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Plan the ultimate backpacking trip: These are the cities in Europe you should add to your itinerary

Some of the cities may surprise you

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Embarking on a journey through Europe with nothing but a backpack in tow is an adventure that is appealing to many. However, this type of European vacation isn’t always budget-friendly. If you want to enjoy a backpacking trip on a budget, then you may want to venture off the beaten path and head to some of the less popular destinations.

Statista has recently released a list of the cheapest places to travel in Europe for backpackers in 2024, and some of the cities on the list may surprise you. 

A man pictured from behind wearing a backpack and looking out over the coast in Turkey
Oziel Gómez / Pexels

The cheapest places to travel in Europe

Backpacking through Europe provides travelers with exposure to different cultures, incredible landscapes, and rich history at every turn. Whether you are heading through the cobblestone streets of historic cities or trekking up rugged mountain trails, a backpacking trip offers something for everyone. 

If you are ready to plan your European vacation without breaking the bank, then there are a few cities you should consider checking out. These are the best places to visit in Europe for backpackers on a budget.

alexsrbija / Pixabay

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, the capital and largest city in Serbia, is a backpacker’s dream. From exploring ancient fortresses like Kalemegdan to wandering around the busy streets of Skadarlija, you’ll find a wonderful blend of history and modernity in this gorgeous city. When backpacking through Belgrade, you can expect to spend about $50.60 per day. The city offers affordable accommodations, delicious street food, and several free cultural activities, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious backpackers.

thalespaz / Pixabay

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nestled within a valley surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe. Backpackers in the area spend an average of $49.56 per day, as the currency of the country (Bosnian Convertible Mark) offers favorable exchange rates against other major currencies. Dining is incredibly affordable in the area, as there is an abundance of local markets and street vendors offering fresh produce and traditional cuisine at reasonable prices. Sarajevo is the place to be for history buffs as the city offers a glimpse into its Ottoman past at attractions like the Sebilj Fountain and the Cekrekcinica Mosque. 

henryleester / Pixabay

Budapest, Hungary

With a daily budget of only $48.70, Budapest, Hungary, stands as one of the most affordable backpacking destinations in Europe thanks to its favorable exchange rates, low cost of living, and abundance of budget-friendly accommodations, ranging from hostels to guesthouses. The city’s culinary scene is as enticing as it is affordable, with traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash and langos available at reasonable prices. Budapest’s extensive public transportation system makes it simple and inexpensive to explore every corner of the city, from its hipster neighborhoods to historic landmarks like the Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Krakow Poland
DimaLiss / Pixabay

Krakow, Poland

Explore the southern Poland city of Krakow for only $47.19 per day. Dating back to the seventh century, Krakow boasts several UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Wawel Castle and the historic Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. Krakow offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers on a budget. There is a large hostel scene in the city, and you can easily find a room for less than $30 a night. If you are planning on staying in the area for more than a few days, then you may want to look into dormitory accommodation attached to Jagiellonian University. The university is close to the city center and offers lodging to both visitors and students. 

12019 / Pixabay

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania, is one of the best places to visit in Europe for backpackers on a budget. The capital of Romania is known for its gorgeous, tree-lined boulevards, historic buildings, and vibrant nightlife scene. Statista lists the daily budget in Bucharest as $41.97; however, if you cook for yourself, use public transportation, and stay in hostels the entire time, you can easily get your costs down to $20.00 per day. However, even with occasional hotel stays and a few dinners out, you can explore this lovely city on a budget.

jdblack / Pixabay

Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria is widely known as one of Europe’s most affordable countries for backpackers, and the capital city of Sofia offers a wide range of fun things to do. Backpackers can explore Sofia for just $39.60 per day, checking out attractions like the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Boyana Church, and Vitosha Mountain. Although Sofia ranks as one of the cheapest cities in Europe, it is one of the most expensive cities in Bulgaria. After spending a few days in Sofia, you can check out Bulgarian cities that are even more budget-friendly, such as Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas.

Mountain hiker with a large backpack looking into the distance.
everst / Shutterstock

Plan your backpacking trip today

Europe is full of incredible budget-friendly cities for you to explore during your backpacking vacation. To further decrease costs, consider planning your trip in the off-season, as this will lead to even lower prices. Additionally, make sure you book accommodation well in advance to secure the most affordable lodging options. By carefully planning and prioritizing budget-friendly options, backpackers can embark on a memorable European adventure without exceeding their financial limits.

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