Top 10 Cheapest Destinations in Eastern Europe

Are you looking to explore new countries but you are on a tight budget? Don’t worry! The region of Eastern Europe offers affordable vacation destinations, which won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Traveling to the old world, which offers a wide variety of cities famous for stunning nature, rich history, colorful culture, and tasty cuisine. As an added bonus, most of the places aren’t crowded with tourists and you’ll enjoy a peaceful journey while discovering the hidden gems of Eastern Europe.

Budapest, Hungary

parliament building, budapest, hungaryBudapest, the Hungarian capital is also known as the “Pearl of the Danube” and “the Heart of Europe”. It has become quite a popular destination, as travelers relish its architecture, stunning bridges, thermal baths, medieval pubs and of course craft beer. Additionally, most of the city sights are free or budget-friendly. Also, low-cost tour operators provide trips to Budapest which makes your journey quite affordable.

  • Local Currency: Hungarian Forint (Ft)
  • Average food budget per day: $19
  • Public transportation: $9 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $75-80 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $19-25 per person

Sofia, Bulgaria

sofia, bulgaria at sunsetAnother cheap Eastern European destination is Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It lies at the foot of the ski mountain Vitosha, so if you are an admirer of winter sports you will enjoy visiting it. Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has a rich history that stretches over 7 millennia.

It is famous for its cobblestone boulevards, boutique shops, and exciting nightlife which are just a short transfer from Sofia Airport. Most of the city’s sights are close to one another and are within walking distance. In addition, many of the attractions are free or at a low price. A must-see landmark is the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, which is the third-largest Orthodox cathedral in the world and is one of Sofia’s primary tourist attractions. Also, its gold-plated dome makes it a worthwhile landmark in town to visit.

  • Local Currency: Bulgarian Lev 
  • Average food budget per day: $10-15
  • Public transportation: $2-3 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $20-30 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $25-30 per person

Kyiv, Ukraine

kyiv, ukraine at sunsetIn search of a top eastern European destination holiday, be sure to check out Kyiv. Americans are able to visit Kyiv without going through the tiresome process of getting a tourist visa. U.S. residents can stay in the Ukrainian capital for up to 90 days. Kyiv is an ancient city, famous for its churches, monasteries, and museums.

Make sure to visit its local breweries which not only serve craft beer but also delicious, homemade sausages. Public transportation is incredibly cheap, well under a dollar per ticket. The entrance fees of most of the city’s popular sights, including the Pechersk Lavra are also affordable. Kyiv is also close to the town of Pripyat where the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened.

  • Local Currency: Ukranian Hryvnia (₴)
  • Average food budget per day: $3-5
  • Public transportation: $1.29 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $30-40 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $7-15 per person

Krakow, Poland

krakow poland old town squareKrakow is Poland’s top destination city. It is the best-preserved city in Poland, having escaped the widespread destruction caused by World War II. This is one of the many reasons Krakow is a gem of Eastern Europe.

With its medieval architecture, cobbled stone houses, gothic cathedrals, and museums the city makes a great vacation destination. Krakow has a wide variety of places to visit, from sites of historical significance to lively pubs with tasty food and craft beer. In addition, transportation, restaurants, and accommodation are inexpensive so you don’t need to worry if you are on a tight budget.

  • Local Currency: Polish Zloty (zł)
  • Average food budget per day: $5-10
  • Public transportation: $1-2 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $30-40 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $15-20 per person

Bucharest, Romania

bucharest, romaniaAnother cheap Eastern European destination is the capital of Romania – Bucharest. Nicknamed “Little Paris” the city will win you over with its colorful cuisine, museums and gorgeous gardens. A must-see landmark is the Palace of Parliament, which is the heaviest building in the world. Hotels, transportation, food, and sights, are all budget-friendly.

Bucharest is close to other significant places worth visiting in Romania, like Transylvania, Sinaia, and Brasov.

  • Local Currency: Romanian Leu (lei)
  • Average food budget per day: $15
  • Public transportation: $1-2 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $25-35 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $10-15 per person

Belgrade, Serbia

belgrade, serbiaThe “White City” provides a diversity of activities for a traveler. It is famous for its rich culture as there are numerous beautiful theaters, museums, and opera houses. However, if you are more interested in a party vacation while on a budget, Belgrade is the place.

Night owls will appreciate the popular floating river barges, turned into nightclubs. If you visit in the summer be sure to sunbathe on the city’s beautiful beaches. Accommodation and food are inexpensive which makes it the perfect Eastern Europe holiday destination.

  • Local Currency: Serbian dinar (din)
  • Average food budget per day: $10-15
  • Public transportation: $3 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $40-50 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $15-20 per person

Vilnius, Lithuania

vilnius, lithuaniaTravel to Vilnius and enjoy a great, inexpensive journey. Sink into the city’s medieval atmosphere when visiting the Old town of the capital which is rich in gothic cathedrals, museums, and renaissance buildings. The entrance to most of the city’s main sights are free, including Vilnius Cathedral, The Hill of Three Crosses and Gedimino Castle Tower. Restaurants and pubs are cheap, and the hotels are also quite affordable.

  • Local Currency: Euros (€)
  • Average food budget per day: $20-25
  • Public transportation: $4-5
  • Suggested daily budget: $40-50 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $15-25 per person

Riga, Latvia

riga, latviaThe city combines traditional Latvian looks with the modern touch of Art Nouveau-era buildings. Enjoy your East European trip by visiting the city’s famous pubs and bars. All the popular sites are within walking range.

The capital maintains certain affordability for the average traveler so it is perfect for you to enjoy your vacation without devouring your savings.

  • Local Currency: Euros (€)
  • Average food budget per day: $6-10
  • Public transportation: $3.50-4 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: $25-30 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $10-15 per person

Skopje, Macedonia

skopje, macedoniaAnother amazing and inexpensive city in Eastern Europe is Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Savor its cultural diversity by visiting the Old Bazaar – one of the biggest markets in the Balkans. The city is popular for its emblematic lion and warrior statues, neoclassical buildings, museums, and hypnotic, enormous fountains.

Make sure to enjoy the view from above by visiting the Kale Fortress which is absolutely free. 

  • Local Currency: Macedonian Denar (den)
  • Average food budget per day: $10-15
  • Public transportation: $4-5
  • Suggested daily budget: $35-40 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $25-30 per person

Zagreb, Croatia

zagreb, croatiaThe capital of Croatia is one of the top low-budget vacation destinations. The city is a blend of the atmosphere of its Old Town with its Austro-Hungarian architecture, lively food markets, and ancient cathedrals, and Novi Zagreb which is home to modernistic buildings, and budget-friendly coffee shops and restaurants. 

If you are staying for more than a day or two and enjoy outdoor activities, make sure to visit the famous Plitvice Lakes

  • Local Currency: Croatian Kuna (kn)
  • Average food budget per day: $9-15
  • Public transportation: $5-6
  • Suggested daily budget: $30-40 per person
  • Accommodation per night: $20-25 per person

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo News, and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. He also used to live in Seoul, South Korea and has traveled all over the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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