Europe is the world's most expensive continent for U.S. travelers to visit; this probably doesn't shock anyone who's ventured across the Pond. You might be surprised, though, to discover which cities in Europe are remarkably affordable places to vacation. We analyzed the costs of hotel stays, meals, airfares, and activities in popular European destinations to find out which spots offer the best value for the euros and pounds. Here are 10 cities in Europe where budget-minded travelers can find low-cost hotel rooms, free activities, and travel bargains galore.
Rome is one of the most visited places in Europe, yet—unlike Paris or London—the city is an astonishingly budget-friendly vacation spot. At $190, average nightly hotel rates in Rome are cheaper than most other major tourist destinations in Italy, and they fall well below those in the aforementioned European hot spots.
Additionally, since Rome is the biggest international hub in The Boot, airfares to the city are often much cheaper than fares to other Italian destinations. Flights from New York to Rome in October start at $688 round-trip, according to Kayak. Compare this to Venice ($740 round-trip), Florence ($934 round-trip), or Naples ($753 round-trip).
Despite its popularity, this thousand-year-old city is one of Europe's more economical destinations. According to our sister site TripAdvisor's TripIndex, Prague is the 20th most affordable world destination—that's not bad, considering that Prague is the fifth most-visited European city. Average prices for one night's stay and activities, says TripAdvisor, come to about $248 for two people.
Plus, the city has enough free sites to keep a traveler busy for quite the stretch: No-cost attractions include the Havelska flower market, the picture-perfect Charles Bridge, and the 10th-century castle that towers over the city, Vysehrad. Gather amidst the crowd in the Old Town square to hear the striking of the famous clock during daylight hours—it's free.
It's as easy to find an affordable hotel in Dublin as it is to come across a good foamy pint. Failte Ireland features a collection of two-night minibreaks, which include accommodations and breakfast for two people, starting at €75 per person (about $94 USD) at various local hotels and B&Bs. And you can find a helpful roundup of hotels for less than $150 per night on The New York Times' website. Moreover, Dublin is brimming with free, worthy attractions, including the National Museum of Ireland, the National Botanic Gardens, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Getting to Dublin from the U.S. is quite affordable, too. International budget carrier Aer Lingus makes Dublin, its main gateway, a very inexpensive European hub to fly into. The carrier often features very competitive fare sales, especially during colder months. We've seen round-trip fares from the U.S. to Dublin drop below $500 in the low season and under $1,000 during the high season in summer.