7 of the Cheapest European Cities by Train
Planning a Eurail trip but concerned about your budget? There’s no need to skimp on your itinerary. With careful planning and the inclusion of some wallet-friendly cities, you can easily extend your trip without breaking the bank. Here are 7 of the cheapest European cities you can visit with your Eurail Pass.
Cheapest European cities
1. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest is a fascinating place. And it’s definitely one of the cheapest European cities to visit on your Eurail trip. Communist-era landmarks, museums, and Balkan traditions mix effortlessly with a dynamic population. It’s also a good stopover for travelers looking to venture into Transylvania.
Best budget activity: Take in the sight of the massive Palatul Parlamentului government building. There’s no charge if you don’t go inside.
Types of trains: IC and ICE between major cities (reservation required). Rapid, Accelerat, and Personal trains operate on regional routes and are slower, but they don’t require advance reservation.
Popular cities to travel to by train: There are daily international trains from Bucharest to Belgrade, Budapest, Prague, Sofia, Istanbul, and Venice.
2. Krakow, Poland
All of Poland is great value for money. You can expect beautiful scenery, fascinating architecture and history, and a kind, welcoming population. This is most obvious in the city of Krakow, which also happens to be one of the best-value destinations in Europe.
Best budget activity: A slow walk through the Old Town, either alone or as part of a free walking tour, is a great way to see the city.
Types of trains: There are several types of trains in Poland of varying speed and comfort. Ekspres InterCity Premium, EuroCity, and Ekspres require advance reservations.
Popular cities to travel to by train: The Polish capital Warsaw is just 2 hours away by train.
3. Sofia, Bulgaria
Bulgaria presents a range of fantastic options for bargain hunters. The capital Sofia is an increasingly popular tourist destination, yet it has retained its original charm and still offers great value. Although the city may lack world-renowned attractions, the vibrant urban energy and unbeatable value make it a pleasure to visit.
Best budget activity: The Sofia City Art Gallery is free and impressive.
Types of trains: You won’t need to make advance reservations for most regional trains within Bulgaria, although a tiny reservation fee is required on Express (Ekspresen) trains between major cities.
Popular cities to travel to by train: There’s a popular scenic route between Sofia and Dabova, which takes approximately 3 hours.
4. Belgrade, Serbia
You can party the night away, explore museums, or learn more about the region’s troubled history in Belgrade. It’s also a beautiful city in many ways. Good value at restaurants, bars, and accommodation make this a great place to visit on a Eurail trip.
Best budget activity: Entrance to the Belgrade Fortress is free. The fortress is interesting to walk around and has beautiful views of the Sava and Danube rivers.
Types of trains: There are three main types of trains in Serbia – Express, InterCity, and Passenger. None of these trains require advance reservations, but you should still reserve a seat for international routes.
Popular cities to travel to by train: Don’t miss the chance to take the Montenegro Express from Belgrade to Bar.
5. Budapest, Hungary
Hungary is fast becoming a firm fixture on many travelers’ itineraries, yet as one of the cheapest European cities, it still offers amazing value. The beautiful city is packed full of free or cheap activities. Bars, restaurants, cafés, and accommodation are still significantly cheaper and more entertaining than those you’ll find further west.
Best budget activity: Want to know the best way to spend a sunny afternoon in the city? Then take a walk from the Buda Castle along the Danube to Margaret Island, the Hungarian Parliament building, and the Shoes on the Danube memorial.
Types of trains: Reservations are required on InterCity and InterPici trains and on many international routes, but you won’t need to make reservations for any other regional trains.
Popular cities to travel to by train: There are several popular routes from Budapest, including direct trains to Bratislava, Vienna, and Zagreb.
6. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo may conjure up images of war and a troubled history, and it’s also slightly tricky to reach. But visitors who make the effort to get there are rewarded with a beautiful old town and a warm, welcoming modern city. It’s still flying below the tourist radar, which means you can pick up bargains throughout the city.
Best budget activity: Walk the Old Town and visit the mosques and churches.
Types of trains: There are fast and regional trains in Bosnia and Herzegovina, none of which require advance reservations. However, you may need reservations for international routes.
Popular cities to travel to by train: There’s a direct train to the Croatian capital of Zagreb. It takes approximately 10 hours.
7. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Most travelers think of Prague when you mention the Czech Republic. But there are several other gems worth discovering that are a lot cheaper than the capital. The small town of Olomouc is intriguing, but the quaint and beautiful city of Český Krumlov is still the country’s most budget-friendly crowd pleaser.
Best budget activity: A walk through the Old Town, the castle complex, and along the river is the best way to soak up the city’s atmosphere.
Types of trains: There are several types of domestic trains in the Czech Republic. Most of them don’t require advance reservations. Advance reservation is required for InterCity, EuroCity, SuperCity, and some international routes.
Popular cities to travel to by train: Prague is just 3 hours away, and so is the popular city of Pilsen.
Europe may have a reputation as an expensive destination, but visiting the cheapest European cities can easily make your money go further. A bit of careful planning, and choosing the right Eurail Pass for your needs, can also help ease the burden. You have the trip of a lifetime that doesn’t break the bank.