Vacationing doesn’t have to break the bank, so pick one of the best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget for your trip instead of a place that’s going to take all your money.
The world is massive, as is Europe, so there are so many different places to visit for so many different price points. Many people think that you have to spend a fortune, just to travel, and that’s not true. And yes, there are some places that are definitely pricier than others, but if you do your research beforehand, ask around and look out for deals, you’ll find that you can spend much less than $1,000 on a weeklong European vacation — including airfare from the United States. It all depends on where you decide to go. I’ve done it, so I know you can too.
You will find that in most cases, the cheapest European cities to live in are also the cheapest European cities to visit, which makes a lot of sense. Some of the best cities in Europe to live in really have a relatively low cost of living. While some of these cities might not be the fancy European cities you typically think about when thinking of a vacation, each one offers unique experiences that you will enjoy if you like exploring new places. Plus, all European countries have their share of centuries-old history that is really incredible to see in the forms of castles, places of worship and other infrastructure. The first step to finding what are the cheapest places to travel in the world is to start with the cheapest European cities to fly into. The answer to this question varies depending on your location, but Stockholm, Milan, and Warsaw are among the cities with the cheapest airports to fly into in Europe. Since we are mentioning Milan, take a look at the most affordable places to visit in Italy that are also beautiful.
To bring you a list of the best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget we used Budget Your Trip, Destination Europe, and Google. Budget Your Trip has a great tool that tells you the average costs of visiting a place with food and lodging expenses included. The costs are based on real traveler’s experiences. Their site also offers costs in a number of different currencies, but for our purposes we researched based on the U.S. dollar. Due to the fact that airfare varies depending on location, we have ranked our list based on the average cost per person, while staying in the cities, excluding airfare. The cheaper the cost, the higher the city has been placed on our list.
Now, let’s check out what we have here, because among our 15 you will find at least top ten weekend getaways next time when you get to take off time from work.
15. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Average Cost Per Week: $617
We’ll start the list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget, with Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. $617 is the average cost of the vacation in the country for a week, but for the purposes of this article, we will talk about the capitals since we are focusing on cities. Ljubljana, like many Eastern Europeans, has a historic “old town” mixed with the more modern areas of the city. The city is known for its large population of university students, so it’s bound to have nightlife and lots of other things to do.
14. Prague, Czech Republic
Average Cost Per Week: $611
We are continuing our list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget with Prague that is one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, in our opinion. It’s quite a unique city with the medieval old town and iconic Charles Bridge. A visit to the city is not complete without a visit to the Prague Castle and without tasting their delicious “Trdelník” pastry, which is a unique rolled, cinnamon pastry.
13. Oslo, Norway
Average Cost Per Week: $602
If you live on the East Coast of the United States, there are almost always inexpensive flights flying from New York City to Oslo, and that’s the hard part of getting there. Most people don’t recommend visiting Oslo in the winter because of extra cold weather and short days. However, if you can catch it during the summertime, then you’re in for a treat. There aren’t many other places where you can find both fortresses and The Viking Ship Museum.
12. Zagreb, Croatia
Average Cost Per Week: $552
From open-air markets to museums and churches, there’s so much to explore here. Interestingly enough, there’s even the Museum of Broken Relationships. If it’s summertime, it’s worth a trip to see the beautiful coast of the country. Croatia’s not only beautiful, but it’s inexpensive too since $600 will last you for a week. That’s why Croatia, with Zagreb is on our list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget.
11. Vilnius, Lithuania
Average Cost Per Week: $551
If you haven’t noticed by now, Eastern Europe is the area you need to visit if you are searching for an inexpensive country to travel to in Europe. Lithuania is no exception from its neighbors when it comes to experiencing a unique culture and history.
10. Bratislava, Slovakia
Average Cost Per Week: $549
We are continuing our list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget with Bratislava that is the city for the adventurers. If you love to be active, you will love the city’s pedestrian-only Old Town, hiking and cycling trails. Vineyards also surround the capital. Its multiple castles and palaces are a must see if you’re going to get the full experience of Bratislava.
9. Warsaw, Poland
Average Cost Per Week: $521
Architecture lovers will fall in love with Warsaw after witnessing the unique mixture of gothic, neoclassical, Soviet-era, and modern architecture sprinkled around the city. There’s a population of around 1.7 million people, so you won’t feel like it’s too overcrowded during your visit.
8. Tallinn, Estonia
Average Cost Per Week: $511
We’re about halfway through our list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget and if you haven’t picked a place already, what about Tallinn, Estonia? Of course, there are castles and the old city to see, but Tallinn has an interesting history with marzipan, and there are places you can go to find all kinds of marzipan figurines. If that’s not unique, we don’t know what is.
7. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Average Cost Per Week: $500
From here on out, every European city to travel to on a budget will be accessible for less than $500 a week. Things have calmed down since the Bosnian War in the early 1990s and now many tourists travel to Sarajevo for winter sports and a look into World War I history.
6. Riga, Latvia
Average Cost Per Week: $433
Just under 2 million people call the Latvia’s capital – Riga, the home. While you’re there, visit the many palaces and museums, but also take note of a unique architecture that you will find all over the city.
5. Moscow, Russia
Average Cost Per Week: $421
If you’re an American, considering the current political climate, you may or may not want to visit Russia. However, if you do decide to risk it, at least it won’t cost you a lot of money while being there. One thing’s for sure; you’ll feel like you’re in a real-life Candy Land based on the city’s architecture.
4. Sofia, Bulgaria
Average Cost Per Week: $354
In 2013 Sofia was named Europe’s most affordable capital, so you see why we put it on our list. The thriving city is home to many universities and is also an excellent location for startup businesses.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Average Cost Per Week $294
You probably weren’t expecting Turkey to be on this list of best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget. Even though the majority of the country is in Asia, parts of it are in Europe, to be precise – parts of Istanbul. No matter what part of Istanbul you visit though, your dollar will go far since you can make it there for under $300 a week. Because so many empires have ruled in the area, you’re bound to have plenty to see, do, and learn in this city.
2. Belgrade, Serbia
Average Cost Per Week: $207
When most people think of vacation, they probably don’t think of Serbia. However, this country, full of forests, rivers, and mountains, is really beautiful when you take the time to learn more about it. For more on what to do here, take a look at our article on fun and awesome things to do in Belgrade.
1. Kiev, Ukraine
Average Cost Per Week: $202
We’ve finally come to the end of the best cities to spend a week in Europe on a budget list with yet another Eastern European country. From the coast of the Black Sea to the mountainous region overflowing with forests, Ukraine is definitely a good vacation for an adventurer. Make sure to visit Kiev, Odessa, or Kharkiv to get a taste of this country’s unique culture and history.