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Europe’s Most Affordable and Most Expensive Cities

A common misconception is that Europe is an expensive continent to travel. Many top European destinations cost a pretty penny, but Europe also provides some of the most affordable cities in the world. The “Europe Backpacker Index for 2015” showcases the top 56 cities according to affordability. The index is based upon the US dollar exchange rate and the daily costs for each city. Daily costs include a good hostel, transportation, entertainment, meals and attractions. Below is the top 5 most affordable and expensive cities in Europe.

Most Affordable Cities

Bucharest, Romania
Daily Backpacker Index: $26.38 US dollars per day
Romania’s largest (and capital) city, Bucharest has been around since 500 BC; however, its well-documented history began in the 1400’s. In the early 1900’s, Bucharest earned its nickname, “Little Paris,” thanks to the Belle Époque (French for Beautiful Era) buildings. It may not be the prettiest city, but travellers on a budget will find plenty of reasons to visit. Popular attractions include Arch of Triumph, House of the Free Press, Royal Palace, and The Romanian Athenaeum.

Sofia, Bulgaria
Daily Backpacker Index: $27.27 US dollars per day
At 2,400 years old, affordable flights, attractions, and accommodations still make Sofia a destination for travellers from around the world to explore its medieval charm. A single ride of Sofia’s metro cost approximately .50€. Among the local attractions are architectural dreams such as the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Ivan Vazov National Theatre, and National Palace of Culture.

Krakow, Poland
Daily Backpacker Index: $27.79 US dollars per day
Krakow is one of Eastern Europe’s best kept secrets, with a beauty, history, and charm combining to make it a desirable and affordable destination. The bustling central square flaunts horse and carriage rides which ride around 11th Century castles and historic churches. Krakow is well known for street-side cafes, jazz shows, cheap cherry vodka shots, and inexpensive pretzel-bread stalls. Travellers can upgrade to apartments-for-rent as low as $20 per night.

Belgrade, Serbia
While it may not be the most desirable European city, Belgarde offers plenty of cheap accommodations and entertainment. Travelers can find hostel beds for as low as $5 per night. Popular attractions include the Nikola Tesla Museum, Palace of Princess Ljubice and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Most Expensive

Zurich, Switzerland
Daily Backpacker Index: $124.16 US dollars per day
It’s no shock that the popular city, Zurich, tops the charts as the most expensive city. Street side cafes and city-center restaurants charge hefty prices. An airport to city center taxi costs up to $80. Skip the taxi and save money for the notable art museums.

Bergen, Norway
Daily Backpacker Index: $106.10 US dollars per day
Bergen is a quaint town nestled between fjords on Norway’s west coast. Food and drinks are really expensive, and that includes supermarkets. A McDonald’s Big Mac value meal is equivalent to $11.95. The “pay off” includes really cheap, or no-charge, museums and attractions.

London, England
Daily Backpacker Index: $105.51 US dollars per day
No pricey travel list is complete without London. Boasting expensive prices since the royal days, London is affordable when off the main drag. Attractions are costly, ranging $20-50 US dollars per person in entrance fees. The “tube” is the cheapest and most efficient method of transportation (besides foot or biking). Although expensive, The Tower of London is a must-visit attraction to experience London’s true past.

Venice, Italy
Daily Backpacker Index: $97.50 US dollars per day
While generally expensive, Venice can be affordable while meandering around town and enjoying street side cafés. Gondola rides and museums will quickly drain your wallet. Cheaper restaurants are found on the outskirts away from central squares and museums.

Helsinki, Finland
Daily Backpacker Index: $95.95 US dollars per day
The Scandinavian cities of Stockholm, Oslo, and Helsinki feature jaw-dropping prices, especially in terms of alcohol. Travellers on a budget can find affordable food with all the street vendors and Kebab stands. Popular attractions include saunas, the Olympic Tower, and the National Museum of Finland.

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