Tips and Tricks to Getting Around Budget-Friendly European Cities
For the budget-conscious travelers!
by Niel Mugas | August 27, 2016
For a great deal of Filipinos, Europe is the last frontier—the ultimate travel destination for selfies that are sure to be the envy of your friends. It’s quite easy to understand why. With its breathtaking castles and palaces, beautiful gardens, winding, cobblestone alleys, al-fresco taverns, not to mention the great history that come with them, Europe is a continent that will stay with you forever.
One thing that prevents most travelers from packing their bags and taking on the next available flight is the relatively prohibitive cost. There are, however, well-documented and proven tricks and tips that you can do to slash your total expenses by nearly half.
Seasoned world travelers agree that a two-week adventure in Europe would set you back by around PHP170,000 to PHP220,000. But this can be lowered to about PHP120,000 to PHP150,000 with the help of some travel tips. Backpacking and staying in hostels, availing of cheap day passes are some travel hacks that easily come to mind. There are also techniques to getting cheaper tickets, like buying on a Tuesday or Thursday.
Even better, there are cities in the region where you can stretch your hard-earned money. Of course, entrances to popular museums and travel highlights can be expensive, so you have to allot a separate budget for them.
This city, situated on the banks of the Balearic Sea, is the cosmopolitan capital of the Catalan region and a haven for quirky art, Gaudi architecture (epitomized by the Sagrada Familia), and sumptuous, Iberian cuisine. A complete meal will set you back EUR10-15 or less than PHP750. You can even go lower if you’re a light eater or you don’t mind having bread and coffee for EUR2.5. A bottle of beer will cost you around EUR1.5, if you buy it at convenience stores. You can explore the district of La Rambla and score hotels in the EUR20-30 range.
There are also a lot of places to check out in Barcelona that won’t cost you a thing, like the Parque de la Ciutadella and the 19th century Arc di Triomf. The unforgettable Parc Guell, an artistic wonderland filled with awe-inspiring mosaics by the famous Antoni Gaudi, requires an entrance fee of EUR8.
With its grand history, Rome gets the wrong impression of being way too expensive to visit. On the contrary, the Eternal City can be a treat to budget conscious travelers—no matter what time of year.
A plate of pizza will cost you EUR10 and a plate of authentic pasta will cost EUR7-10. A gelato scoop or two is EUR3-5, while a donut in front of the Colosseo is only EUR2. Rome is a haven for budget-friendly hotels and hostels but because of the sheer number of tourists visiting the city, they are booked almost immediately.
One great place to stay in Rome is the PLUS Camping Roma. You can rent tents and camper vans, along with hundreds of fellow travelers. Nightly parties at the main pavilion can be a blast. Just imagine having impromptu parties with like-minded travelers from all corners of the globe!
As for free destinations, make a wish in front of the majestic Fontana di Trevi, You can also visit St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City but getting inside will require some major money. It’s also free to take pictures of the Colosseo, but because of the preservation efforts, the city government requires a fee to get inside.
Warsaw is one of the most overlooked and underrated cities in Europe. But it offers a great wealth of attractions and history without the need to spend too much. A bottle of beer normally costs 10-15 Polist Zloty which translates to about EUR3. You will spend an average of PLN 50-70 for a complete meal, which is about EUR 12-13.Hostel dorm rooms cost about PLN 50-60 or about EUR 10-11 while hotels cost about EUR 50-75 a night.
There are also a great number of free activities you can do in Warsaw. Check out the newly restored Royal Castle in the Old Town district, as well as Brzeska Street where you can find amazing street art. Don’t miss the Warsaw Uprising Monument and the 17th century Wilanow Palace.
This jewel city of the Czech Republic is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe. Often, its beauty is compared to Paris. But what’s truly amazing about Prague is that it is one of the cheapest cities in the entire European region and the list of jaw-dropping sights is almost endless.
Try the traditional Bohemian delicacy Koleno or pork knuckles cooked with beer. A huge serving will cost EUR7-10, depending on the district you visit. What about the beer? Pilsner was supposedly invented in the city so all of taverns and pubs have it. A pint of pilsner in Prague will cost EUR50 to EUR30, depending on the district.
Accommodations in Prague are also super cheap. You can stay at some of the five-star hotels in Prague and only pay EUR100 a night which is a bargain compared to Western Europe.
The list of attractions you can visit for free is pretty long, but don’t miss the majestic Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Powder Tower, the Astronomic Clock, and Wenceslau Square, a These attractions showcase the best of Bohemian architecture and artistry dating back to the medieval times. Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century.
For some contemporary art, head out to the John Lennon Wall. You can also climb the steps of Petrin Tower for a magnificent view of Prague.
Europe is definitely one of the most beautiful continents in the world and it promises to be an adventure of a lifetime. But you don’t need to blow all of your life savings for just a single trip. With the help of some smart budgeting and patience for some online ticket and hotel discounts, you can pack your bags and travel now.