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Photo credit kristin todorova and Elio Santos

Europe’s cheapest cities for 2017 travel

The Europe Backpacker Index ranks 56 of Europe’s most popular cities from cheapest to most expensive.

We’ve teamed up with Price of Travel again to bring you an infographic, highlighting the top 10 cities where your travel budget will stretch for miles in 2017.

The Backpacker Index is based on thorough research and calculated on one night accommodation in the cheapest hostel, two public transport rides per day, one paid attraction per day, three budget meals per day and three local beers or wine, or dessert and coffee per day.

Since we published the cheapest cities in Europe for 2015, some significant shifts in rank have occurred, with St. Petersburg falling out of the top 10 cheapest cities and Sofia scoring the number one spot, up from third place. New to the list is Zagreb, taking 10th place.

1. Sofia, Bulgaria

For culture vultures, Sofia delights with Bulgaria’s best museums, galleries and entertainment venues. The welcoming city also offers manicured gardens and ample opportunities for people-watching from charming cafes. Best of all, you’ll find that approximately £19 is enough for each day, at these prices:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation with breakfast: £4.90
  • Transport: 86p
  • Meals: £7.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £3.21
  • Attractions: £2.57

2. Krakow, Poland

Moving up from the number four spot last year, Krakow continues to offer fantastic value for backpackers. With Europe’s largest medieval square, Renaissance and Gothic architecture and the ability to explore an array of attractions on foot, you can eat as many dumplings as you like - especially when you only need about £20 a day:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £6.43
  • Transport: £1.05
  • Meals: £4.52
  • Drinks/entertainment: £19.07
  • Attractions: £3.01

3. Bucharest, Romania

With its towering parliament building, bustling historic quarter, green squares and edgy vibe, Bucharest is a fantastic choice for European travel, without the extravagant costs. For approximately £21, the Romanian leu will take you far:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £5.80
  • Transport: 93p
  • Meals: £8.50
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £2.80
  • Attractions: £2.24

4. Belgrade, Serbia

Are you a night owl looking for some of Europe’s most happening bars and clubs? Belgrade serves it up with the best of them, as the city comes alive after dark. Other features include the Turkish quarter of Dorcal and the bohemian borough of Skadarlija, with its cobbled streets and arts scene. A day in the city will only set you back about £21, with these prices:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £5.03
  • Transport: £1.26
  • Meals: £9.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £3.77
  • Attractions: £2.52

5. Budapest, Hungary

Moving up the list from number eight last year, Budapest continues to provide incredible value for budget travellers. It’s enough to simply walk along the banks of the magnificent Danube and admire the architecture. However, there’s also castles, palaces, shopping, nightlife, café culture and thermal spas to enjoy. For as little as £21.50 per day, that makes for a perfect European experience, with these costs in the local currency:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £4.12
  • Transport: £1.87
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £2.80
  • Attractions: £4

6. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Though Sarajevo’s tourism industry has suffered from its troubled past, it might just be on the brink of a huge comeback. The restored Old Town and modern centre sit within a backdrop of green-topped mountains, with Ottoman and Austro Hungarian buildings, a Turkish feel and lively café scene. You can enjoy it all for about £23 per day, at these prices:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £4.90
  • Transport: £3.02
  • Meals: £8.06
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £3.15
  • Attractions: £3.36

7. Kyiv Ukraine [or Kiev]

The city has dropped from the number one spot last year, nonetheless Kiev remains cheap in comparison with the rest of Europe. With gold-domed churches, catacombs, galleries and historical museums to explore during the day and vibrant bars by night, it’s a fun adventure for approximately £23 per day:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £5.80
  • Transport: 24p
  • Meals: £10.74
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £5.46
  • Attractions: 46p

In standard English, it’s Kyiv; in transliterated Russian, it’s Kiev. In Ukrainian, it’s Київ, In Russian, it’s Киев. 

8. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Český Krumlov literally personifies the term, ‘chocolate box pretty’. It’s a popular day trip from Prague and often suffers under the weight of footsteps on its charming cobbled streets, but the views over the Old Town, the river and quaint, orange-hued roofs make it worth it. It’s hard to believe a visit will still only set you back about £24 a day, with these local prices:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £7.67
  • Transport: £1.49
  • Meals: £8.94
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £2.79
  • Attractions: £3.10

9. Warsaw, Poland

An often over-looked jewel, Warsaw is a charming city, combining Jewish heritage, gorgeous Baroque palaces and the famous reconstructed Old Town. In among the splendour, there are endless opportunities for eating, drinking and being merry, with a budget of just £24 for a day:

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £7.17
  • Transport: £1.28
  • Meals: £7.46
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £4.52
  • Attractions: £4.33

10. Zagreb, Croatia

The new addition to the top 10 cheapest list, Croatia’s Zagreb is set to rise in the tourism popularity stakes. The city is made for strolling, with museums, art, culture, cinema’s and theatres to visit and it’s not far from the spectacular Plitvice National Park. To visit, and especially enjoy the bustling cafe culture, you’ll only need about £26 a day:

  • Overnight accommodation: £6.77
  • Transport: £2.23
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £4.01
  • Attractions: £3.34

Not surprisingly, cities including Stockholm, Venice and Zurich rank as some of the most expensive. To check out further information, visit Price of Travel.

Note: All local and USD currencies provided by priceoftravel.com were converted into GBP at or around the time this article was published and is subject to change based on currency conversion rates at any given time. 


Picture of John

Posted by John
on 18th December 2016 and
updated on 19th January 2021

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