Exploring Europe on a Budget: Cheap European Cities Every Student Should Visit

Embarking on a European adventure doesn’t have to break the bank, especially for budget-conscious students.

In this guide, we’ll explore the charm of Europe’s most affordable cities, perfect for students eager to explore without overspending.

Whether it’s savouring local cuisine, wandering through ancient streets, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, these cheap European cities promise unforgettable adventures without draining your student budget.

Two girls holding a map

Lisbon, Portugal 

When looking for cheap European cities, then Lisbon is definitely one that you should consider! 

There are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy in this city without breaking the bank. 

You can start by wandering through the historic Alfama district, soaking in its beautiful streets and views. You can also explore the vibrant neighbourhoods of Bairro Alto and Baixa, filled with trendy shops, cafes, and street art. 

Be sure to enjoy delicious yet inexpensive Portuguese cuisine at local cafes and bakeries along with traditional pastries like pastéis dae nata. 


Yellow train in Lisbon

Budapest, Hungary 

Students visiting Budapest on a budget have an array of affordable activities to explore.

You can start by taking a walk along the Danube River and admiring the iconic Chain Bridge and Parliament Building. If you want to elevate this experience a bit more, then be sure to visit it at night as these buildings look stunning when lit up!

You can explore the historic Buda Castle District which has stunning views of the city for free.

If you are looking to experience the nightlife in Budapest, then be sure to visit the city’s ruined bars, such as Szimpla Kert, which offers unique nightlife experiences with affordable drinks and a vibrant atmosphere.

To enjoy local food on a budget, you can visit food markets, like the Great Market Hall where you can have a taste of Hungarian dishes without breaking the bank.

Hungary Parliment lit up at night

Krakow, Poland

Krakow is among the cheap European cities that you must visit!

To start off, you can explore the charming Old Town, where you can visit landmarks like St. Mary’s Basilica and the Cloth Hall for free or at a minimal cost. 

To learn more about the city’s culture and history, you can take the walking tour of the Jewish Quarter and gain more insight into this historic place!

If you enjoy outdoor activities, then a hike up Krakus Mound or a walk along the Vistula River has beautiful views of the city at no cost. 

Krakow’s street food scene is not one you should miss as they offer affordable and delicious options, including traditional Polish snacks like zapiekanka and pierogi

Girl holding a map in Krakow

Prague, Czech Republic 

You can enjoy the stunning architecture of the Astronomical Clock and St. Nicholas Church completely for FREE by taking a walk across the historic Old Town Square. 

To capture the beautiful views of Prague Castle and the Vltava River, you can stroll across Charles Bridge and soak up the scenery! 

Inexpensive ways through which you can experience the local culture is by visiting the Lennon Wall, a colourful tribute to John Lennon and peace, or attend a classical music concert at one of Prague’s churches for a small fee. 

When visiting Prague, you cannot miss out on the traditional chimney cake, or goulash at local shops and experience the local cuisine!

Top city view of prague

Valletta, Malta 

If you are looking for cheap European cities, then Valetta should definitely be on your list!

You can explore iconic landmarks like St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which has stunning views of the Grand Harbour for free. 

There is no better way to enjoy the great weather than the beaches of Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, or Ghajn Tuffieha which are budget-friendly options, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or simply relaxing by the sea. 

Be sure to take advantage of affordable public transportation to visit other attractions such as the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.

Top view of Malta

How to explore Europe on a budget

  • Make bookings early: When trying to explore Europe on a budget, be sure to make flight and hotel bookings as early as you can to get the best deals. Many airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet have flash sales, where you can get great offers for your flights.
  • Consider Hostels: One of the biggest expense when it comes to European travel is the cost of accommodation. This is why considering hostels for your stay can be a great choice! There are different kinds of hostels with a variety of facilities, so you can easily find something that suits all your needs!
  • Use Public Transport: Figuring out how you can use public transport in the city can be one of the best ways you can explore these cheap European cities. Many cities offer weekly passes and you can use them for unlimited travel within the region!
  • Consider alternative modes of transport: While flights might be the most obvious choice when looking to travel to another country, you can also consider alternative choices like trains, buses and ferries which can save you a lot of money! Another bonus tip is booking travel between countries overnight so you can save on that nights stay!

Man using his laptop

Exploring Europe on a budget is not only achievable but also incredibly rewarding. From the vibrant streets of Lisbon to the historic charm of Krakow, each city offers unique experiences that won’t break the bank.

 By opting for budget-friendly accommodations, exploring free attractions, and indulging in local street food, you can make the most of your European adventure without overspending. These affordable cities not only provide a glimpse into Europe’s rich culture and history but also create lasting memories that you can cherish for years to come!

Follow us on Instagram @essentialstudentliving let us know which European city you are most excited to visit!

If you are looking for student accommodation for the next year, you are in the right place. Visit our Essential Student Living website and browse through the range of properties that cater to every budget.

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