Top European Cities: From the Cheapest to the Most Expensive

How much does it cost to travel in Europe?

When budgeting for a trip to Europe, it helps to know how much the average trip costs. But prices around Europe vary, as do people's preferences for what they do when they go abroad. Where exactly are you going? What do you normally do on vacation? Estimating how much money you'll need on a trip to Europe depends on so many variables, I thought I'd break it down for you.

Note that this is not a 'cost of living' list, which would require monthly rent and grocery costs. Instead, I've tried to include what costs that the average tourist will have, using data from ​Numbeo.com. To compare the cities, I created a 'vacation basket' which shows what a couple will spend in a day. See the bottom of the page for exactly what is in this 'basket'.

See also:

  • 01 of 12

    Prague (Czech Republic)

    Prague, Over view of city and river.
    ••• Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

    The only former Eastern bloc city to make it beyond the budget airline boom of the 2000s and cement its reputation as an essential European destination. Prague is still excellent value for money, though you need to walk away from the tourist traps to get local prices.

    What makes the Czech capital even cheaper is that the old-town sights are free. People come to Prague to wander the streets and see Charles Bridge: adding a museum entry here wouldn't really represent what people do in Prague.

    Check Prices and Read Reviews of Prague Evening Walking Tour

    Vacation Basket Total*: 75.39€

    Inexpensive Restaurant Meal: 4.44€
    Three-Course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two)22.20€

    Beer (0.5 liter)1.30€
    Cappuccino1.67€
    Coke/Pepsi 1.07€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle)0.80€

    Transport Ticket: 0.89€
    Taxi (5km)6.11€

    Entry to Top Sight in Prague (the Old Town): Free, of course.

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 25€

  • 02 of 12

    Istanbul (Turkey)

    Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
    ••• Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Victor Fraile/Getty Images

    The city on the border between east and west is great for the budget travel. Head into Anatolia (the Asian side of Turkey) for even better deals.

    If you don't want to visit the Hagia Sophia, you'll pay even less.

    Vacation Basket Total*: 93.22€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 4.65€
    Three-Course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two) 20.15€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 2.79€
    Cappuccino: 2.17€
    Coke/Pepsi: 0.78€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 0.28€

    Transport Ticket: 0.71€
    Taxi (5km): 4.09€

    Entry to Top Sight in Istanbul (Hagia Sophia): 12.40€

    Cheapest Top Three Star Hotel on Tripadvisor: 20.00€

  • 03 of 12

    Lisbon (Portugal)

    Tower of Belem in Lisbon
    ••• Tower of Belem in Lisbon. Maria Elena Pueyo Ruiz/Getty Images

    The cheapest capital city in western Europe has prices comparable to those of Eastern Europe! Porto, in the north of Portugal, is also a great budget destination.

    If you're on a real budget trip, you can cut costs on your hotel considerably, bringing the price of a trip to Lisbon almost to the level of Prague.

    See also: The Most Popular Day Trip from Lisbon

    Vacation Basket Total*: 135.59€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 7.50€
    Three-Course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 30.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 1.50€
    Cappuccino: 1.30€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.18€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 0.89€

    Transport Ticket: 1.50€
    Taxi (5km): 5.85€

    Entry to Top Sight in Lisbon (Jeronimos Monastery and Tower of Belem): 12 euros€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 45€

  • 04 of 12

    Berlin (Germany)

    View of the TV Tower in Berlin
    ••• View of the TV Tower in Berlin. Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images

    You might be surprised that the economic powerhouse of Europe has such a cheap capital, but that's what being divided by the Berlin Wall for so long does to a city.

    See also: Berlin Walking Tour

    Vacation Basket Total: 138.20€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 8.00€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 40.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 3.00€
    Cappuccino: 2.50€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.75€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 1.50€

    Transport Ticket: 2.70€
    Taxi (5km): 13.90€

    Entry to Top Sight in Berlin Riechstag: 0.00€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 40.00€

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Barcelona (Spain)

    Barcelona's Gothic Quarter is free to walk around!
    ••• Barcelona's Gothic Quarter is free to walk around!. Adrienne Bresnahan/Getty Images

    Despite being the most popular city in Europe's most visited country, Barcelona's prices are surprisingly low.

    I decided to give no entry fee for a sight in Barcelona, because most of what makes Barcelona so interesting is free, particularly the Gothic Quarter and the Gaudi architecture. Sure, you could pay to go inside the Sagrada Familia, but why would you want to stand in line so long when the best bits are on the outside?

    Check out this Barcelona Modernism and Gaudi Walking Tour

    Vacation Basket Total: 152.04€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 11.00€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 40.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 2.50€
    Cappuccino: 1.66€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.70€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle) 1.11€

    Transport Ticket: 2.10€
    Taxi (5km): 7.70€

    Entry to Top Sight in Barcelona: Free

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 60.00€

  • 06 of 12

    Rome (Italy)

    The Colosseum is worth paying the entry fee
    ••• The Colosseum is worth paying the entry fee. Angelo Hornak/Getty Images

    Another surprisingly cheap city, considering how important its sights are. Hotels in Rome are of a lower quality than their star rating suggests, so check reviews and amenities before booking.

    See also: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Walking Tour

    Vacation Basket Total: 166.10€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 15.00€
    Three-Course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 50.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 4.00€
    Cappuccino: 1.00€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.65€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 0.90€

    Transport Ticket: 1.50€
    Taxi (5km): 11.00€

    Entry to Top Sight in Rome (Colosseum): 12.00€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 30.00€. 

  • 07 of 12

    Munich (Germany)

    Beer halls are the main attraction in Munich
    ••• Beer halls are the main attraction in Munich. Frank Bauer/Getty Images

    Munich comes in cheaper than perhaps expected because many of its sights are free. The English Garden and Marienplatz cost nothing, while the famous Bavarian beer is included in the price of a beer (though they will cost a little more in the beer halls).

    Suffice to say, you don't need to pay much to see the sights of Munich, though you'll pay more to sleep and eat.

    Sample a Bavarian Beer and Food Evening

    Vacation Basket Total: 173.30€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant:  11.50€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 50.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 3.50€
    Cappuccino: 2.80€
    Coke/Pepsi: 2.70€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 2.00€

    Transport Ticket: 2.70€
    Taxi (5km): 12.50€

    Entry to Top Sight in Munich (Neues Rathaus): 2.50€. 

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 50.00€

  • 08 of 12

    Paris (France)

    See the Eiffel Tower: but do you need pay to go up?
    ••• See the Eiffel Tower: but do you need pay to go up?. Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    Paris is notoriously expensive, particularly to drink, but it's not all bad news. Hotels can be surprisingly cheap, and you can eat a reasonable two-course meal in the Montmartre district for just 13 euros. Restaurants never force you to buy a drink; the waiter will always bring you a carafe of water if asked. Plus, though the Louvre is a must, walking the streets of the city costs zilch, and you really don't need to go up the Eiffel Tower. 

    Amelie's Montmartre Walking Tour

    Vacation Basket Total: 194.20€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 13.00€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 50.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 6.00€
    Cappuccino: 3.50€
    Coke/Pepsi: 3.25€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 2.00€

    Transport Ticket: 1.80€
    Taxi (5km): 11.50€

    Entry to Top Sight in Paris (Louvre): 15€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 40.00€

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    London (United Kingdom)

    Many of London's sights are free... but food and drink comes at a price
    ••• Many of London's sights are free... but food and drink comes at a price. George Rose/Getty Images

    Of course London comes high on this list. But it's not all bad news: most London museums have free entry. I would dispute Numbeo's inexpensive restaurant price: go to a Wetherspoons pub, get a fantastic Indian meal or head to a suburban fish-and-chip shop and pay a good deal less for your dinner.

    See How They Made Harry Potter from London

    Top Eurostar Destinations from London

    Vacation Basket Total: 225.06€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 18.15€
    Three-Course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 60.50€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 4.84€
    Cappuccino: 3.15€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.45€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 1.15€

    Transport Ticket: 3.03€
    Taxi (5km): 22.39€

    Entry to Top Sight in London (British Museum): Free

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 72.60€

  • 10 of 12

    Dublin (Ireland)

    Dublin is a surprisingly expensive city to visit
    ••• Dublin is a surprisingly expensive city to visit. australiaphotos.co.uk

    Dublin edges out London for costs, partially due to its expensive hotels. 

    Check out this Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

    Vacation Basket Total: 243.40€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 15.00€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 60.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 5.00€
    Cappuccino: 2.80€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.50€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 1.25€

    Transport Ticket: 2.70€
    Taxi (5km): 10.50€

    Entry to Top Sight in Dublin (Kilmainham Gaol): 8.00€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 95.00€

  • 11 of 12

    Amsterdam (Netherlands)

    Gay Pride in Amsterdam
    ••• Gay Pride in Amsterdam. Paulo Amorim/Getty Images

    Amsterdam is a tough city to visit for the budget traveler. Even youth hostels are prohibitively expensive, the museums cost a lot and it's very hard to get any meal for under ten euros.

    Visit the Famous Windmills of Holland from Amsterdam

    Vacation Basket Total: 248.32€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 15.00€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 60.00€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 4.50€
    Cappuccino: 1.66€
    Coke/Pepsi: 1.70€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 1.10€

    Transport Ticket: 2.90€
    Taxi (5km): 13.80€

    Entry to Top Sight in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum): 17.50€

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 80€

  • 12 of 12

    Geneva (Switzerland)

    Lake Geneva is free, but the city is eye-wateringly expensive
    ••• Lake Geneva is free, but the city is eye-wateringly expensive. Tim Graham/Creative Commons

    Ouch. Geneva is far and away the most expensive city on this list (Zurich costs even more). And I didn't even include any sights!

    If you plan on visiting Switzerland, ask yourself why: if it's for the Alps, then work out how to get there as quickly as possible and minimise your time in the cities. (Not that the mountain villages are any cheaper, it's just that you're better off spending your money where you will get the most out of it).

    Read more about: 

    Vacation Basket Total: 333.13€

    Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 25€
    Three-course Mid-Price Meal at Restaurant (for two): 100€

    Beer (0.5 liter): 7.50€
    Cappuccino: 4.13€
    Coke/Pepsi: 4.00€
    Water (0.33 liter bottle): 3.56€

    Transport Ticket: 3.00€
    Taxi (5km): 22.75€

    Entry to Top Sight in Geneva (Lake Geneva): Free

    Low-Priced Three-Star Hotel: 110€

Our 'vacation basket' includes rough costs for a day in each city for two people. So, one night in a hotel, one inexpensive meal for two, one mid-priced three-course meal for two, two of each drink, four transport tickets (two per person), one 5km taxi ride and entry to the top sight, where appropriate. A note on hotel star ratings: most countries have their own star ratings and so it's very hard to compare rates. The prices on this page are a guide.