The most affordable and expensive cities in Europe for backpacker travel

Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Ben Adlard.
Kiev. Photo by Ben Adlard.

The simple idea of backpacker travel is to tour destinations with a small budget. I have been on low budget trips without an actual backpack on my shoulders, so I don’t see it as a necessary low budget travel gear. Staying in hostels, camping areas, and other affordable places, using public transportation and enjoying low cost meals are essential elements of backpacker travel. Here are the cheapest and most expensive European cities for backpackers.

The price levels of major cities in Europe are based on Backpacker Index that measures the prices of:

  • One night at the least expensive hostel in a city center.
  • Two tickets for public transportation.
  • One ticket to a sight/attraction/museum that is a must-see destination for tourists.
  • Three simple meals per day.
  • Three local beers or glasses of wine per day.

Top 10 lowest-cost cities to stay in Europe on a backpacking trip

  1. Kiev, Ukraine – USD 25 a day.
  2. Krakow, Poland
  3. Belgrade, Serbia
  4. Bucharest, Romania
  5. Sofia, Bulgaria
  6. Budapest, Hungary
  7. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  8. Zagreb, Croatia
  9. Riga, Latvia
  10. Istanbul, Turkey – USD 36 a day.

Many classic, popular city destinations that draw tourists year after year fall into the middleground in the Backpacker price index. A city, like Lisbon in Portugal  is very affordable to stay if you can figure out how to save in accommodation costs. A year-round destination in France, the city of Nice, can also be affordable if you stay away from the expensive restaurants and bars in the city center.

Top 10 most expensive European cities to spend time as a backpacker

Zurich, Switzerland. Photo by Allie Caulfield.
Zurich, photo by Allie Caulfield.
  1. Zürich, Switzerland – USD 118 a day.
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. Reykjavik Iceland
  4. Oslo, Norway
  5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  6. London, UK
  7. Stockholm, Sweden (download a travel guide to Sweden’s west coast)
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. Helsinki, Finland
  10. Interlaken, Switzerland – USD 89 per day.

The price levels in European cities and countries vary considerably, even though a recent study concluded that the common currency has balanced prices in those countries that have adopted the Euro.

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

Euro countries

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