10 Cheapest European Cities by Backpacker Index

Budapest view, cheapest european cities

Budapest view, cheapest european cities

The most popular European cities among tourists are very expensive. Just think of Paris, London, or Amsterdam. You will spend a ton of money visiting them.

Still, there is a list of less expensive countries in Europe that are very interesting to visit.

Price of Travel portal releases its yearly edition of the Backpacker Index with the cheapest European cities to visit. Its 2017 release consists of very interesting places that may become your next travel destination, so read further to find out, what are these cities!

Backpacker Index

Backpacker on a mountain in Europe, backpacker index

The Price of Travel actually has 2 indices, one is called Backpacker Index, and the other one – 3-star Traveler Index. They differ a little, so that the same city can be the cheapest in one index, and be out of top 10 in the other one.

European Backpacker Index includes 56 cities, but it doesn’t include my hometown Minsk, capital of Belarus. So, I changed that and calculated the price of 1 day in Minsk according to the Backpacker Index. Find out further, what place it has here.

Below, you can see, how the index is calculated and what expenses are taken into account:

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews (price checked on Booking.com. Get a 15 Euros return on your first booking).
  • Two public transportation rides per day
  • One paid/famous attraction per day (You can find lots of free things to do in every city, the index includes the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
  • Three “budget” meals per day (The minimum meal price + 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
  • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

10 Cheapest European Cities by Backpacker Index 2017

So, now we come to the list of 10 cheapest cities in Europe according to the Backpacker Index. The cheapest European city is:

  1. Minsk

Historical center of Minsk at night, cheapest european city by backpacker index

Yes, it is. I calculated all the expenses according to the description above and realized that Minsk is the cheapest European city to visit with a price of just $22 per day. According to my calculations, it was on the 5th place in 3-star Traveler Index.

Minsk is not only the least expensive city in Europe, but also is a very interesting place to visit. Just walk in the city center and enjoy the views of Trinity suburb, Upper town and the high-rise buildings on the Victors avenue on the background of the Svisloch river.

It is a great destination if you like tranquility (despite the fact that the city has 2 million inhabitants), city parks and cleanliness. Nevertheless, it is also the best place to visit in Eastern Europe if you like casinos.

Because of the historical location between major nations, Belarus suffered a lot from the numerous wars, which is reflected in various history museums and memorials devoted to those difficult times.

Lenina square in Minsk in Winter

Despite the common opinion in media, Minsk is one of the safest cities in Europe (you know, I visited a lot of them, so I can say that).

Here are the expenses that the backpacker index of Minsk consists of:

Accommodation: $8, which is a price for a good hostel Flatcon with reviews 8.9 and central location

Public transportation: $0.6. To use a tram or metro in Minsk, you will pay only $0.6 per ride, no matter how far you go.

Paid attraction: $4. That much costs the entrance to the new and already popular World War II museum in Minsk. But, you can also visit numerous attractions in the city for free.

Budget meals: $5.4. No need of eating fast food, it wasn’t taken into account here. The price you see is the minimum price to have a good meal either with national dishes like draniki, or a full lunch menu in the university canteen +20% to make the price more real in the long term.

Entertainment fund: $4. Price Of Travel took regarded 3 cheap local beers, wine, coffee with a dessert or a local concert as the entertainment fund. In Minsk, the prices for beer in a bar can be very low, so the total is just $4.

Total cost of 1 day in Minsk: $22.

Read about the best attractions  in Minsk here.

  1. Sofia

Sophia cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

Second cheapest European city is Sofia, capital of Bulgaria. One day for a budget traveler in Sofia will only cost $2 more than in Minsk.

It is a dynamic Eastern European capital with a combination of European and Communist-style architecture and a long list of beautiful orthodox churches, which are the main landmarks of the  city. Very close to the city, you can also go skiing on the Vitosha mountain, which you can see on the background of the capital of Bulgaria.

It may be not the most beautiful city to visit in the country, but it’s worth to check it out.

Here are the expenses in Sofia according to the Backpacker Index (in local currency, Leva)

Accommodation: 11.45 for Hostel Mostel, the price includes breakfast

Public transportation: 2

Paid attraction: 6

Budget meals: 16.8

Entertainment fund: 7.5

Total cost of 1 day in Sofia: BGN 43.75 = $24

Read about the best attractions  in Sofia here

  1. Krakow

Krakow main square, Poland

Third place in the list of cheapest cities in Europe according to the Backpacker index is Krakow. It is the most touristy Polish city having preserved lots of historical sights in contrast to Warsaw.

The city is interesting to visit for its history (it was the capital of Poland for a long time), legends and some attractions like Wawel Royal Castle. This bright and colorful Polish city looks like it came out of a fairytale, which entices thousands of tourists.

Here are the prices for different tourist expenses in Krakow (in Polish Zlotys):

Accommodation: 34.15 costs one night in the One World Hostel.

Public transportation: 5.6

Paid attraction: 16

Budget meals: 24

Entertainment fund: 24

Total cost of 1 day in Krakow: PLN 103.75 = $24.8

Read about the best attractions  in Krakow here

  1. Bucharest

Romania huge palace

Another Eastern European Capital is in top 10 cheapest European cities.

Bucharest is the capital of Romania, it was known as “The Little Paris”, but has changed a lot lately. Here, old history and modern design live together and complement each other creating the look of the modern Bucharest.

An attraction definitely worth visiting is the huge parliament building built by the former governor of the country, dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. The building has 12 stories, 3100 rooms, and its area is over 330000 sq. m.

Here is the breakdown of expenses in Bucharest according to the Backpacker Index (in Romanian Leu)

Accommodation: 31.12 for 1 night in X Hostel Bucharest

Public transportation: 5

Paid attraction: 12

Budget meals: 45.6

Entertainment fund: 15

Total cost of 1 day in Bucharest: RON 108.7 = $25

Read about the best attractions  in Bucharest here

  1. Belgrade

Belgrade night panorama

Top 5 of European cheapest cities is closed by Belgrade.

The Belgrade in Serbian means the “White City”, it is a must-see destination in Eastern Europe. It was founded in far 4th century BC. It was a Roman city, the remnants of which are still seen nowadays. A blend of different nations and cultures makes the city unique.

One of its main attractions is Kalemegdan – Belgrade Fortress, which was built by Romans.

So, what will be your expenses in Belgrade according to the Backpacker Index (in euros):

Accommodation: 6 for 1 night in Downtown Hostel Belgrade

Public transportation: 1.5

Paid attraction: 3

Budget meals: 9.6

Entertainment fund: 4.5

Total cost of 1 day in Belgrade: EUR 24.6 = $26.2

Read about the best attractions  in Belgrade here

  1. Budapest

Budapest Parliament on the river

Budapest is my favorite Eastern European city. Tourists already realized how great it is, so it is not as cheap as it used to be, but it is still number 6 in the list of cheapest European cities.

The city consists of 2 parts: Buda and Pest. They used to be separate towns, but then connected, and now is populated by about 2 million people. It has beautiful bridges, great fortress and the largest parliament in Europe that you have probably seen in movies or in the Internet. Tourists also like it for great nightlife, natural thermal baths and cozy coffee houses.

Expenses for 1 day in Budapest are (in Hungarian Forint):

Accommodation: 1547 in the Treestyle Hostel

Public transportation: 700

Paid attraction: 1500

Budget meals: 3120

Entertainment fund: 1050

Total cost of 1 day in Budapest: HUF 7917 = $26.75

Read about the best attractions in Budapest here.

  1. Sarajevo

Sunset in Sarajevo, cheapest cities in Europe

Have you ever heard of the country called Bosnia and Herzegovina? Now you have. Its capital is our number 7 of the cheapest cities in Europe by Backpacker index.

Sarajevo is one of the most historically interesting and varied cities in Europe. Here, the Western and Eastern Roman Empire split, it was a battlefield between huge nations and a symbol of tolerance, when those nations coexisted.

It may be an interesting city to visit, because most of its population are Muslims, but not orthodox ones, so they look pretty European, but you can get to know their religion without going to Arabic countries.

The city is struggling to get some tourist attention. Hopefully, they will get some after you read this article.

Expenses in Sarajevo according to the Backpacker Index (prices in euros):

Accommodation: 5.84 for one night in Hostel Ljubicica

Public transportation: 3.6

Paid attraction:4

Budget meals: 9.6

Entertainment fund: 15

Total cost of 1 day in Sarajevo: $29.2

Read about the best attractions in Sarajevo here

  1. Kiev

Maydan square in Kiev

Another inexpensive European city is Kiev, capital of Ukraine.

It is a large city with over 3 million people (unofficially about 4 million). It is also a city with combination of Communism style, but with some European traits. It is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. You will feel its grandeur and monumentality right after your arrival to the city center.

Most popular places to visit in Kiev (or Kyiv) are Khreshchatyk street, Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, St. Sophia Cathedral and some others.

Expenses for a backpacker in Kyiv (in Ukrainian Hryvnia):

Accommodation: 191 in Hostel Elements

Public transportation: 8

Paid attraction: 15

Budget meals: 354

Entertainment fund: 15

Total cost of 1 day in Kyiv: UHR 748 = $29.2

Read about the best attractions in Kyiv here

  1. Český Krumlov

This little town with just 13 thousand inhabitants is very popular among tourists, it is the second most visited city in Czech Republic after 2 million Prague.

Check this article to learn more about things to do in Prague.

The city is full of Baroque buildings with cafes and bars, has the second largest castle in the country, and an old-town square.

So, what will be your expenses in Český Krumlov according to the Backpacker Index (in Czech Krona):

Accomodation: 247 for 1 night-stay in Travel Hostel

Public transportation: 48

Paid attraction: 100

Budget meals: 288

Entertainment fund: 90

Total cost of 1 day in Český Krumlov: CZK 773 = $30.3

Read about the best attractions in Český Krumlov here

10. Warsaw

Even 2 cities represent Poland in the Backpacker Index. 10th cheapest city in Europe is Warsaw, the capital of Poland.

City, completely destroyed during the second world war, restored its historical sights in the former look, and now attracts tons of tourists every year. The city is also attractive for tourists thanks to its low prices.

Here is a breakdown of expenses in Warsaw according to the Backpacker Index (in Polish Zlotys):

Accommodation: 38 for a stay in Chillout Hostel

Public transportation: 6.8

Paid attraction: 23

Budget meals: 39.6

Entertainment fund: 24

The total cost of 1 day in Warsaw: PLN 131.46 = $31.45

Read about the best attractions in Warsaw here.

It was the list of top 10 cheapest European countries by the Backpacker Index. It may be not the most optimal index, but no index will be optimal enough. It represents the general price level for a budget traveler, but you can always find ways to spend even less. Read also about Valencia and how you can spend there 2 days for just 18 Euros, and my top article with 50 tips on traveling on a budget from me and 14 experienced travel bloggers. Travel more!

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Cheapest cities in Europe collage Some of the cheapest European cities

  • I saved this article on Pinterest for later as I find it useful. 🙂 From the list provided by you, I’ve been to Warsaw, Budapest and Krakow so still a lot to see. 😉 Maybe when planning a next “Eurotrip”, I will find an inspiration here.

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