Europe’s cheapest cities for a magical weekend getaway
Do you know what Europe’s cheapest cities are? No? Do you want to know? Of course you do. If you’re looking at booking a Euro-trip in 2021 but don’t want it to bankrupt you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of Europe’s cheapest cities that’ll have you exploring to your heart’s content without breaking your budget. Let’s get straight into it.
🌍 Destination 1: Českẏ Krumlov, Czech Republic
Českẏ Krumlov is a super romantic destination with a rich history that’ll have you roaming its picturesque cobbled streets for hours on end.
Since Prague has seen its hotel and restaurant prices shoot up due to inflation in recent years, it’s now up to this little hidden gem to take over for the Czech Republic’s cheapest spot. And what a spot it is. With beers and wine for $1/$2 per glass, and hotel and hostel prices super low and affordable, Českẏ Krumlov is a wonderful compromise that’ll have you discovering new hidden nooks everywhere you look.
The State Castle of Českẏ Krumlov is completely free to roam around, and full of gothic renaissance vibes that’ll have you reaching for your camera every time you turn a corner. There’s also the Cloak Bridge, a stunning structure that gives incredible views at all times of the day, and plenty of museums to soak up the history of the city.
🌍 Destination 2: Split, Croatia
Split is a waterfront destination known to be cheaper than its cousin Dubrovnik, which lies further south. With a picturesque setting and a calm sea breeze rolling in 24/7, who can deny Split’s beauty?
Split is the second largest city in Croatia, so there’s plenty to see and do amongst the city walls, but it’s also famous for its stunning beaches and aquamarine water that are perfect for cooling off in the hot summer sun. This is clearly the city that has it all then, with plenty of spots to relax in once you’ve worn your legs out from all the sightseeing.
But what is there to do in Split? There’s the Diocletian’s Palace, and St Duje’s Cathedral, historic center-points of the city where you can learn all about it’s deep historic roots. There’s the historic old city center itself, where time seems to have stopped and every piece of architecture sings of the past. Want to head out of the hustle and bustle? Head to Marjan, where a 170 meter high hill will be waiting. It’s a beautiful spot to take in nature, and wander up through the trees, with a beautiful outlook onto split when you reach its peak.
🌍 Destination 3: Naples, Italy
Naples is a bustling, colorful city that’s a lot cheaper than its Italian brothers and sisters (we’re looking at you Venice, Rome and Milan!). Whilst Naples is by no means the cheapest spot on this list, you’ll get more bang for your buck here than anywhere else in Italy.
You don’t have to stay put in the city either. The trains are cheap enough to get out and about for the day, and that’s not all, because a ferry ride over to one of the islands just off the cost of Naples won’t cost you more than $10 either – that’s two day trips already without breaking the bank.
If you’re staying put in the city center though, most of the monument buildings with stunning architecture are free to roam through, including the Castel del’Ovo, where you’ll also find stunning views of the city from its perch up high. That’s not the only castle, there’s also Castel St Elmo, a fortress from the 11th Century that sits atop a hill, also giving panoramic views of Naples.
🌍 Destination 4: Porto, Portugal
A tourist’s favorite, Porto sits along the coast of Portugal, with picturesque sights like this around every corner. Although this city has plenty to offer on foot, do take into consideration its hilly altitude, which can be tiresome for some people.
Whilst the food and accommodation may not be the cheapest on this list, there are plenty of alternative spots to eat, drink and be merry in this glorious Portuguese city. The weather is always beautiful, the food is always fresh, and there’s plenty to see and do here on the coastline.
A trip to Porto isn’t complete without checking out these sights: the Dom Luis Bridge, an iron bridge connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, Sé do Porto, Porto’s free Cathedral, which boasts 12th and 13th Century features, parque da Cidade do Porto, Porto City’s park, a leafy park of over 200 acres, with a hidden private aquarium inside its walls, Bolhão Market, the place to pick up from fresh bread and cheese, and finally, Avenida dos Aliados, or, Avenue of the Alies, the city’s main walkthrough where you’ll spot gorgeous architecture and shopping experiences.
🌍 Destination 5: Gdansk, Poland
Gdansk is a perfect weekend trip destination thanks to its compact size. This small seaside, coastline city sits in the north of Poland and has become more popular as the years roll by.
There are plenty of free things to see and do in this Polish city. First of all, there’s the Dlugie Pobrzeze which you can see in the photo above. It’s the long embankment and main quay area of Gdansk, that used to be used for loading and unloading ships and boats that had docked. Nowadays, the area is a lively, lovely spot to wander, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating for a spot of people watching over lunch.
There are plenty of museums and monuments to check out too, like the Museum of the Second World War and the European Solidarity Center. There’s St Mary’s Church, The Golden House, Gdansk Crane, & Oliwa Cathedral too, which are all free to see and enter and show off a wealth of history withint their walls.
🌍 Destination 6: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest actually began its life as two separate towns named Buda and Pest, split by the famous Danube river. Buda means Old Town, whilst Pest means ‘New Town’. Together, both of these spots have their own vibes that pull the wayward traveler in!
Finding your way through Budapest is easy, thanks to the many free walking tours that’ll give you a good look at the history and beautiful architecture of the city. Fancy catching a killer sunset after your day of wandering? Head to Erzsébet híd, or Elizabeth’s Bridge, and look out over the city and the water over to the horizon to capture nature’s beauty from up high.
Although they’re not free, visiting the Fisherman’s Bastions and the Buda castle, which both show Budapest’s architecture and history in all its glory are must dos – do not miss out – especially for the beautiful views that can be witnessed from both. You’ll fall in love with Budapest for sure.
Our tip for eating in Budapest? Trying a hearty stew, or rather, a Hungarian Goulash , while you’re in the city. In some restaurants, they serve the goulash piping hot in a bread bowl! That’s something I need to see with my own eyes!
🌍 Destination 7: Bratislava, Slovakia
Slovakia is known for its incredible nature and outdoor areas, but Bratislava is one of its cities that’s becoming more and more well-known every year. It’s tiny, it’s cheap, it’s cool, and there’s plenty to see and do.
While there are plenty of things to do there that you can pay for the pleasure of, we’re going to tell you about all the free things there are to see and do in this beautiful city so you get a taste of the whole spectrum.
During July and August, you can go catch a free movie in an outdoor theater. That sounds like the perfect way to spend a glorious summer evening. There are loads of museums (they’re not free every day of the week, so check your timetable), such as the National History Museum, the transport museum, and The National Gallery, if you’re looking for a few indoors-y activities.
You could climb up to Slavin, a monument dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who helped liberate Slovakia from the Nazis, you can take a walking tour through the cities streets, and from Monday to Saturday, you can even check out the open air market that’s held almost all day.
🌍 Destination 8: Athens, Greece
Athens certainly has an ancient, run down vibe to it, but it’s charming, and the locals are wonderful, and incredibly generous. Nestled on the mainland of Greece, Athens is one of the cheapest, warmest spots on this list.
Head to some of Athens’ smaller villages and towns for that ultimate cozy feel. Try Anafiotika, which sits at the bottom of the Acropolis, or Plaka, the oldest neighborhood in the city. You’ll find authentic side streets and restaurants run by the older generation who’ll want to feed you until you pop.
There are plenty of museums in Athens for the history buffs amongst us. Try the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments, or the Municipal Gallery of Athens to get up close and personal with relics from the past. These museums have free entry too, so it won’t cost you anything to learn a little about the Greek capital.
🌍 Destination 9: Valletta, Malta
Valletta is easily the smallest destination on this list – the capital city on the island of Malta only covers around a kilometer of ground. Having said that, taking a trip to this cool and history rich city is worth it for a short city break.
Weirdly enough, there are loads of free or at least cheap things to do in Valletta. Walking tours are easy to find, and you don’t have to worry about walking around a city for 8 or so hours with a destination this petite! You should definitely check out the Bieb il-Belt – The Door of the City – a massive sculpture that was completed in 2014, and whilst you’re at it, the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens will offer a peaceful spot to picnic and watch the world go by.
Valletta has a number of famous churches: the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, Church of Our Lady of Victory, which are both precious to the city and well worth a peek. If you’re looking for great food, try the Is-Suq Tal-Belt, a famous covered market that’s well-known for producing local and fresh cuisine.
🌍 Destination 10: Bucharest, Romania
In Bucharest, you’ll find an industrial, yet bustling city. Bucharest is Romania’s largest city, and its financial hub. It’s no surprise it’s on the list of places to head for a quick weekend trip away.
Also known as the ‘Paris of the East’, Bucharest has a section that reflects Paris in its architecture and art nouveau palaces that line its streets. Truly a stunning and interesting place to wander, you might be able to trick a few of your friends and family that you actually took a trip to the City of Love, rather than Romania’s capital.
With a historic city center to roam, and food and drink to consume by the bucket load, you’ll want to spend a bit of time in the heart of Bucharest. There you’ll find the Palace of Parliament, secret gardens to wander and enjoy nature, and plenty of 21st century art to lock eyes with. This city has so many museums and churches to take a look at, you’ll be surprised at just how many you come across, even in a short stay!