We tend to think of Europe as a major splurge, the kind of vacation you save up for and then wince as your cash evaporates upon arrival. In current times, however, there are a lot of cheap destinations in Europe. The combination of a strong U.S. dollar (for now) and lots of apartments to rent has really brought down the price of a place to stay for mid-range travelers who want to stay in a real neighborhood.
It is possible to travel Europe for less money if you do it right and take time to research. You can find places to stay in Europe for less than $50 a night. Sometimes a lot less.
Airbnb recently released a list of the top-25 cheapest cities in Europe for travelers and all of them are $50 or less per night. That’s the price of a cheap roadside motel in the USA and to really put it in perspective, that’s $1,500 a month if you would pay that price for 30 days. (In reality, you would usually get a better deal for a monthly rental.) You could stay in Tbilisi, Georgia for $30 a night, which comes out to less than a grand for a month.
Once again, this shows you could probably go traveling long-term – even in Europe – for less than it costs to just exist and pay your bills where you live now.
Here are some of the top choices from top to bottom, all average listing prices in cities with at least 200 listings on Airbnb.
Nantes, France — $47 per night
Palermo (Sicily), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Toulouse (France), Riga (Latvia), and Zadar (Croatia) all $45 per might
Bratislava (Slovakia), Athens (Greece), and Budapest (Hungary) all $44 per night.
Catania (Sicily) and Vilnius (Lithuania) – $43 per night
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria – $41 per might
Leipzig, Germany – $40
Wroclaw, Warsaw, and Krakow, Poland – $39
Zagreb, Croatia – $39
Kiev (Ukraine) and St. Petersburg (Russia) – $35
Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Thessaloníki (Greece) $34 – $34 per night
Istanbul, Turkey – $33
Tbilisi, Georgia – $30
If you want to see some photos of what apartments look like for rent in these places, check out this Business Insider article where they’ve got one example from each city.
What’s really surprising to me about this list is that there are some countries in here that are normally considered kind of pricey, such as France, Italy, and the Canary Islands. You don’t get Paris or Florence, but there are options to kick back elsewhere for not a lot of money.
I thought there would be something from Portugal or the Czech Republic on here, but there may just not be enough listings in those destinations or they may skew to larger apartments that up the prices. For wherever you are headed, it pays to check Vrbo too. Sometimes they are more attractive for rents of a week or more.
There are plenty of ways to travel Europe for less and my main advice on that is twofold: pick the cheaper destinations and travel slowly. For one reason or another though, sometimes you can’t do either. When that’s the case, you still have some variables to control and one of the big ones is your housing costs. Eastern Europe and the Balkans will be a lot less than England and France, but this gives you 25 places to consider where the nightly tab will be reasonable for a place to sleep.