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The Best European Cities For Budget Travelers

Posted by Abbey Krzymowski on 8/7/19 10:03 AM

ILP Romania

Ready to spend a semester traveling around Europe? Trust us—there are few things more thrilling! Here are 10 of our favorite cities that you can easily visit while on a budget.

First things first, there seems to be a popular belief that only the rich and wealthy can tour Europe. Thankfully this is not true! The most expensive thing about Europe is just getting there, and as a volunteer with International Language Programs, your flight is actually included in your program fee. Yay! Once you're there, you might even be surprised by just how affordable it can be to travel around to a dozen countries (or more) on a budget. 


Want to volunteer abroad but worried about the cost? Read this: 
How To Pay Less For A Semester Abroad



While volunteering as an English teacher, you'll have plenty of vacation days to explore the amazing European countries around you! Whether you're planning a weekend trip, or a week-long vacation, there are many tips and tricks to saving money so that you can see and do more. Thankfully there's no European rule book that says you have to stay at the boujee hotels or eat at the most luxurious restaurants, so you can always find affordable, practical options, especially when traveling with friends

Some of the best advice we can give is to visit places that are a little less touristy and popular. You can often find cheaper flights to these locations, AND if the city is all-around cheaper, then of course you'll spend less money. Chances are, you'll end up loving these less pricey places more anyways! We know we sure do. 

Some of these countries are cheaper to travel to because they've decided to stick with their local currency rather than switch to the Euro. But that isn't always the case since London is one of the most expensive cities you can visit and they still use the British Pound. When you travel is also something to consider, as all expenses will be much less in the fall and spring compared to high-tourist season in the summer. So here's our list of some of the CHEAPEST (and cutest) cities to visit in Europe. 

Budget Friendly Cities In Europe

  • Riga, Latvia
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Kosice, Slovakia
  • Budapest, Hungary 
  • Brasov, Romania
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Ksamil Beach, Albania

Riga, Latvia

We're starting strong with one of the most charming cities in all of Europe! Bask in all of the colorful Art Nouveau architecture (especially on Albert Street), and check out the Chiesa Russian Orthodox Church that actually does look like a hot pink birthday cake. You can also kayak down the river, tour the Laima Chocolate Museum, and discover so many other gems in just a day or two! 

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $15 per day. 
Local Transport: About $7 per day. 
Attractions: About $12 per day. 
Accommodations: $12-25 on Hostelworld

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Tallinn, Estonia

As the home of a favorite photo spot—the "Times We Had" wall—this city is a popular destination for all of our volunteers spending a semester in Europe. Make sure you also stop by the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, sculpt your own marzipan, and even visit the stunning Kadriorg Palace if you have time. Visiting in the winter? The Christmas Market should be your #1 destination!

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $22 per day. 
Local Transport: About $3 per day. Mostly walkable.
Attractions: About $10. The best things are free! 
Accommodations: $12-30 on Hostelworld 

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Krakow, Poland

This city is one of our VERY favorites, and if you've ever been, you know why. With so so much to experience, it's hard to narrow down the highlights.  You could spend hours just in the Jewish Quarter alone—while enjoying the best ice cream in Poland, maybe even the best in Europe! Auschwitz-Birkenau and the surprisingly stunning Salt Mines are absolute must-dos, even though they're a bit out of the city. You will definitely need a full weekend here thanks to all of the unique things you just can't find anywhere else! 

Read our CITY GUIDE 

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $10 per day. Here are some of our favorite restaurants
Local Transport: Plan on $5 per day. Mostly walkable. 
Attractions:  About $10 per day + Auschwitz Tour $40 + Wieliczka Salt Mines $15
Accommodations: $10-20 on Hostelworld 

ILP Europe

Prague, Czech Republic

This is one of those cities you just can't help but fall in love with. As soon as you start to walk across Charles Bridge and up the hill to the castle, you'll see the breathtaking views that can't be found anywhere else! Indulge in all the sugary treats that make the whole city that much sweeter, and then make sure you check out some of the gems like Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, the colorful Jubilee Synagogue, and the book tunnel at the Municipal Library! If you love fairy tales, and desserts, and history, this is the place for you! 

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $12 per day. Here are all of our favorite foods
Local Transport: About $7 per day. Mostly walkable. 
Attractions: About $10. The best things are free!
Accommodations: $20-$30 on Hostelworld

ILP Europe

Kosice, Slovakia

You've probably never heard of this one, right? Part of its charm comes from the way Kosice has been able to avoid the constant stream of tourists that flood Europe during every season. The singing fountains are a definite highlight, as are Spiš Castle, and Jakab's Palace. If you love quiet, quaint vacation days, this is the spot for you! And you really can see all of Kosice in one day. 

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $12 per day. 
Local Transport: About $5 per day. Mostly walkable! 
Attractions: About $15 per day. 
Accommodations: Not many hostels. AirBnbs will be your best bet! $30-40 total. 

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Budapest, Hungary

This is one you need to visit before it becomes even more popular! Nicknamed "Paris of the East", you'll see why it is quickly becoming a favorite destination for everyone. The Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church, and the Thermal Baths are obvious musts, but don't forget about the Shoes on the Danube Bank. And make sure you swing by our favorite donut spot for an afternoon treat. You'll enjoy every second of a weekend in Budapest!

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $15 per day. 
Local Transport: About $6 per day. 
Attractions: About $12 per day + Thermal Baths $11-17 + Free things to do
Accommodations: $15-30 on Hostelworld

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Brasov, Romania

Ready for another magical town that sits just beyond most travelers' bucketlists? Complete with a white, Hollywood-type sign on the slopes overlooking the town square, we bet you'll love every square inch of this place, including Eastern Europe's narrowest alleyway: Rope Street. Brasov is the starting point for Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and Seven Ladders Canyon. If you love hiking and castles, this should be your dream destination! 

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $18 per day. 
Local Transport: About $12 per day. 
Attractions: About $10 per day + Bran Castle $10 + Peles Castle $7-20
Accommodations: $12-20 on Hostelworld 

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Kiev, Ukraine

Whether you're into brightly-colored cathedrals, or just looking for a really cheap weekend, this is THE place! There is so much history in this city, so museums are another favorite for visitors. And don't forget to check out the somewhat bizarre but very cool House with Chimaeras and the Alice In Wonderland Park. Finish up a packed weekend by enjoying a high-class opera or ballet. Kiev is also currently the only city on this list that we can send volunteers to for a full semester! Learn more here

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $8 per day. Here are some of our favorite restaurants
Local Transport: About $2 per day + Our guide to the metro
Attractions: About $5 per day + Free things to do
Accommodations: $8-12 on Hostelworld

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

If we had to choose one word to describe this place—picturesque. For those who adore Venice, Amsterdam, Brugge, and Annecy, you'll love this city because the Ljubljana River cuts right down its center. And get this—you can see all the best parts, including views of the castle, while standing on a paddleboard! Plus there's plenty of adorable cafes and winding streets to explore when you've had enough of the river. Talk about an ideal 24 hours! 

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $18 per day. 
Local Transport: About $8 per day. Mostly walkable! 
Attractions: About $12 per day. 
Accommodations: $20-30 on Hostelworld

slovenia

Ksamil Beach, Albania

Albania is THE place to find stunning European beaches, and Ksamil happens to be our favorite. You just thank your lucky stars that most travelers from the US of A don't know about it yet. Hurry up and visit before that changes because this gem shares coastlines with Greece, Montenegro, and Croatia! We're talking PRISTINE, turquoise water, complete with old city ruins, where you can spend a day for half the cost of more popular beaches, with a tiny fraction of the crowds. While you're at it, stop by our other favorite Albanian spots

Read our CITY GUIDE

Suggested Budgets

Food: About $10 per day. 
Local Transport: About $20+ for beach hopping. 
Attractions: About $15 + Paddle boat Rental $15 + Blue Eye Lake $20
Accommodations: Not many hostels. AirBnbs will be your best bet! $25-38 total. 

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You probably have questions about what we're looking for in volunteers,
and what this kind of experience will really be like. We know we sure did!
Click the button below to learn some of the basics:

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Topics: Europe, Saving Money + Fundraising

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