With over fifty countries – each with its own unique history, culture and adventures, Europe is the best continent to travel on a budget. While capitals and big cities are often prohibitively expensive, that is not always the case. Rome, Porto, Budapest and London are all excellent big cities to explore without feeling guilty about your spending.
Rome is one of the most historical cities in the world, so simply strolling the streets is like getting free admittance to an outdoor museum. Since most of the magnificent attractions are al fresco, they are free of charge, so make sure to check out the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum and many others.
Some attractions offer free entrance on specific days: Vatican City is free on the last Sunday of each month. And if you want to find a less touristy church to visit, Rome has about 900 churches that are all free to enter.
A quick espresso break is the best way to relax and sit down at a square and let all the history of the capital sink in for just €1. The price of a meal starts just €5 for a pizza or a delectable pastry at one of the hundreds of bakeries spread around the city.
The cheapest transportation in Rome is the metro, where a week pass costs €24. That is a little pricey for a week, but it will get you access to all the train lines which go everywhere around the city.
Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal and where the amazing Porto wine is made. Since the sweet wine comes from here, getting a good glass of wine is just €3.50. Restaurants by the water and tourist locations can be pricier, so make sure to go deeper into the city to find local prices for delicious seafood; alternatively, get some salty pastries at a local bakery nearby.
Porto is not as big as Lisbon but it has just as many museums and parks such as the Serralves, FC Porto, Centro Portugues de Fotografia and many others – not to mention the beautiful shores and beaches.
The metro is the best transportation to use in Porto, since it reaches most of the main attractions. Most most of the city is accessible by foot, so walking around could be more fun and cheaper.
Budapest is an incredibly active city filled with museums, monuments, underground hip bars and affordable restaurants. Exploring by foot and entering random places is the best way to get to know the city.
The capital of Hungary is home to hot springs spas where you can have a day of relaxation and rejuvenation for just €15. When you're done there, nightlife is cheap. With drinks that cost just €5, it is easy to go out every night and not feel like you are frittering your money away.
The metro is the best transportation to use, so make sure to get a transportation card. Hotels can be pretty pricey so it would be better to rent an apartment, especially if you are traveling in a group.
For good, cheap food, make sure to look for goulash and chicken paprika.
After the drop of the pound and Brexit, London has become much cheaper, which makes now the perfect time to visit. At a traditional local pub, you can find beers for £5; at the ones that offer food you can get a delicious fish and chips for just £3 more.
All the main museums such as the Victoria & Albert, The British Museum, National Gallery and the Tate Modern let you explore for free, with incredible short-time exhibitions for a low price of £12.
Getting the Oyster Card for public transportation will cut your per-ride price in half for buses and metros, plus you will not have to worry about buying or filling your card during your trip.
At each city, make sure to purchase a city card for discounts in transportation, museums and restaurants. These card prices can range from €5 to €21.50 depending on how long you are staying and what you want to do. The hop-on hop-off buses are also great for those who do not want to walk too much but still want to see all the important attractions.