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Backpacking Europe costs less than you think.

I managed to travel to Europe for less than $1000/month.

Before we talk about costs, budget and all the good stuff, you might want to check out the following posts on backpacking Europe:

Let’s talk costs now!

The major travel costs can be divided into six major groups, airfare, accommodation, sightseeing, local transportation, food and shopping.

Even though budgeting is by and large a personal choice, having a good idea of your overall expenses before you set out booking your trip is always a good place to start.

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Depending on the length of your trip, the table below gives you the lower ceiling for your travel expenses.

If you plan to start saving for your trip in advance, the table below should help you figure out the bare minimum that backpacking Europe costs:

TABLE: Approximate Backpacking Europe Costs & Budget

Expense Item

(per person)

 

1 week trip

 

3 weeks trip

 

2 months trip

Return Flights$800-$1000$800-$1000$800-$1000
Hotels ($40/day)$280$840$2400
Food ($30/day)$210$630$1800
Local Transport$250$400$700
Shopping &

Souvenirs

 

$100

 

$100

 

$100

Sightseeing ($10/

day)

 

$70

 

$210

 

$300

Visa Fees$70$70$70
Total (Approx.)$1800- $2000$3000-$3300$6150-$6300

➔ Note- The $ sign used everywhere denotes the US Dollar.

Cost Item # 1: FLIGHTS

cost of flights image

Depending on where you plan to fly from, flight tickets may range anywhere from $800-$1000 assuming you booked your tickets at least three months in advance.

The cheapest airports to fly into Europe include Frankfurt, London, Paris and Amsterdam. Due to the high volume of tourists and flights, competitive pricing always makes these airports the cheapest to fly in to.

Read also: The Cheapest Countries to Visit In Europe

On the other hand, flying into a tiny city in Croatia at the beginning of your trip can as an exception be a good idea, but is rarely, if ever so.

This makes the destination you fly in and out of central to your trip planning and overall budget.

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Cost Item #2: HOTELS

hotel cost item image

The average cost of hotels per day has been taken as $40 per day per person. This can range from $10 (in a hostel considering a shared dorm) or over $100 per night in a budget hotel.

The cost of accommodation is also highly dependent on the cities you plan to travel to. A hostel bed in a Prague will set you back $10 whereas in Stockholm will set you back $30.

As a general benchmark, hotels in Western and Northern Europe are twice or more expensive as those in Southern Europe, with Eastern Europe being the cheapest region to travel. This is also why planning your itinerary carefully is important if you’d like to stick to a strict budget.

Read also: 10 Day Italy Itinerary

The amount you spend on hotels, especially for a long trip will make or break your overall travel budget.

As a backpacker, you can spend less than $500 for a month’s worth of shared dorms in hostels, and as an average budget traveler, you can expect to spend upwards of $1000 per person for a month long trip.

Read Next:  3 Sample Two Week Europe Itineraries That Will Delight You

Backpacking Europe Cost Item #3: SIGHTSEEING

sightseeing costs image

Europe has a large range of attractions ranging from museums to old historical buildings to theatre and operas. The average cost of a ticket would be about

$10, but if you purchase a city pass that normally includes public transportation, the average cost of visiting one museum may be cheaper. Assuming you see at least one paid attraction per day, you can budget at least $10 per day for sightseeing.

Free attractions and tours do exist, which are normally on a pay-as-you-wish basis. Many budget travelers who wish to have a quick look around the city and not go to expensive museums or private tours, often choose to arrange for free walking or cultural tours.

Budget Tip: Some museums have free entries on Sundays, public holidays or any other specific days. Be sure to check that before you plan your city-wise sightseeing. 

Read Next:  The Only Europe Trip Planner Guide You Need

Cost Item #4: LOCAL TRANSPORT

transport costs image 

While traveling in Europe, you would need to book transport both for intra-city and inter-city travel. While averaging costs in the table above, I have approximated mainly the cost of the Eurail pass which could also be replaced by flights or buses.

The most popular and cost-effective way for longer trips in Europe is via train. Cheap flights connecting you across long distances can be found for less than $100 if you plan and book in advance.

Europe has an excellent public transportation system, that you can use while you’re travelling within a city. In cities such as Paris or London, it would be a good idea to have a day pass if you plan to take more than a single return trip.

Tickets for a one-way ride in public transport can cost anywhere between $3-$5 per trip, based on the city you are in.

Many travelers choose not to take any public transport and walk across the major sights. This is why I have not included these costs while calculating averages in the table above.

Europe, in general, is a very pedestrian friendly destination and in small cities, you don’t need to buy an additional transport pass.

Read Next:  9 Cheapest European Cities That You Can Visit For Less Than $50 a Day

Cost Item #5: FOOD

food costs image

In Europe, eating out, especially in restaurants (with service) can be particularly expensive. You’re looking at an average of $10-$20 per meal with a drink if you plan to eat at a restaurant.

A sandwich or salad picked up from a supermarket, on the other hand, would cost you less than $5-$10 per meal. Smart travelers find a way to mix their food costs with eating at the supermarket and occasional restaurant treats.

Street food is limited in Europe, in terms of variety and would cost you somewhere in between food at a supermarket and at a restaurant. For example, one serving of fries in Belgium is likely to set you back $5.

Turkish food in the form of Döner or Kebab shops are quite popular, and you can find a pretty satisfactory meal for $4-$6, depending on the country you are in.

Tip: If you are a backpacker and stay at hostels or places in a common kitchen, you can use the common utensils to cook meals. If you are too tired and don’t want to head out for an expensive meal, just grab some food at a supermarket and cook in!

Read Next:  9 Cheapest European Cities That You Can Visit For Less Than $50 a Day

Cost Item #6: SHOPPING

Shopping costs

Costs for shopping have been averaged at $100 per trip, staying constant as this is a highly subjective section. Souvenirs in Europe such as fridge magnets, t-shirts, mugs, etc, would set you back about $3-$6 per piece.

Assuming you may also shop for some necessities during a trip, it is advisable to create your own cost estimate based on how much you normally shop or can afford to shop.

CITY-WISE COSTS

city wise costs image

In this section, I have summarized the costs for 56 major European cities based on the 3-star traveler index created by Price of Travel.

The assumptions for calculating these costs (per day for two people) are:

➔ Two people share hotel rooms and taxis.

➔ One night in the cheapest budget hotel in a central location with good reviews.

➔ Two small distance taxi rides per day.

➔ Three meals per day on a budget.

➔ Three beers or coffee per day as part of other expenditures during the day.

➔ One sight or attraction per day, such as a museum.

The cities are listed in order from cheapest to most expensive:

CityAvg. Cost (for 2)CityAvg. Cost(for 2)
Bucharest$44Naples$118
Belgrade$48Berlin$119
Kiev$49Lisbon$120
Sarajevo$56Madrid$121
Zagreb$57Nice$127
Sofia$58Bruges$128
Istanbul$60Munich$128
Cesky Krumlov$62Florence$129
Budapest$63Rome$135
Krakow$66Barcelona$137
Tenerife$70Brussels$139
Split$71Hamburg$140
Riga$73Luxembourg City$140
Vilnius$74Helsinki$141
Warsaw$75Salzburg$142
St. Petersburg$77Vienna$144
Bratislava$78Edinburgh$145
Santorini Island$81Oslo$154
Moscow$82Dublin$144
Athens$97Milan$160
Ibiza$99Bergen$165
Valetta$100Paris$174

One way to calculate costs is to take the average mentioned in the table and then double check that across the top cities you plan to visit.

Another way to look at costs is to have a broad estimate based on the region you plan to travel.

WESTERN EUROPE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Countries in the euro-zone as well as Switzerland, England and Scotland are really expensive places to travel to. High costs of living combined with high-taxes lead to strong currencies that can burn a hole through your pocket VERY FAST.

The average prices for traveling in this region are:

  • Hostel dorm bed: €22–35
  • Budget hotels rooms: €35–60
  • Apartment rentals: €25–85
  • Groceries for 1 week: €60
  • Sandwiches/pizza slice/kebab from a street shop: €4–7
  • Public city transportation tickets (tram/subway/bus/train): €1.50–2.50
  • High-speed trains (French TGV, German ICE, etc.): €80-90
  • Short non-high-speed trains (1–2 hours): €18–25
  • Longer non-high-speed trains (3–5 hours): €35–50
  • Buses: €17–35
  • Popular museum entrance fees: €14–20
  • Pub crawls: €13–22
  • Beers: €4–8.50

EASTERN EUROPE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This zone includes traveling in the Balkans,   Baltics,   Bulgaria,   Czech   Republic,   Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

By far, this is the cheapest region in Europe to travel especially if you want to experience a longer stay on a limited budget.

As a first time traveler, you can also combine a few Western European countries with a few Eastern European countries to make sure you have the best time on any budget.

The average prices for traveling in this region are:

  • Hostel dorm bed: €4–13
  • Hostel private room: €26–52
  • Budget hotels rooms: €25–40
  • Apartment rentals: €22–52
  • Groceries for 1 week: €30–35
  • Sandwiches/pizza slice/kebab from a street shop: €1–3.50
  • Public city transportation tickets (tram/subway/bus/train): €1–2
  • Inter-country train tickets: €40–85
  • Short train rides (1–2 hours): €25 (about €12/hour)
  • Buses (short trips): €8.50–17
  • Museum/attraction entrance fees: €5–7
  • Beers: €2–3.50

SCANDINAVIA

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Includes: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

The most expensive region in Europe to visit but also one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Traveling here is ridiculously expensive, so you want to make sure you take your time carefully planning your budget for this region.

The average prices for traveling in this region are:

  • Hostel dorm bed: €22–45
  • Budget hotels rooms: €60-80
  • Apartment rentals: €60–85
  • Groceries for 1 week: €50–95
  • Hotdog/kebab from a street shop: €4–7
  • Fast food meals: €8–13
  • Restaurant meal: €20-30
  • Bottle of water: €2.50
  • Public city transportation tickets (tram/subway/bus/train): €4-5
  • High-speed trains: about €85–120
  • Short non-high-speed trains (>2 hours): €30
  • Buses: €30–45
  • Large museum entrance fees: €10
  • Pub crawls: €13–22
  • Beers: €7–12

I hope this post has helped you get a good idea of backpacking Europe costs and how to plan for the same!


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