5 European Cities You Can Visit for $50 a Day

By Nick Wharton on 15 March 2018 0 comments

European getaways are often associated with high costs, and when you're talking about cities like London, Madrid, or Paris, that is often true. However, if you stay away from the traditional European hot spots, you can find destinations that are much friendlier on your wallet while still providing that old world European charm. Many of these places give even the best budget destinations in the world a run for their money.

Though you can find bargains all over the continent, Eastern and Central Europe, in particular, provide a lot of bang for your buck. These regions also have many lesser known, and therefore less busy, destinations just waiting to be discovered.

*All costs have been estimated using Numbeo, the world's largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, and hotel booking site Booking.com.

1. Sofia, Bulgaria

The majority of visitors to Bulgaria head to the popular coastal regions, but the country’s historic capital is worth spending a few days in. Sofia has been billed as one of Europe's most affordable cities, and it offers a diverse and exciting experience to travelers.

History lovers will delight in the yellow brick roads in its historic center and the 1,800-year-old Roman city that lies beneath. Sofia is also surrounded by stunning landscapes, making it a great place for adventure lovers. Hiking, climbing, and mountain biking are popular pastimes in the area, with the nearby Vitosha Mountain providing the perfect setting for these activities. (See also: 5 Natural Wonders You Can See For Free)

This fascinating city is steadily building a reputation for its youthful atmosphere and modern amenities — not to mention the low cost of living you can enjoy while there. Thanks to its small size, the city is extremely walkable, so you won't need to fork over much for local transportation costs.

  • Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $7.

  • Price of budget private room per night is $31.

  • Cost of living ranks 437th out of 559 cities in the world.

2. Zagreb, Croatia

Croatia's capital city, Zagreb, is one of Europe's most underrated cultural hubs, boasting a number of museums, interesting architecture, and tons of musical and theatrical events. It's an extremely tourist-friendly city with many pedestrianized areas in the center, making it easy to walk around.

The medieval part of the city center has beautiful old buildings that line cobbled streets still lit by traditional looking gas lamps. You'll find many quaint cafes where you can stop to watch the world go by and enjoy traditional snacks like apple strudel and coffee. By night, you'll discover a vibrant bar and club scene, as well as some fantastic restaurants serving tasty Croatian cuisine.

On the outskirts, you'll also find mountains, and these are where many of the locals head when the weekend comes. Enjoy a picnic and the stunning nature, as well as great panoramic views across the city. It's a laid-back, sophisticated place that can be enjoyed year-round. (See also: 5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford)

  • Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $8.

  • Price of budget private room per night is $25.

  • Cost of living ranks 342nd out of 559 cities in the world.

3. Bucharest, Romania

If you're not familiar with Bucharest, that's probably because it's not yet on the European tourist trail. But Romania's capital is a destination growing in popularity. The modern city center is interspersed with historic buildings like the various 300-year-old churches you'll find hidden down back alleys. With plenty of large, green spaces in its gardens and parks, you can easily forget that there are nearly 2 million inhabitants here, making it one of Europe's largest cities.

There are lots of historic landmarks that point toward Romania's communist past, with walking tours taking you around some of the most significant sites. Perhaps the most fascinating is the Palace of the Parliament, which is the largest administrative building in the world, and an ongoing reminder of the old regime that built it. (See also: 6 European Cities Where Retirement Is Actually Affordable)

  • Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $8.

  • Price of budget private room per night is $25.

  • Cost of living ranks 427th out of 559 cities in the world.

4. Budapest, Hungary

Originally consisting of two separate cities, Buda and Pest, Hungary's capital was divided geographically by the Danube River that runs between them. These days, as one city, Budapest is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is undoubtedly one of Europe's most picturesque cities. (See also: 11 Incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites Right Here in the U.S.)

The mixture of Gothic, neoclassical, North African, and various other styles of architecture combine to create a breathtaking effect. Be sure to take a camera, as this city will provide you with Instagram gold for months to come.

If you're weary from wandering around the sites, head to one of the bathhouses where you can experience the hot springs that are found all over Budapest. They're said to be a surefire cure for a hangover, which you may just wake up with if you experience any of the renowned night life.

  • Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $6.

  • Price of budget private room per night is $40.

  • Cost of living ranks 383rd out of 559 cities in the world.

5. Krakow, Poland

Krakow's significance in World War II is just one of the many reasons that it's become a popular European destination. Historic sites like the nearby notorious Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, and Schindler's factory made famous by the Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List draw visitors interested in the tragic events that occurred here.

But Krakow has also developed into a beloved destination for showcasing some of Poland's greatest assets. Sample local delicacies like bigos (meat and cabbage stew), pierogies (sweet or savory dumplings), and golonka (ham hocks or pork knuckles), have a sip of the strong and crisp Polish lagers available, and enjoy the buzzing night life.

Despite becoming an extremely popular tourist destination in recent years, Krakow is still extremely budget-friendly compared to many other top European cities. You'll get a lot of bang for your buck here with its mixture of culture, history, and modern city life.

  • Cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $6.

  • Price of budget private room per night is $20.

  • Cost of living ranks 424th out of 559 cities in the world.

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