 2.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €20.64 = US$28.27/day

>>>Belgrade prices and weather


5 – Krakow, Poland

Krakow continues as Europe’s best travel bargain. The low prices have drawn in larger numbers of Europeans for weekend breaks, and there’s many great and cheap hostels, bars, and restaurants to keep prices low while you are enjoying the beautiful old city and the local culture. Put this one on your list before demand forces prices up like in Prague and Budapest.

  • Currency: Polish Zlotych
  • Cheap/good hostel: Benedict Hostel – 30.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN87.20 = US$28.87/day

>>>Krakow prices and weather


6 – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Another Balkan-area city whose name conjures up images of its past troubles, Sarajevo is another that is struggling to attract tourists. The location deep into the mountains is remote, but it’s also gorgeous once you arrive. The Muslim Old Town next to the modern center is very interesting and incredibly welcoming. This one is a hidden gem, partly because it’s so hard to reach.

  • Currency: Converted Mark (fixed, so prices below are in euros)
  • Cheap/good hostel: Tower Hostel – 5.56/night
  • Transportation: 1.80
  • Meals: 7.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.00
  • Attractions: 2.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €21.36 = US$29.26/day

>>>Sarajevo prices and weather


7 – Budapest, Hungary

Another excellent travel bargain, Budapest is all-around cheap and it gets high marks from visitors. The castles and cathedrals are enough, but here you also get thermal spas that are cheap enough even for the backpacking set. Hostels, in particular, are great value, but you have to get a bit out of the center to find inexpensive hotels. Touristy hotels and restaurants near the river are not budget friendly.

  • Currency: Hungary Forint
  • Cheap/good hostel: Rastel Hostel – 2045/night
  • Transportation: 700
  • Meals: 2640
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 960
  • Attractions: 1000
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HUF7,145 = US$33.12/day

>>>Budapest prices and weather


8 – Riga, Latvia

It’s surprising to see a city so far north also so high on the cheap-cities list, but it turns out that Riga is quite a bargain for the backpacking set. Hostel beds in particular are very affordable, and so is pretty much everything else. Riga’s main problem is that it’s a bit out of the way for those not on an extensive tour. The country joined the Eurozone on January 1, 2014, and many people expect prices to head up at least a bit.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Central Hostel – 5.30/night
  • Transportation: 1.40
  • Meals: 8.64
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.40
  • Attractions: 2.90
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €24.24 = US$33.21/day

>>>Riga prices and weather


9 – Istanbul, Turkey

The classic east-meets-west city had been creeping up in price, but the decline of the Turkish Lira lately has made it a bargain again. There’s no shortage of markets, temples, and attractions for even a longer stay, and everywhere else in Turkey is cheaper. Accommodation is more expensive than you might expect. Check our list of recommended cheap Istanbul hotels for bargains in all price ranges.

  • Currency: Turkish lira
  • Cheap/good hostel: Mavi Guesthouse – 20.36/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: TRY77.16 = US$35.89/day

>>>Istanbul prices and weather


10 – Warsaw, Poland

Poland’s largest city is still rather cheap overall, but most visitors vastly prefer Krakow of the two. Still, Warsaw is building a tourist infrastructure quickly these days, and this is an interesting piece of the post-Soviet puzzle in the region. The infrastructure for foreign tourists is improving rapidly, so visiting should be easier as time goes on.

  • Currency: Polish Zlotych
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Warsaw Hostel – 35.00/night
  • Transportation: 8.80
  • Meals: 32.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 21.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN112.20 = US$37.28/day

>>>Warsaw prices and weather


11 – Zagreb, Croatia

The beach resort towns of Croatia are the main attraction, so Zagreb, which is well inland, tends to be only a short stop for most. Still fairly cheap by European standards, and especially compared to Italy next door, Zagreb is a bargain and a worthwhile pause on the way to one of the beach towns.

  • Currency: Croatian kuna
  • Cheap/good hostel: Ravnice Youth Hostel – 60/night
  • Transportation: 24
  • Meals: 78
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 30
  • Attractions: 30
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK222 = US$40.14/day

>>>Zagreb prices and weather


12 – Saint Petersburg, Russia

While struggling to develop enough hostels and tourist-friendly businesses, Saint Petersburg is still definitely in the bargain category for those who can pull it off. Most things are very affordable, and the city would seem even cheaper if its incredible Hermitage Museum/Winter Palace didn’t (justifiably) cost so much. Hotels and tourist restaurants aren’t so cheap, however.

  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • Cheap/good hostel: Base Camp Hostel – 370/night
  • Transportation: 56
  • Meals: 312
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 210
  • Attractions: 400
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB1,348 = US$40.97/day

>>>Saint Petersburg prices and weather


13 – Vilnius, Lithuania

VilniusWith a historic Old Town area as its main highlight, Vilnius impresses most who bother to visit, but it’s still well off the typical backpacker trail. This is another Baltic capital that is surprisingly cheap in many ways, so it’s a worthwhile stop between Latvia and Poland. The Frank Zappa statue is one of the more famous quirky attractions here.

  • Currency: Lithuanian Litas
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostelgate – 32.73/night
  • Transportation: 7.00
  • Meals: 43.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 5.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: LTL102.93 = US$41.01/day

>>>Vilnius prices and weather


14 – Bratislava, Slovakia

You’d think that practically being walking distance from Vienna would make Bratislava a very popular stop for those on a Europe tour, but so far it’s still mostly forgotten. It’s cheaper than Prague and much cheaper than Vienna, so perhaps it will start catching on more in the coming years. A lack of famous attractions doesn’t help, though the pleasant and historic town center is worth a day or two.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostel Possonium – 12/night
  • Transportation: 1.40
  • Meals: 9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €33.00 = US$45.21/day

>>>Bratislava prices and weather


15 – Prague, Czech Republic

In the 1990s Prague was always used as an example of a city that is incredibly cheap yet still beautiful and historic, but that sort of chit-chat triggered the masses to follow. Still, in spite of high-ish hotel prices and a currency that keeps creeping up, Prague is still quite cheap for those willing to stay in hostels and scout for bargain food and drinks. Plus, it’s still gorgeous, if crowded. Choose from our recommended hotels in Prague list for excellent values at top-rated hotels.

  • Currency: Czech krona
  • Cheap/good hostel: Sir Toby’s – 297/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 348
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 75
  • Attractions: 240
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK1,008 = US$50.81/day

>>>Prague prices and weather


16 – Tenerife, Spain

The Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa) are a popular warm-weather retreat for many Europeans all year, and Tenerife is the most popular island with English speakers. Prices tend to be similar to mainland Spain, which makes it a relative bargain for most Europeans who are just a cheap flight away. Not many cultural attractions so it’s mainly a place to relax.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostel Tenerife – 13/night
  • Transportation: 2.70
  • Meals: 13.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: 37.90 = US$51.92/day

>>>Tenerife prices and weather


17 – Santorini, Greece

SantoriniArguably Greece’s most popular holiday island, Santorini is here mainly as a placeholder for all of them. There are a few sights and cultural attractions but most people (Europeans) come to just relax in the sun during the day and drink into the night. If you stay in hostels or basic hotels and eat in places without sea views, these Greek islands all tend to be quite affordable.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Anny Studios Perissa Beach – 11/night
  • Transportation: 3.20
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €40.60 = US$55.62/day

>>>Santorini prices and weather


18 – Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is cheap by most European standards, but it’s the most expensive city in the Baltic area because it’s a popular getaway for the Finns just a 2-hour ferry ride away. Its closeness to Helsinki also makes it easier to reach than the others, so it’s a bit more touristy as well.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Monk’s Bunk – 9.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 15.24
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.60
  • Attractions: 5.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €40.84 = US$55.95/day

>>>Tallinn prices and weather


19 – Valletta, Malta

VallettaNearly hidden just a bit south of Sicily in the Mediterannean, Malta is a small island group with a pleasant climate and an improving tourist infrastructure. The tiny capital city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site on its own, and the rest of the islands offer a nice mix of historical sites and pleasant beaches. Nearly everyone speaks English, so it continues to be popular with Brits.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostel Malti – 12/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 12.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €41.20 = US$56.44/day

>>>Valletta prices and weather


20 – Lisbon, Portugal

Its out-of-the-way location seems to keep tourism well below the levels that the city otherwise deserves, but those who go to the trouble to reach Lisbon will find an extremely handsome and charming city that is a great bargain as well. The city is particularly known for excellent and cheap hostels that are always in a race to outdo each other, with visitors being the ultimate winners.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Equity Point Lisboa – 7.90/night
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €43.30 = US$59.32/day

>>>Lisbon prices and weather


21 – Moscow, Russia

Certainly one of the world’s most important cities, Moscow continues also to be frustrating for many travelers, with relatively few hostels and traveler-friendly budget restaurants. Still, if you can get through the paperwork and find a cheap flight, it’s a fairly cheap place for backpacker-types. Tourist hotels and restaurants can be quite expensive, so even though it’s somewhat cheap for those willing to search for local deals, Moscow can be a drain for 3-star and above travelers.

  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • Cheap/good hostel: TNT Hostel 500/night
  • Transportation: 56
  • Meals: 684
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 450
  • Attractions: 320
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB2,010 = US$61.09/day

>>>Moscow prices and weather


22 – Athens, Greece

The Greek capital was once one of Europe’s great bargain cities, and it may be again depending on the currency situation. The infrastructure created for the Olympics has actually turned Athens into a modern and easy-to-visit place, and the Acropolis and other attractions continue to amaze, so it still seems like a reasonable deal for the moment and may get even cheaper. Political instability has kept some people away, which has helped keep hotel and hostel prices affordable.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Pagration Hostel – 8/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €45.50 = US$62.33/day

>>>Athens prices and weather


23 – Naples, Italy

Italy’s cheapest major city is a very good bargain for those willing to venture south of Rome. Affordable hostels and casual dining choices keep it cheaper than cities to the north, and it has a different atmosphere as well. Naples, as you may know, has kind of a mixed reputation, but still plenty of reasons to schedule a visit.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Welcome Inn – 12/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 9.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €46.50 = US$63.70/day

>>>Naples prices and weather


24 – Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a very good bargain for the backpacking set due to reasonably priced hostels and affordable attractions. In high season (summer) prices go up a bit, but still Bruges is a fine choice to chill out for a few days or more, even though you can see the main sights in less time.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: St. Christopher’s Inn – Bauhaus Hostel – 16/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 15.60 (not including breakfast)
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 5.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €48.20 = US$66.03/day

>>>Bruges prices and weather


25 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona and Madrid are very different in many important ways, but they are very similar in general prices so there’s no reason not to visit both if you can. And this is another city where hostels tend to get expensive and crowded during summer, but are quite cheap for most of the rest of the year. See our cheap and recommended Barcelona hotels list for some options that are well located and highly rated.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Equity Point Gothic – 8.90/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 11.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €49.40 = US$67.67/day

>>>Barcelona prices and weather


26 – Hamburg, Germany

This somewhat remote city is largely forgotten by most North American visitors, known best as where the Beatles honed their chops, but Hamburg is a lovely and classy city that is worth a stop if you are in the area. Germans, in general, like good value, so there are plenty of good budget sleeping and eating options for the backpacker types.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Meininger Hamburg City Center – 15/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €49.70 = US$68.08/day

>>>Hamburg prices and weather


27 – Madrid, Spain

This classic European city definitely feels like a bargain compared to capitals to the north. There is great competition among its many hostels, and even private rooms in the city center are often cheap. Check out our cheap Madrid hotels list for well located and dependable bargains. Another money saver is the tapas culture, with cheap eats and cheap glasses of beer or wine as part of the nightly ritual.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Mad Hostel – 11.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €50.20 = US$68.77/day

>>>Madrid prices and weather


28 – Dublin, Ireland

For a city that was once considered cheap, Dublin still feels weirdly expensive these days, especially in light of the larger financial struggles. Fortunately there are some good deals on hostels lately, so hopefully other things (like €5+ for a pint of Guinness in even a dumpy bar!) will loosen up and make the city friendlier for backpackers and budget travelers.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Ashfield House City Center – 9/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €51.20 = US$70.14/day

>>>Dublin prices and weather


29 – Berlin, Germany

Those of us who love Berlin still find it hard to convince most people to check it out, which is a shame. This city has endless things to see and do, along with an arts and entertainment scene that rivals anywhere in Europe. The museums and attractions are priced reasonably, and can be efficiently bundled with a Berlin Card. All that, plus the competition among its many hostels keeps things pleasantly cheap. Put it on your list and schedule a trip before things change much. See our recommended hotels in Berlin list for some very good rates at highly rated and well located hotels.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Amstel House – 12.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €51.50 = US$70.55/day

>>>Berlin prices and weather


30 – Ibiza, Spain

While it’s not really considered a backpacking destination, Ibiza is popular enough with budget travelers to include here. Hotels can be quite cheap, which makes up for a lack of hostels. Entrance to the main nightclubs in Ibiza will cost a fortune, as will drinks once inside, but if you are content to hang out on the beach then this island can be affordable. Note that the hotel price here is for April, and in summer it will be considerably more. If these rankings were for July, Ibiza would be way down this list, so it’s only really a bargain in the off season.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostal Giramundo Ibiza – 18.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €53.20 = US$72.88/day

>>>Ibiza prices and weather


31 – Nice, France

As the largest city on the Côte d’Azur, Nice actually has a decent infrastructure for budget tourists, though things can get pretty crowded in summer and prices do shoot up. This is a great base for exploring Monaco and Cannes with a short train journey, but even in the city itself there is plenty to do, and a pleasant beach if you don’t mind rocks where the sand should be.

Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it’s much cheaper and better as well.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Villa Saint Exupery Gardens – 15/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 7.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €53.20 = US$72.88
    /day

>>>Nice prices and weather


32 – Milan, Italy

Milan’s success in finance and fashion have helped make it one of Europe’s most expensive cities to sleep in, although the hostels aren’t as outrageous, so overall expenses are similar to most other Italian cities. Since it’s on-the-way between so many other nearby cities, Milan is definitely worth a stop for a couple days if you can manage it.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Monastery Hostel – 16/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.80 = US$75.07/day

>>>Milan prices and weather


33 – Reykjavik, Iceland

After its currency collapsed a few years ago Iceland cost about half what it did previously for foreigners, but prices have crept up again and it’s still pretty expensive. Most visitors to Iceland either head to the countryside or fly onward after only a couple days in the capital, so this city isn’t necessarily the best indicator for a proper island-loop trip, but fortunately most of the rest of the country is a bit cheaper, as long as you get the transportation part figured out.

  • Currency: Iceland kronur
  • Cheap/good hostel: Reykjavik Backpackers – 2491/night
  • Transportation: 700
  • Meals: 2,520
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 1,800
  • Attractions: 1,200
  • Daily Backpacker Index: ISK8,711 = US$75.71/day

>>>Reykjavik prices and weather


34 – Florence, Italy

A highlight of so many Italy tours, Florence is cheaper than Rome and Venice in most regards. Hostel competition is fierce and quality is mostly quite good, so this is a good hang-out for weary backpackers. And the food is excellent, if not particularly cheap.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Queen’s – 17/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 11.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €55.90 = US$76.58/day

>>>Florence prices and weather


35 – Munich, Germany

Germany’s most popular city for overseas travelers is only a bit more expensive than the others, so budget travelers can get by with few complications as long as they aren’t going during Oktoberfest. Prices of hostels do shoot up a bit during summer, but overall it’s fairly easy to find bargains, and the city is so pleasant that it feels like good value.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Euro Youth Hostel – 14.50/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €55.90 = US$76.58/day

>>>Munich prices and weather


36 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Compared to the rest of Eastern Europe, the beach resort of Dubrovnik is pricey, but compared to similar beach resorts in Italy, it’s still a bargain. Unfortunately it’s not easy to reach for those who are passing through the region, but it’s worth going out of the way for, especially in season. You might also try Split, which has similar prices and is a little easier to reach by land.

  • Currency: Croatian kuna
  • Cheap/good hostel: Begovic Boarding House – 165/night
  • Transportation: 20
  • Meals: 104.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 45.00
  • Attractions: 90.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK428.40 = US$77.47/day

>>>Dubrovnik prices and weather


37 – Rome, Italy

Regardless of costs, Rome is one of those cities that you’ve just got to visit anyway, so fortunately it’s not as outrageously expensive as some lesser destinations a bit down the list. There are good budget options for most things, but hotels and hostels are more expensive than one might expect, and the main Rome attractions are justifiably expensive as well. Choose from our recommended Rome hostels and hotels for excellent bargains with great locations.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Yellow – 14.90/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €56.60 = US$77.53/day

>>>Rome prices and weather


38 – Vienna, Austria

Being one of Europe’s grandest capitals, it’s only slightly surprising that Vienna comes out as a relatively expensive city. Its location between so many other tourist cities makes it an easy one to stop off in for a few days, and while food is a bit expensive, there are some good-value hostels in the city to help make up for it.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Wombats City Hostel – The Base – 11.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.20
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 11.50
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €57.30 = US$78.49/day

>>>Vienna prices and weather


39 – Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

This underrated and mostly forgotten city is definitely worth a stop if you are passing between Belgium and France. The location is stunning and the city’s history is interesting, plus the food and drink culture is what you would expect for this part of Europe, meaning there are a lot of great choices.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Luxembourg City Hostel – 25.00/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €57.60 = US$78.90/day

>>>Luxembourg City prices and weather


40 – Paris, France

Similarly to Rome, it’s just a good thing that Paris isn’t any more expensive than it is, because people are going to visit anyway. As long as you are willing to stay a bit outside the main tourist districts then Paris can be quite reasonable on the wallet, and the quality of food is exceptional nearly anywhere you go. The main attractions are actually fairly cheap compared to major sights in some other big cities, and you might save even more money with a Paris Pass. To get the best value have a look at our recommended Paris hostels and cheap hotels section.

Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it’s much cheaper and better as well.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Absolute Paris Boutique Hostel – 19.84/night
  • Transportation: 3.40
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 9.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €58.04 = US$79.51/day

>>>Paris prices and weather


41 – Edinburgh, Scotland

While it’s certainly true that most things in Edinburgh are a bit cheaper than things in London, it’s still far from cheap for most budget travelers. Those who are satisfied with skipping the Edinburgh Castle and the Camera Obscura will find this city very reasonable, except during the Festival season. Speaking of that, check our Edinburgh cheap travel tips for the festival season, which can actually be helpful all year round.

  • Currency: British pound
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Hostel – 9.99/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 8.40
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £48.79 = US$81.32/day

>>>Edinburgh prices and weather


42 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

From a price standpoint, Amsterdam may be a victim of its own popularity. Even with scores of hostels throughout the city center, they are still able to get fairly high rates even during shoulder season. Pick from our recommended Amsterdam hostels and cheap hotels for great value and locations. The famous attractions are on the expensive side, though good deals are always available on food and drinks if you know where to look. If you are willing to skip the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum, the city is more in the midrange for Europe.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Flying Pig Uptown – 21.90/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €62.90 = US$86.16/day

>>>Amsterdam prices and weather


43 – Brussels, Belgium

For the budget traveler, Brussels can be a bit difficult since the infrastructure is built mostly for business travelers and government employees. There aren’t many hostel options, and cheap meals are a challenge in the city center area. Still, it’s worth a look for the main square alone if you are heading to or from Bruges, which is much cheaper and listed above.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: 2Go4 Quality Hostel – 25/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.80 = US$90.14/day

>>>Brussels prices and weather


44 – Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, like Stockholm and Oslo below, has a sizzling economy, but along with it they have very high wages and taxes, and that makes things expensive for outsiders. Even hostels are quite expensive, and hotels are worse. As nice as it may be, if cities had prices reflecting their desirability, Helsinki would be much cheaper than it is.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: Hostel Suomenlinna – 25/night
  • Transportation: 4.40
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €67.00 = US$91.78/day

>>>Helsinki prices and weather


45 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Finally reaching famously-expensive Scandinavia, it’s just plain tough to find cheap alternatives in this region. Quality does tend to be quite high, so it may not feel like a rip-off, but except for a few dodgy places by the train station, there are just no cheap hotels or hostels in Copenhagen. This is also a good place to give up drinking, or smuggle in some duty-free stuff on your way in.

  • Currency: Danish kroner
  • Cheap/good hostel: Sleep in Heaven – 160/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 114
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 105
  • Attractions: 70
  • Daily Backpacker Index: DKK 497 = US$91.87/day

>>>Copenhagen prices and weather


46 – London, England

London is famously pricey, but it’s also a weird one for budget travelers since it actually has somewhat affordable hostels (at least outside of high season), and all the major museums are actually free. However, pretty much everything else feels outrageously expensive, particularly the other attractions like the Tower of London and the London Eye. Those wishing to save by bundling these top attractions should consider a London Pass. For cheap hotel and hostel options see our recommended London hostel and hotels page.

  • Currency: British pound
  • Cheap/good hostel: Phoenix Hostel – 14/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 17.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.60
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £58.59 = US$97.65/day

>>>London prices and weather


47 – Venice, Italy

No surprises to find Venice so far down the affordability list, but once again this is a city where it’s all easily justifiable, and fortunately you can see all the main sights in just two days and one night if you are tight on funds. Of course, the hostel listed here, along with most cheaper hotels, is not even on the main island, but getting back and forth is cheap and easy. Check our cheap and recommended Venice hotels list for some great choices.

  • Currency: euro
  • Cheap/good hostel: A Venice Fish – 25/night
  • Transportation: 7.00
  • Meals: 26.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €73.40 = US$100.55/day

>>>Venice prices and weather


48 – Interlaken, Switzerland

InterlakenThe big cities in Switzerland are awesomely expensive because everything is priced for business travelers and the like, so budget travelers are better off skipping them in favor of the small towns of Interlaken or Lucerne to get better views and lower prices. As you can see, things are still very expensive, but at least visitors are in a position to enjoy the Alpine culture and beauty with minimal hassle.

  • Currency: Swiss Franc
  • Cheap/good hostel: Happy Inn Lodge – 24.42/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 28.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 17.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF92.42 = US$103.54/day

>>>Interlaken prices and weather


49 – Oslo, Norway

The good news about Oslo is that most travelers only spend a day or two in the city at most, on their way to the fjords or the countryside. The bad news is that during that short time in Oslo things are insanely expensive, almost without exception. The non-urban parts of Norway are more reasonable, so this is one where you just have to bear it and move on.

  • Currency: Norwegian kroner
  • Cheap/good hostel: Anker Hostel – 230/night
  • Transportation: 56
  • Meals: 156
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
  • Attractions: 80
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK642 = US$105.77/day

>>>Oslo prices and weather


50 – Stockholm, Sweden

Backpackers who want to visit the homeland of most of their furniture have to go a long distance out of the way to reach Stockholm, and then face shocking prices once they arrive. This is another city where almost nothing is cheap no matter where you look. The long-promised ABBA Museum is now open and it’s predictably expensive as well.

  • Currency: Swedish kronor
  • Cheap/good hostel: City Lodge Stockholm – 199/night
  • Transportation: 72
  • Meals: 192
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
  • Attractions: 130
  • Daily Backpacker Index: SEK713 = US$110.89/day

>>>Stockholm prices and weather


51 – Zurich, Switzerland

Certainly no surprise here, especially considering that Zurich also came out on top on our survey of world taxi prices. Still, the cost of everything at the current exchange rate (the Swiss franc is very overvalued now) is astonishing. Also, like Brussels, this is a serious business city, so most things are geared to those with lavish expense accounts, and backpackers are barely an afterthought. Fortunately, the main tourist towns of Switzerland are at least a little less expensive.

  • Currency: Swiss franc
  • Cheap/good hostel: Youth Hostel Zurich – 41/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 28.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 17.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF110.00 = US$123.60/day

>>>Zurich prices and weather


Interactive map of European cities with Backpacker Index

Below you can see each of the 51 cities above on a map. Roll your mouse over each city to see its Backpacker Index price, converted into US dollars at today’s exchange rate.

How to use this information

As mentioned at the top, these prices are for a typical group of expenses for a backpacker, and you could even say these are “average prices” for each city, but definitely not “minimum prices.” Those who never drink, only eat two meals a day, and/or skip most museums or attractions can get by on much less. However, if your style of travel is more minimalistic than this, the order of these cities should still be more or less the same.

Each city name is linked to a page that contains specific prices for many more things, and is converted to US dollars or any other currency you wish on a daily basis.

Also check out Backpacker Indexes from the rest of the world



91 Responses to “51 European cities by price: European Backpacker Index for 2014”

Jakori says:

Bulgaria is definetly by far the cheapest country. If you have U.S. currency you will find your money will go far. I traveled to Stara Zagora and found that prices of goods and services to be fairly low.

 
Boyko says:

It’s not only cheap but there are also many free things to do in Sofia and Bulgaria:

http://freesofiatour.com/blog/free-things-to-do-in-sofia :)

 
Željka says:

stara vam sestra. a de je Sarajevo, de?!
your mother is your sister. where is Sarajevo, where?!

 
Turist says:

What about Sarajevo? Cheaper than any of these cities listed…

 

    I’ll be adding Sarajevo and a few other new cities to the list in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone for the feedback, and I agree that Sarajevo is among the places that need to be included. -Roger

     
Boss says:

Yes, please add Sarajevo! Amazing to visit, and certainly in the top 5-6 cheapest…

Cheers

(Boss, I’ll add it for sure, hopefully next week. Any idea why so many are suggesting Sarajevo this year? -Roger)

 
Slovenian says:

Hello, you forgot LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, definately cheaper than 3/4 of the above metioned cities!

 

    Slovenian, you are right. Ljubljana is another one that I’ve been asked to add before so I will do it soon.

    If anyone else has Europe city suggestions please put them here in the comments. I plan to add at least 5 cities next week, with Sarajevo and Ljubljana for sure so far.
    -Roger

     
      Lukas says:

      Hi,
      you may have heard, kosice in eatern slovakia is this years european cpaital of culture, chepa, eatsrn european with very charming old town and loads of going on this year…check it.

       
ivana says:

And what about Belgrade? It must be cheaper than Berlin!!

(Yes, you are right Ivana. I shall add Belgrade next week too. Thanks. -Roger)

 
Miki says:

Helooo!!!Skopje,Macedonia?Or the list only holds cities who payed for this review?Tipical.

(Miki, I’m not sure if enough people visit Skopje to make the list, but I’ll look at it. And why would any city pay to be on this list, especially the most expensive ones? -Roger)

 
boss85 says:

Yes, please add Sarajevo!! Amazing to visit, and would probably make the top 5-6 cheapest…

Cheers

 
boss says:

Sorry for the repeated comment. thought the first one didnt make it..

another suggestion: Eastern europe – Bratislava, western Europe – Antwerp

 
Amelia says:

I must disagree about Dubrovnik, its one of the two most expensive cities to live in including Hvar therefore you must have been mistaken about that one

(Amelia, what is wrong with the Dubrovnik information? I know that it’s quite expensive compared to Zagreb and I’d like it to be as accurate as possible. -Roger)

 
Tatjana says:

I don’t know how you didn’t add Belgrade. It is a very big city, bigger than Sofia, and it is on the lists of the most recommended. Your list is from the cheapest to the most expensive town in Europe, I would say. Thank you for this list, anyway, it is useful.

(Tatjana, you are right and I’ll be adding Belgrade along with Sarajevo and a few others next week. Thank you for commenting. -Roger)

 
Jorge says:

I second Tatjana’s comment about Belgrade. It should be somewhere there, maybe No1 in the current list. (I think it is cheaper than Sofia, at least judging by the prices mentioned here)

(Jorge, I’m definitely adding it soon, and if it’s really that cheap then even better. People are always looking for new and interesting cities where their money goes a long way, so I’m looking forward to researching it and adding it. -Roger)

 
travelrob says:

I’d add Liverpool,England.Not only are most of the attractions world class, they are free.The other prices are half the cost of the London area.A great location for day trips.It also has one of the best airports for budget airlines in all of Europe.As for hotels,the bargain Tune Hotel has opened up as well as several bargain options.One can easily fly to Manchester England from the States ,followed by a cheap train ride to get there.

 
Shawna says:

I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer & this article is awesome!! Thanks so much.

(I’m glad you find it useful, Shawna – Roger)

 
Bombardistan says:

Go to Palanga,Lithuania
Home stay,which means you have your own room for 20 litas night,thats £5,bear in Laukiniu vakaru salunas £1 for 1 litle,and entrance fee is £4- for 24 hour night clun,
Beach is 200meters away.
With $200 per week you live like king+ wonderfull girls

 
RPCVinChi says:

I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. Kyiv is a really cool city. A bottle of beer from a street vendor or market is like 50 cents. Infrastructure like the subway and busy are really cheap and efficent. Taxi drivers will try to rip you off and cops may try to get money from you one way or another. Good chance to run into Peace Corps volunteers. Most beautiful women in the world. Hate to say it but Russian or Ukrainian is a must.

 
    Robert says:

    This list is not very accurate, Bucharest is cheap and a good place to visit but it’s definitely not the cheapest city in Europe; other cities in the Balkans like Sofia, Skopjie, Tirana and Sarejovo are all cheaper.
    Your ranking of Dubrovnik is very misleading too, although it’s more expensive than many Balkan cities it’s still cheap, and certainly much cheaper then cities like Moscow, Munich and Milan. In Dubrovnik you can get private apartments for $15 a night.
    Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world, how on earth have you ranked it among the cheapest 15 in Europe? The same goes for St Petersburg, to rank these cities as much cheaper than places like Talin and Dubrovnick makes this list very inaccurate.

     

      Robert,

      Thank you for the feedback, but it seems clear that you didn’t bother to even read how this list was put together before commenting. You’d have saved yourself the trouble if you had. One common mistake that some people make is they read those lists of the “most expensive cities in the world” without understanding that they are created to calculate comparison costs for executives moving from one city to another, with all the luxury amenities included. This list is for hostel beds, public transportation, attractions, food, and drink.

      The list above is a ranking of how much cities cost for backpackers and budget travelers. All the numbers are there to see, so to say that you disagree with the way they add up is to have missed the point. Also, I’m curious how hostels in Dubrovnik can charge twice as much for a bunk than for the apartments you can get, and why hotels charge five times as much? -Roger

       
manliopaglia says:

Hallo, thank you very much for the job you did!
In my opinion you should put the price for the day-ticket with the public transport because for example in Hamburg 2.80 is the price for 2 tickets but to make a short trip.
There are 3 different tickets depending on the distance you have to make.
So, imho, it would be better to use the day ticket so there won’t be differences.
About a city I think the list misses Vilnius, Lithuania ;)

 

    manliopaglia, thanks for the comments. I thought about using the price of a Day Ticket for the index, but that might distort things a bit because in many smaller cities you probably won’t use public transportation at all, much less enough times to make a Day Ticket worthwhile. Still, I’ll consider it for the next update because the prices are pretty easy to find.

    And I’ll probably be adding Vilnuis at some point as well, so thanks for mentioning it. -Roger

     

Excellent, excellent list Roger! Thanks!

 
Daniel says:

If you go to belgrade, be careful, lots of people there taking advantage of tourists and if you take a cab, be sure its a official one, the pink ones are cheap, i got burned last time i was there, had to pay like 100 us dollars for a cab ride from the airport to city centre. Sarajevo is much better, much more beatiful city to

 
Toni says:

Hello Roger,

it is very surprising not to see Tirana or any other Albanian city in your list. Albania has been always in the international media focus (latest from Frommer’s) as a budget destination, so please add Tirana and I will be very curious to see your rank again ;-).

Thank you
Toni

 

    Toni,

    Thank you for the comment. Honestly, you are the first to mention Albania after more than two years of this list, but I know it’s quite cheap so I’ll try to add it the next time I update the list. -Roger

     

Where is the best place to shop low prices ? We were looking at Morroco or Turkey…
Would love to be near beach..

 
Yeah Right says:

“Miki, I’m not sure if enough people visit Skopje to make the list.”

Well, you said cheapest European cities, so why not include Skopje since it definitely belongs to this list? More people visit Macedonia than Iceland, for example, so…

Minsk, Palermo, Marseille, Nicosia should be considered also.

Others already mentioned Tirana, Ljubljana and Vilnius, so bear them in mind for the next time :)

 
Michael says:

Bulgaria( burgas town ) is a great cheap costal town prices are still very low Fantastic value for money

 
yhy says:

I think Vilnius is quite cheap. Cheaper than Lisbon is Porto for sure. In Poland there is also Wrocław- this city looks much betetr than Warsaw- also Gdańsk is often visited by tourists. What’s more…Ljubljana, Split (im sure its cheaper than Dubrovnik). In Spain e.g. Sevilla

 

    yhy, I agree that there are many cheaper cities in Europe than the ones listed. In fact, the cities I list here are almost all the most expensive in each country, but it’s hard to come up with a title that describes that well. There are a few more to add, like Vilnius for example, which I hope to get to soon.

    As I think I said before, if this list were truly about the cheapest cities in all of Europe, it would be nothing more than a list of villages in Romania and Bulgaria, which isn’t too useful for most people. Still, I appreciate your input and I’ll think about those other cities you mentioned. -Roger

     
kathe says:

I love Warsaw! :)

 
Mikael says:

1 beer in Romania(Heineken,0.5l-1.1 euro);1 shaorma-2 euro;1 Coca Cola at 2.5l-1.1 euro;transport with bus cheap,but don’t go with taxi(big prices for strangers,must to negociate with all)…and manny manny romanian b1tches who like boys with luxurious cars and manny money in the pocket!

 
John says:

So to interconnect between the countries, my guess is rail say from the most northern country on the list to southern what can one expect? At what cost?

 
evgeni says:

Where is Ljubljana? I really want to see it in the list.

 
Patrick says:

Chisinau must be the cheapest! :)

 

    Patrick, Chisinau (where my website programmer lives) is probably cheaper than Bucharest, but there are probably small towns 30km outside of Chisinau that are even cheaper. I might add Chisinau at some point, although it seems to receive very few tourists. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

     

Did you forget Malta?

 

    Andreas, there are quite a few countries that aren’t represented. I’m just trying to include all of the ones that backpackers often visit and I’m not sure Malta fits, although I’ll think about adding it. -Roger

     
Tuula Westra says:

I vacation from the USA 4-5 weeks every year in Helsinki and London, they are not at the cheap end of the list, but are my must vacation spots.

 
Chris says:

I have just recently (last 2 years) been to all of the places on the list and I really have to disagree with a lot of them. Pretty much anywhere in Spain is cheap, especially outside of Barcelona and Madrid. And Porto, Portugal is cheaper than Lisbon and much more interesting and beautiful. Kind of disappointed in the whole middle part of this list.

 

    Chris, thanks for your comments and I don’t disagree with your assertion. But to say it again, the list is basically a ranking of the most popular destinations in Europe, which tend to be the largest city in each country. I agree that the smaller cities and towns are generally cheaper. The list shows that Spain is cheaper than France and Sweden, but also that Poland and Bulgaria are cheaper than Spain. I don’t understand what you are disappointed by, but thanks for reading and taking the time for constructive criticism.

     
Ieva says:

Lithuania should definitely be included in this list as well.

 
Ilir says:

Actually I visited Ukraine few months ago, and didn’t find Kiev to be that cheap at all. On the contrary, I must say is kinda expensive, yet worth to visit.

 
Corina says:

“Definitely not the most charming city in Romania” when referring to Bucharest seems rather bitter…not to mention a proof of a rather shallow approach on traveling…or European culture

(Thanks for your thoughts Corina. The point of that comment is that Romania has far more to offer than what you find in the capital. Are you suggesting that Bucharest is Romania’s most charming city? -Roger)

 
Robitza says:

Budapest is way more expensive…960 HUF for drinks and entertainment…it’s impossible xD you’d need more than 2000 just to enter into a night club :D

(Thanks for that info Robitza. The Backpacker Index is calculated using the price of 3 beers at a cheaper bar as an “entertainment fund” just to compare cities from a low-budget perspective. If nightclub entry were included then every city on the list would look way more expensive. In Budapest I hang out at the ruin pubs that have no entry fee plus live entertainment so I think that’s fair for backpackers. -Roger)

 
Brian says:

Always surprised to see such lists. I live in Sweden and have done quite some travelling. It all depends on what you expect from a city and how you are going to spend your time. If I look at my own country, Stockholm (expensive according to the list) has discount cards that give you admission to 40+ museums and attractions, public transport and a room + breakfast in a 3-star hotel for about 100 euro. I visited Moscow (cheap according to the list) and paid the same amount of money for a horrific Soviet style hostel type of thing with no running water and prostitutes in the hallway.

 

    Brian, thanks for this comment. I wasn’t aware of that Sweden Card program that includes hotel discounts and I’ll add that info into my coverage because it looks like a great deal. And I agree that Moscow is a tricky one for lists like this because low-standard hotels are quite expensive while dorm beds in actual high-rated hostels in Moscow are quite cheap (£13 per night in May). So that, combined with cheap public transportation and beers means Moscow looks relatively cheap for backpackers even though it’s a rip-off for most others. -Roger

     
      JACK says:

      Roger — Enjoy reading your stuff. I’m a U.S. and EU citizen who knows little of Europe except the travel days for business every now and then. But I want to re-locate “there”.

      We’re not flush at the moment and prefer rural that’s not ugly but that’s not too far away from a larger city with decent hospital. We’d like to grow things and have farming skills though that doesn’t have to be our way of earning a living. We have sufficient income to support ourselves.

      I think the farthest “east” I’ve been is Austria. I find Italy, my country, incredibly over regulated which often means unregulated or chaotically regulated. We’ve lived in the Pacific NW which is about Lat 48 and we enjoyed the rain and overcast skies. It’s winters are mediated by the sea, however. We like small craft sailing and we row — as in sculling. So we’d love to live on calm water. We can take cold better than heat.

      Our wants have been reduced to a bakery that bakes from scratch, hospital, university, water. The language barrier makes Ireland/UK a choice but the COL is very high.

      I’m a lawyer and have watched the U.S. devolve into a place I don’t recognize. Due process has all but disappeared. I don’t want to wait to see how the games comes out there. I know the EU has a parliament that his hellbent on taking over and going as federal as the U.S. However, there does seem to be a line in the sand beyond which the nation/states of the EU won’t be pushed.

      The “bargains” seem to be on the old Sov Bloc states — including Slovenia and Croatia.

      I have neither the funds to life left to “check out” everything. Could you choose ten or so that if you knew you’d have to stay put more or less, that is, set up a home, where you’d pick to explore first?

      There are parts of France, Brittany/Normandy that have a large Brit population and might have our real bakery. There are parts of Portugal that have Brits but I don’t know about the bakery. Both of those areas have water for sailing/rowing.

      I’d appreciate any thoughts.

       

        Jack,

        I’ve spent years trying to find a place like the one you describe, and I’m not sure it exists, at least without a few more sacrifices than we originally expect. The language barrier can be tough to overcome unless you commit to learning the local language even before you arrive.

        I tend to prefer living in a place with an adequate number of English-speaking expats, and with that in mind you might consider Portugal or Spain, including Spain’s islands as possibilities. Anywhere in France is going to be expensive unless you happen to find some dilapidated house in a village where young people are all moving out. And anywhere north of France is going to be expensive as well.

        I lived for almost 5 months in Serbia last year, and it has a lot going for it with a low cost of living and being a pleasant place, but it’s not in the EU, English is spotty, and there are virtually no other expats. Croatia, as you suggest, is probably better in all of those respects so I’d start my search there. Look for Croatia expat forums and find some smaller towns where expats seem to be congregating.

        Right now I’m in Kas, Turkey, and I lived here for 13 months up until last year. It’s lovely, cheap, friendly, and easy enough for English speakers, though it’s not in the EU. In spite of that, getting a Residence Permit is easy, I’m told. Kas is one of many Turkish towns with vibrant expat communities. It’s sunny here about 9 or 10 months of the year, with July and August being quite hot, so not ideal if you prefer overcast skies.

        If you want value for money you should also consider Asia and/or Latin America. Good luck. -Roger

         
Stephen says:

Still planning on adding Ljubljana?

Thanks!

(Yes, I am. Thank you for reminding me on that one too. -Roger)

 

Why nobody mentioned Montenegro, inexpensive, great for backpackers, got award at wto in Dubai for Peaks of the Balkans trek. You should consider it!

 
Al says:

Nobody mentioned Albania,it is the cheapest from all other European country’s, and the most beautiful places to see from the coast (beaches)to the beautiful mountains!

 

Albania is a great country. Accommodation, food and transport is cheap while people are friendly. We have a quite rich archaeological map, old churches and mosques, castles and museums. If it is nature what you seek, the Albanian riviera offers virgin beaches, crystal clear water and noisy nightlife……

 
Akif says:

Thanks for the list. I am budget type dude who like cheap destinations.
Oslo at 46 isnt cheap. I am born and raised in Oslo, Norway and still living there. I got good pay but still I cant party everyday or live good life. I have to travel to Sweeden to use my cash.

We have expensive things, food. Not to much too see in Oslo. Not the best Party Town. No beaches. Strickt rules about sex and drugs.
Still we got tourism in summer:)

 
John says:

Awesome list! Thank you was really helpfull.
And just in case someone has iPhone I’ve been traveling with the App City Dub and it was really helpful also! It’s just focus on backpackers with low budget, and it comes offline.
Great post! Thanks again!

 
Ryan says:

Albania is far cheaper than the places listed. Put it up or go and visit to see for yourself. Incredible place!

 

Great list. my daily budget is around 150$ and this list is going to help me a lot.
Thankyou very much

 
Sarah says:

Definately add Montenegro, the nature is stunning and Kotor is amazing, Podgorica, Herceg Novi, Budva…very cheap!
Sarajevo is one of my favorites.
And whole Spain is amazing too, Barcelona and Madrid are very touristic, but there are so many other cheaper, in my opinion even nicer cities to visit (Sevilla, Granada, San Sebastian, Leon, Zaragoza,…)

 
Behman says:

Thanks a lot Mr Roger.Its a wonderful list to plane a trip.
I hope you extend your list to other famous cities and add other important material as night club fees.

 
dzoni says:

the serbian dinar is a free floating currency, not fixed, FYI.

 
Ryan says:

Hi, I was thinking that it would a good idea to add Porto for the 2014 list or 2015 list (sorry for only commenting now). Keep up the awesome work looking forward to the 2014 list

 
Jose says:

Hello, I was wondering if you have any articles about what and how to pack when backpacking… and tips on buying a rucksack.

 
Nivaldo says:

Nice ranking! But i can’t agree that Bratislava is cheaper than Prague. I spent much more money in 3 days in Bratislava than in Prague or even Berlin, especially with meals.

 
LuX says:

Hi,
I really think that Bucharest is more expensive than Sofia, I lived in Sofia and have visited Bucharest and I found it so expensive compared to Sofia :D

 

    LuX,

    Interestingly, Sofia was the cheapest city on the Europe list for the first two years. But the Index is about traveling as a backpacker rather than living there, and Bucharest now has cheaper hostel beds and a few other things. They are still very close to each other in price and on the Index. Also, I think when we live in a city we find all the cheaper and better places to eat and drink and such, while when we visit a city we often wind up in expensive places in the tourist zone. I lived for many years in New York City and I could get by on half of what a tourist does while doing the same things. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

     
bruno says:

Oporto is way more cheaper than Lisbon, come on! Oporto is the Portuguese city more spoken last year

 

    Bruno,

    I’m sure you are right about that. In fact, the city listed here is almost always the most expensive place in each country. The idea here is to rank the main tourist cities against each other so people can figure out a budget and maybe even find new places to visit. If you really want cheap, you could go to small villages in Moldova that are many times cheaper than Oporto. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

     
Kate says:

I know you just mentioned in the previous comment that you usually tend to list the most expensive place in each country, but I just wanted to mention something about Lithuania. Although Vilnius is, without a doubt, a beautiful city, there are gems throughout the country that may be much more worthwhile to explore. You may already be familiar with them, but in case you are not, they are: Klaipeda, Palanga, Juodkrante,and Nida. All four are on the Baltic Sea and are quite beautiful and rich in architecture. Juodkrante and Nida are on the Curonian Spit, which stretches from Klaipeda to Kaliningrad, Russia. There are many interesting attractions, so I’m not going to list them, but it is definitely worth looking into if you are interested in historical places, traditions, myths, etc. The best part is that all four are very small and can be covered in a few days, depending on how much you are willing to see and it will probably cost close to nothing. It is not cheap for residents due to much lower wages, but tourists can easily have a very entertaining day for less than 25$.

 

    Kate,

    Thanks for the comment. I honestly don’t know much about Lithuania beyond Vilnius, though I am going there this summer so I’ll be sure to take your advice and see at least a few of your suggestions. I’ve heard good things in general, so I’m really looking forward to it. -Roger

     
ina says:

Hmm… Oslo cheaper than Stockholm? pfft Since when? that is not true at all. Norway is the most expensive of the nordic countries.

 

    Ina, Oslo had been more expensive than Stockholm in previous years, but hostel prices there actually came down a bit while they went up in Stockholm and that accounted for the difference. Public transportation and museums are also more expensive in Stockholm than Oslo, and tourists get hit by those while residents mainly focus on food prices and such. Still, they are close together on the list and on index price, so it’s not like either is a bargain. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

     
Proximus says:

Oh yes,Lithuania is worth
Palanga is Baltics ibisa
Cheap,wild,parties all night ,main club open 24 hours
Bear £1

There is so many drunk boys,girls foreigners,russians,estonians,germans ,Latvians ,Dutch

Do not book any hotel or hostel
Come into the bus station,and you will be offered rooms for £5-6 thats 20-25 litas
On middle of July bit more.July can be full.

So you will have your own room,in big private houses.
each house has 10-20 rooms
Its cheap,you can eat on meal deal for £2.50-3 ,thats main dish and soup will be named DIENOS PIETUS

I like Palanga in September
Its quite .but not too quite
Its party town.
Sventoji which is 20km north near Latvia border is cheaper and much quiter.
July will be overcrowed
June and August is best,but July will be hot and wild
Many pretty girls.
Main nightclub is Laukiniu Vakaru Salunas

Klaipeda is nice,especialy Curonian Spit
Nida is very expensive
Nida is Lithuanian Dorset
If Palanga is Lithuanian Blackpool,then Nida is Lithuanian Sandbanks

But Nida is super-B
Its like different world
Its like Sachara in the north

Everybody going to Palanga,Nida and Klaipeda on summer
Everybody go near Baltic see.
You will love it

Nightclubs will back you to 1990ies

 
nico says:

Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world.I don’t understand why Moscow is on the list

 

    Nico,

    Moscow is a large city in Europe, so it’s on the above list of 51 of them ranked by price for backpackers. Zurich, Stockholm, and Oslo also made the list even though they are literally the most expensive cities in Europe.

    The reason Moscow is in the middle rather than near the bottom of the list is that this is about expenses for backpackers and other budget travelers. While many things in Moscow are outrageously expensive, the city actually has cheap hostels, public transportation, and attractions, at least compared to the others. On the 3-Star Traveler Index (updated later this week) Moscow is much farther down the list. -Roger

     
Tourist information - Lithuania says:

best place to rest in lithuania is city Jonava. a lot of atractions in local bars and local ghetos jards. it is possible to meet the main guy named Tytka in city center. He rules the city and can walk together show everyhting all around and tell local stories. City has a stadium, atractions park, cultural center, 7 schools, railway, buss station, few factories, hospital, police center, shopping mall called “univermagas” and a market with tasty cheap local fast food “cheburekai”, near the entrance to the market you can buy from gipsies cheap cigaretes and maybe something else. Nature: some lakes to swim in the summer or sky in the winter. The main guy of Jonava can help you to count your finances while you will spend your time in this city. Tytka knows everything so the main thing if you pasiing this city just ask locals where to find Tytka. (your daily expenses will be max 20$ a day)

 
Amit says:

Firstly, a commendable effort.Really found it interesting and valuable info. I am from mumbai, india and plan to travel to europe for my 2nd anniversary. We have a budget of 50,000 INR per person. Can you suggest a gr8 place? We are architects and would prefer old city charm (which most european cities have).I think for beaches thailand and nearby areas is best.we have gone there last year so now want to see europe. Please comment.
Regards
AD

 

    Amit,

    I’m hoping that your budget does not have to include the flights from Mumbai. My recommendation for the 5 cities in Europe that everyone should try to see are London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and Venice. Unfortunately, all of them are quite expensive. Also, staying in just one city tends to be cheaper than going to several cities due to the obvious transportation costs.

    My recommendation for a group of cities that are very interesting, great value, and have noteworthy architecture are Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and Krakow. Berlin isn’t really known for architecture (because it was mostly flattened in WWII), but it’s still very worthwhile and it has a fairly cheap airport. If you bought train tickets in advance, getting between those cities is pretty affordable as well. You could spend about 10 to 12 total days in those 4 countries and probably hit your budget.

    If you let me know where you were hoping to fly into and how long you were hoping to stay, I can try more recommendations. -Roger

     
Chris Wilson says:

Hey Roger!
Great list as always. I always use a combination of your list and Numbeo’s cost of living comparisons when travelling around Europe. Would you be able to give me a rough estimate of where Ljubljana and Podgorica (or Montenegro in general) would rank in the standings just to give me a rough idea. I would assume they are both in the top 10 or 15. Just curious what you thought. Thanks a lot!

 

    Chris,

    Always great to hear that people are finding this stuff useful for travel planning. I’ve thought about adding those two cities but I fear that it would do more harm than good if the whole top of the list was dominated by cities people had never heard of and would never consider visiting. But I’ve spent a lot of time in the area (living in Serbia for part of a year) so it interests me. My best guess on Ljubljana is that it’s similar to Bratislava in price because hostels aren’t terribly cheap and the country is mostly surrounded by not-cheap countries.

    However, Podgorica would probably be in the Top 5 cheapest if I put it on the list. My Serbian friends, who make about €1 per hour at their jobs, go to Montenegro for their only holiday of the year. The beach towns might be a bit more expensive, but I think the whole country is quite cheap, partly because so few non-local tourists ever visit. -Roger

     
darew says:

I am surprised at how many of the comments are gripes about what places should, or should not be included. Give the author a break! Of course a little village in tha arsehole of nowhere is going to be cheaper than the capital city or larger cities???

I think he’s done an amazing summary considering we are talking the whole of europe here, and also he’s talking places where tourists WANT to visit. Surprised nobody has mentioned HOSTEL movie putting people off bratislava! I would NOT be put off personally but I’m sure some others would be.

Must say though I AM surprided that London and Dublin were mentioned. Find them both VERY expensive, but good all round summary and a great guide for backpackers

 

    darew,

    Thank you for understanding how much work goes into something like this, and I’m always looking to improve it. I’ve actually tried to include every major tourist-oriented city in Europe, which is why London, Dublin, Oslo, and Stockholm make the list. So it’s not really JUST the cheapest cities in Europe, it’s a list of all the major ones ranked by price from cheapest to most expensive. -Roger

     

I just found this really nice list and I am really glad for it. I like travel so much. I live in Bratislava, so many cheap cities are close. I am gonna use part of this list on my website (I will give you a credit). Thank you very much

 
JamesT says:

Just had a look at some of the cities listed and I think the currency needs to be updated. As of 2014 Latvia uses Euros not Lats. Not a big deal but worth knowing. Cheers

 

    JamesT,

    Thanks for this. I actually had already changed over from Lats to Euros, except I forgot to change that text. I’ll fix it now. -Roger

     
Sally says:

Great list! I live in Munich and my last big trip was Southern Croatia…was wayyyy more expensive than I hoped! They charged €20 just to walk the castle walls in Dubrovnik! So, we are definitely going to be doing a lot more Eastern Europe and will use this list as a guide.

Also, you are right, Portugal is fabulous and while it wasn’t cheap, it was a bargain compared to other places (including Croatia!).

(Thanks for the kind words. And yes, I too have been shocked at how expensive Dubrovnik has become lately. We used to say it was about half the price of Italy, but now they aren’t too far apart. -Roger)

 
Alice says:

Very useful list!!! I usually use hostels,and am planning an interrail so this list will come handy for some of the plances I don’t already know!

 

Leave a Comment

    Name (required)
    Mail (will not be published) (required)
    Website