6 budget-friendly and offbeat cities in Europe to visit in 2021

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For those who don’t want to spend a fortune on their travels while getting the maximum of their adventure, here are six budget-friendly and less known cities in Europe to visit in 2021

The world is finally coming back to what it used to be before the horrendous year of 2020. And that’s why it’s time to plan your future adventures. 

Choose one of these six cities in Europe that will bring you so much fun while keeping your wallet pretty much untouched. 

Here’s our list of the most budget-friendly and offbeat cities in Europe for 2021.

Varna - Bulgaria

Varna is a summer paradise at the Black Sea - Unsplash

Beaches, parties, cheap and super delicious food and drinks all around. That’s the Bulgarian version of paradise, Varna.

Located on the coast of the Black Sea, Varna prides itself with the utmost comfortable summer weather. And thanks to its geological position, the city offers a plethora of thermal spas even the Romans enjoyed two thousand years ago.

Locals tend to say that the city never sleeps and it’s basically impossible to find a closed bar on a summer night.

Being an important location for the whole European civilization, Varna won’t disappoint anyone thirsty for knowledge.

The site has been a crucial meeting place for more than five thousand years and today, you can see the remnants of Thracian, Roman, Byzantine, or Ottoman architecture.

Hotels in Varna offer rooms for prices starting from $17 but you can get a place in a hostel for around $8 as well.

Varna also has its own airport with cheap flights coming from major European hubs.

Pick the best activity in Varna.

Basic information of Varna:

Population: 370,000

Currency: Bulgarian lev – 1 BGN= $0.62

Price of meal in an inexpensive restaurant: $8

Price of beer: $1.60

Closest airport: Varna airport

Transport from airport: Public bus departs every 15 minutes and takes from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on your target location

Booking.com

Kaunas - Lithuania

Kaunas - Lithuania 6 budget-friendly European cities 2021

Unique museums of national importance, outstanding architecture, and exquisite street art – that’s Kaunas, the European Capital of Culture for 2022.  

Lithuania’s second city and former capital has everything culture-minded travelers need to quench their intellectual thirst. 

As the city still remains on the off-beaten path, it offers peace and tranquillity in the world heading at a fast pace. But as the place is getting international recognition, it might change soon. 

Kaunas is also unique because of its population. Unlike the country’s capital of Vilnius, which has a significant Polish and Russian minorities, 94 percent of Kaunas’s inhabitants identify as Lithuanians meaning that it’s pretty much the most Lithuanian city you can get. 

The city center of Kaunas is defined by its geographical conditions. It lies on the confluence of two rivers – Nemunas and Neris. This gave the city a defensive purpose in the past, which still remains apparent. 

The most significant part of the Old Town is the main square with buildings from the 15th and 16th century as well as a high town hall nicknamed White Swan for its color and shape. 

Another symbol of the city is the Kaunas Castle, a gothic defensive complex that originated in the 14th century. 

But apart from historical monuments, you can also visit rather unique sites, such as the Antanas Žmuidzinavičius Memorial Museum, also known as the Devil’s Museum

A great advantage of Kaunas is that Ryanair has chosen the city as its hub meaning that it’s pretty accessible for super low prices. 

So pack your backpack and give this hidden gem a two or three-day trip with plenty of activities in Kaunas

Booking.com

Basic information of Kaunas:

Population: 304 000

Currency: Euro – 1 EUR= $1.21

Price of meal in an inexpensive restaurant: $8.50

Price of beer: $3.60

Closest airport: Kaunas Airport

Information about Covid-19 measures at Kaunas Airport

Lagos - Portugal

Over the past few decades, the pearl of the Algarve region has managed to establish itself as a great vocational area that still manages to avoid crowds and mass tourism. 

Lagos, a city on the very south of Portugal, combines the perks of the country’s traditions and architecture with all you need from a seaside holiday.

With historical remnants, natural wonders like nowhere else in the world, and resorts ready to handle all tourists’ needs, Lagos comes a full package. 

Similarly to other parts of Portugal, the history of Lagos dates back more than two thousand years. 

Various civilizations shaped the region, starting with the Carthaginians, replaced by the Romans, then the Arabs, and finally, the Portuguese. 

Lagos also played an important role during the age of discoveries with many ships setting sale here to explore unknown waters and lands. 

You can find all you need to know in the Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos museum, dedicated to the history of Portugal’s discoveries. 

Lagos - Portugal

However, the period also brought a stain of shame to the city. In the 15-century the square called Praça Infante Dom Henrique became home to one of the first slave markets in Europe.

Nowadays, the city center of Lagos features a beautiful old town with a plethora of pedestrian zones where you can enjoy the tranquillity and peace much deserved after months of hard work. 

While looking for flights and other transport to Lagos, keep in mind that there is a city with the same name in Nigeria. Messing these two up could result in a surprise. 

In fact, Portuguese Lagos doesn’t have an airport itself. The closest airport is actually in Faro, the capital of the Algarve region. 

Faro and Lagos are well connected both by bus and train and the route takes between 1.5 and 2hours. 

Basic information of Lagos:

Population: 137,000 

Currency: Euro – 1 EUR= $1.21

Price of meal in inexpensive restaurant: $6.75

Price of beer: $2:00

Closest airport: Faro 

Transport from airport: Bus to the city center of Faro, Train to Faros train station

Brno - Czech Republic

Brno is a student city located in the south-eastern part of the Czech Republic and also the capital of the Moravia region.

And as many technological companies, such as IBM, AT&T, or Kiwi.com have chosen Brno as its headquarters or home to important parts of their operation, Brno has earned the nickname of Silicon Valley of Central Europe.

With a large population of younger individuals and expats, the city has managed to create a lively and friendly atmosphere. 

During the covid-free times, the city features hundreds of events dedicated to culture, history, foods, and drinks. Brno is home to some internationally recognized bars, and every year, the city organizes grand Christmas markets.

Brno can also please the hearts of history enthusiasts. The famous battle of Austerlitz, in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Russian and Austrian counterparts, took place only around 10 miles from Brno.

That’s why every year, hundreds of volunteers gather for the reenactment of the important success of the French army.

What we cannot forget when talking about Czechia, is its beer – the national treasure.

You’ll never get too thirsty in Brno as you can find a brewery or a pub basically at every corner of the city. There’s even a beer tram roaming around the city as a movable pub

You can get some of the nation’s classics, such as Pilsner Urquell, or some of the thousands of craft beers produced here.

Southern Moravia is also famous for its high-quality wine and as it’s not illegal to drink in the streets or in nearby parks, it’s quite common to enjoy a glass of beer or wine with your friends outside.

So come enjoy a slow afternoon in this hidden gem which, unlike its biggest rival of Prague, never gets overcrowded by tourists.

Basic information of Brno

Population: 380,000

Currency: Czech Crown – 1 CZK= $0.05

Price of meal an inexpensive restaurant: $7

Price of beer: $1.90

Closest airport: Brno

Transport from airport: Bus to the city center

Booking.com

Novi Sad - Serbia

Novi Sad - Serbia

While Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is where the party starts, the country’s second city of Novi Sad is where the culture gets you.

It’s not a coincidence that Novi Sad is often nicknamed Serbian Athens. And it will also share the title of the European City of Culture for 2022 with Lithuanian Kaunas and Esch in Luxembourg.

Novi Sad is full of young people and has an outstanding (and slightly hipsterish) vibe. It’s also home to one of the largest music festivals in Europe, the EXIT festival.

The culture-minded potential is visible pretty much everywhere in the city. From galleries, museums, theatres, to breathtaking murals.

But Novi Sad is also as Serbian as it can get. Locals are hospitable people who like to have fun, meaning you won’t experience any sight of boredom.

One of the biggest perks of Serbia is its cuisine. Similarly to the country’s history, the dishes have been influenced by many different cultures. From Austria-Hungarian heritage to Turkish origin, it’s a mixture of flavors that come together perfectly.

Don’t miss a chance to taste Pljeskavica, or a stew usual in the Vojvodina region, Fiš paprikaš.

Another great advantage of Novi Sad is that it’s super bike-friendly. Thanks to its flat terrain, it’s easy to get on a bicycle pretty much everywhere. And if you need more adrenaline, there are a plethora of trails in the nearby picturesque nature around the Danube river.

If you want to enjoy an unspoiled place with young energy and passion while not spending a fortune, Novi Sad will be the right choice for you.

Basic information of Novi Sad

Population: 290,000

Currency: Serbian dinar – 1 RSD = $0.01

Price of meal in an inexpensive restaurant: $6.20

Price of beer: $1.90

Closest airport: Novi Sad has its own airport. However, Belgrade airport is much more connected with the outside world 

Leipzig - Germany

Leipzig - Germany - Unsplash

While Germany in general has a lower cost of living than neighboring France, the true value of expenses differs among regions of the country.

And out of the bigger cities of Germany, Leipzig belongs to the cheaper options.

Leipzig is the capital city of the state of Saxony in the eastern part of Germany. Severely harmed at the end of WWII and then shadowed by the iron curtain for decades, Leipzig didn’t have the chance to flourish economically as the Western Cities could in the past.

But in recent years, it has become one of the country’s biggest success stories and is currently called one of the “Boomtowns”.

For its raw and more industrial look, Leipzig has recently become very popular among artists and the younger generation not only from Germany, but from other parts of the world as well.

In fact, Leipzig has always been a city of music. For instance, Johann Sebastian Bach himself played it at a local church for 25 years.

But in modern times, it’s the more alternative scene that gets the prime time. Leipzig is simply an affordable city for students, musicians, and artists. So give this place a few days of your life and you’ll never forget it.

Lepzig - Germany - Unsplash

Basic information of Leipzig

Population: 600,000

Currency: Euro – 1 EUR = $1.21

Price of meal in an inexpensive restaurant: $8

Price of beer: $3.50

Closest airport: Leipzig/Halle 

Activities in Leipzig

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