Cheapest and most expensive European cities revealed -here’s where you can live from £20 a day

Europe’s cheapest and most expensive destinations have been revealed. Find out where you can live for £20 a day or enjoy the continent’s cheapest beer for as little as £1.40.

Bucharest - the Romanian city is Europe's cheapest for daily living costs

Bucharest – the Romanian city is Europe’s cheapest city for daily living costs. Image credit: Andre-Daniel Nicolae

The research by travel money specialists FairFX reveals the top 10 cheapest and most expensive cities, along with a thirst-quenching guide to where the best value beer can be consumed.

Analysis of how much travellers are likely to spend each day in 53 destinations across Europe makes this guide essential reading for anyone hoping to get away for a cheap, last-minute city break. Here are the headlines…

Where are the cheapest cities to ‘live’ per day?

Eastern Europe tops the value table, with Romania’s Bucharest costing as little as £20.86 per day, followed by Krakow in Poland at £21.34 and £23.50 in Bulgaria’s Sofia.

What is the daily spend made up of?

The daily cost, as described above, includes the average price for breakfast, lunch, evening meal with a beer and entry to gallery, museum of similar local point of interest. Also included is public transfer from the airport, a 24-hour public transport pass and a 3km taxi journey.

What are the top 20 cheapest cities in Europe for daily living costs?

If you’re after a city break with affordable living costs then these are the European cities you should be considering.

Rank Destination Daily expenses
1 Bucharest £20.86
2 Krakow £21.34
3 Sofia £23.50
4 Istanbul £24.11
5 Warsaw £25.57
6 Budapest £29.17
7 Vilnius £32.83
8 Zagreb £33.60
9 St Petersburg £35.12
10 Bratislava £37.03
11 Riga £37.12
12 Split £40.56
13 Santorini £40.66
14 Prague £41.42
15 Malaga £43.46
16 Granada £44.54
17 Moscow £44.73
18 Ljubljana £46.75
19 Naples £47.71
20 Talin £49.02

What are the top 10 most expensive cities in Europe for daily living costs?

So, where are the most expensive cities in Europe for daily expenses? Here are the costs you’ll need to factor in for trips to these Euro faves.

Rank Destination Daily expenses
1 Reykjavik £98.40
2 Venice £82.38
3 Oslo £80.61
4 Faro £80.29
5 Zurich £79.21
6 Bergen £75.08
7 Munich £75.02
8 Paris £72.75
9 Stockholm £72.23
10 Bruges £71.96

Go here for the beer…

Thinking about a last-minute trip away to watch the World Cup over a few beers? The cheapest European destination is Budapest at £1.40, followed by Bucharest and Prague and £1.50 and £1.55.  At the other end of the scale, the most expensive European beer was found in Reykjavik at £8.56, followed by Bergen at £8.15, and Copenhagen at £7.05.

Rank Destination Price Rank Destination Price
1 Budapest £1.40 1 Reykjavik £8.56
2 Bucharest £1.50 2 Bergen £8.15
3 Prague £1.55 3 Copenhagen £7.05
4 Warsaw £2.07 =4 Paris £7.00
5 Sofia -£2.24 =4 Brussels £7.00
6 Split £2.36 6 Zurich £6.59
7 Krakow £2.49 7 Oslo £6.34
8 Zagreb £2.59 8 Stockholm £6.23
=9 Faro £2.63 9 Helsinki £6.13
=9 Valletta £2.63 =10 Venice, Niece, Dublin £5.25

Long-term currency trends across Europe

FairFX also analysed long-term exchange rates over May compared to last year to see how currency fluctuations have hit the cost of visiting the destinations.

Analysis revealed that the pound will go 32% further against the Turkish lira compared with last year. This means for every £500 of spending money you exchange, you’ll get £120 (or 727 Lira) more than you would have last year.

The pound now goes 15% further against the Russian Ruble compared with last year – making it much more attractive to visit destinations such as St Petersburg and Moscow.

This is great news for those planning to travel for the World Cup in June. Holidaymakers will get an extra £64 (5,293 Rubles) for every £500 exchanged compared with May 2017.

Country Difference in exch rates compared to 1 year ago Difference for every £500 exchanged in local currency Difference for every £500 exchanged in £
Turkey 32% 727 TRY £120
Russia 15% 5,293 RUB £64
Iceland 10% 6,361 ISK £45
Sweden 6% 338SEK £29
Switzerland 5% 34CHF £26
Hungary 4% 6,278HUF £17
Poland 3% 65 PLN £13
Norway 2% 88 NOK £8
Romania 1% 39 RON £7
Denmark 0% 0 DKK £0
Bulgaria 0% 0 BGN -£0
Euro 0% 0 EUR £0
Croatia 0% 0 HRK £0
Czech Republic -3% -402 CZK -£14

FairFX’s tips to get the best value:

  • Follow the pound: If you’re not fixed on where you holiday, consider destinations where the pound is strongest which will help you explore more of the world, for less.
  • Plan ahead: It’s never too soon to start thinking about your travel money. Follow your chosen rate so you can buy when the pound moves in your favour.
  • Set up a tracker: If you don’t have time, ask an expert. FairFX has a free holiday money tracker which alerts you when rates improve and when you might get more holiday money for your pounds.
  • Lock-in your rate: Using a prepaid card means that you can top-up the card when the rates are at their strongest and use it like a credit or debit card overseas – with the difference that your rate is often guaranteed in advance and with a FairFX Card you can spend fee free in shops and restaurants.
  • Beware of the sneaky Airport ATM: If you are savvy enough to have a Euro or Dollar prepaid currency card, be careful about taking cash from airport ATMs. When withdrawing currency from UK airport ATMs with a Euro or Dollar prepaid card, most of them charge you in Pounds instead of your Euros or Dollars, and hit you with hidden conversion fees
  • Don’t leave it too late: Waiting until the last minute means you’ll have no choice about what rate you get. And if you leave it right up until you get to the airport, you’re likely to face the worst exchange rates in the country


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