56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2020

London View Eye Big BenPrices for tourist in Europe's most popular cities range from amazing bargains to astonishingly expensive. Now in its 10th year, the Europe Backpacker Index is designed to help you sort out the cheapest European cities and make an accurate budget for when you visit Europe.

Once again, inflation was very low throughout almost all of Europe, so nominal prices on a local level barely moved during 2019. Exchange rates were also unusually stable through the year as well, so Europe continues as a slight bargain by historical standards for those of us with US Dollars.

The Brexit fiasco has kept the British Pound nicely low, so England and Scotland continue as bargains for most of us, at least compared to most of the last ten years or so.

Note: This article was last updated in late December, 2019.

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.

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.

Costs for each city

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews (Note: In summer hostel prices might be higher than listed below)
  • 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.

Additional backpacker resources

Europe Backpacker Index for 2020

From cheapest to most expensive

1Bucharest, 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. Many visitors skip the capital and head to Brașov in Transylvania, which is lovely and is also a bit less expensive.

  • Currency: Romanian leu
  • Best cheap hostel: The Midland Hostel = 38.80/night
  • Transportation: 5.00
  • Meals: 45.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RON116.40 – US$27.13/day

>>>Bucharest prices and weather

2Belgrade, 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. Among the cheap European cities, Belgrade might not be high on your list, but it's nicer and more pleasant than you probably imagine.

  • Currency: Serbian Dinar (prices below are in euros)
  • Best cheap hostel: Habitat-Hostel – 6.00/night
  • Transportation: 1.50
  • Meals: 9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €24.60 = US$27.33/day

>>>Belgrade prices and weather

3Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia remains a good bargain among European capitals, with a very pleasant city center that is quite welcoming of foreign tourists. Prices of nearly everything are cheap, except for inbound flights from other major cities, and hostel beds have become a bit more expensive lately. Even for those planning to travel Europe cheap, 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: Moreto & Caffeto – 15.90
  • Transportation: 3.20
  • Meals: 18.84
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: BGN54.44 = US$30.93/day

>>>Sofia prices and weather

4Budapest, Hungary

Budapest competes with Krakow (see below) as Europe's best overall bargain. Unlike some other cities near the top of this list, Budapest is a world-class tourist city that just also happens to be unusually cheap, at least 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. When you are here it doesn't look like it would be on a list of inexpensive European cities, but it definitely is.

  • Currency: Hungary Forint
  • Best cheap hostel: Grandio Party Hostel – 3,287/night
  • Transportation: 700
  • Meals: 3276
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 1200
  • Attractions: 1500
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HUF9,963 = US$33.55/day

>>>Budapest prices and weather

5Krakow, Poland

Krakow is basically the same price as Budapest (above) tying as Europe's cheapest major tourist city. We've always had it pegged as an excellent bargain because it's also a charming and historic city and it would be worth a visit even if prices were much higher. The low prices have also 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.

  • Currency: Polish Zlotych
  • Best cheap hostel: The Little Havana Party Hostel – 32.40/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 40.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 16.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN128.80 = US$33.63/day

>>>Krakow prices and weather

6Riga, 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$34.78/day

>>>Riga prices and weather

7Sarajevo, 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. It's fairly easy to reach from Split, Croatia and Mostar as well.

  • Currency: Converted Mark (fixed, so prices below are in euros)
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel City Center Sarajevo – 9.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €32.70 = US$36.33/day

>>>Sarajevo prices and weather

8Vilnius, 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: Jimmy Jumps House/Hostel – 8.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 13.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 3.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €32.80 = US$36.44/day

>>>Vilnius prices and weather

9Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey has some image problems as of 2020 and tourism is way down partly as a result. The economy is also struggling a bit, which contributes to the currency falling over the past few years. As of now, Istanbul is a fantastic bargain and even hotels with great locations have become affordable to budget travelers. There's no shortage of markets, mosques, and attractions for even a longer stay, and everywhere else in Turkey is cheaper. Check our list of recommended cheap Istanbul hotels for bargains in all price ranges.

  • Currency: Turkish lira
  • Best cheap hostel: İstiklal OldCity Hostel – 41.00/night
  • Transportation: 8.00
  • Meals: 54.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 54.00
  • Attractions: 60.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: TRY217 = US$36.53/day

>>>Istanbul prices and weather

10Warsaw, 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: DREAM Hostel Warsaw – 46.00/night
  • Transportation: 6.80
  • Meals: 44.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 23.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN144.20 = US$37.65/day

>>>Warsaw prices and weather

11Kiev, Ukraine

KievNewKiev has always been fairly cheap (and very remote) compared to the rest of Europe, but lately it's crept up in price a bit due to some inflation and the currency recovering a bit. The conflicts from a few years ago have settled down as of late, but that still doesn't mean people are flocking to Kiev to take advantage of a cheap weekend break. Do with this information what you will.

  • Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia
  • Best cheap hostel: ZigZag Hostel – 233/night
  • Transportation: 16.00
  • Meals: 474.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 135.00
  • Attractions: 50.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: UHR908 = US$38.87/day

>>>Kiev 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: Dream Hostel Bratislava – 12.00/night
  • Transportation: 1.40
  • Meals: 12.72
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 4.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €36.12 = US$40.13/day

>>>Bratislava prices and weather

13Český 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. Hostels have gone up in price in recent years, so it's best to book early to lock in the place you want.

  • Currency: Czech krona
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Skippy – 390/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 302.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK930.40 = US$40.81/day

>>>Český Krumlov prices and weather

14Zagreb, 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 Mali Mrak Zagreb – 80.00/night
  • Transportation: 14
  • Meals: 84
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 45
  • Attractions: 50
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK273.00 = US$40.81/day

>>>Zagreb prices and weather

15Santorini, 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. Hostel and hotel prices in the summer months are obviously higher, but it's still quite affordable once you get here. We compare hostel prices in May, so if you come in the peak summer months you can expect to pay more.

  • 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$44.78/day

>>>Santorini 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: Backpackers Fairytale – 80/night
  • Transportation: 18
  • Meals: 100.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 45
  • Attractions: 55
  • Daily Backpacker Index: 301.80 = US$45.11/day

>>>Split prices and weather

17Tenerife, 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 are 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 – 14.42/night
  • Transportation: 2.70
  • Meals: 14.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 5.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €44.02 = US$48.91/day

>>>Tenerife prices and weather

18Prague, 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 – 322/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 392.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
  • Attractions: 250
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK1,132.40 = US$49.49/day

>>>Prague prices and weather

19Tallinn, 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 – 10.82/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 14.76
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €44.58 = US$49.53/day

>>>Tallinn prices and weather

20Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Russian currency has stabilized in the last couple of years, but Saint Petersburg remains a fantastic bargain. 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 2020 goes on.

  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • Best cheap hostel: Polosaty Hostel – 748/night
  • Transportation: 90
  • Meals: 1,296
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 600
  • Attractions: 500
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB3,234 = US$51.86/day

>>>Saint Petersburg prices and weather

21Valletta, 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: Granny’s Inn Hostel – 13.00/night
  • Transportation: 3
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €47.10 = US$52.33/day

>>>Valletta prices and weather

22Lisbon, 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 – 10.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €48.10 = US$53.44/day

>>>Lisbon prices and weather

23Moscow, 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 a handful of years ago 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. If you are looking for luxury this city can be among the most expensive in the world.

  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • Best cheap hostel: Safari Hostel 623/night
  • Transportation: 100
  • Meals: 1,380
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 900
  • Attractions: 400
  • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB3,403 = US$54.57/day

>>>Moscow prices and weather

24Ljubljana, 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: Vila Veselova – 16.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 16.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6
  • Attractions: 9
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €49.60 = US$55.11/day

>>>Ljubljana 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: Giovanni’s Home – 16/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 15.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €52.20 = US$58.00/day

>>>Naples prices and weather

26Athens, 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. The political situation in Greece had seemed volatile for a few years, but it's been calm lately so it's a good time to visit.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: San Remo Hostel – 13/night
  • Transportation: 2.80
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.00 = US$60.00/day

>>>Athens prices and weather

27Ibiza, 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 hostel price here is for early 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. The good news is that you can find cheap happy hour drink bargains in Saint Antonio even in high season.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Amistat Island Hostel Ibiza – 14.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.80 = US$60.89/day

>>>Ibiza prices and weather

28Berlin, 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 Pass. 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. We also rate Berlin very high as one of the best destinations for solo travelers.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Industriepalast Hostel – 15.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 16.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €58.40 = US$64.89/day

>>>Berlin prices and weather

29Bruges, 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. If you are coming from Amsterdam or another city in the Benelux area you'll notice that the architecture in each of them has a lot in common.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: St. Christopher’s Inn – Bauhaus Hostel – 20.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.60
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.50 = US$66.11/day

>>>Bruges prices and weather

30Madrid, 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: Way Hostel – 17.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.20 = US$66.89/day

>>>Madrid 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: Antares Hostel – 21.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 8.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.20 = US$66.89/day

>>>Nice prices and weather

32Dubrovnik, 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 Lina – 114.10/night
  • Transportation: 24
  • Meals: 136.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90.00
  • Attractions: 100.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK464.90 = US$69.49/day

>>>Dubrovnik prices and weather

33Milan, 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. This is another city that is popular with business travelers so prices can be very high or weirdly low depending on what is going on at the time you visit.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Colours – 21.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €63.50 = US$70.56/day

>>>Milan 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: Yellow Nest Hostel by Feetup Hostels – 20.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.30
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.50 = US$73.89/day

>>>Barcelona prices and weather

35Luxembourg 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
  • Transportation: 4.00
  • Meals: 19.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.80 = US$74.22/day

>>>Luxembourg City prices and weather

36Florence, Italy

A highlight of so many Italy tours, Florence is cheaper than Rome and Venice in some regards, though hostel prices here have been going up so it's not exactly a bargain anymore. Still, 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: PLUS Florence – 26/night
  • Transportation: 2.40
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €67.40 = US$74.89/day

>>>Florence 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 – 12.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.20
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £58.70 = US$76.23/day

>>>Edinburgh prices and weather

38Rome, 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: Hostel Alessandro Downtown – 23.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
  • Attractions: 16.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €70.20 = US$78.00/day

>>>Rome prices and weather

39Vienna, 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 – 22.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €72.10 = US$80.11/day

>>>Vienna prices and weather

40Salzburg, 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. Hostel prices have gone up lately so this is another one to book early to lock in the better places.

  • Currency: Euro
  • Best cheap hostel: YoHo international Youth Hostel – 25/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 11
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €73.30 = US$81.44/day

>>>Salzburg prices and weather

41Brussels, Belgium

For the budget traveler, Brussels can be a bit difficult since the infrastructure is built mostly for business travelers and bureaucrats. 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: Brussels 2go4 Quality Hostel City Center – 24.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.20
  • Meals: 21.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €73.80 = US$82.00/day

>>>Brussels prices and weather

42Helsinki, 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 – 19.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.00
  • Meals: 22.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 9.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €73.80 = US$82.00/day

>>>Helsinki prices and weather

43Dublin, 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 tours, then the Dublin Pass is a great deal.

  • Currency: euro
  • Best cheap hostel: Abbey Court – 25.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €74.20 = US$82.44/day

>>>Dublin prices and weather

44Hamburg, 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 – 25.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.00
  • Meals: 18.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €74.50 = US$82.78/day

>>>Hamburg prices and weather

45Munich, 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 – 28.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 19.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €75.30 = US$83.67/day

>>>Munich prices and weather

46Paris, 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: Le Montclair Montmartre by Hiphophostels – 25.00/night
  • Transportation: 3.60
  • Meals: 20.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €76.00 = US$84.44/day

>>>Paris prices and weather

47Oslo, Norway

When the Norwegian currency was stronger a few years ago this country had become insanely expensive, but it's come down a bit in recent years so it's just normal expensive again. Oslo is a pleasant city, but Norway is mostly about the scenery so don't come here just because it's the capital and largest city. Flights into Oslo can be quite cheap, although Bergen (see below) is probably a better choice if you have to choose just one.

  • Currency: Norwegian kroner
  • Best cheap hostel: Anker Hostel – 248/night
  • Transportation: 66
  • Meals: 228
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
  • Attractions: 80
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK772 = US$86.06/day

>>>Oslo prices and weather

48Stockholm, 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: City Backpackers Hostel – 240/night
  • Transportation: 72
  • Meals: 216
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
  • Attractions: 150
  • Daily Backpacker Index: SEK828 = US$87.80/day

>>>Stockholm prices and weather

49Bergen, 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 Bergen Hostel Montana – 240/night
  • Transportation: 62
  • Meals: 240
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 180
  • Attractions: 60
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK800 = US$89.19/day

>>>Bergen prices and weather

50Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danish capital is one of the famously expensive Scandinavian cities, but its currency isn't as high as it once was so it feels like decent value. 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. At least you can get a fairly cheap hot dog from a street cart at almost any hour of the day or night.

  • Currency: Danish kroner
  • Best cheap hostel: Sleep in Heaven – 164/night
  • Transportation: 48
  • Meals: 168
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
  • Attractions: 120
  • Daily Backpacker Index: DKK620 = US$92.26/day

>>>Copenhagen prices and weather

51Reykjavik, 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. Iceland has undergone a tourism boom in recent years and things are continuing to change quickly.

  • Currency: Iceland kronur
  • Best cheap hostel: Bus Hostel Reykjavik – 2712/night
  • Transportation: 800
  • Meals: 4,164
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 2,400
  • Attractions: 1,500
  • Daily Backpacker Index: ISK11,576 = US$93.85/day

>>>Reykjavik prices and weather

52Interlaken, 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 – 26.10/night
  • Transportation: 0 (local transport is free for overnight guests)
  • Meals: 38.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF92.50 = US$94.39/day

>>>Interlaken prices and weather

53London, 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 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: Clink261 – 17.00/night
  • Transportation: 4.80
  • Meals: 21.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 13.50
  • Attractions: 20.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: £76.30 = US$99.09/day

>>>London prices and weather

54Amsterdam, 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 extremely high rates even during shoulder season. In fact, hostel prices in Amsterdam have continued to climb and they are now among the highest in the world, especially when you consider the poor quality of many of them. Pick from our recommended Amsterdam hostels and cheap hotels for decent 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: Stayokay Amsterdam Oost – 42.00/night
  • Transportation: 5.60
  • Meals: 18.36
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 13.50
  • Attractions: 19.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €98.46 = US$109.40/day

>>>Amsterdam prices and weather

55Venice, 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: Combo Venezia – 44/night
  • Transportation: 8.00
  • Meals: 26.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: €102.40 = US$113.78/day

>>>Venice 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: City Backpacker Hostel Biber – 41.40/night
  • Transportation: 5.20
  • Meals: 38.40
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
  • Attractions: 15.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF124.00 = US$126.53/day

>>>Zurich prices and weather

Interactive Map

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

266 Responses to “56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2020”

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



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

Patrick says:

Been in every place from 1-10, and Kiev is the cheapest place of all these without question

Libby says:

Hi Roger,

We are thinking of spending a month in a European city that has good access to other cities (for exploration) – what would you consider a good city to do so if we rent a small apartment there?



    I’d say that the European city that is the most central and connected to the most other worthwhile cities by high-speed rail is Munich. It’s also a very pleasant city that has better weather than most others. As long as you are staying fairly close to the center, you should be able to get by speaking English only. If you learn a few German phrases it would be ideal, but the people you talk to will all speak English with some fluency. That isn’t true in most other cities in the center of Europe.

    Another option if you want a city that is even more interesting and cheaper and even easier to get by in English is Berlin. It would be ideal except that it’s a bit far from France and that area. I hope this helps. If you have other ideas let me know and I’ll try again. -Roger

giorgi says:

i would like to go in my life first time in europe out from my country ))) i am interesting where is really most cheapest country where is the 5 star hotels most cheapest then ather country for me very important to be very cool hotel but little cheap then ather and country where is open about gay life and where snow in winter )))) and romantic country )) my budget not big so pls can you help me and tell me for 7 night which country i can use for to meet nice people find gay clubs )) find nice cool hotel but cheap snow and romantic for winter in december thanks a lot ….from georgia ))) btw wellcome to georgia it is nice and very cheap but not for gay or lesbian people )))



    The cheapest city for 5-star hotels in Europe was Budapest the last time we ran the tests. We are updating that article now, but I’m sure Budapest will be near the top, along with Krakow and Sofia.

    Berlin also has surprisingly cheap 5-star hotels, and it’s very big for gay and lesbian tourists and locals. There is sometimes snow in winter, but not all winter.

    For a romantic country it’s hard to beat Italy or France, although neither of those is cheap. Prague is quite romantic and beautiful, and they have a big gay scene there as well. It’s also fairly cheap.

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

maegan says:

This is a great resource! We are planning out our 16month trip now!

Mung says:

Hello Roger, I’m Mung from India.

I have found your article extremely helpful to me as I am also planning of a trip to Europe with 4 of my friends. I am considering to stritcly follow according to the prices that you have mentioned including the accomodation. My plan is to stay 3 nights in each city under a strict budget of $1000 approx. per head(excluding flight trips to and from India). These are the following cities that I have in mind:

1. Prague
2. Berlin/Munich
3. Milan/Vienna/Salzburg
4. Paris/ or something better and cheaper
5. Brussels/Bruges
6. Amsterdam / or something better and cheaper

My list might be a little too pricey on the budget so please suggest me some alterations that I need to make. I hope the cities that I’ve mentioned do not look too similar as far as the structure is concerned and if that’s the case, feel free to mention the alternatives that will be much cheaper but far more worth going to. My criteria would be to visit the cities based on their history and scenic attraction and beauty. One more thing, I understand that Switzerland is the most expensive to visit but I wanna give it a try by visiting Bern or a place that is worth it. That’s only if my budget permits. I’m ready to sacrifice a city for any city in Switzerland. This will be my first trip to Europe and I don’t want to make it a blunder. So hoping that you would assist me.

Your feedback would be very much appreciated! 🙂



    I’m not exactly sure what you are asking, but I will give you my comments and suggestions on your list.

    Prague is fantastic and relatively cheap.

    Berlin is more interesting and more fun than Munich, and it’s cheaper as well. Munich is probably nicer looking as it’s a richer city. If you are young I’d recommend Berlin.

    Milan isn’t very interesting, although it does have a nice looking center. Vienna is one of Europe’s “grand” cities where everything is large and ornate. Salzburg has a lovely and historic town center and one of the most beautiful locations in all of Europe, as it’s set at the base of the Alps.

    Paris rivals Amsterdam and Venice and Rome as the most beautiful in Europe and perhaps the world. There are cheaper options than Paris, but none better. I’d put this high on your list.
    Brussels is expensive and not a great tourist city, especially for younger people. Bruges is very photogenic and interesting, and a bit cheaper, but I’d save it for a future trip. Bruges is like a smaller and more mellow version of Amsterdam, but without the crazy nightlife and such.

    Amsterdam is also gorgeous and very interesting. Hotels and hostels are expensive, but very much worth it for a first visit.

    As for Switzerland, Bern is indeed the best looking city and it has interesting history, but everything in the country is famously expensive. If you go to Switzerland and you don’t have much time you really should go for the scenery rather than a city. I discuss it in detail in my article on where to go in Switzerland. Basically, you should head to the Interlaken area if you only have a few days.

    I’m happy to help more if you have further questions. If you’ve got only US$1,000 per person it will be difficult to stretch that to 18 days, especially when you factor in trains or buses getting from one place to another. You might also be interested in my advice on where to go in Europe on a first trip. If you have a choice between a longer trip to second-tier cities or a shorter trip to top cities, I’d recommend top cities for your first trip. Let me know if you have questions. -Roger

Mung says:

Hello Roger,

Thank you very much for your quick reply. I firstly apologize for not making clear of what I intended to ask you.

I would also like to thank you for sorting out certain dilemnas that I had, for e.g Berlin or Munich. (And yeah, I’m 22. Still young for Berlin I suppose )

So what I intended to ask you is to suggest me a rough itinerary for the trip with the cities that I have mentioned, like from where to start and to end. Please exclude the cities which won’t suit my budget and my plan. Secondly, can you please include Interlaken on the list? Just a night would also do. One correction, the $1000 that I mentioned also excludes transportation between cities. I hope that will leave something of a breather to my budget.

Lastly, you have been of a great help to thousands of people like me. But sometimes it’s such a pity to see people nagging and complaining over the list and data you’ve provided. Obviously somewhere or the other there are sure to be some glitches which might be due to fluctuations in exchange rates,etc. But they should remember that this is the closest estimation that we can get without scratching our heads and wasting several hours googling for info. Anyway, just wanted to appreciate your to help inspite various criticisms that keep shooting at you. Keep up the good work. Kudos! ☺

Dhruv says:

Hi, I am planning a trip in December with my friends and we all will have a budget of 20000 INR which will also include flight ticket money. I want a good trip in which I can enjoy with my friends. I just want to roam with my friends along with Enjoyment. Can you suggest some places where we can have a good trip of 5 to 7 days within that budget?

It’d be a great help please suggest! I am really looking for this trip so please help me out?



    You mention a budget of INR20,000, which is only about US$310. I’m hoping you left out a zero in that because even within India that isn’t much of a budget for 5 days. I’m happy to help, though I’m a bit unsure if you meant 20,000 or 200,000 or what? And since you left this question below an article about European cities, I assume you want to go someplace in Europe?

    For right now I can give you links to two other articles that might help. One if the best cheap destinations in December with good weather, all around the world.

    The other is the best places in Europe to go in February. It’s part of a new series I started about the best places to go in Europe for each month, and February was the first one. Basically, it’s the best places to go in Europe in winter, and the upcoming December list will be most or all of the same cities. After you check those out, let me know if you still are looking for advice and what your real budget is. -Roger

Aida says:

[email protected]

Hi my husband and I aré planning to honró europe for aproximately a month between february and march, we aré plannign this route:

Moscow — St Petersburg
St Petersburg — Helsinki
Helsinki– Estocolmo
Estocolmo — Oslo
Oslo — stavanger
Stavanger– Madrid

We choose this Season because is a low season in most countries, how muchu donyou think we might need per person, can you recommend us a site for us to know what to do in each citie!
Can you give me some tips!

Thank you



    Today I learned that Stockholm is called Estocolmo in Spanish. Those cities are all fairly popular with business travelers, but you’ll be just about the only tourists there that time of year. Not only is it very cold, but it’s also fairly dark until March or so. And those cities are all quite expensive. Hotels will cost around US$200 per night and up, at least in the Nordic countries.

    If you are unsure of what you are going there to see I would recommend a guidebook. You can get all of Lonely Planet’s information on their website, and I think Frommers does the same thing. Then there is always wikitravel.org, which I like because most things are on one page. Have a great trip. -Roger

Paul D says:

London is only ultra-expensive if you let it be. While never cheap, you can cut costs. Staying out of the city and “commuting” with a young person’s or two-together railcard for your tourist fixes can halve your hotel costs. Eating: watch out for pricey add-ons like service charges at restaurants. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY THE SERVICE CHARGE. Drinking: find locally brewed ale that’s to your taste – most pubs will let you sample a spot of their hand-pulled beer before you buy – and avoid expensive bottled beer and ‘gin palaces’. Find “101 Free Things to do in London” on the internet.

JL says:

Hi Roger,
I’m Joe, planning to travel from Dubai to Europe countries with my wife, toddler and 6 months infant. we have shortlisted German/Switzerland & Austria but we couldn’t make up our mind, reason for these countries as they are only 5-6hrs flying journey. our concerns are, what other options we have with such flying distance, and also kid friendly. my wife and I aren’t fancy on the museum but rather natural scenery, great place for kid such as some fancy Zoo, put up some nights in cottage areas, do some shopping at local markets and last will some nice outlet mall. And we plan to rent a car for entire journey, hence what’s your opinion on which city or town should we stay on above mentioned countries. we are keeping our budget around USD3k for 1 week. do you think possible?
beside these countires, what other countries do you recommend?
thanks Roger!!



    I’m interested in knowing which month you are traveling in because it does make a bit of difference with weather and road conditions. I’ll assume you are planning on going in autumn or perhaps next spring. In general I rarely recommend that people get around Europe in a rented car, but in your case it might be a fine idea. Switzerland has the best and most dramatic scenery and as long as you plan on spending most of your time in smaller towns and rural, scenic areas, getting around by car can be efficient and cost effective there.

    Austria is similar in many ways. The scenery is a little less dramatic (with fewer high-altitude peaks in the Alps), but Austria is quite a bit cheaper than Switzerland, and Germany is cheaper as well. Your budget might be kind of low for Switzerland, but it could actually work, I think. In fact, if you buy a Half Fare Card for each adult (US$120 each) then you can get a free Swiss Family Card, which will let your children travel with you for free on trains, boats, and cable cars. I think that might actually be cheaper than renting a car, and it would be less stress as well. Have a look at my article on where to go in Switzerland and see what you think. Even if you skipped the most expensive experiences such as Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn (both near Interlaken) you could still see fantastic scenery and have a great time with the kids.

    If you preferred Austria then the Salzburg area has the best scenery and kind of a small-town feel. There are some even smaller towns nearby that are just as nice and extremely scenic.

    If you wanted to go to Germany you might be interested in some of my suggestions on where to go in Germany. I think if you focused more on the southern part of the country you’d enjoy it and get some nice scenery as well, although not as dramatic as Switzerland or Austria. I hope those at least give you some ideas. I’m happy to help with more information if you need it, or even some alternate suggestions. -Roger

Jake says:

Great list, I am very glad that there is Warsaw on it. I really enjoy going there, as it is modern and beautiful and relatively cheap. I love exploring it and discovering all the fascinating spots in Warsaw. One of my favorite spots in Warsaw is a restaurant called the Akademia, where you can try delicious Polish cuisine in combination with modern flavors. Everything there is so delicious! It is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to!

Gigi says:


I’ll be in Iceland for 6 days in Sept. Then I’ll be in heading to mainland Europe for about +/- 12 days. I’m having a hard time deciding on where to go after. I wanted to go to Eastern Europe since I’ve never been. But when I started looking for flights, the tix are pretty pricey, esp going back home to Chicago. I’m having a hard time also bc I’ll be spending a lot in Iceland and I want to minimize what I spend for the rest of my trip. Any suggestions would be welcomed on where to go and what will be cheapest overall. Your list helps greatly but I’ve still indecisive.




    I think I understand. Iceland is expensive and it will be nice to spend time in some other wonderful places that are way down the price scale after that. There are many cheap cities in Europe, but I put my top recommendations on my list of best-value Europe destinations. You can also see the Backpacker Index total for each one so you’ll know which ones are cheaper than the others. My favorites of the cheapest ones are Krakow, Prague, Budapest, and even Cesky Krumlov if you have a couple extra days. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help with more advice. -Roger

Syed Majid says:

Hi Roger,
The article was very informative. The reason I am writing to you is that me along with my friends are planning to visit Schengen states for tourism. We will be three or four families. Each family is having four members, Two adults and two kids. All kids in our group are less than 10 years. The trip will be of 25 days and we budgeted each family 6000 Euro that include Airfare, hotels, transportation and meals.
Initially we are planning to visit Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. And we are also planning to rent a suitable vehicle (may be 02) for the complete trip. That’s mean we will be driving everywhere.
The above mentioned plan is initial stage, but we cannot exceed the budget amount.
Now, I request your guidance that how should we plan this trip? Should we change the route map and from where we should start and where should we finish? Which cities we should stay more and where we should have a short stay? Should we hire the vehicles as planned or otherwise? Your input is highly requested for plan the trip accordingly.
Thanks in advance.

one more thing, we are planning to have this trip somewhere in the middle of next year. you may suggest what should be the right time to visit these places considering the budget. as we are having smaller kids, we are not willing to visit in winters.



    First off, if you are planning on a visit of 25 days I would recommend going to 7 or 8 total cities. Your idea of renting one or two vans could be good, but it does come with some problems. First off, parking in European cities is usually hard to find and expensive. You might have to pay €20 to €30 per night for each vehicle to have them anywhere near a central hotel. Or you could stay out in the suburbs or near the airport at a hotel that has free parking, but that means you spend at least an extra hour or two each day going back and forth, and also extra money for public transportation. In any larger European city you would never want to drive to see the sights because you’d end up having to pay a fortune for parking spots.

    On the other hand, if you were going to spend more of your time in more rural places such as wine country and national parks or even small towns, then driving would definitely be the best way. It’s a tricky situation. By the way, if you buy train tickets at least a month or two in advance, they tend to be quite cheap. And child tickets are even cheaper, and sometimes free.

    It’s probably best to fly into Germany and then visit Switzerland on your way to Paris, and then head down to Italy last, ending in Rome.

    One way you can save money is by renting large apartments rather than hotel rooms. Now with airbnb.com it’s fairly easy to find reasonably priced apartments, including ones with several bedrooms. Most European hotel rooms are quite small and aren’t well suited even for a family of 4, although if you look around you can find rooms that would fit. Switzerland is very expensive by the way and if you visited Salzburg, Austria instead, it would be much cheaper and you’d still get some lovely Alps views and sights.

    I’m happy to help more once you’ve made a few decisions such as the specific cities that you are interested in visiting. Again, some are far better suited to cars than others. -Roger

Syed Majid says:

Dear Roger,
Thanks for your response. I will contact you accordingly, when we finalize the cities. Airbnb is a good alternative, I will check it as well. do you recommend to have this journey country to country by train and using van inside the country.
looking forward for your response please. If you can share your contact number even I can call you to discuss further.

thanks for your support.



    It’s hard to recommend trains or renting a vehicle without knowing the prices of each. Trains are generally more enjoyable, but for a large group a van might be cheaper to the point that it makes sense.

    I happily try to answer people’s travel questions in public on this website that I own because other people sometimes have the same questions and can benefit from the answers as well. But I don’t do any private consulting at this point. Feel free to ask questions in comment sections though. -Roger

David says:

I have a month to travel in Europe and about $5k. I prefer comfortable clean hotels to hostel. Any suggestions?



    With a budget of US$5,000 for a month that obviously gives you about US$166 per day. That is plenty of money to have a good time in all but the most expensive cities in Europe. But even in London, for example, you can get a decent single hotel room for around US$100 per night, although not in the most central neighborhood. And if you mix in cities like Prague, Budapest, and Krakow, you can have a great time for well under US$100 per day, so that can balance out a few of the more expensive places.

    In other words, you can go anywhere you want on that budget. With a month I would plan on visiting 8 to 10 total cites. Train tickets will cost quite a bit if you go long distances, so it’s better to plan on stringing together worthwhile destinations that are fairly close together. For example, Rome, Florence, and Venice are cheap to get between, and almost all train tickets are much cheaper if you buy them at least a month or so in advance.

    I would suggest doing London and Paris for sure, and probably those 3 cities in Italy. The article above should be a good guide to help you choose other places to add to that. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

RR says:

Iam planning to go to Geneva for my convocation on Oct 20th 2017.From there me and my friend would like to travel to one more country near by which is cheap and can be on budget.
We thought of Italy – Venice ,Florence and Rome for 6 days what do you think will be the average cost would be for us.Our budge is 2000USD/person including for Geneva 4 days.
So do you think Italy and geneva with a budget for 2k is good or please suggest another country cheaper.

We will be flying in from Dubai.




    Switzerland is very expensive so that part will be a challenge for your budget. As long as you get an affordable hotel, you can save money by doing some self-catering and buying meals from supermarkets or fast-food places rather than sit-down restaurants.

    All of the countries that border Switzerland are all cheaper, and about the same price. I think your idea to do Italy is a great one because those cities are all packed with some of Europe’s best sights. You can take a train from Geneva to Milan and then change for a train to Venice. Spend about 24 hours there, which will be just enough to see the main sights and not be too bothered by the crowds or high prices. Then head to Florence for 2 nights, and then Rome for 3 nights. You should be able to do it on your budget, though you may have to be careful when you book hotels and such. Also, buy your train tickets soon for cheap prices, as they get more expensive as more seats are sold. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Stephen Fikuart says:

When you talking about accommodation in Dublin you need to factor in they massively increase prices on weekends and on Bank holiday weekends and weekends when they have stuff on in Dublin like Six nations rugby or concerts the prices go up to in excess of €60 for a bed in a 8 bed dorm. Also travel is more expensive than you stated.



    I think almost every city on this list has at least slightly higher accommodation prices on weekends than weekdays. Fortunately, most hostels don’t jack the rates up too much compared to most hotels so it’s still pretty stable. The list is mostly a general guide for prices and a way to compare cities to one another, rather than a shopping cart that promises prices when you arrive. Munich triples hostel bed rates during Oktoberfest, but I’m not going to factor that into the main figure for the rest of the year.

    If you found a specific price that is different from what we show, I’d appreciate it if you point it out. We update at least once a year and most of the prices that go into the Backpacker Index (such as museums and public transport) are fixed and easy to research online. I appreciate the helpful comment. -Roger

Bon Jos says:

@Roger Is there any stats that can specify the numbers of a traveller on weekends & weekdays? I wonder why most of the people like to travel on weekends. As I found flights prices & hotels prices are usually high on weekends. We all know top aggregators like Momondo, Kayak & Cheap Flights, but they all show prices comparison none of them displays stats.


    Bon Jos,

    I don’t have stats for weekdays versus weekends either, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know the general trends. And as you say, you can check a site like Kayak for weekday prices and weekend prices and figure out which are more popular. Most places are busier on weekends than weekdays, and the higher room rates do reflect this. But many cities that are business centers and don’t have many tourists actually have the reverse trend. You posted this on the Europe list so as examples there are Frankfurt, Milan, Brussels, and Oslo that usually have lower room rates on weekends than weekdays. That mostly tends to apply to 3-star and 4-star hotels where business travelers tend to stay, and hostels can be more expensive on weekends for people on weekend breaks.

    If you are wondering about how that applies to our Backpacker Index, it really doesn’t. Fortunately, most hostels don’t raise rates too much on weekends, so a €25 bunk on a Thursday might be a €29 bunk on Friday. There are, of course, exceptions, especially for a city that has a big tourist festival or event over a weekend. Also, if you are curious about the methodology, the Backpacker Index is meant as a tool for long-term travelers who often backpack. While it’s true that some people from the UK might fly to Amsterdam for the weekend and stay in a hostel, but the average backpacker is on the road for weeks or even months at a time, so the weekday rate is more helpful. I’m not sure if this answers your questions, but let me know if I can help more. -Roger

Samantha says:

Hi Roger,

Thank you so much for this list! I am planning a trip to Europe on a whim. I’ve noticed that tickets from Illinois to different European countries are fairly cheap at the end of November. I am considering staying 10-14 days and I have a budget of roughly $1,000. Not including my flights. Do you have recommendations about places to visit that would be keep me in that budget. I would love to visit Berlin and Paris, but I also understand that Paris might be too expensive. Thanks!



    Thank you, and I think your idea of a last-minute Europe trip is fantastic. On a budget of US$1,000 I would probably recommend staying 10 days and going to the places that interest you most, rather than staying 14 days and having to restrict yourself to the super-cheap places and avoid the most famous ones. If you have 10 days it’s probably best to plan on visiting 3 cities or maybe 4. Depending on which cities you might be able to stretch your budget for 12 days and 4 cities.

    The Backpacker Index totals should be a pretty good estimate of what a day in each of those cities will cost, and it can be done even cheaper if you don’t drink much and if you avoid sit-down meals in the more expensive cities. Another important thing to consider is the cost of transportation between each city. Train tickets and flights tend to be cheap if you buy well in advance, but if you only buy about two weeks out, it might not be so cheap. That is even greater motivation for choosing destinations that are fairly close together or at least cheap to fly between.

    If this is your first trip to Europe then I’d definitely recommend Paris, as it really does live up to the hype in my opinion. The challenge with Paris is that the only destinations that are fast and cheap to reach from there are elsewhere in France. Amsterdam is only 3 hours away by train, but that ticket might be expensive at this point. However, if you are flexible with the time of day you can fly, you might be able to get some cheap flights. Often you can get one-way flights for around US$50 if you are willing to fly in the early morning or late in the evening. I’m also a big fan of Berlin, but it’s also not close to many other great choices.

    One trip that is filled with highlights and can be done in 10 days is Rome for 3 days, Florence for 3 days, Venice for 1 day, and Paris for 3 days. The trains within Italy are fast and fairly cheap, and if you could find an affordable flight between Venice (or nearby Treviso) and Paris, it could probably work within your budget. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help. -Roger

Bob says:

Hello Roger,

My wife and I are going to Prague in February to visit our son who will be studying there. We have 3 or 4 days to fill outside of Prague. Where would you recommend to go for a quick 3 or 4 day trip? We were thinking maybe Paris or Berlin or Amsterdam or Barcelona? Thanks.




    As long as you are willing to fly, then you could get to any large European city with a flight time of an hour or two from Prague. If that’s the case and especially if this is a first trip to Europe and you haven’t been to Paris, I would recommend Paris. Prague is beautiful and very impressive, and Paris is even more so.

    But if you wanted to stay more in the region and travel on the ground your best choices are Berlin (4 hours 20 minutes by train) or Vienna or Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov, all of which are about 3 hours from Prague by train or shuttle bus. Those last three are all wonderful and all very different from each other. I think 3 or 4 days might be too long for Cesky Krumlov because it’s a small (and gorgeous) town. And February might be chilly there as well. Again, if you are up for flying then I’d go to Paris. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Rahul says:

Hello Roger,
I am planning to travel to eastern Europe in April 3rd week to May 1st week. Approx 20-25 days. I am planning to start from Istanbul then towards Munich or Berlin or from Munich or Berlin towards Istanbul. What should be my itinerary for 25 days in 1500 USD



    My strong suggestion would be to plan on right around 3 nights in each city you visit, or maybe 4 nights in some larger cities. If you try to move faster than that you end up spending half your time in transit rather than seeing the actual sights you’ve come all that way to see. So that means 7 to 8 total cities. If you include Istanbul and at least one German city you are down to 5 to 6 additional cities.

    Another thing to be aware of is that train service finally restarted early in 2017 to connect Turkey to Bulgaria, but it still consists of only one overnight train in each direction each day. From Istanbul you can take an overnight train to Sofia, but honestly I’m not sure I’d recommend Sofia on a trip of this length. It’s nice and it’s cheap, but the sights aren’t very interesting compared to other European cities. In other words, you might want to fly in or out of Istanbul rather than taking a slow train or bus. Those flights will be cheap as well, and you can fly into any larger airport from Istanbul. I really love Istanbul and it’s very different from other cities in Europe, so I’m not suggesting you get rid of it, just that flying in or out is probably best.

    And it sounds like you want to keep things cheap, so spending more time in those eastern cities can help you with that. Here’s what I would recommend as a starting point for your planning. Fly into Berlin (or Istanbul and do this in reverse) and then take a train to Prague. From Prague you can take a train to Krakow, which is not only nice but very good value. After Krakow you can take a train to Budapest. You could fly from Budapest to Istanbul, or perhaps add another city or two. If your budget can allow it you could go from Berlin to Munich to Salzburg and then on to Prague and the rest of it. Munich and Salzburg are a bit more expensive than the others, but worth it if you can afford it.

    I’m happy to help you get the itinerary something that is best for you, so let me know what you think and I can help more in another comment once you are starting to put it together. -Roger

robin de says:

Roger, hello

My friend and I are planning a trip to Europe together in May. There are two weekends that there are dance events (Blues Dance) that I’m interested in. Structure I have set up looks like this:

May 7-9 (arrive, city 1), 10 (travel), 11-13 (dance 1, city 2… Madrid or Bristol), 14-16 (city 3), 17 (travel), 18-20 (dance 2, city 4… Paris or Oslow), 21-31 (cities n+1…. return home)

I’m flying in from Qatar and he is coming in from the States. I’m interested in budgeting $2,000 personally.. but we’d be comfortable splitting some costs if that helps.

Any thoughts of sensible connecting sites to see between those locations? I’m having hard time deciding which of the dance events to go to too.

Thank you!




    This sounds interesting and I’ll be happy to try to help, but I’m a bit confused. I’ll give you some opinions, and hopefully that will help you figure more of it out on your own.

    Assuming you haven’t been to any of these cities before, Paris is a must. It’s popular for a reason and you’ll love it yourself. Madrid is another great tourist city with plenty to see and do, along with moderate prices. Oslo is quite out of the way and it’s very expensive. Oslo also isn’t as interesting as the others, so I would not recommend it if the alternative is Paris.

    Bristol is one of the nicest cities in England to live, but it’s pretty far down the list for tourist attractions. It’s very close to Bath, which is a historic spa city and very interesting, but also quite small. If you are choosing between Madrid and Bristol, go to Madrid for sure. So if you have Paris and Madrid you’d also want to stop in Barcelona between the two if you can. Barcelona and Madrid are both huge cities with a lot to see, and they are very different from each other. There are other great options in Spain and quite a few in France as well. Hopefully this helps. I’m happy to offer more advice as you are getting your itinerary together. -Roger

Daniel de Amat says:

I have a question regarding the food. for example when you put meal:20 does that mean on average each meal would be 20 euros? Assuming euros is the currency.



    The €20 (for example) used on the Backpacker Index is an allowance for 3 budget meals per day in that city, including a sit-down dinner (as opposed to street food or fast food). Breakfast is often included in the price of a hostel bed, and in many European countries breakfast tends to be nothing more than coffee and a hard roll with butter. The whole Backpacker Index is meant to be a way to figure out a general budget for a backpacking trip to each city, but even more it’s a way of comparing cities against each other so you can get an idea of which parts of Europe are cheaper and which are more expensive. Some people are able to happily get by on less than the Backpacker Index amount for each city, and other people always spend more. At least with the ranking, you should be able to get an idea of the cheaper cities and the expensive cities. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Bilal says:

Hey Roger,
I’m from Pakistan and planning to visit Europe for my honeymoon. Can you suggest some budget cities for newlywed couples. My total budget is 4 to 5000 US dollars and it would be my first time in Europe.

Since its my first so I’m having a hard time deciding on where to go.
and a return ticket from Pakistan to any European country costs 600 to 900 US$.



    I would say that the nicest of the cheaper European cities are Budapest and Prague. Both have outstanding architecture and plenty of things to see and do, all at a cost that is far lower than in, say, Paris or Rome. You can take a train between them in about 6.5 hours. It’s worth mentioning that those cities actually have quite a bit in common, so visiting both of them might not be the best idea. If you want to visit two cities you might even consider Prague and Salzburg, which can be reached in about 5.5 hours by train. It’s a bit more expensive than the others, but it’s at the base of the Alps and the location is gorgeous. The town is also very different from the others, and quite a bit smaller.

    Krakow is actually the cheapest of Europe’s “great” cities, but it’s a bit remote and it can be tough to get an affordable flight there. I hope this helps and I’m happy to answer other questions if you have them. -Roger

Margaret says:

Hi Roger,
I am going to Dijon, France for a 6 week study aboard in July-August. I have to be in Dijon on 7/2/18 and am there until 8/10/18. I was wondering if you could help me suggest weekend trips in France to visit. I want to go to Paris for sure and south of France. I plan to be in Paris when Tour de France ends there on 7/29/2018 but am not sure this is a good time to also visit the city.
When my program ends I also plan to stay for at least 10 days to travel afterwards. Looking for suggestions of places to go. I was thinking maybe Prague but am open to suggestions.
If you also have suggestions of ways to get to Europe cheaper then a direct flight to Paris would be helpful! trying not to pay 2000 to get from Chicago to Europe and back again. If there is a layover city or route you suggest I’m open to doing that and spending a day in a city and then continue on to Paris. And also for return leg.




    That sounds like an amazing opportunity and I wish I could help you more. I’ve been literally almost all over Europe, but I haven’t spent time in most of the popular non-urban areas in France since I was a child. I’ve researched a lot and I have been to a handful of places, including the Normandy coast recently, but I’m not confident enough to give you specific suggestions beyond what is already on this page. One thing that I’m sure of is that you’ll have many excellent choices and I think buying a France guidebook would be time and money well spent. I’m a big fan of Rick Steves, and his books are available in print as well as by PDF and other digital formats. He includes the best of France (to some degree from an American perspective) and gives great suggestions for each region.

    One thing I can tell you about France in summer is that the cities empty out somewhat in July and August, with August being a more popular month for office workers to take the whole month off. These workers head to a beach or a house in the country if they can afford it, so those types of areas are even more popular in July and August. So if you go to beaches or popular small towns, it will be even more crowded than normal. But if you go to other cities, including Paris, it’ll be less crowded. Paris itself is pleasantly mellow in August in particular.

    Those flights from Chicago do sound expensive, and it’s no doubt made worse by the fact that you are going with the normal holiday times in the US and in France. I don’t know if it will save you any money, but stopping for a couple days in Iceland is amazing if you can pull it off. Also, Norwegian Air often has cheap flights with a plane change in Oslo or Stockholm, and the earlier you buy the cheaper they are. I wish I could have helped more. -Roger

Michael says:

Hi. I’m from Myanmar. How many European countries can I go if I have over $10000?



    You can go to any European city if you have US$10,000. In Zurich that will last you about 45 days, while in Kiev it would last you a whole year. -Roger

Patricio says:

Hello Roger,
im from Ecuador i planning to visit Europe on May and stay for a month.
My first stop is Spain – Madrid and my daily budget to spend is $100 (maximum) so i check some few countries and cities nearby… what is you recommendation after mi fist stop, and of course the plan is be a backpacker (i already do that here on south america). thanks for any advice you’ll give me.



    The whole list above is meant to help you sort out the cheaper areas from the more expensive ones. Spain is good value and Portugal is even a bit cheaper for the most part. Once you get into France the prices start going up at least a bit, and the same is true in Italy.

    If you are hoping to keep your total expenses below US$100 per day I would minimize my time in France or Italy and instead head to places like Krakow, Prague, and Budapest. This list of what I consider to be Europe’s best value cities should help. The list in the article on this page includes nearly all major cities, while the list on the article on the link is just the cheaper ones that are also definitely worth visiting. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Marcus says:

Hi Roger,
It would be helpful to add Skopje to the list. A city which is well worth a visit of at least two days and pretty cheap as well. A lot of very high value hotels for 15€, mains for 4€.
Cheers, Marcus



    You are right and Skopje is on the list of cities I intend to add in the next update, which will hopefully be in the next few months. The reason I haven’t added those cities yet is I fear that the list will lose impact and seem too obscure if most of the 10 cheapest European cities are ones that most people have never heard of. Thanks for the comment and I will try to add those cities soon, although I may not add most or all of them to the Backpacker Index as full entries. -Roger

Marcus says:

Thanks for your feedback!

Paulsen says:

You forgot Minsk, Belarus. It should be on 2nd place 🙂



    It’s not a matter of forgetting Minsk, it’s that Minsk is yet another larger city that gets very little foreign tourism. I’m going to start adding a few of those though. Thanks for the comment. -Roger

Agata says:

About Poland… I live have lived in Krakow for 4 years and I should tell you that meals here are more expensive. You can eat a dinner for 24 PLN, even cheaper if you go to one of places called “Bar Mleczny”- cheap polish cusine, i recommend, but there is no way you could spend 24 PLN on the food for all day. 40 PLN is more realistic. Same thing with Warsaw- food will cost more, about 50 PLN for a day.



    Thank you very much for the feedback. I will update the prices up soon based on your advice. The last time I was in both of those cities was about four years ago and you could get by on those amounts if you were on a very tight budget, but I know inflation can push costs higher in these areas even though it appears to be stable for the whole economy. I appreciate the help. -Roger

Maritza says:


Thanks for the list. However, a few comments. I have followed your advice here and visited some of the countries that you have listed, but the prices being charged are certainly way higher than those you listed. Considering you wrote this for 2018 travel and I am traveling now, it is crazy! For example, I was unable to get a bed in Belgrade for less than 12 Euros (Belgrade listed as the 3rd cheapest city) – and I took it because most of the hostels are charging 15 euros and up. I have not paid 12 euros anywhere and I started traveling from Greece. Had I known this, I would have skipped the city, but my current hostel already arranged for me to be picked up, so let’s see how it goes. Now in Romania where I’ve paid between 8-10 euros/night. I see you changed the price for Hostel Mostel in Sofia, but it is not that high, at least not for one bunk bed. Out of all the ones I’ve been to, thus far from your list, that was a really fantastic place – free breakfast and dinner – fresh, not cardboard like the rest that claim to offer free breakfast, and the staff were simply awesome – they manage to know my name…then again, I was told that it is also the name of the longest river in the Balkans 😉 I believe it was 10 euro/night. Anyways, my 2 cents. Making my way back to Paris….I’m afraid it will start to get more expensive from this point forward. A few Euros extra might not seem like a lot, but when you are traveling for a while and have limited resources, it matters a whole lot. Additional suggestions welcomed. Thanks.



    Thank you for the comment, and I’m sorry that you’ve had a few budget surprises so far. I take pride in the Backpacker Indexes, and it’s challenging to know how much detail and explanation to go into. If I write long explanations then I fear people will skip the whole thing, so I try to keep it brief. But that can lead to surprises like this. I’m going to add a note now near the top that should explain what is going on.

    The thing is, most European hostels have their lowest rates from around November through March, and then April, May, September, and October are a bit higher. And usually June through August are a few euros higher per night. When I gather data for the update of the Backpacker Index each year I get rates from April or May, because about 9 months a year the rates are that price or a bit lower. However, in those summer months, and particularly in places like Greek Islands, the rates can seem much higher than what I’ve written. Again, I’m sorry about this, and my advice would be to research current hostel prices for cities before you lock in plans for a specific time period. If you were traveling in March (and plenty of backpackers do travel year round) you’d wonder why the prices I’m quoting are higher than you are paying.

    If you are still on the road in September I think you’ll find it to be pretty close to the prices I used. It’s hard to put this all in an explanation on top of the list, but my main goal for the Backpacker Index is to help people be able to compare cities to each other rather than lock in an exact budget. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve encountered backpackers who spend almost no money on food by loading up on the included breakfast in the hostel and then buying a few things from the supermarket, including alcohol, and they get by on almost nothing. And other “backpackers” can’t resist heading to the busiest and most expensive part of town for food and drinks, and they spend a small fortune. Let me know if I can help any more. -Roger

Jeremy says:

Hey Roger,

I am so happy I came across this site. Love it!!! Great work.

I managed to get six weeks off work later this year and will be heading to Europe. Planning was initially overwhelming as there are so many places to visit and I have so little time and a limited budget. Your costing for each city is a great help in helping me decide places that I will be able to affordably visit.




    I really appreciate you taking the time to comment like this. Many people, understandably, only comment when they have a complaint, so these positive comments are nice. -Roger

Indra says:

Yo Wade, it’s such a great work and i really appreciate it. Keep spirit to do this job. Greetings from Indonesia.

syed majid says:

Dear Roger,

Hope you are in great health. first i want to thank you for your kind advise to all. i have some query to discuss with you. i have my business commitment in first week of October in Amsterdam, i m planning to visit with my family and i will be having 10 days a part from my commitment. i need your advise, where i should take my family in Schengen states. the time period will be first two weeks of October, 2018. i was thinking about Germany. need your advise to plan a budget package and should have some nice destinations as my family will be visiting first time.
one more thing, my family is total four person, me, wife and two little beautiful daughters. advise me also about the transportation arrangement for the trip as well.
looking forward for your as usual response and best advise.

Kieran says:

I will hopefully be visiting 6 countries in the top 10 from December onwards. Nice list if accurate.

It seems to me Budapest is the ultimate hub for Euorope when it comes to flights. It’s cheaper to go to and from Budapest than any other country in relative comparison and it also has a lot more options of countries to visit including the more obscure locations.



    Especially in the off season like that, I’m sure you’ll find the list to be pretty accurate. It’s better for comparing cities to each other rather than for creating a lock-in budget for your whole trip because some people buy souvenirs or clothes or spend way more or less on alcohol or deserts and those sorts of things, even while backpacking. Budapest is a good hub for the cheaper and more interesting parts of Europe, but the trains from Budapest to anywhere outside of Hungary are pretty slow, so make sure you take that into account. Have a fantastic trip. -Roger

Mark says:

First of all: I really appreciate the list and the immense effort and passion taken to compile this. My deepest respect!

As German citizen and European traveler I experienced that a pure price-based comparison is as misleading as counting the opera houses in each town. Value for money would be a a very good indicator and the immediate question back is how to achieve that. There are several indicators that shall be considered. And even if we do not find teh final formula but I guess in the beginning it would help travelers to get some indicators what they can get for the money, e.g. number of top-rated sights in Europe or number of stages, operas, …

No complaint. just thoughts because I see on various travel forums how much people are unhappy with decisions they made based on price only. So, to me worth an approach and worth to question the value for money.

All the best for you!



    Thanks for this, and I totally agree. We will continue to update the Backpacker Index, of course, but I’m also very aware that focusing on the cheapest destinations is usually unwise even for those on the lowest budgets. I even frequently point people to an article I wrote a few years ago called, First time to Europe: Focus on these 5 great cities rather than the cheap ones. As you say, it’s pretty much impossible to produce a “value index.”

    A real cheapskate might do a holiday in Riga and Tallinn because they are much cheaper than London and Paris, and of course that would be a mistake. By the way, I personally think Berlin offers excellent value in that it’s a great city that also seems relatively cheap when you are there. Krakow and Budapest are also on that list for me. Thanks again for the comments. -Roger

Kieran says:

Just a quick thought, you say the very low end budget destinations tend not to be included in your evaluations due to their relative low tourism levels. I believe this website, and you as it’s author, could potentially have a significant influence in promoting the increase of tourism in said destinations, if you were to include them in your next writeup. I’m referring to places inclusive of the Balkans and whatnot.



    Thanks for your comment. I’ve actually thought about that and it’s interesting to hear someone else mention it. I don’t really think this list could have a “significant” influence on those smaller, cheaper, and more remote cities, but I’d think at least some number of people would consider going to them if I pointed out how affordable they are along with some of the highlights. You’ve probably seen my earlier comments on the topic and it’s a tough call. This list actually gets a lot of views every day and it’s been going for 7 or 8 years that way. My concern is that if people click to see the “cheapest cities in Europe” and they scroll down the first 10 entries and they’ve never heard of any of them that they’ll just close the page. Also, the current number of 56 is already a bit unwieldy. I started with 40 cites and I added 16 more in following years.

    One thing I’ve considered is at least creating pages for those smaller and more remote cities and then linking to them near the top of the article as “similar alternatives” in price to Bucharest or Sofia and whatnot, but without doing a full entry for them. It’s something to think about and I appreciate any more feedback from you or anyone else who reads this and has an opinion. -Roger

Wing says:

Hi Roger
Hope this comment finds you well.I’m Wing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m planning to my Eastern Europe trips from 11 December 2018 until 30 January 2019,its like month and a half. The reason i decided my Eastern Europe trip on December 2018 because of the flight ticket (USD275 by Scoot Airlines) is quite cheap from all the way – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Berlin,Germany & Germany will be beginning of my Eastern Europe Trip. Besides that, I was thinking to celebrate Xmas & New Year Eve in Easter Europe, I believe it would be the best atmosphere to feel the holiday season. Do you know which countries which best to spend xmas & new year fireworks??
Of course I love winter seasons in Europe as Snowing stuffs.

I would like to share with you my Itinerary which I have planning now so far as below:

1) Berlin,Germany (4 days)From Kuala Lumpur to Berlin ,germany
2) Warsaw, Poland (4 days) From Berlin, it’s a little over a 5-hour train ride.
3) Vilnius,Lithuania (Approx. 1-3 days) A bus ride from Warsaw to Vilnius is about 6 hours
4) Riga,Latvia (3-4 days) from Vilnius to Riga 4 hours bus ride
5) Tallinn (3-4 days) The bus from Riga to Tallinn will take about 4 or should I fly in ?
6) Minsk Belarus (3-4 days) visa exempted as malaysian passport holder – still considering whether to visit or not?
7) Kiev, Ukraine (4-5 days) train from Minsk to Kiev is likely 12 hours or maybe take a flight but costs a lot more.
8) Lviv, Ukraine (3-4 days) train from Kiev to Lviv, the 5-hour train ride
9) Transylvania/Bucharest, Romania (4-5 days) flying to Bucharest and then taking a bus, Approx. 8 hours of total travel time.
10) Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (2-3 days) another long commute between Transylvania and Veliko — about 10 hours via bus or train.
11) Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2 days) bus from veliko to plovdic-4.5 hours
12) Sofia, Bulgaria (3-4 days) Plovdiv to Sofia is about 1.5 hours by bus or 2.5 hours by train.
13) Budapest, hungary (3-5 days) From Sofia to Budapest, it’s best to fly — it’s about a 4.5-hour flight.
14) Prague,Cze republic (3-5days) Fly or take an overnight train from Budapest to Prague.

That’s my itinerary so far and I hope you can provide me your pro suggestions/advices for this mega eastern europe trip 🙂 I know it’s sound a bit crazy for my massive trips, do you think should cut off some others cities?? However, as i have checked, prices throughout Eastern Europe are cheap so i can eat, sleep, drink, and party for a fraction of what I’d spend in Western Europe? right?? Also for this trip most of time are travelling city to city.

Hope to hear from your reply soonest 🙂 As I’m still planning my trip & maybe to add on some other countries liked luxemberg,belgium,nertherland & So on.

Thanks a lot 😉



    KL is actually my favorite big city in Asia and it’s nice to hear from there. One thing I wonder is how much experience you have in colder temperatures? It’s always so hot and humid where you live that for some people it’s really nice to spend time in colder areas, but northern and eastern Europe in December and January can get pretty extreme. As you know, the farther north you go the fewer daylight hours you have that time of the year. And you might get unlucky and have to deal with some snow storms along the way. It can be a really wonderful novelty at first, but traveling and sightseeing in the snow can be slow and challenging in some ways.

    As for Christmas and New Years in that area, I can’t think of one place on your list that will be much different from the others. Christmas is a pretty big deal in all of them, and there will be New Years celebrations in all larger cities, so I would just plan your trip and enjoy wherever you happen to be on those dates.

    I’ve been to most of the places on your list but not all of them. I haven’t been to Belarus and I haven’t heard many good things about it. It’s a bit more out of the way, but I’d recommend Krakow instead of Warsaw, or maybe both. Krakow is a really cool city and Warsaw is kind of a dud, in my opinion. Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn are all cool and fun with good nightlife. The express buses between them are the way to go. Ukraine is another that I haven’t made it to yet and that is, again, mostly because I don’t hear many good things about it. It looks like it’ll be below freezing most of the time in Kiev, for example, and I’m not sure how much fun that would be.

    Budapest and Prague are both excellent and should be fun no matter the weather. Bulgaria and Romania are other places that I’m not sure how much fun they would be that time of year.

    I think the trip you have outlined would be really fun in summer or even in spring or autumn, but it might not be much fun in winter. If your goal is to see a lot of Europe and focus on cheaper places I think I would do some of those eastern places and then fly to Spain where the days are longer and it won’t be freezing even at night. The big cities in Spain can be pretty expensive in summer, but they are actually fairly cheap in winter. That time of year you can get a hostel bed for €15 in many Spanish and Portuguese cities or a single hotel room starting around €30 per night. It’s pretty easy to keep food costs down in Spain, and alcohol there is very cheap if you look around a bit.

    At the very least I would keep my trip flexible and only plan a few places at a time. You could start on your original plan and if it’s too cold and dark to enjoy you can find a cheap flight to Barcelona and then travel around Spain and Portugal. This sounds like a really fun trip and it’s great that you are planning on some places that most people ignore. I’m happy to help more as you are getting your plan together. -Roger

Kieran says:

I look forward to seeing the new publication, will the 2019 edition be out around the same time?



    I’m happy to hear this, and we are already done with much of the price checks and updates for European cities for next year, so I’ll be updating the Backpacker Index for 2019 soon. Most likely it’ll be the second week of December, but it might be as soon as the last week of November. -Roger

Jasma says:

Hi Roger,

I hope you are in a good spirit. I am happy to have found your blog here for cheapest European countries to travel. I am writing this to check if you still answer queries here because the last comment shows 2018. I have taken your recommendations before in 2019 and I find your response informative. Pls respond so I could put down my query here.



    I’m still here and I answer questions on many articles every day. I guess it’s just been a while since anyone has asked on this article, but I’m happy to try to help. -Roger

Joris says:


is the list stil getting updates because there is a difference in the european 56 city list and the 137 cities world list by the european cities. which list is more realable for european cities?



    Yes, these lists are still being updated and most recently last December. During the pandemic it’s possible that some things have changed a bit, but my guess is that almost no one is raising prices. The above Backpacker Index should be more helpful than the Global version (137 cities) as it provides a lot more detail and is based on the same calculations. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger


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