56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

London View Eye Big BenEurope continues to be home to many of the world’s most expensive cities, as well as some bargain cities where many things cost only about a quarter as much for an international traveler. Now in its 7th annual edition for 2017, the Europe Backpacker Index ranks 56 of the continent’s most popular cities from cheapest to most expensive.

Thanks to a stagnant economy and virtually no inflation (except for a few countries), prices for visitors in Europe held very steady throughout 2016. Iceland keeps getting more expensive, partly due to its soaring popularity. And Britain is now a relative bargain after the post-Brexit currency weakness. That probably won’t last too long, so don’t put off your next London visit.

For tourists holding US Dollars, Europe continues to be unusually cheap. Those who track exchange rates over the years will know that they tend to swing back and forth. In other words, in a few years it’s very likely that Europe will feel much more expensive for Americans than it does in 2017.

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

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

We’ve 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. They might not be all of the largest cities, but these are the best places to visit in Europe.

Additional backpacker resources

Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

From cheapest to most expensive

1Sofia, Bulgaria (cheapest)

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. Don’t expect any major checklist attractions, but you can expect a surprisingly lovely urban experience at shockingly reasonable prices.

  • Currency: Bulgaria Leva
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Mostel – 11.45 (includes breakfast)
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: BGN43.75 = US$24.04/day

>>>Sofia prices and weather

2Krakow, Poland

Krakow continues yet again as Europe’s best travel bargain. The low prices have drawn in larger numbers of Europeans for weekend breaks, and there are 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
  • Best cheap hostel: One World Hostel – 34.15/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 24.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 16.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN103.75 = US$24.82/day

>>>Krakow prices and weather

3Bucharest, Romania

Definitely not Romania’s most charming town, Bucharest’s Old Town gets decent reviews but the rest of the city struggles to appeal to tourists. 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
  • Best cheap hostel: X Hostel Bucharest = 31.12/night
  • Transportation: 5.00
  • Meals: 45.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RON108.72 – US$25.70/day

>>>Bucharest prices and weather

4Belgrade, Serbia

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

  • Currency: Serbian Dinar (prices below are in euros)
  • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Hostel Belgrade – 6.00/night
  • Transportation: 1.50
  • Meals: 9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €24.60 = US$26.17/day

>>>Belgrade prices and weather

5Budapest, Hungary

Another excellent travel bargain, Budapest is all-around cheap as long as you steer clear of the most touristy places along the river. The castles and cathedrals are enough, but here you also get thermal spas that are cheap 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.

  • Currency: Hungary Forint
  • Best cheap hostel: Treestyle Hostel – 1547/night
  • Transportation: 700
  • Meals: 3120
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 1050
  • Attractions: 1500
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HUF7,917 = US$26.75/day

>>>Budapest prices and weather

6Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Another Balkan-area city whose name conjures up images of its past troubles, Sarajevo is a destination 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. If you can figure out a way to get here, do it and see what the fuss is about.

  • Currency: Converted Mark (fixed, so prices below are in euros)
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Ljubicica – 5.84/night
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.75
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €26.79 = US$28.50/day

>>>Sarajevo prices and weather

7Kiev, Ukraine

KievNewKiev has always been fairly cheap (and very remote) compared to the rest of Europe, but the conflict and uncertainty that Ukraine has gone through starting in 2014 caused its currency to plunge and inflation to skyrocket. It’s hard to say what prices may be at any given moment in 2017, but at least it should continue to be cheap for outsiders. Hopefully the situation on the ground will feel more secure soon as well.

  • Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Elements – 191/night
  • Transportation: 8.00
  • Meals: 354.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 180.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: UHR748.00 = US$29.18/day

>>>Kiev prices and weather

8Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

CeskyKrumlovThe second most popular tourist town in the Czech Republic is another jewel not to be missed if you are nearby. Framed by a gorgeous serpentine river, the historic Old Town feels perfectly preserved yet not overly touristy. Best of all, Český Krumlov seems shockingly cheap when you are there, with hotels, food, and drinks at very low prices even in the heart of town. This place is a huge hit for Asian tourists, for some reason, though it’s highly recommended for everybody.

  • Currency: Czech krona
  • Best cheap hostel: Travel Hostel – 247/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 288
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK773 = US$30.34/day

>>>Český Krumlov prices and weather

9Warsaw, Poland

While Krakow gets most of the raves in Poland, the capital city also has plenty to brag about in addition to very reasonable prices. The Old Town center was famously rebuilt after WWII to resemble its former self, and it’s as charming as it is impressive. Warsaw is a bit out of the way for most travelers, but it’s very worthwhile for those touring the area.

  • Currency: Polish Zlotych
  • Best cheap hostel: Chillout Hostel – 38.06/night
  • Transportation: 6.80
  • Meals: 39.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 23.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN131.46 = US$31.45/day

>>>Warsaw prices and weather

10Zagreb, 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 or nearby Plitvice National Park.

  • Currency: Croatian kuna
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Temza – 60.80/night
  • Transportation: 20
  • Meals: 84
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 36
  • Attractions: 30
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK230.80 = US$32.69/day

>>>Zagreb prices and weather

11Riga, 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. Even for a weekend break, Riga is worth a look, especially for the nightlife crowd.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Central Hostel Riga – 8.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.30
  • Meals: 12.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.30 = US$33.30/day

>>>Riga prices and weather

12Bratislava, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: A Wild Elephant’s Hostel – 8.00/night
  • Transportation: 1.40
  • Meals: 12.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.40 = US$33.40/day

>>>Bratislava prices and weather

13Vilnius, Lithuania

VilniusUnlike nearby Riga and Tallinn, the city of Vilnius does not have a cruise port and it’s well inland. For this reason it feels far less touristy than the other two, and the Old Town is gorgeous. This is another Baltic capital that is surprisingly cheap in many ways, so it’s a worthwhile stop between Latvia and Poland. The (hard to find) Frank Zappa statue is one of the more famous quirky attractions here.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Forest Hostel & Camping – 8.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 13.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €32.20 = US$34.26/day

>>>Vilnius prices and weather

14Istanbul, 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, mosques, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: İstiklal Hostel – 25.25/night
  • Transportation: 8.00
  • Meals: 31.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 30.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: TRY118.45 = US$34.43/day

>>>Istanbul prices and weather

15Prague, 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 flood in. Still, in spite of high-ish hotel prices, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Czech Inn – 248/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 372
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 105
  • Attractions: 250
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK1,023 = US$40.15/day

>>>Prague prices and weather

16Split, Croatia

SplitSplit is partly known for being the transportation hub along the Croatian coast, and the gateway to many nearby islands. But the Old City here is even older than Dubrovnik’s and in many ways it’s just as impressive. Prices here are far cheaper than those in Dubrovnik, so it’s a much better stop for most people, as it also feels far less touristy than the walled city to its south. If you visit Split first you will wonder why there is such a fuss over Dubrovnik.

  • Currency: Croatian kuna
  • Best cheap hostel: CroParadise Green Hostel – 93/night
  • Transportation: 18
  • Meals: 100.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 42
  • Attractions: 40
  • Daily Backpacker Index: 293.80 = US$41.61/day

>>>Split prices and weather

17Saint Petersburg, Russia

Not unlike Kiev, the Russian currency plunged starting in 2014 and into 2015, and inflation ate up most of those savings. Far more tourist-friendly than Moscow, Saint Petersburg is also cheaper and arguably more interesting. 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. Prices here could drift up or down as 2017 goes on.

  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • Best cheap hostel: Plosaty Hostel – 347/night
  • Transportation: 70
  • Meals: 1,236
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 600
  • Attractions: 400
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB2,653 = US$41.93/day

>>>Saint Petersburg prices and weather

18Santorini, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Youth Hostel Anna – 8/night
  • Transportation: 3.20
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €40.30 = US$42.87/day

>>>Santorini prices and weather

19Ljubljana, Slovenia

LjubljanaSlovenia is mostly known for its natural sights such as Lake Bled or the Karst plateaus, but its capital is definitely worth a look as well. Ljubljana is a charming and laid-back city with a peaceful Old Town and very appealing prices for visitors. This is the kind of place you’ll think about moving to when you see it, so it’s a very nice place to chill out for a few days on longer trips around Europe.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Aladin Hostel – 12/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 16.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6
  • Attractions: 5
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €41.60 = US$44.26/day

>>>Ljubljana prices and weather

20Tallinn, 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. Frequent ferries from Helsinki are loaded with the party crowd and those looking to stock up on bulk alcohol for the return trip. Still, it’s a fun place with a lovely Old Town.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Old Town Alur Hostel – 11.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 14.40/li>
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.40 = US$45.11/day

>>>Tallinn prices and weather

21Tenerife, 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 largest and most popular island with English speakers. Prices tend to be similar to or a bit lower than mainland Spain, which makes it a relative bargain for most Europeans who are just a cheap flight away. Not many cultural attractions to be found, so it’s mainly a place to relax. The beaches in the southwest of the island are the most popular with English speakers.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel – 13/night
  • Transportation: 2.70
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 5.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.60 = US$45.32/day

>>>Tenerife prices and weather

22Athens, Greece

The Greek capital was once one of Europe’s great bargain cities, and it has become reasonable again after the political instability in recent years. 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 good deal for the moment and may get even cheaper. Political protests have kept some people away, which has helped keep hotel and hostel prices affordable.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Zeus – 8/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €45.50 = US$48.40/day

>>>Athens prices and weather

23Lisbon, 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. Lisbon is one of those destinations that many people avoid for a long time, and then after they visit they vow to return again and again.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Urban Garden Hostel – 10.50/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €47.10 = US$50.11/day

>>>Lisbon prices and weather

24Moscow, 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. The currency collapse brought prices down, although inflation has been bringing them back up again. 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Chillax Hostels 446/night
  • Transportation: 100
  • Meals: 1,416
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 900
  • Attractions: 400
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB3,262 = US$51.56/day

>>>Moscow prices and weather

25Naples, 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 has almost no green space and a reputation for petty crime, which keeps many visitors away. If you want to see Naples on a day trip and also visit the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the island of Capri, you are better off staying in the lovely town of Sorrento, which is only a bit more expensive.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: La Controra Hostel Naples – 17/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 9.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €50.20 = US$53.40/day

>>>Naples prices and weather

26Madrid, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Era – 13.90/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €52.10 = US$55.43/day

>>>Madrid prices and weather

27Valletta, 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. Valletta is actually the historic Old Town and most visitors are better off just across the harbor in the district called Sliema.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Corner Hostel Malta – 20/night
  • Transportation: 3
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.10 = US$57.55/day

>>>Valletta prices and weather

28Bruges, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: St. Christopher’s Inn – Bauhaus Hostel – 17.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €56.50 = US$60.11/day

>>>Bruges prices and weather

29Berlin, Germany

Berlin is officially booming, and is now one of Europe’s most-visited destinations. 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Amstel House Hostel – 13.92/night
  • Transportation: 5.40
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €57.12 = US$60.77/day

>>>Berlin prices and weather

30Hamburg, 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. Hotel prices here are heavily influenced by trade fairs and business travelers, so it can be cheap one week and very expensive the next.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Backpackers St. Pauli – 19/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.00 = US$62.77/day

>>>Hamburg prices and weather

31Nice, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Baccarat – 20/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.20 = US$62.98

>>>Nice prices and weather

32Dublin, Ireland

For a city that was once considered cheap, Dublin still feels weirdly expensive, especially in light of the larger financial struggles a few years back. Fortunately there are some good deals on hostels these days, 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. Speaking of Guinness, if you are going to do the Guinness Brewery and the popular distillery tour, then the Dublin Pass is a great deal.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Abbey Court – 13.50/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.70 = US$64.57/day

>>>Dublin prices and weather

33Salzburg, Austria

SalzburgA classic tourist city, Salzburg is at the base of the Alps and it has one of the most impressive Old Towns anywhere in Europe. As the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a key hub for classical concerts and festivals, but for non-Europeans it’s even more famous as the setting of the Sound of Music. The bus tours dedicated to that movie are more fun and far more scenic than you might expect.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: YoHo international Youth Hostel – 15/night
  • Transportation: 5.00
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9
  • Attractions: 10
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.80 = US$64.68/day

>>>Salzburg prices and weather

34Barcelona, 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. If you have 2 or 3 days in town and want to see the main sights you should read our Barcelona Pass review as it might be helpful.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Fabrizzio’s Terrace Barcelona – 16.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.30
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 13.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €61.50 = US$65.43/day

>>>Barcelona prices and weather

35Florence, 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. If you have extra days to spend in Italy on day trips then Florence is your best choice in the area. Pisa, the Cinque Terre, and many lovely Tuscan hill towns are within easy reach.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Tourist House Santa Croce – 21/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €62.40 = US$66.38/day

>>>Florence prices and weather

36Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik has one of the most amazing walled historic centers in the world, and it used to be considered a bargain compared to Italy. But now it’s so popular with tourists and cruise passengers that it feels more than a bit pricey. If you are on the fence about visiting here, you are better off going to Split, which is similar, much cheaper, and easier to reach.

  • Currency: Croatian kuna
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel & Rooms Ana – Old Town – 119/night
  • Transportation: 24
  • Meals: 136.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90.00
  • Attractions: 100.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK469.80 = US$66.54/day

>>>Dubrovnik prices and weather

37Edinburgh, Scotland

While it’s certainly true that most things in Edinburgh are a bit cheaper than things in London, it’s not exactly 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
  • Best cheap hostel: High Street Hostel – 12.08/night
  • Transportation: 3.20
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £53.88 = US$67.35/day

>>>Edinburgh prices and weather

38Munich, Germany

MunichGermany’s most pleasant city 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 (when hotel and hostel prices triple). Prices of hostels do shoot up a bit during summer, but overall it’s fairly easy to find bargains, and the city is so livable that it feels like good value.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel Munich – 22.36/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 9.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €64.76 = US$68.89/day

>>>Munich prices and weather

39Luxembourg 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Luxembourg City Hostel – 25.00/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 19.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.30 = US$69.47/day

>>>Luxembourg City prices and weather

40Brussels, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Brxxl 5 City Centre Hostel – 18/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.60 = US$69.79/day

>>>Brussels prices and weather

41Rome, 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. The Rome and Vatican Card is a good way to see the main attractions and skip the very long queues here.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: The Yellow – 23.10/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.30 = US$70.73/day

>>>Rome prices and weather

42Vienna, 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. The Vienna Pass is a good way to save money while seeing the top attractions, but only if you are well organized.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel – at The Naschmarkt – 17.26/night
  • Transportation: 4.40
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.56 = US$70.81/day

>>>Vienna prices and weather

43Milan, 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 day or two if you can manage it, but don’t feel bad if you skip it.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Koala Hostel – 26.40/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €68.90 = US$73.30/day

>>>Milan prices and weather

44Ibiza, 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 outside of July and August, 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 May, 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostal Residencia Adelino – 30.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €69.60 = US$74.04/day

>>>Ibiza prices and weather

45Paris, France

Similar 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Vintage Hostel Gare du Nord – 22.90/night
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €70.90 = US$75.43/day

>>>Paris prices and weather

46Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, like Stockholm and Oslo below, has a good 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, much cheaper than it is.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: CheapSleep Helsinki – 19.78/night
  • Transportation: 4.40
  • Meals: 22.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 7.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €72.58 = US$77.21/day

>>>Helsinki prices and weather

47Amsterdam, 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. Budget travelers will have to book a place way outside the center in order to find a decent deal, and unfortunately Amsterdam loses some of its charm if you have to commute in and out like that.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Flying Pig Uptown – 27.90/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €76.10 = US$80.96/day

>>>Amsterdam prices and weather

48Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danish capital is one of the famously expensive Scandinavian cities, but its currency has also eased so it’s a better bargain in 2017. Quality does tend to be quite high, and Copenhagen is arguably one of the prettiest cities in all of Europe, so the higher prices feel somewhat justified. Still, it’s a tough place for the backpacker crowd, especially for those who drink.

  • Currency: Danish kroner
  • Best cheap hostel: Sleep in Heaven – 168.13/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 168
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
  • Attractions: 80
  • Daily Backpacker Index: DKK584.13 = US$83.33/day

>>>Copenhagen prices and weather

49Interlaken, 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. Interlaken itself feels a bit tired, so head straight up to Gimmelwald or one of the other mountain towns for the best experience.

  • Currency: Swiss Franc
  • Best cheap hostel: Happy Inn Lodge – 23.75/night
  • Transportation: 0 (local transport is free for overnight guests)
  • Meals: 38.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF87.15 = US$85.44/day

>>>Interlaken prices and weather

50London, 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 peak 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. The post-Brexit currency slide has helped bring prices down, but it still aint exactly cheap. 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Smart Russell Square Hostel – 16.10/night (including breakfast)
  • Transportation: 4.80
  • Meals: 21.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £68.90 = US$86.13/day

>>>London prices and weather

51Stockholm, 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. This is a beautiful city that you will really enjoy for a few days, as long as you can afford it.

  • Currency: Swedish kronor
  • Best cheap hostel: Stanstulls Hostel – 207/night
  • Transportation: 72
  • Meals: 216
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
  • Attractions: 150
  • Daily Backpacker Index: SEK795 = US$87.08/day

>>>Stockholm prices and weather

52Oslo, Norway

As oil prices collapsed in late 2014, the Norwegian currency did as well. Now this gorgeous country is still pricey but not outrageous like it was a couple years ago when it was on par with Switzerland. Flights into Oslo can be quite cheap as well, although Bergen (below) is probably a better choice if you have to choose just one.

  • Currency: Norwegian kroner
  • Best cheap hostel: Anker Hostel – 258/night
  • Transportation: 60
  • Meals: 228
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
  • Attractions: 60
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK756 = US$69.68/day

>>>Oslo prices and weather

53Bergen, Norway

BergenEven with a lower Norwegian currency, Bergen is still very pricey compared to the rest of Europe. This is the gateway to the beautiful fjords of Norway, and the city itself is more interesting and easier to visit than Oslo. Actually, hotels here are very good quality and decent value. It’s the food and drinks that feel so overpriced, and the few hostels feel weirdly expensive as well.

  • Currency: Norwegian kroner
  • Best cheap hostel: HI Montana Youth and Family Hostel – 228/night
  • Transportation: 62
  • Meals: 240
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 180
  • Attractions: 60
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK770 = US$91.34/day

>>>Bergen prices and weather

54Venice, 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, most cheaper hotels are 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
  • Best cheap hostel: Ostello S. Fosca – 31.36/night
  • Transportation: 7.00
  • Meals: 26.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €88.76 = US$94.43/day

>>>Venice prices and weather

55Reykjavik, Iceland

After its currency collapsed in 2008, Iceland cost about half what it did previously for foreigners, but prices crept up and up, and it’s again very expensive. Reykjavik isn’t a particularly charming city, which is fine because the appeal of Iceland is the amazing scenery everywhere else. If you plan a trip to Iceland, don’t linger in the capital longer than you have to. Accommodation and food on rest of the island are also fairly expensive, but the whole island is stunning and almost everything is free once you get there.

  • Currency: Iceland kronur
  • Best cheap hostel: Reykjavik Hostel Village – 2933/night
  • Transportation: 800
  • Meals: 3,720
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 2,100
  • Attractions: 1,500
  • Daily Backpacker Index: ISK11,053 = US$99.30/day

>>>Reykjavik prices and weather

56Zurich, Switzerland

Certainly no surprise here, especially considering that Zurich also came out on top on our survey of world taxi prices. Switzerland is a rich country and Zurich is its very-rich main city, so the hotel and restaurant scenes are dominated by business travelers and those on expense accounts. It’s a nice enough place, but honestly, Bern is more interesting, and the highlights of the country are in the scenery rather than in the cities.

  • Currency: Swiss franc
  • Best cheap hostel: Youthhostel Zurich – 48.76/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 37.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 21.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF127.16 = US$124.67/day

>>>Zurich prices and weather

Interactive map of European cities with Backpacker Index

Below you can see each of the 56 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

188 Responses to “56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017”

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…

    Roger Wade says:

    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…


(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!

    Roger Wade says:

    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.

      Lukas says:

      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…


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.

      Roger Wade says:


      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 😉

    Roger Wade says:

    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

Jagtesh Chadha says:

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

    Roger Wade says:


    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

Seaniemarshall says:

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

    Roger Wade says:

    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! 🙂

    Roger Wade says:

    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

      Ed Jasper says:

      Chisinau does not receive many tourists because nobody writes about it. Moldova has fantastic wines and has the world’s largest wine cellar. Prices are super cheap. I live here in Chisinau and I rent a 1 bedroom furnished apartment for less than $200 per month, including utilities. It is very safe and charming. Chisinau has huge ‘green’ areas and the streets are tree-lined. Transportation, food and drinks are also inexpensive. Many more English speakers here than ten years ago. Most restaurants have English speaking wait staff.

Andreas Moser says:

Did you forget Malta?

    Roger Wade says:

    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.

    Roger Wade says:

    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 😀

(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.

    Roger Wade says:

    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.

        Roger Wade says:


        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?


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

Prokletije says:

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!

The backpacker says:

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!

anish varshney says:

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.

    Roger Wade says:


    That isn’t something I’ve done yet, but I am going to start a series soon on travel gear, so thanks for asking. -Roger

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:

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 😀

    Roger Wade says:


    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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$.

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:

    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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!

    Roger Wade says:


    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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

odovolenke says:

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

    Roger Wade says:


    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!

XR says:

Hey! Don’t count Belarus out 🙂 Safe, charming, beautiful and it quite budget friendly too!

    Roger Wade says:


    We are adding new cities lately, but there are no plans to add Minsk at this point. For one thing, very few travelers even consider going, and the high fees and complicated visa applications don’t help matters. It seems like Belarus is continuing to cut itself off from mainstream tourism, and until that changes, we probably won’t cover it. Thanks for the idea though. -Roger

evgeni says:

small correction
euro exchange rate in Russia now (November 2014), about 61 rubles, so one day in Moscow will cost you 33 euros, as in Bratislava, and one day in St. Petersburg will cost 22 euros Islands.
so St.Petersburg now – one of the cheapest cities in Europe, as Budapest.

evgeni says:

small correction
euro exchange rate in Russia now (November 2014), about 61 rubles, so one day in Moscow will cost you 33 euros, as in Bratislava, and one day in St. Petersburg will cost 22 euros.
so St.Petersburg now – one of the cheapest cities in Europe, as Budapest.

Carlette says:

Hi Roger, I love this website. While I know it’s not a science, your insight proved helpful in helping me choose a honeymoon location, earlier this year. Do you have any experience/opinion on Capri, Sicily, or the Amalfi coast? How do those areas compare to the cities already listed in Italy? Thanks in advance.

    Roger Wade says:


    I was just in Italy again a few weeks ago, and this time I visited Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Siena, Naples, and Sorrento/Amalfi Coast, but I haven’t been to Sicily yet and I skipped a day-trip to Capri. Generally, prices in Italy are fairly similar, except Venice and Rome with high-price hotels, and Naples cheaper than the rest. I was going to go to Sicily on that trip, but I’ve read some mixed things about it and it’s also very out of the way unless you fly in. The trains going there are slow, especially with the ferry crossing.

    Honestly, what I’ve heard about Sicily is that it’s charming and feels different from the rest of Italy, but also that people who’ve been everywhere in Italy tend to put Sicily way down the list of places they recommend. In other words, it seems like the kind of place you visit once you’ve seen most of the rest.

    Capri, as you probably know, is quite small, and most popular as a day-trip from Naples or Sorrento. And the Amalfi Coast is just south of Sorrento, so many people use that as a base to explore the whole area. In fact, Sorrento is now perhaps my favorite city in Italy, at least once you’ve seen all the famous sights. Sorrento is small and tourist-friendly itself so it makes a great base. From there you can spend a day in Naples (fascinating but a bit gritty for an overnight), a day visiting Pompeii, a day visiting Capri, and a day visiting the Amalfi Coast. So you have many days worth of first-class sightseeing, in addition to at least a few days just hanging around in Sorrento. Also, Sorrento is probably the easiest place to visit for someone who doesn’t speak Italian, because nearly everyone seems to speak fluent English. In most of Italy, it can be a struggle except at hotels and restaurants.

    I’m hoping this helps, and I’ll be happy to try again if you have more questions. -Roger

Rafael says:

Hey Roger,
When you will publish the 2015 backpacker index?


Wanjiru T says:

Interesting read,thanks.Please publish an article on 51 cities in Africa too.

Kate says:

thank you SO much for this summary, this is extremely helpful to me planning my backpacking trip for the spring- every city i plan to visit is on this list and now i have an MUCH clearer idea of what my budget needs to be. i was overwhelmed trying to plan my budget out because i plan to be gone for four months- this gives me a solid foundation.

Aaron says:

As always, an amazing list. Just wanted to say thanks for the site, it’s a truly invaluable resource for budget travelers. Keep up the great work, please!

Tim Chatzi says:

Hey man, great post, i just have a little question for you. How come EVERY single city in Europe got more expensive that year? I remember last year Belgrade, Sarajevo and Sofia were around 21-22 euros and now they’re all around 26-27…Also Paris was 66, this year is 72. I still see some minor changes in most cities not worth mentioning. Does Europe gets more and more expensive each year or did something happen with the euro – dollar exchange rate that has changed a lot these days?

    Roger Wade says:


    Thanks for the comment and especially for paying such close attention. Actually, many cities went down in price from 2014 to 2015, mostly due to currency shifts. In many other cases it was hostel prices going up in that city.

    However, in this most recent update I also made a great effort to make the daily meal totals more similar to each other in what you eat and drink each day. I personally visited about 20 of these 56 cities late in 2014 and I made some adjustments based on that. Most of the adjustments involved that I had the dinner range starting too low. The point of the Backpacker Index was never to show the minimum that a backpacker could get by with, but more of typical expenses of someone being careful with their money. Part of that is assuming that a visitor will want some form of a sit-down meal each night, even though they could save a bit of money getting fast food or pizza slices.

    So especially for the cheapest cities at the top of the list, I realized that I was budgeting too little for a sit-down dinner. That adjustment added maybe €3 or so to a handful of cities. Also, for the “3 beers” entertainment fund each day, I was often using a price that was the lowest in that city, and in reality, very few backpackers go to the trouble to find the absolute cheapest beer in town. So in many cases I used a more realistic price for the 3 beers, and that bumped a few cities up by €1 or €2 per day. At this point I’m very confident that the city experiences closely match each other and match current reality, so future updates should only reflect inflation and/or currency shifts.

    So in a city like Sofia, you can still find a way to eat dinner for US$3 and you can still find a beer for US$1.30 if you really look around. But I don’t think that’s normal for most travelers, so I wanted to adjust some of these cities to reflect that.

    But again, in quite a few cases it was more a matter of hostels going up in price. I hope this helps and was more or less what you were asking. -Roger

Madison says:

Wade, you are the BESTEST! This list is priceless! OMG! I have changed everything around, also dropped some cities and added more affordable. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have saved me tons of money. FANTASTIC!

Paloma says:

Thank so much for this information 🙂 I will go 2 mont and I wanna know how much is traveling between cities and wich is the best way to do it.

Oleh says:

I think, LVIV (Ukraine) is has to be in this list. Old and beautiful european city, closer to the rest of Europe, than Kyiv and even more cheaper.

Steve says:

This is a fantastic article! Thank you for the research! I was attempting to do something similar for an upcoming trip and it turns out, you did it already. I was wondering though, if you would be willing to share that interactive map?

Kelsey says:

Hi, I am booking hostels in Rome & Paris for May 3-18. I have found your prices are incredibly inaccurate. There are no hostels bunk beds in Rome for under $35 in a decent area. Like wise with Paris. Why is there such a discrepancy?

    Roger Wade says:


    If you are using the prices from the Backpacker Index for hostels, those are calculated for a stay in April or May and summer prices tend to be a bit higher in most European cities. So the Index is calculated to compare relative prices for each city, and most things stay the same in price all year, except for popular hostels in peak season. Sorry for the confusion. Still, I think you’ll find that the hostels listed for each city are among the best deals, even if prices are a bit higher for the dates you’ll be there. If you give me the approximate dates you’ll be there, I can search myself for the best deals in the best areas, and we can see what the price differences are. -Roger

Serene says:

Dear Roger,

Hi, I’m from Singapore and I’m planning to go to the following places this June. How long would you recommend I stay in each place and if I’ve missed out on anything along the way I should go to? I’ve got a month off. Thanks so much btw.

Munich – Rothenburg – Dresden – Prague – Krakow

I’m also thinking of flying to London after Krakow, do you think I’d have time?

    Roger Wade says:


    If you have a full month, you’ll have plenty of time to see all of those cities and a few more as well. I’ll give you my recommendations for the minimum number of nights to stay in each of those cities, and then I’ll suggest a few others.

    Munich – 3 nights minimum
    Rothenburg ob der Tauber – You can see it all in about 24 hours, and it’s really nice
    Dresden – 1 or 2 nights should be fine.
    Prague – 3 nights minimum
    Krakow – 3 nights minimum

    You’ll find much more specific information on this on my article about where to go in Germany. You’ll notice that Dresden doesn’t even make the list and there are at least 10 other cities in Germany that I’d recommend higher than that one. If you have a specific reason to go there, then great, and the town center is pleasant enough. But if you aren’t sure of exactly what you’d do there, I’d highly recommend skipping it in favor of Berlin, which is the most interesting place in Germany, and worth at least 3 nights.

    You’ll definitely have time to fly to London, and I’d spend at least 3 or hopefully 4 nights there. It’s expensive, but it’s one of the world’s greatest and most important cities.

    If you are going to Prague and Krakow (which are both highly recommended), I’d also think about going to Cesky Krumlov (2 nights) and/or Budapest (3 nights).

    Let me know if you have other questions, and have a great trip. -Roger

Hafiz Noor says:

Hi there Rob,

This is really an awesome list. I’m from Malaysia and never thought it was possible to backpack in Europe for 2 weeks for less than USD1950. I’m planning to do Europe; Paris – Budapest – Slovakia – Prague – Vienna – Budapest, before returning to Paris for my flight back to Malaysia. Of course I didn’t take your pricing lock, stock and barrel. I’ve googled and it seems kinda accurate. Plus the total expense of USD 1950 is include flights and nights of partying at Budapest & Prague.. ;). I’ve also add an additional 15% on top of my expense just to play safe. your website is like my travel bible and I’m already planning on my next Europe trip next year. I’ll be flying off in September… ;). I have your website as a reference bookmark on my desktop.


Hafiz Noor

    Roger Wade says:


    Thank you for the kind words and it’s great to hear that this information is helpful. I’m also glad that you are taking this data as a general guide rather than as a shopping list. It’s all as accurate as we can make it, but it’s really only meant as a way to generally compare basic costs from one city to the next. Everyone has different preferences and tolerances for discomfort while traveling, so everyone’s budgets will also be a bit different. -Roger

Yana Banana says:

This is awesome!!! My friend and I am planning to do a backpacking Europe next year and this is just the list I need! Thanks a lot! 🙂
P.S. Gotta start saving now. Hehe! 😉

karan says:

First i would like to appreciate the hard work you put into collecting all this info. Its really helpful.
I need your suggestion.
I am from New Delhi- India. I want to travel in EUROPE. Starting 1st week of august.
My budget is INR 40000/- maximum.
That will include accomodation,food n drink, transportation and attractions.
Ofcrse air ticket from my city is separate.
I have to attend a friend’s wedding in VENICE for 2 days, so that has to be my starting point.
I can spend around 10 more days. Please guide me on which places/cities i can visit in my budget.
If possible i would like to include a beach destination and a place with good nightlife n party scene.
I would be really greatful to you.. Pls pls pls help.. 🙂

    Roger Wade says:


    I’ll be happy to try to help, but this will be challenging with a budget of 40,000 INR (US$625). In August, all of the beaches in southern Europe will be packed with Europeans who take the whole month off. From Venice you might be able to find a fairly uncrowded beach in Croatia, but honestly all of the nice ones will be packed and charging the highest rates of the year.

    On your budget in 10 days I think you’ll get the best value out of heading to Budapest, Krakow, Prague, and/or Cesky Krumlov. The first 3 on that list have great party scenes and fairly inexpensive alcohol. On the other hand, it will cost a bit to go from one city to the next, so that will eat into your total as well. In other words, you’ll be able to have a better time by visiting fewer places so you won’t spend so much on transport.

    Hopefully this is at least something to help you start planning. I’m happy to follow up with more suggestions if you have other preferences or ideas. Best of luck with this. -Roger

Shelly says:

I have been looking for something like this to help me with my first overseas travel in Sept. I know for certain i want to make a trip to Amsterdam but with only 2 weeks to travel any suggestions from there? Thanks again for such valuable information.

    Roger Wade says:


    If you use Amsterdam as your main hub then the other great cities that are easy to reach from there are London, Brussels and/or Bruges, Paris, Berlin, and perhaps Munich. If you spent about 3 days in each city you’d have an excellent trip and most of your train journeys would be around 3 hours, except for Berlin and Munich which are more like 6 hours from Amsterdam. Those are all top destinations in Europe, but they are also on the expensive side. If you wanted to do something cheaper you’d want to go from Amsterdam to Berlin to Prague and maybe even Krakow.

    Let me know if any of those suggestions sound good to you and I will help you sort out the best way to string them together. You’ll want to take trains between cities, and the only slightly tricky one is London, which is only connected to Brussels and Paris via the Eurostar train. -Roger

S N TIWARY says:

why not included Frieburg(Germany)

    Roger Wade says:


    Interesting question. If I were to add more German cities I’d consider Cologne, Frankfurt, and even Rothenburg ob der Tauber first because they get far more international tourists than Freiburg. My brother actually lives near Freiburg and I was there recently. As lovely as parts of it are, nearly all of the visitors are from Germany and Switzerland.

    The other reason I wouldn’t add it is that prices there are similar to Munich and elsewhere in Germany, so they would all be bunched together on the list. The idea for this list is to help people sort out the cheaper destinations from the expensive ones so they can make choices about where to go. Thanks for reading and commenting. -Roger

Jack Li says:

Hey Roger, your work here and replies has been so helpful, I’m really glad someone like you is carrying this on. I have a few question regarding Regional Eurail Pass (4 countries) and traveling by ferry from Croatia (Split or Dubrovnik) to Italy (Preferably Bari).

Here is my itinerary.

I plan to head to travel in Europe next summer for about 3 month starting May 1st from Copenhagen, then Berlin, Krakow, Prague,Český Krumlov, Vienna, Budapest (possibly) then down to Croatia. From Croatia I would like to head over to Italy and visit Pompeii and Rome, as I have been studying about these two places in school. And at the end, I want to fly out from Italy to Spain ( Barcelona or Madrid) for 3 weeks and then exit from Portugal on the last week before my 90 days Schengen visit expires.

I’m wondering if I would benefit at all from a regional Urail pass in any of the 4 Estern European countries. I understand that trail services are not as robust as Western Europeans. If not, would traveling by buses be easier across those countries? (Czech, Austria, Hungary) Since the distance between countries aren’t that far apart. Also, is hitchhiking possible in those Eastern European countries?

Getting back to my second question. I will likely arrive Croatia in mid June. Approximately how ahead should I book my tickets on one of those ferry companies’ sites? ( Jadrolinija Or Blueline) Also, a crossing for 8 hours with a berth and a meal seems to cost around 100-120 dollars on the website. What alternatives do you propose for getting around if not taking a ferry? i don’t plan to visit Venice, Milan or Florence coming to Italy, as this is my first time coming to Europe and I want to just keep my focus and visit the places that interest me the most.

Anyhow, thanks again for all your work and taking the time to answer our questions.


    Roger Wade says:


    Thank you for the kind words. I normally prefer to answer these kinds of questions in the comments below the articles on European itineraries and Eurail Passes. I’ll answer below and if you have any follow-ups please do so in one of those threads. I’ll take the questions in the order they came up.

    Copenhagen to Berlin can be an expensive train ticket if you don’t buy far in advance, but from Berlin all the way to Croatia they aren’t too expensive. And as you mentioned, in some of those legs you’ll find that buses are as fast as trains as well as cheaper and more frequent. In other words, a 4-country Select Pass would not be good value in those eastern countries. In the Czech Republic there is a bus company called Student Exchange (open to anyone of any age) that runs frequent cheap buses with free wifi that are sometimes even faster than trains and rarely much slower.

    As for hitchhiking, I don’t see much of it anywhere in the world these days, although I’m sure it still goes on to some degree all over. One challenge is that in that part of Europe the average driver might speak little or no English, even though the average hotel or restaurant worker speaks English pretty well. With cheap and fast buses I don’t think it’s worth the hassle, but if you do want to try something like that I’d look into the various ride-sharing websites and smartphone apps, which are somewhat popular there. You can look for someone who has posted a trip in your direction and you only have to chip in for gas if you find a ride.

    As for the Croatian ferry websites, you’ll probably want to book at least a week ahead of time in June, or maybe even longer. Most routes only have one ferry per day going, probably one from each company, and when they sell out you can be out of luck. Interestingly, I just took one of those from Ancona to Split last October, when it was only one company (Jadrolinija) running 3 times per week. I waited until a few days before I wanted to go and found out the boat was sold out so I had to go 2 days later. The price does seem a bit high, at least if you want a berth, but that is the best you can do as long as you book on the official website with the ferry company. Other ferry websites will sell the same bunk and add a big surcharge, so book direct. If both companies are running on the day you want to travel you can probably wait until one of them is sold out for that day and then book the other, and that might be a week or more early in prime season like that.

    I also looked into alternatives between Croatia and Italy and the ferry is the only decent way to go. Even the trains that go through Venice are very slow in that area, and buses are as well. Just do the ferry.

    This looks like a great first trip to Europe that will be filled with highlights. If you have any other questions, please follow up on one of those other articles. -Roger

Jesse says:

Very nice list. Many of these places I’ve have not been to yet. Thank you for keeping up on this list and getting feedback from your visitors. I’ve never been to these places in Spain and Portugal. Do you think you will be adding places like Valencia, Seville, Bilbao, Porto, or Cascais? Or maybe the other smaller nations like Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, or Cyprus? Europe has also been a fascinating place to me since a kid. I think it started when I was introduced to French and Italian food. From there, I would always study maps and tell myself I am going to go there someday. lol

    Roger Wade says:


    Interestingly, we’ve recently added new City pages for Valencia and Seville and Porto. I’m not sure I’m going to add any of those to the official Backpacker Index list because 56 already seems like a lot, but at the very least I’ll be linking to them near the Madrid and Barcelona entries.

    The criteria for adding new cities in general and also adding them to the Backpacker Index lists has been a bit tricky. The goal with this site has been to help people choose destinations and also give them a rough idea of how expensive things there are. As a result I prefer not to add cities that are essentially suburbs of cities already on the list because the climate is the same and the prices will generally be the same as well. So it’s about finding as many discreet destinations as possible and trying not to add too many others. I’ve long had a Monaco page though, even though it’s very close to Nice.

    More specifically, I’ve been meaning to add at least one city in Cyprus and you’ve reminded me of that. But the micro states like Liechtenstein, Andorra, and San Marino are probably not worth it. For one thing, not many people spend the night in those places, and even if they do it’s just one night. Also, the prices of each are all very similar to the country that surrounds them. Monaco is a bit different because it is sort of its own economic zone as well.

    So thanks for the comment and suggestions and hopefully I’ll add at least a Cyprus one soon. -Roger

Stranger says:

And what about Minsk (Belarus)? Has anyone ever visited it?

    Roger Wade says:


    That’s an interesting question, partly because it’s the first time someone has asked. In general, Belarus gets very little tourist traffic, and almost everyone needs to get a visa before a visit. As far as I’ve seen, they are purposely keeping themselves closed off from most of the world because they are still hanging onto communism in a fairly strict way. So for the time being, there isn’t much interest from most Europe travelers. I’d like to know how much things cost there, however, but I haven’t been there either. -Roger

LukeGGGGGGGG says:

Hi Roger,
I’m currently budgeting for a 9 month trip around Europe, I plan on leaving in under a year. I plan on starting in Paris and moving up through Brussels, the Netherlands and then onto Germany, Poland, Prague, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania (also wondering if it is safe, I was told by a travel agent it was questionable) then Turkey. From there I would like to go to the Greek islands and then to Croatia. From there I will be going to Italy and Spain. I know I can fit this all in as there are only roughly 3 cities in each country I wish to visit. I know I shouldn’t plan all of this out as my situation will definitely change when I am over there but I am unsure how to plan my travel through these countries.
I am a quite impulsive person so I will most likely book last minute.
Do you have any idea how much I should budget for travel expenses?
So far I have budgeted $25,000 AUD for the trip (excluding flights and rail tickets)

    Roger Wade says:


    This is one of the longer trips I’ve been asked about and it sounds like it’s going to be amazing. Your first few countries are obviously among the more expensive, and after that (starting in Poland) you’ll find that your funds will go much further. You should find that the Backpacker Index prices listed in the article above should be a realistic budget for someone who isn’t splurging much. And you can even keep things maybe around 20% to 30% under these numbers if you really keep to a backpacker style. The Backpacker Index prices including seeing a famous attraction (often a museum) as part of each day’s budget, but if you are traveling slowly for a longer time like this, you obviously aren’t going to do paid attractions each day. Also, it includes 3 beers in a cheaper bar each day, while on a longer trip you will likely spend much less on alcohol and entertainment on a daily basis.

    So with that in mind, looking at the list of countries you will be visiting, I’d say that you could get by on as little as US$1,000 per month, not including transportation, which is about AU$1,400/month at the moment. Again, that would be about the minimum you could get by on if staying in hostel dorms and looking for cheap meals and whatnot. So if you are starting with AU$25,000 for 9 months, that should be plenty to really enjoy yourself without having to constantly cut corners to survive. It’s also good that you are starting in the more expensive places and moving to the cheaper ones because it will train you to search for good value at first, and then the other places will seem cheap by comparison, and you can afford to splurge a bit. On the other hand, on that budget you’ll never feel like a king, so you’ll want to be pretty careful with expenses all the way around.

    Romania is one of only a few European countries that I’ve yet to visit, but I know many people there and I’ve never heard anyone say that it was unusually unsafe. If you stay in centrally located hostels and ask the desk people there for advice on what to watch out for, you’ll be fine. I lived in neighboring Serbia for almost 5 months not long ago and it felt extremely safe.

    Also, on a trip of that length, and especially if you want to be a bit impulsive as to when you’ll move to the next destination, you are going to want to focus mostly on buses to get between cities. In the cheaper countries you’ll find that buses are not only much cheaper but also as fast as trains and with more frequent service. In the more expensive countries the train tickets will be very expensive if you buy at the last minute, yet buses are usually the same price no matter when you buy. I hope this helps and let me know if you have other questions. -Roger

Stefan says:

Ehh…I wonder where you got these prices regarding Oslo? I havent seen a single place as cheap as what you state…if only it was this cheap 🙁 A day travel card is 90 NOK. And 50 NOK wont even get you into one single museum…with meals – well, if you eat all meals at MdD, then I guess its possible. 120 NOK for drinks/entertainment barely gets you one pint of beer, maybe two pints of beer during happy hour, but NOTHING more.

    Roger Wade says:


    I was in Oslo myself about a year ago and these are all real prices. Entry into the National Gallery, including its Munch room, is NOK50 for adults and NOK30 for students, for example. Also, please keep in mind that this is a “Backpacker Index” for people on tighter budgets. There’s a bar near the train station with .5L of beer for under NOK40 each. If you are on a backpacker budget then you can find places like that. It’s the same for meals. Someone on a tight budget isn’t just going to wander into TGIFridays when there are cheaper options nearby for those who seek them out. Thanks for taking the time to comment though. It’s nice to know that some people are looking closely at this, and I value all constructive criticism. -Roger

Becky Hibberd says:

Hi, thank you for this website I feel its going to be so useful… Was wondering if I could have some advice… I’m planning to go summer 2016 backpacking in Europe with a friend (we will both be 18). I was wondering if you would have any suggestions of specific cheap cities to visit over a two week period. We would try and keep the budget as low as possible but basically just want to explore some culture and probably some night clubs too! Also was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to get between cities? Would trains be the best way?

Thanks again.

    Roger Wade says:


    I’m always happy to hear that this information is useful. Fortunately, I’ve already written an article that should address exactly what you are after, and I’ve even updated and expanded it earlier this year. Have a look at my recommendations for the best-value cheap cities in Europe. Most of them are close together in the former East and central part of Europe, so they are easy to string together. If you have two weeks I’d shoot for maybe 5 total cities, and any on that list would be really ideal for what you want. Prague and Budapest are perhaps the classic ones in this category, but there are other great ones nearby as well.

    And your main transport choices will be trains and buses between cities. Fortunately, they are quite cheap in these parts of Europe. In countries such as the Czech Republic, the bus system is faster, cheaper, and more convenient than the trains, and that’s true in a few other places as well. Once you figure out a tentative itinerary, I can help you figure out exactly how to get between each place. For trains it usually helps to buy at least a few weeks in advance online, but most buses are pretty cheap even if you buy at the station just before you board. Keep in touch and I’ll help you all I can. -Roger

      Monique says:

      Thanks heaps for this list 🙂
      It is a well put together and explained list, it has helped me plan my travel. Thanks again 🙂

ben says:

I am going to visit 11 countries in Europe in One week and the most expensive one seems to be Helsinki.From Helsinki i will then move down through Tallin, Vilnius, and Czech.I will cross 2 countries within a day only for the smaller countries that lie next to one another and its a good itinerary.I found out that trains have been glorified in Europe and my research has shown that buses are way cheaper and more convenient to use

    Roger Wade says:


    It sounds like your research has pointed you in the right direction for your own trip, but it would be unwise to generalize for other areas. You’ll obviously take the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, and through the Baltic countries there are no long distance trains at all to compare buses to. Fortunately the bus service in that area is quite good to make up for it. And in the Czech Republic the buses (from Student Agency) are often better and just as fast as the trains. Buses are also better or comparable in the former Yugoslavia and Turkey. But once you get into the other countries (particularly the more affluent countries in the West) you’ll find that buses take twice as long, or longer, and there are fewer departures than trains. Have a great trip. -Roger

Greg says:

Don’t forget about Kosovo, Albania + Macedonia Roger, they would score very high on this list as they are a great place for backpackers on a budget and are becoming increasingly popular from what I can see. Nevertheless, good work on compiling this list. -Greg

    Roger Wade says:


    Thanks. I agree with you mostly, especially in that those places would be near the top of this list. It will be easier to add them after I visit myself, which will likely be in summer of 2016. The main reason I haven’t added them so far, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, is that those places are all very obscure by most standards. I’m not sure how people would react to this list if 8 of the 10 cheapest places mentioned were places they’d never heard of. Also, I’ve been to nearly every city on this list myself, but I’ve yet to make it down into that area because it’s quite hard to reach for most people. As you certainly know, you either have to take a fairly expensive flight into one of the capitals, or take a series of slow buses out of Croatia to get there. As a result, very few people are going to visit those places, even if a dorm bed is US$5/night and a beer is $1.

    I do appreciate the constructive criticism though, and I’ll consider adding them after my own visit in 2016, once I see if they are really worth the hassle of reaching them for the average backpacker. -Roger

Nicole says:

This is mt favorite post each year. Can’t tell you how valuable all this information has been each year in planning our family vacations and our long term round the world trip that is coming up!

bledi says:

Hi, where is Tirana here! Do you know Albania is a country in Europe and that Tirana is its capital and that it has the cheapest prices in Europe?

    Roger Wade says:


    I’ve answered this question a few times above, but it’s good to hear another vote for adding more cities from the lesser-visited countries. They’ll probably make the list next year, if not sooner. -Roger

Jennifer says:

Thank you for the amazing list!

Lindy says:

I’m planning a 1-wk visit to Germany this autumn, with 2 senior citizens. My question is about transportation. Having read multiple articles about low-cost travel, it’s obvious that low-cost means different things to different folks. I’ve read over-and-over that public transportation is the best way to travel thru Europe. We’ll start in Munich and meander north up to Berlin & Hamburg. One-way car rentals are $150. We’ll have 3 or 4 suitcases. Would public transportation seriously be more efficient than a car? Our budget is definitely low, but I’m unsure about making 2 seniors carry their own luggage through many train & bus transfers. But, if the public transport cost is low enough, we’d figure out a solution. When people talk about cheap trains & busses, are they talking $1 USD, or $30, or what?

    Roger Wade says:


    If you were to rent a car as you were leaving Munich and then drive to Berlin and spend 3 days there and then drive to Hamburg before dropping the car off there, I’d guess it would cost more than US$150 for the one-way rental. Berlin is huge and filled with great sights, so you don’t really want to spend less than 3 days there, and you’d have trouble finding a free place to park the car unless you stayed near the edge of town.

    Most people prefer to take trains in Germany, although they may not be as cheap as you’d hope. If you buy a Munich to Berlin train ticket 2 or 3 months early it might cost US$50 or so for each person, and more if you buy closer to the travel date. It’s a long ride in a very nice train, so it still feels like good value. From Berlin to Hamburg it would be a similar price.

    Many hotels in these cities are within a short walk of the train station, but if you wanted to stay in another neighborhood it would probably be best to share a taxi for the 3 of you. Taxis are pretty reasonable in those cities and it would minimize walking.

    If you had another idea with the car rental please let me know and I’ll try to help you figure it out. Also consider that the fuel for the car isn’t cheap. Gas/petrol runs about US$/gallon there, and it would take about 10 gallons from Munich to Berlin even in a small car. Berlin to Hamburg is about half as far. I’m happy to help you figure this out. -Roger

Pauline says:


I am planning a one week cheap vacation? Please advice which cities to visit coming from California? I want to short visit London, Rome, Paris, Italy, Amsterdam, Prague maybe Milan, Prague. I am thinking from LAX to London and take the train to other cities and back to London? Is that a good Idea? Also can I squeeze Santorini?

    Roger Wade says:


    This is challenging. If you only have a week and especially if you want it to be cheap, then starting in London will make it tough because it’s very expensive there. Considering a flight from LA to London will take 10 or 11 hours and put you 8 hours ahead in time zone, I’d spend at LEAST 3 nights in London, even though it’s expensive. If you really only have 7 nights then you might take the Eurostar train to Paris for 3 nights and then back to London for your last night. If you have 8 total nights you could do London for 3 nights, Paris for 3 nights, Amsterdam for 2 nights, and then back to London for your flight home.

    It would take most of a day to take a train from Paris to Rome, so I’d recommend flying if you want to squeeze it in. And I really wouldn’t do Santorini on this trip. If you do you’d want to spend at least 3 days there, and it’s a LONG way from London. Best of luck and let me know if I can help further. -Roger

Shely says:

Hi Roger.1) Which city among Prague/Barcelona/Venice/Rome/Amsterdam would be best for buying nice women clothes at low prices? especially non branded clothes 2)Can you please guide me some website that tells about average prices? Thanks

    Roger Wade says:


    I’m no expert on women’s clothing and its prices, but I can tell you that generally for things like these that Prague would be the cheapest on your list, and Barcelona next. That’s mostly based on the cost of real estate in the shopping districts in those cities, and also local tax rates. I wish I could help with a website that kept track of clothing prices, but I don’t know of any. I’ll also mention that clothes in Europe tend to be quite a bit more expensive than in the US for the same items. They have H&M and Top Shop and other cheap chains, but for name-brand designer clothes, the US tends to be cheaper. Best of luck with this. -Roger

      Shely says:

      Thanks Roger. I am back from my trip. And I was able to get some really inexpensive yet fashionable clothes from Florence and few from Amsterdam..I was not expecting either of these places to be cheaper than Prague/Barcelona, but this was the case..:) And the 3 weeks trip was awesome ! Thanks for the amazing stuff you share on this website

Brook says:

Hey Roger, Awesome cache of information here; thank you so much for sharing.

A friend and I are heading over to Europe for 4 weeks this July/Aug. Most likely 7/10-8/10 +/- a day or two. We are using skymiles to get there and back to Seattle so we don’t need a round trip ticket into just one city. I do know that he is flying into London and we will probably meet up in Amsterdam when I fly in. Where would you suggest going from there assuming he and I wanted to see Gibraltar somewhere in the trip. We will have backpacks so any thoughts on inexpensive places to stay would be nice. (I am used to staying at Marriott’s around the world and he is saying we can budget for $30-40 US dollars per night for lodging which I just don’t see happening.) I’ve never stayed at a hostel and heard in 2014 while hiking from Hotel to Hotel in Italy (REI trip lol) that hostels were opened up to the public recently as opposed to being for students/hikers so they’ve been taken over by homeless people etc.

Any specific Cities to aim for?
What specific train pass would you recommend for the 30 days we are hopping around?
Any festivals or events during that time frame you think we should definitely aim for or avoid?
Are there inexpensive places to stay that don’t advertise internationally? (or is there a better way to find places in Europe so we can make reservations in advance?)


    Roger Wade says:


    Thanks. I’ll answer your questions in the order they came up if I can…

    First off, you can get a dorm bed in nice and central hostels in most European cities for between €20 and €30 per night, and as long as you can sleep in a room with other people, it’s actually really fun. The hostels also have common areas and sometimes bars and their own tours and events, so they are a great way to meet other travelers and even some locals. Definitely give it a try and see how you like it. I’ve not heard the rumor about them being taken over by homeless people, and there is no way that’s true, at least in general. They are (almost all) open to people of all ages, but still it’s mostly young people who are backpacking, and there is a limit on how long you can stay (a week or so). Some places do get guests who are moving to the city to find a job and they stay in the hostel until they find a place, but they aren’t allowed to stay long. Since hostels are fairly open and public, the staff knows who is who, so you can’t really get away with much there.

    In 30 days or so I think you’ll have time for 9 or 10 total cities. If you are starting in Amsterdam and you want to get to Spain, I’d say the best and most interesting backpacker route would be Amsterdam > Berlin > Krakow > Prague > Budapest > Vienna (and/or Salzburg) > Munich > Paris > Barcelona > Madrid > Gibraltar.

    That is just a suggestion, obviously, so you’d want to see how you feel about each place and add or delete cities to suit your interests.

    For a Eurail Pass I’d say an 8 Days in 2 months Global Pass would be ideal. If you know all of your stops in advance and are willing to buy the individual tickets at least a month or more out, you can save money by buying individual tickets. But if you want to be able to make plans as you go, then a Eurail Pass will allow you that freedom at a reasonable price.

    As for festivals, I generally try to avoid them because they always drive up hotel/hostel prices and occupancy rates. I can’t think of any during those months, as I think most of them are outside of the main tourist season (July and August). In fact, a great number of Europeans take one of those months off work, so many people are away on islands or beaches then. There won’t be any big things to avoid, unless there is a football tournament or something.

    All the best deals on hostels can be found online on the major hostel sites, including the ones linked in the article above. In fact, every city I list I also list the best of the inexpensive (and well located) hostels, with a link to the cheapest booking site. I should have mentioned that in many cases you’ll find private twin rooms for about what two bunk beds will cost, so those are a great option for two going together. And in many of the cheaper cities (Krakow, Prague, Budapest), you can usually get a normal double hotel room in the €60 range or less, so you can skip hostels in some places if you like.

    I always recommend reserving at least the first night in each new city in advance, and they don’t offer better deals to walk-up guests. In fact, the best and most popular hostels will usually be booked up a few days in advance, so the walk-up crowd usually have to go to the not-as-good hostels, often with remote locations. Weirdly enough, the best hostels are often among the cheapest because they can stay full that way, while the remote hostels are sometimes expensive because they only get bookings when the other places are full anyway. You’ll get the hang of it after a couple cities on your trip.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Jennifer says:

Thank you for providing all of this info and for being willing to answer questions. My sister and I are flying into Stockholm at the beginning of June and have two weeks to explore Europe. We will be backpacking. Do you have any suggestions for an itinerary. We would like to see as much as possible, while being able to actually enjoy our visits instead of just rushing through. There are only two cities that we feel are a must for this trip, London and Paris. Any advise on other locations? Or should we just spend our time in Stockholm, London and Paris? Thank you!

    Roger Wade says:


    It’s my pleasure to try to help. In two weeks I think 4 or 5 cities is ideal. Since London and Paris are so large and filled with highlights, I’d spend 4 nights in each of them and 3 nights in Stockholm. For the remaining 3 nights I don’t think you can do any better than Amsterdam in that part of Europe.

    So my suggestion would be to fly into Stockholm and 3 days later fly to Amsterdam. From there you can take a train to Paris and then the Eurostar train to London. If you need to be back in Stockholm for the flight home I’m sure you can get a cheap flight out of London. If you buy those flights and train tickets soon they will be fairly inexpensive, but if you did it at the last minute they’d be very pricey. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Harshit Patel says:

Hi Roger,
Thank you for the research and recommendations and also for the updated list. Your work here and replies are very helpful. I will be travelling from Mumbai to Amsterdam and have a round trip from there after 12 days.
I have covered a few places in western Europe and wish to explore the East this time.I wish to spend only 2 days in Amsterdam as I have already visited it last year. I am considering a travel plan like Amsterdam – Berlin – Dresden – Prague – Vienna – Budapest – Salzburg – Luxembourg – Amsterdam. I know its difficult and not sensible to cover all these cities in 12 days, can u pls suggest which cities to skip from these.
I will be running on a tight budget of around US$ 850 excluding flight tickets from BOM – AMS and travelling inter city. Also, can you suggest the cheapest n most favorable mode of transport from one city to another?
Once again, thanks a lot for the incredible help and knowledge you share through this platform.

    Roger Wade says:


    Thank you for the nice words. First off, it will probably cost an average of about US$50 each time you go from one city to another, so the more days you spend traveling, the less money you’ll have for other things, and obviously the less time as well.

    Since you’ve already been to Amsterdam, you might cut that down to only one night. Hotels and even hostels there are very expensive, and if you’ve seen the main sights, I’d just move on. Then go to Berlin and spend at least two nights. Three would be better because it’s a huge city, and not too expensive. Skip Dresden for sure. There is almost nothing to see there.

    From Berlin go to Prague and again, two nights minimum and three is better. After Prague you could go to Budapest, but it takes 7 hours by train or much longer by bus. I think I’d skip Budapest on this trip, partly because it has quite a bit in common with Prague.

    So I’d go from Prague to Vienna or Salzburg or perhaps even to Cesky Krumlov (in southern Czech Republic). You can get there is 3 hours by bus from Prague for about US$20, and it’s very cheap (and lovely) once you get there. You could go to Vienna or Salzburg in about 3 hours from there. If you skip it and go from Prague to Vienna, it will take about 4 hours. Vienna to Salzburg takes 2 hours and 22 minutes. You could see either of them in two nights, but Vienna might be worth 3 nights. Cesky Krumlov can easily be done in two nights.

    Luxembourg City is nice, but it’s quite small and fairly expensive, so I would save it for a future trip.

    From Austria it’s probably best to fly back to Amsterdam for your flight home because the train all the way through Germany would take about 10 hours and cost quite a bit.

    You will definitely want to take trains to get around for the most part, and if you buy the tickets at least 2 months or so in advance, the fares will be surprisingly cheap. When going in and out of Prague or Cesky Krumlov, you should also consider buses because they are cheaper, just as fast, and have more departure times.

    As always, let me know if you have more questions, and I hope this helps. -Roger

David says:

I can’t believe all the effort you have displayed in putting this together, maintaining it, and answering potential traveler’s specific queries!
We have been planning to get to Berlin, Krakow, (and recently added London to the itinerary) in September. In the internet age, the number of available choices on lodging and travel are mind-boggling, but your list and advice are a great help.
Thank you! Thank you!

Donavan says:

Hello I’m planning a trip to Bucharest and would like any information you have on the city thanks in advance

    Roger Wade says:


    Sorry, but you’ve come to the wrong place for general destination information. I’d recommend wikitravel.org and lonelyplanet.com as places for that. Have a great trip. -Roger

Hermes says:

Since the prices listed above are for April, how much more should I be expecting to pay in July?

    Roger Wade says:


    The only thing that might be different in July is the price of the hostel bed. And fortunately, those don’t really change much through the year. If a hostel bed is €20 in April, chances are that it’ll be €23 to €25 in July and August. So you might add a few euros to each day to have a slightly more accurate budget estimate in peak season. Have a great trip. -Roger

Vinicius Tanaka says:

Hi!I just wanted to say at first that your website is really helpful!

Well, It’s going to be my first time traveling to Europe, and I’m really excited. First of all, are these prices meant for July(high season) or for January(low season)? Or it doesn’t even matter?

Here’s what i have planned. I will arrive in Jan 19th and go back home Feb 10th. The cities are in proper order.

Berlin – Jan 19th to 24th
Prague – Jan 24th to 27th
Amsterdam – Jan 27th to 31th
London – Jan/Feb 31th to 07th
Dublin – Feb 07th to 10th

I don’t know if I’m spending too much time in each of theses cities and by that i should add another one in my itinerary or if it’s actually okay to stay all that time in all theses cities.

Also, I believe I’m going to be flying from all cities except from Berlin to Prague I might catch a train/bus.

Thank you so much in advance.

    Roger Wade says:


    I’m happy to hear that people continue to find this information helpful. I’ll try to answer your questions in order.

    Most of the prices on these pages are the same all year. The only thing that changes are accommodation prices. This page uses the price of a hostel bed for the index, and those actually don’t change much through the year. For example, a dorm bed in low season might be €20, and in high season they might be €25. During holiday weeks they might be €28, but everything else is the same so they should always work decently as guide prices for a typical budget.

    It’s unusual to see someone with an itinerary where they may be allowing too much time rather than not enough time. On one hand, those cities are all so large and packed with worthwhile sights that you won’t get bored in that amount of time. But on the other hand, you can usually see your top 8 or 10 attractions or sights in each city in 3 or maybe 4 days. That means that if you are staying longer you’d be seeing things that are way down your list on those final days. If you moved on to another city, you’d be seeing your top things there on that day.

    My recommendations are Berlin 3 or 4 days, Prague 3 days, Amsterdam 3 days, London 4 or maybe 5 days. Dublin you can see in 2 or 3 days, but I’d probably save that for a future trip. The thing is, Ireland is a wonderful, beautiful, and magical country, but Dublin is a bit of a dud as a capital city. In other words, if you were going in warmer months, I’d encourage you to spend 2 nights in Dublin and then 3 to 5 days exploring other towns and villages and castles around the country. But in early February it’s chilly, the days are short, and it’s just not a great time to explore the countryside. You’d enjoy Dublin, but again, I’d probably save it for a future trip, and I’d add Paris and possibly Munich or Vienna or Salzburg to my trip.

    Even during the cold months, taking the train is far more enjoyable than flying between those cities, and it usually takes about the same amount of time when you add in the airport security and transportation. Berlin to Prague is a pretty easy train ride. If you went to Amsterdam before Berlin, that is a pretty good train ride as well. You can also go from London to Amsterdam by train, changing in Brussels. I’m happy to help you sort out your itinerary if you want to change things around a bit. And I’m sure you’ll have an excellent trip. -Roger

      Vinicius Tanaka says:

      Hey Roger, thanks for the quick answer. I sent you and email as well, you don’t have to answer that if you want(sorry). Well the thing is, I already bought the tickets for the trip so I cannot change my arriving destination or my departure destination.

      I will have 23 days in Europe, but I will arrive in Berlin and leave in Dublin, as I already bought the tickets.

      I thought maybe going down to Rome from Prague, then i could go up again to Amsterdam. I’m just not sure if it’s viable traveling that much distance.

      So I thought maybe there would be places along the way not very far that I could enjoy. I have a really flexible trip, so I’d love if you would give me tips about a really good itinerary.

      Thank you so much man, appreciate the help.

        Roger Wade says:


        I saw that email and was about to get to it, but I’d rather comment here in public because other people might be able to get something out of it as well. Dublin is a fun town and you’ll enjoy it, but keep the rest of Ireland in mind for future trips.

        If you went from Prague to Rome you’d definitely want to fly. And if you are flying rather than trying to find destinations within reasonable train distance of each other, you can go pretty much anywhere. Europe has very cheap flights between most major cities, especially for those who book more than 3 months in advance. As for the timing, if you have a noon flight you’d need to check out of your hotel or hostel by 9am to get to the airport by 10am or so, and if the flight landed at 1pm you will be in the next city center by 2:30pm or 3pm. So it takes almost 6 hours from city to city for a 1-hour flight, or 7 hours for a 2-hour flight, and so forth. With that in mind, you can fly anywhere and the flight time doesn’t matter much. Still, I’d suggest taking trains if you can because it’s a million times more enjoyable.

        So again, Berlin to Prague is best on the train (4 hours, 23 minutes), and you could do Amsterdam to London by train, but if you buy early enough the flight is probably cheaper, although the trains should be a bit faster from city center to city center.

        Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to give them a shot. -Roger

David says:

I would like to know the price of the fly. im form dominican republic and i want to go to Turky or Romain. If you can help me, do it please.

    Roger Wade says:


    I always use kayak.com to check airfares. I’d like to help, but I’m not sure what I can do once you go to Kayak yourself? -Roger

Vinicius Tanaka says:

Hey Roger, so i think i’ve come to a itinerary(kinda). I have two options that i like the most, I’m going to put them here so you can actually advice me on wether it’s okay or it’s terrible. So as said, I arrive in Jan 19th. I arrive at 4pm and then leave at midday from Dublin. So, itinerary 1=

Berlin – 19/20/21/22/23/24 – 5 nights
Prague – 24/25/26/27/28 – 4 nights
Amsterdam – 28/29/30/31/01 – 4 nights
Brussels/Brugges – 01/02 – 1 night
London – 02/03/04/05/06/07/08 – 6 nights
Dublin – 08/09/10 – 2 nights

I could do little changes like take one day from London and put it in Brussels for example, or Dublin.

Itinerary 2=

Berlin – 19/20/21/22/23 – 4 nights
Prague – 23/24/25/26/27 – 4 nights
Amsterdam – 27/28/29/30/31 – 4 nights
London – 31/01/02/03/04/05 – 5 nights
Edinburgh – 05/06/07/08 – 3 nights
Dublin – 08/09/10 – 2 nights

Also I believe I’m going from Berlin to Prague and Amsterdam to London by train, it doesn’t take long and i could use some landscapes. Other places I’m pretty much sure flying.

I think the question is: is Edinburgh or Brussels more interesting?
Then I would finally get done with locations to go.

Thanks again Roger, you`ve been really helpful

    Roger Wade says:


    Both of your itineraries look quite good, so either choice will be a great trip. It’s a tough call. Edinburgh is a really nice city, but it does have many things in common with London. Given this choice I’d probably save Edinburgh for another trip, and do the Brussels and Bruges side trip. One main reason is that Edinburgh is so far north that the days will be really short in January, so it’s not an ideal time to visit. But again, either option should be great. Let me know if you have any other questions. Oh, and be sure to buy those train tickets and flights as early as possible for the lowest fares. -Roger

Aftab Hussain says:

Please give me information about cheapest country for study and job in Europe like Hungary and Poland. I want to them further to France.

    Roger Wade says:


    I believe the cheapest country for daily expenses in Europe is Moldova. Ukraine is also very cheap. I hope this helps. -Roger

Dilani says:

Very useful information..
Thank you

Monika says:

Amazing blog about best European countries.

Katie says:

Hi Roger,
I’m going on a trip with my scholarship program from July 21 to August 5 to Strasbourg and Paris. We’re allowed to go to Europe for independent travel beforehand and our airfare will still be covered, so I want to make the most of it. I’ve never been to Europe but I have plans to study abroad in London, Florence, and Geneva so I don’t want to go there. I think I could handle about 2 weeks of independent travel, which I think should be enough time to see quite a bit. I am on a budget but I’d be willing to spend a little more to spend time in the iconic European cities. I can fly into wherever I want but I have to be in Paris midday on the 21st. Sorry this is so vague, but I have no idea where to start. Thanks for your help!

    Roger Wade says:


    Wow. Lucky you! If you have 14 days I’d suggest 4 or 5 total cities, and generally 3 nights in each city unless it’s a really small one. Since you’ve got London and Paris covered, and from Florence it’s easy to visit Venice and Rome either for short trips or even day trips if you buy your ticket far enough in advance. In other words, you’ve got many of the great European cities covered already, so you can cover some others on the pre-trip.

    I’d strongly recommend Amsterdam, as in my opinion it’s one of Europe’s five great cities to be covered first. You’ll have the other 4 covered, so you’ll be good.

    So fly into Amsterdam and spend 3 nights there. Take a train to Berlin and spend 3 or maybe 4 nights there. It’s much more interesting and much more fun than you might suspect based on its old reputation. After that I’d take a train to Prague for 3 nights, as it’s another gem.

    After Prague you have 3 good options. You could take a train to Budapest and then fly to Paris from there. Or you could take a train to Vienna for 2 or 3 days and then Salzburg for 2 days and then to Paris. Or you could take a train from Prague to Munich for 3 days, and maybe also Salzburg for 2 days or you could make one of the other stops in southern Germany that I mention in my article on where to go in Germany.

    Any of those options would be fantastic for you. Hopefully one of them sounds best to you at first glance. Let me know if you have any other questions, as I enjoy helping with these sorts of things. -Roger

      Katie says:

      Hi Roger,
      I’ve been looking into a trip that would take me to Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Berlin. It looks like that would be a fantastic trip! My plan would be to leave the states on July 8.

      A few more details have come up since then:
      1) The meeting place has been changed to Strasbourg, and I have to be there on the 22nd.
      2) I forgot to mention that I’ve taken Spanish classes for the past 6 years and I would kind of like to go to Spain and test that out.
      3) I don’t think I’m going to do that Italy/Switzerland trip, so those options are open again but not necessary.

      I’m pretty open to switching things around, and I know I have the opportunity to be back in Europe in the near future so I can afford to limit myself to a few countries.


Guillermo says:

Hi Roger,

I wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding a five month trip in Europe.
I came up with this itinerary keeping in mind a balance between shengen and non Schengen countries.
I would appreciate if you can tale a look, looking for potencial pitfalls (i.e, trying to cross “critical” borders)

By the way, Happy New Year!!


PS: I havent allocate days in the UK section, but following our advice I will spend around a month there.

Order Month Day # Schen # Non Country Area/ City
1 4 4 5 Greece Athenas
2 4 9 2 Greece Patras
3 4 11 2 Greece Preveza
4 4 13 2 Albania Sarande
5 4 15 2 Albania Himare
6 4 17 2 Albania Berat
7 4 19 2 Albania Durresi
8 4 21 2 Albania Tirana
9 4 23 2 Albania Skolder
10 4 25 3 Montenegro Budva / Mogren
11 4 28 4 Montenegro Kotor,
12 Montenegro Herceg Novi
12 5 2 2 Montenegro Podgorica
13 5 4 2 Montenegro Niksic
14 5 6 3 Croatia Dubrovnik
15 5 10 3 Bosnia & Herzegovina Sarajevo
16 Bosnia & Herzegovina Blagaj
16 5 13 2 Bosnia & Herzegovina Mostar
17 5 15 2 Croatia Split
18 5 18 2 Croatia Zadar
19 5 20 2 Croatia Senj/ Rijeka
20 5 22 4 Croatia Zagreb
21 5 26 34 UK London
22 6 2 UK Bristol
23 UK Oxford
24 UK Tenby (Wales)
25 UK Bibury
26 UK Glouchester
27 UK Hay on Wye, Wales
28 UK Brighton
28 UK Britain Birmingham
29 UK Liverpool
29 UK Manchester
30 UK Leeds
30 UK NewCastle
31 Ireland Dublin
32 Ireland Arklow
33 UK Northe Ireland Belfast
34 UK Glascgow
35 UK Scotland Edinburgh
37 6 29 2 Belgium Bruges
38 7 1 2 Belgium Antwerpen
39 7 3 2 Belgium Brussels
40 7 5 4 Netherland Amsterdam
41 7 9 3 Germany Dusseldorf/ Colonia
43 7 12 1 Germany Stuttgart
44 7 13 5 Germany Berlin
45 7 18 4 Czech Rep Praga
46 7 22 3 Slovakia Bratislava
47 7 25 4 Hungary Budapest
48 7 29 2 Slovakia Kosice
49 7 31 3 Poland Krakow
50 8 3 3 Poland Warsaw
51 8 6 3 Lithuania Vilnus
52 8 9 1 Lithuania Kaunas
53 8 10 1 Lithuania Marijampole
54 8 11 3 Lithuania Palanga
55 8 14 15 Sweden Stockholm

Guillermo says:

Hi Roger,

Whan I submitted the table, the formating was lost….
A few Notes to undesatand each line
1st Number – Order
2nd Number – Month of Arrrival to the city
3rd Number – Day of Arrrival to the city
4th Number – Total Day of Stay

I hope this helps


[email protected] says:

Me and my wife will be traveling around Europe during July and August, our budget is limited. The list above provide good guidance but need more information on the bus services around Europe. Regards Markes, South Africa

    Roger Wade says:


    For long distance bus services within Europe you should check Eurolines. Trains are usually the best choice, but buses can be even cheaper. -Roger

Daniel says:

Hello, first trip to Europe we have 26 traveling days. Flying into Madrid and out of Amsterdam. Is the following itinery too extensive, and Is a month Europass worth it since we want to do most of our travel by train since we want the most flexibility. Its just my wife and I for our 15 year anniversary (leaving kids at home) neither of use have visited before. Madrid-Toledo-Barcelona-Nice-Milan-Venice-Florence-Rome-Prague (Rome to Prague via Airplane) Prague-Munich-Frankfurt-Cologne (Rhine river)-Paris-London-Brussels-Amsterdam. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks Dan, Tijuana, Mexico

    Roger Wade says:


    Sorry about the delayed reply. It looks like you have 17 cities on your list, which would give you 1 or 2 nights in each, and you’d spend at least half of every other day or every day going from one city to another. In other words, it would be more like a race than a holiday. My recommendation is to spend 3 nights in each city you visit. Some small cities such as Venice can be done in 1 or 2 nights as long as you don’t spend too much time getting in or out. So if you have 26 days I highly recommend you shoot for 8 or maybe 9 total cities. And try to find ones that are easy to reach from another one you’ll be visiting.

    A few notes that might make it a bit easier: Toledo is better as a day trip from Madrid if you have an extra day. If you only have 3 nights then spend them all in Madrid. If you are there a 4th day then a day trip to Toledo would be fun. It’s a small town that can be appreciated in 4 to 6 hours. Milan is a big and busy city, and the touristy part near the cathedral can also be appreciated in one day or so. Personally, I’d skip it on my first Europe trip.

    Frankfurt is home to Germany’s largest airport and most of its banks, but there are very few sights there. The Rhine nearby is interesting with little castles here and there, but I’d save that and Cologne for a future visit. Brussels is another similar to Milan that has a small and interesting core, but it’s mostly a business city that is very expensive. My preference in Belgium is Bruges, which is an hour away by train. But it’s also sort of similar to Amsterdam so I’d save Belgium for a future trip.

    Again, if you have 26 days I think you should pare down your list to 8 or 9 stops. Once you do that the transportation part should be more obvious. Eurail Passes aren’t great value in Italy because the distances are short and fares are low between the Big 3 cities. And if you have 26 days you’ll probably want to stick to a schedule rather than drift around making plans as you go. Sorry if this is disappointing, and I’ll be happy to help more if you have more questions. -Roger

Whitney says:

Hello Roger,

Very useful information. Quite informative. Thank you for your guidance and advice.

Newlyweds here who delayed the honeymoon. Trying to start the planning phase now and at a loss. We have maybe 1.5-2weeks for a European honeymoon. He suggested taking the City of Light River cruise which would allow us to see more. However, we’re not in our 70s. So I’m leery of that sort of thing for a couple in their 30s-40s.

Husband likes Europe in the winter. Wife thinks that’s a bad idea for the concept of a honeymoon. We want to stroll and dine al fresco. Not enjoyable in a parka. Paris, Prague, Germany (he has family there) are all of interest. The biggest kicker is money. We need to do it all under $10K USD, including flights. What cities/itineraries do you recommend? We’re thinking culture, dining (lots of it), drinking (also lots of it) and leisure activities. Our reasons are to indulge, to unwind and to discover.


    Roger Wade says:


    This is an interesting question. I agree that Europe in winter is less joyful than Europe in summer, but many European cities have fairly mild winters. You don’t mention when you are planning on going, so I assume it’s in the coming months?

    First off, I think your budget will be fine. Round-trip flights for two should be around US$2,000 total from the US, which leaves you US$8,000 for 10 to 14 days. The USD to Euro exchange rate is fantastic now for you, and you can really have a fantastic time on US$500 per day for two people. Hotels worthy of a honeymoon should be running around US$250 per night in the off season, except perhaps in London, which might be a bit more.

    For culture, drinking, relaxing, and indulgence, Paris should obviously be a key stop and I’d recommend probably 4 nights. With the other 7 to 10 nights you could take the train to London for 3 or 4 days, or to Amsterdam for 2 or 3 days. Both of those have fairly mild winters considering the latitude, and almost no snow.

    The other main option would be to start in Paris and then fly to Venice for 2 nights or so, then a train to Florence for 3 days or so, and then another train to Rome for 3 or 4 nights. Italy should be a bit warmer, and all of those cities are fairly dense so you spend most of your time indoors and strolling through small streets, rather than across frozen fields. If you want to add a few days on a beach you could fly to Tenerife. There isn’t much culture there, but at least it’s sunny and warm pretty much all year. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Nurul says:

Hi Roger,

I’m Nurul from Malaysia. I am referring to your list to plan for my next vacation. We plan to go to Europe in middle Sept and currently I am not sure which Europe country will be the best for us. I am looking for a not so expensive trip because I will travel with my husband and my 2 yo daughter. We will not stay at the hostel, usually we opt for airbnb. We love scenery and also country which are kids friendly, we don’t really go to those museum etc. My budget will be around MYR12,000 (roughly around US$4000) which include flight tix. The period should be about 2 weeks. Is it possible? Thanks for your recommendation. We have been to few countries but we really love Turkey and Scotland. Thanks and have a nice day!

    Roger Wade says:


    Ah, I’ve spent a lot of time in Malaysia and I’m a fan, especially of curry laksa but also the Cameron Highlands, KL, Penang, and a few other places.

    This is an interesting question. On one hand, I generally encourage people to visit the “greatest” and most famous cities before the cheap ones because places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and Venice are popular for a reason. BUT, if you are trying to do two weeks for a couple and a toddler, then your budget wouldn’t cut it in those expensive cities. And since you are more after scenery than museums and cultural attractions, it’s just as well that you are not going to focus on the expensive cities.

    Turkey is certainly scenic and affordable, and Scotland is certainly scenic if a bit less affordable. Since it would be nice to go somewhere new, I have a couple suggestions for you.

    One would be to visit Croatia, Bosnia and Herzogovina, and Slovenia. The cheapest flight might be into Zagreb, but Venice is also close enough to work. Croatia has a gorgeous coastline with the cities of Split and Dubrovnik being the main attractions. There are also islands just off Split that are very nice. North of Split you can visit the Plitvice Falls National Park, which might be Europe’s most photogenic area outside of the Alps. Bosnia has the lovely city of Sarajevo, which might interest you even more if you are Muslim. It has a wonderful Muslim old town at its heart and it’s very popular with Muslim tourists (I love it there and I’m not a Muslim, by the way), and the town of Mostar is also worth a look.

    In Slovenia you’ll want to visit Ljubljana for a couple days and also Lake Bled and the Karst rocks along the coast. Slovenia is known for its scenery and there is a lot more there as well. All three of those countries are quite inexpensive yet still very nice, with very good weather in September. There is pretty good bus service in this region, and rental cars can be reasonably priced. The train service is spotty and slow, however.

    The other option that might be interesting and fit your budget would be Greece. It’s somewhat similar to Turkey, except it’s mostly coastlines and islands. You could spend a few days in Athens and then take a ferry to one island and then another ferry to a different island. Santorini, Rhodes, and Mykonos are some of the larger and more popular islands, but there are plenty others and all of them should be reasonably priced in September, with very nice scenery.

    One last option would be to visit Spain and/or Portugal. The larger cities can be pricey, but apartment rentals in smaller cities and even beach towns can be pretty cheap in September. Generally, Spain isn’t quite as dramatic with scenery as the others though. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Zenia says:

Berlin more expensive than Moscow? That’s some interesting statistics! Not in my experience anyways,

    Roger Wade says:


    You aren’t alone. Many people who haven’t been to Moscow recently or checked prices of hostels and 3-star hotel rooms are shocked to discover that it’s now not even close to one of the most expensive cities in Europe. For 4-star and 5-star hotels, Moscow is still quite expensive, but since its currency came down a few years ago, it’s much more affordable. Thanks for the helpful comment. -Roger


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